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Decomposed
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Good idea on a bill switch etc for adults. When I open, I produce goldfish which they talked through also:) It was almost like a family reunion atmosphere.

I use lots of helpers but the comment about shushing the adults so little Jennie can be heard is classic, thanks!
Lee Darrow
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Two words: Air Horn.

Blaaap one of those off and the adults will stop talking and hit the dirt. Otherwise, such shows are tailor-made for a grenade launcher - confetti grenades, that is!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
RJE
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Hahaha!!! I LOVE the air horn idea. Just keep blasting it on and off for no particular reason until you drive the adults NUTS!!!! The kids'll laugh because it makes no sense, so they'll think it's part of the show. Maybe rig it so that it goes off from inside your table and you can't figure it out??? Hahaha, there is justice.

Thank you Mr. Darrow!

Now, where do I git me one of them there thangs???
holmes
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Rob. I would suggest you go to the Browsers Den of Magic which seems to be in your geographical area. They sell the most obnoxious horn which makes the most horrible noise that you can imagine.

I use the horn all the time in another situation. It quietens all sorts of noisy people. I have never thught of using it in a kid show and I thank Mr Darrow for his suggestion.

Use care though. It does offend people if you are not careful especially if you honk it right in their face and say "quiet". Works great for hecklers. Be careful they don't grab the horn right back and honk it at you in return.

I think in a kid show I would honk it at the chattering parents and say "pay attention at the back. We ask questions later" If you do it with a smile you should get away with it.
Rudolph McGuinness
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I think this has been gone over in depth in another place that wasn't coloured green.

Someone once suggested a blank firing pistol (no, no, no, no!) - you'd get arrested these days. The horn idea is a good one. I'm not too happy about the gas or battery powered versions, they are too loud and intrusive and would scare little children too much. But the old fashioned 'honker' works just a treat! Believe me, - I use one!

Also (don't know whether you USA guys know what this is), but the old fashioned 'football supporters rattler' works just great too.

Only last week I was finishing off a magic show and some guy started taking balloons down off the wall and throwing them at the kids! I zipped through the trick at a zillion miles an hour, then all the kids (and offending adults) were treated to a track from a band called "Busted". The kids loved it . . . but the parents paid dearly!!

Rudy.
The Bonnie Kids
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My idea, used just few of times but it worked fine. Environment is Italy, so maybe it won't work in another background.
Ask the kids if they can hear you (by speaking with a normal volume). They will say no. Ask them "do you know why?". They will turn their heads towards the parents telling you that they know why.
Ask them to count up to three and than all together (not you) shout "hey! shut-up all of you, we want to listen to the magician!"
It works..
/Andrea
Rudolph McGuinness
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I think the main thing is not to antagonise the parents. Showing outward hostility gets 'talked about' in the school playground by parents on Monday mornings. This is the place where 'make or break' talk happens you know!

They are not interested how well you performed that trick, or whether they could see your lips moving if you're a vent; or whether little Johnny sussed out there's a switch behind that prop. the magician had! They are interested in how nice you are as a person, how reliable you are as a person, how clean and trustworthy you are as a person. It's all presentation and packaging!

Rudy.
The Bonnie Kids
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Another solution I have used:
get the attention of parents.
Just suddently do a trick where the boy/girl (your assistant) needs an adult as assistant (Ali Bongo's hat is a good idea). This will draw the parents interest on you. That's also works.
/Andrea
magic4u02
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I think we may agree though that we should try to use means within our show that gain the adults attention to you and your performance in a positive way while still remaining true to your character. I know this may not always work, but a lot of people have shown ways in which they can handle this situation with out becoming confrontational or too direct. I think it is professional as an entertainer to try and be as professional in the way we go about this as we can.

Kyle
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Eric Leclerc
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I cant believe how many posts I am reading about getting the kids to yell 'shhh" or even "SHUT UP" to grown ups. This is wrong on so many levels. First of all its not the kids hiring you, its their daddy's and mommy's. Second, you may as well yell at them to shut up cause you wont fool anyone by having the kids do it, its YOUR show, these kids are shhhhhh'ushing them at the same time, OBVIOUSLY you are making them do it. I think its very bad to get young children to tell their parents to shhhhh, instead, have something in your show to get the adults attention, after that trick they are all yours.
Decomposed
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But if they do it in a playful way Eric and a wink or nod from the Magi, it may work. I wouldn't try it more than once but its worth a try don't you think?
holmes
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ACtually half the time (or even more than half) the parents don't even notice. They are too busy chattering.
When they do notice they tend to smile if you don't do it in an agressive manner.

I hate to tell Candini but he is going to have to do it more than once. The shushing technique will only work for about 10 minutes or so then up they will start again. If I have to repeat the technique (and I always do) I shorten it to "when I say three will you all say shhh......." I don't look at the parents when I do this.

Granted you will only shut the parents up temporarily but even a brief resite will be a blessing. Don't forget the advice I gave earlier about putting a request in your flyer asking the parents to quiten down. This will always take care of the birthday party whereas with bigger shows it may or it may not. Jon Tremaine words it "Parents are quite welcome to watch the show if they behave themselves!" I word it in a less humourous way but polite nevertheless. I say that if the parents wish to talk during the show I would be grateful if they would do it in another room.

It is funny how Eric seems to see things differently from me. I tended to cringe at his earlier suggestion which I will have to go back and refer to. It just shows that we all have different ways of looking at things.
RJE
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Eric,

With all due respect, there are situations where you will not get the adults' attention or be able to hold it. Any performer who tells you that they can is either not being truthful or hasn't worked very much.

When you are doing a birthday party or small show, that is one situation where direct action might have a chance to be successful and extreme tact and professionalism is required.

If you are doing a larger show, in a banquet hall, company Caféteria, car dealership showroom etc... then the problem multiplies and becomes very difficult.

First of all, the adults congregated at the back, are now talking in multiple groups. There could be 10 or more groups of 2 to 6 all trying to out talk the noise in the room. You have been hired to fill 1/2 hour of entertainment for children during their 4 hour party.

Your show is not the focus of their party. Your show is decoration, like crepe paper decorations taped to the wall.

Many of the adults could care less that you are there and they are going to do "their own thing." At times like this, getting their attention and holding their attention is not always possible. It just doesn't matter how good your show is or how entertaining you are, THEY AREN'T THERE TO SEE YOUR SHOW. These people did not hire you and these people are not going to hire you. These people aren't cognizant of the show.

You don't have to be rude to them, they aren't being rude to you. They probably aren't aware that you are even working. You are background noise. In these situations, you entertain those that are trying to watch, the kids and those adults nearer the front. For that, you'd better have a good sound system.

You have to detach your ego but NEVER your professionalism. Do the show for those that want to see it. When I mentioned that I liked the idea of blasting an air horn, I was serious. As a professional entertainer, I can see the entertainment value in this. Those that are paying attention know what is about to occur, they don't have to know why. You warn those paying attention to cover their ears and then blast. You are now playing the role of mischievious magician in a fun way, not rude "Hey There Shut Up Guy (or Gal)."

A number of experienced performers have chimed in here to give their best advice on how to deal with the situation because this situation is going to occur. People here are trying to give various approaches on how to deal with it. Some of their advice you may choose to follow and some you will not. But, IMO it is naive to believe that you are going to win an unruly audience with a trick and "after that trick they are all yours." That trick doesn't exist. If it did, every magician in the world would know it or be doing it.

Rob
holmes
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It is also naive to think that by shouting at the parents "do you want to see an adult trick?" is going to work. Especially if you then say you are "not going to swear or take off your clothes"

Cringe, cringe.........

I think this sounds horrific. Perhaps it isn't. I haven't seen Eric work. Perhaps I am wrong. I bet I'm not though.

I shall stick to the shushing technique for now. Less offensive actually at least by the sound of it.

And you can repeat it. I don't think repeating that you are not going to take your clothes off and you promise not to swear will be helpful getting the parents to quieten down somehow.

I hope Eric doesn't get upset. It will be interesting to see what people here think of his approach. Perhaps he has discovered something new and I am completely wrong in the matter.
Eric Leclerc
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Hehe...wow... first of all I didn't take it the wrong way AT ALL.. we are all intitled to our opinions and we do what works for us right?

The semi offensive line "clothes off swearring whatever" works like a charm, for me! I cant see another performer getting away with it. With that being said, moving on to the next point.

When I read the posts I thought we were talking about birthday parties hence "the kids didn't hire you, their daddy or mommy did". BUT I still stand behind my grabbing the adults attention at the very beggining and holding it through out the show.

And for buddy who said I must not work a lot, I can honestly tell you I do, and have encountered these shows, and I have never had such a problem. I start with the silk and t.t. trick, As basic as it is, its amazing, the parent's jaws open when I make it disseapear. I then say "I see the moms in the backs like this (I open my eyes and mouth wide and say "honey did you see that?!") I then say "who said magic was just for kids huh?!"

I can assure you I have the adults full attention. I think this has a lot to do with what I wear at a kids show. I am dressed really classy, grey pin stripped suit with a colourful tie for the kids. I look professional and I act professional.

I thought of this really hard before answering this post. But I believe adults listen to my show because I have performed for them prior to the kids show. My kids work is always reffered by an adult at a walkaround show that asks "do you do kids shows?" Therefore THEY are the hosts of the party and will promote you as to being excellent. "I hired a magician for the kids we saw at Ted's wedding, hes amazing you gotta see this guy"

I don't really know what else to write. In those corporate functions where you are hired to entertain the kids, bring your mic. that's the best way to "drown" the adults. Besides that, you have to perform for both the adults AND the kids. I think if you shhhhh them, you aint getting called back..
Decomposed
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"I start with the silk and t.t. trick, As basic as it is, its amazing, the parent's jaws open when I make it disseapear."

I don't see many disagreeing with this. It can be basic all it wants to magi but to the layman, it is as real magic as anything else. I open with goldfish production but go into the silk vanish short after with helper action.

Your comments are welcome Eric, hey I started this thread anyways:) LOL

There is no right or wrong answer on this. What works for one performer may not work for another. And if it does work for one performer, it may not work at his/her next performance. Different crowds, different reactions.

I do think dealing with this with the hiring person BEFORE the show may help get them on your side.
Eric Leclerc
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Well put!! This is DEFENITALY something to disscuss over the phone when booking your contract. Sometimes party planners and/or people in charge of hiring you don't do these events a lot, but we do.

They often never even THINK of the setting (as a performer's point of view). Any tips and ideas you can give, to help them plan a successful event is always a bonus, especially if you know it will work best.

Even upon arriving at the gig the day of, you can judge if the setting they thought was best, isn't the greatest for you (if theres no stage). If you see a lot of adults and no chairs for them and they are already noisy, simply suggesting to your contact person where would be ideal for you. Either another room, further in the same room or even asking her to go tell the parents the magic show will start in 10 minutes can do a world of difference. But I think for the most part, parents are pretty good and respectful, after all, their kids are there!!!
RJE
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Eric,

I'm that buddy and yes you're intitled to you're opinion. All I can say, is that if what you are saying is true then you are living in a truly magic world that the rest of us must have missed the door for. For the rest of us mortals, I'll just say that when we walk into a room to do a show, we are mere humans and cannot expect the awe and wonder of "being excellent" in every one's mind. And that being the case, I don't care how you dress or what your big opening TT trick is, in the real world, my friend, it doesn't wash and all your saying so, buddy, is IMO baloney.

Good luck to you.

Rob
Eric Leclerc
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Wow, sorry you feel that way Mister..

I was just stating what works for me. I am not saying I am excellent and great beyond belief, I am saying with a little professionalism, well routined tricks, a great attitude and most importantly, preperation, you can have MORE attention during your show and don't always have to perform when it is so noisy it becomes unpleasant for everyone. that's what this post was about, noisy parents.. I don't know why you;re getting personal.. anyways.. good luck to you Smile
holmes
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RJE and Eric don't live that far from each other. I wonder what they will say when they see each other's shows!
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