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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Face it - The Cups and Balls are .. BORING (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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bishthemagish
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I think that both Pete Biro and Bill Palmer both nailed it in this thread. I think that cups and balls like any other trick in magic "can" be boring - it as they have said and I agree with - it depends on the performer and what they put into it.

And if I may add - also what a performer leaves out is just as important as what they put in and as my pappy used to say. Get the routine together and then cut it in half - do it for a non magician again and then keep cutting and perform just the highlights - and there is less of a chance of boring the audience.

This is called honing a routine over time at shows over doing lots of shows. As of yet I have never found a way that works as well to hone a routine for the real world audience. Yes, honing a routine and an act takes time but the skills of the performer including his entertaining skills will sharpen as well over time.

Just a few thoughts and opinion
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RobertSmith
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Quote:
On 2012-04-09 12:41, Pete Biro wrote:
Nutty Surprise is not boring.

Actually cups and balls is not boring.

It's the performer that is boring.


Pete, spoken like a Jedi.

Frank, most of the magic in my Street Magic LIVE! act is ridiculously simple. I know because I've had dozens of local IBMers show up at my shows around the country and tell me so.

In fact, I've had, "magicians," tell me that my Cups is "too short." I do a 3 cup routine that includes an opening sequence and a loading sequence. That's it. It lasts about 8-10 minutes. But the cups portion of that is truly only about 3 or 4 tops. The rest is audience interaction.

Most miss the fact that the magic isn't in the trick. The magic is in ENTERTAINING with it.

Gazzo's routine is the classic example of a routine made for lay people, not magicians. The guy could probably do 45 minutes on cups alone. But no layman would even consider that one trick running that long because HE is entertaining. The cups are just the vehicle for delivery.

Magic is Hit and Miss
In the fair market at least, magic is hit and miss.

I've been places where the audiences really respond to the spooky, mind-boggling type mentalism.
Then I've been places where that mentalism falls like a thud but the audience falls over laughing at the pom pom stick.

What's entertaining one place may not be entertaining in another.

Tricks can be taken in and out of show. What can be taken out of a show is the performer. So the performer better be entertaining.

My 2cents.

Robert
RobertSmith
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Quote:
On 2012-04-09 15:04, Pete Biro wrote:
Some will disagree.... but.... learn a basic routine, like Dai Vernon's Then learn how to make it fun to watch, use it as just a tool to make you be a fun, entertaining kinda guy.


I hadn't read all the way through when I posted my previous message. This is the absolute best advice any performer could ever learn in their life.

For all the marketing programs, books, downloads etc out there, this one piece of advice is the most fundamental anyone could give.

And it was free.
Bill Palmer
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Likeability is one of the key ingredients. Nate Leipzig has been quoted as saying, "If they like YOU, they will like your magic."

I used to be one of those "attack" magicians...you know, the kind who really picked on the spectators without taking any of the guff himself. About 20 years ago, for some reason, I changed the way I focused the humor. I aimed it at myself first. I made fun of myself. And at that point, I became a sympathetic character. The audience liked me, and I could do ANYTHING (within reason!).

Unless you are earning your living entertaining magicians at places like the Magic Castle and doing lecture tours, you really need to understand how the audience perceives your material. Listen to them. Watch them. If you see that there is a point in any of your routines where you begin to lose your audience, then figure out why it happens there. It may be your patter. It may be something in your technique.

This applies to all forms of live entertainment, by the way.

One of the best banjo players I have ever seen made an appearance at a Houston bar that is known for having fairly talented entertainers appear on weekends. He is from up East. He killed his own performance by making a political joke right after his opening number. He had no idea what the political leanings in Houston were.

He does now. Smile

Remember, you are there to entertain THEM, not to entertain yourself.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On 2012-04-28 03:06, Chris SD wrote:

So what you're saying is that spectators don't enjoy seeing a variety of effects rather than the same effect over and over, they don't enjoy interesting presentations that happen to be true, they're not interested in history, and they have no interest in or desire to examine the magician's props.

If you honestly believe what you wrote, do magic a favor and take up pool.

I'm not sure what you mean by "the same effect over and over" and how that relates to the cups and balls.
Spectators do enjoy interesting presentations, true or not, that involve history or not. (Ricky Jay's great routine)
Spectators do like to examine props when given the opportunity. (Gazzo's highly entertaining routine)

What I am trying to get across is that we need to be careful as magicians, because OFTEN TIMES what we find interesting (moves, sleights, a multitude of phases, how we go from phase to phase, ball material) is something that is not interesting to spectators.

What needs to be interesting, first and foremost, is ourselves (as pointed out by Pete Biro and others).
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billappleton
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Quote:
On 2012-04-29 22:37, Frank Starsini wrote:
What needs to be interesting, first and foremost, is ourselves.


Got it But seems like a discussion of the cups & balls is an opportunity to examine how to do that better, when it might fail, what presentations work or not, etc.
Bill Palmer
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It's all been said, right here in this thread. You just need to pick out the pearls and leave the rest.

I'll give you a few things to think about.

1) Learn a routine. Learn it so well that you can do it in your sleep. Take a look at Gazzo's DVD to get some perspective on wand management. If you get that, you will understand a lot more of it instinctively.

2) Script your routine. Record what you say when you do your routine. Play it back and listen to what you said. Get rid of all of the extra words such as, "What I want you to do now is" and "What I'm going to do now is." Make your scripting concise. Get rid of all of the extra moves that don't add anything to the routine. For example, if you are doing the Vernon routine, and you don't like a particular phase of it, leave it out. NOBODY says you have to do his routine the exact same way he did it.

3) Record this version and watch the playback. Are the moves motivated? Are they clean? Do you suddenly find yourself hunting for a prop? If so, rearrange things.

4) Go back and take out all the stuff that's wrong and replace it with stuff that's right.

Repeat these steps as necessary.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
magicalaurie
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If the Cups and Balls were boring, there's no way I would have spent the kind of money I did on my cups- I'm not that kind of magician. And I wouldn't spend the time and effort involved in making balls, either.

At the very least, the Cups and Balls are beautiful props and that in itself is intriguing and exciting. What magicians do with them will either provide them with entertaining purpose or not.

I think a lot of magicians have difficulty thinking outside the boxes, so to speak, and stepping out to do something different. Rather hide behind the safe "standard" at times. And if that seems comfortable, by all means, they do more and more and more of it for minutes and minutes and minutes.

The standard itself is not problematic. A magician must understand it and present it with sincere interest and stay present in it and that is the larger issue, and something not many magicians have trained to do. Many magicians are untrained in areas that truly benefit from training, go figure.

Generally, less is more. Leave them wanting more. Keep it simple. Tables seem to get turned on that front to the point the specs are working to entertain the magician, as mentioned. Beware of that, and flip it. Minimize the amount of work required of the audience, maximize their entertainment. Study entertainment. Refer back to our own laymen's perspectives. Remember where you came from. They want to see the roots- get to the heart of the matter- that's what an audience is looking for.
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On 2012-04-29 23:36, billappleton wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-04-29 22:37, Frank Starsini wrote:
What needs to be interesting, first and foremost, is ourselves.


Got it But seems like a discussion of the cups & balls is an opportunity to examine how to do that better, when it might fail, what presentations work or not, etc.

Correct. All of those things need to be discussed at length.
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Larry Barnowsky
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Follow Bill Palmer's 4 steps. It's sage advice.

Larry
TheAmbitiousCard
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Bill's #2 was very big today
...but I'm more interested in #3:

Quote:
On 2012-04-30 01:35, Bill Palmer wrote:
3) Record this version and watch the playback. Are the moves motivated? Are they clean? Do you suddenly find yourself hunting for a prop? If so, rearrange things.



One thing I find not only helpful but often times amusing is to watch yourself (or others) with the volume OFF.
You will catch some very unmotivated, unnecessary and/or illogical things that you don't catch when the volume is on.

I find the exercise extremely helpful.
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Pete Biro
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1: Develop your presentation personality.

2: Develop your presentation personality.

3: Develop your presentation personality.

4: Develop your presentation personality.

5 Develop your presentation personality.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
magicalaurie
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Bill Palmer touched earlier on the point I was largely getting at in my previous post here- RISK VULNERABILITY. Truly giving something of your unique self to your audience is what allows them to remember you from the others, and, accordingly, give back to you.
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Are we saying that the cups and balls is not a boring trick, but a great trick, with one catch; it requires an engaging personality to pull it off and really make the routine memorable and entertaining?

Or can anyone do a great cups and balls routine as long as they toss in some history, pretty cups, and a presentation based on facts? Because, the interesting cups, the attractive balls of color, and the multiple phases speak for themselves and make even the most hardened half-drunk spectator squeal with delight?
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bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2012-04-30 01:35, Bill Palmer wrote:
It's all been said, right here in this thread. You just need to pick out the pearls and leave the rest.

I'll give you a few things to think about.

1) Learn a routine. Learn it so well that you can do it in your sleep. Take a look at Gazzo's DVD to get some perspective on wand management. If you get that, you will understand a lot more of it instinctively.

2) Script your routine. Record what you say when you do your routine. Play it back and listen to what you said. Get rid of all of the extra words such as, "What I want you to do now is" and "What I'm going to do now is." Make your scripting concise. Get rid of all of the extra moves that don't add anything to the routine. For example, if you are doing the Vernon routine, and you don't like a particular phase of it, leave it out. NOBODY says you have to do his routine the exact same way he did it.

3) Record this version and watch the playback. Are the moves motivated? Are they clean? Do you suddenly find yourself hunting for a prop? If so, rearrange things.

4) Go back and take out all the stuff that's wrong and replace it with stuff that's right.

Repeat these steps as necessary.


I would add step five - get out and perform the routine for people at shows - and learn from it.

step six - take out what doesn't work and then get out there and perform it for people at shows again and again - continue until the routine is honed and polished.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Motley Mage
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I'm going to finally break out of lurker mode on this one. First, I would like to thank everyone in this particular forum (especially Bill Palmer--and welcome back) for helping rekindle my appreciation of the Cups--I am a hobbyist hoping to step (back) into performing, and I have decided C&B is where I want to begin my serious work.

Second, while I think Frank's original post and title were deliberately meant to provoke ire, his points are valid. The peolpe who are getting their hackles up are not reading beyond the title to recognize that what Frank is saying--and what most reasonable folks would agree with.

Watching the cups and balls performed by someone whose main purpose is to say to the audience, "Look how proficient I am at obscure techniques that you can't figure out!" OR "Ha ha--now the ball is here, no, here! You just can't keep up with me!" is not entertainment. ANY art that is created with the purpose of making the audience feel inferior is, at its heart, uninteresting. The moves are important--to the magician. The miracles are what's important to the spectator, and those come more from the performer than the performance.
fortasse
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Well said.
fortasse
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Forgot to add.....of bill's four points, wholeheartedly numbers 2 and 4 especially. this reminds me of something attributed to vernon - he said that in learning a new trick, he's spend hours upon hours learning how to do the key moves. then the hard part would come - learning how to do it so it looked natural. that part, he said, took countless hours.

sorry about the lower case letters - spilt coffee on my laptop, crippling some of my keys, including the caps key. wonder if I should sue starbucks....apple may be better...deeper pockets anyway.

fortasse
Motley Mage
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I am a writing teacher by trade (despite the typographical error in my original post!) and Bill's tips for refining a routing are essentially the same as the writing process. Develop and organise your ideas. Create a draft version of your piece. Get fresh eyes on the piece, either by way of setting it aside until you can look at it objectively or by getting an honest (but non-threatening) audiece to critique. Then take out everything that does not work logically or aesthetically and start over.
Motley Mage
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Okay, and the typo in that post, too. I must type more carefully!
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