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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Is Amazement correlated with Actual Odds? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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George Hunter
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While an effect or an act substantially stands or falls on performance, I need to side with Martin. One reason is that ANY art is never ALL about any one thing, even performance.

To be specific, some of the songs on the XM all-Elvis channel are not worth listening to; even Elvis couldn't pass a mutt off as a collie. Again, the best movie actors insist on reading the script before signing the contract; they know that much depends on the plot and the script and the director and the music and other variables. Yet again, there are MANY published and marketed effects that Osterlind, Cassidy, or Maven would never welcome into their act, even to show they could pull it off.

"It's ALL about performance" is fine as a slogan, but hard to defend as a theory.

George
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On Nov 15, 2014, Cervier wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 15, 2014, genius wrote:
The question: Is Amazement correlated with Odds?
(...)
And remember, we are talking about actual odds and not perceived odds.


What??? Smile

Who's supposed to ba amazed? I'd say its the audience. And what odds are they dealing with, if not "perceived odds"???
And how could be real odds (remember they're 100%...) be amazing to anyone???

The sight of slaughtered logic is ghastly... Smile Smile


That's the same sort of logic the OP has used since he first arrived here last month. I fear he still doesn't "get it." And I've got no idea why he just went right back to describing ACAAN as 1 in 52 as if the other extremely lengthy threads on this never existed at all.

Maybe this simple example will illustrate the point. If you have a deck of cards consisting of fifty-two Four or Clubs, and you shuffle those cards and spread them face down all over the table, and then have a participant toss a coin into the air so it will land on the cards, what are the REAL odds that it will land on a Four of Clubs? Since the participant believes the cards are all different, what are the apparent odds TO HIM- EVEN IF HE IS A MATHEMATICIAN?

The OP's insistence on providing real odds would require him to expose the trick.
Slim King
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Quote:
On Nov 15, 2014, genius wrote:
I'd love to get your thoughts on this topic. The question: Is Amazement correlated with Odds, for any particular effect ? In other words, if you perform an effect that has 50-50 odds (coin in which hand), that can be amazing. But, what if you do an effect that is 1 in 3 (3 card monte, for example)? Is that more amazing? What about something like Fair Play by Steve Haynes, with a 1 in 6 probability? Or an acaan with 1 in 52 odds---even more amazing? How about, using CUPP by Cesaral to do something that can be 1 in a million, or more? Will the spectator NECESSARILY be amazed more by CUPP than by any of the other effects, (assuming the presentation and all else is equal and that you are doing just one effect) because of the odds?

And remember, we are talking about actual odds and not perceived odds. Thanks!

Mindblowingly,
Charles

No...
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JayFredericks
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Like a spectator is even thinking of odds when watching a performance. How droll.
JayFredericks
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Ohh and I like how you talk about 'actual odds'...as if there were ANY odds.
MVoss
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Short answer: http://www.starwarsxwing.com/wp-content/......solo.jpg

Sorry, I had to.

Think about this, the odds of a person being able to make matter literally vanish from ones hand is impossible, and yet, if you show a simple vanish to an adult they will generally put on a forced smile and walk away. So odds are not directly correlated to amazement.

Without good performance, it lacks entertainment value. I've seen some really talented and technically accurate accountants, but I swear if someone asked me to watch them work for an hour you'd have to chain me into the seat.

That isn't to say the effects themselves aren't important. The truth is, good performance art, especially of the technical variety, requires a balance of many skills, and no one is directly responsible for amazement, because to say that would be reductionist to the extreme. Rather, it is when all the elements come together, when everything is right, that we are most moved.
vratkins
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Getting back to the OP's question, I'd say not necessarily. I know the performer is important, but I'd like to break that down a little more. Years ago I watched the Amazing Kreskin, and I wondered why I was as impressed when he got a one out of three choice correct as I was with his audience thought reading. My thoughts were that he was supremely confident in the 50:50 odds effects, conveying the conviction that it was ESP, not luck. I was impressed by the fact that it was ESP, not that it was hard. Another way he made the effect more impressive is like Lar said; increasing the risk factor. I was on the edge of my seat when he risked burning a $100 bill, even though the odds were only 1 in 3. That's where the performer comes in. If they act like it's important, that is, sell it, then the audience will accept it as important.
Not that I know how to do that.
Regards,
Victor
Trickstar
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Quote:
On Nov 15, 2014, genius wrote:
I'd love to get your thoughts on this topic. The question: Is Amazement correlated with Odds, for any particular effect ? In other words, if you perform an effect that has 50-50 odds (coin in which hand), that can be amazing. But, what if you do an effect that is 1 in 3 (3 card monte, for example)? Is that more amazing? What about something like Fair Play by Steve Haynes, with a 1 in 6 probability? Or an acaan with 1 in 52 odds---even more amazing? How about, using CUPP by Cesaral to do something that can be 1 in a million, or more? Will the spectator NECESSARILY be amazed more by CUPP than by any of the other effects, (assuming the presentation and all else is equal and that you are doing just one effect) because of the odds?

And remember, we are talking about actual odds and not perceived odds. Thanks!

Mindblowingly,
Charles


Hey genius, here is a link to an article called Accurate Methods for the Statistics of Surprise and Coincidence... obviously it's not about performance of mentalism effects but (with a name like genius)there may be something I there that could help you with your thinking. It's been quite a few years since I read this and I can't actually remember why I did in the first place but I do remember there being a few nuggets buried in amongst the blah blah.

http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/J93-1003
Martin Pulman
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In certain circumstances 50-50 odds could be the most engrossing, life-altering experience you have ever witnessed.

Imagine someone brings a ticking bomb on stage and says he has to cut either the red or blue wire to stop it exploding - but he doesn't know which. Now madam, please choose red or blue. Whatever you say will be the wire I cut...
Ken Dyne
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Could be it related to how much they 'care'? Do they care?
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Martin Pulman
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I think "how much they care" is at the heart of all art.
NeilMcCauley
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A few good examples of 50/50 or near 50/50 odds (as perceived by the volunteer) in Derren Brown performances (from his early TV shows):

- Pound coin in hand
- Yes/No cards with Stephen Merchant
- Three envelopes game with the psychology students
- Three ring box game at Blackpool pleasure beach

All great effects in his hands, yet potentially very bland if performed by an inferior mentalist.
Magic.Maddy
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I'm sure this has already been mentioned, but in my mind, it all come down to presentation.

In a show of mine I slowly build up the odds throughout the show. This gets increasingly more and more affective for the audience because I present it in such a way. I keep allowing the "challenges" to have more and more room for error.

So to me, it can be the same reaction, or it can be "more impressive" all based on how it is presented in your show.
CThomas
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Not only can high-probability events (50/50) be exciting, but very low-probability events can be completely uninteresting. Imagine an ideal geometrical world where you have a perfect circle. Its circumference will of course have infinitely many points around it. Imagine placing an ideal spinner in the middle of the circle, which you can spin around and it will stop pointing at one point along the circumference of the circle with a truly random outcome. If you spin the spinner, the odds that it will land on any particular point is zero (in light of the infinite number of alternatives along the continuum of points). But if you spin the spinner then you are actually guaranteed to produce an event of probability zero, because the spinner is guaranteed to stop somewhere. Yet nobody would view the production of that very-low probability event as surprising or entertaining. So I guess I agree with others who have said that probability is unlikely to determine the degree of interest.
Slim King
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Robert Neale said I should bet them $100 on the 50/50 bet ... Brings in a little more emotion!!!!! Smile Smile
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Tony Iacoviello
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Quote:
On Nov 16, 2014, Slim King wrote:
Robert Neale said I should bet them $100 on the 50/50 bet ... Brings in a little more emotion!!!!! Smile Smile


Charles Gauci uses this line a lot.
I watched him use ot over and over when he was in Boston at the SAM National Convention years ago.
It worked for him, he always had interest.

For me, it does not fit. It may just be the way I was brought up, but it comes across as crass and lowbrow to me.

Tony
sandsjr
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Quote:
On Nov 16, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
I think "how much they care" is at the heart of all art.


Exactly.

I'll add, "What makes them care?" Maybe the secret lies in the answer to these...

What's at stake?

What's the "real" (perceived) gain?
What's the "real" (perceived) loss?
Who's to gain?
Who's to lose?

Take Derren Brown's YES/NO effect mentioned above. The premise is, from what I understand, the greedy cheapskate loses a 50/50 odds game to the brilliant and likable mentalist. (I don't know Stephen Merchant and how he is perceived in real life but the piece left me with the previous impression) The point is, there's the sense of a "real" story created there. How much they "care" has to do with how deeply they connect with the story.

I'm not familiar with the other DB effects mentioned above, but love the way he gets people vested in what he's doing.

There are a lot of good things to think about in this thread.
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