Inside Look at “The Impossible 4D Prediction”

We are just about to close the book on “The Impossible 4D Prediction” after two incredible weeks of suspense, excitement and anticipation.

This has been our most challenging “mega act” ever staged in terms of the psychology and presentation of the prediction; hence the use of the term that many mentalists use – psychological illusion.

From magic structuring, layering and presenting of this psychological illusion, it is probably one of the acts that we have spent the most amount of time on in terms of just thinking about how to present it. The act was a collaborative effort from all my current team members as well as past ones and I personally think our solution is the most unique approach to presenting a lottery prediction.

Our goal was to create a prediction act that would provoke interest and make it different from other high profile predictions performed by others in different countries.

“The Impossible 4D prediction” comes in the wake of other excellent magicians who have presented similar high-profile prediction acts in recent time including Lu Chen’s headline prediction and Derren Brown’s Lottery Prediction for his television show. In a previous entry here, I highlighted the origins of the lottery prediction as well as inherent paradoxical problems that come with this type of prediction.

Outcomes & Story-telling

The biggest differentiating factor of our lottery prediction was our chosen outcome and the storytelling that accompanied the presentation of the act.

The approach we adopted was that of a story that develops as the days and eventually, minutes go by. Unlike our previous 6 mega illusions and stunts where the stories were very direct and straightforward with lots of action (like an action film), this 4D Prediction was written as a suspense drama.

In our case, it was more like a good M. Night Shyamalan movie; as not only was our prediction 100% accurate, there was a surprise and twist at the end. This an outcome that has not been explored by others before and we spent considerable time and money working out every possible scenario.

Jeremy Yew, a magician in his own right, made intelligent observations of the prediction prior to the revelation in his blog. He highlighted that he could see only 2 scenarios as the outcome. We actually managed to work out at least 6 credible outcomes. We chose the one we eventually presented; which was:

1) Correctly predicting the winning 4D numbers by having it on a typewritten note, signed and sealed 5 days before the draw

2) Choosing not to buy the winning ticket as we stressed from the start that we do not condone gambling. We deliberately bought a null number (0000) to show our clear intent of not having a winning number.

3) We knew some people would highlight that if we do not condone gambling, we could have bought the winning ticket and given the winnings to charity. But by doing so, we would be giving money that was unethically attained. By extension, it would mean we would condone stealing money from the rich to give to the poor. While I know many agree with a “Robin Hood” philosophy, it is not one that Ning & I subscribe to. So, to set the right example for giving to charity, we included in our prediction a donation from our own pockets to a charity we believed in.

Now, one of the outcomes we developed was to have us buy a winning ticket – there is no question about that. However, if we did, it would contradict our position of not condoning gambling. We knew the buying of the winning  ticket would satisfy the regular 4D punters who dream of predicting the lottery but for the majority of the non-gambling audience, we felt setting the right example based on our own ethical principles was more important.

Our chosen outcome also ensured we fulfilled every claim we made on this prediction and that we do not send a public message that we could/ would use our techniques for direct or indirect gain.

Response

We received immense support from our local media and created quite a lot of interest in the online world. I listed all the media the act received here for objective reference.

After all was revealed, our country’s most read and respected media such as Channel News Asia, AsiaOne and The Straits Times completely understood and appreciated the psychological illusion in its entirety and reported it with objectivity and accuracy. People have also expressed positive views and appreciation of the twists on forums, blogs and Facebook comments.

However, we also knew from the start that our presentation and message behind our prediction would not be understood or appreciated by everyone. As detailed above, the story-telling for this whole “stunt” is very involved and sophisticated. The outcome is not as straightforward as teleporting across a river or setting a world record for 15 illusions in 5 minutes.

Our justifications for not buying the winning lottery ticket or not using winnings from a ticket to donate to charity were lost to some who just could not see it…. by no fault of their own. Not everyone can appreciate the time it takes for a drama to unfold or have the patience or willingness to think through intricate storytelling.

It is the same reason why action movies have a much wider audience base than suspense dramas.  Many people just want straightforward, easy-to-digest entertainment. (I do too most times!) It is easier to watch a show full of car chases, gun play and explosions, rather than to think about character motivations, justification of actions or complex plot twists.

But, ultimately, the prediction is our story and we took the risk, just as any artist, film maker or magician would do when they are attempting to break new ground. We also wanted to present something completely different from our past 6 “mega acts” to give ourselves a new challenge.

Most magicians appreciated our approach to the prediction. While not perfect (what is?), it was a unique solution that had a good resolution; with the expectation that a segment of people not liking the outcome. Jeremy Yew once again made astute critical observations that shows me that he is a real thinker. Magicians should read his entry here.

Epilogue

Till date, this is probably the “mega act” that I’m most proud of in terms of the thinking behind the psychology and the presentation of the illusion. It also propelled us one notch higher in mainstream consciousness because now people were actually debating and taking time & effort to express opinions on the act;. Something that, I dare say, no other magic act has ever achieved in Singapore before.

It is also fulfilling that this is the first time (but not the last) that we could use one of our “mega acts “as a platform to highlight charities and directly contribute towards less fortunate Singaporeans.

The video should be ready by early next week and it will be unlike any other video we have ever produced for a mega illusion or stunt. Then again, as I’ve said many times, this psychological illusion is completely different from anything we have ever done. While not every one may appreciate it,  we think it will tell our whole story clearly and give even more insight into our artistic vision.

Thanks for investing your time and interest into this psychological illusion.

Stay tuned for the video.

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About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
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