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Mr NZ Magican
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If the zombie ball is done well and includes new ideas it can be an amazing piece of magic even to the lay person who has seen it before.
What is at the beginning of eternity, the end of time and the start of every ending?
n3cromanc3r
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Exactly the point of the thread, and I applaud you Tim.
Kent Wong
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Timothy,

Thank you for the detailed response. It was extremely helpful. I have owned the DW ball for several months and use the Okito hookup. My original thoughts were very similar to your own. I envisioned performing the traditional Zombie Ball effect, but extending the routine a little bit so the spectators would start to suspect that there must be "something" under the cloth.

I believe it was Michael Ammar who once said that the human mind naturally looks for a solution to whatever it cannot understand. Once it has found a solution, even if it is improbable or impossible, the mind stops looking.

I wanted to let the spectators rest their minds briefly on this little mental crutch, before I knocked it out from under them. So, as soon as I got to the point where the spectators became curious that there might be something under the cloth, I remove it and immediately go into the Okito techinque.

By doing this, it makes it almost impossible to reverse engineer the method (because there are two methods at work which defeat each other). By having the ball covered with the foulard at the very beginning, it suggests that nothing could be attached to it. This only leaves the possibility that something must be under the cloth. By removing the cloth, we strip away that possibility as well.

In order to perform this effect, 2 DW balls are required: One with a Zombie hookup, and the other with an Okito hookup. The entire effect depends upon the the two balls being switched in such a smooth manner that the audience has no idea that a switch occurred. Therefore, I was envisioning that the Zombie ball would briefly float over a Zombie case (or alternatively a small table with a black art well). The Zombie would briefly lower underneath the foulard and, at that time, it would secretly be disposed of while the DW ball reappeared at the top of the foulard. To the spectator, it should simply look as though the Zombie ball dipped briefly below the foulard and than came back up into view.

I would then like to make one or two additional Zombie-like moves to establish a little time misdirection for the switch that just occurred. Then, I would remove the foulard in its entirety, perhaps just by releasing it and litting it drift to the floor (thanks for the thoughts on not whipping the foulard away - that made a lot of sense). I would then continue with the DW ball routine.

Do you think this is workable? Any tips, suggestions or criticism you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Kent
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The Drake
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Hi Kent,

Your routine sounds fantastic but bringing it to a smooth performance in front of a live audience will be difficult. Are you going to use a hoop for the Okito part? Before you go any further I suggest you take your zombie cloth and with it in place ...try to hookup and launch your okito smoothly. If you can do this ...thats half the battle. You can then make the okito rub against the backside of the cloth ( to represent zombie ) or even do the waterfall move with it.

You could even do the switch ( if hooked up ) by making it look like the ball is going around your body like many people do with Zombie. Picture this..... the Zombie is on your right side on the edge of the cloth.... it goes behind the cloth and looks like it is going around your back ( I assume you are familar with this move...if not I have a grapic to demonstrate it ) ...you dump the zombie and as you act like the ball is going around your back....you launch the okito from its device on your left under the cover of the cloth and the okito ball now appears to be the zombie that has revolved around you. At this point you do yet another zombie move and then continue with okito. You would need two black art chambers or switch devices near you for this effect which weakens it a bit unless they serve a purpose on stage.

These were all things I considered in the past but decided to keep things simpler and go okito then zombie. Someday I may a nice asrah type vanish of the ball as well. In my zombie routine I start of with yet another DW ball ( no gimmick ) and do the hand held zombie move then place it into a basket, cover the basket with a cloth and launch into zombie. ( different ball with gimmick )

All things considered.....if you haven't performed Okito live to an audience I suggest you try it on stage with all the hassles of hooking up and getting unhooked before combining the two effects. You will learn a lot from the experience regards roadblocks that have to be overcome regard your combo illusion.

Yet one more thought..... You could do the basket switch as I do but do it in reverse. I place my Okito into the basket...hang my hoop on a hook beside the basket and then launch Zombie. If you reverse it you would launch zombie from it.......then float zombie back to the basket , drape the cloth over it and as you are taking applause and the audience thinks you are finished you reach for the hoop on the side of the basket, place it over your head ( for hookup ) and then refloat zomie ( really okito now ) ...remove the cloth when desired and carry on.

Sorry about the run on text but I get carried away when brainstorming.


Best,

Tim
Kent Wong
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Tim,

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. As you can tell, I'm not anywhere close to actually performing this routine. And, since I don't have a permanent stage from which to practice, the set-up for rehearsal takes a fair amount of time. This is why I really wanted to nail down the performance in my mind before I started the rehearsals.

I really liked your idea of doing the switch in conjunction with a behind the back move. I also appreciate the technical difficulties that may arise in doing the switch because of the Okito hookup. It will be very difficult to get the timing just right and to make the switch look smooth.

I haven't decided on the hoop move yet. Everytime I think about it, my imagination starts to run wild - all I see is a silver ball floating inside a large, sealed, plexi box. (This is where you are supposed to roll your eyes, convinced that I have lost all sense of reality).

I know that getting it all to work right is pretty "high maintenance", but hopefully I'll be rewarded at the end of the day with a very unique piece of magic.

Thanks,
Kent
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The Drake
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Hi Kent,

No I don't think that you have lost your mind because I actually have a plexi box about 3 ft by 3ft that I can float a ball in. I built it years ago with the idea of floating a mirror ball inside and at my command have the mirror ball begin slowly turning while still inside. I actually have the remaining mirrorballs that were built for David Copperfield's television special with Loni Anderson that he never used. I altered them to be able to start and stop rotating without me making contact with them.

I have never performed it live as it is very complicated and requires everything to be perfect onstage as well as a really capable backstage helper. Some day I will and will post the video on my website.

I wish you well in your creative efforts to make a superb FB routine but I should warn you of something. Dreaming and doing are two very different animals. I invented a way that a floating ball could circle around me, float under an extended arm and then over and back through a stationary hoop. It involved a boom system that took forever to rig. I had a studio that I rehearsed in and I thought I would take the magic world by storm. The truth is that I never got an opportunity to present it in a real theatre enviroment and that's the last I ever thought of it. It was too complicated to really set up and perform. I'm lucky ( and many pros will back me up on this ) if I get a stage large enough to perform my regular Okito on. Someday maybe I'll do it at a magic convention or something. Magicians will appreciate it.

I was forced to develop a Zombie routine as most of my gigs are for corporate clients who have a bandstand instead of a stage with wings. Be careful not to make the same mistake I did. While I was going for the gusto developing my super duper floating ball ....my fellow magicians were doing much smaller acts and kept busy working and making money! I had to turn down so many jobs because my larger version simply would not work in that venue. This brings us back to the origin of this thread......" don't discount those Zombies guys."

By the way....why not use a hoop for Okito AND the plexi box as well later in the act.

Don't get me wrong.....KEEP THINKING those great ideas...BUT rehearse the smaller steps first and that will guide your thinking of the proper way to put the entire act together. Otherwise you could paint yourself into a corner.

Best,

Tim
Kent Wong
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Tim,

Really good advice! I'll be sure to keep one eye on practicality while the other is focused on the stars.

I probably will use the hoop as a convincer, but I don't really feel comfortable having it looped over my head. I'm sure that I will be able to work my way around it in rehearsal.

Thanks again,
Kent
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n3cromanc3r
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WOW.. good stuff.
Dougini
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Wow!

Good stuff is right! Tim & Kent...OUTSTANDING! See? This is the Café', at its best!

Just to see what would happen, I did a test. Got out my old Zombie and my Astrosphere. Took a couple days to refresh, and had some friends gather (one friend has seen the Zombie, knows the secret, but STILL is his favorite)...so, we have me and four spectators in the living room, 3 of whom are lay persons.

The Zombie played first, Pink Floyd's "Great Gig In The Sky" (Edited) vocal solo (2 min) playing on the CD player for effect. It worked. Pure magic. Then, the Astrosphere (after an off-beat switch)...but not done the factory suggested way (I have my own loop hookup based on "one-point"), and no music...just toss the cloth to the audience, the ball goes over your head, from right hand to left, and down to the stand, all in one move.

That combination was really satisfying to do. It negated the feeling I got from the title of this topic, and 2, the applause and cheering from these people shows me this effect is alive and well! It all depends how you SHOW it! Smile

Doug
NickJegor
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I refresh my zombie routine.
I nead to thank Tim. For his good advices.
I have my zombie routine in my web site, but I will soon change in to the new one.
Here is the link: http://www.njmagic.xxi.lt
You will find the zombie in video section.

Nick
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The Drake
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Take that you Zombie haters.....HAH!

Just when you thought it was toast...the Zombie rises from the dead. Maybe that's why they call it the Zombie ?

Good work guys! I hope this thread ( which I quite enjoyed participating in ) will inspire others to blow the dust of theirs and polish em up for an upcoming show.

Best,

Tim
n3cromanc3r
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My son had a magician at his school last night so naturally I went. Not suprisingly as one of his closing routines he whipped out the Zombie. Of course my first reaction in my head was. "Oh god not the zombie" (I had to be true to my thread you know) but secretly I was hoping for some really good stuff because as I stated earlier, I really love the effect. Unfortunately it was the same routine that most people perform with the exception that he did keep it short which I really appreciated. My theory is, if it can't be creative, keep it short.

Now there were lots of parents around me and I said nothing to indicate my thoughts one way or the other. When the show was over I was saying how nice the show was to my wife and the other parents. (It really was a pretty good show)and I simply acted like the rest of them. None of the parents knew I had anything to do with magic and I never said so. I simply asked in passing "So what did you think if the floating ball?" I was totally prepared to be proven wrong and would post so if that had been the case. One of the moms spoke up and said "Oh I didn't really like that one", I asked why "It was so obvious how it was done" and she proceeded to nail it. I never told she nailed it or even indicated that I knew, but she did. I should say that although the routine was unoriginal, the magican did a decent job performing it and based off the rest of his show was obviously a professional.

Unfortunately I could not help but leave a bit saddened that at least in this case, I was right.
The Drake
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Like any illusion there will always be people who now how its done. Geesh... how I remember the hoards of people who told me they knew how everything was done after Valentino sold us all out. ( How's that world tour going val ? Whoops didn't happen did it. You can move to Ontario as we are short of squeegy kids here. )

Back to the thread......I've also had people tell me they knew how my Zombie was done. I've had kids holler out that they can see the strings and Adults have whispered....." Static electricity " in my ear. I think its sweet when they do this so they don't expose the static method to anyone else within earshot.

A windy day sure exposed me once but other than that I have had positive results. I have also seen poor performances that more or less exposed the method without flashing anything.

I'm interested in the performance you saw. You say it was uninspiring....is it possible the lack of performance explained the trick?

Best,

Tim
Kent Wong
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Doug, it sounds like you have a really great routine in the works. I never thought to combine Zombie with Astrosphere - I'll have to give that a try.

N3cromanc3r, it truly is a shame that some people have never learnt how to properly prepare for the Zombie. As with most effects, you have to go way above and beyond the boxed instructions in order to create a truly magical experience.

The one secret to the Zombie that is not in the pre-packaged instructions is this: for the Zombie ball to look like it's floating, you have to BELIEVE it is floating. If you don't believe it, there is no way you can sell it to the spectators. Instead, you will unconcsiously pay so much attention on controlling the gimmick that your body language will give it away.

So, to perform an effective Zombie, you have to FORGET THE GIMMICK EXISTS. I know this much harder to do than it is to say. Here's what I did to create my routine:

1. Identify and sequence each move in my mind.
2. Practice that exact sequence (without a mirror) until you have the sequence memorized completely. The reason for practicing without a mirror is that it allows you to focus on the moves, without thinking about the gimmick. When you are actually performing, you should not have to think about what the ball is going to do next. The ball is supposed to have a mind of its own, and therefore, the moves should seem spontaneous. Now, it is an oxymoron, but the only way to make something "seem" spontaneous is to practice the daylights out of the entire sequence until it becomes second nature.

The other reason for not using a mirror is that it is self-defeating in this case. When practicing the Zombie, the only reason to use a mirror is to see if you flash the gimmick. This reinforces the EXISTENCE of the gimmick in your mind. Remember, you are trying to do the opposite. Forget that the gimmick exists and the ball will float.

3. Practice in front of a video camera. This will allow you to view your sequence of moves without looking for the gimmick. But only begin videotaping after you have perfected the sequence so you no longer have to think about it.

4. Show the videotape to close family or friends one-time only for a critique. This will give you a indication of a spectator's reaction when seeing the effect for the first time. By showing it to them only once, they will be able to give you good feedback on the presentation rather than try to dissect the method. If you repeat this process, choose different people to view the videotape.

Under no circumstance should you view the videotape yourself. I know this sounds strange, but there is no way you can view the videotape yourself FROM A SPECTATOR'S PERSPECTIVE. Instead, you will be looking for the gimmick - and, as said before, this is not what you want to focus your mind on.

Even now, I continue to work on my Floating Ball routine, but with the assistance of people like Tim, and all of the other vaulable feedback here on the Café, that process gets much easier.

Kent
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Jimeuax
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When I was a little kid I saw the zombie on t.v. , even then, I knew exactly how it was done with NO background in magic at all. I don't think I was a particularly brilliant child so..............................
The Drake
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I saw Valentino perform Copperfields lazer cutting in half routine. He sucked and I was able to figure out exactly how its was done. His movements were so awful it broadcast the method. The ironic part of this was that in a show about exposure this was one illusion he did not " intentionally expose" he wanted to impress the television audience with his magicial powers...ooooohhhhh. He DID expose it however my his performance...nothing was flashed....just telegraphed big time. This doesn't make that illusion poor....it just proved Kents point.....its the performance that sells the trick.

Kent....you hit the head on that one...I also make myself believe the ball is floating. This is why I personally perform my version with slow graceful movements and with a larger ball. It floats more like a balloon that a wild comet. Don't get me wrong. I saw Nick Jegors routine on video and was impressed by the ball that seemed to behave wildly under the cloth. A different look that I found refreshing.

I once had a guy tell me had a zombie as a kid and knew how it worked but couldn't figure out how I got the ball to go around my back and come back out front without letting go of the cloth. He figured I must be using some different method.

About a year ago my sound guy couldn't make it for a show . It was a banquet act with no stage or wings and I hired my brother to to run the sound for me. He had seen me perform the Zombie many times before. During a side angle check he saw how it worked . About a month later I was visiting him and mentioned I was working on a new illusion ....he blurted out with .." I don't want to know anything......you wrecked the floating ball for me and I don't want to know how anything else works." I took this remark to be a compliment to my Zombie routine. A successful zombie routine is one part gimmick and 3 parts performance!

I can't fault the zombie's critics however. If I were to attend a function and see a zombie pulled out I would also honestly think " oh god not the zombie" this is based on my multiple experinences seeing it performed by eager amateurs. The magician would have to impress me with a valid performance.

Best,

Tim
n3cromanc3r
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Quote:
On 2005-02-20 20:11, Timothy Drake wrote:

I can't fault the zombie's critics however. If I were to attend a function and see a zombie pulled out I would also honestly think " oh god not the zombie" this is based on my multiple experinences seeing it performed by eager amateurs. The magician would have to impress me with a valid performance.



Exactly my point when starting the thread. I started it out of a love for the effect, not as a critic of it.
The Drake
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I jumped into this thread in defence of the zombie and later realized the real nature of your first post. By this point a discussion had started, we had some good debate and I made several new friends in the magic world. Yes I do find it amusing that we ended off exactly where you did indeed start.

Kudos to all for their 2 cents!

Best,

Tim

Just when I thought we had reached the end of this thread I just had to post one more. As I mentioned earlier my success with Zombie had inspired me to move up to the Losander Floating Table. Its been a real winner for me in my banquet act.

I had a show booked tonight for a boy scout banquet. I was short of material that would play to all age groups ( siblings and parents also attended ) so I opened with Zombie even though I would later do the Floating table. I love my table but tonight it got only polite applause while the Zombie I opened with earned oohs,aahs and cheers from the audience. After the show I got many comments on the Zombie and people were offering theories of how it worked. The funniest was that it was a light plastic ball filled with highly compressed helium. They were half right as I made my Zombie from a DW Floating ball.

Keep working on those zombie routines and God Bless Joe Karson!

Best,

Tim
hugmagic
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Timothy, I must agree with your audience a floating table just leaves me cold. I have Lossander do his, Craig Karges and Harry Anderson with the Owen style and the Tim Wright version made by Wellington. For some reason, it just does not hold the emotional attachement that the ball does.


I have worked with another guy doing trade shows and the zombie as a lead in segment to an illusion plays well. It is strong and registers well but it really fits in well into our illusion which follows.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
The Drake
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Hello Richard,

The losander table is normally a very popular part of my banquet act. I don't usually include both in my show. ( both floating table and zombie ) Tonight was strange however and I thought I had to mention it ( the reaction to zombie ) as we've been discussing the issue of weither the effect has seen its day or not.

I've alway gotten good responses but I found it strange just how good of a response I got. Tonight was my best audience reaction ever to the zombie. You can see excerpts from my zombie routine on my website at http://www.timothydrake.ca/video.html

Meanwhile...I find it interesting that the floating table leaves you cold as I was an instant fan of it from the moment I saw it. Its funny how some effects float your boat and others don't .........while others love them. Anyone care to start a new thread of effects that are popular and common but just don't do anything for you? If so I suspect it belongs in another catagory but please let me know.

Best,

Tim
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