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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Where to start (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

John Long
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I would like to know which book(s) would be a good place to start. I've read good things about Professional Magic for Children, Crash Course on Kids Shows, and Kidbiz, but I've not seen much on how they differ. Is there a lot of overlap between PMCC & CCKS?, which is good to start with?

Thanks
John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
benafito
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I started with KidBiz and it is an amazing book and I highly suggest it! I would also get Crash Course on Kids Shows because it really helps rountining.
John Long
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Benafito

Thanks,
Is there a reason you suggest those over PMCC? or just that you have them and like them? There's a copy of PMCC on ebay that I am considering buying


John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
KyletheGreat
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I also suggest Kidbiz, but let me add a suggestion: Professional magic for Children...also by David Ginn which you have already heard about. They both go well together and they have LOADS of WONDERFUL information on kidshows!

I own Professional magic for Children as well as many other books by David Ginn. I have learned a lot from the pages he has written. Plus, if you ever get the chance to meet him, go for it! David is an INCREDIBALLY nice guy. He lives about 1 1/2 hours away from me. I always visit him and watch his shows when he comes local.

Not sure what PMCC is...
Kyle Jarrard
"Entertainment at its Best"

http://www.kylesmagic.com
http://www.hypnobilly.com
Ron Reid
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Hi John:

There is practically no overlap within the three books. I have all three, and in my opinion, Professional Magic for Children is by far the best of the three. It really is a classic on kids shows. The book was written in the 70's, but is still relevent today. You get it all - parts on how to deal with childrens' audiences, how to put the show together, full routines, etc.

I'm not so crazy about Kidbiz and Crash Course. I'll start with Kidbiz - there are some routines in it (the card in balloon is very good), but A LOT of it is chapters of compiled jokes - chapters like "what to say to a child helper with long hair" where David and friends list all these different one-liners to use. The problem is I felt the vast majority are unfunny and would make kids think you're a dolt by using them. There are tons of puns which I don't think are funny either. I remember buying the book from David when it first came out, sitting down to absorb it all, and being extremely dissapointed. I don't think I've opened it up more than a dozen times in 20 years. I've lived out west all my life, so maybe the humor is a geographical thing - don't know for sure. However, if you like punny, corny humor, you may love it (I don't).

Crash Course seems like a real rush job to me. It seems like it was put together quickly, and suffers accordingly. It is a crash course, as David hits on tons of subjects, but nothing too deep. The routines are okay, but again, I think they're not nearly as good as his earlier work. If you can get Children Laugh Louder, that's another good one. I AM a big David Ginn fan, but even the best put out some sub-par material from time to time. I think Kidbiz and Crash Course and sub-par.

Here's what I'd recommend if someone asked me: Get Professional Magic for Children and Silly Billy's book and you will have a real good start. Silly Billy's book is very sound concerning children's audineces and how to be proactive in handling problems. The advice is dead-on! His routines leave me a bit cold, but the book is mostly about the audience management side, and that part is gold.

I hope this helps you.

Ron
John Long
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All

Thanks for your thoughts. It sounds like Professional Magic for Children is at least worth buying, so I will put in my bid.

After looking at it, I will decide if I need more.

John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
Andy Wonder
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If you are really just starting out try getting videos. They would be more help for the absolute beginner. Also don't put yourself under pressure to try & be original. Mimic what you like from commercial kids videos & when you can do that well you move on to discovering your own style.

Once you have a few shows under your belt the video that will teach you the most will always be a video of your own show. Watch yourself on video & you will notice many many things you can improve.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
sfx
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Professional Magic for Children is definately worth getting. I have also found the Silly Billy material to be very usefull. The two DVD's which I started with were Dan Harlans pack small play big kids birthday show and Terry Herbet childrens magic the Herbert way. These two DVD'S certainly cover a variety of magic as well as performance styles
sluggo
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The Birthday Part Business is an excellent book too. Silly Billy's book has some great info in it as well.
Dad, magic, ventriloquism, facepainter & balloons.
A weakness for coffee (caffeine)
Jolly Roger
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If you are starting out, the last thing I would do is to read a lot of books with other peoples thoughts about how you should entertain children. Look into yourself. Find out the true you.......what people find funny or clever about you. Don't copy others. Be yourself, be true to yourself, and out of that you will achieve greatness. There is only one David Copperfield and only one David Ginn. There is also only one John Long. Just a little advice from someone who has made a living out of magic for 40 years! If you need props, steer clear of magic dealers. Look around Walmart or Target, find an item that no other magicians use, and get creative. You will be amazed at the result, plus it won't break your pocket book!!
The Mighty Fool
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I HIGHLY reccomend "Seriously Silly" (silly billy's book) It gives fantastic insights on the psyches of children, seperates them by age groups, hits all the potential problems, and focuses on the all-important idea of entertainment over effect.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
rossmacrae
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THIS is why it's a shame brick-and-mortar magic shops are disappearing - you'd have the opportunity to look at several choices yourself.

Please don't imagine that one book is enough to get a good start - you don't need to go crazy reading before you begin, but you'd do well to have a little broader perspective than you can get from a single author.
sluggo
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Mike B.
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Go to a few magic conferences, you get an idea of what goes into a show and then you can adjust it to yourself and what kind of entertainer you want to be.
I would find it very hard for someone new to just throw together a show without having an idea where to begin.
Reading up on kid shows is a good place to start to get an idea of what you need to do.
Dad, magic, ventriloquism, facepainter & balloons.
A weakness for coffee (caffeine)
Dennis Michael
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All the books suggested here are good. Each has it's finer points.

BJ Hickman's Magic show video, is a great fine for me because I like his style and he has one or two routines I absolutely like. What that video does is show you how one magician's uses a variety of magic clowning audience participation can do for a magician. I know not everone would agree with me on this video.

A lot of David Ginn videos are just not me, however, he manages to list a lot of good puns and gas that are usable in his KID BIZ book. His Professional Magic for Children is a classic, and Silly Billy's will be a classic. Silly billy has good sound logic, and some very good routines, like his Coloring Book and Silk Cylinder, and others. Even though, David Ginn Style is differnt than mine, I own every DVD, VHS and Book he has produced. I have learned from him as far back as the early 70's when he made his first cassette School Show.

Also a good start would be The Birthday Party Handbook. Not magic per-say, but an understanding of the business. There is more than just doing magic. There is the business side, the technical side, and the theater side (Presentation). All three are required to be good in entertaining children.
Dennis Michael
Jolly Roger
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I still maintain tat you are all too hung up on books. If you have a talent for singing, do you buy books on how to sing? No,,,you just sing. I believe to be a good children's entertainer you require a great talent. The trouble with too many people starting out by reading books and buying tricks, is they get too influenced by other people. Sure, they can read books as their journey continues, but why not sit at the kitchen table with a balloon, a pack of cards, a piece of rope, scissors and a hankerchief, and figure out what you can do with them!! I know this is not conventional, and goes very deep and probably sounds new age or metiphisical to some of you.........but try it. On the occasions I do buy a magic trick, I rarely read the instructions, and never copy the patter. That way it becomes unique to me. I understand Paul Daniels did the same thing. I have probably opened a can of worms, but this could be an interesting dicussion and maybe should be a new topic!
John Long
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All: Thanks, I got a "start", now I need to start.

Jolly R

Thanks for the perspective; I am about a third of the way thru PMFC. Maybe next week I will be starting close-up magic with bed-side shows at a local hospital. I will want to pay attention to how the children respond to me. I am also planning on watching some other magicians to get ideas of what type of persona to develop for myself. In time I hope to try some parlor/stage type performances at another children's hospital. Then, but not giving up my day job, maybe some paid performances Smile

John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
chris mcbrien
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I strongly suggest actually going to other magicians gigs.
Not to be a copy-cat. Of course develop your own character....what I mean is..."see if you would like to be that guy up there" before you run out and spend hundreds on books that may or may not be the style of performing you're looking for. I would suggest Silly B.'s book as an great read to understand basic principles that you'll see out there. Attend library shows and fair shows.
What is your intention behind doing these shows...in other words...why?
Chris
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