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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » It's a 90 second world for us now it seems... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:
On 2013-06-21 09:23, VernonOnCoins wrote:
For an intro, 90 seconds is an excruciatingly long time to let pass without something happening.

However, if you create a suspenseful situation, people will wait much longer than 90 seconds for resolution.


I completely agree with that. Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On 2013-06-21 10:05, Pakar Ilusi wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-06-21 09:23, VernonOnCoins wrote:
For an intro, 90 seconds is an excruciatingly long time to let pass without something happening.

However, if you create a suspenseful situation, people will wait much longer than 90 seconds for resolution.


I completely agree with that. Smile



Absolutely. Take a look at Geller's work for proof.
Martin Pulman
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On 2013-06-21 08:25, Jon_Thompson wrote:
Why would ANYONE go on <country>'s Got Talent in the first place?


Couldn't agree more. I'm especially amazed by professionals going onto an amateur talent show. I thought Colin McLeod's "performance" on BGT was just about the lowest moment in the history of Mentalism on British television.
funsway
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Quote:
On 2013-06-21 09:23, VernonOnCoins wrote:
However, if you create a suspenseful situation, people will wait much longer than 90 seconds for resolution.


building on that from a different venue. I am a story teller -- mostly with original material, hence there is some suspense. Presentation can also captivate for a long period.

However, if I tell as story the attention of some listeners will wonder after a couple of minutes regardless of the dynamics of voice and gesture. But if I READ the story I can command attention for 10 minutes or more.

I have a theory as to why this is true. A TOLD story has no perceived end or promise of a meaningful conclusion. But a story READ from a book means that there is a known end and a perceived value from being put in a book. Thus, attention span may be related to the perceived commitment on the part of the listener vs. the anticipated rewards. Does this apply to astonishment for entertainment?

Perhaps -- extract from it what you may. If your Effect/Demonstration has no anticipated conclusion you must continuously "re-excite" some listeners -- and lack of attention can be infectious to the entire audience. If the listener has an expectation of a positive result attention span can be sustained because the "suspense" is now safe. Regardless, presentation and presence can command attention from a performer known to produce the expected results, while being an unknown quantity commands less respect.
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dmkraig
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While I agree with your point, Pakar, I don't think <country>'s got talent is the cause. I contend there are two major causes. The first is MTV. This popularized the fast cuts and make-your-point-fast style of entertainment. Compare the comics on the old Ed Sullivan show of the 1960s who took a long time to set up laughs with the comics of today. Every line today is a joke. Look at the mother of all situation comedies, "I Love Lucy." They had long set ups to gags. Today, with shows like "2 1/2 Men" and "Big Bang Theory" almost every line is a joke. Beginning in 1989, there was even a TV show called "Short Attention Span Theater." MTV and fast moving video games were the root. But the second major cause of the change was "the clicker," the TV Remove Control. No longer did you have to consider, "Do I really want to get up and walk across the room just to see if something is good on another channel or wait and see if this becomes interesting?" Now, if a TV show doesn't interest you fast, you change the channel. Advertisers don't like that, so entertainment of all sorts has to become faster.

If Kreskin started out today he would never get on any TV show. Why hasn't a certain British mentalist people here rave about made it on US TV? Because it takes FOR EVER for his stunts to occur. Very old school. Advertisers wouldn't put up with it. They want entertainers who will glue audiences to the screen so they'll be tranced out when the commercial comes on.

MTV (and to a lesser extent, video games) and TV remote controls are the cause, not the "Got Talent" shows.

Like it or hate it, we need to adapt to provide what modern audiences want. Or better yet, control the audience so that you can bring them to the more intimate and in depth show you want to present.
Martin Pulman
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Not all US comedy is like 2 and a half men! Shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm are massive hits and take their time to slowly build the comedy through character and situation, not gags. In drama, The Wire, The Sopranos etc spend hours building up character detail. I agree that the networks are all but a lost cause, but maybe mentalism will always appeal more to a slightly more select audience. Derren Brown is certainly a big star in the UK but his shows are not on either of the two main channels and his audience is a fraction of BGT.
Pakar Ilusi
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I agree dmkraig.

It started much earlier...
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Wizzard
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It all started with TV dinners (1954) and instant mashed potatoes (1962).

JMN
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Chris Cheong
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I disagree.

Talent show will always be a talent show. Today - we still live in the world where ppl will pay to go for a 2 hours movie and still enjoy it.

People like us - performing - goes beyond just "talent". That's why people would que up for Lu Chen's magic show and spend hours watching it. People buy personalities, show presentation element and your talent.

90sec.
Regards,
Chris
Pakar Ilusi
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You misunderstand my point.

If it's a known artiste, people will wait 24 hours in the rain.

I'm talking about someone relatively new to the audience, he/she now has to get them in 90 seconds or they'll change the channel.
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
eSamuels
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Let me put a different perspective on this discussion.
If you're not compelling, you won't even hold people's attention for 10 seconds, let alone 90.

Yes, the medium (venue, type of entertainment, etc.) is relevant (see below), but the more important consideration is getting and holding the audience's attention.
Whether you are a storyteller, Mime, Comedian, or juggling Malamutes, you need to capture and hold people's interest.
And there is no question that the average attention-span has diminished greatly in recent years for myriad reasons.

In a live theatre setting, with a captive audience (particularly one who have come to see you specifically), there is certainly more license to stretch things out.
But you still can't take their attention-span for granted, or you will lose their focus. I've seen this happen - even with famous performers.

I worked for many years in radio, on the content (programming) side of things.
The #1 job of a radio programmer (technically #2 after 'protect the broadcast license') is always to retain the audience (listener) for as long as possible.
In many ways, there is no tougher task, as the average radio listener has numerous choices, all of which are only a button-push away.
So, we spent countless hours and $$$ studying why people listen and why they leave.
Among the many research projects that I was involved in, were focus groups using dial feedback systems.
You probably know of the technology, which allows people to turn 'up' the dial when they like something, and turn it down when they don't or are bored. We used these to test on-air host talk content (on both music & talk formats)

As primitive as it was, it was one of the few ways we could measure listener interest and apathy.
(Today, the new PPM ratings monitoring system is able to monitor actual radio listeners behaviour by the second).
It was a stunning to see what worked and what didn't. With few exceptions, the dials turned down when the radio host lost their 'connection' with the listener. It didn't matter if they were telling a joke, recounting a story, or providing information on weather, traffic, etc., When there was a content disconnect, the test groups lost immediate interest. And the more emotional connection, the higher the dials turned.

This also helped to dismantle an old radio myth - that listener attention spans were maxed out at 30 seconds. Truth is, listeners lose interest even faster, if it's not compelling and on the other side, a truly compelling host can hold interest for a very long. Alas, these types of skilled orators are few and far between.

This is an example of one medium, but the rules hold for just about anything that requires maintaining a listener/viewer/audience's attention.

e
Pakar Ilusi
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To sum it up...

Emotional connection is the key?

Or something else?
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
eSamuels
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Quote:
On 2013-06-21 13:18, Pakar Ilusi wrote:
To sum it up...

Emotional connection is the key?

Or something else?


Emotion is certainly one form of connection, but not the only one.

I always challenge performers, regardless of the medium, to be compelling, which is defined as:
Evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.
Pakar Ilusi
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Evoking all that in the first 10 seconds right?
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
eSamuels
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Some brain researchers theorize that the brain requires compelling stimulus EVERY 10 SECONDS.

However, Mentalists (when we're on our game), have the wonderful benefit of audience 'anticipation' - a powerful force that can extend the attention span, carrying it through moments of less stimulation (but only to a certain extent).
This is why, for instance, I always urge performers to continue to engage the audience with some kind of compelling stimulus (whether that be an ongoing narrative, video, or even a simple joke) through any boring procedural activity.

Seasoned performers tend to know this, intuitively (another misunderstood and often misrepresented process).

e
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Yes- we call it "avoiding dead time." (Except in those instances in which just standing there and doing nothing is used as a theatrical device to elicit a specific response.)
Zombie Magic
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Mostly "acts" go on there to get a promo tape.

Seasoned Professionals would never have a problem with the time constraints. Give Kreskin 90 seconds and he'd blow the audinece away.
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Yes, and he'd still have time to tell you how many celebrity friends he has, how many books he reads each night, and how many times he was on the Johnny Carson show!
Oh, and he might even play a bar or two on the piano!

Just kidding. I agree, seasoned pro's like Kreskin could do plenty in 90 seconds..
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
Martin Pulman
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I recently watched the episode of the Kreskin show on YouTube with the Penthouse Pets!?!

Boy, has the world changed!
Zombie Magic
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I met Kreskin when I was a kid in New York City. He was VERY kind to everyone in the group.

Here he is, being brilliant in a format that isn't he easy to cook in:

http://youtu.be/WQNbpaQv5dE?t=48s
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