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Danny Diamond
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Connecticut
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Occasionally I will have a kid or two who feel the need to raise their hands to ask a question, upon taking their seats for my show, or sometime during the show. If the show hasn't officially started yet (kids are still filing into the room), then I will ask them what their question is. Usually, it's something like "Is Danny Diamond your REAL name?" or "Do you have a bunny?". This is fine, I don't mind answering a question before I begin my show. But when they raise their hand with a question during the show, it's a different story. I don't want it to turn into a Q&A session, so sometimes I will say "let's save all of the question till the end, ok?". But then I wonder, what if the kid has to use the bathroom, or wants to tell me my magic table is on fire? So my question to you guys is...

If you see a kid raising their hand with a question during your show, what do you do?
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Rudolph McGuinness
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Isle of Man
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I think the thing to remember is that we are not politicians making statements to get elected and trying to ignore people who want to stop us from talking.

As long as it's not in a crucial pivotal point in any routine, then I just stop and let them tell me what they want to say. But a bit like a schoolteacher you have to know when to draw the line on this and get on with what you are doing.

Regarding personal questions. They ask how old are you? I'm quite at one with children, so I tell them. Had one about a fortnight who had seen me so many times in her short life (aged 6) - she asked me when I was going to retire! Be open with kids but not quite as open with the usual 'parent question lines' like ' how many of these do you do a week?' (I smile and say "enough").

Rudy.
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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I disagree, its your show, you are in control, giving the power to a child to say whatever he wants in front of everyone I think is unprofessional, they will take control of you.

I think you can see what a child will ask you by the way he is looking at you. If after a trick, he immediately raises his hand with a huge grin on his face he wants to tell everyone some idiotic theory on how he thinks the trick worked. I think you get a feel for the kids (at a birthday party) and you can pre dertermine what the little bundle of joy wants to share with everyone. However, if the cute little shy girl raises her hand with an angelic smile, let her talk, it should/will be cute.

In school shows, this isn't even an option, you DO NOT want to adress one kid and throw you off one way or another. I just ignore and keep going and if his hands stays up I say "I will answer questions at the end, ok buddy?".

I am thinking of it and here are the 5 most common thing a child will raise his/her hand for:

-Expose a trick (usually some whack theory)
-Anticipate what you will do when you take out a prop. (take out rope "oh I know that one")
-Say they saw another magician do that trick at some point in their short lives
-Say "I remember this, you did it last year" (this is my least favorite)
-Randomly put up their hand and ask to come assist you up front

Keep in mind you are lucky if they raise their hand AT ALL to adress any of the options above.I think if they need to go to the bathroom, they will just go, in 13 years I cant remember that questions being asked to me. They are SO unpredictable, don't you just love them!?
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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Oh, Eric - you ARE a tough guy!

Jeez, is your "perfect show," where the young audience is blessed by your presence and needs to sit quietly and pay attention, and the audience is there for you, more important than YOU being there for your AUDIENCE?

These are kids, for heaven's sake! They don't always want to sit and absorb what The Great Man has to show them, and accepting the few "volunteer opportunities" is not enough for them either - they want to be an integral part of the experience ... they're excited and enthusiastic participants in an experience that may well be taking place in their HOME, and they want to be more than applause-robots.

I challenge you to give me a question you've heard that the show couldn't benefit by pausing long enough to hear. Look at your examples:

-Expose a trick (usually some whack theory)

Ah, the old "I know how you did that!" ... Sometimes I can get a laugh by responding "So do I", and more often I answer "If you know how it's done, that makes you a magician, and magicians never ... what?" ["Tell the secret"] "Right, so ... we'll keep it between you and me, OK?"

- "Oh I know that one."

Another chance to say "So do I."

-Say they saw another magician do that trick at some point in their short lives.

Do you have the guts to ask whether that magician did it better? Or "Then you must like it a lot!" (Doesn't make sense, but it ends the discussion) or "Then you get a chance to see it again!"

-Say "I remember this, you did it last year" (this is my least favorite)

As Brian Flora used to say, hopefully it's "Oh boy! That again!" instead of "Oh no, that again!" - You could just put the whole issue to bed with "Then don't spoil the surprise for everybody else!" or "Then watch REALLY CAREFULLY this time!"

-Randomly put up their hand and ask to come assist you up front.

You'd rather have volunteers who DON'T want to help? How about "Possibly ... Let me see what I can do about that, maybe, but you have to wait."

In all these cases you will be building perhaps the most important audience-pleasing relationship possible: that you are there WITH them and that you take them seriously. The "sacred magic routine" is not nearly so important as thrilling the audience.

"They are SO unpredictable, don't you just love them!?"

Yes, I really do, for just that reason.
Danny Diamond
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Connecticut
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Ross,
I did a show this past weekend, where the kids were told to remove their shoes before coming into the room where I was set up. I got this question a few minutes into the show...

"Umm, why did we have to take our shoes off, but you have yours on?"

In hindsight, there are probably several funny responses I could have come up with, but it was an unusual question and it kinda caught me off guard.

And one other time, I remember a child raising their hand to tell me a long, slow, detailed story about a past magician they saw.

These are the situations that I feel can slow down my show and ruin the flow of it. Most of the time, I agree, certain questions can be comedy gems for you, if you have the right response. But sometimes, the questions are not as funny and just slow things down. I also don't want the other kid's to see a funny interaction with the magician, and think that they should join in on the fun and ask a question of their own.

But basically, I know that it comes down to audience management, and each situation needs to be dealt with uniquely.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Frank Tougas
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Minneapolis, MN
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If I am in a living room and the little guests have their shoes off, I may take mine off as well. If I look to the adults and they have theirs off as well I remove mine. Making sure I have clean and presentable socks. Smile

I many upscale homes it is a sign of respect.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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You're hilarious ross, take yourself serious much?..

The initial post in this forum was how to handle not breaking the flow of the show when a child raises his hand,therefore becoming an imprimptu Q and A session. Sure at the right time when sommeone shouts out something you fire a quick funny remark and that too will show them you are in charge. But my exaples were on how to not lose control.

I think the strongest thing in my show is my interaction with the kids, parents tell me all the time. I work with children every day, and my relationship with them is what makes my kids show sucessful. Get them on your side as soonas you WALK IN the house.

I don't know if you don't mind performing for a bunch of kids walking around the room and talking while you talk, but when I do magic.. They are glued there fascinated. But like we said they ARE children ans as lovely as cute and pure as they are, a long, irrelevant conversation in midst trick has no advantages in my eyes..
Danny Diamond
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Connecticut
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Quote:
On 2005-02-10 16:50, Frank Tougas wrote:
If I am in a living room and the little guests have their shoes off, I may take mine off as well. If I look to the adults and they have theirs off as well I remove mine. Making sure I have clean and presentable socks. Smile

I many upscale homes it is a sign of respect.


I agree. But I was in a kid's party store, where I am the resident magician. I was performing in a playroom, where I always do my shows and always wear my shoes. I don't know why the kid's were instructed to remove their shoes on this occasion, they never have been before.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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In my shows, I encourage the kids to participate as much as possible. Quite often, this includes asking questions or making comments. Because I've already anticipated this and built it into my show, it is not disruptive. It also does not constitute a loss of control over the audience, since I still direct which questions are to be answered and when to move on to the next trick.

This is in line with my philosophy of never talking down to kids. If an adult asked me a question or made a comment during a show, I would likely feel compelled to deal with it. Why should I treat a child any differently?

In fact, with kids, it is so much easier since you can anticipate that there will be questions and comments. So, if you know it's going to happen, prepare for it in advance. Just my two bits. Smile
"Believing is Seeing"
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MikeDes
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Montreal
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Quote:
On 2005-02-10 16:38, Danny Diamond wrote:
Ross,

"Umm, why did we have to take our shoes off, but you have yours on?"



Because my feet stink. Smile
BIlly James
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Profile of BIlly James
Hi Danny,

I sympthise with the problem, little comments really can interupt the flow of your show.

I work a lot in daycares and preschools and quite often a kid will sprout out with something like "My Mum's name is Lisa", and that can be in response to me asking for a magic word!

In daycares, once one kid has told you his mothers name, they ALL want to tell you their mum's names.

I've developed a technique to nip this in the bud...it's a 'round up' comment.
Eg. One kid says "I'm 5", and then another I'm 5 and a half" etc. I just round up all the comments by saying, "Wow, you're all a lot of different ages in here today aren't you? There's 5's and 6's and 37's! (this is just one example, but you get the idea)

I know it is still a digression from your show, but it has really worked for me and helped to stop the 'stampede of questions'.

Give it a try and good luck with it.

Oh, in response to 'why do you still have your shoes on?', because they're magic shoes, you need them to help you to make the magic work.

Cheers
Billy
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