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Topic: Stuff you thought wasn't going to work, but does
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Mar 21, 2015 02:14PM)
Here is a new topic as I chill between gigs. Name a trick you bought or learned how to do, that once you got it/learned it, you decided not to perform it because you didn't think it would fool people or be entertaining. But then maybe a few years later you decided to try it a a gig anyway and it worked really well.
The Nielson Coke bottle is one like that for me. I put it away after I got it cause it didn't seem realistic and wasn't sure it would fool people - I was wrong. I don't do it for young kids, but it usually works really well, and is very entertaing (I do Fielding West's routine).
Another one is Dick Barry's Fantastic Fishbowl Production - well I tried it for my wife and son last night and they thought it looked really good. I tried it at a bday earlier today but the response wasn;t so good - but I think they were just too young or I didn't present quite right. But I'm trying it later today at a cub scout event and I think it should go well. I use a robotic fish with it cause I don't want to take care of a real fish and subject it to traveling. The only issue is the fish is noisy when it swims so I have to cover up the sound till I reveal the fish.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Mar 21, 2015 02:19PM)
Ventroloquism. Took me a while to get up the courage, then I believed I could only use it for very young kids. I kept the puppets away from older kids. How wrong I was. Now it is out in every show.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Mar 21, 2015 02:45PM)
Sleight of hand tricks for kids. Because I perform mostly for groups of children, for years I avoided doing "real" magic for them, focusing instead on entertaining story-lines with colorful big props. But my wife kept encouraging me to add some "real" sleight of hand magic to my shows (which incidentally I'm pretty good at).

So I slowly added some short magical effects with balls, silks, coins and cards ... and this has made a huge difference to my shows. Kids rave about these "magical moments", strategically placed in-between the usual prop-oriented routines.

This approach has now become a great selling point, too, because it separates me from a lot of my competitors ... most of whose shows consist of predictable sucker effects, lame tricks with change bags, and constant "high-fives" with their helpers.
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Mar 21, 2015 06:38PM)
Yeah Tony, I was the same way with puppets and now I use 1 or 2 in most shows and I may do an all puppet act at some point. It's fun. Arthur, I agree with all your points about doing real sleights for kids mixed in with the silly stuff, I evolved the same way.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Mar 21, 2015 07:24PM)
... and Dan, I agree with you and Tony about using puppets! I don't vent, but I pre-record the puppet's voice and add original music, and it works like a charm.
Message: Posted by: harris (Mar 26, 2015 08:01AM)
I don't bring him out too much, but my traditional ventriloquist figure can work for some kid gigs.

I used to think he would "freak out" too many people in the audience.

As John's character develops, "he" is winning over new audiences.

My comfort level with other puppets, leads me to use them more than "John".
The same is true when I bring out my guitar rather than the harmonica's or ukuleles.

Aside....My wife is pushing me to use the guitar more, and John less.