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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » New Zombie Routine by Axtell (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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axtell
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Steve Axtell
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This is a new spin on the zombie... okay some have called it a "zombie zombie". We call it "the Walking Fred" http://www.axtell.com/zombie.html

Ax
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Jon Blakeney
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What a great Idea,I think it will sell well. Smile
'What the eye's see the heart must believe"
SpellbinderEntertainment
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It is so cute! Love this…
There are VERY FEW floating ball innovations that are really "improvements."
Steve's is a marvel of demented imagination.

PLEASE also buy Al Schneider on Zombie (Amazon) if you buy this so you do the MAGIC correctly!!!! Maybe Steve could also send this as a bonus?

Magically, Walt
axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Thanks! There is a lot of excitment and orders from performers.... and anyone can "groan" well enough to bring him to life! We start shipping to the first folks on the waiting list April 1st. Can't wait to see what everyone does with it!
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Al Schneider
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I am not going to make friends when I mention this for there is a problem here. My philosophy of Zombie depends upon the idea that the audience is not aware that the ball is rotating during performance. There have been many other objects used in the place of the ball. A problem with them all is that during the moves I espouse, the noticeable rotation of the object brings attention to the fact the object is supported by the gimmick we all know and love. Many of the moves I teach in the book will not look well with non-spherical objects. The very basic concepts will work with such objects. Observing Axtell's promo video strongly suggests he has not read my book. The problems can be resolved with work and study. I would suggest a slower moving floating sequence that is a bit shorter. This of coures depends upon your attitude toward magic. My personal goal is to bring the feeling of real magic to the audience. Others have their own ideas on what magical entertainment should be.

Many times during my life I have been told a skull would look great with my routine. Perhaps a skull would do well for it would certainly kill the routine. During one point in the routine the skull would be face down looking at the floor. I have thought about this problem and visualized some sort of a gimball system in the head to avoid the problem. Never went anywhre with it though.

Zombie is a very difficult trick to pull off magically. A non-spherical object adds considerably to the complexity.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Bill Hegbli
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Al Schneider, I would be interested in your thoughts on Norm Nielsen's Floating Violin as it is not sphere.
Al Schneider
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First off, here is a video of his act:

http://youtu.be/mVNWdp-gnwU

Note that he moves slowly during most of his performance as I have suggested above. Also, he is only using a couple or three moves of the possible range of moves avaiailable with a ball. Also his main focus of the routine is the violin playing while sitting on top of the cloth. That is, the focus is the violin moving by itself. I am not in love with this routine. However, the sex appeal of the sequence is engaging. And, to note, Mr. Nielsen is one of the most sophisticated performers I have seen.

And if you are talking about things floating that are not balls, consider Tommy Wonder's floating bird cage and Lossander's floating table. Again they are moving slowly and they applying the basic techniques from my Zombie book. While in England at a convention Tommy Wonder told me that the reason he does the bird cage is because of my book. Again, he does the routine slow and the bird cage seems to float by itself. The range of motion is very limited. When I first saw it, it took my breath away. I had a long chat with Mr. Losander a long time ago. I understand that he worked a great deal with Tommy on floating things. Losander told me that he started with the table thing when hired to float a cooking grill for an advertisement.

I am guessing that if Norm Nielsen had the tech in the Zombie book, his routine might have been a bit different.

When Tommy talked to me in England he said he had always thought the Zombie was a kid's toy. He claims that after reading the book, he saw its power. Apparently he did for his floating bird cage is one of the true classics in magic right next to Losander's table. When I watch both of these routines my heart skips a beat. Even if I know how they work.

And please do not think I believe myself a genius at any of this. As in all of my magic I believe it is a technology that when used corectly produces a significant result. The Zombie book contains very straight forward logic that is easy to understand. The tough part is applying it.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Hi Al, I agree 100% with you about other shapes, skull etc.

The reason this one is a bit of an exception is twofold, first the head, though a bit "bumpy" is almost completely round, second the foulard is quite heavy weight so that also covers some of the anomalies of the head. both together help a lot.

The piece is also very, very character driven, actually the puppet interaction outweighs the floating by a long shot, so as long as the float kept SIMPLE and SHORT the "live" head has a little more latitude than a ball I think.

Like Losander's table, Norm's violin is a different type of floating object that does NOT depend on zombie “moves,” though the methodology is similar.

So I've got to truly agree with Al, but I think this may be a rare exception to the wise rule.
Magically,
Walt
axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Awesome feedback and I don't doubt for a second that many of you will do greater things with my Walking Fred Zombie than I have done. I am well aware of the asymetry issue and the subtle "tells" that result. I didn't know about your book until Walt mentioned it, but I look forward to reading it now. The video on my site was performed at KAX Conference in front of magicians and performers who just loved it including Mark Wilson, Paul Gross, Ken Scott and others and it KILLED! Just listen to them. Anyway, my goal is to continue to hone it, and feature those videos of other perfomers who take it beyond what I have done. Always interested in improving our techniques as well as our designs. Ax
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Al Schneider
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I will tell you what I would like to see.
First off though, I must say I have admired the Axtell products for some time.
Wish I had a few.
But to my point.
I see the zombie part being done slower but I would like to see it talk.
Then carry on a conversation while floating lazily.
I suspect you have thought of that as well.
Don't know how compplicated it would be to implement that.
Al Schneider
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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As Steve sells to a huge number of ventriloquists I'll bet Fred will be talking a blue streak... ah, green, sorry.

Steve told me he'll put a link to your book on his site. I think that will be a huge help to his customers.

Being dead (ok, un-dead) I don't think he should move that much anyway. No Neil Foster floush moves for sure. Once he's up in the air and peeks it's the magic and the joke are done I'd think.

It's not the kind of thing I perform publically, so I’d have it for my zombie collection. If I break down and adopt one of the little guys I'll send Steve a s-l-o-w video. I don't know why guys feel they need to rush around the stage with floating things. He's be even more "dead" and creepy slow.

Magically, Walt
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All we want to do is eat your brains-Lyrics

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdK2KLxRrIc
ERNESTO PLANAS
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axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Very nice Ernesto!

Al yes we considered a moving mouth, but I didn't want to complicate the Dead Fred Zombie Head with a mouth mechanism, plus I've seen a talking skull version. To stay in character with a zombie I love the grunt only voice it can appear to produce with the mouth hanging open like it is. I'm very happy with the design. I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Yes Walt we'll probably be making a larger Fred Zombie puppet with a moving mouth. Funny Zombie song your found there!

All things ZOMBIE! Love it! Ax
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Al Schneider
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Axtell
I understand not wanting to add complexity to the head.
In addition, I would probably not want a lever on the gimmick to trigger talking. I fear it would interrupt the illusion of floating.
I also must add that I have considerable respect for your work. Please understand that I wanted something better for the floating part of it. I am also not excited about you advertising my book to go with the routine. I do not think it fair to the customer. I do worry about them. I would prefer to see a description of a practicle use of your product with your product. I'll stick my neck out here but I could be talked into producing such a work. Bug me for such a thing if you wish.

All the best, really.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
axtell
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Steve Axtell
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So cool I saw Skilldini last night at the Magic Castle doing his Zombie. What fun! I like the comedy and speed that he uses with it too! Ax
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axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Al got your book...very well done! Send me an email to explore your ideas further. steve@axtell.com Thanks! Ax
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Skilldini (Tim) was as student of Neil Foster and taught his zombie style from him.

One fascinating thing about zombie, is just like an actor, you can give so many character nuances to the ball. It can (and should) have a personality of its own that melds with you and your performing style.

Tim goes for the comedy, I think in most cases a slower heavier ball is a good direction, and one I'd take with Fred.

How generous of Al to offer to add his special touch to your instructions, lucky Fred!

Magically, Walt
Dougini
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As beautifully done as it is, Ernesto's routine is a version of AstroSphere. A One-Point is used instead of the classic gimmick. The mutiplying part was awesome! It's not the Zombie, though...

Doug
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On Mar 23, 2014, Dougini wrote:
As beautifully done as it is, Ernesto's routine is a version of AstroSphere. A One-Point is used instead of the classic gimmick. The mutiplying part was awesome! It's not the Zombie, though...

Doug


Dougini, I tried to explain to you, it is not like AstroSphere and the one-point idea previously. It is just made to look like that. So I give up, and let you believe what you want.

It is the method explained in the booklet by compiled by Neil Foster called "Tips on Zombie" by Joe Karson. The One Man Floating Ball by Mickey Ostaski on page 49 is the Ernesto Plantas method. Charlotte Pendragon has a version she is selling also, using the Mickey Ostaski method.
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