(Close Window)
Topic: Cups & Balls/Falling Into Routine Black Hole
Message: Posted by: dr34 (Jul 17, 2017 02:34PM)
Where do you draw the line on exploring routines?

Started working on Cups & Balls routine from Mark Wilson. It begins with a penetration effect which is very easy way to begin a Cups routine. The whole routine is simple--I should just go PERFORM it. But then I read Vernon's routine, which is the "standard" right? Then I watched Lance Burton. I read Gazzo. I'm jotting down notes like crazy. Maybe I should be "original" and make TWO melons appear!

I sometimes wonder if we should all have ONE magic book, and nothing else to study, or distract us. In that light, even the Tarbell course seems ridiculous!

So again, Where do you draw the line on exploring routines? Is it best to pick one, try it, and then expand? I know Denny Haney, regarding Egg Bag, says pick a routine, then perform it.

Message: Posted by: peppermeat2000 (Jul 17, 2017 06:53PM)
I demo the cups and balls at a local magic shop...the routine is about as basic as you can get... I do one retention vanish throughout the routine and produce one load at the end (under the stacked cups).

Laymen from all walks of life frequent the shop as either first time customers or curious one time visitors. Not one of them has any expectations as to what a "standard cup and ball" routine should consist of. The routine I show them will most likely be the only time in their lives (unless they decide to seriously pursue magic) that they will ever see a cup and ball performance. I've done it so many times that I can do it with my eyes closed...and even though it is very basic, I have paid attention to the reactions I get based on how I pace the routine and the script I use when performing. Bottom line...its a very entertaining and fooling little routine.

What's my point? Unless you want to impress other magicians with the skills you attain by performing routines considered by "us" to be the standard...learn the Vernon routine, or the countless other C&B routines developed over the years. But, if you want to entertain lay-people, keep your routine easy to follow, simple to perform and focus on presenting yourself first, and then show them some magic.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Jul 17, 2017 07:02PM)
[quote]On Jul 17, 2017, peppermeat2000 wrote:
Laymen from all walks of life frequent the shop as either first time customers or curious one time visitors. Not one of them has any expectations as to what a "standard cup and ball" routine should consist of.[/quote]

I agree completely with that.

When I set about making my own routine I examined the trick very closely and came to the conclusion that the heart and soul of the trick was simple: a ball disappears, and reappears under the cup.

Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Jul 18, 2017 08:26AM)
If you are a beginner or amateur with the cups and balls, stick with a simple routine to practice with. Once you learn all the basic moves, move onto another routine, there are so many. Don't copy their routine, but figure out a way you can
fit it in and once you have mastered it, move on to the next. I love Kent Guns routine, my favorite is John Mendoza's. I'v watched at least 46 different routines developed by others, my least favorite is Latimer's clear cups and balls. If you look
at different routines, even older ones you'll find out about moves that are not used by other magicians doing the cups & balls. There is so much information out there that is valuable. Even consider starting with a single cup routine, there are
several moves that if you master can be incorporated into your own routine. Don't expect yourself to have your routine overnight. It was 3 years of practice and research. If you really want to see an incorporation of moves, watch Ricky Jay
perform, he does a beautiful C&B routine and even that will give you some insight.

Mad Jake Jr.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jul 18, 2017 08:47AM)
To answer the OP question. One should never stop exploring different routines. This does not mean you have any intention of performing them.
C&B and its many related approaches can teaches valuable lessons of audience engagement, timing, angles, directed focus. misdirection, inference, etc.

Years ago I wrote a book titled, "Call, Cup and Me" about my love/hate relationship with the genre. I dis this partially to document my level of understanding/appreciation before I started studying the subject. SInce then I have read many books, documents and explored DVD's. I have published additional material of Chop Cup type routines (ChopSign, FoldCup, ScoutAround most popular)
I have many more ideas unpublished -- yet, I perform these effects in public very seldom. For some that means my ideas are of little value. For others they are inspiration.
The value is that "mastering" C&B provided a perspective for looking at all magic effects and fueling creativity.

I would suggest that you have a practiced "standard" routine for the times that is suitable. But also a variety of sleights and moves adaptable "on the fly"
with coffee cups, tin cans, pieces of candy or nuts, etc. What you learn from continuously studying the work of others in C&B are ideas that can be applied to many other tricks/props.

So, is there value in mastering a standard routine? - yes. Is there value in forging a new path? - absolutely.

Should you be able to adapt to any audience expectations and setting? I feel that you should - and that C&B is a good place to learn.
Message: Posted by: dr34 (Jul 18, 2017 09:59PM)
Peppermeat2000 and JoeJoe— I think you are correct, keep it simple, and how many people EVER see cups and balls live? Maybe they see it on TV. But right in front of them? Not often. I don’t think I have seen it live! Just on TV. And as a kid, with my Adam’s magic kit, I thought—“This trick stinks…This will fool no one.”

Mad Jake-I watched one of John Mendoza’s routines, a Penguin magic video, I think. Wow! Thanks for pointing him out! (I think he might be using “something” else beyond the standard props, though. He’s cheating! Ha ha! Wonderful, laid back presentation, and really original. Reminds me I should watch Tommy Wonder, too. See? This is what I’m talking about—You could explore cups and balls forever! Maybe that’s not a bad thing…

Thanks funsway, I like your idea of being adaptable and on the fly. Stacking coffee cups in a restaurant would be difficult, if I use the Wilson routine, right? Making cups and balls PRACTICAL for many situations sounds like a good goal.

I’m having a great time exploring cups and balls. Thank you all for your input!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jul 19, 2017 04:11AM)
[quote]On Jul 18, 2017, dr34 wrote:

Stacking coffee cups in a restaurant would be difficult, if I use the Wilson routine, right? [/quote]

I guess I feel that stacking is the least vital/essential part of a C&B routine. It focuses on penetration rather than transportation,
and suffers in the relative "plausible impossible" category (opinion)

However, there are some "mouth up" possibilities with the cup covered by a saucer or napkin, and new sleights based on the cup having a handle.
A traditional routine is just the launching pad for personal creativity.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 19, 2017 09:25PM)
The other use for stacking cups is to load them. I'm working on Michael Ammar's routine from the book and there's one place where the cup is loaded in the act of stacking. I don't recall him using the stack for penetration effects, though.

One other word of advice: watch a lot of videos on YouTube to see both good performances and terrible ones. I hate watching bad performances, but I learn more from them. Don't be one of the bad ones.

Message: Posted by: dr34 (Jul 20, 2017 11:18PM)
That’s cool, Patrick. I’ve been looking at Ammar, too. Especially for his explanation of Vernon’s wand spin.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 21, 2017 11:51AM)
I confess that I have a bit of a personal problem with the wand at all. I love it in cups and balls, but don't use it for any other tricks. So it becomes incongruous to use it for one trick and no others. But a lot of Ammar's routine depends on the use of the wand, so I am working with it.

My advice is to pick one routine you want to learn and learn it. It is so hard to do this when there are so many routines with so much different magic, but do it. Learn one. Solid. After that, if you really want to add to it, go ahead. However, there's a reason that commercial routines exist. Someone else has tried them out enough to hone them to high functionality. I could prescribe a routine that sounds fairly good in print, but it would not audience tested and would not be the best way for you to start. Pick one and learn it. Add or subtract once you have that base.

I have started to put a stack of 10 pennies on the practice table and when I practice, I will do the routine once, move a penny to the other side of the table. Reset and do it again. Move another penny. If I get enough time (full time student, 3 kids, and I do the cooking in the house, so there's little time most evenings), I will try to do the whole thing 10 times and call it good. The first two nights, I just did the opening phase with the balls being produced. 10 times a night. Then I added the next phase for a few nights, then did the whole routine. At this point, I keep wanting to add variety by adding one more phase, but I'm not really sure that's right. I will eventually set my phone up and video myself with the basic routine and then with the extra phase added. Then see which one I'd want to watch a dozen times in a row. If neither, as cringe-inducing as it is to say it, I'll have learned a lot about how to improve myself.

Just some scattered thoughts.

Message: Posted by: 61magic (Jul 21, 2017 10:21PM)
The routines Bruce Elliot included in the book Classic Secrets of Magic are perfect lessons in cups and balls. The offerings run from a standard style cup routine to a routine using tea cups and crumpled dollar bills. As with all the material Elliot offered it is first rate and worth study.
You should focus on developing your own routine and stick to it. I personally don't like routines that are just a collections of moves only meant to impress other magi with sleights.
As mentioned above a simple routine with simple well executed sleights will impress your audience. Take some time and really analyze the Vernon routine and you will come to appreciate the simple approach Vernon took to his magic.
Message: Posted by: dr34 (Jul 22, 2017 12:08AM)
Mr. Woolery-- "At this point, I keep wanting to add variety by adding one more phase, but I'm not really sure that's right" That's what I'm doing as well, or adding moves. Trying different things becomes confusing, and then I forget how to perform my "basic" routine.

I've been "filming" all of it, and my ideas.

The Wilson routine is a great, stress free way to begin. But I'm leaning towards Vernon's opening.

I tried using my original cups and ball set tonight. Plastic, multi-colored, and about and inch and a half in diameter! They are difficult to use! I have a "standard" size set now, and they work great.

61magic--Thanks, I'll check out Bruce Elliot! Focus, and stick to it, sounds like great advice. It's a vast subject, but I need to get out there and see what works.

And get a table that stops the balls, and cups, from rolling away!
Message: Posted by: dr34 (Jul 31, 2017 09:11PM)
61magic-- I purchased Classic Secrets of Magic, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Thank you.

I love the simple way the routine begins.

I've worked up to the 2 in the hand one in the pocket phase. I like where that lands in the Elliott routine. Gazzo, at least in print, begins with 2 in the hand, but that seemed wrong to me, and I don't think he actually performs it that way?

So the next big question. Cups examined? I know Cellini, Lance Burton have the cups examined. Jami Ian Swiss has said the cups MUST be examined.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Jul 31, 2017 10:04PM)
You don't necessarily need to "hand them out for examination", you could absentmindedly hand someone the cups while you rummage for the ball.
It's the same thing maybe, you just come across more confident in your props in my opinion, or perhaps showing a slight disdain for the cups because, after all, they aren't doing any magic; you are.

I was playing with a way to have the first working ball wind up under the cup in their hand.
Like a pinky load while picking the cups up out of their hands, after giving up because I couldn't find the ball in my bag.

I agree with Pop Haydn that you should follow the routine as the creator devised it; the creator spent years, perhaps decades perfecting the routine, why change it?
If the routine has you hand the cups out: hand them out.
Message: Posted by: EVILDAN (Aug 2, 2017 02:45PM)
I've handed cups out for examination and have noticed that people have no "how" to examine a cup.
They look at the outside, look at the inside, tap the bottom and yeah, it's good.

I no longer have the cups examined unless I need to stretch for time.