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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Learning Rocky Raccoon moves? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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R2D2
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I managed to get my hands on an original Rocky Raccoon. I read the instructions, I watched Sleight of Dave (where he explains how to use the raccoon), and I watched Jim Pace's video as well.

Nothing seemed to explain how to do anything but the most basic moves (look up, look down, wag your tail). For example, I can't figure out how to make him run up my arm. The instruction booklet said to put your left hand on his lower half and then wiggle your fingers, but I can't figure out how that's supposed to do anything.

Any advice? If anyone knows how to do that one move, I'd love an explanation, or if someone wants to suggest a web site, book, or video that explains these intermediate moves, I'd love that too. Thanks!
plink
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Time & Belief Believe Rocky has a personality of his own beyond what you can give him. Spend time with him, play with him like a new puppy. You have worked with him enough when he does something that surprises you. Keep him moving, he is rascally and slightly out of your control. BELIEVE and then take him to a park and react to the kids without paid show pressure. He is a joy, have fun with him.
bigfoot
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This is certainly one of those glad you stuck with things. You can get so much mileage from this little thing. Belief is a huge part of it and if just watch really closely at someone who is good and think about what they are doing you will figure it out.
R2D2
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Thanks to both of you. I like the idea of bringing him to the park.

Btw does anyone ever notice that you are the one wagging his tail? Somehow that seems likell the most obvious "secret move".
themagiciansapprentice
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If folks see Rocky is being mischievious they are engaged and don't notice much

BUT YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE HE'S A REAL ANIMAL

keep practicing - it took me about six months to make it believable and even if they figure out it's a puppet too easily just entertain them
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
R2D2
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Six months? Ok, I'll keep practicing then! I've already seen improvement in just a few days.
bigfoot
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Almost everyone notices that you are wagging his tail. Everyone knows you are making him move because he is not real. People want to enjoy his antics and laugh at what he does the suspend their belief that he's not real so they can see what goofy little antics he will do. The best gauge for knowing you have him down is the gag when you knock him on the table and let him dangle as if he's dead. The louder your group gasps and laughs the more they are invested in him, the more life you have given him.
I'm not saying you have to use that gag I'm just saying as your learning you can "test" your skill by throwing it in now and again.
R2D2
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Thanks, Bigfoot. I'm still going to make it my goal to fool the little kids!

I think I understand how to make him run up my body or arm. I have to put all four fingers from my right hand on his bottom, then push on the spring, then a moment later move him up my arm and then repeat the process. The result is that, yes, I am physically pushing him up my arm or torso but he gets just enough kick from the spring that it looks like he's self-propelled.
bigfoot
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Yes that well work you can also just keep your hand there and wiggle all the fingers as you push him up your body. Your other hand will be loosely cupped over him. You push him through that hand and as he gets past you re grab him higher but you do so in an over exaggerated manner. It will look like your grabbing he gets away and you grab again quickly and just barely get him the second time around. It's a combination of both that I'm sure will make it really good.



_
R2D2
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Thanks, bigfoot. I've practicing what you suggested.

I've never been a pet owner before, but this guy is really growing on me!
bigfoot
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No problem he is fantastic and you can get more mileage from him than a full case of props. I've used him for everything from kids shows to gathering crowds busking. I've used the same rocky for years the originals last forever. I've found myself working him with no one even around just for my own entertainment. Really that is when you'll think of material I used to get a styrofoam cup stuck on his face at the end of my routine. When I reached into my case for a pry bar to remove it I switched him for a coonskin cap with a cup on it. Rolled up it looks just like rocky in the cup still. I'd pry the cup off shake out the cap and put it on my head. It always got a great reaction.


_
R2D2
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Omg bigfoot that is hilarious about the cap. To do the switch are you doing anything fancy or just the obvious move (I don't want to say too much) ?
bigfoot
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Well as you might know the minute he starts looking around with a cup on his face people start laughing it's a hilarious sight. I would just then give a tug or two like it was stuck then make him look up at me slowly as I said "wait I have an idea" I walked behind my case with him held in the standard grip. I would reach in my case with him and my empty left hand and grab the pry bar and just drop and grab bringing out the hat and cup. Then I would hold the bar and say "yep this should do" then I would place the end in the cup and act as if I pried the cup off. I then looked at rocky (hat) and would point at it wondering where his head went. Then I looked at the cup as if it must have been pried off with the cup when it fell. I would then reluctantly look in the cup as if I where about to see a gruesome sight then a sigh of relief. Then I slowly looked over at (rocky) and shook him out and placed him on my head.
In reality there really was no mechanics to it but it was fitting because it's a total routine of imagination any how. Even if they catch onto it it makes no matter because it's a comedy bit that seems magical to your audience. The nature of rocky is really ignoring the reality and substituting another. I think if you had a grocery bag with the hat in it and made the switch blatently it wouldn't much matter because it's more about the comic hook than any magical change. Obviously the better the switch the more magical it will be though.
jakeg
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Although I haven't seen them, I saw a post on YouTube advertising a Robbie Raccoon training tape. The guy doing it makes RR look more alive than a real one. Dang, he's good. I tried to find the DVD, but as far as I can tell, it's only available with the puppet.
R2D2
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Yup I just found that video. The guy does a good demo, but I've been so disappointed by instructional DVDs for raccoon puppets that I'm hesitant to get another one, especially if (as you pointed out) I have to buy the puppet with it.

Bigfoot- thanks for the explanation. Your description sounds so hilarious. Sounds like a great act.
jakeg
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Quote:
On Oct 28, 2015, R2D2 wrote:
Yup I just found that video. The guy does a good demo, but I've been so disappointed by instructional DVDs for raccoon puppets that I'm hesitant to get another one, especially if (as you pointed out) I have to buy the puppet with it.

Bigfoot- thanks for the explanation. Your description sounds so hilarious. Sounds like a great act.

I only know of 2 RR tapes. That one & the Williamson tape, and I haven't seen either one of them..
Tukaram
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I forget what brand mine is (not the original - and not very strudy). I was very disappointed in the DVD. It showed some good routine, but no real instructions. When I do it, it just looks a bit stiff. I think I have just not put the time into it that it needs. I am not sure how much they can really say in the DVD - some tips would be nice, but I think it is just practice, practice, practice.

~Edit~ Just checked it is Magic Makers.
jakeg
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I have the Williamson DVD that I bought from a care listing. Very disappointing. Nothing but a poorly produced DVD of his act.
I also was looking for an instructional tape. Some guys just seem to have the knack to make that thing really come alive. I think that there is a knack to it that can be explained well enough to be helpful. there is plenty of info on making vent figures and hand puppets life like. I guess some of that can be uses for the springs, buried like to see something specifically devoted to it.
Tukaram
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Actually I just now re-watched the Magic Maker DVD - it was better than I remembered. The raccoon was poorly made... but the DVD had more tips than I thought. He covers a lot of the basic moves. Ben Salinas perfoms on the DVD.
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On Oct 23, 2015, R2D2 wrote
I think I understand how to make him run up my body or arm. I have to put all four fingers from my right hand on his bottom, then push on the spring, then a moment later move him up my arm and then repeat the process. The result is that, yes, I am physically pushing him up my arm or torso but he gets just enough kick from the spring that it looks like he's self-propelled.


Hmm, I'm not sure about that. The spring really isn't strong enough to assist moving it's there to make him bend.

To make him fly up your arm do one big flick with your left fingers this is covered by stroking him in the opposite direction with your right hand at the same time. If you perform the handkerchief mouse you'll be familiar with this move.
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