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Profile of Carlo
What about developing this into a persona, "The Nervous Magician"? Build on what you already have.
Frank Tougas
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Minneapolis, MN
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Profile of Frank Tougas
Wow, you have received gold in the advice given to you by the magicians here in the Café. I won't be redundant but instead I give you this advice; frame that letter! In the future, it will be a constant reminder of where you were and how far you've come. We don't learn nearly as much from success as we do from our failures. While it is a hard lesson, it has been a good one.

Oh and about that day you can say, "What cha talkn bout Willis". The answer is never.

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
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Profile of kenscott

May I ask how old are you?

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Profile of RideorDie99
Well this is my second year performing. I'm 26 I'm an adult age wise but still a kid in the entertainment business.
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Valparaiso, IN
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Profile of Popo
RideorDie99, I too give you a lot of credit for posting here. I would just like to reiterate what so many have already said. I must say that it is difficult for me to give advice as I have only been performing for five years but I see my improvement in my bookings as well as what people say. I am far, far, from having the show I want but I get closer every day. I will say that along with the advice already given is to remember to have fun. Life is too short. If you are not having fun doing this then why are you doing this? Relax and let it go. Have fun with it and try things.
Also, to you and filmnar, instead of a token charge why not suggest that the client can have a free show in exchange for a short critique. That way the client feels that he/she is getting something of value for free. You will not be charging them and you will get the feedback you need to improve.
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Profile of MarkTripp
On 2005-03-08 16:22, Wolfgang wrote:
If it were me, I'd send a note thanking the person for the honest feedback, along with a refund check. I could not feel good about taking anyone's money if I did not earn it.

Follow the advice of doing free shows; then charge when you're ready. You'll be surprised how rewarding those free shows can be.

Read this again as it is DEAD ON. Doing this will make them feel VERY good and they will TELL your friends what you did.

Get yourself to a quality kid show convention this year (Kidabra) then do a mailing talking about your NEW show and material.

With a bit of effort you can really turn this into a VERY positive thing for you!

Mark Tripp
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Long Island, NY
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Profile of triadsong
I must commend you for your maturity and level of self-security for even posting this question to the Café in the first place - you took what seems to be a difficult subject and put it out there for all of us to see. That took courage and just like you've read already it takes a lot of courage to get up in front of an audience.

You also are very honest with your self in being able to recognize the weak points of your act. Now you know where to put the extra practice in. Do the street magic; tell people at your block party you want to show them something after you've worked on it; grab your relatives at dinner parties, weddings and holidays. Just show them one or two effects to keep you up to speed. One of the free shows I do each year is at the daycare/pre-school my daughter once attended. Not only are the kids happy to have something different but I know the staff and director well and they are open and honest with me if something did not go over as planned.

And, along with taking the constructive criticism well and embracing all of the great help you have from everyone who has already written, don't forget to embrace the fact that the kids did enjoy you entertaining them. It keeps something extra positive to make the next show even better.

Break a leg.


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Profile of MagicbyCarlo
On 2005-03-09 15:33, RideorDie99 wrote:
Well this is my second year performing. I'm 26 I'm an adult age wise but still a kid in the entertainment business.

That's about how old I was when I started working doing shows part-time. I started with kid’s birthday parties and nearly quit after my first one. I quickly realized that I needed to seek the advice, council and experience of seasoned children’s performers. At the time David Ginn was pretty much the man, I bought everything of his I could lay my hands on. I did magic for kids whenever I could just to work on material. My fees were very low, often only covering expenses if that. I also worked family audiences whenever I could. I quickly realized that children can smell fear and will attack like a pack of hungry jackals in its presence.

Today your resources are many, and although I haven't actually seen Ken Scott's work, I know he is a worker, his reputation is very good, seek out his advice and council. Many other family and children’s performers also have reference material that is useful. Once you understand the dynamics of your audience it's easier to deal with them calmly.

Oh yeah, try getting to as many open mike events as you can and do a quick bit, it's a great way to get face time in front of live and sometimes difficult audiences, it will build your confidence!

I disagree with cultivating the nervous magician angle at this point. It would require great confidence and skill to pull that off and if you really ARE nervous it will look like the old, “I meant to do that!” cover-up which IMHO is horrible. If you watch performers like Cardini, and The Great Balantine you realize that you must be a consummate and skill performer to seem otherwise and still perform good magic. You don’t want your act to be “The Secrets of Magic Revealed, By Accident.”
Carlo DeBlasio
<BR>Entertainment specialist
<BR>and all around fun guy!
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Profile of Aptaker
Again, props for posting the fact that you are looking to change it is a huge leap from trickster to entertainer. Now I'm not going to repeat others exactly I'm going to use myself as an example of what their saying as well as give you a few tips. I've been entertaining an acting since I was little and doing magic since I was 10. (I'm only 13) however in my short time of magic I've had great experiences, I was lucky enough to be in the generation of the SYM and fortunate enough to have David Oliver as my adult leader. I've had experiences from winning competitions to doing lots of shows. However even after 3 years I do not charge for my shows. True I don't have to pay the bills being a kid however I am getting experience so that when I am an older teen I will have a great show and a lot of people who know me. Here are some ideas Mr. Oliver has shared with us as well as some of my own:

this is where busking can be a big help although I would not reccomend busking with kidshow magic. When you tell people you do not charge, you are only in it for experience they will usually say "Oh well I want to give you something" my reply is "Oh well how about this, after my show if you feel like giving me something I want you to decide a fair price." this does 2 things, if you reccord how much they paid over time this should go up (it will vary depending on the parent)
It also does this. If you charge X amount then their expectations of the show will be for the X amount however if you let them sit back relax and enjoy the show without worring about their moneys worth then when they pay you it won't hurt to hand over a check and they won't feel angry about the amount. They will think it fair (they did decide) I've made great, well we'll call them "tips" this way and I can see my tips go up as does my experience. All I ask as paypent is they let me give them my buisnesscards to hand out at the party to parents interested.

Another good way to get feedback is to have a pamphlet for the paents to fill out after the show. Some good questions would involve what parts of the whole experience (booking included) they thought were great as well as a few lines for them to write what you could improve on. This has helped me shape my act and whole showbiz experience greatly. Please don't make life hard on the parents, have the pamphlet addresed and stamped, 37 cents is a nominal fee to get good feedback for your show. Parents will also appreciate you awntign to learn and make your experience better. I include a few sentiments at the top along the lines of "Thank you for having me perform. Please don't feel rushed to return the following however I would appreciate it if you have a moment in the next couple weeks to mail this filled out review for me. I value you opinion highley and want to know how I can make the experience my clients have more enjoyable. Again thank you for having me I hope to perform for you soon,
Aaron Aptaker"
Then the questions etc... It has given me a lot and I mean ALOT of help. When I do start charging maybe in a couple of years I will start low (lower than the "tips" I receive now) and feel confidant knowing that I have a lot of experience under my belt and that I am giving people value for their buck.

Well after that load of tips and advice I would like to again commend you for posting. You should do great, keep on working and definately go see other childrens performers at public events, you may feel wierd beign the only adult there without a child but think how this teenager felt at the kids all around entertainment show with sing alongs well actually I had fun... and the magic was awsome and good learning...

David Bilan
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Profile of David Bilan

You've been given a ton of great advice by some great people; let me toss in my two cents:

If you are serious about making magic a paying career, the refund and thank you letter are top priority. Put your heart into your show practicing. Script, script, script! I paid Jeff McBride $100 to be reminded of that critical part of your act.

Tell the customer (along with giving the refund and thank you letter) that you owe him a free show. Tell him the free show will be the one he should have gotten the first time around. Obviously, he will have to wait until you have improved.

If he accepts, you will have performed the magic of great customer service. You'll win the person over (sounds like he was on your side already), and here's the kicker: He will tell others about your honesty, hard work and... the fact that you are now much, much better.

You have the potential to make this guy your agent. Imagine... he brags to his friends, "I knew him when he was just starting out. I coached him. Now he's a great magician... You should hire him for your event."

Other places to perform for free: assisted living homes, nursing homes, senior citizen centers.

Look for a local magic club (I.B.M. or S.A.M). With a small amount of luck, you may find someone willing to be a mentor. I'm not saying you should perform your entire act in front of a crowd of magicians, but one successful pro willing to watch and offer suggestions would be worth paying for (Eugene Burger charges $100 an hour).

You should never again do a "Kid's Show." You are a magician offering a "Family Show." When you find your groove (and I'm sure you will, if your are as serious about this as I think), you will make more money by offering to be something more than a baby sitter doing some tricks. If the parents are entertained, they help keep the kids in line and you might find yourself being offered corporate gigs.

This is all down the road a ways, but it's a goal to shoot for. Good luck.

Yes, I am a magician. No I did not make my hare (hair) disappear... it just took early retirement.
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Profile of vilewarner
What went wrong with the 8ft. pole?
Brent McLeod
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Profile of Brent McLeod
Get some Magicians in your Club or Local area who perform Childrens Partys well to have a look at your act-Im sure the advice will help you no end.

Have you sent the check back yet!!!
Have you sent the check back yet!!!
Have you sent the check back yet!!!
Have you sent the check back yet!!!
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Profile of RideorDie99
The 8ft pole broke when I was pulling it out the change bag. I'm thinking of practicing that or taking it out of the show completely.

Yes I gave them a refund but I have not heard back from them.
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Profile of sspanks
I had a problem with the water suspension trick. The trick never failed and I never revealed the gimick... but it, for whatever reason made me shake when I pourd the water into the tube. I stil dunno why... but people noticed. I just replaced it with a trick that doesn't make me shake and put the water suspension in my closet. It's a great trick, easy to do and fools them every time. I just can't do it. Find the tricks that fit your personality, do them well and have FUN!

Rik Taylor
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Profile of Rik Taylor
On 2005-03-14 18:39, RideorDie99 wrote:
The 8ft pole broke when I was pulling it out the change bag. I'm thinking of practicing that or taking it out of the show completely.

Yes I gave them a refund but I have not heard back from them.

Don't cut out the 8ft pole. Take some time rehersing your routine to make it right.
This is a very funny and magical production that people remember.
...less is not more, less is less you have to carry, more or less...
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Profile of magic4u02
I agree with Rik on this one. Do not take soemthing out before you give it ample time to figure out what went wrong, study what you can do to make it better and test it out again. This is a manner of learning and if you do not take these courses of self-evaluating your shows, then you do not grow with your magic. Do not give up on it.

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Profile of irossall
On 2005-03-08 02:18, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:
I would write a nice note thanking them for their honest feedback and how much you appreciate it. Then perhaps offer to come back next year for free....

I think this is a very wise thing to do for at least three good reasons.
1. You are letting the customer know that you really do want them to get value for their dollars and by giving another show (for free this time) you are letting them know that you value them as a customer and that you are not in it only for the money.
2. You will recieve a second critique from the same person and they will let you know where you have improved and where improvement is still needed.
3. They will have no problem recommending your services to their Friends AND they will feel like the money spent for the first show was not wasted after all.

Thank you for sharing this with us, you may have prevented someone else from taking on a task that they may not be quite ready for and therefore you have helped to make Magic and Magician's more acceptable to the lay public as a source of entertainment.
Iven Smile
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Harry Kazzam
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Profile of Harry Kazzam
What a fascinating thread. Very brave to post the topic, well done. And what brilliant advice from everyone! I can't add much myself. But I do have one little snippet.

Back when I started I did free shows for schools. I offered them on the condition that each child wrote to me telling me what they liked about my show but also and more importantly what they didn't like.

This worked great. There is nothing more honest than a child.

Not only did I receive hundreds of letters complete with pictures of all aspects of my show (including some wicked portraits of me)which made me feel on top of the world, I got some of the best constructive criticism I have ever received.

I was able to drop certain effects immediately because I knew they did not work for the majority of children and I knew which ones to keep and which ones needed work.

The whole exercise boosted my confidence and helped me to create my show.

Best of luck

If it ain't fun, it ain't worth it!
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Profile of kkarnok
I have a similar problem. Over Easter, I gave my family (all adults) a dress rehersal of my pre-school show that I will be doing for the first time this week. I did have my two grandsons (6 and 2 1/2) in the audience. Throughout the show, the adults made wise cracks and generally thought the show was poor. The magic was done correctly but they thought it was boring and silly. I have done extensive study of David Ginn,Silly Billy and other top children performers. I use the same principles in my show. It was very discouraging to hear their remarks. I believe the two grand children were even influenced. At first they laughed and participated. Then they seem to shy away--I think after listening and watching the adults. I'm wondering if others have had this problem? I know it is good to get feedback and have a thick skin, but is it wise to preview a kids show to adults? I honestly don't think they know what's funny to preschoolers. How am I to get feedback when I really question whether they can relate at all. Or am I rationalizing and their comments are valid and should be heeded? By the way, I explained before I started that the show was designed for 3 to 5 year olds. Feedback, please

Julian Kestrel
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Profile of Julian Kestrel
Performing for one's family is usually not a good idea. Baggage gets attached from both ends. Young actors who come home for the holidays from conservatories experience the same dillemma. Families have their pecking orders and their limited perspectives and may find it threatening to have their beliefs altered.

If you want to test it for young kids donate a show to an individual class or two. If it plays weel you get a reference and if it doesn't you get the experience and can come back. Ask for permission to videotape. You may find out that post show you were not as awful as you think in certain ways and dreadful in areas where you feel secure.


Julian Kestrel
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