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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Cups & Balls/Falling Into Routine Black Hole (33 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ron Giesecke
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After many years of performing a three-cup routine, I ultimately began to realize one of the biggest traps: That each phase isn't really treated as the moment of wonder that it should be. Reading the questions and ruminations on the subject--the obsession becomes one of what to do with final loads.

The problem with this focus is the other phases become interstitial--like a boring, one-off episode from your favorite series.

I took this under my own advisement for a while, and began to perform the routine without a final load phase. This brought the focus back to the original segments--the vanishes, the reappearances, etc.

What ultimately happened was the development of a two-cup routine that does have loads. But oddly enough the most astonishing thing that happens isn't the final--the loads happen hallway through a markedly shorter routine. I'm still working on it for manuscript.
dr34
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Revisiting this post years later. Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I busk on the street and perform the Cups now on occasion, but I don't often use a table.
I do the vernon routine when I have a table, and when I don't, I sometimes sit on the ground and do the first phase of the Wilson routine. Both work!
I can tell it's going to be a long journey for me and the Cups, and I'm just getting started. Hope you are all well. Thanks. dr
Bill Palmer
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I just happened across this post after having been away from it for almost exactly three years. I'd like to make a couple of observations.

First -- obviously dr34 is catching on. That's good.

Second -- Magic and music are very much alike. We have a performer who plays a composition for an audience. The audience will either be captivated by it or not. But in the beginning of learning the composition, the performer is his own audience. As the performer becomes more proficient, the rough edges of the performance begin to disappear, and when these rough edges are all gone, then and only then, the performer has mastered the composition. In order to reach this level of proficiency, the performer must remember that to his external audience, this is probably the first time they have witnessed the composition, at least in this particular form. When the performance is over, it exists only in the mind of the audience (and the performer).

If a performer stops working on the composition at the point of getting bored with it, he does himself and the composition a disservice, because it is only after one has practiced a composition to the point of its being a part of the performer's subconscious, that he can actually communicate the inner meanings of the composition to the audience.

Think about the cup and ball routine you want to perform. What is the theme of the routine? What is the plot? Is the ball of a magical nature or not? What about the cup? Does the wand have special power? You don't need to mention any of this to the audience, but you must think about it when you are performing. What is your silent script?
If you start thinking about expanding the composition, what benefit will the composition reap from the expansion? Is it better to add or to take away?

Food for thought.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
dr34
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Thanks Bill! That is an area that probably grows a bit weaker
toward the latter third of the Vernon routine when I perform it. Both the silent script,
and the actual script might guide me through where I lose confidence and
feel a bit precarious. On the street, I’m often trying to find places to start over,
or even improvise a bit. To enter the “flow” state is the place I want to be. And to just goof
around with strangers on the street. Thanks Bill, I’ll work more with the silent script in mind.
Also, the expanding and taking away idea. All good ideas. Thank you for your insight.
gregg webb
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I think the cups should be with 3 cups. There should be a beginning, middle, and end to the routine. I think too many people work on someone else's routine or other. It is o.k. to make up your own routine. Finally, for today's short attention spans, shorter routines are better than routines that are too long.
funsway
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Quote:
On Oct 23, 2021, gregg webb wrote:
I think the cups should be with 3 cups. There should be a beginning, middle, and end to the routine. I think too many people work on someone else's routine or other. It is o.k. to make up your own routine. Finally, for today's short attention spans, shorter routines are better than routines that are too long.



It is possible to craft a routine that branches according to the appreciation and attention of the audience of the moment.
At the end of each phase a decision can be made to stop, divert, jump ahead, etc. - or use an alternative sleight with a repeat audience.
the story line can also be adapted to the particular audience with a change of premise (affinity, assembly, follow, sympathy, etc.)
to increase audience engagement and attention.

Thus, while a beginning, middle and end may be necessary for a good routine, they do not have to be static or predicable.
One can even segue to a different magic genre entirely if one is not limited by any myopia of weird final load.

Some of what is called "short attention span" is a function of how a person handles interruption and distraction in both task and relaxed mode. This is different for various age cohorts.
A flexible approach can take advantage of this foible rather than succumb to it. With a mixed audience attention can be infectious .
Involving the best 'witnesses' can be as important as selecting the best volunteers.

One should certainly study the successful routines of others to gain an understanding of "why it worked for that audience" as well as "how."
I prefer non-standard cups, especially ones with handles with practiced routines for one, two and three containers and a sense of impromptu and "found' objects -
but I am not trying to make a living performing on the street.

Many spectators are more entertained by seeing something they recognize and think they know how it is done. The tip you receive for artistry can be bigger than for unusual.
I lament that most seem to prefer "magical" over "strong magic," but creating any sense of live awe&wonder is better that a video game.
Who knows what story your next observer will tell grandchildren of the experience? I doubt it will be about the number of cups used or the color of the balls or which fruit you smuggled in your shorts.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
gregg webb
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Shorter is better in many things grasshopper.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On Oct 23, 2021, gregg webb wrote:
I think the cups should be with 3 cups. There should be a beginning, middle, and end to the routine. I think too many people work on someone else's routine or other. It is o.k. to make up your own routine. Finally, for today's short attention spans, shorter routines are better than routines that are too long.

In terms of developing a short routine (say 2 mins) for casual use - wonderful! ++
Just the very old version where you stack the cups between ball passes is fine to start and you can add in the Tommy Wonder style loads for other stuff and the bag as you get comfortable.

That's not to say the cup stacking sequence is the only approach to a short concise magical routine. But it is the one most here have learned and a fine place to add finesse and then gauge audience reactions ... this to develop a routine which serves you the performer and your audiences.

E. G. You make a stack of two cups, place a ball on top of the stack, say "watch the ball" and do the miller penetration item, then lift the top cup. Smile
Replace the ball on the top cup and stack the two cups again, repeat the action and lift to show no ball under there. With a wink lift the stack of two to show now ball. (whoops?) Reach over to the single cup that's been set aside... and reveal the ball.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
funsway
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Gregg, for me your arguments support NOT doing C&B for this with short attention span or a limited time frame.
What is the advantage of tossing out the strongest parts of a well developed routine to accommodate an imagined inability of an audience to appreciate what you are doing?

Does this short-minded audience ask to see a C&B routine? Find out what they expect of magic and choose effects to exceed that expectation - and presentation, of course.

Yes, one can have a short one cup or two cup routine that can segue into a longer full C&B routine IF the audience is attentive and receptive.
I have performed thousands of effects using a found container and a ball like object, sometime two containers, sometimes multiple balls.
I save my polished cups and fuzzy balls for the rare audience who can appreciate both the magic and artistry. Attention span has little to do with it.
If they have a desire to participate in a fine magic experience they will eliminate distractions and ignore interruptions.

I personally, would never deliberately shorten a well-crafted routine just to accommodate any specific audience, but stand ready to craft a new routine to meet any known expectation.

If "shorter" is truly better, then not performing is the best solution of all. A routine that can branch or stop based on audience response is next best.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
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