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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » What does the audience want to see? (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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miistermagico
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According Garret Thomas in his explanation of thought, Inside the Mind of Garret Thomas DVD volume 2, Derren Brown says the audience wants to see you do mentalism more than they want to see you give the result.
nonprofitmagic
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In other words, process is key!

Kevin
WDavis
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I disagree. Process is not key! Proper presentation of the process is . People want to be walked thru, but walk them thru in away that makes it seem they know whats going on in a way that fits your premise/abitlity. This way they don't have to think about it.

if process was key, then everyone would be entertained by calculation based effects. But in the end no one is entertained by math effects that go like this:

ok think of a number add the digits together to get a single digit. do you have that? great, now take the derivative of that number and write it down so we can keep everyone honest.

Ready?

ok the number you wrote down is zero, right? of course, I knew the answer because there was zero chance of this being entertaining.

-Walter
miistermagico
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Watch Derren Brown's Evening of Wonder on youtube. See a master at work.
saysold1
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Quote:
On Jan 14, 2016, WDavis wrote:
I disagree. Process is not key! Proper presentation of the process is . People want to be walked thru, but walk them thru in away that makes it seem they know whats going on in a way that fits your premise/abitlity. This way they don't have to think about it.

if process was key, then everyone would be entertained by calculation based effects. But in the end no one is entertained by math effects that go like this:

ok think of a number add the digits together to get a single digit. do you have that? great, now take the derivative of that number and write it down so we can keep everyone honest.

Ready?

ok the number you wrote down is zero, right? of course, I knew the answer because there was zero chance of this being entertaining.

-Walter


I disagree with your disagreement.

You are splitting hairs - which sounds impressive.

The process is surely the key - but the key is making the process interesting.
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WDavis
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, saysold1 wrote:

The process is surely the key - but the key is making the process interesting.


It's fine if you disagree, but I don't see how it is splitting hairs. Could you explain, because what you follow up by saying and I quoted above doesn't appear to make logical sense.

As I understand what you wrote:
If
Process = key
And
Key = make process interesting
Then
Key <> process

So how can the key be make the process interesting if the key is the process as you stated above?

I see these as two separate and distinct components.

As the process of mind reading is composed of the mechanics or process of acquiring the information and then conveying it back to the audience. As I understood the OP the audience doesn't care you know the information, but rather how you knew it.

I think it is reversed, based on my own experience and written works of Nelson, CL Boarde, George Anderson, the audience doesn't care how you know but rather you did know and can answer their questions. (My work is predominately q&a)

Thanks for clarifying
Walter
Michael Zarek
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, WDavis wrote:


So how can the key be make the process interesting if the key is the process as you stated above?

Walter


The key to getting a driver's license is that you have to be able to drive.
The fact that you have to drive WELL, is implied.
Reader discretion is advised.
Tmayer
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, Michael Zarek wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, WDavis wrote:


So how can the key be make the process interesting if the key is the process as you stated above?

Walter


The key to getting a driver's license is that you have to be able to drive.
The fact that you have to drive WELL, is implied.


Well, just being able to drive is not the key to getting a license.
The key would to be able to drive well enough to pass your driving exam.
Michael Zarek
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, Tmayer wrote:


The key to getting a driver's license is that you have to be able to drive.
The fact that you have to drive WELL, is implied.

Well, just being able to drive is not the key to getting a license.
The key would to be able to drive well enough to pass your driving exam.


You literally just repeated what I wrote...
Also, who cares?

Process is important, let's stop at that.
Reader discretion is advised.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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As the oft-repeated quote says, "It's the journey, not the destination."
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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WDavis
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, Michael Zarek wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, WDavis wrote:


So how can the key be make the process interesting if the key is the process as you stated above?

Walter


The key to getting a driver's license is that you have to be able to drive.
The fact that you have to drive WELL, is implied.


Michael,

Thank you for trying to clarify. While I see where you are trying to go with the analogy, it doesn't fully work as it is a circular argument.
What helped to understand was the word implied. Unfortunately, people as a whole, are inherently lazy with thought and unless we are specifically told something in clear direct language, implied doesn't come across. If implying was an effective means to communicate men would always understand their wives/girlfriends and the expression oft said by women of "I shouldn't have to tell him, he should know" wouldn't exist.

Again thank you for your reply.

Phil,

I'm not disagreeing that it is the journey, or more specifically from an entertainers perspective, the emotional journey of the participant thru the story arch,

What I am disagreeing with is the process is the most important part. I find the proper presentation of a rationale of what happened (whether the actual process occurring or not) that allows sufficient support to the performers claim, is most important.

Again let me clarify the reading minds process consists of 2 main parts: get their information and reveal their information.
If process was king then presentation wouldn't matter, but it is the presentation of the process that makes or breaks it.

what I am trying to clarify for people is:

-the what you are doing: mechanics or process
-And the how you are doing: packaging or presentation of the process

Are not the same thing.

Walter
Chris K
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
As the oft-repeated quote says, "It's the journey, not the destination."


What's a journey without a destination? Seriously. That's a common question to introduce philosophical arguments (at least in my experience). The interesting thing is the answer differs on the type of philosophical argument you want to try.

If you go all Plato on it, then the journey itself is a thing, the destination is of less importance than understanding the nature of the journey. The journey is flawed however as it is only an approximation of what a "journey" is. Think shadows and Plato's Cave. That's what the platitude Philemon Vanderbeck (who I respect greatly, FYI) repeated above gets at, I think.

One other example would be if you go all Hundred Schools of Thought (Master Gongsun Long style) where the destination is what defines the journey. A journey to Agrabah is not a journey, by this line of thought ("A white horse is not a horse" goes the original arugment/paradox). This is in opposition to the Plato school of thought.

So, saying something like "It's not the destination, it's the journey" is, in my opinion, less than helpful. Same can be said about almost all cliches and quotes that completely ignore context. I mean, they sound good, and maybe they mean something to you, but actual critical thought shows why they are essentially just Barnum Statements. Please note, this is just my opinion but I didn't agree with the implications of the quote and wanted to explain why. I am FINE not agreeing with everything and I reserve to change my mind at a moment's notice.

So now that I made such a big deal about disagreeing with the quote, do I actually have anything constructive to add? I hope so and I also hope people disagree with me, healthy conversations tend to advance fields (think science or medicine and compare the advances there versus the advances in, let's say, theater <-- purposeful poor analogy to get people riled up).

In the end, people want to see something they care about. A journey without context is irrelevant to them and they won't be interested. The journey to the Colorado Supermax prison is probably very pretty and scenic but I bet you most people making that trip don't notice it (or notice it as much as they should/could). This is why the phrase "journey not destination" seems like total rubbish to me. The destination not only defines the path of the journey but how one interacts with that journey. What do people want to see? They want to see something new, interesting, maybe even challenging. They want to feel something. The journey alone doesn't do that.

All that being said, the biggest deficiency I have every seen is rushing to the climax of an effect, which may seen contradictory to the above, but only to those whose lives are defined in a binary fashion (either it's all journey or all destination). However, and I know I might get heat for this but... the new thing that I've seen recently is a huge, drawn-out presentation (aka journey) with a weak destination. I personally like to see them but as I've seen more magic/mentalism on TV with family and friends, it's become obvious that they get bored and/or are so underwhelmed at the end of a long trick that it falls completely flat.

What do audiences want? To be entertained. Look at the variety of movies that do successfully, some all action, some all dialogue, for example. Be entertaining. Maybe it means a long set-up, maybe it means saying "Think of any 3 digit number, now look at the card you've been holding in your hand".

BE... ENTERTAINING...

And disagree with me. Please.

Good luck,
Lem
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I think it might help if we were all on the same page as to what the things are that are being discussed. I apologise in advance if this post comes across as patronising... it isn't meant to be, it's just an attempt to clarify things to make the discussion easier to have and follow.

It sounds like two (or even three) different things, the process and the procedure (and the presentation), are being talked about within this thread as if they are the same things.

The process and the procedure are two different things.

The procedure is what you physically do.

It is unfortunately the case that, often, mentalism suffers from the procedure being a burden on the overall effect or routine. Ideally the procedure ought to be entertaining and engaging and act to enhance, embellish and augment the end result.

The process is the mechanism by which the effect supposedly gets achieved.

The process can be; either implied... such as when the veins on the performers head bulge from the effort of trying to summon up their otherworldly power, or when the spectators are asked to visualise what they are thinking of on a TV screen like a projection of their mind for the mentalist to apparently somehow themselves see.... But the process can also be explicit, such as when the subliminal cues and clues are revealed that have apparently guided the assisting spectator(s) to their inevitable outcome... or when the mentalist points out the apparent tells of a spectator as they respond to the mentalists questions.

The process tends to be inherently interesting to an audience because it is mysterious or non-obvious in its nature.

The procedure, by contrast, tends to often be inherently dull as it often requires a series of steps to be carried out that don't have any pay off until the effect's denouement. There's often no natural draw of interest for the audience by the procedure, so it has to actively be made interesting and engaging by the mentalist. (through the presentation)

If the process is ignored by the mentalist and if it isn't brought into the picture, the mentalist is very likely missing out on a large chunk of potential by which they might additionally entertain their audience. Many mentalists find that, for the audience, the process is the most interesting and hence entertaining aspect of what a mentalist does.

And, if the, often, inherently dull nature of much of the procedure in mentalism isn't actively made interesting and entertaining it can adversely impact on the potential entertainment and astonishment of a routine or effect.

The manner, means and dressing by which the mentalist makes the procedure interesting and engaging and the way they give expression to the process... is the presentation.

Process, procedure and presentation.

Off you go. Smile
Neal Austin

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Tom Cutts
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, WDavis wrote:
If
Process = key
And
Key = make process interesting
Then
Key <> process

To be utterly encased in logic...
Process = Key
Key = make Process interesting.
Ergo:
Process = make Process interesting

There is no Process without it being interesting. This simplification of an elaborate task, the performance of Mentalism, is easily misinterpreted to mean that all process is inherently interesting. It is not.

Equally, it is easily misinterpreted to mean that any interesting process which one can present is good. It is not. There are many "interesting" ways in which an actor can walk across a stage. It is the actor's job to choose a way which is congruent with, and does not interrupt, the play; unless that is his intention. It is the actor's job to choose a way which is congruent with and does not interrupt the illusion of the character he is playing, unless that is his purposeful intention.

What I see many implying here is basically, "Display no Process which is not interesting."

What I see Walter emphatically stating is that such a statement stops far too short. It makes no mention of the character being displayed and the story being told; all things which rigidly define the actions one should take and any process one should display should one wish to be a credible Mentalist.
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What the audience wants to see depends on the expectations you have set for them. Entertainment will always be a key. If you say you read minds, then you better do so in an entertaining way. You must take them on a ride, drag them through some emotions, and occasionally surprised them.

There is no one answer that will suffice the question of, "What does the audience want to see", because each show is different.

As with ANY show, character, plot, method, blocking, technical skill, plausibility, production value, etc.... all come together to create a pleasurable experience for the audience.

There is no ONE answer.
Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism 2011
The Annemann Award for Menatalism 2016
Author of "Protoplasm" Close-up Mentalism
Tmayer
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, Michael Zarek wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, Tmayer wrote:


The key to getting a driver's license is that you have to be able to drive.
The fact that you have to drive WELL, is implied.

Well, just being able to drive is not the key to getting a license.
The key would to be able to drive well enough to pass your driving exam.


You literally just repeated what I wrote...
Also, who cares?

Process is important, let's stop at that.


Actually, I didn't repeat what you said because I included your implication into my statement. When explaining the "key" to something, its better not to imply the most important part.
nonprofitmagic
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What comes first? The proper presentation or the process to get to that proper presentation?

Yes, process is key!

Kevin

Quote:
On Jan 14, 2016, WDavis wrote:
I disagree. Process is not key! Proper presentation of the process is . People want to be walked thru, but walk them thru in away that makes it seem they know whats going on in a way that fits your premise/abitlity. This way they don't have to think about it.

if process was key, then everyone would be entertained by calculation based effects. But in the end no one is entertained by math effects that go like this:

ok think of a number add the digits together to get a single digit. do you have that? great, now take the derivative of that number and write it down so we can keep everyone honest.

Ready?

ok the number you wrote down is zero, right? of course, I knew the answer because there was zero chance of this being entertaining.

-Walter
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Visual effects ! IMHO

They'll remember more about a dance group/dog act/juggler etc, than magic...

~G
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
WDavis
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, nonprofitmagic wrote:
What comes first? The proper presentation or the process to get to that proper presentation?

Yes, process is key!

Kevin


First is like to thank everyone who responded to me both publicly and privately.
Especially sealegs.

I was trying to express my thoughts using someone else's definitions and framework to explain - that almost never works.

So to better explain my thoughts and answer Kevin's quote above, I will use a framework to outline that I understand and I hope you do too.

First, I believe all business decisions boils down to the P's
Policy
Process
Procedures

So how does this flow into mentalism and entertainment?

Policy is defined as the guidelines, rules and limitations imposed on the performer. This includes the premise of character as the character of the performer and a defined scope/ability, talents, beliefs, etc will limit or permit the performer to effictively be.
The procedure (thank you sealegs for nudging me back to my core) is the step by step actions to achieve a specific outcome.
The process is the series of stops along the way to get to the outcome. The analogy of a map fits here as the process is the map of the procedures to get to the outcome.

What I see from many performers is a focus on procedure (defined above) and a convoluted process.

So to answer Kevin,

Policy should come first, know your rules of engagement, character premise limits, etc.

This policy should govern the process and procedures.

For example, if someone has a physical limitation where s/he can't squeeze the hand with any strength , a coin bending routine may not be feasible. The reverse is true as well, it may be the handicap that provides the ability - like rain man. But either way the policy defined what could and couldn't be done.

After the policy is created.
The process is mapped out. This will highlight how efficient and organized a flow is to the outcome. Unnecessary steps can be removed and gaps and policy breaches can be identified.

Once this is mapped out in a logical sequence, procedures are put in place.

Then once the procedures are in place, they are compared to the policy
Do the procedures fit within the policy?
If they do compare them to the process map.
Do they line up? Are the procedures efficient and organized in a natural flow.
If they do not redo the process map and procedures. If they do great now test it to see if the outcome generated is worth it.
If it is great, if it isn't find out where the breakdown was.
And redo. The outcome has to be worth the work or to use an expression of a good friend "the juice better be worth the squeeze"

Kevin the answer is the creation of the policy for the performer that comes first. It is the policy that is key (for me atleast)

-Walter
nonprofitmagic
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I appreciate your detailed thoughts. I am saying that process is INHERENT to everything we do.

There has to be a process in establishing policy. There is a planning process (companies call this "strategic planning") that precedes policy. One must craft a mission, vision, goals, etc. A process is required for this.

As such, process is key!

Kevin

Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, WDavis wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 15, 2016, nonprofitmagic wrote:
What comes first? The proper presentation or the process to get to that proper presentation?

Yes, process is key!

Kevin


First is like to thank everyone who responded to me both publicly and privately.
Especially sealegs.

I was trying to express my thoughts using someone else's definitions and framework to explain - that almost never works.

So to better explain my thoughts and answer Kevin's quote above, I will use a framework to outline that I understand and I hope you do too.

First, I believe all business decisions boils down to the P's
Policy
Process
Procedures

So how does this flow into mentalism and entertainment?

Policy is defined as the guidelines, rules and limitations imposed on the performer. This includes the premise of character as the character of the performer and a defined scope/ability, talents, beliefs, etc will limit or permit the performer to effictively be.
The procedure (thank you sealegs for nudging me back to my core) is the step by step actions to achieve a specific outcome.
The process is the series of stops along the way to get to the outcome. The analogy of a map fits here as the process is the map of the procedures to get to the outcome.

What I see from many performers is a focus on procedure (defined above) and a convoluted process.

So to answer Kevin,

Policy should come first, know your rules of engagement, character premise limits, etc.

This policy should govern the process and procedures.

For example, if someone has a physical limitation where s/he can't squeeze the hand with any strength , a coin bending routine may not be feasible. The reverse is true as well, it may be the handicap that provides the ability - like rain man. But either way the policy defined what could and couldn't be done.

After the policy is created.
The process is mapped out. This will highlight how efficient and organized a flow is to the outcome. Unnecessary steps can be removed and gaps and policy breaches can be identified.

Once this is mapped out in a logical sequence, procedures are put in place.

Then once the procedures are in place, they are compared to the policy
Do the procedures fit within the policy?
If they do compare them to the process map.
Do they line up? Are the procedures efficient and organized in a natural flow.
If they do not redo the process map and procedures. If they do great now test it to see if the outcome generated is worth it.
If it is great, if it isn't find out where the breakdown was.
And redo. The outcome has to be worth the work or to use an expression of a good friend "the juice better be worth the squeeze"

Kevin the answer is the creation of the policy for the performer that comes first. It is the policy that is key (for me atleast)

-Walter
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