In 2005, my friend Howie called me up. “Do you want a job?” The last time he’d said something similar, we’d ended up running a yo-yo company together for a while. This time I thought he was offering me a juggling gig. In a way, he was – he’d had the idea for a juggling video archive, where all the great juggling videos (and the average ones too) could be stored on one website. He knew I was into juggling video, and could write, so wanted me to run the social media side of things (not that we called it that back then) and help gather videos for the site. Some development got under way slowly, and jugglingarchive.com was launched with a holding page, and the promise of more to come. Neither Howie nor I were actually web developers, but Howie slowly turned himself into one, and after getting a little backing, buying some software and throwing spanners at it for a few months, we finally launched as juggling.tv in April 2007.
While there had been other aggregator sites, this was the first juggling-dedicated video hosting and playback site on the net. We got a good response, and people signed up, and started adding their videos. Meanwhile I’d been mining all the sources I could find for juggling videos, and persuading people to join and upload. It was going well. Of course, things move on the web, and we had bugs to fix and features to add, and in 2009, we had a major upgrade (mainly thanks to having the actual programming skills of David to call on for a good while) with widescreen, increased file sizes, HD, and much more. Looking back, alas, that may have been our peak.
When it was just Howie and I again, we didn’t really have the skills for major web development, and survived for quite a while with minor bug fixes and fire-fighting. Howie was moving on to bigger things in the real world, and eventually decided to leave entirely. I was left holding the fort, with occasional help with server-side tweaks. But the web was moving on too fast. We still had Flash for goodness sake. I had a really long list of improvements to make the site so much nicer, but lacked the skills to actually implement them. Sadly I just couldn’t persuade our backers to stump up for a programmer’s time, and nor could I afford it myself. So the day came when I said, guys, it’s do or die. And the word came back… die.
Well, not absolutely. As I type, I’m a few short hours from flicking the switches which will turn JTV into a static archive, so at least 10000+ juggling videos will stay around to _be seen_ (Howie always loved those underscores). It’s a sad day for me, but ah well, we tried, we did something, and for a long while, it was good. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way, and all the uploaders too.
Maybe one day the site will rise again. I hope so, but it will be without me if so, as my time there is now done too. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite videos from the site, the elegant and skillful Wang Hong.
My friend Stuart organised the second BJC in Bath, in 1989. He recently dug out some old clippings, and asked me to put them online, for any archive-minded juggling historians to peruse. (The BJC history wiki is a good place to start.)
So, here you go Stuart, and everyone!
(Right-click and download the files):
Newspaper article 1 (before the convention) JPGs: Small 118KB Medium 1MB Large 3MB
Newspaper article 2 (before the convention) JPGs: Small 900KB Medium 2MB Large 15MB
Newspaper article 3 (after the convention) JPGs: Small 190KB Medium 4MB Large 10MB
Thank-you letter 1 JPGs Small 550KB Large 2MB
Thank-you letter 2 JPGs Small 1MB Large 4MB
“I’m looking for a videographer based in Bristol for a project” posted Jon. I replied “Hello”, waving, and we met up at the juggling club. He told me of a few ideas he had, one of which was to make a juggling video in/around Bristol. So the next time there was a day with tolerable weather, out we trolled, juggled, filmed, and ended up with this:
But another one of Jon’s ideas was for a Kickstarter project. It sounded like a fun and interesting idea, so we met for a coffee to kick the ideas around and see if it was a goer.
Turns out it was, which meant we had to start planning all the details, and the launch video. Then we had an idea for the video which, although a fair bit more work, seemed to fit in with the project itself. And once we’d thought of it, we couldn’t unthink it. So late November and the first half of December turned into several filming mini-expeditions.
After a bunch of idea-kicking and detail-tweaking, we came up with the first draft of the KS project, and sent it off to a select few friends for feedback. We got some good pointers, and I’ve just come back from coffee chez Jon’s where we nailed down all the last minute changes, which we’ll be sorting out over the weekend.
We launch on Monday! Wish us luck, and keep your eyes peeled for the link…
Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to (also)
upload their videos to JTV. JTV is what its users make it, so you all
I’ve tried to give honest and clear feedback on all the videos. I hope
you’ll take any negative comments as constructive criticism, but
generally the entries were really helpful tutorials, so well done
Okay, in no particular order, here we go…..
Samuel TheJuggler USA
The Rebel Cascade http://juggling.tv/16165
Clear. Bit of autofocus annoyance. Script felt a little ad libbed.
Siteswaps would have been nice, if only as onscreen text. But
explanation covered most things, and I think I could learn it from
this video. Overall, fine.
Quinn Lewis USA
Inline 3 http://juggling.tv/16169
Clear. 1 autofocus issue, but a joke made it forgivable. 🙂 Very good
step-by-step instructions. Attention to detail (Hand positions, grips,
etc). Coloured balls useful. Not only do I think I could learn the
trick from this video, but I think I *want* to learn the trick.
Overall very good.
Pieter-Jan Hoornaert Belgium
Penguin Swipe http://juggling.tv/16171
Clear, well lit. Audio slightly echoey, but not too distracting. Good
step-by-step instructions, and bonus variations at the end. I think I
could learn it from this video. Overall, very good.
Bernardo Molina Guatemala
Bounce Juggling: 5 Balls Active/Force http://juggling.tv/16167
Clear. Step-by-step was good. No mention of alignment, or a side-on
view, which would have been useful. Standing at a slight angle to the
camera – why? Overall, I think I could learn it from this video.
Louis Cason South Africa
Chest Rolls http://juggling.tv/16201
It’s spelled “forehead” :-). This was a fun video to watch, with lots
of different shots, and a bouncy tune. But I would have liked much
more detail on the actual placement of the clubs into the chestroll:
Where do you grip it, where do you aim for, what is the timing, etc.
(I think this was partially covered in one voiceover section, but it
wasn’t very audible.) Could I learn it from this video?
Maybe-probably? Overall, fun, but average.
Luis Alberto Barcenas Resendiz Mexico
“Jakos” Diabolo Trick http://juggling.tv/16183
I don’t speak Spanish (well, only some basic words), but I speak
diabolo, so I understood what was going on, pretty much. About half
way through I started thinking “this is going too quickly” – and then
step-by-steps came in, with slomos and freeze-frames, which was very
helpful. The framing was slightly off, so Wicho could have been
standing a bit closer to the camera, if it had been angled up a
little. But I think I could learn it from this video. Overall, “good
and a half”.
Samuel TheJuggler USA
Camera not straight. Autofocus issues. Traffic noise a bit
distracting. Explanation felt a little rambling, and the script
regarding the actual flourish was definitely lacking clarity and
depth. The flourish definitely needed a different camera angle too.
I’ve only seen the flourish taught under a double spin, previously,
and I think the LLRR throw pattern here would be a more difficult
entry pattern. I think I could learn it from this video, but I would
have had to put in a lot of effort in re-watching to understand the
detail of the trick. Overall, below average.
Nathan Wakefield USA
Triplex Scissor http://juggling.tv/16180NOTE: This is a special exposition entry from
the IJA Chair. Not to be considered for prizes!
Clear. Good step-by-step instructions, and basic onscreen graphics.
Good explanation. Might have been nice: Different colour clubs; high
and low angle shots of the trick. I think I could have learned it from
this video if I didn’t already know it. Overall, good.
Pieter-Jan Hoornaert Belgium
Helicopter Hit Combo http://juggling.tv/16190
Clear. Audio slightly echoey, but not too distracting. Good
step-by-step instructions. Would have been nice: Different colour
clubs; Side view of the trick. I think I could learn it from this
video. Overall, very good.
Lucas Gardezani Abduch Brasil
Matrix – Contact Staff http://juggling.tv/16173
Clear. The voiceover describes all the elements. But I felt that the
talking-to-camera shots don’t add anything to the learning experience,
and I would have liked to see some closeups, and maybe more slomos
instead. I think I could learn it from this video. Overall, “good and
Gabriel Edgardo Santander Argentina
Mills Mess with Three Balls http://juggling.tv/16195
Clear. Use of globalls helped visibility. Step-by-step instructions
were good, and clear. Would have been nice: Different colour balls. No
mention of the change of direction from crossed arms! This is the
*most difficult part* of Mills Mess, which confuses everyone trying to
learn it, and it was not covered! I wanted to like this video, but it
lacks one essential detail, so overall, poor. Sorry, Gabriel!
Multiplex Plano http://juggling.tv/16206
I don’t speak Spanish, but I felt like I understood what was being
said. Good use of graphics, and although there was only one camera
angle, Martin made the best of it by standing on the left, the right,
sideways, back and front to add variation. Although it did not stop
the message getting across, unfortunately autofocus was very annoying
throughout this video. I think I could learn the trick from this
video. Overall, good.
Tony Steinbach USA
Frantic Cascade http://juggling.tv/16208
Fun to watch. I first saw this pattern about 15 years ago, but never
knew the name. (Is it your name, Tony?) Wind noise slightly annoying,
but voice was clear enough. Good step-by-step breakdown, appropriate
different coloured prop use. Audio was missing on the outro, but that
doesn’t affect the tutorial. “Throw the clubs so high they go out of
the camera frame” made me laugh. I’ve previously messed around with
this pattern a little bit, but never nailed it fully. Now I think I
could learn it from this video. Overall, very good.
Martin Bentley South Africa
Weird Multiplex Body Throw Thing http://juggling.tv/16209
Firstly, that’s a terrible name. It’s not even a name. Okay, you
acknowledge this, and ask for info, but come on, give it a name! (I
suggest “Multiplex neck-trap split”.) Audio is echoey, but not
terrible. White balls show up well against the green background, but
not when they are below it (although this is not a major problem.)
Good slomo to show the trick, and good step-by-step instructions, and
good changing of body position to show the different parts of the
trick. I think I could learn it from this video. Overall, good.
Willow Solow USA
Poi Juggling – the Synch No-Beat Cascade http://juggling.tv/16210
Clear. Bad: White poi with white tee-shirt. Good: Step-by-step
breakdown; angles; graphics. Fun to watch. Would have been nice: A
little more detail on adding the third poi. I think I could learn it
from this video. Overall, good.
Kęstas Matusevičius Lithuania
Back Drop with Staff http://juggling.tv/16213
This tutorial at first seems too short… is it? Well, it seems to cover
all the basics of the trick, even if it does so very quickly. (Isn’t
that called “efficiency”?) Good: step-by-step breakdown; different
colours on the staff ends; front and rear views of the throw. I feel
like it could have had slightly more detail on where to aim/throw the
staff, and on the foot catch. But I think I could learn it from this
video. Overall, “good and a half” (Not quite earning a “very”).
Brian Koenig USA
Mastering the Flash – A Resource for Numbers Juggling http://juggling.tv/16215
Phew, this was a long one. Actually, quite an exhausting watch.
Although the grips section covers a lot, and well, I feel like notated
pictures could have got the message over quicker, thus making it more
re-watchable. Likewise the warmup section felt a bit long. However, it
was personable and helpful. Overall, good.
Łukasz Uczkiewicz Poland
Unnamed Pattern (Hands and Feet) http://juggling.tv/16217
Give it a name! 😛 Clear. There’s a lot going on in this pattern, so
the long demo runs of each stage was helpful. Onscreen text was clear.
Some slomo would have definitely helped, I think. Overall, good.
Bri Crabtree USA
Boss Hat Technique http://juggling.tv/16216
Fun to watch. Good angles, everything was clear. I particularly liked
the title pane at 3:33. 🙂 The voiceovers matched the images very
well. I’m already a hat juggler, but I think this video would
definitely help improve a novice hat-juggler’s technique. Overall,
Logan Goethe USA
Mike’s Mess Club Tutorial http://juggling.tv/16218
Good clear vocal instructions, but I felt like close-up slomos of the
arms might have helped. Minus points for vertical video. Would have
been nice: Different coloured clubs. I think I could have learned it
from this video if I didn’t already know it. Overall, “fine and a
Keith McNeil USA
Four Object Saturn http://juggling.tv/16207
Audio was pretty echoey, or noisy, and I found this distracting. Blue
rings with blue top was not the best choice. However, it felt like all
the points were covered. Tantalising glimpse of the trick with glo
props at the end – could have been shown larger & for longer. I think
I could learn it from this video. Overall, fine.
Samuel Minton USA
The L Stack http://juggling.tv/16204
Bonus points for putting the JTV logo in the video. 🙂 I’ve not heard
the name “L-stack” before, but I’ve known this trick almost since I
started juggling. I think it’s normally just called “club-on-club
balance”… but maybe “L-Stack” is a catchier name. Slomo and onscreen
graphics were used very well to illustrate the points. I would have
like more detail on the hand position for the catch & placement of the
balanced club. And precisely where on the other club it is placed, and
what angle to hold the supporting club at. I think I could have
learned it from this video if I didn’t already know it. Overall, good.
Movement throws (and catches!) http://juggling.tv/16211
This is the video that I find most difficult to review. Because I feel
like I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t feel like a normal juggling
tutorial video – which is not necessarily a bad thing – but I’m not
entirely sure what I’m meant to take from it. I feel like this is
potentially a very good and interesting 1, 2, or 3-hour workshop on
Maurizio’s movement theory of juggling. But as a “juggling tutorial
video”, for me, it doesn’t work. I stress the “for me” part. Overall,
…. I abstain from giving an absolute judgement, because I think I
might be wrong. Sorry, Maurizio, but you confused me!
So, my “very good” finalists are…
Quinn Lewis, Pieter-Jan Hoornaert (Penguin Swipe), Tony Steinbach, &
It is a very tough decision, and I feel bad for the three who I have
to discard, but after thinking it over for a long time, my winner of
the JTV prize is…