What is it with Jugglers and "Creativity"?

It seems like most of the juggler’s posting videos online these days have a pretty twisted sense of creativity. They seem to think that something is “creative” and interesting just because they haven’t seen it before. I think it really got kicked off when Wes Peden started making videos with random tricks in them. Most of them weren’t visually appealing or very difficult, but it was cool at first just to see such an extremely advanced juggler fooling around. To me, it was just random stuff to show how flexible his juggling was. It got old fast, but now everyone seems to think that all we want to see from highly skilled jugglers are random things that are way too easy for them. And this they label “creativity”.

Real creativity isn’t easy to come by. It takes hard work and time find something memorable and interesting, and even after you do, it takes more time and effort to learn the trick well enough that the effect isn’t lost in the execution. A creative person should be able to discern between the tricks that have memorable qualities, and the tricks that are just nonsense. Instead, they just fill their videos with whatever little thing enters their head, and the few winners are lost in the deluge of trash. You may like to think that by doing random things you avoid boring people, but you’re wrong. If your tricks aren’t memorable, they just look like “more random stuff”. I’d much rather see some of the standard technical moves done well. It still won’t be interesting, but at least it will provide more useful examples of correct execution for those of us who are still learning.

7 Responses to “What is it with Jugglers and "Creativity"?”

  1. Anders says:

    I really like Wes Pedens videos, I think they are great examples of videos with lots of creativity and really difficult tricks. Whats cool about Wes is that it really flows between the different tricks he has.

    There already are lots of videos being posted with difficult tricks in them, we need the creative people to so that juggling not only evolves into more numbers and the same technical tricks with more balls or clubs, we need creativity.

  2. Brer Licky says:

    You don’t seem to have understood the point of my post. I agree that creativity is great. I just don’t see much of it. Yes, I agree that it’s really cool to watch Wes juggle, but that’s because he has style and puts work into getting brilliant execution. He’s even come up with a fair number of memorable tricks. The fact remains, however, that most of the tricks he does are unremarkable and unmemorable. They just fade into a blur of random stuff. Everyone does a crap-load of random stuff in their videos. Since so little of it is remarkable enough to stick in my mind, it all starts to look the same. How can you call that creativity?

    The only reasons that leaves for watching are style and execution, which can be done with technical tricks. So you might as well just do the technical tricks—at least then it’d be impressive as well!

  3. Steve Maerz says:

    I too really enjoy Wes’s videos but I understand your point. I like some of his “fiddling” moves but there are many others that start to get boring after a while.

    The problem with technical and numbers juggling is that you get tired of seeing the same old 8-10 tricks over and over again. I can appreciate the difficulty involved with a five club mills mess or an eight ball high low shower but they look so similiar to other tricks that they lose entertainment value.

    Personally I enjoy Tim Kelly’s routine’s. He typically only juggles three props but he adds new twists and combines tricks that make his style unique.

    Another “creative” would be Michael Karas. And while sometimes his dance laden juggling style makes me yawn he seems to be progressing his abilities at a steady rate given his relatively short time of performing (2-3 years?).

  4. Br'er Licky says:

    Right. For me, the point of watching the same old technical tricks is not for entertainment, but to burn correct technique into my brain. After I get them down solid I’m sure I won’t care for them as much either.

    It’s also nice to keep an eye on how well other people are advancing in their skills.

    Thank you both for commenting! It lets me know people find what I write worth reading.

  5. Wes says:

    good article.

    yes, really creativity takes lots and lots of hard work. my videos are simply me messing around. i’m sorry that most of my tricks weren’t very visually appealing to you but personally i did find quite a few of the tricks difficult. (for me at least)

    what makes you think that some tricks can be memorable and awesome in one persons eyes and not in someone else’s? i have had that a lot while watching juggling videos with different people.

  6. Brer Licky says:

    Wes,

    I’m glad you liked my post. I wasn’t sure how well a negative post like that would go over. One thing that I don’t think I made clear enough in my post is that I don’t think that the Tricks of the Day videos were all random stuff. A lot of it was technical and impressive, and some of it really was creative. That’s why I always looked forward to them, and was disappointed (although unsurprised) when you stopped making them. But it’s the easy, random stuff that people seem to be copying. Those two videos Chris Fowler made recently to me demonstrate the mindset I’m talking about. He made one video that was OK. It had some moderately difficult tricks in them, and quite a bit of randomness. This the labeled the Unofficial Video of the Week. He made another video full of wicked hard tricks, rather reminiscent of Thomas Deitz’s videos, and this one he labeled “Rejects”!

    As for your last question, I agree that it is hard to tell what people will find visually appealing. Aesthetics are subjective. But I do think you can get a pretty good idea of how memorable people will find a trick. For something to be memorable, it has to stand out in their minds as being different. When you make a new video day after day, and each video has a slightly different variation on a scissor catch, thumb trap, or catch between the legs, they all start to run together. For something to really stand out as distinct, it needs contrast. I think that’s part of the reason why it helps to have more than one juggler in a video.

    As much as I liked having a new video to watch each day, your tricks probably would have got a better reaction from me if you had spaced them out more. If you ask me to go back and look at any individual trick, it’d be hard for me to say that it wasn’t at least a little cool. But when I saw them day after day, it was pretty easy to become jaded.

    I hope that clears things up more than it muddles them.

    Looking forward to your “Send Peden to Sweden” video,

    Brer Licky

  7. Wes says:

    yeah, one of the main reasons that i stopped the tricks of the day videos was when i realized that a lot of my tricks were just my old ones a little different.

Leave a Reply