should a begginner practice everything from 13steps to mentalism.

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

Postby Rodney » 04/30/09 11:25 PM

I'm reuniting with magic. I have been studying for a year and really don't have much to show for it, except for slieghts and some knowledge learned about the art.
I have a question about my thought of turning to mentalism as my main practice. I'm wanting to know if someone who wants to step into the art of mentalism should practice everything that is in the book "13 steps to mentalism"? I have a whole lot of books and i'm becoming over whelmed with where to start and what will appeal to close-up situations like cafes.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/01/09 12:17 AM

Don't do it! Not another mentalist!
AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby Rodney » 05/01/09 12:48 AM

Man thats funny !! Don't worry , my love for magic is greater than mentalism. Mentalism seems to fit my interest of Metaphysics and New age/occult interests Ive had ever since I was about 13. Performing mentalism seems like there is a character that comes out natural for me at the moment . I'm practicing magic still , don't think Im giving it up. I'm not , Im just trying to take my mind off of it for a bit. I feel like Im getting overwhelmed not with only the books I have, but all of the tricks I want to learn. I'm actually going in a crazy cycle that I can't seem to stop . I start praticing a trick then I find another trick I think would fit my personality, so I stop thinking about the other trick I was praticing before it's ever mastered, and I keep doing this . I feel like Im Obsessing over tricks and the art of magic and not having anything to show for it. The only tricks that seem to stick are tricks that have a spiritualism or bizarre feeling at the moment.My study skills are unorganized I guess.
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Postby John Signa » 05/01/09 03:49 AM

Focus is tough because focus is all about saying "no" and "no" is a tough thing to say.
And the magic community doesn't make it any easier. We're constantly bombarded with lectures and club meetings to attend where we're taught new moves or tricks. Dealers are constantly trying to get us to say "yes" and buy the latest tricks, DVDs, or books.

Start with one book, read it, then select one, and one trick that appeals to you, and work on it. Until you've gotten good at that trick, when the urge strikes to learn a new trick, say "No." If the urge strikes to buy something new... No. (Sorry, Richard)
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Postby Dick Christian » 05/01/09 12:22 PM

Oh no, not another magazine editor railing against mentalists!!

For Rodney,

As a full-timer 60% of whose work is magic and 40% mentalism, one can easily work in either genre. My personal preference is to eschew mixing both in the same show, but I know others who do so successfully.

As re: 13 steps, it contains a wealth of important information for any one aspiring to mentalism. Although much of the content is dated, the fundamental methods and techniques are timeless and are certainly worthy of study. I wouldn't necessarily practice EVERYTHING in the book, but I'd sure want to be familiar with most of it. The same is true of Annemann's Practical Mental Effects. Annemann and Corinda wrote the seminar tests for mentalists.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/01/09 01:18 PM

My remark actually bemoaned the fact that so many people who do close-up magic have turned to mentalism because it seems to pay more and guarantee more work.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/01/09 02:11 PM

there's usually only one g in beginner and the i tends to go after the e in sleight.

Or perhaps the newer books on spelling and grammar have special sections for use by magicians.
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Postby Dick Christian » 05/02/09 07:42 AM

Richard,

Sorry I misinterpreted your comment -- I guess I mistook you for Jamy Swiss.

Now that I know what you meant, I can only second your observation. The booming interest in mentalism and plethora of new "mental magic" on the market threatens to turn a lot of inept magicians into even less ept mentalists.
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Postby David Alexander » 05/02/09 12:21 PM

For Rodney,

If you want to perform successfully, you need to develop a performing repertoire. This is a core group of effects that you have down pat, are oriented to your performing persona, effects you can perform in your sleep and from which you can wring maximum entertainment. This is extremely difficult and few amateurs bother taking the time, being interested in methods and secrets above presentation and entertainment. There is nothing wrong with this if you want to have magic as a hobby and don't push badly performed effects on your friends and family. And it goes without saying that if you don't take the time to work things up properly, you never charge for a "performance."

Bert Reese made a living as a psychic by mastering a pellet switch and a center tear. Any number of well-known performers have limited repertories because they understand what Al Goshman was getting at when he observed that Amateur magicians perform different effects for the same audience while professional magicians perform the same effects for different audiences.
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Postby Dick Christian » 05/02/09 03:53 PM

Anyone, whether their preference is magic or mentalism one could do no better than heed David Alexander's advice. Texts such as those by Corinda and Annemann cover many different facets of mentalism -- far more than anyone could possibly master, need or use. But studying them provides a broad overview from which one can select one or two types of effect that one feels sufficiently comfortable with to warrant further study.

One of my favorite stories, probably apocryphal, describes a youngster who, after attending a performance by the great Will Goldston, waited patiently outside the stage door and when Goldston came out accosted him and proudly announced "Mr. Goldston, I got a magic set for Christmas and now I can do a hundred tricks" to which Goldston is alleged to have replied, "I do six." There is a message there.
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Postby Riley G Matthews » 05/03/09 03:14 PM

David Alexander wrote:Any number of well-known performers have limited repertories because they understand what Al Goshman was getting at when he observed that Amateur magicians perform different effects for the same audience while professional magicians perform the same effects for different audiences.


Amen... Now were is that newest and latest effect I must have (lol)... Peace my Brother
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Postby Doug Dyment » 05/03/09 05:22 PM

Dick wrote:
One of my favorite stories, probably apocryphal, describes a youngster who, after attending a performance by the great Will Goldston ...

A related (and non-apocryphal) observation relates to Gil Eagles, who is now semi-retired from a spectacular career in mentalism (I say "semi", because he performed at Monday Night Magic last week, and his standing ovation from that particular crowd is something not easily come by). Gil only does four tricks.
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Postby David Alexander » 05/04/09 08:55 AM

Gil Eagles, with his four effects and a massively successful career, charged $5,000 per corporate performance (and up) and got it regularly.
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Postby Dick Christian » 05/04/09 12:26 PM

And if you ever saw Gil perform, you know he was worth every penny (and more). His Q&A is the best I've ever seen -- makes Kreskin look like an amateur.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/04/09 06:02 PM

The lesson is, I think, that you should read everything in 13 Steps, but pick one or two effects and practice only those.
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Postby NCMarsh » 05/04/09 07:34 PM

I'm not so sure that's the lesson...

I'd be interested to know what Mr. Eagles process was, but my suspicion is that there was an early period of experimentation with a broader range of material that he then edited down and chose the pieces to focus on

My sense is that early on is the time to experiment...put different things in front of different audiences and get a feel for the kind of stuff that plays strong for you...then that's the material you focus in on -- get inside of...but there's no way to find out what your "four tricks" are by sitting alone with a book

What I did when I was first building my stand-up show, and I recommend it to anyone, was I did a 10 minute spot at a local comedy club every week. I worked in a new piece every 3-4 weeks, videotaped each set, and after 3-4 performances of each new piece I watched the tape and made a decision about whether to cut it, table it, or pursue it further.

You surprise yourself. There is stuff that reads great, but plays flat (at least in my hands); and stuff that reads flat, and plays really strong.

What you're looking for is strong material that let's you showcase your personality and build a relationship with them...because you're so close to yourself, it's difficult to understand what you're personality is and what they see when they look at you on stage...so the way to find material is to play, throw stuff on the wall and see what sticks

I would stay away from performing some things in 13 steps (contact reading) that require a baseline of performing experience and confidence

But yeah, practice the stuff, see what you like...then, of that stuff, see what they like -- and those are the small number of tricks you build your career on

and, most importantly in my view, get a "lab" ... a venue where you can play, experiment, learn...

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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/05/09 02:19 AM

Perhaps a better way to put it is to pick one or two at a time and work on them. Give them the effort required to see what the reaction is. Rather than try to learn everything at once.
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Postby NCMarsh » 05/05/09 10:35 AM

Certainly.
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Postby NADLIVE » 05/14/09 07:51 PM

They should practice everything in as much a beginning magician should practice everything in Tarbell or Mark Wilson's.
What a ridiculous question.
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Postby Dale Shrimpton » 05/26/09 12:18 PM

I find the best way to use 13 steps, is to learn the principles, and then use those principles to develop your own effects.unlike most branches of magic, mentalism suits this tactic rather well.
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Postby Pete Poskiparta » 06/24/09 09:13 AM

Exactly. You really dont have to do everything from the 13 Steps but you should read it and understand what you read.

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Postby 000 » 06/26/09 12:17 PM

Did anyone reading here crack Corindas mnemonic code to performance standard? Im talking about the effect where serial numbers of bills are written down which the performer 'remembers' I spent hours on it, but never quite cracked it ( too many letters ie one for each number, to string a word together at quick speed for me)
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/27/09 10:12 AM

There is a much easier method of remember a very long number in a book by Edward Hutchinson on mentalism. No mnemonics required. I have never tried it but it reads very strong.
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Postby 000 » 06/29/09 08:44 AM

........give us a hint if you can. I fail to see how one c/would instantly remember long sets of numbers without mnemonics.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/29/09 11:32 AM

I don't think it would be very fair of me to reveal material from Mr Hutchinson's book. I am not sure where you would buy the book and I can't even remember the title. However I don't think it is expensive and it is worth seeking out.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/29/09 02:24 PM

The book Lawrence/Mark recommends is "Mental Mysteries - The Theory and Practice of Mentalism" by E.R. Hutchinson, published by Northpointe Publishing.

See: http://ehutchison.homestead.com/Northpointe.html for details of purchase.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/29/09 05:28 PM

I forgot to mention that the price for the book is $28.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/29/09 05:30 PM

David Alexander wrote:The book Lawrence/Mark recommends is "Mental Mysteries - The Theory and Practice of Mentalism" by E.R. Hutchinson, published by Northpointe Publishing.


I was wondering if Psychic Lawrence was our old friend Mark.

Anyone want to enter a pool on how long before he implodes?
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/30/09 04:31 AM

Here is an excerpt from Mr Hutchinson's book which describes the effect.
"The effect as seen by the audience: the mentalist lectures on the subject of mental discipline and offers a demonstration. The audience is invited to call out numbers at random. Perhaps fifty digits are called out and written down. With the list completed, the performer turns it toward the audience and proceeds to immediately recite the numbers in precise order.

Such an effect has a powerful impact, yet can be accomplished with a minimum of prior preparation and practice. Surprisingly this memory feat requires almost no memorization and no knowledge of mnemonic codes or devices. And no, it requires no peeking"

It sounds good to me and I like the method very much. My only concern, and it is an important one, is that waiting for the audience to call out 50 or so numbers could be a bit tedious and I suspect it could be a bit challenging to hold attention while this is going on.

However in the hands of a really good showman perhaps it can be accomplished with a minimum of tedium. The method is surprisingly easy. I rather like it.

It is worth getting the book at any rate. I have always enjoyed Edward Hutchinson's witty writing style.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/30/09 06:17 PM

There is another concern in the presentation as Hutchinson describes it, but I cannot go into that without hinting at the method. Since the book is still being advertised at a reasonable price, further discussion would not be fair to the author.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/30/09 07:30 PM

I suppose the only way to really find out is to try it on an audience. Sometimes something you think is going to be great isn't. And sometimes something which you think is going to get lukewarm responses goes over a storm. In your hands at any rate. In the hands of someone else different results may apply.
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