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Topic: How do you practice the sponge ball routine?
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Mar 7, 2004 06:54PM)
This may be a silly question, but how do you practice for a sponge ball routine? I mean for those in-the-hands portions where you have to load two or three sponge balls in the specs hands. I do the routines now and don't seem to have much trouble, but is this just an example of work-out-the-kinks-during-performance type thing?
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Mar 7, 2004 07:34PM)
Well, you could just use a table or a dish for practicing the actual moves.

But in regards to spectator handling and stuff, it will have to be worked out during performance.

Preferably during non-paid performing or resturant work, both are good oppertunities to polish routines.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Mar 7, 2004 08:34PM)
That is what I do. But you know the trite saying, "practice your routines and slights until they are perfect." This doesn't really work for in the hands stuff and misdirection.

I was just wondering how the big time professionals do it. I suppose they just know a lot of people to work with. I guess I could do it with magicians at my ring, but I just started going and haven't had a chance.
Message: Posted by: Rob Johnston (Mar 8, 2004 01:36AM)
I get the sleights and loads the best that I feel I can currently and then I use my practice audience (my wife or other family members). That seems to work for me...ecspecially since I have no ring nearby.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Mar 8, 2004 10:11AM)
I completely disagree that you have to work out the bugs in performance!!!

Find a friend or a lover or a magician and trade off practicing these types of techniques until you can do them well. Then polish the audience managment with performances on audiences.

This is what magic clubs are made for. If you don't have an official "Ring" in your area, cast about and start your own un official group. Look in the Yellow Pages for performers and stores. Use the internet, etc. There are magicians everywhere!

Kirk G.
Message: Posted by: D Atkinson (Mar 9, 2004 05:26AM)
I'm very very lucky...I get to practice for seven hours a day in a magic store before going out to do it in the evening. Sponges are one thing that I choose to do alot behind the counter, it helps me and it helps the sale of sponges among other things.

What can I say....Just try to do it for as many people as possible during the day(Without looking like a psycho) This is a hard task I know. The wife is universally wrong but the kids are good, I'm lucky there too as I have twin girls at just the right age to be loving sponges.

Chris I wish I could be more help. Try this test for me. Say to yourself
"I will do the Sponges for five different people on five days of the week for the next five weeks"

Let me know if you're confident with sponge after that time? If so the practice is less relevant.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Mar 9, 2004 06:56AM)
I am pretty confident now, but thank you for the help. I was asking this somewhat as a philosophical point. Since I do a lot of my magic at my school with students, and I am in a dilema. I try to make the magic that I do as close to perfect as I can, before showing, but it is so tempting to test things out, like new vanishes or in the hands stuff. With coins it is no big deal, since I have a good complete vanish.

I guess I am not having a problem, per se, but just wondering what some of more serious magicians here do. I am also asking because I want to expand both my sponge ball routine and my cup and balls routine.
Message: Posted by: D Atkinson (Mar 9, 2004 07:04AM)
Well as a serious pro I gave a suggestion.
take or use it at your will.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Mar 9, 2004 07:28AM)
Thank you, I will. :)
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Mar 9, 2004 08:51PM)
Only perform perfect routines for laymen.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Mar 9, 2004 10:49PM)
You should strive for what Kirk says...

On the other hand, only until you perform for real spectators will you learn how to perform it perfectly and only after performing the routine many many times.

Every performance is unique and will provide lessons for the future. If it doesn't you're not listening

That's why performing is so much fun. You never know what's going to happen!

Nothing's more fun than performing an effect you've worked a long time perfecting and have performed it a ton of times. It lets you truely interact with the spectators as you perform. That's the greatest to me!
Message: Posted by: Mike Walton (Mar 10, 2004 06:56AM)
I agree with Frank regarding not knowing if a routine is truly perfect unless you perform it. I've been creating and working on a kids close-up routine for 4 weeks and have been practicing it daily, but am certain I'll tweak the language or the routine after I work through it for spectators several times to create stronger magic.

I think it is easy to note that the routine must be perfected and practiced with individuals throughout the day. Sometimes it's just not possible and you have to practice, like someone practices presenting a speech in front of a table or mirror. I, myself, trade futures at home so I do not have access to people, and the last thing my wife wants to do is do six spongeball routines with me when she gets home. The magic ring only meets on a monthly basis and I don't know anyone well enough to powwow like Paul Harris does with his comrades. Practice on your own personally, until you're confident in the techniques, then work on the patter until it's smooth. This can take up to 30 days if not longer. At that point, I present to a friend or two. If I nail two clean performances, then it goes to the laymen. If not, then I go back and practice some more.

An alternative for practicing a sponge ball routine is to use a video camera or a firewire webcam to capture and replay your vanishes. I think the vanishes are the key component of the routine so capture and repeat a real sponge ball hold and compare it to a vanish to make sure they look the same.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Mar 11, 2004 09:29AM)
Practicing kids magic at the local magic ring does you some good in terms of moves but it is not realistic at all.

Kids react so much differently that there's nothing you can do except try and learn...

I did Danny Archer's Triple Threat (kind of like mental epic) at a huge school show one time. Of course some of the kids didn't believe what was written on the slips of paper read by the spectator so I tossed them off the stage into the audience.


It was like a school of sharks going after an injured seal... except I don't think sharks go in schools. But you get the idea. It was a 5 or 6 second distraction that could have gone very wrong.

THAT will not happen at the magic club meeting.

Bill Malone, Doc Eason, and Michael Ammar are not going to be mixing it up on the floor trying to get little slips of paper for their scrapbooks or to show their moms.

...but I think Bill Malone would win!
Message: Posted by: James Harrison (Mar 12, 2004 08:50AM)
Well, Malone is from the east side.

But I'd tend to think Doc would stil put up a good fight, mainly from his tending bars for over twenty years. I'm sure he's had to take care of a couple squables.

Not sure how Ammar would fend though.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Mar 12, 2004 10:20AM)
I would like to clarify a point. Practice in front of a mirror to get the moves down. Then practice without a mirror, so you don't get the visual feedback. Then practice in front of a mirror again to double check. by the way, these moments are separated by hours if not days.

Then reherse with your chosen magic buddy. Don't be in such a hurry to add new material to your act that you don't give it the respect that it deserves.

Once you have accomplished all of the above, then try it on some forgiving laymen. I recommend retirement communities and hospitals. If all goes well, start showing it to the rest of the layman. This approach will protect the secrets of magic and your reputation.

Kirk G