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Topic: What's wrong with the Cups and Balls?
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 7, 2012 07:07PM)
Hey All,

Recently I've been reading through a couple of highly interesting threads regarding two very interesting topics. One thread dealing with making routines that really "fool the audience", particularly with the final load sequence, and one thread asking the question whether the cups and balls appeals/works with a "mainstream audience". However, both of these threads gradually wandered off topic. My purpose with this thread is the bring these two issues together, and see if we can't investigate them further. What follows is my opinion on the two issues.

I believe that the cups and balls without a doubt work with a "mainstream audience". As a quick example, I've shown my little sister who's 14, probably over a dozen videos of the masters doing the cups and balls. While she doesn't react that much to the first 3/4 of most of the routines, the final loads always kill her. She always says and I quote: "I never get how the fruit, or the big balls get under the cups. I mean, you can't hide something that big in your hand. I'd see that." And she's a teenager who's grown up with magic around, and has probably seen the Vernon final load sequence in various forms 20 times. There's no doubt in my mind that the final loads play just as well with audiences now, as they've ever done. The final loads ASTOUND! However there is a problem with most cups and balls routines. Everyone I've shown these routines to(all lay-people), also reacted very strongly during the Latimer routine, the Tommy Wonder routine(close-up and stage), and pretty well to the Paul Gertner routine. Observe, in these routines that the patter is stripped to a bare minimum so as not to distract from the effect, and even without patter(as in Latimer's routine), the WHOLE routines are visual and audible(in Gertners case) eye/ear candy. I've heard this from laypeople, as well as noticing this myself, most cups and balls routines are just plain confusing! As Vernon said somewhat ironically: "confusion is not magic".

My conclusion is that the aspect of the cups and balls that needs the most work isn't the final loads, and isn't even perhaps the presentation. The quality of the body of the routine leading up to the final loads makes most of the difference. We should work on trying to make the main body of the routine as amazing as the final loads(Impossible? Maybe, but we can get pretty close. Look at Jason Latimer). Visual/dramatic vanishes without a bunch of hand-to-hand transfers, startling visual/super-clean appearances, not doing the same effect "different ways"(its STILL repetitious!),and a routine that doesn't end with the "I'll put a ball a away to make it easier to follow" Vernon loading sequence are what you want.

Vernon's final load sequence while revolutionary for introducing the final loads without a servante, was a bit confusing. In the hands of a lot of people it's very confusing. He made it work okay, by explaining a basic vanish. This made the many trips to the pocket seem to have more motivation, not enough motivation in my opinion, but better than most people. Most people who learn the sequence, and then try to cut out the vanish expose, look terrible because they're going into the pocket many time with no other motivation then the lame "I'll remove a ball to make it easier to follow." Well, those rapid fire trips to the pocket with ball coming back, etc etc, definitely don't make it "easier to follow." Ricky Jay probably does the Vernon loading sequence better than anyone, because the trips to the pocket are spaced out, and all of them a have a motivation that makes sense in the context of his routine. We need shorter routines, visual, direct, and to the point. One way that could definitely make the effect simpler, is the use less cups like Tommy Wonder did. But there's another big problem.

To much patter is another flaw. However, you can't just say: "well just don't talk so much." I believe that the patter problem comes from the type of routine I discussed above. There are three balls to follow, 3 cups that the balls could be under, the magician is constantly moving them around, then they're seemingly moving around by themselves, then there's the wand being waved, all this is happening at a rapid rate of speed, THIS IS HARD TO FOLLOW! I believe that when you do a routine like that you HAVE to talk a lot just so the audience can have a chance of following the routine! By making the routines slower and the effects fewer and more direct, we will not only have the effects largely speak for themselves, but we'll just have less to talk about! Think of Tommy Wonder, "I'll show you how a ball can come underneath this cup. Here we go". And so on. Simple and to the point. I'm a great admirer of Tommy Wonder's stage routine as well as Jason Latimer's, because they do cups and balls routines that you can follow with NO PATTER! Imagine trying to do these routines with patter, they would both suffer tremendously. Again, this doesn't mean that having a routine with patter is bad, just make you're routine easy to follow, engaging, and mystifying, and good patter will follow if it should.

Well, that's my take on these questions. This was probably way too long, so forgive me for that. Please share your opinions on these topics. Please share your opinions of my opinion. If you disagree with me, please tell me why. I'm only 16, and probably have made some mistakes. If you have other issues with the trick, or have other ways of making the trick better please share them. The cups and balls are one of my favorite tricks, and I'm always learning!

Cheers!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 7, 2012 08:15PM)
I was quite surprised to read you are only 16. Very well thought out, IMHO.

"Visual/dramatic vanishes without a bunch of hand-to-hand transfers, startling visual/super-clean appearances,"
This is probably the one part I don't (neccessarily) agree with.
Not that it wouldn't help, just that I don't think these in particular are the direction to go. I think Wonder's routine (close up) shows perfectly why. In many way still very traditional, in terms of the body of effects in the main portion of the routine, but leaps ahead still.

Though not generally a fan of the usual final loading sequence, it is usually the exposť portion that makes it undesirable to me. I think a brief, but brisk, almost furry-esque sequence of the balls reappearing after being our away can work quite. However, in the end, I'm still not too find of it, especially after seeing Wonder's routine.
Of course, part of the lack of appeal, to magicians, comes from familiarity. No reason it can evolve.

In the end, I STRONGLY agree with your main point, that we need to make the body of the routine appealing. It should not just be the pre show we make the audience sit through just to see the main event.

IMHO, the body should almost stand in its own, and the climax should serve to enhance, compliment, and punctuate the rest of the routine.
The very fact that Tommy Wonder throws a final load into the middle of the body of his routine (an idea I believe predates his routine, but I could be mistaken) is a testament to how one CAN make the main routine entertaining and more than just something we're "obligated" to go through before the "real" effect.

Despite what some may say, it is not all about getting to the big balls. At least it shouldn't be.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Mar 7, 2012 09:19PM)
I find that audiences get confused when the action happens too fast, not giving them time to react and think about what happened. That can occur with or without patter. I do the cups and balls with a patter in verse and the rhyming patter helps punctuate the actions they are seeing. In my routine I think the patter adds greatly to the entertainment value and adds a pacing or cadence to the magic they are seeing. Cups and Balls I have found to be a real audience favorite and many times I've been asked to "bring those cups" for repeat performances.


Larry :readingbook:
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 7, 2012 11:56PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-07 21:15, gdw wrote:
I was quite surprised to read you are only 16. Very well thought out, IMHO.

"Visual/dramatic vanishes without a bunch of hand-to-hand transfers, startling visual/super-clean appearances,"
This is probably the one part I don't (neccessarily) agree with.
Not that it wouldn't help, just that I don't think these in particular are the direction to go. I think Wonder's routine (close up) shows perfectly why. In many way still very traditional, in terms of the body of effects in the main portion of the routine, but leaps ahead still.

Though not generally a fan of the usual final loading sequence, it is usually the exposť portion that makes it undesirable to me. I think a brief, but brisk, almost furry-esque sequence of the balls reappearing after being our away can work quite. However, in the end, I'm still not too find of it, especially after seeing Wonder's routine.
Of course, part of the lack of appeal, to magicians, comes from familiarity. No reason it can evolve.

In the end, I STRONGLY agree with your main point, that we need to make the body of the routine appealing. It should not just be the pre show we make the audience sit through just to see the main event.

IMHO, the body should almost stand in its own, and the climax should serve to enhance, compliment, and punctuate the rest of the routine.
The very fact that Tommy Wonder throws a final load into the middle of the body of his routine (an idea I believe predates his routine, but I could be mistaken) is a testament to how one CAN make the main routine entertaining and more than just something we're "obligated" to go through before the "real" effect.

Despite what some may say, it is not all about getting to the big balls. At least it shouldn't be.
[/quote]

I totally agree. I'm sorry, I should have made clear what I meant when I said: "Visual/dramatic vanishes without a bunch of hand-to-hand transfers, startling visual/super-clean appearances," When I was writing it, I was actually thinking of Tommy Wonder's vanishes and appearances in his close-up routine. His vanish from the audience's view is the ball goes into his hand, he shows the cup empty, then he bends over, pauses for a moment(to build tension), then it vanishes and appears under the cup. No back and forth movement or monkeying with a wand. That's what I meant by a "dramatic vanish". And by "startling appearance", I was actually thinking about the first appearance of the pom-pom in the middle of his routine. The "visual" was me thinking about Jason Latimer. Definitely you shouldn't try to build a routine around a particular vanish or a production, but they are an important component of one. When I mentioned them, I was listing them among other important component of a good routine.

On the subject of the usual final loading sequence, I agree that one can make a flurry like sequence entertain, but only in context. If the flurry happens with you in a state of confusion over why the balls keep coming back it makes sense. However, if your script is along the lines of "I'll put one away to make this easier to follow. Actually, I'll put this one away also to make it really easy to follow. But look, now this ones back. Look now this one's back. Now there're how many under the center cup? No! Three! But if I tap the cups extra hard I get all the balls to come back. And they grow too." That reads very silly and exaggerated on paper, but in reality many routines go along very similar lines. By taking out the expose the loading phase loses its logic. When the balls start coming back you have to have a new reason, or you have to be just as baffled as the audience is for this to play well. Either that or break up the loading sequence into several smaller sequences a la Ricky Jay.

Cheers!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: Yellowcustard (Mar 8, 2012 12:00AM)
I feel that with cups and balls there are a lot of copycat styles. Few people seem to spend time to make different. Just look at how many street buskers just copy Gazzos set joke as well. But look at Mario Morris street set.

Some people also seem to think that every phase/ move you learn you should use. I find this all to over the top. One move or phase I donít like is the spoof I show you how I did it but thatís my opion.

I do find some routines just to long. I do notice especially on the street people zone out they start to chat to each over or zone out. My wife very rare she watch the whole thing yet other acts doing more varied stuff she stays.

All the above is my opion. I love doing cup and balls yet perform it very occasionally. I have not quite worked out my spin on it like Paul Gertner did.
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 8, 2012 12:05AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-07 22:19, Larry Barnowsky wrote:
I find that audiences get confused when the action happens too fast, not giving them time to react and think about what happened. That can occur with or without patter. I do the cups and balls with a patter in verse and the rhyming patter helps punctuate the actions they are seeing. In my routine I think the patter adds greatly to the entertainment value and adds a pacing or cadence to the magic they are seeing. Cups and Balls I have found to be a real audience favorite and many times I've been asked to "bring those cups" for repeat performances.

Larry :readingbook:
[/quote]
Absolutely. Patter can definitely help the audience follow the magic, as well as keep the routine in rhythm. As for it adding to the entertainment value, I couldn't agree more. A good example of this is Gazzo. Personally, I'm not fond of his loading sequence even though a lot of magicians love it. However, his patter keep the crowd laughing, engaged, and actually misdirects and relaxes the audience to cover any flaws in his loading sequence. This proves how important patter can be, without his patter I feel the audience would catch a couple of his loads, but with the patter you haven't got a chance you're laughing so hard. I also totally agree that speed can definitely be confusing. Confusion isn't magic. :)

Cheers!

-Leo
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 01:00, Yellowcustard wrote:
I feel that with cups and balls there are a lot of copycat styles. Few people seem to spend time to make different. Just look at how many street buskers just copy Gazzos set joke as well. But look at Mario Morris street set.

Some people also seem to think that every phase/ move you learn you should use. I find this all to over the top. One move or phase I donít like is the spoof I show you how I did it but thatís my opion.

I do find some routines just to long. I do notice especially on the street people zone out they start to chat to each over or zone out. My wife very rare she watch the whole thing yet other acts doing more varied stuff she stays.

All the above is my opion. I love doing cup and balls yet perform it very occasionally. I have not quite worked out my spin on it like Paul Gertner did.
[/quote]
Agreed. Copycats can't ever do a routine as well as the inventor, because the routine was created specifically for one person: the inventor! And on the long and over the top routines, better to be short and sweet, then long and convoluted.

Cheers!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: Payne (Mar 8, 2012 10:13AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 01:10, leomagnus wrote:

And on the long and over the top routines, better to be short and sweet, then long and convoluted.
[/quote]
Myself, I prefer long and convoluted
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 8, 2012 02:29PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 11:13, Payne wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 01:10, leomagnus wrote:

And on the long and over the top routines, better to be short and sweet, then long and convoluted.
[/quote]
Myself, I prefer long and convoluted
[/quote]
I've seen your routine, and it's long, but it's not convoluted. You're audience reaction proves that.

-Leo
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 8, 2012 02:29PM)
There are no rules. I find that having fun, keeping it simple and easy to follow wins. [b](And whatever Payne does wins too) :)[/b]
Message: Posted by: FrenchDrop (Mar 8, 2012 02:32PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 15:29, Pete Biro wrote:
[b](And whatever Payne does wins too) :)[/b]
[/quote]
Literally!
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 8, 2012 04:55PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 15:32, FrenchDrop wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 15:29, Pete Biro wrote:
[b](And whatever Payne does wins too) :)[/b]
[/quote]
Literally!
[/quote]
Agreed!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 8, 2012 06:57PM)
There is nothing wrong with the cups and balls. There are a lot of things wrong with some performances.
Message: Posted by: yin_howe (Mar 8, 2012 08:57PM)
Maybe the premise/presentation of the traditional CNB need to be changed slightly e.g oldest trick in magic history, Egyption hyroglyphics etc. to a presentation that is more relevant to current times.. The Bar Cup by Roger Nicot comes to mind.. or like RIcky Jay's presentation in a form of a history lesson.
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 8, 2012 09:33PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 21:57, yin_howe wrote:
Maybe the premise/presentation of the traditional CNB need to be changed slightly e.g oldest trick in magic history, Egyption hyroglyphics etc. to a presentation that is more relevant to current times.. The Bar Cup by Roger Nicot comes to mind.. or like RIcky Jay's presentation in a form of a history lesson.
[/quote]
Gotta love the Ricky Jay routine!
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 19:57, Pete Biro wrote:
There is nothing wrong with the cups and balls. There are a lot of things wrong with some performances.
[/quote]
Too true.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Mar 8, 2012 10:45PM)
Most of the problem is that the magician falls in love with move and phases and tries to cram in as much as possible.

spectators don't like moves and phases. they just want to be entertained.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 9, 2012 07:58AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-08 23:45, Frank Starsini wrote:
Most of the problem is that the magician falls in love with move and phases and tries to cram in as much as possible.

spectators don't like moves and phases. they just want to be entertained.
[/quote]
:thumbsup:

Soooo true. One the hardest things I had to do/learn with my own routine(s) was cut phases I loved because they weren't working, or we're simply too much. Similarly adding/using phases, methods, moments I personally didn't care for, bit are what works best for the routine and audience.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 9, 2012 09:03AM)
I've mentioned this before, but not recently. There is a fellow I know of who can do about 30 minutes of cups and balls moves without repeating a single one. The problem is that he thinks the cups and balls is about the moves. Consequently, he is no longer asked to perform the cups and balls for the local magic club, because he insists on doing every move he knows.

One of the many secrets of the cups and balls is knowing what to leave out. This is especially true when you consider that many of the moves look like the same thing to the layman.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 9, 2012 11:52AM)
"One of the many secrets of the cups and balls is knowing what to leave out."
True of MANY things. Particularly in magic.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Mar 9, 2012 12:09PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-09 10:03, Bill Palmer wrote:
...One of the many secrets of the cups and balls is knowing what to leave out. This is especially true when you consider that many of the moves look like the same thing to the layman.
[/quote]

So true, and in my case, I discover this after recording my (so far) routine on a camcorder. "Moves" and "passes" were OH SO flashed and unnecessary! Using a mirror, I had incorrectly not considered angles, using the mirror masked MY VIEW of the "moves"!

I started over, and will practice the Vernon Routine until I have this down, backwards and forwards. This time the camcorder RULES! :)

Doug
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 9, 2012 02:18PM)
Dougini, especially for concerns with angles, a three mirror set up is also very useful.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Mar 9, 2012 07:44PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-07 20:07, leomagnus wrote:

By taking out the expose the loading phase loses its logic.

-Leo
[/quote]
Very astute comment, Leo.
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 10, 2012 12:41AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-09 20:44, Pop Haydn wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-07 20:07, leomagnus wrote:

By taking out the expose the loading phase loses its logic.

-Leo
[/quote]
Very astute comment, Leo.
[/quote]
Thanks.
Message: Posted by: JESmagic (Mar 10, 2012 01:38AM)
This is a very interesting thread...and I couldn't agree more with a lot of the commentary. The problem is that most of us LOVE the cups and balls...and know many different components for each phase; therefore we like to show them off. I have long considered what to do about this, since most people's attention span for a particular magic effect is relatively short (2-3) minutes.

Furthermore, remember that MANY laymen already know the basic principle of the cups and balls because, at one time or another, they got a cheap set of plastic cups-whether in a magic kit, or at the local magic store. Ironically...in my former days as a performer--when I was in my teenage years and used to work in the magic shop at Walt Disney World, I sold literally thousands of sets of plastic cups. I demonstrated only the simplest routine--making the balls penetrate the cups (because it required no sleights). Every kid (or in some instances adult) was shown how to do the trick after they bought it--as is customary in many magic shops. I would be even be bold enough to say that most people who bought the trick grasp the concept of "one ahead"...duh look three cups, four pom poms.

Fortunately, for us, few know how to apply the principle beyond what they are taught--which is what allows us to perform the trick and still fool them! Moreover, I am equally surprised at how few people, like those who bought the plastic cups from me...played with them once...and threw them in a drawer, have seen a complete routine, ie with final loads. Therefore, I am not totally miffed at the notion that people remember the final loads, and not 3-4 minute buildup intro and body sequences.

So...the question is what to do? We, as magicians who love to perform cups and balls, MUST strengthen our intro and body sequences, right....after all that's how we judge our skill....right?!

This is where studying the cups and balls effect comes in....and why it is a lifetime in evolution for a magician. Here are my thoughts (and ramblings), which I realize may not work for everybody.

First of all, I consider who am I performing the cups and balls for. Basically, I have organized my performance into 4 conceptual routines: one that I will perform for the layman, one that I perform for magicians, one that I perform for cups and balls performers, and one that I perform for only me. Allow me to elaborate....

The routine I perform for laymen is all about impact and visualization. I keep it relatively short (under 3 minutes) and it is all about getting to final loads. The intro and body sequences are short and quick--with the balls moving in a fashion similar to a coins across or matrix--fast. For example one element usually is "ball under any cup" bang with wand....now all under center cup. I leave a lot out...in case I'm asked to repeat the effect again later for another group. This way, I can "sub in" another intro / body sequence and if someone who saw the previous routine is watching...it won't be the exact same performance.

Secondly, the routine I perform for magicians is a little longer. I focus on showing mastered sleights...wand spins...cool cup / ball moves.......demonstrating a mastery of the classic. It is a little more elaborate. I spend more time with the intro and body sequences and focus more on them. Most magicians know that the final loads are coming anyway. Either way, I try to show off my slight of hand skill...chops...etc. This might be the routine I would do, say, if I were in a close up competition--which of course, I don't do anymore....but, well you get the point

Third, is the cups and balls routine I perform for magicians who "do" the cups and balls. This is the routine where I boast my best chops--perhaps I do a cup move with a lot of sleights, that the average person wouldn't care about or appreciate, but a cup worker is going to say "cool" or "nice job man". I'm not trying to melt faces with unknown methods--unless I figure something new out--but rather show off my chops to a group that might appreciate it more. The routine changes...and often turns into a...hey I'll show you how I do this...if you teach me how you did that kind of atmosphere.

The final routine is the one I perform only for me--which is probably the most important. It's the routine I perform when I'm at home practicing with my 3 way angled practice mirror--and I just let my imagination and creativity wander. This is where I take everything I've learned, read, seen...all the people I've talked to, admired, been amazed by......and try to put it into practice. No restrictions, no rules...and best of all, no mistakes. In other words, this is the essence of all the other performances--it's where I can work on new ideas, try them out, record and review them. If they work...great...if not...that's okay too. It's a "noodling" process, and to parallel one of my other passions--guitar...it's like a jam session. Much of the time it is a practice session of what I already know...but every now and then the stars align...and like that amazing jam session...I come up with something new...or rework something old into a new handling.

When we call the cups and balls a classic--this is exactly why.....it is limited only by our imagination....and for me it is a lifelong learning process.

Now I realize that this strategy may not work for all...and some may not agree with it, but that's okay. This is an effect that each individual must work on his or herself. Some are content only performing Vernon's routine...others want to expand beyond that. Heck, some people can't even do the the trick at all...but love it for another reason....like my friend who is an anthropology professor--and couldn't perform the trick to save his life. Yet, he loves to read about the history of the effect, studies all the videos.....watches every performance he can, and has amassed a large and impressive cup collection. The cups and balls has something to offer everyone.

Okay...so after that long winded response...in my "noodling process" I am constantly working on is how to make my intro and body sequences better...more unique. I also try to look at other ways to do the final load sequences different than others, like Vernon's. I allow myself the time and creativity to come up with something new...but never punish myself if I fall back on what I already know or have mastered. And most importantly...when I go to perform the effect, I look at my audience and tailor the performance to that group. I assure when I perform for my colleagues in the hospital...it isn't the same as when I perform for my neighbors kids!

Anyhow, it's late...and I'm on call in the hospital waiting for the next trauma patient to arrive...so I apologize in advance if this response is convoluted. But, as I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed reading some of the postings in this thread.
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 10, 2012 02:29PM)
Thanks for the post JESmagic. And I thought mine was long. LOL

Anyway, I'm totally with you on not trying to show every single cups and balls move invented during the course of the routine, but I disagree on having the whole routine be about getting to the final loads. Now obviously I haven't seen your routine, but I've found that laypeople are often bored to death for the first 3/4 of most routines. And this can be for a number of reasons including: everything being done too fast, the routine going on too long, the routine being repetitive, and it just being impossible to follow for a combination of these reasons. I mean I guess the question is, is the audience engaged and enjoying the routine before the final loads? If so, GREAT! If not, you might want to consider doing less moves, and doing them slower. Again, I haven't seen your routine. Your routine might play great, even at a fast pace. Gazzo's routine is very fast paced, and no one can deny that it's VERY successful.

Just as a quick comparison, Dai Vernon's routine was 4 minutes long, and by my count he perform more than 20 effects. Then take Tommy Wonder's routine, his routine was about 3 minutes long including the introduction to the effect, and applause, and he performed 10 effects. Now which routine had more impact on the audience? Tommy Wonder's. Is it fair to have the audience sit through 3 minutes of confusion/mediocrity for the 10-15 seconds of wonder as the final loads are revealed? I don't think so. Now obviously neither Vernon nor Tommy Wonder was guilty of this, but I think Vernon made this routine play for laypeople because of his charm and personality, more than the wonder of the routine itself. His routine has the legendary status it does, because it revolutionized the Cups and Balls as a close-up piece. The loads no longer coming from a servante. However from a more critical angle, his routine went on a bit too long, and was a bit repetitive. I'm being very picky, I know, but we can always work at making routines better.

In conclusion, my opinion is that the routine shouldn't be all about the final loads, and we should should work to make the entire routine an all around entertaining, and mystifying experience for our audiences.

Cheers!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: JESmagic (Mar 10, 2012 03:37PM)
Leo,
Try this: develop a routine with no final loads and perform it. Get it so good that people are blown away. Then, add a final load sequence to the routine--and that can be anywhere in the routine. Then review the impact. Just something else to try.
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 10, 2012 03:49PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-10 16:37, JESmagic wrote:
Leo,
Try this: develop a routine with no final loads and perform it. Get it so good that people are blown away. Then, add a final load sequence to the routine--and that can be anywhere in the routine. Then review the impact. Just something else to try.
[/quote]
You know, that's actually a very interesting idea which I may try. That would definitely be a surefire way to learn what effects are the strongest. What a way to develop that first 3/4 that I was talking about! Now we're getting somewhere. Great idea!

However, just to clear this up for anyone getting the wrong impression, I totally agree that final loads are important to the routine(maybe even essential). In fact, I feel that a final load of some kind, is the best and come to think of it, the only way I know of to end a routine successfully. However, we can't disregard the rest of the routine as nothing but a set-up for the ending. And on doing a final load in middle of a routine, Tommy Wonder did just that in his routine and got great reactions! :)

-Leo

Posted: Mar 10, 2012 4:52pm
I really like the direction this thread is taking. Now we're starting to develop some ideas on how to solve the problems I mentioned! Keep it coming!!!!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: Mobius303 (Mar 10, 2012 10:29PM)
Where are we going and where have we been are two questions I ask when practicing my routines for the Cups.

The story you tell and the direction you take are as important as anything else in the routine.

Ricky Jay has a history lesson all wrapped up with magical occurences.
Tommy Wonder shows us some magic.
Vernon gave us structure.
Ammar gave us a different structure.
These can be the bones with which to make a fuller more robust routine if you so choose.

This is a facinating thread with wonderful information but more than that it is chock full of observations. These observations can serve you well if you look closely at what you want to do.

These same things can all be said of a chop cup routine....without the final load it is nothing. It is just goofing off.
A great cups and balls routine has a definate Begining, Middle and an End.
Johnny Thompson's routine is structured great with an awesome bit of theatricality.

The routines are not just to set up the ending but that is one way to go about doing it.
Maybe that is one reason I like to study many different types of routines.
My take on the ending is that the loads are a result of something, that something should be a part of the story and is like the exclamation point of the routine. What can you follow the ending with? Change a cup into a shoe if you want I think Duvivier does something like that. The loads will get the applause though, each and every time. Some do things that are over the top and tend not to play well with a lay audience. That is a big part of learning and studying the routines well, then working them out for your performance style and audience.
Leo your asking the right questions. Showcase your talents, do not make the routine too long but make it entertaining. What is entertaining will make it a classic and if it is done well it will become legendary.
Tommy Wonder's routine was very entertaining, it was done well and it was quite legendary. Not many have even performed it let alone performed it well.

Vernon's routine was legendary and honed to perfection through use. Was it the most entertaining routine? Not to me. I liked watching it but was not entertained by it after the first time. Tommy's routine entertained me more.

The Thompson routine is similar to the Vernon one but to me it is entertaining because of how the story is told.

The Ammar Routine is entertaining to me as well. Even after you know how it is done, he still has such strong misdirection that I feel like a kid again.

The Ricky Jay routine is also quite entertaining to me.

The Gertner routine is also very entertaining and I have not seen anyone else do a routine like he does with sound and story. Very entertaining.

Leo, I am also curious to know what your sister thoguht of Kent Gunn's routine with multi colored balls called the Fun Shop Cups and Balls routine.

That is enough ramblings from me for now.
Enjoy,
Mike
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Mar 10, 2012 11:17PM)
I did Cups and Balls for years without a final load; to refine my handling and presentation. When I finally incorporated a final load, it was not difficult.

And I agree with Larry B. (above)

There is always room for more creativity with the Cups and Balls. THAT's why it's a CLASSIC!
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 11, 2012 12:53AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-10 23:29, Mobius303 wrote:
Where are we going and where have we been are two questions I ask when practicing my routines for the Cups.

The story you tell and the direction you take are as important as anything else in the routine.

Ricky Jay has a history lesson all wrapped up with magical occurences.
Tommy Wonder shows us some magic.
Vernon gave us structure.
Ammar gave us a different structure.
These can be the bones with which to make a fuller more robust routine if you so choose.

This is a facinating thread with wonderful information but more than that it is chock full of observations. These observations can serve you well if you look closely at what you want to do.

These same things can all be said of a chop cup routine....without the final load it is nothing. It is just goofing off.
A great cups and balls routine has a definate Begining, Middle and an End.
Johnny Thompson's routine is structured great with an awesome bit of theatricality.

The routines are not just to set up the ending but that is one way to go about doing it.
Maybe that is one reason I like to study many different types of routines.
My take on the ending is that the loads are a result of something, that something should be a part of the story and is like the exclamation point of the routine. What can you follow the ending with? Change a cup into a shoe if you want I think Duvivier does something like that. The loads will get the applause though, each and every time. Some do things that are over the top and tend not to play well with a lay audience. That is a big part of learning and studying the routines well, then working them out for your performance style and audience.
Leo your asking the right questions. Showcase your talents, do not make the routine too long but make it entertaining. What is entertaining will make it a classic and if it is done well it will become legendary.
Tommy Wonder's routine was very entertaining, it was done well and it was quite legendary. Not many have even performed it let alone performed it well.

Vernon's routine was legendary and honed to perfection through use. Was it the most entertaining routine? Not to me. I liked watching it but was not entertained by it after the first time. Tommy's routine entertained me more.

The Thompson routine is similar to the Vernon one but to me it is entertaining because of how the story is told.

The Ammar Routine is entertaining to me as well. Even after you know how it is done, he still has such strong misdirection that I feel like a kid again.

The Ricky Jay routine is also quite entertaining to me.

The Gertner routine is also very entertaining and I have not seen anyone else do a routine like he does with sound and story. Very entertaining.

Leo, I am also curious to know what your sister thoguht of Kent Gunn's routine with multi colored balls called the Fun Shop Cups and Balls routine.

That is enough ramblings from me for now.
Enjoy,
Mike
[/quote]

Thanks for the post.

My sister was more impressed with the body of Kent Gunn's routine than she was with a lot of other routines. When he cleanly places a ball on the table, covers it for a second and it vanishes, her jaw dropped. She was fooled by the final loads again, and I got another round of "But where do the big ones come from?!" She liked his presentation as well which surprised me a little bit. Her comment was "he's really funny."

The thing I noticed about Kent Gunn's routine was that while his final loads are much more deceptive from a magician's point of view, it got the same reaction as the other routines. I think that using the methods that he does, Kent's routine might be more impressive to laypeople if he produce a large/incongruous load in the middle of the routine as well as at the end. I don't know.

Anyway, I actually showed her some of the routines we've been talking about again, and asked her to rank them in order of which she enjoyed the most. That means taking into account both amazement and entertainment. This is what we have:

1.) Tommy Wonder
2.) Jason Latimer
3.) Ricky Jay
4.) Dai Vernon
5. a tie between Paul Gertner and Kent Gunn

-Leo
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 11, 2012 01:02AM)
I'd love to see anyone's no final loadsv&b routine, if anyone has one and is willing to post a video.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Mar 11, 2012 10:17AM)
Leo,

Kent's routine is pretty much engraved in stone, at this point. I wouldn't worry or even conjecture about what could make it better. Structurally the big loads couped with the three colors of balls, pretty much define every part of the routine. Some of the mechanics are interdependant. Feel free to work the routine up and alter it as you wish, for yourself though!

I'm glad your sister thought I was funny. I usually get looking after that word.

I don't know how valuable listing favorites is. I too am exceedingly impressed by Ricky Jay's routine though. Master Payne is another performer who completely invests himself into a character. He's genuinely funny too.

Pete Biro does a great job with the props as well. I remember seeing him on a TV show clip doing the cups. He has charm and a winning, friendly, demeanor I think wins the day.

I personally learned what little I know about magic by coming up with my own routine and honing it these last seven years. I learned:

1. What works for others isn't necessarily the best for me, even if they're way better magicians than me.

2. Video cameras, not mirrors will teach you more than you want to know about how bad you really are.

3. Performing in front of a breathing audience is a huge leap if you spend lots of time practicing or rehearsing.

4. Ignore 95% of what you read on magic boards or from hear coming out of the mouths of magicians. (That includes this post!)

5. Be your own biggest critic.

6. Gotta practice just to keep a tough routine up to speed, no matter how well you did it a month ago.

7. Look at the audience, not the cups.

8. Get a script. You have to write it yourself. If you're talking about Houdini's quote, Egyptian tombs and dropping one cup through another . . . well, I won't say what I think. Don't do what a bunch of other magicians are doing. If you do your routine that way, great. Imagine how much more you could be invested in the words you use if you had poured your own heart and soul into those words!

9. Lay peope are way smarter than the average guy with a set of Paul Foxes realizes.

10. Most routines are too long, confusing and performed too quickly. Slow down . . . slow down . . . slow down . . . smile . . . look up from the cups.

With genuine love for the art and my favorite trick,

Kent
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Mar 11, 2012 11:04AM)
Excellent advice from Kent especially about video. Mirrors are OK for practicing but to see what the effect is on the viewer, go with video. Also don't look into a monitor while videoing yourself. Look in the direction of your audience. If you use the video monitor as a crutch you won't be reproducing what it will look like when you don't have it and you are in front of a real audience. One weakness of video is it isn't 3D. Humans see our performances in 3D and having another magician view your performance is beneficial. And unless you are videoing with 3 cameras, you still will not be reproducing live performance images.

I agree with shorter routines and slowing down so the audience can appreciate the magic and let it register in their mind. I also agree with Kent about the cup through cup displays. Also the wand through cup. Why fool them into thinking the cups are gaffed. They shouldn't question that they are solid.

Larry :readingbook:
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 11, 2012 12:03PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-11 11:17, kentfgunn wrote:
Leo,

Kent's routine is pretty much engraved in stone, at this point. I wouldn't worry or even conjecture about what could make it better. Structurally the big loads couped with the three colors of balls, pretty much define every part of the routine. Some of the mechanics are interdependant. Feel free to work the routine up and alter it as you wish, for yourself though!

I'm glad your sister thought I was funny. I usually get looking after that word.

I don't know how valuable listing favorites is. I too am exceedingly impressed by Ricky Jay's routine though. Master Payne is another performer who completely invests himself into a character. He's genuinely funny too.

Pete Biro does a great job with the props as well. I remember seeing him on a TV show clip doing the cups. He has charm and a winning, friendly, demeanor I think wins the day.

I personally learned what little I know about magic by coming up with my own routine and honing it these last seven years. I learned:

1. What works for others isn't necessarily the best for me, even if they're way better magicians than me.

2. Video cameras, not mirrors will teach you more than you want to know about how bad you really are.

3. Performing in front of a breathing audience is a huge leap if you spend lots of time practicing or rehearsing.

4. Ignore 95% of what you read on magic boards or from hear coming out of the mouths of magicians. (That includes this post!)

5. Be your own biggest critic.

6. Gotta practice just to keep a tough routine up to speed, no matter how well you did it a month ago.

7. Look at the audience, not the cups.

8. Get a script. You have to write it yourself. If you're talking about Houdini's quote, Egyptian tombs and dropping one cup through another . . . well, I won't say what I think. Don't do what a bunch of other magicians are doing. If you do your routine that way, great. Imagine how much more you could be invested in the words you use if you had poured your own heart and soul into those words!

9. Lay peope are way smarter than the average guy with a set of Paul Foxes realizes.

10. Most routines are too long, confusing and performed too quickly. Slow down . . . slow down . . . slow down . . . smile . . . look up from the cups.

With genuine love for the art and my favorite trick,

Kent
[/quote]
Thanks for all of the great advice! I really appreciate it!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Mar 11, 2012 01:22PM)
Larry makes a good point about the limitations of video rehearsal.
Practicing your performance in front of a video camera will certainly improve your routine and get you to focus on the script and get you on the right path. I do feel it is absolutely necessary in developing an entertaing act, but... the all seeing eye of the camera will not teach you misdirection.
Consider a master of misdirection like Tony Slydini - he didn't perfect his skills on camera. Misdirection can only be mastered in real life situations.
If you are hoping to master a routine like Tommy Wonder's that relies heavily on misdirection, you need to know WHAT you are going to do and WHEN to do it. Working with video will give you the confidence you need for the WHAT (the moves, the words, the gestures, the eye contact and body language), but working with real people will give you the timing it takes (the WHEN) to take the risks that are required to get away with murder.
And to me, there is a greater feeling of magic taking place when I realize (too late) I have been totally misdirected.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Mar 11, 2012 01:30PM)
They call the camera "The unblinking eye"

It will show a lot, but like Donnie says it can't convey the sense of misdirection. The human brain is a wonderful thing, able to filter out all the excess information and focus on what's important. It's our job to make the important visible and the sleights "invisible." That doesn't mean 100% hidden; a bad pass that "telegraphs" that a move was done, even though they didn't see the cards is far worse than a pass in full view while they are paying attention to something else.

That's why Gazzo gets away with his loads. Looking on video, people see what's going on almost every time. In person, even in full view it slips right past them.
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Mar 11, 2012 01:38PM)
In addition to the very fine advice offered in this thread, I would mention, looking at other effects to find what you can use or adapt for use.
For example, one of the vanishes I use is actually used by a well known magical entertainer to vanish a half dollar.

Useful for variations and moving away from what others are doing.
Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Mar 11, 2012 02:45PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-11 14:30, Dave V wrote:
It's our job to make the important visible and the sleights "invisible." That doesn't mean 100% hidden; a bad pass that "telegraphs" that a move was done, even though they didn't see the cards is far worse than a pass in full view while they are paying attention to something else.
[/quote]
Principles of sound include "reception". The logic goes something like this: A tree falls in the woods. The sound wave created is received by the ear and a noise is heard. Theoretically, if the sound is not received, then no sound is made. This is "arguably" true because the reception is required to fulfill the requirements of sound. It is however a human conceit that if "no one" hears it, it doesn't make a sound (that the sound wave has to be received by a human for the tree to make a sound - when there are millions of living creatures in proximity to a tree that will receive the sound wave).

But, the principle is a good analogy for invisibility (to the human eye): What is not seen IS invisible. Misdirection skills give you the power of invisibility.
A Top Change is a good example of this. It's hardly even a sleight - it's so simple in concept. It's a bold move that, when executed at the proper time, is totally invisible.
One of my favorite book tests to perform at home is Dr. Faust's Bold Book Test by David Hoy. I love it because it's impromptu and appears so clean and fair, but is really so dirty! It really fulfills the description of magic that Doc Sheils used when he said, "Magic is 'getting away' with stuff".
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 12, 2012 12:53AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-11 15:45, Donnie Buckley wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-11 14:30, Dave V wrote:
It's our job to make the important visible and the sleights "invisible." That doesn't mean 100% hidden; a bad pass that "telegraphs" that a move was done, even though they didn't see the cards is far worse than a pass in full view while they are paying attention to something else.
[/quote]
Principles of sound include "reception". The logic goes something like this: A tree falls in the woods. The sound wave created is received by the ear and a noise is heard. Theoretically, if the sound is not received, then no sound is made. This is "arguably" true because the reception is required to fulfill the requirements of sound. It is however a human conceit that if "no one" hears it, it doesn't make a sound (that the sound wave has to be received by a human for the tree to make a sound - when there are millions of living creatures in proximity to a tree that will receive the sound wave).

But, the principle is a good analogy for invisibility (to the human eye): What is not seen IS invisible. Misdirection skills give you the power of invisibility.
A Top Change is a good example of this. It's hardly even a sleight - it's so simple in concept. It's a bold move that, when executed at the proper time, is totally invisible.
One of my favorite book tests to perform at home is Dr. Faust's Bold Book Test by David Hoy. I love it because it's impromptu and appears so clean and fair, but is really so dirty! It really fulfills the description of magic that Doc Sheils used when he said, "Magic is 'getting away' with stuff".
[/quote]
EXACTLY! Fabulous post.

I do a coin routine that at one point in the MIDDLE of the routine I'm got two coins in classic palm, on coin in finger palm, and I'm nonchalantly spinning the wand IN THE SAME HAND as though I've not a care in the world. The thing is, I'd never ever have touched this routine, if I'd seen it described in a book or something. I would have said "Ridiculous/Crazy, you couldn't ever get away with that in a real world situation." But you can. I saw a magician working this routine for REAL PEOPLE, and then I asked him to teach me it. Boy did I get a surprise when he showed me what he was getting away with. YOU'D BE SURPRISED WHAT YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH!

-Leo
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Mar 12, 2012 05:54PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-10 16:37, JESmagic wrote:
Leo,
Try this: develop a routine with no final loads and perform it. Get it so good that people are blown away. Then, add a final load sequence to the routine--and that can be anywhere in the routine. Then review the impact. Just something else to try.
[/quote]

This is EXACTLY what I did when I learned the C&B. I've always felt that the effect itself it strong enough that final loads aren't really needed.

And my audience has proved me right every time.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 12, 2012 06:59PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-12 18:54, Ekuth wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-10 16:37, JESmagic wrote:
Leo,
Try this: develop a routine with no final loads and perform it. Get it so good that people are blown away. Then, add a final load sequence to the routine--and that can be anywhere in the routine. Then review the impact. Just something else to try.
[/quote]

This is EXACTLY what I did when I learned the C&B. I've always felt that the effect itself it strong enough that final loads aren't really needed.

And my audience has proved me right every time.
[/quote]

Are you saying you still don't use final loads?

For those that have developed their routines without final loads, how did you finish your routine?
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Mar 12, 2012 09:55PM)
Wow,

Not doing final loads, I don't get it. To each their own though.

I disagree mightily with the concepts most hold on misdirection. I've never used a top change because I don't do it well. I think if one is using a sleight or "move" that requires lots of misdirection to affect, it's probably not the best choice, for me.

Why not hone your sequences to the point where subtlety and clever construction preclude the use of bold, in your face, moves?

There's not a bucket full of misdirection that one can pour over badly rehearsed or thought out sequences. I think really effective misdirection is best explified by careful blocking and sequencing so moments when you're doing the work your hands have great reasons for the paths, delays and turns they take.

KG
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 12, 2012 10:06PM)
I would say, gauge audience reactions without the final loads, and then gauge their reactions WITH final loads (if you don't currently use final loads.) I'd be willing to bet that if your technique is good, they'll remember the strong finish to the trick. To me, the lack of a final load just leaves something to be desired...like the end of the routine is missing punctuation. Me, I prefer five or six exclamation points, and that's if I'm being lazy.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 13, 2012 12:47AM)
This reminds me of a funny story.

Many years ago a well-known magician lectured at the Oakland Magic Circle. He did a cups and balls routine, but FLASHED TERRIBLY with all three final load balls.

The next monthly meeting, I said I had learned his cups and balls routine.... doing it and FLASHED TERRIBLY with loading the three balls...

[b]But... secretly stole them out! When I lifted the cups and there wasn't anything there... it fried 'em.[/b]
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 13, 2012 08:15AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-13 01:47, Pete Biro wrote:
This reminds me of a funny story.

Many years ago a well-known magician lectured at the Oakland Magic Circle. He did a cups and balls routine, but FLASHED TERRIBLY with all three final load balls.

The next monthly meeting, I said I had learned his cups and balls routine.... doing it and FLASHED TERRIBLY with loading the three balls...

[b]But... secretly stole them out! When I lifted the cups and there wasn't anything there... it fried 'em.[/b]
[/quote]

Lol. Brilliant. Sometimes magic for magicians allows for such clever ideas, not just clever as in different/unique, but smart and, as I said, brilliant. It's almost depressing that they can't quite be used the same for "real" audiences.

Reminds me of the magician who showed Teller three balls under three cups, only to show him again three balls under three cups.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Mar 13, 2012 09:14AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-11 11:17, kentfgunn wrote:
...I personally learned what little I know about magic by coming up with my own routine and honing it these last seven years. I learned:

(2.) Video cameras, not mirrors will teach you more than you want to know about how bad you really are.

(7.) Look at the audience, not the cups.

(9.) Lay people are way smarter than the average guy with a set of Paul Foxes realizes.

(10.) Most routines are too long, confusing and performed too quickly. Slow down . . . slow down . . . slow down . . . smile . . . look up from the cups.
[/quote]

I don't think Kent realizes how RIGHT he is (in my case, anyway)! :)

#2, became apparent right away. You guys'd be ashamed of me. No excuse. #7 is GREAT advice! And #10...yes, I have slowed down, and it seems to get a bit easier. Relaxed, and smiles...gets a person MILES ahead! Awesome post, Kent! :)

And Larry's advice:

[quote]
On 2012-03-11 12:04, Larry Barnowsky wrote:
...don't look into a monitor while videoing yourself. Look in the direction of your audience. If you use the video monitor as a crutch you won't be reproducing what it will look like when you don't have it and you are in front of a real audience.

Larry[/quote]

Wow! More awesome advice! Guilty! I'll turn the viewfinder around, and not use it. Glad I saw that! Thanks Larry! I'll get this. Just needed the right "tools"!

Doug
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 13, 2012 07:33PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-12 18:54, Ekuth wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-10 16:37, JESmagic wrote:
Leo,
Try this: develop a routine with no final loads and perform it. Get it so good that people are blown away. Then, add a final load sequence to the routine--and that can be anywhere in the routine. Then review the impact. Just something else to try.
[/quote]

This is EXACTLY what I did when I learned the C&B. I've always felt that the effect itself it strong enough that final loads aren't really needed.

And my audience has proved me right every time.
[/quote]

Gee I don't know. I think that the final loads while perhaps not NECESSARY, can only add to the routine.

-Leo
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 14, 2012 03:11AM)
[quote]
For those that have developed their routines without final loads, how did you finish your routine?
[/quote]

I have used approaches in which various "strange objects" are produced throughout the C&B that are then used in other effects.

If you consider an effect as a balance of Anticipation and Surprise, then a "Final" unexpected producion is no mor eimpactful than an earlier effect in which an unexpected result occured. Some standard C&B moves are validation of what the audience expects, while other result in something other than what is expected. When one's routine is mostly of the "expected type" then a great Final Load sequence cna be essentail. When the Routine is a mixture of "expected" and "cross-up" or "strange production" then a dramtic Final Load is not essential and may even be a let down.

Also, if the C&B Routine is the last effect you perform then a dramatic Final Load can end your act. If you follow-up with some other effect then transition may be more important than ending. My favorite from Medieval Camp-hopping days ws to do some Egg Effects first. During the later C&B Routine eggs kept appearing unexectedly as if there was some residual magic not completely under my control. Hard boiled eggs make a great "hand out" -- but be prepared when some later brings you a "magic egg" an expects an impromptu effect.
Message: Posted by: JESmagic (Mar 14, 2012 09:55AM)
@ Funsway...cool idea. Comedians do this all the time when they keep a "running joke" going throughout the act, and bring the comedy circular.

I think Tommy Wonder's routine is a perfect example of "unexpected surprises" when the pom pom from the bag appears under the cup. I love the line "and this cup is obviously empty" as he lifts cup up and is "surprised" by the pom pom being there. His facial expression, pause, and body posture as he puts the pom pom back on the bag is great.

Anyone else have routines with "unexpected surprises" throughout?
Message: Posted by: Paul Jester (Mar 14, 2012 08:12PM)
I've done Cups and Balls with no final load. I used to have the job of selling the beginners cups and balls, in that routine after the standard penetration sequence I'd make a ball invisible with a bit of woofle dust, and make the invisible ball penetrate each of the three cups in the stack individually to build tension, then make it visible under the last cup to release the tension. Having the spectator turn over the last cup adds to the strength of the reveal. It worked.

I also perform the Chinese cups and balls, and, like some Chinese performers, I've done without final loads, again it works very well. I either end with the complete vanish of all the balls, or by making the audience convinced I can't get the ball from one cup to the other, and it traveling. Again it's anticipation/tension and release/reveal. Remember in the traditional Indian cups and balls there's no final load either, nor was there one in Benson's bowl routine.

But that's besides the point. The main point is about making the "rest" of the routine magical. You can change the sequences, but I don't believe that's the true answer to this goal, although it's important for other goals. I believe because of the magicians fore-knowledge, and belief that the audience only cares about the final loads, and they're trying to get there as quick as they can, they throw away the rest of the routine, and that's why it's not magical. If you were to perform the routine as if each effect were the most magical effect, really "sell" it, it will change the whole routine, and the Vernon routine is built to accommodate that.

Opening phase, vanish the three balls. Make those vanishes beautiful and make one build on the previous. You can get applause for each vanish as they get better and better, if that's the trick you're presenting. Now you can consider the reveal of them under the three cups as a strong effect in it's own right, because the trick was vanishing three balls.
Middle-phase, audience member picks a cup. Wow! Come on guy's! Not only can you make those balls vanish, but you can do it to order! Fully customised! Work it! Tell the audience how impressive it is. And try to get out of it gracefully with a different strong effect, such as the penetration, a whole new impossible thing they haven't seen!

As for the final loading sequence, it needs justification. The Indian routine would sometimes end with the continuous production of balls from the cups, similar to the Vernon loading sequence, but building the pace towards the finish, and a good trick in it's own right. Alternatively, Vernon took away the servante, perhaps you'd be better to bring it back? If you're not loading from the pockets, you don't need to put the ball in there. Look to the old ways to find the new, especially when the routine has been simplified.

It's about conviction, your's and the audiences. Have faith in what you're doing, and present it as if it were the best, and your audience will follow, after all, you're their only teacher! I learnt that from selling what I thought was poor magic, having to make it look good, and getting strong reactions from it.

My 2 pennies worth,
Paul
Message: Posted by: leomagnus (Mar 15, 2012 12:55AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-14 21:12, Paul Jester wrote:
I've done Cups and Balls with no final load. I used to have the job of selling the beginners cups and balls, in that routine after the standard penetration sequence I'd make a ball invisible with a bit of woofle dust, and make the invisible ball penetrate each of the three cups in the stack individually to build tension, then make it visible under the last cup to release the tension. Having the spectator turn over the last cup adds to the strength of the reveal. It worked.

I also perform the Chinese cups and balls, and, like some Chinese performers, I've done without final loads, again it works very well. I either end with the complete vanish of all the balls, or by making the audience convinced I can't get the ball from one cup to the other, and it traveling. Again it's anticipation/tension and release/reveal. Remember in the traditional Indian cups and balls there's no final load either, nor was there one in Benson's bowl routine.

But that's besides the point. The main point is about making the "rest" of the routine magical. You can change the sequences, but I don't believe that's the true answer to this goal, although it's important for other goals. I believe because of the magicians fore-knowledge, and belief that the audience only cares about the final loads, and they're trying to get there as quick as they can, they throw away the rest of the routine, and that's why it's not magical. If you were to perform the routine as if each effect were the most magical effect, really "sell" it, it will change the whole routine, and the Vernon routine is built to accommodate that.

Opening phase, vanish the three balls. Make those vanishes beautiful and make one build on the previous. You can get applause for each vanish as they get better and better, if that's the trick you're presenting. Now you can consider the reveal of them under the three cups as a strong effect in it's own right, because the trick was vanishing three balls.
Middle-phase, audience member picks a cup. Wow! Come on guy's! Not only can you make those balls vanish, but you can do it to order! Fully customised! Work it! Tell the audience how impressive it is. And try to get out of it gracefully with a different strong effect, such as the penetration, a whole new impossible thing they haven't seen!

As for the final loading sequence, it needs justification. The Indian routine would sometimes end with the continuous production of balls from the cups, similar to the Vernon loading sequence, but building the pace towards the finish, and a good trick in it's own right. Alternatively, Vernon took away the servante, perhaps you'd be better to bring it back? If you're not loading from the pockets, you don't need to put the ball in there. Look to the old ways to find the new, especially when the routine has been simplified.

It's about conviction, your's and the audiences. Have faith in what you're doing, and present it as if it were the best, and your audience will follow, after all, you're their only teacher! I learnt that from selling what I thought was poor magic, having to make it look good, and getting strong reactions from it.

My 2 pennies worth,
Paul
[/quote]

That's worth more than two cents. Great ideas and observations construed from experience.
Thanks.

-Leo
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Mar 15, 2012 04:37AM)
This thread title makes me want to spit blood. There is nothing wrong with the cups and balls, there never was anything wrong with the cups and balls. All problems with cups and balls are to do with the people presenting them.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 15, 2012 05:52AM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-15 05:37, cupsandballsmagic wrote:
This thread title makes me want to spit blood. There is nothing wrong with the cups and balls, there never was anything wrong with the cups and balls. All problems with cups and balls are to do with the people presenting them.
[/quote]

Just curious if you read the a trial thread, or just the title?
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Mar 15, 2012 11:36AM)
The answer to your curiosity lies within my post, no need to be curious gdw.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Mar 15, 2012 12:39PM)
So just the thread title then?
Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Mar 15, 2012 02:43PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-15 05:37, cupsandballsmagic wrote:
This thread title makes me want to spit blood. There is nothing wrong with the cups and balls, there never was anything wrong with the cups and balls. All problems with cups and balls are to do with the people presenting them.
[/quote]
LOL! I'm a little curious-ish. Does that imply that I have to stop blaming the refrigerator for the weight gain? or the car for the speeding ticket?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 15, 2012 02:50PM)
Hehehehe.... hey Donnie, see you at IMX.
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Mar 15, 2012 03:29PM)
@ Donnie... Ha! Yes, exactly it's all about responsibility. You create beautifully functional cups and it's up to the individual what they do with them. As far as the fridge goes, I say that the first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it :rotf:

Bri
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Aug 9, 2013 07:00AM)
Hi, All - I'm new to the Forum, and this is my first post, but I love the cups and balls and have an observation/question with respect to original CNB routines. What do folks think of Kate Medvedeva, a Russian magician? She's not very smooth, but she uses the cups to produce bells, little bell towers and a toy cannon. It's inventive and suggests that we could replace the usual ball ideas for new objects and themes that would refresh the whole routine.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Aug 11, 2013 07:47AM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-09 08:00, BeThePlunk wrote:
Hi, All - I'm new to the Forum, and this is my first post, but I love the cups and balls and have an observation/question with respect to original CNB routines. What do folks think of Kate Medvedeva, a Russian magician? She's not very smooth, but she uses the cups to produce bells, little bell towers and a toy cannon. It's inventive and suggests that we could replace the usual ball ideas for new objects and themes that would refresh the whole routine.
[/quote]

Not very smooth? Wow your standards are awfully high. Michael Ammar thought enough of her and her routine to include commentary by her in The Complete Cups and Balls. I think her routine transcends smooth.

It's her routine. The bells and loads make sense for her. Unlike most of us, she does an original, well thought out routine. She's made a classic into her classic. I like the conventional props. I have neither her charm nor astonishing good looks. I suspect she could use snails and mold-slime for the balls and final loads and it would be wonderful.

Many performers have used whimsical final loads. Fruit, in general, makes for some fine whimsy. Live chicks for final loads has been done. Mike Rogers and many others have used little baseballs for the small balls. Lots of paths to go.

I don't believe the trick needs refreshed by anything. Seeing people do Vernon's routine well is all the magic I need some days. (Doesn't happen very often though :(

KG
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Aug 12, 2013 11:11AM)
Great Post. There is a reason Harry Houdini said that no man can consider himself a magician unless he can adequately perform the cups and balls.
Having studied many different versions of cups and balls, I learned all kinds of loading, stealing, wand loving moves and I can say that the biggest mistake (or one of them) is to try and incorporate all those moves into your act. Its good to know how to do several (gives you an out) but from an audience's perspective- a ball is gone, a ball is back, a ball went thru the cup, the ball changed into ... they don't care if you are a move monkey. Gazzo entertains and fools with just the simpliest of moves and misdirection (his jokes). I've cut way back on the unnessary moves and my routine is the better for it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 12, 2013 01:30PM)
I'm still looking for a reference in print that describes Harry Houdini actually performing the cups and balls. Ironic, isn't it!
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Aug 12, 2013 01:48PM)
I thought that was Vernon's quote, and Nenson's book says he used a doughnut.
Message: Posted by: Mobius303 (Aug 12, 2013 07:30PM)
It is not in print that Houdini performed the cups and balls it was in a letter to a private individual.
I saw the letter at Ted Coruther's magic shop in the early 90's in Toledo, Ohio . There also a picture in the letter with Houdini and an old set of Tin cups.
Ted passed away and the letters all went missing from his shop.

Hopefully they will turn up again sometime.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 13, 2013 01:03AM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-12 14:48, Magic.J.Manuel wrote:
I thought that was Vernon's quote, and Nenson's book says he used a doughnut.
[/quote]

Nenson?
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Aug 13, 2013 08:57AM)
Ouch, swatted again!

Benson.

Thanks so much for nitpicking my minutia. :kermit:
Message: Posted by: scottjenkins (Aug 13, 2013 11:36AM)
Or is that bitpicking your binutia? :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 15, 2013 12:15PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-13 09:57, Magic.J.Manuel wrote:
Ouch, swatted again!

Benson.

Thanks so much for nitpicking my minutia. :kermit:
[/quote]

No swat intended. Genuinely confused.
Message: Posted by: Nate The Magician (Nov 8, 2013 06:36PM)
Hello there.
My name is Nate (pardon the title on this account- someone made it for me and I don't know how to change it. Oh, and by the by, first post) and I personally don't use final loads in my basic routine. I work as a busker and my first cups were "Finders" that couldn't hold anything bigger than a super bounce ball. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.
My (basic)routine is based around the three shell game or, at the very least, the PERCIEVED three shell game- where I throw a ball in the air and it appears under any cup called for (That's my crowd gatherer.) Then I have balls appear under each cup. Then I do the whole "Ball penetrating through the cup" bit that has been written in every magic book known to man which I finish with Garcia's elevator move. Then I "get rid of the balls" and have them all appear beneath the cups, vanish them again and have all three appear under the center cup. Then people pay me, continue walking and I'm all set to perform it again.
For bigger tips, I start going fancier and having fun with it- having the balls "Teleport", having the audience hold onto a cup and doing a "breakout" move (something that I borrowed shamelessly from the three shell game) as my big finish. The way this works is I have two balls set on the table. I have the cups set on top of them by two audience members. I set one ball in a spectator's hand. I put the cup on top of it. The two balls vanish from under the two cups on the table and appear under the cup that the spectator is holding.
I've found that it sometimes impresses more than final loads. Believe me, I've tried both.
Message: Posted by: TheBruceBeat (Dec 17, 2013 01:55PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-10 02:38, JESmagic wrote:
Furthermore, remember that MANY laymen already know the basic principle of the cups and balls because, at one time or another, they got a cheap set of plastic cups-whether in a magic kit, or at the local magic store. Ironically...in my former days as a performer--when I was in my teenage years and used to work in the magic shop at Walt Disney World, I sold literally thousands of sets of plastic cups. I demonstrated only the simplest routine--making the balls penetrate the cups (because it required no sleights). [/quote]

Your whole post was great to me, a returning neophyte to the C&B. What you say here is absolutely true, and it it is why coming back to the C&B is intimidating. We assume people know how it works.
The truth is, if you go even one step beyond the self-working part of the trick, your viewers are in unchartered territory and the fun begins. Once a skill set gets involved even those that had the plastic versions as children will be flummoxed by what begins to happen, and the final loads will be icing on the cake, and delicious icing at that.