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Topic: Are Cups and Balls the only winning closer in a competition?
Message: Posted by: ku7uk3 (May 12, 2009 02:21AM)
Everybody knows how good the cups and balls is for winning competitions. It has a building routine, multiple surprise climaxes and plays big for magicians. Its almost a standard in competition magic.

Every winning act seems to be doing it. The winner of the last few magic circle comps, FISM, IMS, IBM. They all did it. If you don't do the cups and balls, your at a serious disadvantage and it seems highly unlikely that you can win when someone else in the competition is performing it.

But what other trick can really compete with it?

The chop cup? - only has the one ending, while the cups has three.
A storybook card routine - is considered just another card trick.
Torn and restored card / paper - again, it only has one ending and is not considered on the same skill presentational level.

What makes it really annoying is that in the real world, its not that good. You need a table and large pockets. Very impractical. Its often too long and is considered old, and therefore boring. It really is a trick for magic competitions and videos only.

So what other effects are there that offer the same climaxes? the same presentational variances? and can compete against another performer doing the cups and balls?

Steve

P.S: I love the effect, and have my own unique routine. But even I must change my act eventually but I understand that in removing the effect, I have to replace it with something equally strong as I will be competing with someone else performing it. Changing the ending to solid cups or something is not what I consider a valid change.
Message: Posted by: Shawn Farquhar (May 12, 2009 05:32PM)
Actually the last winner of FISM did an act with Sharpies. Rick Merrill.
Cups are pretty popular though ...

Cheers,

shawn
Message: Posted by: majical (May 12, 2009 07:20PM)
The winner of the IBM/SAM Competition also did not have a single cup in his act.
Message: Posted by: Shawn Farquhar (May 14, 2009 11:49AM)
Oh yeah good point ... I lost to him too ... ;-) with my cups routine ...
Message: Posted by: Paul Jester (May 15, 2009 02:38PM)
Lol, I hear a torn and restorn paper with fish production does pretty well too... maybe not as well as cups, but pretty good. ;)
Paul
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (May 21, 2009 11:50PM)
I only got second with my cups too... :(
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Jun 1, 2009 10:49AM)
I am thinking about doing a cups and balls routine for the IBM close-up convention. The only disadvantage I see in using a C&B routine is that... nothing new is under the sun.

Everytime I think of something for my C&B routine, I find out, five days later, that the move is already being used by others.

C&B's is a great effect, a strong effect because it has survived the millenia's. But what new is out there for it? I find that its all been done.

Now mine and your C&B routine may not be original, but it should get applause because of the technigues used to perform it.

I think the one thing that will save a C&B routine is the climax, the final load.
I find it best not to produce fruit as the final load. Fruit has been done and is old.

Final loads should be a SUPRISE! Load something they wouldn't expect to be loaded or don't load at all.

Dare to be different about your C&B routine as well as all your other routines that are commercial.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Jun 1, 2009 10:59AM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-12 20:20, majical wrote:
The winner of the IBM/SAM Competition also did not have a single cup in his act.
[/quote]

They probably won because they didn't do the C&B. They did something different.
Message: Posted by: majical (Jun 3, 2009 12:24PM)
Tim and Shawn, I should probably add that I have seen both of your routines live and I can honestly say, without reservation, that they were not only original but AMAZING. Far and away, my two favorite cups and balls routines I've seen in person.

ibm_usa, this last post is definitely an appropriate response to Steve's initial question. However, in response to your first post, try telling Tim Ellis, Shawn Farquhar, Paul Gertner, and Jason Latimer that there is "nothing new under the sun" when it comes to the cups and balls. There was even a performer at IBM/SAM who did an underwater cups and balls routine! It is close-minded to assume that it's all been done. To be sure, it takes a very creative mind to bring something truly new to such a classic plot, but the performers I've named above as well as many others prove that it is certainly not impossible.
Message: Posted by: majical (Jun 3, 2009 12:24PM)
Tim and Shawn, I should probably add that I have seen both of your routines live and I can honestly say, without reservation, that they were not only original but AMAZING. Far and away, my two favorite cups and balls routines I've seen in person.

ibm_usa, this last post is definitely an appropriate response to Steve's initial question. However, in response to your first post, try telling Tim Ellis, Shawn Farquhar, Paul Gertner, and Jason Latimer that there is "nothing new under the sun" when it comes to the cups and balls. There was even a performer at IBM/SAM who did an underwater cups and balls routine! It is close-minded to assume that it's all been done. To be sure, it takes a very creative mind to bring something truly new to such a classic plot, but the performers I've named above as well as many others prove that it is certainly not impossible.
Message: Posted by: ku7uk3 (Jun 9, 2009 05:33PM)
Thanks for all your input guys, especially from the kings of cups and balls.

I agree and disagree at the same time. I have lost many competitions to someone performing the cups. But I also agree that a well-structured themed routine can outshine it as a closer if its makes cohesive sense to do so.

By that I mean, if your entire act is structured around a central theme (even though the magic may not be as strong), it can often outshine an impressive trick, such as the cups.

The cups are a definite closer for competitions that probably have the best reputation for bringing home the trophy. But they are not the only closer availble.

But going back to the original question...

What tricks can compete with it as a closing effects (non-reliant on a theme)?
Message: Posted by: Bryan Saint (Jul 13, 2009 10:03AM)
For a card routine, I always love 51 cards to pocket when it's done right. In my routine, the spec's card keeps jumping into my pocket. Then I give an "explanation" by talking about palming. I then show my hand empty while reaching into the pocket and removing a card that calls back to another trick for a joke. Then I remove the deck. This has multiple effects but only one surprise ending.

I think Steve is right. Multiple effects in the same routine with several surprise endings is really strong. For Cups and Balls, definitely listen to Shawn and Tim.

~Bryan
Message: Posted by: Geoff Williams (Jul 20, 2009 10:48PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-12 18:32, Shawn Farquhar wrote:
Actually the last winner of FISM did an act with Sharpies. Rick Merrill.
Cups are pretty popular though ...

Cheers,

shawn
[/quote]

Shawn,

Like what would YOU know about cups? Yours can't even hold any water or anything else for that matter. Actually, they probably shouldn't even be called cups. Your routine should be called "Gigantic Bullets and Balls."


Love you, man,

Geoff
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 14, 2009 09:00AM)
3rd to the Tim Ellis Routine.

This nearly normal guy has never one even a local close up contest.

He was awarded first prize in the 2003 Strolling Olympics Comedy Magic at the big IBM convention that year, said Nigel the puppet that rocks and talks.

No cups, but I did use rocks.
Message: Posted by: absoulute (Oct 12, 2009 02:40AM)
I don't know that I agree that lay audiences find this effect 'boring'. I have always had quite strong reactions from audiences when performing the cups. I also don't agree that this is only for magician audiences only. I think there are probably quite a few magicians performing this in the regular acts
Message: Posted by: mental4u (Jan 18, 2010 05:06PM)
I have watched many magic contests over the last 35 years. The majority of the winners did not do cups and balls as the closer. It is a classic for a reason and a great trick, but it is not a mandatory routine for competition.

The linking rings and zombie are classic's also, but not required. Thank goodness.

Gregg Lancaster
Mental Masterpieces
College Station, Texas
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jan 19, 2010 10:42PM)
A card routine where after loads going on ith the deck there's a huge whole deck kicker. eg Kevin Wray winning Ron's Comp. with Bill Simon's 'Call to the Colors'.

Then again I only managed second in the same Comp in another year ending with a rollover aces/triumph effect with a red black separation and four royal flush kicker climax. But then 1st place went to Carlos Vaquera and to be honest even if he'd just turned up and said, "'ello", I'd have given him 1st place. As it was he was amazing.

Actually now I think about it I did a cups and balls routine in the middle of my set :huh: ... If only Carlos hadn't been able to make it...
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 4, 2010 02:54PM)
Ku7uk3 wrote:

[quote]
The chop cup? - only has the one ending, while the cups has three.
[/quote]

There's your problem. You are already too fixed in your thinking. My chop cup routine has three loads. I'm not the only one who does something like that.

Just about the time you think that there is nothing new that can be done, someone like Shawn, Tim, Latimer or Tim Star comes out with something that is completely different.

Don't do the cups and balls. Find something else. If you can't even report with any accuracy what the winners of the various competitions have done, because YOU are hung up on cups and balls (I should talk!), then you are not only still thinking within the box, the lid is closed and the box is locked.

If you want to win FISM, find something totally new.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Dec 18, 2010 04:43PM)
Could the debate about the C&Bs result from some form of dismay by magicians who had too high an opinion of their act and took the C&Bs as scapegoat? I can recall the years where magicians would complain that it was impossible to win with a C&Bs routine. Furthermore no one could believe before Francis Tabary that a magician could win with a rope routine.

What about looking just at developing a talent and hope that someone else didn't at the same time succeed even better at the same exercise. What is more important? Getting the price or deserving it? Magic or recognition by a few judges? Did Al Goshman, Alex Elsmley or Dai Vernon win at FISM?
Message: Posted by: bigtyme (Dec 29, 2010 07:41AM)
Read the section in Michael Ammar's book regarding competitions. I think it will provide you with some unique insight. Wishing you all the best for 2011.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Kellogg (Jan 23, 2012 04:14AM)
Tommy wonders routine is all self contained and extremely real world workable. (not to mention one of the biggest foolers out there for magicians)
Message: Posted by: obrienmagic (May 23, 2016 12:53AM)
[quote]On May 12, 2009, Shawn Farquhar wrote:
Actually the last winner of FISM did an act with Sharpies. Rick Merrill.
Cups are pretty popular though ...

Cheers,

shawn [/quote]

Btw... Loved your cups routine in that competition Shawn!
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Oct 6, 2016 09:37AM)
In looking through this thread I was caught by a post from 2009 in which was said...

"The only disadvantage I see in using a C&B routine [in a competition] is that... nothing new is under the sun."

And then.... 3 years later at FISM.... along comes [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JI03MW3Oms] Yann Frish [/url]
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 26, 2017 02:30PM)
Cups and Balls routine seemed to be the many competition acts as far back as the 1960's, I believe it was more of trick the judges could actually judge the skill of the competitor, because they themselves have the knowledge of what such a routine involves. There are many factors judged on and this is one the judges can actually judge on the different categories in the long list of topics they comment on, in the tally sheets.