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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » your opinion on math demonstrations in mentalism (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Nir Dahan
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Hi all,

So would you or wouldn't you add to your act lightning math calculations in your mentalism act?
I know some people prefer to do it under cover of a routine -- a magic square routine for example or a knight tour --
but I am talking about the real hardcore math routines, for example: cubic root, fifth root or 3 digit numbers lightning multiplication.
My personal opinion is that that can be worked out perfectly in a memory demonstration-oriented show with routines like day-of-week routine or a magic square routine.
I don't see the place for math oriented routines together with, say, picture duplication, lock and keys, etc., routines.
What is your opinion?
nir Smile
shrink
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I hate any math routine. Smile

To me, Math should be left in the classroom. I would think you would bore your audience apart from the odd one. And I do mean odd Smile

Sorry, just my opinion...yawn.
Ramsay
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I agree with Shrink. I hate math routines. That said, if a math prinicple is applied that runs beneath the surface of a routine, ie. that is invisible to the spectators, I can see its worth. However, a presentation based around math, to me, is little more than a puzzle.

Again, this is my own opinon and I am sure several can make such things workable, but I for one don't see myself using such a routine.

Luke Jermay.
Jim Reynolds
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Depends on who your audience is. I agree that for most lay people, mathematical routines in themselves are painfully boring unless you have some dynamite presentation skills. I like to think of a good mentalist as one who can show an audience what they could possibly do as opposed to what you can do.

Since most people do not care much for numbers and math, your mathematical wizardry may find a limited audience IMO. I would say keep your math demonstrations short and sweet just to make a point or ‘warm up’ before moving on to memory feats.

I agree that if your present yourself as a memory expert, do not mix in psychic effects unless you can somehow tie it to your specialty.

Just another opinion.

JR
Svengali
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Just my thought.

I don't believe that there is such a thing as 'trick' or 'magic' or 'boring' in itself.
It is all down to the performer.
The same can be said about mind-reading.
Just because you can read my mind doesn't mean that I have to watch it.
Like the saying goes: It is not the song, it is the singer.

S
Tim Zager
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I've yet to see any math presentation that was entertaining, rather than "hey look what I can do!"

That said, I think Chuck Hickok's magic square presentation is really good.

Tim
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brownbeauty
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I agree with the majority that math routines are boring!

Rudy
Indyfan
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My perception of math tricks as a spectator is as follows:

So I've picked a number that only has 2 digits, both of which are different, 1 must be a 9, the other must be an odd number, blah blah blah, and the mentalist guessed what it is. It must be a math trick. I don't know how it's done, but there's something to it. Probably has to do with a 9 or multiples of 9. (Spectators aren't stupid.)

My perception of math tricks as a magician (no, I'm not a mentalist, but I've been exposed to mentalism enough) is as follows:

So they've picked a number, blah blah blah, and their answer is 1084. Darn, they miscalculated. "Your answer should've been 1089. I know that because...oh wait, no, it's not a math trick (wink wink)."

I don't know, it's just too obvious that it's math. Now, thinking of any number, and the mentalist gets it, now we're talking (36/63, 22 or 23, etc). Those are cool.

Just my 1 cent + 1 cent = 2 cents.
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drwilson
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Well, let's take this on as a challenge. I agree that a demonstration of math ability to all but a very special kind of audience is a bore. Mixing it with crystal gazing and mind reading is terrible.

However, what if you could train a couple nine-year olds to do math really really fast? The speed math hands-as-abacus thing, maybe one does cube roots. We make them up like "Village of the D****" -- platinum blond wigs, pale makeup, identical dress. We frame the whole thing like you have discovered the first of the species that will displace us. What if you brought them out after showing the film as the ones that survived? Now we are getting fairly creepy, especially if they move on to strong PK effects.

I didn't say practical or worth the effort, I just liked the challenge of trying to make this interesting.

Yours,

Paul
docdazzal
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Hi Nir,

Math in mentalism isn't for all audiences. However, I do a math calculation using a magic square based upon the spectator's birthdate. Then I interpret their "magic birth number" based upon numerology. The point is, involving the audience with a math based presentation may be more interesting for them as opposed to demonstrating your math skills and memory expertise. Happy calculating!

Best Regards,
Doc Dazzal
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Maritess
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I do a kids show where I teach them a trick with math. THEY LOVE IT. And the adults love it. They write it down and they remember it. It's all in the presentation. An effect must speak to you, be magic for YOU, for it to be magic for someone else.

Just wanted to encourage others that it is possible for math to be magic =)

I can see how it wouldn't appeal to everyone, but my love for math shows in this effect.
Mr Amazing
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Just reflect over what impression you want to make.

Math is without a doubt a mental ability (wether we like to perform it or not). In fact, it is probably even more believable than much of the other stuff we do. The suggestions Nir describes fit perfectly from a conceptual point of view IMO, but perhaps not from a 'show' point of view. It would have to be entertaining as well (not to mention marketable).

Are we masters of the mind or not?

Obviously, we are free to limit our powers, but if anyone is skilled enough in math or in memorizing things or whatever, then do take advantage of that for heaven's sake. Or just for your sake.

Obviously there are some effects that are mathematical in nature, but that shouldn't appear mathematical. R. Bush has done some work on this.

The scenario Indyfan describes above truly shows someone who has misunderstood what this and mentalism are about. Anyone who thinks that if the participant has mistakenly summed it up to 1084 will fail the effect has not understood anything about mentalism. In fact, some mentalists would even go so far as to intentionally miss when mind-reading one of the digits.

Regarding:
Quote:
I do a kids show where I teach them a trick with math.


This approach is a unfortunate though. It is obviously an outright trick, i.e not magic and definitely not mentalism.

In mentalism we are supposed to be reading minds, not show them tricks. Call yourself a trickster otherwise.

IMO.

/Matias
Indyfan
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Matias,

Thanks for being gentle on me. Actually, I admit, I over-emphasized my point in my post, but the basic idea that I wanted to present was that anytime a spectator is asked to add numbers, etc., they will usually determine that it was a math trick.

As I said, they may not know how to do it, but it can usually be attributed to math.

Yes, there are some good presentations that can sway an opinion, but at the end of the day, math is quite often the only explanation. When dealing with numbers, why wouldn't that be logical?
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teejay
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Whenever anybody shows me an effect with numbers, I always think about being 10 years of age and doing the trick:
Think of a number, add 5, take away 2, multiply by 4, divide by 3, take away the first number that you thought about ZZZZZZ.
Mr Amazing
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Quote:
Indyfan wrote:
Matias,
Thanks for being gentle on me. [...]

Indy, I don't know if you are 'humbly sarcastic' or sincere in thanking me, but I just want to set it straight - in case my post was unclear - that I agreed with your previous post.

/Matias
Indyfan
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Yes, I apparently misunderstood your post, and my thanks was sincere as I thought you could've been more 'assertive' (but weren't).

I also agree with you that 'intentionally missing' on purpose can enhance an effect. I do that sometimes with my thought transmitter (is that 'cheating' to professional mentalists?). I will draw something close to what they drew. Although I know exactly what they drew, I'll alter it slightly, because I'm supposed to be reading their mind, not copying 'what I saw'.
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Nir Dahan
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Guys,

The idea was not to make the "multiply by 5 add 7" type of effects! There are many effects which can be made quite mystifying/entertaining while having a mathematical theme. After all, as Matias said, we try to sell the fact we work with the mind.

I myself do not do these routines when I do mentalism, but yesterday I gave 5 minutes of math routines to some work fellows, among some regular mentalism routines. Being engineers, they were really amazed by my "ability" to calculate cubic roots and 5th roots.
That was the reason for the post.

All the best,
nir
Lior
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It is very good to do math skill tricks for Engineers.
It is very bad to do math skill tricks for bus drivers.
It can look very good on TV for many kinds of audiences if you have a strong presentation and have some showmanship.
There are many very simple tricks that look amazing in the right hands and there are very strong tricks that look bad on the wrong hands.

good night Smile
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shrink
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10x3-00000.25 / square root = zzzzzzzzzzz


I'm obviously no engineer!

But I suppose for specialised audience you may have a point.
Mr Amazing
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Quote:
Lior wrote:
It is very good to do math skill tricks for Engineers.
It is very bad to do math skill tricks for bus drivers.

I feel there is an inherent problem with the "follow a formula" effects in that those who like the effect are also the very same ones that see through it, and those who would believe in the effect are those who fall asleep by it.

But, as Nir points out, the effects he discusses are not of the "follow a formula" kind.

/Matias
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