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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Performing Add-a-Number (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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cafeinst
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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?
insight
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Have a calculator ready
Brandon Queen
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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.
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eSamuels
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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
Christian & Katalina
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Eric...beat me to the punch...
Perfect advice from somebody who has obviously been there.

Well said Eric.
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runeflax
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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.
leondo
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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,
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John T. Sheets
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This is all good advice as I too have had this happen to me.
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ThePhilosopher
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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.
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Mr. Mindbender
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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.
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A gimmicked calculator, that may be a good idea. Until you meet a spec who can count on his own.
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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.
Dick Christian
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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."
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bevbevvybev
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'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.
IAIN
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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...
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dusty
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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."


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 Smile
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IAIN
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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...
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PaulPacific
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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.


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.
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Mr. Mindbender
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And Marc Paul has a nice presentation that provides meaning to this effect as well -- it can be found in his Fleetwood Notes.
Caliban
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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.
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