Confessions Of Real Mind Readers

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

Postby Q. Kumber » 05/16/12 06:22 PM

As a good section of my income comes from performing mentalism, I've been invited to be interviewed on Thu 17th May. Details at http://confessionsofrealmindreaders.com ... -reynolds/

Regardless of whether you have any interest in listening in, if you have any intelligent questions about performing mentalism for money, please post them here.
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Postby Edward Pungot » 05/16/12 10:10 PM

I have just recently taken a liking to this brand of performance. How does one go about explaining and marketing one's newly found powers to the clientele? Does "Mystery Performer" suffice or does one have to go into the details as there is a certain vagueness around the whole affair. Is it okay to keep it vague, therefore keeping the aura about you or is this a bad thing?
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Postby mrgoat » 05/17/12 05:42 AM

I think anyone that, even for a second, allows their audiences to actually believe they have any powers is an immoral charlatan on equal footing to Sally Morgan et al.

I know many magicians that perform in this way, letting their audiences actually believe in them.

Do you think this is acceptable behaviour, or do you specifically set out, at the start or finish, that you have no powers and what they saw was just magic tricks?
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Postby El Mystico » 05/17/12 08:58 AM

I'm sorry, you may think I'm the spawn of the devil, but I never say it is just tricks.
I make out that the three cards have passed across by magic, that the cards have righted themselves by magic, and that the card keeps coming to the top by magic.
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Postby Edward Pungot » 05/17/12 09:06 AM

mrgoat wrote:I think anyone that, even for a second, allows their audiences to actually believe they have any powers is an immoral charlatan on equal footing to Sally Morgan et al.


I 100% agree with you. I think mentalism has the potential to be very dramatic when presented properly. As any theatrical production, I think the believably factor gives strength to one's performance. Why do magicians work so hard to conceal their methods and convey a slow, natural style of performance? When you watch a movie or play or musical performance people laugh emotions are manipulated, thoughts are challenged all without disclaimers. One assumes that one hires an entertainer to do just that, not to necessarily start a cult and drink kool-aide.
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Postby Simone M » 05/17/12 06:21 PM

I do have a couple of them, I hope they are intelligent enough.

Considering the general culture the western generic audience has and the misinformation our society lives in, what is the difference between "stating you are genuine" and "not stating you are not genuine"? How much responsibility should a pro put on his/her audience's culture and do you think this will eventually bring us to a process of "audience elimination" based on social status in order to perform safe mentalism?

How much effort do you think should be put into framing, into giving a contex to your performance, so to allow the audience's imagination to wonder, but preventing it from wondering in the wrong direction? Also, do you think there are specific, unethical tricks to avoid?
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Postby Q. Kumber » 05/18/12 12:04 PM

Thanks everyone for your incisive questions. We had to stop the interview after two and a half hours as it was past Kennedy's bedtime. Even with that, I didn't get around to addressing your questions, so I will do my best to do that now.

Bear in mind that these are nothing more than my opinions, albeit ones borne of forty years experience, earning an income from performing magic and mentalism.

Edward: I have tried many different ways of describing what I do with regard to mentalism. At the moment I think "Mind Reader" is the easiest for laymen to grasp. If it is too vague, the booker will not be able to explain what you do to the committee or their boss.

mrgoat: I make no claims other than they will have a great time. However if I do not play what I do for real, I am letting down both myself and my audience. It is very difficult for magicians and mentalists to play it for real as we know how it is done. I like Banachek's line "I use my five senses to create the illusion of a sixth". Nonetheless if you are in showbiz, you need to leave them with a story to tell.

There are incredibly stupid people in the world who will believe anything. Take politics. Regardless of how idiotic their preferred party is acting, some will defend it to the death, and their opposing party, regardless of whatever good they might be doing (it can happen occasionally, even in politics) are always completely in the wrong.

Simone: As I said above I make no claims as to powers. While onstage, the audience are my guests in my world. My goal is to give them an experience of me, that is fun, astonishing and entertaining.

Rarely do we give enough thought to the context of our performances. The more context, the stronger and more powerful the effect. I can only be responsible to my audience. I cannot be responsible for them.
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Postby Edward Pungot » 05/19/12 02:38 PM

Thanks for the pickle :)
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Postby Simone M » 05/21/12 04:31 PM

Quentin, cheers for the reply. However, there's still something I am curious about and it goes beyond the audience's level of culture and sophistication. The question is, do you think there are tricks that would be considered unethical or should be avoided?

an example: I remember watching a live trick by Derren Brown on telly. He talked about his dead grandpa. Then asked if anyone had a dead relative he or she felt close to. A lady was chosen and she named her grandmother. At the end of the trick, the name of her grandma was engraved on a medallion which was in a box in full view from the start of the trick.

The lady started crying. The audience was scared. The emotional impact was enormous. The trick was built so to take something emotionally valuable and private from a member of the audience and turn it into a prediction/revelation. It used a private memory as a platform to generate a collective empathy.

Do you think this is "going too far"? I know that the concept of "dead relatives" has been used to...errr...death in the past (though usually it was in private sessions and in the intimacy of a room), but I'm talking about modern day's society.

I'm asking this because we're speaking about things that could be considered traumatic, or too significative to be handled as a trick for entertainment. If you reply, please don't think like a magician, think like a layman who doesn't know there's trickery involved and doesn't know if he/she should take these things with a pinch of salt.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 05/22/12 06:47 AM

As I'm not a layman, it's not easy for me to think like one but I will do my best to help you find an answer. There are rarely ever any "right" answers that will work in all situations for everyone.

I was in the audience at one of Derren's live shows when he did the grandpa's medallion effect. Probably the most powerful presentation ever for the coin in ball of wool. You could feel an emotional stomach retching in the audience. It was very emotional.

Derren is a master showman. His shows are designed from the bottom up to be pieces of theatre, not a bunch of tricks strewn together. They are designed to be performed in large theatres where the audiences already know Derren and the type of show he does.

It requires consummate showmanship to pull it off.

So, is it ethical?

I'm perfectly happy to evoke emotions that might bring a tear, but these emtions would be more about the time a couple first met, or a moment that brought them great joy and happiness.

So what about the woman thinking about her grandpa, crying in the audience. How will she feel afterwards? Will she feel used, or will she feel more at ease with her memories? I don't know, but she will certainly have had an experience she will remember for the rest of her life and probably the most memorable she will ever have at a live show.

Most magicians and mentalists play it very safe leaning more towards bland, boring and devoid of any context.

Pushing the envelope certainly makes for a more interesting performance but the question is how far?

If you are going to do it, at least do it with kindness.
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Postby Atlas » 09/06/12 09:27 PM

Good thoughts. Is there a link to your "Confession"?
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 09/07/12 10:05 AM

Allow to believe? What about these believers allowing themselves to be such dolts?
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