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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » How soon before an iPad booktest (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mmreed
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Quote:
On 2010-01-30 11:30, Mr. Mindbender wrote:
Here's my goal -- I want the spectator to say "I thought of a word, and this guy read my mind!"

A book, an iPad, a back of a cereal box, a scrap of paper of the ground, a toattoo -- what I use to get there doesn't matter as long as I ultimately end up with the spectator saying the above.

The object becomes invisible, the result becomes the memory.

That's my goal.


If that is your goal, then you need to remove the logical REASONS you were able to tell them the word. Technology is a REASON. To the average person, it becomes "Oh he had some special thingy on his iphone" and not "he read my mind" the performer becomes the IPHONE... not you. You lose the power behind the performance when you allow logical reason to be created by your props.
Mark Reed
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Mr. Mindbender
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Quote:
On 2010-01-30 23:20, mmreed wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-01-30 11:30, Mr. Mindbender wrote:
Here's my goal -- I want the spectator to say "I thought of a word, and this guy read my mind!"

A book, an iPad, a back of a cereal box, a scrap of paper of the ground, a toattoo -- what I use to get there doesn't matter as long as I ultimately end up with the spectator saying the above.

The object becomes invisible, the result becomes the memory.

That's my goal.


If that is your goal, then you need to remove the logical REASONS you were able to tell them the word. Technology is a REASON. To the average person, it becomes "Oh he had some special thingy on his iphone" and not "he read my mind" the performer becomes the IPHONE... not you. You lose the power behind the performance when you allow logical reason to be created by your props.



I agree -- remove the logical reasons. But there's many many ways to remove it, and still use props, like an iphone, or a book or anything. My point is, if you create a strong enough, motivated, natural routine, the logical reasons disappear. If I were to walk up to someone who is using their own iphone to read an e-mail. I have them think of one word in their e-mail, and end up revealing it -- no one is going to accuse me of using technology.

So I'm just saying, regardless, it's all how you present the experience and how the spectator eventually recalls it. If they end up not thinking the technology was instrumental in the effect, then the technology, in essence, disappears. I'm rambling, hope that makes sense.
yachanin
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Quote:
On 2010-01-30 23:20, mmreed wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-01-30 11:30, Mr. Mindbender wrote:
Here's my goal -- I want the spectator to say "I thought of a word, and this guy read my mind!"

A book, an iPad, a back of a cereal box, a scrap of paper of the ground, a toattoo -- what I use to get there doesn't matter as long as I ultimately end up with the spectator saying the above.

The object becomes invisible, the result becomes the memory.

That's my goal.


If that is your goal, then you need to remove the logical REASONS you were able to tell them the word. Technology is a REASON. To the average person, it becomes "Oh he had some special thingy on his iphone" and not "he read my mind" the performer becomes the IPHONE... not you. You lose the power behind the performance when you allow logical reason to be created by your props.


This line of reasoning would lead one to ask, "Why did he use a book? Why not just ask me to think of a word and read my mind?" Any "thing" - a book, a list, an iPad - can rouse suspicion when used out of context. If used within an appropriate context, however, such items go unnoticed. I agree with Mr. Mindbender.

Regards, Steve
Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2010-01-31 02:13, yachanin wrote:

This line of reasoning would lead one to ask, "Why did he use a book? Why not just ask me to think of a word and read my mind?" Any "thing" - a book, a list, an iPad - can rouse suspicion when used out of context. If used within an appropriate context, however, such items go unnoticed. I agree with Mr. Mindbender.

Regards, Steve


That is certainly true; however, I submit that WHEN PROPERLY HANDLED a book is far easier to justify without raising (or by eliminating) suspicion than is a techno device such as an iPhone or iPad.

Handing someone a book, having them look at a remember a word, then revealing the word and taking the book back is NOT "proper handling." "Proper handling" means using more than one book, leaving them in the hands of audience members for an extended period, etc. -- in short taking every possible step to make the books seem only incidental to the demonstration. For those who can't read between the lines making the books accessible to the audience for an extended period reduces the incentive/desire to examine them because the audience will assume (without being told) that "if there was anything tricky about those books he wouldn't let us handle/peruse them at will" and the use of multiple books answers (by implication) the unspoken question "can he do that with ANY book?" The books then become simply books and not "props" that are for some reason essential to the successful completion of the demonstration in which they are used. If you can't provide an acceptably innocent rationale for using books you have no business including book tests in your program.

On the other hand, using a device such as an iPhone or iPad makes it obvious that the device IS essential to the effect and by doing so, tells the observer that the effect is accomplished via technology simply because everyone understands that such devices DO something. A book is simply an assemblage of pieces of paper with words printed on them -- it is incapable of DOING anything.
Dick Christian
magicFreak2
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I agree with Dick, it has to look on the spot and organic; as well as be close to impossible to figure out in a moments notice.

That's why organic iPod tricks (like iForce and the Dracula Book Test) have such great impact; they are done on the spot with something you just happen to be messing with. Ofcourse, anyone with the brains of a peanut gets the Dracula book test the first time they read the description, but you get my meaning.

I think that it will thus be a while for an iPad book test to come out, not due its difficulty, but due to its popularity. When millions of people have them, and they have become common place, then it will become normal. Until then, anyone watching will always ask why you had to do it with a large electronic book instead of a regular one.

From the programming aspect, however, there are a million ways to figure out the word Smile. And in the future, when (if) Apple decides to add a web cam to it, the possibilities would become exponential (with advanced web cam optical tracking already available on the market). Imagine, flip to a page and think of a word. The app knows the word and could send it in seconds to the performer via Wifi.

This method that could never be implemented into a physical book would look stunning on an iPad because a camera would just be "in place" and non-suspicious.
Dick Christian
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The bottom line -- at least at this point in history -- is (as several others, including Bob Cassidy have repeatedly commented) that the obvious introduction of ANY technological devices into a demonstration of mentalism cannot avoid suggesting the method -- even if incorrect. Any suggestion of a method other than mindreading serves no purpose other than to eliminate the very method the performer is purporting to use. Whether or not you make overt claims or issue disclaimers, unless you want the audience to believe that what you are doing just MIGHT be real what's the point of doing it at all?
Dick Christian
equivoque
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Quote:
On 2010-01-28 08:44, Dick Christian wrote:

Yes, and when you do it everyone in the audience will shout -- with one voice -- iPAD!! The guy in the other room who is holding nothing in his hands but a copy of "Murder At Midnight" will toss the book to an audience member, tell whoever catches it to open to any page, think of a word -- a long one just to make it difficult -- then furrow his brow and after a moment tell them what word their thinking of -- and get a standing ovation. Which performer would you rather be?


This made me laugh! You are right on the money Dick. Why the hell would anyone want to do mind reading with an Iphone, Ipad, Ipod, or Ibook? It just screams, techy-geek fake. I wish people would stop attempting to combine all the things that they enjoy into one. I like Jesus and I like magic so... I like nudity and I like yoga, so maybe...
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I wonder if Mark Mason's 'Word In A Million' version will work on the new iPad. If you own this effect, then you know I'm j/k.

Robert Haas
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Steven Keyl
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Quote:
On 2010-01-31 14:28, Dick Christian wrote:
The bottom line -- at least at this point in history -- is (as several others, including Bob Cassidy have repeatedly commented) that the obvious introduction of ANY technological devices into a demonstration of mentalism cannot avoid suggesting the method...


This is a categorical statement that may be true in the world in which you live but certainly not in mine. My professional career is as a software architect where I oversee a number of software developers. My entire company is a technically focused company in a technically oriented part of the country (Dick, you and I both live in Northern VA so I know you know what I'm talking about).

Given that context, having technology devices on our person is not only commonplace, it would look unusual if you didn't have some device like an iPod Touch, iPhone, or other combo phone/pda/camera, etc. Because these devices are ubiquitous in my world, it isn't at all unusual for people to use them for any number of applications, including demonstrations of mentalism (in my case).

The key, as the poster above has noted, it isn't whether you're using techno device, book, billet or whatever, it's how well you can justify its usage and in so doing make the prop itself invisible.

If you make the device the focus of the demonstration (just as if you make the book the focus of the demonstration) then of course that is where people's attention will be drawn. However, if you focus on the interaction between participant and performer making the prop almost incidental to the proceedings then it shouldn't raise any more difficulty than using any other prop.

But of course, it's all context-specific. In my world, tech devices are commonplace. If you live in and around groups where these devices are more foreign then their introduction into a mentalism piece would look just as out of place as if I were to pull out a book about Vampires at my place of business--in both cases the prop would be under immediate suspicion because it's out of place.
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

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"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
Dick Christian
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Steven,

While I get your point and understand what you are saying, I can't believe that a book is so unfamiliar to even your most technologically oriented friend that it would be viewed as a foreign or suspicious object. Perhaps "out of place" in your workplace, but hardly alien to their experience.

My objection to the use of devices such as an iPhone or iPad in the performance of magic or mentalism is not that they are out of place, but rather the fact that when one is introduced the idea of an "app" is patently obvious -- especially to those who are most familiar with such technology and what it is capable of. In fact, it is exactly because such devices are now so ubiquitous that most people (not just techno-geeks), even though they may not be familiar with the various apps developed specifically for magic/mentalism, probably assume that such apps exist so the introduction of such a device while perhaps commonplace, becomes immediately suspect. The result is that the performer risks being perceived as just a guy with an iPhone/Pad and a neat app rather than even a clever and amazing performer, let alone as one who may actually be able to read minds.

On the other hand, few people outside the world of mentalism or magic are likely to think of a book as being anything other than just a book. A case in point: ask your techno-pals if they can imagine any "apps" for plain old ordinary printed books. It is most likely that if they are handed a book -- and it is not treated as anything other than an ordinary book (i.e., it is not handed to them just long enough for them to look at a word and is then taken away) -- there is no reason for it to be suspect (especially if they are free to turn pages, give it a cursory examination, etc. and find nothing out of the ordinary) I think it is unlikely for anyone to think twice about it or assume that the book -- unlike an iPhone or iPad -- is capable of "doing" anything.

I certainly agree that if you were to "pull out a book about Vampires" at your place of business it would be under immediate suspicion because it's out of place. But while I recognize that it is only a tiny portion of subscribers to the Café who actually "perform" for other than family, friends and coworkers, it is that very small minority for whom I offer my thoughts and comments. I speak from the perspective of someone who is a full-time magician and mentalist who is typically performing for groups of strangers (e.g. audiences from 25 to 250 people) and almost never just doing just a few impromptu tricks for family and friends, and it is to the others who perform in public (or are contemplating doing so) and whose situations, interests and concerns are therefor similar to mine to whom my observations are addressed. In the "working world" that we inhabit distributing an assortment of books to members of the audience for use in a book test routine would not be perceived as unusual or out of place. Nor, given the parameters described in the preceding paragraph would the books themselves -- especially since all of those I use will withstand the closest scrutiny and are left in the hands of audience members for the duration of the show -- be particularly suspect. Furthermore, although the entire audience is not able to see exactly what a participating audience member sees (e.g., they can't all read or see what is on the page) the effect itself is more easily observed by the everyone others while the tiny image on an iPhone or iPad is much better suited to a one-on-one or close-up situation than to the platform/cabaret/stage environment in which I perform.

Those who perform primarily for friends and family certainly face very different circumstances with their own challenges and concerns to which considerations that are important to me are unlikely to pertain. If they find my observations helpful or of interest that is an unintended, but welcome, bonus. If not, neither of us need be concerned nor offended.
Dick Christian
Tom Cutts
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Times are changing. Soon enough a hardcopy book will be out of place. We all decide where we want to be on that curve of change. When someone makes a statement like "tiny image on an... iPad" it is clear they are out of touch with such technology.

BTW millions of readers were sold over the holidays. Newspapers are going the way of the 33rpm album. Books are right behind them. Remember the days when magicians vanished radios on stage. Hmmm...

I'm not saying it is for the better, but is the future. Why confine ourselves to the past when we could be developing new routines which are cutting edge and will live into the future.
eSamuels
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I would beg to differ on the notion that traditional books will soon be a thing of the past. As much as e-readers are hot (I own one myself), there are many, many, many people who prefer holding a paperback to an e-book. So I suspect the initial interest in these devices will plateau.

As for embracing present and future technologies - I'm at the front of the line! But, as has been said, time and time again, even electronics need to fit the routine/circumstances 'organically.'
Steven Keyl
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Dick,

Thanks for your amplifying comments. We are in agreement that for a formal stage or platform show a book is more organic and less likely to look out of place (especially in your case as you use so many different books).

As to the informal dinner party or happy hour performances we seem to be in semi-agreement which is more than I had hoped for.
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

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"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
Dick Christian
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Tom is certainly entitled to his opinions, which I have learned are inevitably contrary to mine (a fact that makes neither of us wrong or "out of touch" with anything -- just of different opinions). Certainly technology is not only here now but is the wave of the future and is sure to become more commonplace and familiar as time goes by. As more and more people gain familiarity and experience with such devices as iPhones and iPads and thus more aware of their capabilities the more obvious -- and less interesting or impressive -- it will be that the only claim to fame of the performer who relies on them is the fact that he has one. When everybody has one the only thing the audience will be interested in is where to get the app being demonstrated.

I maintain that when that day comes, the layman will be neither amazed or impressed by the guy with the iPad, but will be amazed and baffled when he can open a book, concentrate on a word and have me reveal the word he's thinking of.

Time will tell whether it is Tom or I whose prediction comes true. In the meantime, my money is on the books. Tom is entitled to his opinion and I am entitled to mine.
Dick Christian
Steven Keyl
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Dick, I think Tom's point is more that technology can provide a far greater range of material with which to work. Imagine the following scenarios:

  • You ask someone to take out their own mobile device, browse to ANY web page in existence, scroll down the page and stop at any picture on the web page, focus on the image and then turn the device off and put it away in their pocket. All this time your back has been turned. After they are done you turn around and divine the image that they have in their mind.
  • You ask someone to remove their mobile device and send a short email to anyone in the world, someone that the performer couldn't know or know about. After the message has been sent have the participant call the recipient to check their email. What they find is that PRIOR to the email arriving the performer had already sent an email explaining that they were involved in an experiment and the participant was about to send them an email.

Those are two simple examples of divination and precognition. Anyone with a modicum of presentational skills can make the technology appear coincidental to the effect.

Right now many of the "magic apps" out there aren't worthy of spending real time with. However, there are some excellent magic apps out there that relegate the prop to background status which is exactly what we want.

Before anyone asks, no I don't have methods for the sample effects above, but as the technology becomes more ubiquitous the opportunities for magicians and mentalists to perform effects like these will increase and not decrease. And they will continue to amaze just as book tests amaze people today. Papyrus tests and cave drawing tests probably amazed many before Gutenberg came along with the printing press. And so the wheel moves forward.
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

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"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
Tom Cutts
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Quote:
On 2010-03-12 11:31, Dick Christian wrote:
As more and more people gain familiarity and experience with such devices as iPhones and iPads and thus more aware of their capabilities the more obvious -- and less interesting or impressive -- it will be that the only claim to fame of the performer who relies on them is the fact that he has one. When everybody has one the only thing the audience will be interested in is where to get the app being demonstrated.
Dick is not only entitled to his opinion, he is entitled to cling to the past digging his nails in, not budging an inch. Unfortunately he most often presents that opinion as the be all end all; only modifying it as "opinion" once it has been refuted.

One flaw of those who cling to the past is their inability to embrace new methods for new technology. An iPad booktest won't use a standard method. It will use a method unique to it's properties just like hardcopy booktest do.

Those stuck in past can't see the way technology will change the world. They are part of the reason magicians perform in Tuxedos and likely have little idea why the tux was used in the first place. Those who look forward see not only the coming technology, but also the baby steps which must be taken to arrive at the joy that will be an iPad booktest when books have gone the way of vinyl records, follow in the footsteps of Newspapers, etc.

The argument that people like to hold and interract with a book is not of consequence. Business will decide it is more cost effective and time effective to do books electronically. Do a little poll here. How many written ideas here are sold as ebooks vs hardcopy?

It is coming. To ignore it is just plain shortsided and ignorent of recent history. To adapt to change is simply remaining current and viable. The choice is yours to make.

In high school I was told that the idea of a record player which played records using lasers was a preposterous premise and would never happen. I hope that "teacher" remembers that day as clearly as I do.
Dick Christian
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Steven,

The effects you describe are ideal uses for the iPhone, iPad and/or similar devices and for the scenarios/situations you describe. I neither dispute nor have any problem with that. At the same time, those are not scenarios or situations in which I ever perform no in which I plan, desire or expect to, so my preference is for effects designed for presentation to larger audiences. I have more than ample material available for those rare situations where I am called upon to perform impromptu for friends or family.

Tom,

I hope that you will accept my sincere and abject apology. I had a momentary lapse of consciousness during which I forgot that YOU are the ultimate authority, the end all and be all and sole possessor of absolute truth with the result that I had the affrontery to express an invalid, incorrect and totally unwarranted opinion. To avoid causing you undue anxiety in the future, I ask your forgiveness for any future such transgressions on my part and suggest that you simply ignore any future posts of mine and pretend that I don't exist. That way you needn't be obliged to bring them to my attention. I will return the favor.
Dick Christian
Tom Cutts
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Childish sarcasm; why am I not surprised, Dick?

All I have done is present a differing view of the future of booktests, and point out the misinformation you attempted to spread. Get used to it. I'm sure it will happen again. Smile
Caliban
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I'm all for an iPad book test, which I agree wouldn't be a book test as we know it today adapted to an iPad - it would be a completely different animal. I'm not at all convinced by the argument that real books will go the way of the long playing record though. LP's were not items that could be used on their own: they were made for use with a specific piece of technology - the record player. When technology goes out of date then the accessories for it go out of date too. The pen, on the other hand, has not become obsolete since the invention of the printer.

Quote:
On 2010-03-12 13:56, Tom Cutts wrote:
Do a little poll here. How many written ideas here are sold as ebooks vs hardcopy?


That certainly has some truth in our small world of magic, but there are clear reasons that are specific to magic. We are talking about very small publications (often 50 pages or less) that are self published as cheaply as possible. Magic eBooks are also, often, simply not good enough for anyone other than the author to want to publish them – they would never have been published at all before the technology existed for people to cheaply put out their own work. In the larger world of fiction and non-fiction publishing, eBooks are in an extremely tiny minority. Yes, many more mainstream books will become available in ebook format as ebook readers become more popular. But they will exist alongside regular books in the same way that pens and pencils now exist alongside printer cartridges.
Tom Cutts
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Your analogy is not quite accurate. Pens and pencils are tools to create. Books on the other hand are a product, rarely a tool. The biggest hurdle will be cracking the mafia of text book manufacturers who charge hundreds of dollars per book. Smile

The Internet undermined the ability for newspapers to generate revenue. E-readers have just been released but given 10 years they will do the same to hard copy books. Don't kid yourself into thinking bookpublishing is to keep an art alive. It is a business and they will follow the model which makes the most financial sense.

Millions of E-readers sold means that some million books never got printed, and millions of people are embracing this new thing and becoming acclimated to it. It has begun. Those who doubted the viability of CraigsList can tell you what is coming.

People really prefer to hold their newspaper and sip coffee at the table Sunday morning, right?

Do you really believe that vinyl died out because they quit making turntables? Vinyl died out because financially and technologically it had been surpassed, and that is exactly what is going to happen to hard copy books. And guess what, pretty soon it is likely you won't get to own music recordings anymore. You will have access to play music on demand, but you won't be able to own it in a form which you could loan to a friend. Books will follow that model if it proves successful, which I bet it will given that commercial society only cares about more, faster, cheaper.
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