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Profile of jhudsy
Hi all,

I don't know if I'm spreading myself too thin, whether this is part of ``finding my style'', or part of the normal progression of things, but while I'm playing around with cards and coins, I've recently seen some amazing sponge ball routines at the magic shop I frequent, and was hoping to try learn a bit of sponge magic. While I've got Mark Wilson's book, browsing the forums, I've discovered that there seem to be 3 good dvds out there:

Sponge (by Jay Noblezada)
Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic
Spongeball toolkit

I'm on a limited budget, and was looking for advice: should I stick with Mark Wilson, or get one of the DVDs (given that I can't afford more at the moment)? If I should get a DVD, which of the three would be the best?

Thanks for the advice...
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Victoria, BC,
158 Posts

Profile of Rockabilly
A beginner really can't go wrong with the Noblezada DVD. It shows all the basic moves, many of the more advanced ones, then gives you a glimpse into the mind of Gary Darwin, where he shows some of the most amazing retention vanishes there are. Trust me, the Dawin section alone is worth the dough. You may not use the sleights he teaches for a few years, but once you're comfortable with sponge work you'll have some great moves. Gary showed me one of the vanishes in his kitchen one night and is slayed me, I had no idea how he did it.

Just my opinion, good luck and let us know how it goes.
Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That'll teach you to keep your mouth shut.

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Inner circle
1263 Posts

Profile of rklew64
my profile is hobbyist. Learning magic for a year plus and in my journey this is what I've learned. First my interest are cards and coin first and now recently appreciate sponge and rope, kinda the full circle of such.
Anyway, after a year of fervent learning mostly bad techniques, buying one off tricks and numerous other crap. I have realized that one should stick with basics, establish a foundation of skills and not the mechanics of a trick.
Long story short - stick with wilson and practice your ass off till it really is second nature. There are no Short cuts regardless of how "self working" a trick is. Only YOU will know how good or lousy you are. Good means you are confidant and your trick execution looks smooth and well - natural. A lousy practitioner will be choppy, hesitant, and un-polished, and we all know that feeling if it's now or once upon a time ago.
And on a side note, I one of those that subscribe to books and dvd to supplement teaching. Sponge and coin requires a practice of timing and not just learning retention vanish.
my choice of sponge dvd is Patrick Page. You'll find out as I did that there is no silver bullet, just hard work. Enjoy what you practice and remember not to burn out from practice or reading.
Irfaan Kahan
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Profile of Irfaan Kahan
Funny Story

I bought a set of standard Cups and Balls (No chop cup). Then I made my own balls and associated props in order to perform Tommy Wonder's 2 Cup Routine.

Now, I use the little cotton balls that came with the C&B set to perform a quick little one in the hand, two in the pocket set in my table magic. My final load for this is a contrasting colored sponge star that I cut from a bath sponge.

I've never used classic sponge balls, indeed, I've never in seen them in real life.
I'm a Magician playing the part of an Actor
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Eternal Order
11213 Posts

Profile of JamesTong
Jhudsy, since you have the Mark Wilson book, learn it well and then try it out on some audiences and notice their reactions. Then work on improving your presentation and scripts and test the audiences again.

The whole idea is - learn the routine - test it out on real audience (not magicians) - then see where you can improve on - then test the improvements again on the audiences - then work on the improvements more - and so on.

You don't need to learn 101 techniques to be good. It is the presentation, script, your character and personality that you are selling while you are performing, the timing and pacing of your actions, etc that are important.

Some of the great routines we see are very simple but they are very entertaining and with analysis the performance can be seen to contain the above mentioned points.
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Profile of BrianMillerMagic
I will always recommend Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic before any other book, product, or DVD. You've got a wealth of information in that book that an entire professional career could be built from. The sponge ball routine in CCIM will give you all of the necessary techniques to start performing sponges for people. After you've mastered that routine and the given techniques, then you might move on to a contemporary DVD. My personal recommendation is Earplugs by Jay Sankey, not only because you get very cool sponge ear plugs, but because Jay teaches moves that I have no seen in any other sponge ball source.
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Conway, SC
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Profile of munkywrench
I second Sankey's Earplugs. Of course use written text to the fullest. Mr. Wilson's book is a cornerstone much like Tarbell, Now you see it, etc. If you find a need to get renewed vigor, then go to the nearest magic shop and talk to the demo guy or lastly get a dvd or download. I choose human interaction over dvd or other multimedia. The hardest part of worth while practising is burning yourself out. Take the time (as much time as you need) to build on a strong foundation of skills the way you see fit. Remember, as said many times before, there are no short cuts. The fast track breeds bad habits.
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New Zealand
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Profile of Yellowcustard
Hay there I think it great you have a bit card stuff going and some coins. I would say get into sponge also a bit of rope. I think you have a great resource in the Mark Wilson book the routines and moves are great.

I have been doing magic for 4 and bit years now. If I could have the first year and a half again I would just work out of Mark Wilson's book. Then invested in some real nice props and stuff rather then buy a pile of stuff that only entertained me for a bit.

I would say don't invest in one thing soley get a few general resources below link is a great one.

If I need something new I look at this and Mark Wilson's book first then usually it a note here in the café then work from there.

A bit of information there for you hope it helps.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
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194 Posts

Profile of rjthomp
I recommend pat pages Secret Seminar, which will teach you most of the basics for just 15 bucks. Then get world's greatest magic "sponge ball magic", for 20 bucks, which shows a wide variety of great routines. Personally I don't think there's any reason to get anything else. Though I admit I don't have Sankey's Earplugs, so maybe I'm missing out...

I think sponge ball magic is a great trick for a beginner to learn. The moves aren't too difficult, and you'll learn a lot about audience management, misdirection and routining. Plus you'll learn moves that will last you a lifetime, no matter how advanced you get. Many pros still get their biggest reactions with relatively simple sponge ball routines...

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Profile of Strange Tasting Fish Sticks
I do sponge and coin magic myself. When I was around 9 years old I picked up Mark Wilson's Complete guide to magic book (the one that you have). I practiced the routine for hours in front of the mirror, until I had memorized it. I practiced the vanishes too. I learned a good retention vanish from Jay NobleZada's DVD, but for new people Gary Darwin's simple ROV vanish works great too. My retention vanish is good but it requires proper timing and when I do it still has very slight finger movement.

You might want to study the book very well. It has the ball thru pocket which is very good and unique. I've never seen it in any other routine. Ben Salinas DVD Encylopedia of Sponge magic is also very good, I have learned some very good vanishes in that one including one I have never saw before and use often, using the heel clip.

Another good one is the sponge ball toolkit, there's a great vanish there with a purse frame that Slydini's my video of what it looks like:

Good luck

PS: Remember when doing sponges and this can apply to other areas of magic the audience will look where you look. A common mistake I see laymen use is make a vanish with a ball, then look at the other hand. You need to look at the hand which the audience thinks the ball is at. Pretend the other hand isn't there, focus all your attention on the hand which the ball isn't (or in the spectator's case, is). If you believe the ball is in the other hand, the audience will too.

Its a classic of misdirection. If you look at the wrong hand, the audience will too and figure out the trick.

Good luck
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Profile of Wolfenout
I love sponge magic. I usually do it for kids but the adults react huge as well. Of course I occasionally do it for just adults as well with a bit of adult humor and people laugh and scream and just enjoy themselves. I know that not everybody likes sponge magic, but for me it's great. I love the Sponge dvd and the Sponge toolkit. Naturally it's hard to beat Wilson's as well.
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243 Posts

Profile of ottphd
I also agree that Mark Wilson's book is a must. You will learn many basic moves that will stay with you always. I have had the book since I was young and still refer to it today. Sometimes, just to read and reinforce basic moves.
Its a must.
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Profile of dpe666
Brad Burt has an excellent DVD on SB. Check his out. Smile
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132 Posts

Profile of Ruldar
Thanks for this thread. I was never interested in sponge ball work, but now I'm going to read up on it.
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