mentalism

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby walkinoats » 03/06/02 06:53 AM

I am just starting out with mentalism. What would be a good book or books to start off with?

thanks
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Postby Guest » 03/06/02 07:18 AM

To learn the basics (moves/techniques) "Thirteen Steps to Mentalism" - Corrinda covers them for you to learn step by step. The four volume set of "Principia Mentalia" by Bob Cassidy is a brilliant must read to help you set into the proper mindset as a mentalist. You would then do well to follow those up with "The Art of Mentalism" by Bob Cassidy as well.

It is important that you READ through all of that, read between the lines and then re-read the material. This material needs to be studied and learned step by step and not skimmed looking for the latest trick. Good mentalism requires a particular mindset in addition to good technique and strong presentational skills, something that you must study and hone without worrying about the 'tricks".

From that step you would then do well to study the works of Anneman, Waters, Lesley, Richardson,and Riggs. For good "effects/premises" you would do well to read Magick, Jinx, Invocation, Stunners, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mentalism, Practical Mental Effects, Seance, and Swami/Mantra. Hope that all helps,

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.mindguy.com
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Postby Ravi » 03/06/02 10:46 AM

I`ve just read your comment, Paul. Being relatively new to mental magic, I fully agree with you , concerning your book list.That brings me to a different question. Richardson, Derren Brown and others...Do you think that mental magic has changed with persons like this and what is your personal opinion on mentalism and NLP etc.? Should the beginner learn these things? Is it basics for todays mentalism? Where will it bring us? It would be great to hear the opinion of a famous pro.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/06/02 05:27 PM

Books? Books? Gee, I thought if you were a real mentalist and could read minds you didn't need books... :D :D

OK, after Corinda's 12 steps, get all the Koran stuff... simple, clean, easy to do and stresses presentation.
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Postby Guest » 03/07/02 07:30 AM

In answer to rjp who asked "...Richardson, Derren Brown and others...Do you think that mental magic has changed with persons like this and what is your personal opinion on mentalism and NLP etc.? Should the beginner learn these things? Is it basics for todays
mentalism? Where will it bring us?..."

First of all, Pete Biro is right (as usual) to study the material of Al Koran. It is a good idea as his material was simple and direct, both being an important key to success within mentalism. If it takes more than two sentences to describe what you are going to do then it is far too complext to present to a lay audience as mentalism.

Now as far as rjp's first question on whether mental magic has changed. Mental magic and mentalism are different. They have different premises as well as a different effect upon an audience. For many it is afine line but for the successful mentalists out there it is much more than a fine line. It is a philosophy. There is far more mental magic out there (and it still has an extremely powerful effect upon a lay audience) than pure mentalism.

Mentalism as with magic has grown and changed as an art form over the years. It is more "contemporary" now, more up beat. Gone are the days of the turban wearing mentalist reading sealed messages by holding them to his forehead. In it's place are a new breed of upbeat, fast paced, casual dressed performers like Tim Conover, Craig Karges, Banachek, Ted Karmilovitch, Jeff and Tessa Evason, Derren Brown (I could go on with more names here but I think you get my point).

These contemporary performers have followed in the footsteps of mnay others who have set this new style and pace and as such this is the direction one should be heading in order to be successful. Remeber, mentalism IS not magic (not in the laymans eyes anyway) and as such is a very different mentality within the performer. I mentioned in a previous post to read the works of Bob Cassidy. Bob coined the phrase "Jazz Mentalism". I urge you to study all of Bob's works and learn what "jazz mentalism" is and use it. Bob's works not only guide you in the right directions for "effects" but also in the "philosophies and thinking" of a contemporary mentalist. His "Principia Mentalia" series and his "Art of Mentalism" (both 1 and 2) lay the foundations to work from for an upbeat and entertaining mental performance.

"Theatre of the Mind" by Barry Richardson, "Para-Miracles" by Ted Lesley, "My Way to Mentalism" by Tony Binarreli (The first three chapters are the ones to pay attention to here), are good examples of the new thinking in this area. Of course there are more but these are examples of this new thinking. Also, despite their age, the PUNX series is also a brilliant work that can help you to elevate your performance into an entertaining art form and not a boring series of "tricks".

As for NLP, some of us live by it and others dismiss it as poppycock. I personally do not put much faith into it and neither do some other leading mentalists but there are others that swear by it. I do not think there is a right or wrong with this. Some of us are adamant that it is cr*p and they feel the opposite. It may never be answered, so I do not think that a student of modern mentalism needs to worry about studying NLP early on. Leave that for later. The two most important things you need to study and concentrate on are "technique" which is always an important element especially if you want to be successful with "jazz mentalism".

The second and MOST important thing you must study and learn to the absolute best of your ability is "performance skills". You need to be the best actor possible, as well as the most entertaining personality you can possibly be. A good mentalist stands with nothing but themselves (and their perosnality) and a microphone. Armed with NO props, just themselves and the premise that they can read your thoughts and bend your perceptions they must entertain the audience. (Think of a good hypnotist here as they have a similar style and in fact if you ever have a chance to watch Reveen work on stage you will see what a real professional work who has a most comanding personality, totally captivating and yet comes across as a warm human being <which he truly is and is why he is as successful as he is> and study what he does and how he does it).

Take acting lessons, get as much opportunity to work on stage as you can, if you are funny take to the amateur microphone opportunities at comdey clubs as it too is a great way to develop the "just be you" concept <and that means do material that you have written and not stock jokes or dick jokesand NO magic, just comedy otherwise you will just learn to hide behind the props>. Get outside direction from qualified people that are NOT magicians as far as your performance goes and listen to their critique of what you are doing. Do not make the mistake most magicians do by thinking that not only are they entertaining but they can do their directing themselves. It is not as easy to be objective about ones own work and it is much easier for someone to be watching you work (find a good theatre director to help if you can) to give you constructive ctiticism than it is to do so for yourself.

Always remember that with mentalism, it is you that is the key to succesful performance not the effects that you are performing for them. If you take a well rounded expertise in technique and couple it with a season, strong personality that has a real sincerity that is felt by the audience you have the right formula to work with. Hope that all helps,

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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Postby Ravi » 03/07/02 08:30 AM

great, thank you so much Paul Alberstat!
Much tothink about in your post.
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Postby Rennie » 03/07/02 09:01 AM

There are many good books on mentalism, but one I found that has excellent workable material is Larry Beckers book called Stunners and he reprinted it at an affordable price so check it out, also Max Mavens videos are excellent..
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve is not !!
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/07/02 09:02 AM

Alberstat speaks well.

Performance skill.

A good friend is auditioning to do the Seances at the Magic Castle.

Guess what he is most concerned about?

His wardrobe.

Most important.

Koran opened his lecture with: "You already know enough tricks... now go out and buy the most expensive suit you can."
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Postby Guest » 03/07/02 10:29 PM

RENNIEP suggested STUNNERS is an excellent source for "mentalism". It is NOT. It is however an excellent source for mental magic.

Pete Biro posted a very interesting quote from Al Koran about buying the best suit you can possibly get. Actually you should go out and buy the best suit possible even if you cannot afford it. So many times you see shabby looking props, tacky tuxedos that were purchased at a sale from a rental shop that can't rent the old things anymore, etc....pure unprofessionalism. I cringe whenever I see a performer using a shabby deck of cards, I mean how cheap can you get and the truth is that you come off looking like a cheap act because of it.

For a further diatribe on this check out the last issue of Channel One magazine where I wrote an entire article on just that subject.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.mindguy.com
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Postby Ravi » 03/08/02 06:58 AM

What is and where can I find "Channel One magazine"?
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Postby Guest » 03/08/02 07:26 AM

ChannelOne can be found at:

http://www.rfaproductions.com/
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