Every serious magician has a copy of Tony Corinda’s book 13 Steps to Mentalism. It’s considered required reading even if you only dabble in mind reading effects. However, if you want to be a full-fledged mentalist and not just a magician who does a few mind reading effects then the book needs to be memorized backwards and forwards. The book is that powerful. That’s why so many in the magic community were thrilled when they heard that Richard Osterlind was going to do a DVD based on the book. Finally somebody was going to step up to the plate and tackle the seemingly impossible task of updating this wonderful gem into the 21st century. Well, the results are in.
The DVD set contains all thirteen steps from the book on six DVDs broken down as followed:
Introduction to Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism
Step One – Swami Gimmick
Step Two – Pencil, Lip, Sound and Muscle Reading
Step Three – Mnemonics and Mental Systems
DISC 3 Step Four – Predictions
Step Five – Blindfold and X-Ray Eyes
Step Six – Billets Introduction
Step Seven – Book Tests
Step Eight – Two-Person Telepathy
Step Nine – Mediumistic Stunts
Step Ten – Card Tricks
Step Eleven – The Question and Answer Act
Step Twelve – Publicity Stunts
Step Thirteen – Patter and Presentation
As with most L&L Publishing DVDs the effects are first preformed by Osterlind in front of a live studio audience (made up with a lot of familiar faces from other productions) and then the viewer is taken backstage for an explanation. One of the beautiful things about this series is just being able to watch how Osterlind can take a simple effect and weave it into an entertaining performance. Even if you already know every effect on the DVD you’ll still gather a wealth of information simply by watching how Osterlind entertains the audience. So many mentalists simply go out on stage and do their effects one after the other and their shows quickly become repetitive and predictable. Mentalists don’t have the luxury of eye-catching props, beautiful assistances, or John Williams-like music that cues up perfectly with the lights. Osterlind can take those so-called limitations and turn them into gold by mixing his show with humor and interesting sidebars thrown into his patter.
Osterlind also wisely edited the material from the book so that the DVD wouldn’t be too massive. After all, if one were to truly videotape and explain every effect on the book the DVD could easily be days long! Instead, only the best effects from each step were presented. I’m sure some performers will complain that their favorite effect got left out, but one can’t expect perfection from such a monumental task.
By far probably the most controversial step would be step nine — Mediumistic Stunts. When Tony Corinda wrote 13 Steps to Mentalism mediums and spiritualism were much more common than today. It wasn’t unusual for people to have social parties with mediums who tried to contact famous dead people. In today’s fraudulent world so-called mediums and psychics are met with much more skepticism, but Osterlind handled the step well and even presents a very spooky effect that gives you an eerie feeling without stepping on the toes of anybody’s beliefs.
The steps that shine the brightest in this set are the sections that cover the Swami and billets. Osterlind has covered both subjects in pervious DVD projects with L&L so those of who have seen those may find some of the material repetitive; however, the information itself is vital and very informative – particularly his handling on the Swami gimmick.
With the knowledge contained on these DVD’s you’ll be able to perform astronomically amazing effects. Just imagine the following: You take out a business card and write down a prediction. You point to anybody in the audience. This is a total stranger you’ve never met before. You ask them to name a pet that they had growing up as a child. Not just what type of pet like dog, cat, or whatever but the actual pet’s name! When you turn over the card that you wrote the prediction on it matches. This is just one of the gems you get on this set. However, it’s not just the explanation of the effect itself that’s valuable, it’s Osterlind’s little tips and hints on presentation that magicians and mentalists will find most useful.
While the market price on the set is a little high at $119.95 it’s well worth it.
Grade – A+