Considering the current status of magic and mentalism I thought I will share and highlight for you a few quotes from the late T.A.Waters.
"...Status of a special and unique individual...
For you to be special as a mystery performer you must be-or appear to be-unique.
You must do your best to make them think they have never seen anything like you before, and accomplishing that is worth whatever effort it takes.
You won't always succeed, of course, nobody can.
If you keep trying, though, you'll move closer to that enchanted boundary-and you'll feel better about your work both as artist and professional performer.
And if you DONT try, you're wasting your audience's time-and your own.
...Magic and mentalism are supposed to be special-which means, on the most elementary level, that your audience shouldn't be able to move their lips with your patter.
You should be a new experience for them, something they have never seen before, no matter how many magicians or mentalists they have seen.
The one thing that must be unique to a performer is his presentation; it's the only thing you have to separate yourself from the rest of the crowed, to become a unique entity.
If a number of performers get their presentation from a book, they all end up sounding the same.
Worse, as soon as a spectator recognizes the patter line as something heard before, the performer is immediately demoted from the status of a special and unique individual to "...one of those people who do that stuff"
It has always been a puzzle to me that anyone would ever want to do an effect already being performed bu another; what's the point?
There is no reason why any two magicians or mentalists ever have to do the same effects.
If, we throw out ninety percent of the magic in print or for sale from the dealers as being pure crap - and divide up the remaining ten percent among all the performers who ever perform in front of an audience - each one would still have more material than could be used in a lifetime.
...If you are the only one around who can do this stuff-you're special.
If you teach it to your friend Bill, so that he can do it too, you are now only half as special...
...as I've said elsewhere, mentalism is SUPPOSED to be miraculous.
A miracle that a lot of people can do is no miracle at all.
....Mystery, you see, is supposed to be rare and special, that's part of what makes it mysterious
How magical or mysterious can something be if everyone does it?"