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Joseph_Then
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Today I did two party shows.

The earlier show was great. Parents and children were laughing and rolling on the floor. I felt good too. Smile


The second party was terrible. The children were just not listening to me. Well, that's OK. I have my own way to bring them under control, which I did it with well.

What ****ed me off is that a two-year-old kid come running on and off my stage area, and that the PARENT DID NOT CARE. I did the most drastic measure that I have ever done in my professional career.

I was performing my opening act and that idiotic kid came running on and off the stage and started to take away my balloons which I have prepared behind. I STOPPED and CUT SHORT MY opening act, picked up the kid and said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to cut short the show, because I mentioned beforehand that three years and below kids are to be seated with parents. Anyway, I'm going to perform my next trick and I call it, 'Sawing a kid in half'..."

That parent finally got off his butt to pick up the kid. "The next kid who runs up the stage without permission will get it..." I delivered it in a joking manner so the entire atmosphere was still maintained. I realized right after that, the younger kids were sitting with the parents and the rest of the kids were behaving themselves... Hmm...

What I don't really like is that the parents are ordering me to do things in their way which I find that it brings out the worse of my performance rather than enhancing it (too long a detail to mentioned here). So at the end of the party, I just packed up and walked off without even thanking and saying good bye to the parents. I know it seems rude but I'm just ****ed with the way the party was being run, totally no respect to the entertainer.

Just a sharing...
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
Rupert Bair
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In quite a few of my shows that happens usually while I'm setting up, so I can usually identify the 'trouble makers'.

I usually tell them, 'I'm setting up, and if you sit down you can watch the magic show in a little while.' Ninety percent of the time if they come up again, a parent sits them down. Maybe you could ask the person who is running party that, if any body comes up on stage, could they appoint somebody to help bring them of the stage.

Matt
harris
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It is sad and frustrating when this happens.

Fortunately this has not happened very often in nearly normal programs.

Of course you know if you are a worker, things happen.

How you handle them will influence potential consumers of your programs.

They are, of course, in your audiences and by word of mouth.

Be safe, well and creative.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Joseph_Then
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Matt, I've already done that. It's just the attitude of the parents and the setting of the place.

The host separated the parents and children. Parents are sitting in one corner and the children at the other corner.

They leave you to do it ALONE. They give you that 'I-pay-you-to-entertainer-my-kids-so-you-just-do-it' kind of face.
-----



Joseph Then

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Michael Baker
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I understand that you were having to deal with a two-year old, so it stands to reason that you can't really communicate with them on any serious level. Sadly, some adults/parents think that magicians are actually baby-sitters hired to give them (the adults) a few minutes of freedom.

I suppose there could be questions asked and answered during the booking process. Define the ground rules up front if there will be tiny ones in the audience. However, even when you know what you may be faced with, and all the precautions have been made, you can never eliminate, as someone once cleverly defined, "The Break-Away", those renegade toddlers that invade you stage and insist on doing whatever they want to.

I put none of the blame on the child. How can you when they are 2, and have probably never been in an environment like this? On the other hand, the parents need to be smacked for not immediately intervening. The children are THEIR responsibility. I AM a parent, so I feel qualified to make that statement. Ironically, the more upscale the event, and the more likely the kid wants for nothing in life, the more likely you'll find this kind of kid.

You must address the issue IMMEDIATELY! DON'T WAIT! The first thing I try to do is get the kid's attention. I usually begin this process with a real broad comedic expression on my face so the rest of the audience knows that I am deliberately going to be focusing attention on the toddler (double-takes, etc.). If I am able to get the kid's attention, I will talk to them and ask stupid rhetorical questions, "What are you doing? Are you hunting turkeys? Did you lose you map? Did you come to pet the tiger?"

The dumber the questions, the funnier the rest of the audience thinks it is. The important thing is to address the issue immediately before they can start grabbing stuff. I follow up by saying something like, "Someone needs to take you back to your seat before your face winds up on a milk carton!" This alludes to a kid headed for a questionable situation, and usually lets the responsible adults know that it's time to get off their tails and get the kid.

Assuming they do, great. I haven't lost the audience for a single moment and the problem has been defused. OK, now assume that I don't get the needed response from the adults/parents, or that I can't get the kid's attention on me and off my stuff. My next procedure is exactly the same. I look directly at the adults and say, "Someone needs to come get him/her so he/she doesn't get hurt on something back here. We don't want anything to fall on him/her. Do we?"

Even the slightest hint at perceived danger will make all but the most idiotic adults jump like they've just sat on a tack!

As the kid is being guided (or hauled) back to a safe zone, smile like the concerned caring magician that we want everyone to know we are, act like, "Whew... that was a close one. We saved that kid's life!", and get on with the show.

Concerning the kind of face you said they gave you, my basic rule is this: I will be as accommodating as I can to let the client know that I am going above and beyond the call of duty if it will add to the success of their event, and that they are getting more than their money's worth, but it is MY show and NO ONE is going to dictate how I run it. They hired an entertainer, not a prostitute. I don't let control freaks run my business. There are plenty of other good clients I can work for happily, and other entertainers I'd rather pass these bad clients to.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Ron Reid
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Hi Joseph:

I was just listening to my Ginn/Smith/Taylor kid show audio tapes yesterday, and they were talking about situations such as yours...and solutions to those problems. I don't know if you have that tape series, but perhaps going back and listening to it will give you some more "in-the-trenches" ideas on how to handle these attitudes and problems.

Ron
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Joseph, I respect the views expressed here by others - but let's get real. Parenting in general is at an all-time low, isn't it? I too have done two parties today. The first one there were toddlers running about, but the type of people at the function were highly educated and could see the situation, so they kept a close rein on them. I alway go out of my way to thank people for this.

But you know, you'll always get that 'slob' of a parent that thinks a hired room with an entertainer with electrical equipment and props is 'play safe' like some sort of day nursery. This is not always the case, but I quite often observe they are overweight, lethargic. They stand behind their child at teatime pushing kids party food into their own mouths until their cheeks bulge, but yet they never actually help the people who's party it is!

If it gets really bad then best to have a word with the booker and explain that toddler 'X' is becoming an increasing accident waiting to happen. I'd not pick anyone's child up myself, as some of these 'lo-life' parents are not behind the door when it comes to making accusations and allegations.

Yes, you are not alone in having packed away at the end of a party and just got in your car and gone. I think we all know the feeling when we've 'just about had enough'. Thankfully, as I've said before, over most aspects of children's entertaining, it gets easier as you get older - as you do not get uptight as quick. Keep Smiling.

Tony.
Emazdad
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Welcome to the finer side of entertaining kids,

I've had it before where, I've taken the toddler by the hand, led him out of my performing area over to his mum, sat him on her lap and said, "Please can you keep him on your lap for the duration of the show, as he's spoiling it for the other kids". She's looked at me like I'm an alien, and the kid has nearly beaten me back to my box.

I just stopped the show and looked at her until she got the hint. It took a couple of minutes and even the other mum's were staring at her. And finally she came and got him. After that every time she put his feet on the floor, I stopped and looked at her.

It doesn't matter what you say when you take the booking, what you put on your paperwork, even what you say at the start of the show some people will not listen.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Creative Coach
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Clive,

Can I just add a big AMEN to that post? This summer at a public library show, I had this same situation. Like Clive, I took the child to his mother for the "third time". She got huffy and walked out, and the other Mom's applauded! We are not the babysitter...for that I charge the REALLY BIG BUCKS!

Remember: "Some days you're the fly and some days you're the windshield!"

John
Emazdad
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This is another reason not to do two-year old parties. There may be older kids there, but there definitely be toddlers. After all the toddlers' friends are his age. If the toddlers are there, you stand a big, big chance of this sort of thing happening. Hence I don't do wtwo-year-old parties no matter how old they say the other kids are.
_________________________

I did the same with a lady a couple of months ago. After several requests for her to put her kid on her lap, she finally started stepping among the kids looking for a small bouncy ball she'd given her kid to play with. He was crying for it because he'd lost it. I'd already put it behind my box when it rolled under my feet.

As she walked in among the kids asking him loudly, "Where is it then? What have you done with it?" I snapped saying, "I've got the ball. I tell the kids not to play with the prizes during the party, now please put him on your lap and keep him there, so he can't spoil the party for the other kids any more". She grabbed her son and husband and stormed out. She phoned me afterwards to complain.

"How dare you embarrass me in front of everyone like that," she said. "I think an apologies in order"

"You are so right, Madam," I replied. "I suggest you phone Hillary (the booker) and apologize for your kid spoiling her son's party."

She went off like a firework. I had the phone 12" from my ear wetting myself as she went off on one.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Michael Baker
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Even if you book parties for kids beginning at an age you find appealing, that NEVER guarantees that younger siblings of the intended audience won't also be there. That's another sad fact of the market.

John Cooper mentioned library shows. I had one where the mother had basically used the library as a drop point for her totally wild kid... this one was probably 6. She kept invading my stage all through the show, and there were no parents to tend to her. The librarians were pretty vigilant, but every so often this kid would be right back in the middle of my stuff (the kind that tries to grab everything that dips below a certain height).

As typical, I finish my show by producing a baby gorilla doll from my hat, which animates behind a séance cloth and suddenly transforms into a full sized gorilla that screams at the kids (trust me, even though it's scary, they love it!).

Well, this kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seconds before the big gorilla popped his head out, she made a mad dash straight for me. I told her to stay back... with God and several librarians as my witnesses, I told her to stay back.

When that gorilla jumped up yelling and screaming, that girl shot to the back of the room and climbed the first librarian she could find.

After the show, the head librarian came to me and explained that they had been having trouble with this girl all summer. She also told me she was so glad I did what I did, because it fixed their problem, too.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
rossmacrae
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It happens, and there are no 100% solutions. Everyone here has given some great answers. It's one of the reasons we charge what we charge.

Sometimes you just have to say your lines, take the money and run.

Emazdad, my special sympathy! Sooner or later we all have a story like that to tell - guess how that kid is gonna turn out as an adult?

The good and the bad are out there. As Lincoln said, "You cannot dip clear water from a muddy stream."

Oh, yeah, I forgot:

(To the kid who needs to sit down): "You know what's in this duffel bag?" ["No..."] "The last kid who made me mad; you wanna join him?"

Never makes much of an impression on the misbehaver, but gets a laugh from the crowd.
Joseph_Then
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Thanks guys for the posts. I'm just frustrated over that mentioned party, and I want to blurt it out in this forum. In fact, this wasn't my contact: It was passed over to me by my friend. So in a sense I'm taking care of his s***.

No matter what happens, I believe it's always good to face such situations. It gives you the experience. Smile I'm a positive man!

Isn't it great to have kids entertainers around the world who understand how we feel? Smile


It is very true that some parents treated us like 'baby-sitters' and my approach has always to bring in the parents to the party. But this does not work all the time, especially when the parents separates the adults from the kids...
-----



Joseph Then

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Emazdad
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<<<<<But this does not work all the time, especially when the parents separates the adults from the kids... >>>>

You should always stipulate in your contract that a minimum of one other adult must be in the room at all times. If they ask why, just explain that you are there to entertain not babysit, and someone has to be there to deal with toilet requests and unruly kids. It's very rare that you need them to deal with the unruly kids, but on that one occasion the brats there, and he doesn't respond to your efforts to control him, he can be put under their control.

It's also for your protection. Accidents happen which are not your fault. A toddler may run round the room trip over the fireplace and hurt himself. This adult is your witness and designated supervisor, and also in these times of Pedopervert paranoia it will stop any chance of mis-understandings and false accusations.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Andy Wonder
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Quote:
On 2005-01-22 10:55, Joseph_Then wrote:
...that idiotic kid came running on and off the stage and start to take away my balloons which I have prepared behind.


Why not leave the balloons out of sight where they won’t attract toddlers?
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Emazdad
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Even better, run a bare live 240v cable around the top of your balloon bag. They'll only touch it once. Smile
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
rossmacrae
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Here's how the minds of most parents work: whatever they BELIEVE is reality for them, and they will ignore any evidence to the contrary.

Examples:

"If my child finds out that Santa is imaginary, his whole world will come crashing down and his childhood will be utterly ruined."

and

"My child is well-behaved, and those waitresses - the ones carrying huge trays of hot plates - the ones dodging my child as he plays tag with his sister throughout the restaurant - they're just grumpy and they probably hate children."

and

"My child and all his friends will be utterly fascinated by a magician, and they'll all sit quietly and give orderly and well-behaved attention as the magician does his little tricks."

and

"My child is going to be two years old ... I'll hire a clown! He'll watch the clown do tricks and be very quiet and attentive, and when the clown picks him up, he'll laugh and giggle! I don't know why that silly clown thinks my child and his friends might be too young and be afraid of this bizarrely-dressed idiot in makeup that looks like a bad nightmare ... children all love clowns! Besides, he likes the ones he sees on TV!"

Don't try to change their mind, it's made up ... and reality has nothing to do with it!
Creative Coach
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Clive, I love your sense of humor concerning your balloon bag!

Libraries are becoming more of a drop off babysitting service these days. Several of my library systems are imposing strict guidelines on parents having to be present at performances. I've also had several daycares bring bus loads of children to programs. A lot of these kids are allowed to be wild. I meet the bus and address the kids upfront before the show as to my expectations. By laying down "the law" beforehand I found they can be great audiences. I don't put up with rude behaviour! Kids today seem to be taught less manners.

I also tell the librarian that the room is shut 10 minutes after show time and there is no further admittance. Keeps late parents wandering all over your audience wreaking havoc. They learn to be on time at my shows!

Lay down correct guidelines. After all you are the professional.

John
Tom Stevens
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I just got a call to book a show for a christening.

These are my least favourite shows.

At my last christening the kids (7 and 8 years old) got into my van while I was bringing my equipment in and broke some little things.

During the show there were some kids that kept running behind my backdrop, so I said in a lively friendly voice that there would be a special surprise for all those who stay seated during the show!

I noted one 7-yr old boy who decided to disregard my advice, so when I was making balloons I reminded him that he had been running behind me during the show, and let the thought sink in. He started throwing a fit, and crying to his mother. The organizer now asked me if I could finish up so the dancing could start. The kid's mom came over and started sympathizing with her little brat saying to her boy in a pouting voice, "The Clown's lying, my little boy didn't do anything bad."
I struggled but succeeded in hiding my anger. I smiled and made his balloon last.

(Top this off with counting the money at home and being $20 short!)

I wouldn't do this, but I saw one entertainer grab a naughty 13-yr old kid's face and give him a big kiss on the lips. He stayed away.
Emazdad
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Tom, been there. Mum comes over after the party, 'He hasn't had a balloon'. 'I know and he's not getting one, he kept pushinG the kid next to him, and jumping up trying to grab things. I told him 1/2 a dozen times to behave or he would not get a balloon. I gave him one last chance, and he jumped up and he punched the kid so he's not getting one.' I stick to my guns and have had favourable comments by other mums for doing so.

'OKm John,' she said, 'if the nasty man won't give you a balloon, I'll get you some sweets on the way home.'

No wonder the little s*** was like he was.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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