(Close Window)
Topic: Cups and Balls ideas
Message: Posted by: GordonLi (Jul 1, 2007 12:22AM)
I would be taking part in a local magic competition towards the end of the year and I thought it would be good just to get some ideas from all the other magicians here.

I am thinking of doing a 2 cup routine, that is of competition standard and at the same time commercial and practical, but have yet to come up with the full routine. I have been mainly inspired by Tommy Wonder's work and for the big loads (whether at the end or during the routine), I am thinking of doing 3 different ones. (One will be the sock on the table where the cups were kept in, another will be a load hidden under this sock - also suggested by Tommy Wonder, and the last will be a standard body load - which I preferably would not like). With respect to some criticisms that Tommy Wonder's routine presents the load as a puzzle, my arrangement will only have one puzzle bit (the sock) which might be amusing, but will ultimately be overshadowed by the other 2 surprise productions.

I would like some comments on these loads? Is there any other way I can do loads besides a body load that is practical and can be done standing up? (ie. No table loads).

Also, is there anyway I can utilise a hat for a closeup/parlour cups and balls routine without cluttering the table space?

Over the next few months, I will also be studying David Williamson, Reed McClintock, Bob White and Dennis Loomis materials on the cups and balls.

Any other recommendations for me?

Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jul 1, 2007 01:11AM)
Check out Gazzo's Street Cups routine. He has some excellent tips that apply equally well whether you're using one, two, or three cups.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2007 01:24AM)
If you are working on a table, use a servante. If you are only doing one load from a servante, load it first. Then the others will be sure to fool them, especially if you reveal the servante load last.

Also, there is a technique you can use in a three cup routine (I don't think it will work in a two cup routine) that was used by Elmsley. Also check out Schneider's LA Street Cups routine.

There are many ways to do body loads that are much easier than you think.

Also, do not forget to get the Ammar DVD's.

NONE of your loads should be puzzles. Puzzles are not magic. Tommy's bag load is NOT a puzzle. He is puzzled by it, but the audience should be astonished.

Figure out what your audience is going to be before you work on the routine. If you want to win competitions, then aim for that audience.
Message: Posted by: pabloinus (Jul 1, 2007 07:22AM)
Carl Andrews teaches a 2 cups routine that is very nice, he uses sponge balls and load from the body. The DVD is Table Hopping Cups and balls.
I like Wonder's routine, but has was very very good at misdirecting people, I think his routine is riskier if you don't do it perfectly.
Have fun
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Jul 1, 2007 09:54AM)
If your intention is to win in the competition, then you should ask yourself - who are the ones that decide whether you win or not. Judges? Do a bit of research on how the judges allocate points for you. Viewing a cups and balls performance from the judges' angle and from the lay audience angle is very much different.

Food for thoughts for you.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jul 1, 2007 11:57AM)
Judges typically look for:
Presentation (performer, not routine; how the performer presents himself to the audience)
Smoothness of technique
Audience interaction (especially for closeup)

There are varying levels of weight placed on these.

A standard routine presented flawlessly will get more points than a novelty routine done badly. A novel routine presented only average technique will get more points then the perfectly executed standard routine. One that gets the audience on their feet and cheering might beat out both originality and technique.

Unless they're not allowed to tell you, do what James suggests and find out the judging criteria ahead of time and work from there.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2007 12:33PM)
The first thing -- the one that costs people more contests than any other -- make sure you know how much time you have and how long your act is. More people lose contests because they run over than any other reason.

The second thing -- don't put all your eggs in one basket. Have something besides the cups and balls routine. I judged a contest a while back where one contestant performed a cups and balls routine that was done silently to a very popular song. The routine, itself, was basically Ammar's with a bit of Vernon thrown in. It was well done, but it didn't move the judges. The character was basically a New York con man/gangster type. It all worked together. But that was all he did.

Another fellow on the same contest did a street cups and balls routine. It was reasonably smooth. There were no surprises. But Street and Contest have to be thought out well to move the judges. It didn't move them. The lines were unoriginal. Even the judges who were laymen had heard all of them. The props were not good looking.

There just wasn't a connection.

There was a winner of a popular vote as well as winners in various categories. Neither of the cups and balls guys went home with a prize.

I did not judge either of them harshly. I gave the fellow who did the silent act to music good marks.

But I was just one judge. The judges were a couple of pro's, an amateur who was well versed in the material and a local entertainer who was a non-magician. He was easier on the magicians than the rest of us were, actually!
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Jul 1, 2007 12:47PM)
I agree, Bill. It is not easy to move and impress the judges to gain more points. Competition is a totally different ball game altogether.
Message: Posted by: GordonLi (Jul 1, 2007 01:48PM)
Thanks for everyone's input! Really appreciate it.

I think the main motivation at the end for me is to own a cups and balls routine which I am proud of, and one that I can even do table-hopping, whether I win the competition or not.

And because I would like to be able to do it table-hopping, I will probably not be using a servante. Is there any specific material I can check out for non-conventional body loads which are practical for my purposes?

But of course, since I'm taking part in the competition, I will definitely need a degree of originality, and will also focus on getting the technique down. I believe that magic (even performed commercially) should be original and almost flawless.

Since the competition is a 5-8 minute one, I will start off with a quick bottle production similar to Johnny Ace Palmer's opener (I am a fan of a quick opener effect). Then I will probably do a closeup balls routine, based on Vernon's and Johnny Thompson's ones, although I am not sure how I will transition this to the final cups and balls effect. There is also a risk of repeating the same effect, since the two are essentially ball transpositions, so I might need to think of another effect to replace the balls routine.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Jul 1, 2007 02:00PM)
Here's a point about the pocket-loading thing.

I too, have struggled with semi-organic ways of loading that did not involve anything that resmebles the Vernon take-away sequence. I've always assumed that in order to use one's pockets as a load repository, that some justification for going to the pockets must be contrived.

Like I always do, I stopped thinking and sequestered my ability to see past the obvious.

I won't tip the secret, but Reed McClintock's "Defiance II" cups and balls routine knocked down that wall for me. believe it or not, it is possible to load from one's pockets without anyone ever "seeing" you go to your pockets.

In my opinion, it took a guy who says he did not even like the routine to make this breakthrough. Trust me on this, it is purely a psychological issue at work that makes it possible. But I've employed this tactic, and it simply KILLS.

I reviewed it here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=51337&forum=109

I suggest buying this from Reed. It was worth it. I'm still waiting to see him do it live.

Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Jul 1, 2007 02:11PM)
Gordon Li, a commercial routine should be entertaining and mystifying. And the development of which is totally different from the one you are going to create for the competition.

At the end of the day, you will find yourself having a few routines. The reason is due to environmental factors (the venue you would be performing in). You will find that in certain places you would prefer a chop cup routine or just a one cup routine. Some places allow you to perform the 3 cups whereas others do not, hence the need for smaller cups.

I ended up with all kinds of routines due to environmental factors too.

Enjoy the journey of being a cup/s and ball/s worker. Its enlightening and every performance is educating too.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2007 02:13PM)
The loading sequence is the best part of Reed's routine. Some have found other parts a bit disjointed. However, the loads blow people away.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Jul 1, 2007 03:55PM)
On 2007-07-01 15:11, JamesTong wrote:

At the end of the day, you will find yourself having a few routines. The reason is due to environmental factors (the venue you would be performing in). You will find that in certain places you would prefer a chop cup routine or just a one cup routine. Some places allow you to perform the 3 cups whereas others do not, hence the need for smaller cups.


Man, is this ever an understated truth!

Message: Posted by: gdw (Jul 1, 2007 07:24PM)
It's fine with doing the body load first, especially if you reveal it first as well. Basically, they wil follow the pocket load as usual as it's been seen before, but then the other two will blow them right away.

Lead them down the garden path man.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2007 11:08PM)
If you can get the body load in place without any suspicion, then revealing it last can be really devastating. There are other misdirection points during any c&b routine that will allow other things to happen easily.
Message: Posted by: eshdath (Jul 8, 2007 09:03AM)
Shalom,Here's an idea if you're hands are able to cover each cup,make them vanish during the reveal of the finale loads.You can also have the cups turn into the finale loads.
Message: Posted by: GordonLi (Jul 8, 2007 10:19AM)
Again, thanks everyone. I now have a lot of ideas to work with. I'll update everyone probably in a month's time. (:
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jul 8, 2007 10:29AM)
I got and watched Gazzo's street cups DVD. It was great.
Many hours of good material. Espeically if you're looking for a routine that will work for layman.
Message: Posted by: Amon (Jul 8, 2007 10:50AM)
I would also highly reccomend Cellini's routine which he teaches on Volume 2 art of street performing. He works from his pockets and a topit.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Jul 8, 2007 02:28PM)
As to: "Any other recommendations for me?"

Study the books of Eddie Joseph.

Dennis Loomis