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Jay Jennings
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I have a hard time believing when someone sees two mentalists, all else being equal, that they think the one who missed is better.

Would you hear this after a show? "That guy was good, but the one we say the other night, the one who didn't know what number I was thinking of? He was so much better." -- I kind of doubt it.

Many times on TMC I read about how missing actually enhances your credibility, and I'd like to know if that's based on anything other than everybody repeating it.

Making it hard to get, yeah, I can see that. Kind of like the trapeze artist who misses the triple the first couple times so it's more impressive when he hits it. But missing completely? How does that impress anyone?

Would you think an escape artist who failed is better than one who always escaped?

I did do some searches because I imagine this topic has come up in the past, but the threads I was able to find weren't all that helpful.

Thanks.

Jay Jennings

PS - As stated above, I do NOT believe an intentional miss is good for you, but I'm willing to be convinced that I'm wrong. I'm not just wanting to discuss this for the fun of it.
seadog93
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Uri Geller had a lot of misses and he was pretty popular and accepted as real.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

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insight
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I think what Jay would counter that with is, how much more popular and accepted would Uri Geller have been without those many misses? Jay, correct me if I'm wrong.

Regards,
Mike
Mindpro
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You seem to be thinking from a magicians perspective rather than a mentalists - big difference. It's about believability and credibility. Too perfect of a performance screams trick, pre-arrangement or at the very least being very suspect, which leads to unbelievability.
mastermindreader
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I use and recommend occasional intentional 'misses.' Often, though, the idea is completely misunderstood. The point is to be technically wrong, but actually quite close - for example, the spectator is thinking of the name "Karen" and you get "Carol," or perhaps the name is "Bob" and you get "Robert."

Alternatively, in a number prediction you might get two of the digits inverted - ex., 346 instead of 364.

Such mistakes can provide powerful logical disconnects, especially in those effects where peeking techniques are involved.

Most of the time these "mistakes" are used in the context of a series of revelations in which the others are revealed without any error.

Used properly they can indeed enhance believability.

Good thoughts,

Bob Cassidy
seadog93
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I've had a lot of people in for whom I perform mentalism completely pass over the impossibility of what I'm doing when I make a "mistake"

I don't exactly know how to say it; but I'll describe images coming into my head that are obviously related to what the thought, but not similar and I'll often get "oh no, that makes perfect sense because..." and go on to describe what happened. From the audience perspective they like me and want me to succeed and they are showing me why the impressions I got really are right and any thought of me getting the information from any other way than psychic vibrations is out of there minds.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Jon Hackett
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If you intentionally miss, you can miss with style Smile

If you accidentally miss, then I understand what you mean Jay, although, some effects are worth the risk.

JH
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Michael Daniels
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I agree with Bob about deliberate near misses. This was a principle pioneered by Chan Canasta - I remember him using this brilliantly on his TV shows in the 1960s - It definitely enhances the impression (or at least the possibility) that the mentalism is genuine rather than simply a trick.

Mike
Jay Jennings
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Quote:
On 2010-07-13 04:00, Michael Daniels wrote:
I agree with Bob about deliberate near misses. This was a principle pioneered by Chan Canasta - I remember him using this brilliantly on his TV shows in the 1960s - It definitely enhances the impression (or at least the possibility) that the mentalism is genuine rather than simply a trick.


I guess I just don't get why a "real" mentalist wouldn't/shouldn't/couldn't be perfect.

It's quite possible I don't have enough experience (either as a performer or a spectator) in mentalism to see it at this point, but thanks to everyone for the comments.

Jay Jennings
The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2010-07-13 05:05, Jay Jennings wrote:
I guess I just don't get why a "real" mentalist wouldn't/shouldn't/couldn't be perfect.


Well, for one thing, it saves you from having to explain why you can't win the lottery, predict the next plane crash, etc.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
kinesis
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Quote:
On 2010-07-12 21:09, Jay Jennings wrote:
...I have a hard time believing when someone sees two mentalists, all else being equal, that they think the one who missed is better...


Rather than use the word 'better' change it for the word 'believable'. Reading minds, predicting the future, influencing peoples decisions, using psychology and the like are not exact sciences, so sometimes we get close but are slightly off as Mr Cassidy described. A near miss can cause the audience to consider that if the performer had used trickery he wouldn't have got the answer wrong therefore maybe it's not trickery...

So which mentalist would most likely be regarded as the real deal? The one who wasn't perfect, the other one had to be doing tricks.

Derek
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s3rg3
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It is very simpel...

If you are always 100% correct: Spectator could (will) think it is a trick...

If you sometimes miss: Spectator could think that it can not be a trick. If it was a trick you should get it right.

This can make a huge difference on how the mentalist is percepted.

Rgds
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Sensio
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Quote:
On 2010-07-13 06:20, s3rg3 wrote:
It is very simpel...

If you are always 100% correct: Spectator could (will) think it is a trick...

If you sometimes miss: Spectator could think that it can not be a trick. If it was a trick you should get it right.

This can make a huge difference on how the mentalist is percepted.

Rgds
Serge


The above along with the "near misses" point expressed by Mr. Cassidy seem to me to be the best "lesson" from this thread so far. However, we should remind ourselves every so often to use this subtlety - it's just a powerful tool that costs nothing but adds huge...
Michael Daniels
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Quote:
On 2010-07-13 05:05, Jay Jennings wrote:

<snip>

I guess I just don't get why a "real" mentalist wouldn't/shouldn't/couldn't be perfect.

<snip>

Jay Jennings


People are sophisticated enough, I think, to understand that "real" psychics are sometimes off the mark with their readings, whereas magicians always get it right (unless they completely fluff it).

So emulating the way that "genuine" psychics actually operate is just another form of misdirection.

Mike
Frank Douglas
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I tend to think it would also be more believable to make that near miss early on in the "warming up the mind" phase. Sort of like tuning up an instrument at the start of a performance. Knocking the rust off, or warming up the engine, so to speak.

JM2CW

Cheers
Frank
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I have one routine where I also have a near miss.
In my opinion the reason for believability is, if it was a pure trick it would have worked. With this in mind I leave the audience in doubt if it was a trick or maybe more........otherwise why should I nearly miss?
It's really strong. In one of my TV clips I also miss on one thing.....it was not planned but it got great reactions (I was using sound r****** and the producer shouted "CUT!LET'S film it from another angle" meanwhile she was writing! BUMMER)
But I've learned to live with mistakes and sometimes they make your act stronger.
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Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2010-07-13 05:05, Jay Jennings wrote:
It's quite possible I don't have enough experience (either as a performer or a spectator) in mentalism to see it at this point, but thanks to everyone for the comments.
Jay Jennings


Jay,

That pretty well sums it up.

If you study their performances you'll find that both those "psychics/mediums" (e.g., John Edward, Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh, etc.) and mentalists (e.g., Canasta, Kreskin, Cassidy and most working pros) who are most highly regarded and believed to be "real" typically score in the 80-90% range rather than 100% direct hits.
Dick Christian
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[quote]On 2010-07-12 21:09, Jay Jennings wrote:
I have a hard time believing when someone sees two mentalists, all else being equal, that they think the one who missed is better.
[quote]
It isn't the miss itself - its HOW you miss that makes it great or sux bigtime.

Quote:
Would you hear this after a show? "That guy was good, but the one we say the other night, the one who didn't know what number I was thinking of? He was so much better." -- I kind of doubt it.



"Your number is 123!"

Or...

"umm... your number is a 6... wait.. you are a gemini...? no... good! Think harder... I sometimes need to decipher a thought pattern - the numbers added up... to 6... sometimes when someone things of a really easy sequence, my mind rejects it to complexify it... 1,2 and 3 add up to 6... 1-2-3? Could you make it more complex a sequence this time?"

Quote:
Many times on TMC I read about how missing actually enhances your credibility, and I'd like to know if that's based on anything other than everybody repeating it.


Experiences... including mine. Also see Greg Arce's treatist on the concept using 6 degrees of separation thinking.

Quote:
Making it hard to get, yeah, I can see that. Kind of like the trapeze artist who misses the triple the first couple times so it's more impressive when he hits it. But missing completely? How does that impress anyone?

Would you think an escape artist who failed is better than one who always escaped?


It makes it more entertaining... once you realize a person can always do what they can do... it becomes BORING. It isn't life and death escapes if the person always escapes... Houdini even knew that. He semi-missed or took extra time etc... DRAMA man....drama.


Also, it doesn't matter anyway - if it doesn't fit your performance character, don't miss!
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Mindpro
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I agree that misses early in a performance can add credibility and believability. It is also a great tool to appear to have missed on something significant, only to later (in an effect at the end of the show) reveal that you were correct all along.

Even when someone goes to a psychic, you go in with them mentality of " I wonder how much he/she will be correct or spot on with about me" or afterwards "they were right on the mark about this, and that, etc." We do not expect them to be 100% correct on everything, all of the time.
RLFrame
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Having listened to two epsiodes of Joe Dunninger's old radio show on Radio Classics (Sirius sattelite radio) ... he near-missed several times and completely missed some other times.

A recent book also discussed scientific attempts to study art. One of the things discovered was that, for example, when a tree was placed exactly at the half-way point between two other objects, it was not 'liked' as much as if it were off-center. The author explained that something perfectly placed was viewed as unrealistic and was therefore viewed with suspicion.

Being not exactly right also can cover a method. If you glimpsed something a person wrote, and the audience is thinking, "He is going to try to read what was written somehow" they might never see the glimpse, but will still hold onto that notion if you read back exactly what was written. But if you are slightly off, it kills the only theory that they have because if you read Carol, you wouldn't have said Karen.

Also, in my real life, and also related to the art analogy: nobody likes perfect. If you are perfect perfect perfect perfect and finally something goes wrong, people are happy to see the 'perfect' one finally be brought down notch. If you are stuggling , close (Carol Karen), close (8S, 8C) , frustrated and finally hit, they are happy at your success. You have earned sympathy points while still impressing. They are still very impressed by even how close you came with the near misses, put are pulling for you to succeed instead of hoping for you to fail.

I think Greg Arce's Six Degrees Of Separation moves the whole notion to different level. He would get it wrong and the audience comes to the rescue by figuring out the close connection between the miss and the correct thought. Thus the audience is actively helping to gain a hit. Genius.

On top of all of this is those methods which are not 100% by nature but appear quite clean and pure. If occasional missing is expected, then a miss here is just a bigger one... or it could stand out large and have the audience thinking, "Yeah! He finally didn't have everything written down, or selected form a deck of HIS cards which HE handled and he missed it by a mile!"

Overall, and probably with less thought to any science, experience to most psychic entertainers seems to have shown most that misses play better and are more entertaining than 'perfect.'
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