AKA 'The Therapy Thread'.
*edit* Link to another equally valuable thread
"Pulling it together" by Kenfucious.
As I've mentioned, I really want to start a thread that pulls us all together and takes us to a new level with our passion for ball manipulation. A thread that strives to understand what it is that makes performing Contact juggling so awesome, what makes Contact jugglers so awesome, and to give us a place where we can bring together our thoughts, feelings, desires, detests, and our knowledge and experience, so that collectively we can create something so completely awesome that gives anyone reading this such a huge buzz of inspiration that it creates an obsessive desire to not just 'up your game' but to take things to heights that you never even dreamed of.
Take the 'Follow My Leader' thread (http://www.contactjuggling.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5716
) for example.
Utter utter GENIUS
It got people we've never heard from before (or since...) throwing videos out ten to the dozen. Take a look, in two months, 19 whole pages of posts loaded with videos of people who thought about little else in life other than what they were going to for the next round. Then see how many dropped out when one awkward move was chosen as the leader (I'm guilty as charged too). As I recall, someone even proposed to their partner in this thread. Awesome
! Except for the fact that it didn't totally work, because just as quick as the thread started, it finished.
OCCJD is a real thing. It gets us all at some time or another. It has a hold of me right now, and it will hold me until I can stop beating myself up over my performances.
The purpose of this thread is to help anyone who performs or wants to perform CJ, be it to yourself in the mirror, to strangers in the park who see you practicing, or to the whole of your country on national television. This is your chance to learn how to play it, how to make the most of it, and eventually let it become awesome
. It's not a thread about who's better than who, or who puts on the best show, or who this or who that, it's a collective spoken word workshop that covers every aspect of performance CJ, and every skill level from total novice to world dominance. It is inspired by my quote from the Cyndi Steele thread:
Seriously, in the next week or so I'm going to start a thread that calls on everyone who is part of this site to give some input about their thoughts and musings on performance CJ. This is coming about because firstly, I want a goddamn sh!t hot show that knocks the socks off of anyone that sees it, but secondly, Australia's got Om/Germany's got the Big K/Poland's got Dzielny... need I say more? CJ is really blowing peoples' minds right now in a very public way, and I want to get to the heart of who, how, and why.
It started with Matt Hennem tonight. We talked and talked and talked, and by the end of the evening, the more we talked, the more we realised there was so much more to say. It's a massive subject, with a very simple principal behind it. I may not be able to persuade him to join in on this conversation online, but it doesn't matter; there are so many others who have equally valuable thoughts and experiences right here on this forum. All of you potentially have something to offer! ALL OF YOU!!!
Forget this particular Cyndi video. I've pulled it apart already and am trying to sew the pieces I liked back together into a much better show. I know I'll still be unhappy with what comes out at my next show, but I know I'll at least be happier than I was with this one. I know I'm capable of much more, and right now I've got the drive that it takes to drag my better stuff up to the surface.
I figure that while I'm getting myself up to spec, why not hopefully inspire others to up their game too? It doesn't matter what angle you are coming from, be it prime time television or complete beginner, we're all part of the same gang. Sally has started her own journey with her 'Contact Juggling - all by myself' thread. Why don't we make it applicable to everyone?
We've got an incredible forum here already. It's warm, friendly, communicative, and highly skilled. Let's pull it all a bit closer together!
But actually, I don't want this just to be for "proper" performance CJ. It is a place for everyone and anyone
to be able to have a voice. It is a place that noone should feel like they don't have the knowledge or the experience to say their views on any subject; if you have any thoughts, just say them. It isn't a place where heavy handed views or "louder voices than yours" should intimidate you from speaking up. It is to all intents and purposes, an online, ongoing workshop, without any one person taking the reigns.
I'm going to kick things off by laying my recent thoughts out on the line. I'm not sharing this with you "to get things off my chest", because indeed actually I'm already growing from what I'm learning about myself. I'm not telling you guys this so you can then tell me back that "No no no, you are actually brilliant and stop worrying!" because I'm not worrying. And I'm definitely not brilliant. I'm telling you this because I want you to know what is driving my obsession to achieve "The most incredible show that anyone has ever seen". And before you say it, no, I'm not wanting or trying to be the best Contact juggler in the world, or the most talked about, or the highest profile, or everyone's favourite whatever etc. To put it plainly, I want anyone who sees my show to come away thinking, "That's the most amazing thing I've ever seen!".
It is totally achievable. People can actually say it, and mean every word. The reality is that if they stop and think about it, the moment they saw a rocket travel into space, or the first time they saw a working "mobile" telephone that didn't have a cable attached, or witnessing the birth of their son or daughter, was actually the most incredible thing they had ever seen. What I want is to have drawn the audience so deeply into my show that all they can think of afterwards is that the most amazing thing they've ever
seen is the sh!t I just pulled with that ball right in front of their eyes.
For me, this thread has come too late. I've recently done two shows that should have kicked ass. One of them was distinctly average, and the other one (Cyndi Steele) was only just bearable for me because the feedback that I got on the night was that apparently I was "spellbinding". I was really happy with that show until I'd watched it back a couple of times on video. Then the nightmare began...
All the shows I've done that I'm not pleased with rattle around in my mind and drive me to distraction until I move on and do another show. I don't care how many people come up afterwards and say they loved it, all I really care about is that they thought it was "the most incredible thing they have ever seen".
On the one hand, maybe I'm setting myself up for eternal disappointment.
On the other hand, maybe I am actually slowly pushing myself to the edge of my limits? Every show, for me, is a learning curve. Every show I do I come off stage thinking "What was that? What did I think I was doing? Why did I do that, why didn't I do this, why why WHY?".
Here's a big "for instance:" That bloody Cyndi Steele show I did at The Hangar. I cringe at the fact that some of the best Contact jugglers in the world saw me attempting to wow them with essentially quite average levels of one ball manipulation. My only redeeming feature was comedy. I was "funny". Not awesome, just funny. How I blagged a "relatively sweet" routine to Goldfrapp's Strict Machine I'll never know. Relative considering the fact it was a complete blag. That part of the show is only bearable for me to watch because I know how bad the rest of the show was. Relatively, you understand
And here's the irony: I auditioned to be in a Take That video the very next day after talking with Matt and writing that post in the Cyndi thread. I wasn't expecting to audition, it came up quite suddenly, but only after I had pushed my agent for the gig, after being inspired from such a great evening the night before. At the audition, initially I blew them away with that crystal ball. I then did some other stuff, talked a little with them, did a touch more CJ and then went home feeling rather happy with myself. Until I analyzed what I'd done... It then occurred to me what I didn't say or do that might have secured my chance of getting what was potentially a massive gig. And now I'm pretty sure I haven't got it, even after they (more or less) told me I've probably got the gig. So now, the reason for starting this thread is tenfold stronger than I first thought.
I've been quite complacent with my CJ for too many years now, and have been relying on my past hard work and my reputation for a long while. Only recently have I actually admitted this to myself, and am trying to come to terms with it. I am now going through a very intense learning process about myself that isn't too pleasant. I know it is helping in the long run though, and thankfully it isn't all pain, there are some good bits popping in here and there too.
So, when I say "my past hard work" I mean the YEARS spent in front of that mirror working out what looks good and trying to hone it until it's all there in my muscle memory.
And when I say "my reputation" I actually mean that little period of my life where I was the only one doing this style of CJ and everyone else was watching in almost disbelief. This has actually been my Achilles' heel, for a couple of reasons. I'll go into these another time, no doubt, but I haven't finished thinking about them yet.
Right now I'm as fired up as I ever have been and am playing really hard, both during and outside of gigs, to get to a level that ideally will carry me much further forward than I am at present, both in my career as well as where I'm at with it in my head.
So many outside influences are driving me onwards and inspiring me. The funny thing is, I've no desire to learn any new moves or play with multiball in order to widen my horizons, I'm actually really happy with what I do at the moment. What I'm not happy with is the lack of consistently good cabaret shows, the inability to find a character I'm really comfortable with, the lack of a killer soundtrack that never fails to inspire me to move like a ghost in a light breeze...
Arrrrgh, it goes on.
Hopefully this thread will fix things for me, and for a few others too.
The one thing I really want from this thread is to make it clear that anyone here has potentially got something to say, no matter what level of CJ you are at, you are all potentially members of audience for my next gig.
Tell CJ.org what you think about the "(insert country here)'s got talent". Tell us about the gig you did in your school. Tell us what you thought about the most recent video submission in the forum (include links wherever you can). Tell us what you think are your strong points, your weak points, and your irritating points. Open up. Make a video especially for this thread and tell us why you love or hate it, and let us tell you how we think you can improve it. Maybe you've just done a show you are really happy with, then tell us why. Maybe you've never regretted any performance you've done. Maybe you have a favourite video that has been in circulation for years. What is it? Why do you love it so much? How has it inspired you? Talk about it right here. And for goodness sake, link it into your post...
I know this can be done in the individual video threads, but if we also do it here we have one decisive thread to refer back to all of the time. All of a sudden, you've got three days to prepare for a show, and you don't know where to turn (who you gonna call?) (couldn't resist at least one gag folks, you should know me by now...) etc.
I'm going to sticky this thread, but actually what I'd really like is to have a sub forum dedicated to all the different aspects of performance CJ, I think it would be invaluable to many people...