Saturday Night Contest : What You Think

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The Dark Angel, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Now, I'd like to try and clarify some of what steerpike was trying to get at (and give my own opinion), because I completely agree with what he was getting at, and would prefer if this didn't end on such a bad note. So. First off, I really appreciate that you guy's did finally come here, and respond to this in full. Thank you.

    I want to start off by saying that I think that we all have the same goal in mind. Developing the community(in other words, to advance the art of magic...). It can be developed in two ways, by bringing more people to the sight, or by strengthening the community already here. We can go ahead and ignore the first point, as the only people that even know these contests exist are those that are already in the community in some form or another. Now, you might say that having such a contest may attract people within the community to compete that would not have otherwise. While this is true, it is also irrelevant. I will explain myself later on. For now, let's take a look at point number two.

    So how can we develop the community by strengthening it, in the context of contest. Well, holding such contests provides you with two means of motivation: competitive drive and winning the prize. I state these as separate, because in one it is the idea of beating your fellow competitors thats important, while in the other its the idea of earning the prize. These motivators can be used to develop the community in really any way desired, whether its trying to get people more involved in cardistry, photography, cinematography, or just plain old magic. They can be used as a way of getting people to show off old skills, create new ones, or just keep practicing.

    Now, as you guys have stated, you have little interest in just having a couple of the older more experienced magicians going in and just wrecking the competition, which I agree with. With that in mind, contests of old skills (best pass, best double, best spring, etc) are seemingly not the best. However, they do inspire those that couldn't quite compete when the contest was posted. For example, very early on in my time as a magician, I saw a contest for double lifts. I could not believe the skill level of my fellow magicians, until then it had been: there's the pros, who are flawless, and then there are the underlings who just keep on practicing forever and ever. This contest showed me the variance in skill; the different stages of development that went into having a killer double lift. It inspired me. So these types of contests certainly have merit, although they are not optimal for development, as so many members of the community either already have these skills, or just feel so out of touch with it its not even worth trying. (a magician watching a flourishing competition, or a having a competition on gambling sleights, etc).

    The next type of contest i'd like to address are lotto's. Here is where I explain my earlier assertion. You say that lotto's are beneficial, as they appeal to a large variety of people. The proof for this being the hundreds of entrants. This is absolutely true. However, it in absolutely no way develops anyone. This is because of a couple of factors. Firstly, the winner is entirely up to chance. Luck. The natural extension of this, is that there is no competition between members. Instead of competing with each other, you are pitting yourself against lady luck. In other words, hoping you get lucky. So this contest entirely eliminates half of the motivation these contests are supposed to provide. Secondly, these contests have no barrier to entry. This is accomplished by removing all barriers/obstacles whatsoever. The only requirement to compete is a working knowledge of english (not even fluency) and a keyboard. Oh and about 5 seconds of time. The natural extension of needing no skill to compete, is that no skill is used. It does not require creativity, or knowledge of magic, photography, flourishing, cinematography or any other skill that contributes to this community. And if not a single one of those things is being used, they sure as heck are not being developed. The only possible argument I could imagine for the pros of lotto's, is that they bring the community together. Well, look at how well that worked out. If you think steerpike and I are a small majority, well to put it simply your not involved enough with the community. Many on here share our feelings. And that means there are gaps and discord being created within the community, obviously not something you want.

    Finally we get to the good stuff, creative competition. You say that you want low barriers to entry, and to develop the community, and to have fun, and to develop skills within the community, and to get people excited, and to get people involved, and every other good thing you could want out of a contest. Creative contests involve all of that. The only general requirement is a functioning brain, and time. Creative contests at this level could consist of single deck displays, essays, trying to name an effect or explain how one was done. I think this is a little too low of a barrier, but it is here nonetheless, and is a thousand times better than a lotto contest of the same barriers to entry, as it actually develops each and every contestant. It requires them to think, to create.
    The next level up would be where I really think your focus should be. Creative contests which require a working knowledge of some skill. Here is where most of the great contests lie. Any contest involved in creating an effect, or creating your own way of accomplishing an action, or flourishing, or photography, or video editing, or presentation, or any other number of skills that you would like to see in the community, fits in here. You talk about wanting to appeal to a wide variety of people, well you can literally appeal to any skill set within the community using creative contests. The hardest part about creative contests, is coming up with good ideas. Well, we got you covered, with at least 500 different ideas just sitting in this thread. The next hardest part is finding someone to judge such a contest. While I fully understand and empathize with the challenge that may present, an elegant solution would be to create the contest as a poll, wherein the community gets to vote on whose entry was the best. It wouldn't always produce accurate results, but it would give very unquestionable and agreed upon results. Not only that, but it would give you guys an invaluable resource for seeing the interests and opinions of your community. Finally, imagine how much more involvement you would have as random people casting their vote, vs just having your contestants. I would imagine that you might even beat the lotto's in involvement. People love to judge.

    I fully understand the idea that these contests are just supposed to be for the fun of it, but you guys have to appreciate what an insanely cool opportunity you have here. If you guys put the time and effort into this that it needs, I think it would far surpass the wire or the forums in terms of community development. I base this assumption on all of human history, wherein competition, more than any other factor, drove man to develop themselves. It is just painful to see such an opportunity being treated with such nonchalance. I really hope that you guys can take some stuff away from reading this, as I took a lot away from writing it. And gave a lot too. If you want clarification on anything, just say so. I tried to keep my points short haha.


    Edit: I started typing this while you guys we're in the middle of arguing, I feel a little silly now that its resolved but I spent all this time writing... lol.
  2. I like that idea a lot Pav. Turning a move from one field to another. It'd be interesting to see where people draw the line between magic and flourishing.
  3. I would argue that my track record shows I do get results, though usually only when the person I'm criticizing accepts that it's nothing personal. That said, I never claimed I wasn't difficult to work with. One of the reasons I bust my balls to get useful content into any community I join is specifically because I'm hard to like. Hell, that content is probably the only reason I haven't been banned hard enough to leave a crater.

    I also stand by my point that I have every right to be pissed off at the implication that I know nothing about digital photography, especially considering the sort of feedback I've given so many people. For all the talk that I'm prickly and negative, to have that come up was a slap in the face.

    Part of my frustration comes from the fact that I want the contests to be better because I like watching good magic. And yet I'm being told that my lack of participation in them is me being negative and how I would have so much more fun if I just lightened up and participated. Yeah, no. This gives me the feeling that every word I said was ignored, or at least they never took it seriously. I like to watch well done card magic, but I don't like to do it anymore. It's not fun for me. And when I say this, it somehow means I'm being negative and unreasonable?

    Beyond that, it makes me feel like I'm being sold to. I hate that feeling. Hate it! It triggers a gut-level Pavlovian reaction and a little devil appears on my shoulder telling me to call someone words that certainly would never make it past the swear filter in any language. If I walk into a store and a sales rep gives me the hard sell, that's the fastest way to make sure I walk out and never shop there again. That's not a hypothetical, that's actually happened. And until this point, I was operating under the assumption that was true for most people. Given that I seem to be alone in this case however, I guess I was mistaken and it's just my pride and introversion talking.

    So from my perspective, I've been belittled as an artist, am getting the hard sell on contests that I don't find any fun in participating directly in for personal reasons, and am being called too negative for not liking it. The sardonic comments are how I naturally diffuse my own temper when I've been insulted. That's why I'm giving up the ghost on this particular argument. There's nothing to gain and I'm better off packing it in before I get sufficiently enraged to say something I'll regret.
  4. Glad everything is figured out! Forward and upward! And on that note...

    Does this count?

  5. Steerpike, honestly man, I don't even know what's being said or debated in your last post. "Feel like I'm being sold to" - sold what? Free prizes - and fun? To be clear: if you want to participate in a contest, do. If you don't, don't. We're totally cool with either. These are contests we present weekly to have fun, learn a little, and maybe - sometimes - stir up some inspiration and creativity. Your feedback in this thread has been acknowledge and appreciated - thanks for it. But please - let's leave it at that and allow this thread to return back to it's purpose - and let the rest, rest - starting now.

    Tyler, YES! You hit the nail on the head. For us, it's a balance of keeping contest topics eclectic, fun, and appealing to a wide variety of interests: beginners, intermediate, advanced, cards, coins, cardistry, and everything in between. Finding that sweet spot, of course, means that not every contest will appeal to every member. That's alright - but as you mentioned, it's important that we maintain a healthy balance of fun and serious, easy and difficult, etc. We're committed to doing that, as we always have been - and we'll continue seeking inspiration from this thread and the whole community.

    Andrei - haha - YES! I think that would absolutely be a constructive, intellectual contest subject! ;)
  6. And that's why I said I'm giving up.

    But fine. You want constructive? I'm sick as a dog right now, can't leave the house, and have time to kill. I'm just going to type whatever enters into my diseased skull and see what comes out. I'll even listen to Mr. Blue Sky by ELO the whole time to keep myself from going into Slavic grandfather mode, just for you guys.

    Next time you release a mental magic product, don't do a lottery. The connection to psychic illusions is tenuous at best. Random chance is not the same as telepathy/precognizance and the whole idea is to avoid the appearance of random chance. Enough misses to avoid looking like it's completely set up, but more hits than random chance could account for. The sweet spot is somewhere in the 80% range if you're a pure mentalist.

    The idea of telepathy through the internet is still a rather under-explored concept and requires a level of expertise so thorough I'm willing to say right now that Craig is probably the only one of us prepared to effectively break that ground if he chose to do so. So asking people to invent internet-based telepathy effects is off the table. The barrier to entry is too high because it would require years of experience in mentalism that most of your target audience just aren't going to have. You'd get maybe three entries, and that's assuming the mentalists here found the incentive, which is never guaranteed.

    A more ideal solution would be to move away from method and more toward thematic presentation. It gives more flexibility in terms of mechanics and puts the focus instead on raw creativity. Let's say hypothetically that we pick the theme of drawing duplication. There's a number of different ways to play it. Spiritualism, synchronicity, automatic writing... Perhaps have the spectator grip the wrist of your writing hand and visualize their drawing as begin to roughly recreate it. This requires people to show more personality as in order to avoid any narrative dissonance they would have to find a presentation that fits with the persona they project. A human lie detector type performer isn't going to have his hand guided by ghosts after all.

    This is still a problem I had with Jim Callahan on Phenomenon. Criss Angel made it clear he was going to get on anyone's case using ghosts as their theme. Callahan went ahead anyway with acting that makes Nicolas Cage look like Paul Giamotti and using his spirit guide to reveal an object hidden in a box, which if you stop and think about it is a little bit of an underwhelming use of such a talent. It came across that Callahan was deliberately baiting Angel to create a fight that would play well for the cameras. Not a dumb idea per se. I of all people should know that egomaniacs can't resist rising to the bait when they've issued a challenge. But not terribly well-executed either because it looked like what it actually was.

    I digress. If not magic/mentalism strictly speaking, then something that requires a little mental gymnastics. Riddles are a staple of myth and fantasy. From the riddle of the sphinx, to the contest of wits between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum, to more D&D adventures than can be counted. Obviously setting this up in a way that would actually be feasible would take a little more infrastructure than normal. Difficult but not impossible. Think about the reward for this a second. And I'm not talking material prizes either. Think about that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment of being the one who cracked a mind-bending riddle. That's a good feeling that's hard to duplicate.

    Imagine if you will the winner of such a contest getting to boast about being the local riddle master. In fact, to make a point, I placed a riddle within this paragraph somewhere. To solve it, you have to look within to go from visualizing yourself as a problem solver to actually getting that new image.

    Take a look at TeeDee's thread about creating a book club thread. Aside from the fact that he's totally right and you should listen to him, it's true that a lot of guys here don't read many books and that's slowing them down. So make one of the contests a trivia contest, tracking down a piece of lore or information from a classic book that's also not too difficult to find. Obviously can't do really obscure stuff or anything that's out of print and difficult to find. Not many people are going to go hunting for Val Andrews manuscripts on eBay. But everyone should own a copy of Mark Wilson's. Hell, make it a book test of some variety. You could even make it like a reverse book test, telling people the word, and either it's place on the page or the page number, and people have to name the book where that's seen. I don't know, just spitballing.
  7. First and foremost, thank you to theory11 for hosting these contests every week - I love them. So much fun being a part!

    One idea, at least for me - would be some sort of collaborative SNC, where we have to work TOGETHER to do something. Maybe that's in teams, or maybe that's with a friend - but I like the idea of working together to pursue a challenge. One of my favorite contests was the Cardistry Collaboration Contests, so more things like that would be great.
  8. It just occurred to me that if the past couple pages are any indication, one criticism of my first idea in my previous post is that this would require the contestants to actually record themselves with at least one spectator, that it would have to be an actual performance to work. And yes, we've established that the point of these contests is supposed to be for fun. But if performing magic and mentalism, otherwise known as performance arts, for other people isn't fun for you...
    Then some of the failures to communicate I've been having with magicians over the last couple of years suddenly make more sense. Ironically, it makes more sense, but it also raises further questions. It's like a David Lynch movie. Every revelation leads me further down a very confusing rabbit hole.

    Just me?
  9. I don't know, maybe somebody said this before, but I like an idea of best variation of snap change. I think a lot of people have their own variations
  10. #530 EMsabirin, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2013
    how to SNC next week make false cut
  11. Great ideas everyone! Toss any ideas at all in here. We want to do all sorts of contests so that everyone can find one they enjoy entering! The people who only do magic aren't likely to participate if all we ever do is flourish contests, and those who only flourish aren't going to like all magic contests. We can do some contests that require a camera and some that don't. Some easy, some hard. Honestly, no matter what your idea is let us know here. We may even give you a little something if your idea is used... :D

    Keep 'em coming!

    // L
  12. it seems like the winners have mostly been magic related or having "practical potential" for any level of skill to be able to perform it... is this how the judging is always going to be? something that everyone can do? because if so id change the submissions that I enter for a better chance of winning rather than showing something skillful
  13. Prizewise, how about next weekend's winner receive either The Code, or some... ELEVEN MADISON PARK MONARCHS!? Mwahaha I found out about those bad boys :) perhaps those could be next weeks prize?
  14. how about tricks that features a card box in some way original or any trick.Even putting a card in the card box count as legit
  15. I like it.
    I really like any of the "chopped" (a cooking show) style contests/ideas, wherein you have total and complete control over everything, but.. you have to use this weird _______ thing over here too.
  16. Saturday night contest idea.

    Explaining how we incorporate magic in our lives. I think it would be interesting to know how each one of us uses magic.
    That's my saturday night contest idea.
  17. I really want the complete a flourish or create a flourish similar to an existing one or in which you have to use a specific move. (For eg create a 2 handed cut incorporating the use of Andrei Jikh's bullet or maybe the pirouette flourish, etc)
  18. Just got another flow of ideas in my head by reading the past ones already listed on this thread. So here they are:-

    1. How about keeping it simple. In this contest, the contestants must write about their past experiences with magic, cardistry, etc such as a story on how first they got into magic or such kind of stuff, or it could even be about their first ever deck of playing cards, first ever gimmick or even their first reaction they got from their very first spectator !

    2. This one is about lotteries and guessing contests. So if you guys really want to keep such kinds of contest, please make sure that everyone gets a chance to participate in it (some people like me always miss it coz of the time difference). In order to ensure this I suggest you could keep first place and second place (with this even split the prize in half), or you could keep two guesses instead of one (where the contestants can only guess for the second prize after the first winner has been announced i.e two prizes but not 1st & 2nd place, instead two guesses, one each for a prize)

    3. How about some creativity now. So here, the contestants are required to create an effect, flourish, routine, etc similar to the one from which it is inspired. (For eg create a similar effect to Andy Nyman's code i.e incorporating a similar idea or result)

    4. Onto instagram contests. Over here, I have no objections with picture or video contests but for these contests you should only permit the contestants to just use one hash tag i.e #theory11. Ideas - you could either create a 15 sec video of cardistry with a specific theme (eg Halloween, same applying to photographs), you could also do Record setting on instagram (coz of the 15 sec limit). The ideas listed here can also apply to vine.

    5. For inventing new card tricks or flourishes, the prizes should be decks of cards and card related DVDs, and for inventing mentalism effects or rather general magic, the prizes should only be the related DVDs. Another add on to the prizes could be that the DVDs or one of the deck from the brick is signed by the theory11 teams (at times you could have special guests too)

    6. How about naming the effects you guys have created or figuring them out or just simply copying them and showing your performance in a video on YouTube, instagram, etc ? (For eg copying a flourish with your own original add on to it or simply helping you guys to name one of your new releases.)

    What above is, are just a few guidelines and ideas. Hope you like em.
  19. 7 clubs, 9 diamonds,5hearts
  20. #540 TylerRouss, Nov 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2013
    ^See that guys?^ Our buddy jake10, the so called community that you are so proud of seeing here thanks to lotto contests. I'm gonna go ahead and make a statement here (I would say guess, but its a fact) that jake up there is either one of maybe a dozen or so accounts being run out of the same house, or a leech who gives absolutely nothing to the community except lotto guesses. Either way, not the type of account that we want to see here. It is essentially spam.

    Now, because I care about this community quite a bit, and I can only pray seeing some numbers might talk some sense into you people. I went through and looked at the accounts of every single poster to tonights contest. Out of approximately 390 posts, we had 31 "real" members contribute. I defined a real member as an account that had over 25 posts, and had at least one post in a thread outside of lotto contests. I think that's pretty reasonable. This means that had this been a contest for the actual community, and not leeches and spammers, then you would have had about 4 pages of guesses. The fact that you are proud of feeding community leeches, 35 pages worth, is beyond comprehension to me.

    The fact that you all actually got active in the discussion and listened to the what the entire community was trying to tell you on this thread, was a wonderful surprise. But I can tell you right now that there are not many things worse than someone asking for your opinion, listening to it with kind eyes, and then spitting in your face by blatantly ignoring all criticisms and advice. Truly, the only thing worth saying is that I am extraordinarily disappointed in theory11. Your utter lack of empathy for this community is mind boggling.

    Edit: I love the fact that you guys want to attract and appeal people of all types, whether they are beginners or experts in card or coin, magic or flourishing. It is a wonderful idea. But to think that's what you are doing with lotto contests is just plain naive. The only thing lotto's bring here are leeches. And while I love people of all types, I don't even consider leeches people (im sure many of them aren't).

    It is so frustrating watching this community degrade(the entire E/T11 community has degraded rapidly in the past year). If I was in a position to be able to really enact change and correct that, it would be my number one goal. So having to watch the people that are in that position actually hurting this community and furthering its degradation with said leeches is beyond frustrating. It is physically upsetting.

    Second Edit: And I am begging you, drop the whole "why can't this kid just let it go.." attitude and actually THINK about what it is that the ENTIRE real community here is telling you.

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