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Topic: The Future of Children's entertainment.....
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 9, 2020 11:23PM)
About 10 years ago, The Little Darlings was buzzing with activity. There were so many great threads on here, which can still be found in the archives. Enter Facebook and other social media sites, and sadly there is not as much interest in this little corner of cyberspace. However, all that can change in the twinkling of an eye, and I have a feeling it will! So...here is my question. Do you think that children's entertainment has changed in the last 10 years, and if so, in what way? I have been performing kids shows non-stop for over 50 years, and I have some thoughts on this, but I would like to hear from you all first. JR
Message: Posted by: monkeycat (Jan 10, 2020 08:48AM)
It has indeed changed especially in Her Brittanic Majesty's Realm of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Alas not for the better I am afraid.
Message: Posted by: Russo (Jan 10, 2020 08:49AM)
Entertained all over So. Calif. 1950 - 1973, then New Jersey/Manhattan 1973 - 1983, - central Florida 1983 to 2000 (then simi-retirement). All pretty good experiences, though with ALL the Violence - Immorality 24/7 on TV and in Schools - Don't know whats the climate now. ??????????
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 10, 2020 02:54PM)
[quote]On Jan 10, 2020, monkeycat wrote:
It has indeed changed especially in Her Brittanic Majesty's Realm of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Alas not for the better I am afraid. [/quote]

In what way has it changed in the UK MonkeyCat? I used to live there, based in London, and there was never a shortage of birthday parties both mid-week and weekend. I now live in Arizona, where the dynamics are different in many ways, but I am constantly adapting to the new situations as they arrive. My general impression is that the children were better dressed in London, but not as well behaved as in America! JR
Message: Posted by: monkeycat (Jan 10, 2020 03:31PM)
Roger. I can only go by the videos I have seen. I am afraid that the standards seem to have gone down. I also used to live in the UK and there were some terrific kid show entertainers around at the time. I hardly ever saw a bad one. Now, I hardly ever see a good one. Of course the situation may be different if I saw them work live but on video I shudder at the low standards exhibited. Terribly working class toilet humour seems to abound that would not be welcome in the best country homes. I suspect it has something to do with the demise of Supreme Magic.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 10, 2020 04:48PM)
I think you've touched on something I discuss with many here all the time. Both the Café Little Darlings have changed, as well as the industry.

Unfortunately, all anyone wants to talk about here in this forum these days are tricks. Nearly every post is about tricks or something to do with tricks. There is soooo much more to being a kids or family performer than tricks, many which used to be discussed here but are all but gone.

There is a stereotype about kids performers and I firmly believe stereotypes come from a place of reality, which seems evident here.

Magic has changed. It is not as it once was. These days many people have never seen magic live or a magician perform. There are not magic specials on T.V. like there used to be, schools have cut magic entertainment shows (expect year-end events) drastically over the last decade, and the days of kids or teens wanting to grow up to be magician are long gone.

For over 30 years I have spoken at schools and career days about job and career opportunities in love entertainment. I take the top 40 jobs, careers or business opportunities in live entertainment. At literally every school I went to I would always win the award for the most popular well-attended presentation (for many of these career days there may be 25-40 different job/career specialists there each to conduct a class/presentation - student must each sign up for three of them) and these created the most interest. Today, few even think about or are aware of live entertainment as a job, career or business possibilities.

I think the trend ended with Djs being the last type pf performer that people were interested in.

So across the board, interest in being a magician or kids magician has waned. The results are being seen here, in social media and elsewhere online. If people today have any interest it is in simply learning tricks, secrets and how to do things rather than any real interest.

I will tell you what I have seen an increase in is older adults 45, 50 and older who have a casual interest as a kid, teen or young adult who are suddenly now revisiting magic again as an adult. Some with an interest in kids performing others in just trying to pick up where they left off.

I'm curious as to how the dynamics are different in AZ than form when you were in London. What are the main differences and what adjustments did you have to make to succeed and remain relevant?
Message: Posted by: monkeycat (Jan 10, 2020 05:05PM)
I shall let Roger speak for himself but I suspect the main difference is that in North America they don't do the full party concept whereas in the UK it is the norm. I was once told by an Arizona magician that Roger cleaned up in his area because he brought that particular concept to Arizona.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 10, 2020 05:27PM)
Yeah, I was aware of that beofre and would welcoem mor einsights int it as well, but was wondering more about any other dymanics he may be referring to.
Message: Posted by: monkeycat (Jan 10, 2020 06:41PM)
The main difference that I have personally noticed is that the British school of kid show work is based on traditional pantomime. Not spelled with an n but with an m. Here is an explanation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime

Since this form of entertainment is not known in North America they tend to do a magic show and emphasise the tricks rather than the traditional participation. They will try to make the kids laugh--yes-----but it in a different way. In the UK if you say, "Oh, no I didn't" the kids will automatically respond in unison without being prompted, "Oh, yes you did!" Over here they would have to be prompted to do it that way. Silliness is the emphasis in the UK whereas the "wonder" of magic is emphasised to the kids over here.

Now this is of course a generalisation and it is indeed true that some Americans will do what I call the "British style" and some Brits will do what I call the "American style"

Both work well. However, in the UK the silliness and audience participation in unison is emphasised more. Anyway that Wikipedia page I posted will explain it better than I can.
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 11, 2020 08:12AM)
This is turning in to a most interesting discussion, with the two M's on board, Mindpro and Monkeycat!! I will have more to say on this in due course, but I have a busy weekend of shows as always. Besides what has already been mentioned about the whole party with games and magic, versus the one hour or 45 minute show, one of the big differences I have found in the nearly 30 years of performing stateside, is that the American children are far better behaved, but have to be educated in the way to react to certain things, because of their lack or knowledge of pantomime. The scene has also changed a lot over here with the advances, not always healthy, of social media. I miss the Yellow Pages! More to come.....JR
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 11, 2020 08:15AM)
For those not familiar with me, I thought you might like to see my website, with recent video clips of my show, filmed at a library last summer. www.comicmagician.com JR
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Jan 11, 2020 02:50PM)
[quote]On Jan 11, 2020, Jolly Roger wrote:
This is turning in to a most interesting discussion, [/quote]

It always does with Mindpro! My advice is to not provoke monkeycat.:)

Just to throw in an alternative opinion, I honestly think very little has changed since I performed my first children’s magic show in 1974. There were times when I would have a few bad shows, kids misbehaving, not interested, etc. Then I would go through a period in which the kids hung on my every word. You could hear a pin drop if I stopped talking!

Of course, from a marketing standpoint things have changed. Roger mentioned the Yellow Pages. But still, the best way to market yourself has always been to do an outstanding show and be ready to hand out your business card. 80% of my business comes from referrals today as it has for many, many years.
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 11, 2020 11:28PM)
[quote]On Jan 11, 2020, Ken Northridge wrote:
[quote]On Jan 11, 2020, Jolly Roger wrote:
This is turning in to a most interesting discussion, [/quote]

It always does with Mindpro! My advice is to not provoke monkeycat.:)

Just to throw in an alternative opinion, I honestly think very little has changed since I performed my first children’s magic show in 1974. There were times when I would have a few bad shows, kids misbehaving, not interested, etc. Then I would go through a period in which the kids hung on my every word. You could hear a pin drop if I stopped talking!

Of course, from a marketing standpoint things have changed. Roger mentioned the Yellow Pages. But still, the best way to market yourself has always been to do an outstanding show and be ready to hand out your business card. 80% of my business comes from referrals today as it has for many, many years. [/quote]

Absolutely Ken....referrals is the way to go, and that is how I get virtually all my shows these days.....plus repeat clients. I note you have not been in the business long, Ken, with your first magic show as recently as 1974. My first was around 1960!!
:dancing:
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Jan 12, 2020 12:18PM)
The audiences don't seem to have changed since I started in 94', except for teens who are glued to phones, but I don't do shows just for teens anyway. I guess I have a British style of performing, but that wasn't intentional, I just do what works. I haven't seen other kids show forums that get much action, except for Roger's FB group, which I left cause they were discussing religion or politics or whatever too much, which is fine, but not my cuppa tea. Are there forums like this one here on the Café that gets used more?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 12, 2020 01:16PM)
It would be so nice if more here discussed operations and what it takes to be a kids or family performer rather than just viewing everything in terms of tricks. Many of the pros have left here and along with them this type of thinking. Now its just newbie and amateurs and a few of us leftover (Donald, Dan, Howie, Curt, Ken, and now JR) that remember how it used to be.

I've always had trouble understanding why this is accepted here. Do you feel you have nothing left to learn? Nothing to share? I know its hard to want to share when the information offered isn't appreciated or valued properly or in the right perspective.

I do see a trend of more and more people leaving FB and some coming back here to the Café, not specifically here, but in other forums as well. I hope this can be a favorable trend that can get things back to what it once was, and that the newer guys and the wannabes that think they're better/more experienced than they are don't run off the pros again as they did in the past.
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 12, 2020 03:31PM)
[quote]On Jan 12, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
It would be so nice if more here discussed operations and what it takes to be a kids or family performer rather than just viewing everything in terms of tricks. Many of the pros have left here and along with them this type of thinking. Now its just newbie and amateurs and a few of us leftover (Donald, Dan, Howie, Curt, Ken, and now JR) that remember how it used to be.

I've always had trouble understanding why this is accepted here. Do you feel you have nothing left to learn? Nothing to share? I know its hard to want to share when the information offered isn't appreciated or valued properly or in the right perspective.

I do see a trend of more and more people leaving FB and some coming back here to the Café, not specifically here, but in other forums as well. I hope this can be a favorable trend that can get things back to what it once was, and that the newer guys and the wannabes that think they're better/more experienced than they are don't run off the pros again as they did in the past. [/quote]

Good post Mindpro....and I agree 100%. The tricks that are performed at a children's show are the least important factor when it comes to entertaining children.
:bigsmile:
Message: Posted by: noland (Jan 14, 2020 03:09PM)
I began performing magic for children starting 18 years ago. One change I've noticed over the years, is the spread to the U.S. of what has been referred to as the British, "silly" style of performing. You see this very clearly in the works of Silly Billy, Christopher T. Magician and Tommy James to name a few nationally known figures. I put my performing style in that category too. One of the reasons for the change, I think, is simply the proliferation of instructional videos show-casing this type of performance, starting with Terry Herbert's, with many others to follow both from the above performers and a host of British performers.
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 19, 2020 11:06PM)
[quote]On Jan 14, 2020, noland wrote:
I began performing magic for children starting 18 years ago. One change I've noticed over the years, is the spread to the U.S. of what has been referred to as the British, "silly" style of performing. You see this very clearly in the works of Silly Billy, Christopher T. Magician and Tommy James to name a few nationally known figures. I put my performing style in that category too. One of the reasons for the change, I think, is simply the proliferation of instructional videos show-casing this type of performance, starting with Terry Herbert's, with many others to follow both from the above performers and a host of British performers. [/quote]

Hi Noland.....good to see you posting on here. You make an interesting observation, and you may be correct. Personally, I don't believe I have seen an instructional magic video in my life, and I really have no interest in doing so quite frankly. However, being brought up in the British traditions of Pantomime, the silliness you describe comes naturally to me, and seems to be a big hit when I introduce it on this side of the Atlantic.
:dancing:
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 19, 2020 11:12PM)
[quote]On Jan 12, 2020, danfreed wrote:
The audiences don't seem to have changed since I started in 94', except for teens who are glued to phones, but I don't do shows just for teens anyway. I guess I have a British style of performing, but that wasn't intentional, I just do what works. I haven't seen other kids show forums that get much action, except for Roger's FB group, which I left cause they were discussing religion or politics or whatever too much, which is fine, but not my cuppa tea. Are there forums like this one here on the Café that gets used more? [/quote]

Indeed, Dan, my Facebook groups seem to be extremely popular for all sorts of reasons. However, I totally understand you wishing to leave for the reasons you state. These days, my poetry group is exploding with talent, and numerous posts daily. However, we do not allow political posts.
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (Jan 20, 2020 06:11AM)
So Roger, what are your thoughts on the future of Children's Entertainment?

Gerry
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Jan 21, 2020 08:08AM)
I have no idea what the future of kids entertainment is, but maybe more people doing a combo of things such as magic, games and disco, or whatever. Axtell has an interactive video background thing that is pretty cool, I saw an elaborate human/puppet show done that way at KAX a few years ago. I don't think that's something that birthday entertainers will use much, but good for bigger higher budget shows. As long as we do a very entertaining show, there should be room for all of us to do our thing.
Are there other kids entertainer forums on FB or whatever that discuss our craft (and get used a lot) without getting into politics and religion, etc? Maybe I should start one?
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 22, 2020 11:29PM)
[quote]On Jan 20, 2020, Gerry Walkowski wrote:
So Roger, what are your thoughts on the future of Children's Entertainment?

Gerry [/quote]

Please forgive me for not having responded yet, but I have not forgotten. I still have much to say on this, but I am non-stop with my busy life right now, so it may have to wait a few days. Thanks for your understanding!!
:nose:
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (Jan 23, 2020 02:53AM)
Thanks Roger

If we take magic completely out of the picture, generally speaking most people are totally wrong when making predictions about the future of anything.

Still, I think it's a fun topic.

Gerry
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Jan 23, 2020 09:30AM)
That's true Gerry, though I predict I win the Super Lotto next week, that is definitely going to happen. My best guess is just that more magicians will mix in other stuff to their offerings, such as ventriloquism, games, disco, balloon twisting, etc. I know a guy that does origami in addition to magic on request. Plus with the easy access to so many instructional videos and books and online forums, maybe the average magician will be a little better in some ways. When I started in 94' I either didn't know about videos for kidshow magicians, maybe there wasn't much at that point, and those VHS tapes seemed like a fortune to me at the time. I never had to patience for magic books very much.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 23, 2020 09:41AM)
I find this discussion quite interesting. It always amazes me how magicians think. As Dan eluded to and others have essentially said similar things, is magic not enough these days?

I understand that multiple offerings can have a greater appeal (agencies have been doing this for decades with in-house acts) if presented properly, but what about just a magic performance? No balloons, no face painting, do disco (I can't believe we are calling it that here), no games, what about just magic? Is it not enough value on its own? Is it not appealing enough on its own?

As you guys are getting older (sorry) isn't the idea to work smarter, not harder? Especially for the same dollar and a smaller prospect pool?

I too have been waiting to hear Roger's take on this.
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Jan 23, 2020 12:03PM)
I do a variety of things, sometimes just 1 thing, it depends on what the client wants, how much time they have, how many kids, etc. For me, in general, I make more money per year than if I just offered 1 thing. Also, adding balloons, caricatures or strolling magic is easy, very little extra stuff to bring, very little extra prep. So instead of doing 3 or 4 shows a day, driving all over the place, and resetting my show, I do 2 or 3 gigs a day, so it's less work, and tends to be the same or less total time in my day when including driving. Plus I like the variety, keeps it interesting. I actually used add on face painting and game leading, but cut those out cause I don't like doing it. Working smarter is good, but there are a bunch of factors to consider. One of the reasons people hire me is cause they can get more stuff, more things to keep kids busy, if they want.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 23, 2020 12:05PM)
So do they see you as a magician or something else/more?
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Jan 23, 2020 12:21PM)
Depends what I'm doing and what the clients tell their guests in advance. If I'm hired just for caricatures, then I'm a caricaturist. If I do a show plus balloons, then I'm a magician who also does balloons, etc. Half my show for the past 10 years or so is ventriloquism! If I do a show strictly for kids 9 or 10 then I usually skip the puppets. But the clients tend to call me a magician (rather than a magician AND ventriloquist) anyway cause it's easier to explain I guess. It's not really a problem for me. I have a separate website for caricatures for SEO reasons and cause people will take me more seriously as a caricaturist that way, I do caricatures for a lot of adult events. I'm cutting back on balloons because it causes ongoing hand pain, so I'm pushing caricatures more, which I prefer doing anyway.
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Jan 23, 2020 11:09PM)
Still here......patience ladies and gentlemen! Great input so far on this thread. JR :carrot:
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Jan 24, 2020 08:30AM)
I had a gig today that I got booked for just 2 days ago. A quite large internet gaming company was having a kids in the office day with ages ranging from 2 to 12. They only expected me to entertain the 4 and up kids, and had a 2 hour time slot. It was in the middle of the city, so I pitched that I could do my magic show with a mix of younger kids and older kids tricks, balloon twisting, and maybe some games if there is time left at the end.
They were more than happy to have me do everything and paid me quite well for it.
I often get booked for 2 hour stints of magic at a very large companies special events nights through out the years, so I've been able to put together a very solid 90 minutes of effects I can do, and mix the other 30 minutes with interactive music based games and or balloon twisting.
I size up each audience when I get to any event or party and select the ones I feel will best fit that audience. I could have said that I'm strictly a magician and don't do anything else, and I would have probably lost the gig. The girl from the office that called me didn't really want to be ringing all over the place trying to find a bunch of different people to do all the things that they wanted to for the kids. I've been doing 2 hour parties (British style) for over 15 years now and I find it pretty easy to do. At the end I got the very elderly mother of the owner of the company to be the dance judge of the game I played, and she loved it, and the boss loved it and hopefully I'll get re-booked for their future events.
On the question of the future of kids entertaining I see a few things coming up in recent times. One is some kids are more interested in phones/tablets etc, and some of the older kids in the crowd seem to spend quite a bit of time on youtube, and are more than keen to try and tell those around them what they "think" is going on. It sometimes is an issue that I've addressed with them during the show. In saying all of that I've been inspired to work even harder to be a better "entertainer" with magic and to work hard at the craft. My main market is the 4 to 8 year olds, but in recent times I've put a different show that plays well to the 9 and ups and even adults with a change of patter.
Another local magician here who has been at it for a long time recently invested a lot of time and money in a touring dinosaur show that he's been travelling around the country with for a couple of years now and is quite successful with it.
Message: Posted by: axtell (Jan 28, 2020 05:10PM)
Good stuff. As you know I am an inventor and our company is deeply involved in research and development. Others do a great job of holding to the traditions. Here are some of our recent experiments and contributions that are pushing us forward to developing new props and concepts for you entertainers:

As Dan mentioned our LIVE VIRTUAL SETS (projected backgrounds for performers) http://www.axtell.com/lvs.html

Our animatronics are continuing to develop and improve, and expand around the globe http://www.axtell.com/remote.html

We have recently developed a form of AI (Axtell Intelligence)to allow the animatronics to be able to autonomously communicate with your audience. great for before / after a show. Or installations are great.
http://www.axtell.ai

Recently we are designing & sculpting some puppets for big projects digitally. Then we are 3D printing components for mechs, skulls & skins. Here's a video of a new character we call QUIMBY that is a fantasy character...
[youtube]https://youtu.be/60inY5a4faI[/youtube] if the display doesn't work its here... https://youtu.be/60inY5a4faI
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 28, 2020 11:39PM)
Well all that is fine and I know you are known for quality products and a great reputation, but the future and success of any kind of performing or performance art should be about much more than the tricks, effects, props, and accessories.

That is actually the problem with much kids magic, is many aren't entertainers, they aren't performers, they are simply just executors of a string of magic tricks performed as learned right out of the package, yet they believe they are magicians or entertainers.
Message: Posted by: Goldfield (Jan 29, 2020 10:36PM)
I agree that there are many who just perform "right out of the package". There are also many artists creating.

I'm curious to know how long you've been performing magic for kids Mindpro?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 30, 2020 09:01AM)
No, I am not a magician, I am an entertainer and have done between 160 and 250 school shows per year for over 40 years. However, more importantly, I own two entertainment agencies and am a national talent broker and have booked over 6,500 kids shows and performers and know kids performers and magicians quite well. Also as an entertainment and entertainment business coach, trainer, and consultant I educate, train, and mentor many kids performers and magicians and have for over 30 years now.

Why do you ask?
Message: Posted by: Goldfield (Jan 30, 2020 07:33PM)
That’s quite a resume and one worthy of respect.
I think what can be an obstacle to connecting a message over the internet with people is tone. You are clearly passionate about preserving the art form(s) on here and are disappointed by the trivialisation (by some). I truly believe that we will all have more success at communicating with one another if we employ compassion and kindness in the way we structure our sentences. It makes for healthier performers and, in the grander scheme, a better world.

Goldfield
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 9, 2020 07:53AM)
[quote]On Jan 23, 2020, Jolly Roger wrote:
Still here......patience ladies and gentlemen! Great input so far on this thread. JR :carrot: [/quote]

Since we are all still more than patiently waiting for Jolly Roger's thoughts on this topic he himself presented, it would be interesting to hear thoughts now, in light of recent developments. Certainly, you have some time now to reply JR?

I hope everyone is staying safe.
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Apr 9, 2020 10:14AM)
It's not the first time JR has come along and started something and never returned to add more to the conversation.
I did read on another social media platform that he'll more than likely use this time to finish writing his poetry book, and publishing it. You'll hear back from him then I'm sure.
I'm not trying to come across as having a crack at JR, but just being honest and saying how it is.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 9, 2020 10:25AM)
Thanks, for the thoughts. I don't know much about JR and his posting habits, but just thought it was such a shame that there is finally some decent discussion about something other than tricks, only to see it cease because some were waiting for him to return and continue the topic. I'm sure he'll return at some point.
Message: Posted by: RNK (Apr 10, 2020 01:51PM)
Here in America, I still do kids events, I have annual shows for "end of the year" parties for daycares and schools, block parties, light-up nights for boro's and townships. I use the word "events" because for some reason in the past 4 years the birthday parties have been very few to none. Not sure why that is? Though, I always get called back for the annual events for kids. Very strange. I will say my bookings for weddings, graduation parties, local small-mid size food establishments that have weekly entertainment (bands, comedians, and now a magician), and lastly corporate gigs have increases a good bit. Much more so than the kid's birthday parties. I am not complaining as my honest opinion, for me, is performing a successful entertaining super fun show with lots of laughs for kids is more mentally draining and tougher than performing for adults. Maybe that's because my show is a very high energy show. My kid/family shows are all structured to keep the kids heavily involved using dancing, re-peat gags, and using a lot of volunteers. Put it this way, my legs are usually soar the next day after a show, lol! A good bit during my show I am moving and grooving with the kids. But boy is it tiring, lol, and I am only 47 years old!

So in relation to this thread, I am finding kids birthday parties less prevalent as time goes on. Of coarse, it would probably help if I got my website up and running along with FB and other social media. But honestly, I stay busy enough right now without it. Performing is my second job so doing on average 2 shows a month is fine for me right now. I did just buy the book called "The Rocket" by Sidney Friedman and am finding it to be very helpful. First thing if I do want to get more bookings is get the website and social media stuff running, obviously.

Hope you all are healthy!

Bob
Message: Posted by: Russo (Apr 11, 2020 02:28PM)
With the isolation - I feel sorry for less, if any Parties, also sorry- for the Parents - BUT, with Patience + Positive = Peace.
Message: Posted by: MagicDUK (Apr 14, 2020 05:09PM)
Hey all,

I've been doing family shows and kids parties for the last 6 years and I've seen so many changes already I think the next few years what we will offer will change again no doubt. There's a couple of things that I think are driving this.

There seems to be a race to the bottom price-wise with a lot of entertainers. And there seems to be a lot of driving forces behind this as well. There's the obvious wage stagnations, increased cost of living, etc, but there's a couple of other things I've noticed.

In the last couple of years, I've seen a huge increase in "entertainers" who have bought a few packet tricks and thrown it in between a few party dances. Quite often these entertainers are quite young, very new to the industry and are "cut and paste" the same with no real creativity, but they seem to get the gigs because they undercut everyone else in the area. It makes you look hard at what they are doing because I know full well for the prices they charge they can't be paying tax, insurance, etc, and making a living.

Along with this, there is, of course, the princesses/character appearance trend that has really blown up over the last few years. People want the characters that they know and love which is really putting pressure on the traditional entertainers, myself included.

And combining this with services such as Bark, addtoevent, etc it will probably just drive the prices down more. Which of course puts a strain on skilled performers which are becoming few and far between. I think I know 2 or 3 skilled children's magicians/entertainers in my area, and considering I know over 50 companies in my county that provide entertainers - it's very telling.

So what does this mean for the future? My thoughts:

- The referral websites will end up dying - they already are getting less popular with entertainers so I have a sneaking suspicion within the next 3 or 4 years they will become less prominent and no longer a worry. There are already websites like headliners that have gone out of business. You may only get your generic ones still existing as they cover more than one industry.

- The princess companies will oversaturate themselves. They seem to be doing so already, there are far too many out there for the demand which is driving their prices to the point where they will become unsustainable. Some of the good ones have already started developing their own intellectual property. Speaking of which, again I have a sneaky feeling that some of the big IP owners will start cracking down more forcefully on some of these entertainers as some of the standards are quite low anyway for some of these companies. You can see the start of this now anyway as there have been stories about companies being forced to send knockoff costumes to the owners to have them shredded.

- As for magic specifically, I think one of the biggest changes that I've seen and we will continue to see is that our shows have to get more "professional" to stand out. It's not possible to rock up to a gig with a small table, black cloth and a few tricks anymore, people are expecting backdrops, branding, and a whole more professional look. It's something that I've been experimenting with myself recently, looking into putting a projection screen behind me as an interactive backdrop - it's a huge logistical challenge, but I think people are coming to expect more and more from us as entertainers, not just in the tricks we do, but with the whole set/show.

-Tricks wise, I think some of the older tricks will still be doable, and people will expect some of the classics, but we will have to adapt them to make them more marketable to a newer audience. I do a version of vanishing bandana in some shows for example, but I've updated it to work with Alexa - which gives me an "interactive element" which kids and adults love. I think as well puppets and characters have got very popular recently and that will continue to grow. Which leads into...

-marketing. Facebook (or its successors) will be more and more prevalent, with your own websites dropping in popularity, and there will be a lot of people producing their own content online to promote their shows. You can see this during the lockdown at the moment. It's even something I'm currently doing, a 20 min live magic show for free every Wednesday and on Fridays, I'm doing a bedtime story with one of my characters. He's an Axtell cheetah which is more popular than me who just sits on my lap and insults me. On a side note I think more independent puppets are definite for most entertainers. Parents are starting to get familiar with traditional puppets and are interested in the animatronic puppets more (probably due to novelty at the moment but as they become more mainstream I think they'd become the standard) I'd love to get my Cheetah animatronic, but at the moment the cost is a bit too much for me right now.

But anyway, these are my thoughts. They could happen, could not, but it would be interesting to see what happens!
Message: Posted by: MagicDUK (Apr 14, 2020 05:10PM)
[quote]On Jan 21, 2020, danfreed wrote:
I have no idea what the future of kids entertainment is, but maybe more people doing a combo of things such as magic, games and disco, or whatever. Axtell has an interactive video background thing that is pretty cool, I saw an elaborate human/puppet show done that way at KAX a few years ago. I don't think that's something that birthday entertainers will use much, but good for bigger higher budget shows. As long as we do a very entertaining show, there should be room for all of us to do our thing.
Are there other kids entertainer forums on FB or whatever that discuss our craft (and get used a lot) without getting into politics and religion, etc? Maybe I should start one? [/quote]

There's a good one of these which is called Trix in the Stix - it's a group for a UK conference, but they generally talk shop on all kids ent stuff