Essential Mentalist Equipment

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Guest » 05/04/05 08:11 PM

Im new to mentalism but I have been reading studying the 13 Steps to Mentalism by Tony Corinda and Practical Mental Magic by Ted Annemann. I haven't read any modern mentalist authors yet like: Richard Osterlind, Banachek, Larry Becker, Ted Lesley, T.A. Waters, Barrie Richardson, Al Koran, or Derren Brown.

One thing that I have noticed about Mentalism is that mentalists do not use much magic equipment like standard or regular magic has. Besides buying books, I have been thinking about purchasing some basic props or equipment to use in mentalism. I already have some dice, cards, envelopes, t***b t**s, billets, post-it notes, pencils, blindfolds, sharpies and am thinking about buying a crystal ball, two spirit slates, a couple of s***i w******s, some Tarot cards, and a pack of ESP cards to use in mentalism. I know that some mentalists are going to say that you dont need any equipment to do mentalism but I am curious as to what other essential mentalist equipment should a mentalist purchase. Thank you.

Gerard
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Postby Mark Collier » 05/05/05 09:11 AM

You can do miracles with a *****.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/05/05 09:26 AM

Originally posted by Mark Collier:
You can do miracles with a *****.
I prefer using my 12" hard **** to spill the **** from the ***

(wand, balls, cup - obviously)

;)
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Postby El Mystico » 05/05/05 11:55 AM

I consider this post highly *********, not to say somewhat **** and not just a little ******. Needless to say, my **** has just ******* off.
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Postby El Mystico » 05/05/05 11:59 AM

I think this one isnt being taken seriously because it is far too general.

It all dpends on what you want to do.

Are you talking stage, parlour, parties, close up?

And what style are you talking about? A magician who does a few mental effects? Or at the other extreme, somoene who dedicates his life to fleecing the unwary?

What sort of persona do you want to present? n ordinary guy with weird abilities? A gypsy? A warlock?

When you have started to answer these questions, some of the answers might start becoming obvious

Ice Cream O'Marconi
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Postby Guest » 05/05/05 04:09 PM

Gerard,
Let's answer your question seriously for you. A Prop is what you make it out to be. Technically a pad of paper is a prop but it does not look as magicky as a yellow wooden box with a chinese character or a dragon painted on the side which DOES look like a magic prop.

Esential equipment would depend onw hat you require for the effect. While some may prefer to use a peek wallet, some may prefer to use an envelope and a card and others may prefer to use merely a piece of paper to accomplish the same effect. (I hope that makes sense). Many will say that a "nail writer" be it a band, undernail, thumbtip type is essential while some may say they are not. It really all depends on what you wish to do and how you wish to accomplish it.

If you were to read say "Stunners Plus" by Larry Becker you will find many "mental magic" effects. Brilliant ideas and principles to be learned within those pages and many years of readings will be had by this tome and some of the effects contained within it's pages are very "propy" and some are not. (Some consider a deck of cards propy as well). However if you were to read Bob Cassidy's "Art of Mentalism" you will find that aside from a small day planner, some cards, paper and a couple of pencils you require nothing else to produce miracles. Both are amazing books which contain outstanding material but both are very different as is their authors both as person's as well as style. (Those that know these two giants will know excatly what I mean by that,all good too)

So there really is no "essential" props or techniques for that matter. All boils down to how much of a purist you are and what you want to do. Since you have read the two classic i do suggest that you read the two aforementioned books (although Cassidy's has 2 of the Art of Mentalism and you should read both.) Cassidy's "Principia Mentalia" should also be read.

Once you have read those you might try to move out and read varied books such as "Peek Performances" and "Peek Encores" as well as the other books by Richard Busch - all considered essential reading by established mentalists. "Paramiracles" by Ted Lesley, Barrie Richardson's "Theatre of the Mind", all three of PUNX's books will show you how "theatrical" you can be in your presentations.

"Prism" by Max Maven will provide you with a great read as will "Magick" (all four volumes) and "The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mentalism" (all 3 volumes). T.a. Waters "Mind, Myth and Magic" is chock full of great ideas, "Al Koran's Legacy" by Hugh Miller was just reprinted and will show you some ideas on the shoulders of a mentalism giant. There are many more too but the ones I have mentioned will show you a variety of styles, principles and ideas.

Magic and Meaning by Burger/Neale would be an assett to performing mentalism as would "Maximum Entertainment" by ken Weber, more so in your presentations as opposed to tricks. I hope this helps,

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Where mentalists come for unique material
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Postby Brian Marks » 05/05/05 08:33 PM

a personality
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Postby Guest » 05/06/05 06:40 AM

Yea... what Paul said!

I believe you've posted this question elsewhere and thus, you know what is important and what is not... development of one's skills is far more critical than gadgets. This includes the cultivation of one's character. Trust me, like playing Dungeon & Dragons, your character will not turn out as you may presently envision. This is why I always discourage people from trying to do the heavy image thing and just (as Chris Carey said long ago) Do the stuff that's you!

The more natural you are, and the more you allow your true-self to be seen, the more radlily the public will accept you... I tried for years to be someone and something I am not. By going back to my real name and "not acting" I've become far more successful as well as acknowledge for what I do both, from the public's point of view as well as within the industry itself (though I am a bit controversial at times :D )

As you were told elsewhere, keep things simple and don't get caught up in all the commercial/ trendy CRAP. Take it from an old Pack-Rat (and the gods know Kirkham and I were the extreme of said image)you don't want to be breaking your back paying for your hobby... you want your craft to support you. It's only a myth that "He who dies with the most toys wins" Having the most toys will make you die (unless you're disgustingly wealthy).

Just my two cents worth.
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Postby David Alexander » 05/06/05 05:46 PM

Brian has given you valuable advice. If you can be in front of a group of people, either in a casual setting or on a stage, and be charming and ingratiating - if you are likeable - then you have the potential of presenting mentalism successfully.

If you're not likeable, learn what your problems are and correct them. The quality of likeability in mentalism is more importaant than in performing straight magic because with mentalism there is no apparent demonstration of skill to fill in personality deficits. Properly presented, mentalism looks like the real thing.

While the little gimmicks are important, as is techinque, the absolutely vital ingredient is being liked by your audience. No successful modern mentalist who works steadily for paying audiences fails to be likeable. Even Dunninger, who was out of the Serious School, was charming and self-depricating at times, which audiences found charming.

Craig also makes an extremely important observation: the mere aquistion of props and/or information does not necessarily make you an entertaining performer. You will save thousands of dollars and endless amounts of time if you follow his advice.

Kirk Kirkham, who Craig uses as an example (and we both knew well), had tons of equipment that he stored in nearly a dozen garages. He paid storage fees on all this stuff for years. As Craig will probably concur, a lot of it should have been sold off or just junked years earlier, but Kirk wouldn't part with it.

Over his career, I'm willing to bet that Kirk made far more money with his club date act and his small illusion show than he ever did with a "big" show with all the old equipment. I hate to guess how much he would have been ahead had he not had the rent on all those garages to pay, month after month, year after year.

Successful pros develop a repetoire of entertaining effects that they can present to paying audiences. Avoiding the "trendy" and "fadish" in amateur magic is a first step towards becoming someone who can rely on their performing repetoire to make money.
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Postby Guest » 05/06/05 10:44 PM

Ditto David and Craig. A couple of generations ago, essential requirements for a mentalist could include turbans, robes, scenery, telephone receivers and wires, change/switch apparatus, crystal ball and more.
Dunninger or Fogel downsized to only needing only some stationary items, carried in a briefcase.
Then some, from Gene Dennis to John Edward, using their personality, skill, fortitude most lack, and with only the clothes on their backs,
out do them all.
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Postby Guest » 05/07/05 06:11 AM

Originally posted by Diego Domingo:
Ditto David and Craig. A couple of generations ago, essential requirements for a mentalist could include turbans, robes, scenery, telephone receivers and wires, change/switch apparatus, crystal ball and more.
Dunninger or Fogel downsized to only needing only some stationary items, carried in a briefcase.
Then some, from Gene Dennis to John Edward, using their personality, skill, fortitude most lack, and with only the clothes on their backs,
out do them all.
Yea... but we're working on it! :D
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