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Magicray80
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Any ideas on how to set down the rules without being rude?

Should I make it more playful or be more firm about the rules?

Thanks
"And What Not!!!" paisa23 you know what i mean.
chuckg
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The best way I've found to set the rules for the kids is to do a "swear in" where the audience has to raise their right hand and swear not to talk while the performer talks or yell out "Oh I know how that is done" whereas no one likes a smarty pants. Whatever you want to set down as the ground rules, this way it can be done in a light-hearted manner while still putting forth the ground rules for your show. I have found this has worked for me time and time again. The best thing about it is that you can always refer back to it if someone in the group steps out of line.
Joseph_Then
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I read somewhere that you can create a nursery rhyme with the rules set inside.

It makes it easier for kids to remember, and you bring your point across in a very friendly manner.

I think someone in this forum will be able to give something, right?
-----



Joseph Then

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Cheshire Cat
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Have set rules by all means - but don't expect everyone to abide by them. There are rules in Britain over mobile phone use whilst driving. This morning I've seen a juggernaut flower truck from Holland with the driver chatting away, plus all the usual 'types' who think they are above the Law.

If people do not abide by the Law these days, how are they going to abide by rules set down by an entertainer at a kids' party? But it's the kids you are talking about! Yes, I know. But the kids are not the problem, are they?

Tony.
Emazdad
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At some shows like social clubs, holiday camps, etc., you are just part of the entertainment. The background noise from the grownups is something you learn to live with. Some will watch, others will not. At a birthday party you are the entertainment, and the whole event is for the kids. Any adults present should respect both the kids and the booker and not do anything that spoils the entertainment.

That would happen in the idea world, however, we don't live in a perfect world.

Before I start the show at a birthday party, I make a polite announcement to the adults. In a nutshell it consists of saying me say the show is going to start, they will enjoy it, but if they don't want to watch and would rather chat then can they please move to another room so they don't spoil the fun for everyone else.

I've had mum's stop talking listen to the announcement, look at me like I'm an alien then turn and carry on loudly with the conversation. This happened this weekend, and they were sat right next to granddad who was videoing the party. When they played it back all they would have heard was these women talking.
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.
Rupert Bair
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Is it just me or does it seem a little old fashioned doing the raise your hand and the rules? Maybe you could tell the kid the rules, and they have to shout them back louder each time. You could make silly rules like "I must always eat bananas on Tuesdays". They will learn your rules and have fun.

Matt
what
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I do a poem. The kids listen to the rules and get entertained at the same time.
Magic is fun!!!
Magicray80
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Great ideas keep them coming. Is there a book or notes on setting rules for the show?
"And What Not!!!" paisa23 you know what i mean.
paisa23
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I told you, buddy, give it time and everyone else will reply to you. Oh, get to it!
magic4u02
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The one thing you must make sure that you remember is that you are not being hired to lecture to the kids. You are also not responsible nor should you have to be a baby sitter or a disciplinarian. You are there to entertain and to solve the needs of the client to the best of your ability.

However, you do need to set down the ground rules for your show before you get too far into it. This allows the kids to know what is expected of them during the performance. But I feel you must do this in such a way that you are not seen or coming across as the scary adult figure.

If you frighten the kids by talking down to them or being confrontational with them at the start of the show, then you will never break down the wall between you and the audience and your performance will suffer from it.

What I usually do is say something like this:"My name is Kyle, and today I am here to mystify and amaze you in the world of magic and illusion. We are also going to have a LOT of fun. In order to have fun, we are going to need magical helpers to help us work the magic... that means you guys.

"But there are three simple rules we must follow if you want to be a helper.

"1) you must be seated down Indian style with legs crossed.
"2) you must have your hand raised so we know you want to help.
"3) the most important rule of all is that you must have a BIG smile on your face =).
"If you can follow these simple rules you might be the next person we select to help us work our magic.

"Well, let's try that out right now by asking for our first magical assistant."

The reason why I say SMILE is that when kids are smiling they cannot be talking or making noise. So in a sense I am getting them to be quiet without coming across as saying you need to shut up or you need to stop talking. This way of saying it comes across better for me and still keeps me in character and allows the kids to know what is expected of them but in a fun way.

It has worked for me quite well.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Emazdad
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<<<<<My name is Kyle, and today I am here to mystify and amaze you in the world of magic and illusion. >>>>>

Hi, Kyle, no offense meant, mate, but I nearly wet myself when I read that line. It's so corny.

We have a guy in the Plymouth circle who starts his acts with 'Welcome to my world of magic'. This causes endless titters in the room whenever he says it. It goes back to his audition when he even sang "There's no business like show business". My cheeks ached then from holding in the laughter.
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.
magic4u02
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But you know what? I am corny. LOL. I play a corny character and the kids love it. It works for me, and I know it may not work for others. I must also keep in mind that kids believe in magic. The magic is all around them and everything is magical. So for me, I like to lead them into the fun of the magical show by saying what I say. It just works for me. I guess we all have to use what works for us.

Kyle
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p.b.jones
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The one thing you must make sure that you remember is that you are not being hired to lecture to the kids. You are also not responsible nor should you have to be a baby sitter or a disciplinarian. You are there to entertain and to solve the needs of the client to the best of your ability.

HI,

Sorry but I disagree with you, Kyle. In most circumstances/events you are hired for exactly the reasons you state you are not hired. I feel that you/many others have some cloudy-eyed idea of why people really book you. I know you enjoy marketing and as such want to address your client's needs as best as possible. So I think you might want to look honestly at why people book you, me or any other kids entertainer. You may think that this should not be, but in most cases we are booked to simply keep the kids quiet for an hour!

Phillip
magic4u02
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PB: It is cool that we can agree to disagree. =) However, the above opinion has nothing to do with marketing at all. It is an opinion based upon how I personally feel why I will or will not take a gig. It is really as simple as that.

Now I agree with you in that parents WANT us to think this way, and they often do. They want us to baby sit so they do not have to. But as you can see in my post I said, "nor should you HAVE to baby sit." What I am trying to say is that I personally will not take a gig JUST to do that. If you want me to baby sit, then I will. Just do not make me have to bring out my entire show to do so. He he.

I have been doing kids' shows for over 18 years now, and I just personally can always tell, by the tone of the voice and through my questioning, what their real intentions are.

If I feel that the only reason why they want me there is to baby sit, then I kindly decline the show or I inform them, in a friendly manner, that that is not what I do. I am there to entertain and be an entertainer for their event.

I have just done too many baby sitting jobs in the past where I would show up, the parents would be out getting drunk and the kids really do not even want to see a show; they want to be with the parents. Now this was when I was first starting out and did not know any better. He he. Now I can tell the folks that are like this, and I can either decline the performance, or I can set up ground rules that at least two adults have to be at the show at all times.

I think Clive and others may also do it this way. I am not sure I hope that they can share their insight as well on this.

Certainly you are right that most parents do think the way you have stated. I just try my best to not get myself into those situations.

Hope this helps a bit. =)

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Emazdad
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I have the same rule, but this doesn't stop you being hired for the reason Phil said. Sometimes the adults do 10 minutes each in the room, or just stand by the door, so they don't miss any of the adult chat/booze.
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.
p.b.jones
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Hi,

Kyle, you said, "The reason you are booked" not "why you take the bookings". Regardless of what you or I would like to believe people mainly book us to "keep the kids quiet for an hour". Now we can shout till we are blue in the face that this is not what we are there for, but it is still one of the main reasons people book you/me.

Someone with an average show who keeps the kids quiet (I don't mean sitting not participating orally; I mean keeps them watching the show) will pretty much always do better/get more work in birthdays/seasonal parties/holiday camps than someone with a terrific show that some of the kids miss-behave in.

I agree there is a limit to the discipline we can apply without appearing the nasty performer, but you do have to be firm. Only last Saturday a lady said to me that she wanted me for her daughter's party, because she saw me several times before. However I had been booked for the date she required, so she booked xxxxx who was charging a little over half my fee (I know the guy has a good act; I have seen him several times).

Well she booked me on Saturday for her son's party, because in her words as best as I can remember, "His show was good, but he did not have the control over the kids that you have; it's amazing how you keep control of 40 kids for two-hours." Now you see this lady typical of most bookers was not booking me for my show, but for my ability to control the kids. Yes, the better your show the more chances you have of keeping the attention of the kids, but that is nowhere near the only requirement you need control of the kids.

I was asked once by a school inspector if I had ever thought of running workshops/lectures for teachers on controlling kids. Perhaps I should. Anyone out there do anything like this?

Phillip
Marty Faigin
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You know, I have a very good way for controlling children during my shows. Just take some glitter and sprinkle it around the area where you will be performing. Tell the children that unless they have permission, crossing that line will stop the flow of magic. It works every time. Smile

If the parents don't want glitter on their floor, you can use a rope. Smile
And with a wave of my wand, under the cloth we find that...uh Smile ...may I have another assistant please?
p.b.jones
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You know, I have a very good way for controlling children during my shows. Just take some glitter and sprinkle it around the area where you will be performing. Tell the children that unless they have permission, crossing that line will stop the flow of magic. It works every time .

Hi,

Yes, this is a well-established way of designating /controlling your performing area, but it is not a total solution to controling the kids. It does not, for example, stop kids from wandering off and not watching the show or hitting play fighting with each other.

Phillip
Magicray80
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Thanks, guys. And Again keep them coming. Every little bit of ideas is very helpful!

One more thing. Should I send along with my contract a set of "rules, guidelines, or helpful hints" for the parents to follow? And recap it before the show to the parents and do alittle poem for the kids?
"And What Not!!!" paisa23 you know what i mean.
TomBoleware
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I think it is important for the magician to lay out the rules right before the show starts. “Please sit in your spot,” “Don’t cross this line,” “Please no moving about,” or whatever your regular show rules are.

Children understand rules. They don’t always follow them without having to be reminded, but they do understand the meaning of having rules. It’s not uncommon for the parents/teachers to talk about rules. In fact it’s a daily thing to remind them what to do during the day.

By laying the rules out before the show, then during the show if a child breaks one of your rules it’s easy to say, “Remember our rules, no crossing this line.” Children do get caught up in what they are doing and often forget the rules and will have to be reminded, “Remember our rules”

I personally never did like having over three rules. Too many can be confusing.

“Now before we get started let’s go over the rules,” saying it in a serious firm voice.

1. Sit in your spot. Absolutely no moving around during the show.
(If they are sitting on the floor I say sit on your bottom. This makes it harder for them to jump up.)

2.When you see me do this (place finger over mouth giving shhh sign), I need everyone to get quite. That means something is about to happen, and I don’t want you to miss anything.

3.It’s OK to laugh and applaud, so Have Fun and Enjoy the show.

All I really want is for them to sit and not move around. I can handle the noise and never worry about the no talking rule unless it does get out of hand. Then I remind them of rule number two.

I always direct the rules to the parents too, but seldom have I really had problems from them. The parents seem to enjoy it as much as the kids.

The above has always worked great for me. Of course, I don’t do the games, etc, in a birthday show and use very few helpers.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

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