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Topic: After the show has ended
Message: Posted by: cadillaczak (Jun 22, 2007 11:17PM)
I did my biggest show this past week and I seem to be running in to a regular problem...

This particular show was for over 500 kids, ages 9-14. It went well, until after the show. Here is what typically happens:

Usually, I do shows at places like schools and camps. There normally is no "crowd control" or "stay off the stage" rules so right after the show, I get mobbed. I mean, people are taking my cards that are still out, swiping my marker, messing with my props, looking in my cabinet, etc.

Even at adult shows. It's crazy. I have tried putting everything in my podium table or a trunk as I finish using it during the show and then right after the show is over, I lock it. But lately, I can't even get everything locked away before I get mobbed.

Any ideas? I guess I will have to start writing in to my contracts that no one is to be on the stage at any time prior to or after the show??? Is that a pretty normal practice?

I am just worried that one day someone will break an expensive prop or see something they shouldn't.

Actually, at this last show there was a guy who did some music right before I performed and he invited about 40 kids on stage with all of my stuff set up and ready to go. I saw a group of about 10 kids looking into several of my set up props which would have completely ruined the effects. I was so mad that when I went up I just switched on the fly to some other material and tossed the ruined effects off of the stage into the trash.


Any help is appreciated! I think I may have grown too big, too fast for my magical britches on this one...
Message: Posted by: mcharisse (Jun 23, 2007 06:32AM)
Crowd control at the end is a common problem that I've run into as well. Usually, a commanding presence is enough, I find, to control kids, but I've found other strategies help too. At parties with a small crowd, I promise baloon animals, but only after I've had a chance to put props away. I work it out with the folks n charge in advance to have the kids go off and open presents or have cake or whatever, so they can do that while the show gets packed. With larger crowds, I promise an encore trick, but again, only after everything is put away.
It really helps to put props away during the course of the show - an extra trunk, on its side, or a suitcase table that props can go in when you're done with them so they're aren't left out at the end. That way, you only have the props from the last effect to worry about at the end.
In bigger shows, an assistant is very helpful as well -- if you're doing shows of 500, maybe you can afford one -- who can remove props when you are done with them.
Wit roll-on tables, trunks, etc, you should never have to set up your props on stage before you are ready to go on so they aren't out there during someone else's act. An assistant can help in theis regard as well, of course.
Hope this helps. I think you'll also find that as you gain experience n handling children, it will be easier to find that line between letting them have fun and enforcing a minimum standard of behavior...much of it, I find, is psychological, that ability to project a fun but commanding presense...funny lines help to - don't tough that, it's full of spiders gets a laugh, but said forcefully sends the message you are serious even though you want them to have fun.

Marc the Magic Man
Message: Posted by: ufo (Jun 23, 2007 09:39AM)
IF there is no adult supervision...and there usually isn't...then you have to set some expectation of behavior. don't leave it to chance they wont mob your stuff...tell them not to ...before its time! And,of course, packing as you go even it that means a footlocker that you drop the props you have already used into,- shows over...slap it shut.
I am amazed at the "enthusiasm" of some kids. Be prepared to win that battle from the moment you set foot in the venue! Good luck.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 23, 2007 10:14AM)
Trunks, etc. that quickly lock away are good if your magic doesn't "expand" too much during use, so it will easily fit.

It's also not a bad idea to bring along a friend to act as a body guard before and after the show. Pay them a few bucks and buy them dinner after the gig and you'd be surprised how valuable they can be. I am always having younger or less experienced magicians offering to tag along to help.

Tell the audience that after the show you will be happy to meet and speak with them, IF they will line up "OVER THERE" (indicate a safe spot and point blank ask an attentive adult to head up the line.

Sounds to me like the entire problem can be remedied with a little pre-planning, now that you know what problem needs to be solved.

Message: Posted by: cadillaczak (Jun 23, 2007 12:40PM)

I LOVE the in a line "over there" idea! Thanks! Why didn't I think of that?
Message: Posted by: ChrisG (Jun 23, 2007 02:57PM)
I cover my tables pre show and someone is always keeping prying eyes away. I pack as I go which helps to get out but I think having another person to help with crowd control is the key. If my wife is not with me I make sure who ever is in charge understands the importance of keeping people away from my things and away from the performance area, before and after the program. I make myself available once things are secured.

Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Jun 24, 2007 08:58AM)
I used to have problems with people looking into props and cases. Now, I get on and off quickly, with what I perform with, so that I can guard my stuff. It may be a matter of the material not being practical for the venue. I've taken material out of my act, simply because it was impossible to control the conditions with so many props to guard.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jul 3, 2007 03:16PM)
Hi Zak here's a few idea's you might want to consider:

1. Prepare. Don't just end the show.... find out what's planned for when you finish and lead your crowd into doing that. If it's food in another part of the venue, or games outside, or being lead back to their classes etc then make it part of your presentation. That way you move them onto whatever's next as part of the presentation rather than just ending the show and leaving the audience to their own devices. This way they'll head in the direction you want rather than towards you and your props. In addition to this...

2. I myself never used this ploy but you could set up a barrier. I know a small rope or plastic chain link fence isn't going to stop a determined kid but it helps set in their minds during the show that there is a boundary that they are not allowed to cross. It's not a complete answer to the problem in itself but it could be an additional helping factor.

3. Make packing away part of the act. For kids shows, tell them you're working on breaking your own packing away record and they can help by giving you a countdown. By the time they get to zero you're packed up and heading for the cheque.

4. To make #3 more entertaining you could have a timer ticking off the seconds for them to count along to and if you don't pack away and then stop the timer before zero you get squirted with water from the timing machine. You pack away with seconds to spare and stop the timer...then you realise you havent packed the timer away and so..... get squirted. But now you're packed and heading for the cheque again.

4. Or pack as you go along ensuring that you structure your act so that as you finished everything is secured away.

Regarding your starting position; I used to do a cabaret act with an open table covered with a cloth but soon came to the conclusion that given the working environment I usually found myself in at the time my props were still too exposed and tempting for wandering hands.(or drunks) I realised that my props had to be out of sight and therefore out of mind until I was ready to start my act.

Regards Neal.
Message: Posted by: cadillaczak (Jul 3, 2007 06:23PM)
Thanks Neal, great ideas. I will be using some of them!
Message: Posted by: PR_Magic (Jul 4, 2007 11:33PM)
I just simply say the line b4 and after the show that I have some dangerous things in or around my performance space and right away adults pull their children away from that space or if the children get even more curious, just re-state the fact that there's dangerous things around and they will back off and adults don't even think about coming near that area...i dunno it works for me, so try it out..
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 5, 2007 01:22AM)
On 2007-07-05 00:33, PR_Magic wrote:
I just simply say the line b4 and after the show that I have some dangerous things in or around my performance space and right away adults pull their children away from that space or if the children get even more curious, just re-state the fact that there's dangerous things around and they will back off and adults don't even think about coming near that area...i dunno it works for me, so try it out..

That's funny because I once had an MC introduce me, during which he said something to the effect of dangerous feats of magic (why I don't really know), but in the video of the show you can see parents snatching their kids away from the front of the stage.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Oct 24, 2007 12:12PM)
What about actually meeting your adoring public before you start packing up? Just a thought...
Message: Posted by: cadillaczak (Oct 24, 2007 01:19PM)
John...i mean, big daddy cool...

I do meet the public...i wasn't down at all with mmany of the above suggestion...

Message: Posted by: TMurphy (Oct 24, 2007 11:59PM)
When performing for children, I like to establish audience control prior to opening the show. I begin with an "audience warm up" immediately followed by the Three ways to have fun at today's show: 1st, Remain Sitting right where you are at now so that the people in back of you can see. 2nd, I will need audience volunteers throughout the show to come up and assist me. The way I select my volunteers is that I look around for everyone Sitting Quietly in the seats and raising their hands high in the air. Now everyone raise their hands high so that I can see you! 3rd, If you see anything that is funny during the show make sure you laugh then so that Mom and Dad won't think you went off the deep end when you get home! When delivering these key elements, be sure to emphasize key words and orate your voice in accordance. Try it, you'll like it!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 25, 2007 06:15AM)
Hi TMurphy. Welcome to the Café.

Zak, I know what you mean. Here are some ideas.

1. Before you set up the show look for some staff adults. Explain the situation to them. Ask if they will sit up front during your show so they can come on stage immediately after it is over to assist you. Signal them to come the right time. If you can not find any adults, try searching for some teenage staff/volunteers you can count on.

2. Immediately when your show is done, ask for all the staff to come forward. Explain how you want to thank them for participating with the program. While they are on stage, you continue talking mentioning good comments about them. The same time when you are speaking about/to the staff on stage, you are packing things up also.

3. Think of a reason to use ligther fluid on stage. For example the "Dove Pan." Light the fluid showing the audience what it does when you add a match. That will stick in their minds throughout the show. Make a switch near the end of rhe show for a another container that looks like ligther fluid. But the duplicate container really has water only inside of it. When the show is over squirt water from the water container between the audience and the area you were performing. Tell the audience not to step up to the line because it can ignite into fire. Remember the important part is really marking the one container on the back so it reads "water" in big letters.

4. When your act is done, but you are suspicious about the crowd. Tell them you will show them a grand finale for today even though the show is over. Tell them you need a lot of room on stage. Explain to them you must clear all your equiptment out the way to perform it. If it takes you a long time to pack things up try to kill time by asking a child/teenager to come forth to sing a simple kid's song. No matter how they did give them a good round applause and ask who wants to be next. Continue packing up your props as they are singing a song. When you are finished tell the audience your grand finale will be you will disappear.

5. After you finish your show, tell the audience it is now game time. Explain to them you need them to stay where they are to play. Either pick a person to guide the crowd thru "Simon Says" or tell the crowd the winner is going to be the person who can sit down the longest. When the game is going on you are packing up.

6. Bring some music with you. At the end of your show explain there is a dance contest next. Pick out a few boys and girls for the contest. Have them dance one at a time. It will keep the crowd focused on something while you are packing up. At the end see who the crowd thinks the best dancer is.