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Topic: Performing Add-a-Number
Message: Posted by: cafeinst (Sep 12, 2010 01:49PM)
Add-a-Number is an effect where three spectators each select a three-digit number and a fourth spectator, the "adder", adds them all up. The total matches a prediction.

What if the "adder" in the audience is bad at math and gets the wrong total (that doesn't match the prediction)? What does the magician do then?
Message: Posted by: insight (Sep 12, 2010 01:57PM)
Have a calculator ready
Message: Posted by: Brandon Queen (Sep 12, 2010 01:58PM)
That doesn't really happen all too often. Plus, you can either add it up yourself, and have an audience member make sure YOU are adding it correctly, or have two people do it for assurance. But best thing, is since you know what the total is supposed to be.. if you see it's wrong before the reveal, then you can just call them out on it. And say, are you sure you added it correctly? I feel as though you're a few numbers off. Check your work please. You'll get a hit out of it. and look like you just read their thoughts again.
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Sep 12, 2010 02:26PM)
It is rare, but I have had this happen. When I saw that the result was wrong, I simply went over the math with the person to "be sure," and acted as if I caught the mistake right then. He was flustered by being called upon, and I guess this affected his adding skills!

Now, I always ask that the person beside them confirm the results, particularly if they have a calculator in their phone or 'hand-held' device. I don't suggest bringing out a calculator of your own, as this raises the possibility that the device is 'a trick' (which is certainly an alternative solution to using an add-a-no device).

Having said that, you do want to be careful that you don't sound like you're demeaning the person responsible for doing the math. Some people may be insulted if you infer that they are incapable of, as an example, adding together three 3-digit numbers!

e
Message: Posted by: Christian & Katalina (Sep 12, 2010 02:39PM)
Eric...beat me to the punch...
Perfect advice from somebody who has obviously been there.

Well said Eric.
Message: Posted by: runeflax (Sep 12, 2010 02:56PM)
Just ask them to do the calculation with their cellphone...

Apart from that there's a version on one of the Osterlind DVDs that uses a normal calculator. Nobody will suspect the calculator to be gimmicked if you give it away at the end of the routine.
Message: Posted by: leondo (Sep 12, 2010 05:00PM)
As already mentioned...
I allways provide a "large numbered" calculater, that can be read without glasses. I never make point of it, I just set it in front of them.
FWIW,
Ted L
Message: Posted by: John T. Sheets (Sep 12, 2010 05:10PM)
This is all good advice as I too have had this happen to me.
Message: Posted by: ThePhilosopher (Sep 12, 2010 11:24PM)
I would just add two small details.

If you realize the math is wrong, I would suggest that you don't express that you know it is wrong. Simply have someone verify it (per the methods suggested above) as if it were part of the plan. "Thank you sir. and now we'll have someone verify the addition, just in case." You don't want to give the impression that you already knew what the total was going to be--it is kind of anti-climatic. They don't know what is going to happen in the show, so just act as if it is something you do every show.

Second, the pressure of helping on stage can be a difficult experience for some people. When the second person confirms that the math is wrong, make sure the first person does not feel bad. It is a small detail, but this is the kind of thing that makes a performer seem professional.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mindbender (Sep 12, 2010 11:37PM)
For those of you who have Max Maven's "Nothing" DVD, there's a moment when he has a young lady from the audience add numbers -- and it's clear from the "deer in the headlights" look that math was not this woman's strong suit.

The first moment of possible prevention is putting the adding in the hands of someone who seems and feels comfortable doing the math.
Message: Posted by: Zebaztian (Sep 13, 2010 02:20AM)
A gimmicked calculator, that may be a good idea. Until you meet a spec who can count on his own.
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Sep 13, 2010 02:56AM)
I highly recommend E. Raymond Carlyle's "Add a No." routine from his DVD, "The Carlyle Touch". Part of the routine is actually taking the pad BACK from the person who ads, and checking his math. It uses an un-gimmicked pad, and IMHO, is as good as an Add a No routine gets.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Sep 13, 2010 08:16AM)
After the first three participants (or however many you are using) have written their numbers I always say "Now we need one more person -- someone who is not mathematically challenged and is confident of their ability to add three 3 digit number successfully . . ." then when I hand him/her the pad I add, "you can have your neighbor check your addition just to be on the safe side."

BTW, I do NOT present the effect as a prediction but, instead, as a demonstration of the combination of mindreading (i.e., mentally "capturing" each number as it is thought of by the participating spectator) and mental calculation (i.e., adding the three "captured" numbers in my head). To me that is not only a much stronger and more entertaining demonstration of mental ability, but also avoids the inevitable (but usually unspoken) question of "if he can predict the future why isn't he winning the lottery."
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Sep 13, 2010 08:46AM)
'For this next effect we need three assistants - someone artistic, someone athletic, and an accountant...'

Why not embed the need for someone good at maths in the general wording and scripting of the effect? You may be able to get some fun out of it. For instance 'someone from management, someone from the sales team, someone from accounting' - because you need 'different numbers' for where people are 'coming from' etc

This can feed into your reasoning for being able to get the number correct in the prediction.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 13, 2010 08:49AM)
And never ever look shocked and garble "no, that's wrong..." as soon as they announce the number...

ed fowler has a lovely add-a-number handling...no fancy gimmicks needed...
Message: Posted by: dusty (Sep 13, 2010 10:09AM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-13 09:16, Dick Christian wrote:
After the first three participants (or however many you are using) have written their numbers I always say "Now we need one more person -- someone who is not mathematically challenged and is confident of their ability to add three 3 digit number successfully . . ." then when I hand him/her the pad I add, "you can have your neighbor check your addition just to be on the safe side."

BTW, I do NOT present the effect as a prediction but, instead, as a demonstration of the combination of mindreading (i.e., mentally "capturing" each number as it is thought of by the participating spectator) and mental calculation (i.e., adding the three "captured" numbers in my head). To me that is not only a much stronger and more entertaining demonstration of mental ability, but also avoids the inevitable (but usually unspoken) question of "if he can predict the future why isn't he winning the lottery."
[/quote]

Hi Dick,
Congrtaulations. You are the only contributor to put flesh on the bones of what premise your attempting to present. The problem for me has always been, they wrote down 9 numbers you predicted the total, "so what"!! The simplicity of having three numbers written one beneath the other, in theory, could be done in full view as the predicted total would be on display somewhere else on show. It is the necessity to switch the numbers that require 4 spectators to be involved always seemed to me to be over complicated in method for such a small return; a random 4 digit number. Unless the premise is really strong, or the resulting 4 digit number has a really powerful connection then add a number is an inherently weak effect.

I'm sure others will challenge this so bring it on :)
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 13, 2010 10:16AM)
I think the original post was about how to make sure they total the numbers up correctly, not asking for help with presentations?

map co-ordinates is always nice if tied in with experiments in remote viewing...and also tying in psychological forces along the way...
Message: Posted by: PaulPacific (Sep 13, 2010 10:36AM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-13 09:16, Dick Christian wrote:


BTW, I do NOT present the effect as a prediction but, instead, as a demonstration of the combination of mindreading (i.e., mentally "capturing" each number as it is thought of by the participating spectator) and mental calculation (i.e., adding the three "captured" numbers in my head). To me that is not only a much stronger and more entertaining demonstration of mental ability.[/quote]

And that is exactly how Kreskin presented the effect in the seventies. I agree that it is far stronger than a prediction which has a tendency to look like a trick.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mindbender (Sep 13, 2010 10:53AM)
And Marc Paul has a nice presentation that provides meaning to this effect as well -- it can be found in his Fleetwood Notes.
Message: Posted by: Caliban (Sep 13, 2010 12:27PM)
Another point that hasn't been mentioned is to use numbers that are very easy to add up. If the digits in the column are 1+3+0 then they are less likely to get it wrong than they would be if the digits were 7+8+5.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Sep 13, 2010 01:35PM)
Glad some of you like the presentation I use.

For Iain: by first telling spectator 4 what is required (i.e., ability to add three 3 digit numbers correctly) and adding the suggestion "you might have your neighbor check your addition" (some have actually done so) I've yet to have anyone get the total wrong in probably 1,000 or more performances. However, one of the beauties of my presentation is that if the spectator makes a mistake, I am in a position to correct him/her without giving away the method, simply by having them -- or someone else -- recheck their math. (I would have thought that some readers might have figured that out.) Naturally you do NOT want to identify the three numbers or the other participants will realize that they are not the numbers they wrote.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 13, 2010 02:01PM)
Dick - I was just messing about with my post about blurting out the "that's wrong!" thing...
Message: Posted by: mdspark (Sep 14, 2010 12:27PM)
I basically use Max Mavens outline for the effect from Prism. Each of 2 or 3 persons gives a 2 digit number...I make the numbers relatively easy to add. I put conditions on their choice...

1st person: a number between 10 and 50

2nd person: a number between 50 and 100

3rd person: a two digit number, both digits the same.
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Sep 14, 2010 05:13PM)
Mr Mindbender said << The first moment of possible prevention is putting the adding in the hands of someone who seems and feels comfortable doing the math. >>

I did this recently with a company of top-grade accountancy experts... Guess what. The fun thing was, the boss told him to report to his office the following morning!
Message: Posted by: Mentalist Sam (Sep 14, 2010 11:57PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-13 13:27, Caliban wrote:
Another point that hasn't been mentioned is to use numbers that are very easy to add up. If the digits in the column are 1+3+0 then they are less likely to get it wrong than they would be if the digits were 7+8+5.
[/quote]

This is similar to what Banachek recommends. Make it easy for them to add. Keep the numbers under 10 so that they don't have to carry the number over. If you have Banachek's DVDs, he goes into detail on this and has the workings of a great/simple add-a-no pad made from index cards and rubber bands.