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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » My ball manipulation act (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RJH
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Finland
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Hello my friends. I have now finished my 10 performances in a amusement park and I would like to get some feedback from you guys. Any comments are welcome, positive or negative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb5ksz07twc

RJH
Bill Hegbli
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Your mistakes are mainly showmanship over technique.

Here is some things to think about:

Opening ball roll to long and uninteresting. I suggest you move or roll the wrist to make it look more difficult. Also move the hand in front of the chest while rolling the ball.

Steals to obvious, steal are made quickly, and bring the hand to a rest position beside the leg, or hold your vest collar with the fingers.

You killed the red ball production, after the moves pause a beat just before the red ball appears. Then when it is placed between the fingers hold out the hand for all to see the red ball, pause.

Never never interrupt Applause. You started your next phase while people were acknowledging your efforts.

I would not do the ball roll a second time, they already seen it done the same way. If you can do it differently, then maybe.

Why are you wearing black if you are going to do most all your moves with a white ball and your entire routine to the side. Move the hand in front of the black vest and pants.

Smile at your audience, don't watch everything you do, look at the audience in different directions.

It was technically very good.

Was that your tenth showing, as I would think that by the 10th time you would have been more easy going and a little less tense.
Bill Hegbli
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Next, you are very expressionless with your body and face. The audience cannot tell what you are thinking in regards to the storyline. Thus, you should create a purpose or story path for the balls.

Are you in control of the balls, or are the balls in control of you, or are you just reacting to the antics of the balls. All these situations are different, and create purpose for you being their.

I like the way you put your arm behind your back, that also tells us the you are a gentleman, and you hold regard for yourself. That can also help in creating your character.

I suggest you get the book Henning Helms Magic and Showmanship. This will help you develop a little more. The only other suggestion would be a tutor or coach to help you develop you inner personality on stage.

Going back, I would suggest you find a good instant trick for your opening. The applause tell you what the audience liked, and it was not in the opening ball roll.
RJH
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Bill, there is one bit that I didn't understand: 'You killed the red ball production, after the moves pause a beat just before the red ball appears. Then when it is placed between the fingers hold out the hand for all to see the red ball, pause.'' What moment are you talking about?

And thanks for these tips. I will keep your tips in my mind.

RJH
Bill Hegbli
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Killed - meaning stopped dead in your tracks. Missed the boat as they say. Missed the opportunity. Don't know any other way to say it.

I am talking about what I said, you steal the red ball, roll it around and down, then make it appear above your wrist, if I remember correctly. You should pause their, and let the audience see the new color red ball. Then you continue and place the red ball between your fingers. Now hold out hand and display to audience.
hugmagic
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Bill,
Has given some very good tips. Your technique is good but you need to bring the audience onstage with you in their mind. You have to involve them.

Basically, you have 30 seconds to prove you are a magician or you start to lose their interest. The ball could be produced from a flash of fire or like an egg in a glass (Weller style). You need something more magical to sell the act.

I think what Bill was trying to say on the red ball appearance is that you need to pause to set up the production to get the applause. You never give the audience a chance to applaud. You just keep burning through the routine. Yes, there was one spot you paused but you should be working more applause out.

I think the natural progression of the appearance of the red ball might be for all the white balls to suddenly change to red under the red hanky.

Please smile and engage the audience. It can be used as an applause cue. Paint a picture that they will remember by your poses and movement. Animate your body a bit. Don't go crazy with it but you need to move a little by shifting your body weight.

Your balls contrast well with your costuming but are lost on the background. You could carry a cloth that could be hung on the wall, in this case, or on a frame to better show your work.

Please keep with it. You have a solid start. The rest will come with more performances. Remember to have fun and let the audience have fun. Without that all the technique in the world means nothing.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
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Andy Young
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I am by no means a ball manipulating expert, but all the posts seem to be on the money so far. You can get away with much more when you have a real presentation. I couldn't help but think man this guy is flat footed. I want a little movement - a little excitement. If it looks like you are uninterested then the audience will think that they shouldn't be either.

Like the others have stated, if you get a little more animated, show some emotion you can have something great. Also the music was low so I can't really comment on that.

Best wishes and hope you get it there,

Andy
RJH
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Bill, thanks for the explaining that to me.

Hug, my full act starts with card manipulation and ends with a little longer ball routine than the one in the video. I have actually considered making all the 4 white ball change to red, but it is still in the works. One of the reason I wasn't smiling a lot was because sun was shining directly into my eyes and it was really hot.

Andy, after hearing all these comments I have changed the act a bit and now I move a little more.

Thanks to you all.

RJH
ROBERT BLAKE
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To start: take the white silk - tie a knot - make the knot change to a white ball.
or if you want to open with a bang: have a white balloon - burst it and produce a white silk

when you took your bow you flashed your vanished balls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmL1bKCMb4E = see the differences in pacing: quick - short long funny etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjXrPAfzcVE CARDINI = see how this man is playing with his manipulations and the audience.
Dick Oslund
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Paiva!

You have fine skills.

I agree with Bill, Richard, Andy, and Robert. They've all gone into great detail. There's no sense in my repeating what they've said.

Just a few thoughts: You have great skills--you need to learn how to "sell" them better. THAT, can come if you continue to show your willingness to listen!

TEMPO, and TIMING! With experience, you will learn (I hope) to PAUSE, in order to "set up" and "emphasize" color changes, productions, etc.

The late Bill Baird would have been thrilled to see you perform.!

Kiitos!

Dick
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
RJH
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Robert and Dick, thanks for your tips! I know I have a long way to go. Dick, very good Finnish! Actually it's ''Päivää'', but ''Kiitos'' was exactly correct!

RJH
Michael Baker
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The same as Dick, I agree with what has been said, but would like to offer a few points of my own.

The ball roll CAN be done effectively to one side, but you really need to make sure that the ball is in high contrast to the background. White ball/light gray background is not so good. As Richard Hughes mentioned, if you supply a background of proper color, the balls will stand out against it. This does not need to be a full backdrop curtain, either. It can be a simple screen on a stand of sufficient size that the balls are worked in front of it. Thayer used to make such a screen. Although designs can vary, you can see their somewhat embellished example here.

http://www.stevensmagic.com/2011/antique......ng-2013/

Without a contrasting background, you would be better to work much of the routine directly in front of you where your clothes serve that purpose.

Regarding the ball roll(s), Bill Hegbli's suggestions are sound. Do it once and shorten the duration. I might also suggest creating some tension leading up to it. Watch Cardini. He begins with a different rolling technique, but most importantly, it is done slowly and serves to draw tight focus on his hands (regardless of the tight camera shot). Then, he launches into the full speed ball roll. In your case (1st ball roll), you need a break between bouncing the ball and the ball roll. A possibility... after you catch the bounced ball the final time, stop and look directly at the audience, while moving your hand to the side in ready for the roll. Freeze that hand, and slowly turn your head and shift your gaze to the stationary ball. All spectator eyes should follow you. Then... begin the roll.

Your second ball roll was a much better example of this focus of attention.

There are a couple of points during the color changes and multiplication phase when it would benefit you to slow down. Dick mentioned to "sell" the skill. In the same vein, you should sell the magic moment. Even a minor trick can be made to appear special. Think how you want the audience to think. You just did MAGIC! Not everyone can do that. It SHOULD be special.

This is especially true with the color change, especially the first one. Although appropriate to the act, the red ball is quite incongruent with the status quo of the act (up to that point). It deserves attention.

Now, so that I am not just focusing on things that you need to improve, I want to say that I REALLY like how you strike a pose (4 balls), creating that "snapshot" image for the audience to remember. Joanie Spina discusses this and it is important.

I agree that you can smile more, but please don't think that means that you should paste on a continuous grin like the Cheshire Cat. There are plenty of acts that do that and we don't need more. You can easily play the "shy" character, and a little coyness will go a long way for you.

You have a great start and you certainly have the technical skills to build upon. You just need some refinement to turn your very good act, into a very great act!

Much respect to you!

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
RJH
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Michael, thank you. Huge thanks for the tips on the ball roll, I might do that! Regarding slowing down, I agree. I need to slow down and now when I watch my act I can see that. I'm a very shy guy so that might be one of the reasons why I didn't smile too much, but I'll try to improve on that.

Thanks.

RJH
Anatole
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All in all, I think your act was very nice and has the potential to become great. Here are some suggestions:

I am assuming that your act begins exactly as shown in the video--with a ball already in your hand and you bouncing the ball.

When an act begins, you should establish as soon as possible that you are a magician--not a juggler. Nearly 20 seconds go by before the first magic effect occurs--the color change of the white ball to red. So I agree with Bill that the opening ball roll sequence is a little too long.

I do get a sense that when you changed the red ball back to white that you were expecting applause and that when it was slow in coming you went into the next phase. Maybe some kind of gesture--even just extending the left hand forward as if "presenting" the ball to the audience--might have subtly suggested that something dramatic had just occurred that deserved some kind of acknowledgment from the audience. (Today's audiences--accustomed as they are to watching television and movies--are somewhat uneducated about how to react to a live performance. I doubt that many people applauded when watching Fred Astaire on TV specials, whereas there's something about a live performance that makes people want to applaud.)

There should definitely be a beat pause after the white silk changes to a white ball. You tuck the silk into the hand and immediately bounce the ball. A pause after the transformation would give the audience time to assimilate what has happened.

At around 1:10 you go into another sequence of ball rolls that repeats unncessarily what you did at the opening of the routine.

The vanish of the four balls at the end was very nice!

I think it would have been nice if the act that followed you had waited until you were completely offstage before they began setting up their stuff. But you probably had no control over that.

As for the comments regarding the tempo--I do think that's an individual choice the performer has to make for himself. To a certain extent the tempo is dictated by your choice of music. (I remember the first time that Lance Burton performed on "The Tonight Show" that the tempo of his act was also slow. Then a year or so later when Joseph appeared on the Tonight Show with a similar act--cards and birds--his productions were extremely fast-paced. But both presentations were outstanding.)

It would be have been better if the music ended with the end of your act. Possibly just having someone turn the volume down as you took your bow would have accomplished that.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Anatole
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To continue my thoughts about cueing the audience to applaud--notice how Levent does it in this youtube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdGnGVwaTto
at about 1:15 into the clip when he says something like "Come on, folks! I would applaud myself but my hands are full!" That, too, may be cuing an audience that doesn't know when it's time to express applause that this is the right time.

----- Sonny
----- Sonny Narvaez
Bill Hegbli
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Petrick of Petrick and Mia opened their act with Billiard Balls rolls in each hand, that went on for some time. His 'hook' was that he hand the beautiful Mia stroll on with a basket to receive the jumbo ball that the balls turned into when placed into a top hat. So it is not a hard and fast rule, but my comments were concerning your video performance.

Quote:
On Jul 9, 2014, RJH wrote:

One of the reason I wasn't smiling a lot was because sun was shining directly into my eyes and it was really hot.

RJH


Let me say, that competition spot lights are blinding, stage lighting is blinding. Air conditioned theaters are for the customers, not for the performers back stage. My point is, if you are going to perform, you have to "Act", and part of acting is faking it. No matter how much blinding sun or lights their are, you look in the direction of the audience and smile. Even though you are miserable. That is show business.

I see you are using the word "try" in your responses. The word try means can't or won't. That means you are saying you have no intension of doing what you say you will do. Just thought you should know what you are actually saying to us. I would take the word "try" out of your vocabulary.
RJH
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Anatole, thanks. My act actually started with a production of a silk and producing a ball with that silk, but my camera man wan't quick enough Smile. Thanks for your tips!

Bill, when I say I will try, I mean that I will do it, if it fits my act and if it's even possible. I can't be 100% sure will it or will it not work when I'm answering these comments, that why I say I will try. I will post a new video after the competition and we shall see if I have taken any of the tips generously given to me by You, Richard, Andy, Robert, Dick, Michael and Amado.

RJH
hugmagic
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The best advice I ever heard came from Marvyn Roy. He said "If I did everything everyone told me to do, I would have never done Mr. Electric. You have to decided what will fit or will not fit your style or your act. Take all the comments, analyze and then use what you thinks fits you." I will add that if you understand the thinking behind why someone does something the way it is done, it helps you better analyze what to keep or discard.

Good luck and keep it up.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Ron Reid
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Hi RJH:

Seriously, all the rest of us know what you mean when you say "try". The others have given you good advice, but I will add that it's really a pleasure watching someone who has obviously put in a lot of time and effort, and that is you. That was very fun to watch!

Ron
RJH
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Richard, that is exactly what I'm doing, thanks for the great quote.

Ron, thanks!

RJH
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