Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Ted » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:47 pm



I hear you Scott, but this thread is primarily about a hobbyist and his concerns.
T.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Magus » Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:08 pm

I never expected this question to garner so many replies or stimulate 4 pages of discussion. Thanks to all who have taken time out to give your thoughts, all are valid and appreciated.

Ted I understand what you are saying there and it's certainly food for thought. I guess though even as a hobbyist if I was performing mentalism by itself I would still like it to considered different to just another magic trick. I guess keeping them separate unless you are structuring a proper show is the way to go.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby mark lewis » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:39 am

I just plainly like to tell people I am a magician and be done with it. It is far less restrictive. And despite the tosh I have often seen on various forums magicians in general earn MORE money than mentalists generally even though the fees are often lower. That is because there are more venues available for them to work. About the only places mentalists can work are corporate gigs. Or perhaps theatre shows. They can't really work at fairs, kid shows, family shows, or places where there are noisy distractions, inattentive audiences or too much alcohol flowing.

There are exceptions to the above but we can't all be Derren Brown. However, as a general rule mentalists have less venues to work consistently. Or at least I believe so. And they have to keep up a pretence to everyone and never do a magic trick even though they are dying to. Too much of a strain methinks. And 90% of the general public know they are magicians anyway although I will concede that a few daft people will come to them afterwards and chatter about their dreams and the time they got a psychic vision of their dead grandmother. But these few are in the minority but the trouble is that this minority will delude some mentalists that more people believe they are the real thing than is actually the case.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby black hart » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:28 pm

You CAN do both but it really depends on the venue and occasion. For example if you are working at a psychic fair then I'd say that magic tricks per se are out of the question. Of course WE know that you are doing magic tricks but that is not how they are presented.

BTW I really do not like the term 'mentalist', it has such a ring of the conjurer about it!

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Keith Hart

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby mark lewis » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:21 pm

You CAN do magic at psychic fairs! I do it all the time. In fact if I didn't do it I wouldn't do anywhere near as well. So it is certainly not out of the question as far as I am concerned. But then I am a special kind of human being and of course this is to be expected. Oddly enough it is MENTALISM that you should not do under any circumstances at psychic fairs! Magic is perfectly fine. I find the Buddha through the table is my favourite!

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Mandrake » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:26 pm

It just goes to show that each of us can get away with different things!

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby mark lewis » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:48 pm

There is actually method to my madness. First, I get people laughing and that makes the fair itself more enjoyable for the visitors. Second, the fact that they are laughing helps me get business because they think, "this guy is fun with a great sense of humour. I think I will sign up with him" I actually get quite serious once the reading starts but to get people to sign up in the first place I become a combination of magician, comedian and pitchman. And psychic too of course. It does make a refreshing change in comparison to the other more serious, although equally talented readers.

Second, other psychics have only one or two people in front of them when they try to sell their services. I will have perhaps 5 to 10. I can't go in too strong and get 20 to 30 people around me although I am quite capable of doing so. However, it would create too much distraction at a psychic fair. But of course even 5-10 people is more than the one or two that other psychics gather. And of course the odds of selling the readings are increased significantly. Although I am doing a magic trick they see the comment book, they see the newspaper articles and they see the display of New Age stuff on the table so they do know I am a psychic, albeit a rather eccentric one. And they figure that since this guy seems to be a master of his magic trade he may well be a master of the psychic stuff too. I do mix in some psychic advertising among the magic such as suddenly in the middle of a trick saying, "I do psychic readings too, in case you were wondering" That gets a laugh. But I then get another laugh by pointing out the comment book ( a great promotional tool where satisfied clients write in their comments) and say "look at all the comments. I was up all night writing them so at least have a look at them". That gets a massive laugh. And of course some people DO look at them even if they aren't interested in the card trick!

Third, I sell svengali decks while at the fair which of course generates a certain amount of revenue in itself. But more importantly it gets people into a buying mood where they actually part with money and this encourages them to spend more money on a reading. I will often say to someone "Do you want to buy a deck of these?" and they will reply, "No, but I would like a reading" I often say when doing the svengali deck, "This is very easy to do. You don't have to be Houdini to do it. Mind you, that's just as well because he's dead!" That gets a laugh but I proceed further by continuing by saying, "Mind you, there's a lady down there who can get in touch with him for you" pointing to one of the mediums. This gets another big laugh.

I do get sceptical magicians and mentalists who have no idea how I operate expressing horror that I do magic tricks, and sell svengali decks at psychic fairs. That is because they don't know how to think out of the box and usually know nothing about the psychic business anyway.

However, here is my trump card and the main reason I do the svengali deck. At the end of the demonstration I say, "There is no skill required. Try it in your own hands" But as they do I suddenly grab their hand, look at it and recite a few palmistry lines according to what I see in their hands. 30 seconds of it at the most. Then I suddenly stop and say, "If I tell you any more it will cost you money" More laughs. However, it is a fifty/fifty chance that the person will be so impressed with that 30 second reading that they will immediately sign up for something more in depth.

I can assure you that everything is well thought out and done for a reason. It also makes a psychic fair more bearable for me as it can be a very stressful business reading people and dealing with their problems for perhaps 10 hours or so. In Canada psychic fairs are much longer hours than they are in the UK. Now I am not suggesting that anyone else should follow my way of working and in fact I don't think it would work for anyone else. After all I have a background as a professional grafter, pitchman and what works for me isn't necessarily going to work for anyone else. I just thought that once and for all I would explain the logic of what I do since I do get tired of magicians telling me that I shouldn't sell svengali decks at psychic fairs.

Now mentalism is a different story. If I saw anyone doing mentalism at a psychic fair I would protest strongly and even complain to the fair promoter and get it stopped. Mentalism is trickery and to me is using deception to promote a belief in the reader's psychic ability. Psychic fair promoters do not like it one bit. Magic, on the other hand is a fun thing and entertains the attendees and more importantly entertains me and keeps me sane and moreover gets me business I wouldn't get otherwise.

There. I hope I explained this point of view satisfactorily.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby scott1rq » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:07 pm

mark lewis wrote: About the only places mentalists can work are corporate gigs. Or perhaps theatre shows. They can't really work at fairs, kid shows, family shows, or places where there are noisy distractions, inattentive audiences or too much alcohol flowing.


Seriously!!! Out of those the only place I haven't, can't and won't work is Kids Shows.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby fletch » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:44 pm

Are we defining "mentalism" here as true psychic ability (really???) or that of the deception techniques utilised by magicians practising their art? Mental deceptions are just as much trickery as sleight of hand in one way or another, they are methods of kidology and trickery and to suggest otherwise quite frankly suggests some degree of a misguided smug superiority complex on the part of some.

Should different genres (e.g mentalism and coin sleights) be practised in the same routine? Well, probably not in the same way as a sword swallowing, fire eating balloon twister would probabl;y be somewhat disingenuous at a children's party.

However, I see nothing at all wrong with wearing different hats for different routines, nor using everyday devices such as packs of cards in mentalism routines. Saying that using cards makes it "just look like a trick" is rather silly because errmmm... (and check that there's nobody from the general public listening) it IS actually just atrick.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Ted » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:12 pm

I think if you read the thread you'll find your answers. Which bit is confusing you?

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Russell Davidson » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:14 pm

Refreshing attitude in this country towards this it seems.

The mentalism I've performed doesn't suffer in any way due to the fact I also do magic tricks. But boy, you try telling them that on the Cafe. Mentalist elitism at it's best over there. Of course, Cassidy and his followers clearly want to be perceived as real else why would they get so upset?

Don't hear magicians moaning about mentalists using magic methods so I wonder why it only seems to be a one way street?

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Grumpy Panda » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:19 pm

For me personally I don't tend to mix I still enjoy classic magic and do a lot in non work circumstances mostly for friends. I do find practicing things like coin and card magic really helps my sleights when I do mentalism but I mostly do it for fun. However I have seen people manage to mix both quite successfully so do what makes you most comfortable and suits you the best.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby TSHINDO » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:17 am

In regards to my mentalism I have been trying to go the path of 'real' mentalism, being able to do what I claim with no gimmicks, just a pen, business cards and incontinence pants. The view being ultimately to be totally propless and eventually do away with the geist. It limits what I can do so its enhanced my presentation skills, and I guess it might sound pretty boring but then again as they say, its better to be great at 3 tricks than ok at a dozen. Mentalism offers scope to do this, whether you are performing a psychic reading with imaginary tarot cards and a thought dial, or divining starsigns, drawings or thoughts.

I am trying to become a Buddha.

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Redrighthand » Mon May 09, 2016 5:36 am

Do an online search of "Mentalists" performing in your area. That will clue you in on how aware the public is on Mentalism and what a Mentalist does. If you're a working magician, and you've been able to establish steady bookings/marketing performing magic - I think that's half the battle in getting booked as a "Mentalist."

Derren Brown would introduce himself as "a kind of magician" because it suggests that a person's preconceived notions, of what a magician does, require revision. This is a good way to approach delivery of mystery performances, in general. Your participants experience with you is a clean slate (pun intended) and you help them paint the picture of their experience.

Lee Earle says that Mentalism requires the active investment of belief where as Magic is a temporary suspension of disbelief. Now, as for performing both in a show - what is your message to the audience? What is the theme of your performance? Who is your character? What does your character do and how? Where does your character come from? How do you want your audience and participants to react and what and how do you want them to remember?

These are the sort of questions you should ask, don't get caught up in "can" or "can't" because your job (if you perform for pay) isn't to distinguish Magic from Mentalism for your audience and they don't trouble themselves with validating YOUR notions of "Magician" vs "Mentalist." Do you want to suspend their disbelief? Or do you want them to actively invest belief?
Do you want your performance to be meaningful? If so, how and mean what?

Your job is to deliver a cohesive and entertaining show. If it's not cohesive you're hurting the entertainment, and nothing hurts either Magic or Mental art more than an audience member saying 'here we go again.'

-Mark

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Re: Mentalist or Magician - Can you be both?

Postby Mandrake » Mon May 09, 2016 12:08 pm

Redrighthand wrote:
Your job is to deliver a cohesive and entertaining show. If it's not cohesive you're hurting the entertainment, and nothing hurts either Magic or Mental art more than an audience member saying 'here we go again.'

-Mark


Amen to that!!!

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