The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Intentional Miss = Good (Are You Kidding Me?) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6 [Next]
marklock
View Profile
Regular user
151 Posts

Profile of marklock
I had a major goof up several weeks ago while performing my version of Bob Cassidy's Chronologue. When I pulled out the prediction ... it was the wrong card. I didn't realize it until I confidently pulled the wrong prediction out of the envelope. 100% my flub up.

I was speaking each night to the same group and only did one effect per night. So basically ... this was one of three effects and I failed. The wrong card fortunately happened to be "close", same suit and only one number off. I quickly made note of that trying to save face. If you know the effect, being one number off isn't really close...it's just dead wrong.

The next day, I was shocked by the response from people. Everything that I had done before and did afterward (particularly in casual settings) was viewed more credibly. Surprisingly, nobody I talked to saw it as a fail (although I'm sure some did), most discussed how close the card HAD been, and how amazing it is that I am able to accomplish these feats at all. Interest in what I was doing had clearly increased.

Absolutely NOT what I had expected... I was invited back for their next event and booked several other engagements as well. I've always believed in the effectiveness of "near misses" for theatrical purposes, but this response was very unexpected. A friend with me also commented, "Strange, you mess up 1/3 of the effects you did and you are being talked about more than any other event I've been with you at."

I'm not suggesting this as a strategy, just sharing my experience.
Mick Ayres
View Profile
Special user
Hilton Head Island
998 Posts

Profile of Mick Ayres
Let's say a five year old girl is given a bow and arrow and asked to shoot at a paper target 50 feet away. If her arrow lands anywhere near the haybale, I'm happy for her. If she hits the paper but misses the bullseye, then I'm really blown away. However, if her arrow strikes dead center in the target, my first thought is: "Gotta be a trick."

For me then, this issue is determined solely by one's on-stage character. For example, I make it clear to the guests from the beginning that "mindreading is a crap shoot--but I will do my best." Later, when I hit the target (but miss the bullseye) the audience is completely on my side and thrilled that I even got that close. The whole thing becomes a matter of showmanship.

Try thinking about your Mentalism performance as a short-con you're working on the audience--then it becomes even more clear. A poker cheat is foolish if he wins every hand. That just earns him a bat to the ribs in the parking lot. Rather, the cheat wants to appear lucky enough to be just above average. That way he is cheerfully invited back to the next game.

Warm regards,
Mick
THE FIVE OBLIGATIONS OF CONJURING: Study. Practice. Script. Rehearse. Perform. Drop one and you're done.
Jonathan
View Profile
Inner circle
Oklahoma
1223 Posts

Profile of Jonathan
I actually had to add an intentional miss to the biggest routine in my new show because of the feedback I got from the audience members (indirectly, I had people I knew reporting to me what others were saying). The first hit really impressed people and it blew them away. But, after I did a few more they said they knew it must be a trick and they kind of quit paying attention.

So, now I intentionally miss the second time so that I can rattle off a few more in a row afterward and really knock their socks off!

Real = good
Trick = boring

Person who is real but is only 90% > Person who is fake but 100%
insight
View Profile
Inner circle
3095 Posts

Profile of insight
Jonathan,

Do you think an audience member typically believes that what they are witnessing is only entertainment? If so, then there is no distinction between real and trick, right? Meaning, everything is a trick...an illusion. It's just being presented in a manner that fools the senses---thereby producing magic.

Regards,
Mike

Posted: Aug 16, 2010 5:40pm
Another way to look at it...imagine, two students. One student received a perfect score on his SAT Exam. Another was in the 88th percentile. Both are impressive. But which one would you put your money on in terms of the one who will score another perfect score? In mentalism, is it not possible to attain perfection? Nobody knows the answer...but if someone already comes in with the perspective that what you do is entertainment, would you rather be so great that you trick them 100% of the time (no errors), or only so good that you can't even get all your predictions correct? In both cases, an audience member potentially knows that what you are doing is not real. There is no right or wrong answer...

Regards,
Mike
marklock
View Profile
Regular user
151 Posts

Profile of marklock
So if I were a screenwriter.... why make any of my characters fail at anything? I can make them do everything 100% without obstacle or error.

It may be less about "believability" and more about good theater.

Superman is a hard character to write good stories for because he's almost too perfect. That is why Kryptonite exists.

On another post, there was a discussion about table hopping mentalists. Someone asked, "Why would a person who could read minds be performing at Pizza Hut?"

That kind of made sense to me until I thought about the many movies/stories I'd watched featuring characters who possessed psychic powers. Few of them were presented as superheroes with loads of wealth. Many were frightened and plagued by their ability, often hiding it. Sometimes the "gift" is what keeps them from their goal of being happy and fulfilled.

I thought, you know... maybe a person with psi abilities just might hop tables at a Pizza Hut. They certainly wouldn't have a character or costume like most mentalists I see.

It's about creating real characters that are interesting, that we connect to. I don't claim to have any "real" power in my performances, I do a fairly strong disclaimer right at the front, one might think that would hurt me, but it isn't about believability. Missing is probably less about believability, and more about causing people to care.

Pro Athletes err all the time, and they are some of the most watched live performers of our day.

Just saying.
insight
View Profile
Inner circle
3095 Posts

Profile of insight
I don't disagree that a perfect mentalist can be quite boring. One could "miss" and become less perfect and be more exciting. But whether that translates to more believability is questionable.

Regards,
Mike
Mick Ayres
View Profile
Special user
Hilton Head Island
998 Posts

Profile of Mick Ayres
I'll say it again...

A performer's on-stage character decides this issue. If you're on stage without a developed character, then the cart is not just ahead of the horse...it's over the horizon.

Hope this helps.

Mick
THE FIVE OBLIGATIONS OF CONJURING: Study. Practice. Script. Rehearse. Perform. Drop one and you're done.
Christian & Katalina
View Profile
Elite user
406 Posts

Profile of Christian & Katalina
I will agree with Mick Ayres on this one!
Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism 2011
The Annemann Award for Menatalism 2016
Author of "Protoplasm" Close-up Mentalism
Jay Jennings
View Profile
Loyal user
Scottsdale, AZ
258 Posts

Profile of Jay Jennings
Several people have mentioned what marklock said a few posts up...

Quote:
It may be less about "believability" and more about good theater.


Looking at it in that way, I "get it" and it makes so much more sense to me than using a miss to "prove" you're the real deal. It might turn out the same, but the reason for doing it was always the stumbling block for me.

This entire thread has been really eye-opening and I want to thank everyone who's contributed so far.

Jay Jennings
Paul R
View Profile
New user
Londinium
80 Posts

Profile of Paul R
For me, near missing is more about misdirection than believability, as was alluded to earlier in the thread. Gregg Arce's 6 degrees is good for this as previously mentioned also.

I'm not 100% in the rest of my life, but people still believe I am real. They appreciate I can write, even if my spelling is a bit off. They know I can drive,even if I stall it some times.

If a live band sounds the same as on their CD, are they miming? Would you feel cheated if they were?
aligator
View Profile
Inner circle
Canada
2048 Posts

Profile of aligator
Great thread. IMO, missing or being somewhat off once in a program does add to your credibility and also creates better theatre. I have learned this through experience. I now always work an intentional miss into all my presentations, usually followed by something strong in which I have great confidence. If a real miss happens thus creating two misses, well c'est la vie. I just tell the audience I am going to add something special just for them to make up for the miss. I always keep a strong demonstration in reserve just for this purpose.
insight
View Profile
Inner circle
3095 Posts

Profile of insight
A good analogy for the logic behind this thread would be the Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior for any WWF fans back in the day. I always thought Hulk Hogan was perfect, but in this Wrestlemania main event, he lost to the Ultimate Warrior. I think this made for much better theater.

Regards,
Mike
Jonathan
View Profile
Inner circle
Oklahoma
1223 Posts

Profile of Jonathan
In most cases I believe you shouldn't miss. It all depends on the effect, who you are, how you present it, the audience, etc. There are a million different things that come into play. You definitely can't make a blanket statement.

I gave an instance where I had to manufacture a "miss", but that's the only time I do that in my show. It was a specific problem with a specific effect.

9 times out of 10 I don't understand why you would purposely miss. If you need a miss, why not try for a miracle? Most of the time it will be a miss, but why not allow for the possibility of a miracle? If you hit, you can always throw in a miss later (which is another attempt at a miracle).

Missing makes what you are doing seem more believable, if done right it increases tension and the fear of failure. It can make for more interesting theatre when in the right hands.
Dick Christian
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern Virginia (Metro DC)
2620 Posts

Profile of Dick Christian
Quote:
On 2010-08-22 05:32, Jonathan wrote:
In most cases I believe you shouldn't miss.

Missing makes what you are doing seem more believable, if done right it increases tension and the fear of failure. It can make for more interesting theatre when in the right hands.


Although I realize that your complete statement includes several qualifying comments, it still seems to me the the two comments I've quoted are inconsistent. First you say "you shouldn't miss" then that "Missing makes what you are doing seem more believable."

The concensus of the real workers who have posted to thread seems to be that an occasional miss enhances one's credibility. Assuming that we can all agree that Kreskin and Derren Brown are probably the two preeminent living mentalists, it is noted that they both employ occasional misses in their live performances and both are preceived by large segments of the population as being "real."

My own experience supports the belief that an occasional miss DOES make what one does more believable. However, because I have never felt comfortable making an intentional miss (I always feel that the audience is somehow able to sense a purposeful miss) my performances begin with several psychological forces, some of which have a less than 100% chance of achieving a "hit." As a result, my shows will usually include at least one or two legitimate "misses" or "near misses" that I believe do enhance the credibility of my performances.
Dick Christian
Mick Ayres
View Profile
Special user
Hilton Head Island
998 Posts

Profile of Mick Ayres
Remember, Kreskin failed to find a couple of those paychecks for a reason.

Also, I thought I'd mention that silly little thing about the on-stage character just one more time.

Best,
Mick
THE FIVE OBLIGATIONS OF CONJURING: Study. Practice. Script. Rehearse. Perform. Drop one and you're done.
Dick Christian
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern Virginia (Metro DC)
2620 Posts

Profile of Dick Christian
Quote:
On 2010-08-22 11:11, Mick Ayres wrote:
Remember, Kreskin failed to find a couple of those paychecks for a reason.

Also, I thought I'd mention that silly little thing about the on-stage character just one more time.

Best,
Mick


I suspect that those rare instances were true examples of "unintentional misses" and am not sure whether or not they had the desired effect; however, the possibility of such a thing happening is one reason why I do not include "find the check" in my own performances.
Dick Christian
marklock
View Profile
Regular user
151 Posts

Profile of marklock
Quote:
On 2010-08-22 08:03, Dick Christian wrote:
(I always feel that the audience is somehow able to sense a purposeful miss)


Dick... that is a very good observation. One has to be able to sell the "miss" or it's bad theater, credibility, well everything! It's like many illusionists who do a "death defying" escape. It is really hard to sell that there is real danger when there isn't. Practicing a believable miss may take more time than the rest of the routine!
Stefmagic
View Profile
Special user
523 Posts

Profile of Stefmagic
Quote:
On 2010-08-22 15:40, marklock wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-08-22 08:03, Dick Christian wrote:
(I always feel that the audience is somehow able to sense a purposeful miss)


Dick... that is a very good observation. One has to be able to sell the "miss" or it's bad theater, credibility, well everything! It's like many illusionists who do a "death defying" escape. It is really hard to sell that there is real danger when there isn't. Practicing a believable miss may take more time than the rest of the routine!
That's the result of lack of acting! Mentalists and magicians...please invest in acting lessons!
magicusb
View Profile
Inner circle
1135 Posts

Profile of magicusb
Just a few quick opinionated thoughts.

1) A good Q&A sequence is all about misses and near misses.

2) A magician that says you thought of the 4 of spades and gets it right deserves and gets a round of applause.

A real mind reader who says I think it is a black card...... a spade..... possibly a 4 or 5..... That"s as close as I can get. Can you tell me if I am close? May not get a big hand but is more believable.

What magicians do not understand and is hard to comprehend if you have not lived it, is that often a person who does a successful mind reading stunt, may not get a big hand for a particular presentation from the audience, if the audience believes it is real. Audiences applaud for a good magic effect well done, but applause is not always the response for someone who reads your mind. This can be a very fine line. They do not feel the presenter is expecting a round of applause for this, like an entertainer would. We are not talking about a show business stunt here. Additionally they can be stunned, amazed or bewildered, which is not necessarily an applause cue.

Just my two cents.
Dick Brookz
Check out http://HoudiniOpoly.com

Houdini Museum Tour & Magic Show.
Only building in the world dedicated to Houdini.
http://Houdini.org
http://HoudiniDisplays.com
http://PsychicTheater.com
Scranton, Pa (570) 342-5555
"The truth shall make you free, but first it will make you angry." -Robert Ingersoll-Atheist (on the mind of Houdini when he died.)

We are thrilled we were able to bring The Grim Game to the world! Thanks TCM.
yankay37
View Profile
Regular user
Canada
176 Posts

Profile of yankay37
Quote:
On Jul 12, 2010, 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.


Jay - I couldn't disagree with you more!

I used to perform at a circus where we had an amazing knife thrower. He could hit anything with his eyes closed. However, one night the producer asked him to miss on purpose.
He did.... just one miss .. the knife flew toward the audience and hit the floor. After that .. every single throw that he did was SOOO much more intense. (Because now there was a chance that he can miss, as opposed to before when he was perfect, the audience is less and less impressed.... must be a trick right?)

I think that getting something wrong is not a bad thing at all, and will make you a more believable and stronger mentalist. IF you know how to do it right.
Why would it be interesting to see a mentalist that ALWAYS gets it right... then the result is predictable, and boring... its when its a challenge, and when people are waiting to see if he got it.. that's when it's the most interesting.

plus.. your example makes no sense. I've never seen a person comparing 2 mentalists. Most people can't even name 2 mentalists, let alone compare them.

Yan
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Intentional Miss = Good (Are You Kidding Me?) (0 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.16 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL