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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Adding the "Entertainment" to your Children's Tricks (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magic4u02
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I thought I would take a moment to talk about soemthing I feel is so important in children's magic and something we all, at one time, have come to understand or have had to face. This would be the difference between performing just mere tricks as opposed to performing a truely entertainment experience.

When discussing this topic, it is safe to say that there is a big difference between the two. The first part in learning how to make your children's magic entertaining, is to do just that. It is to first recognize the differences between performing a trick and performing an entertaining routine.

To me, anyone can do a trick. I can have anyone be taught how to perform a trick. A trick is just the mechanics and movements involved in making a seemingly impossible situation possible. Anyone can do a trick as long as they learn the movements of how the trick is done and study the secrets and methods behind it.

However, that is where I see the "Trick" part ending. A person performing a trick is not interested so much in patter, presentation etc. This is where I see a true children's performer can really start to change that trick into something far more special.

I think an audience who sees a trick only goes away thinking the trick was good or bad and nothing more. There is no focus on the perofmer or on laughing or creating any type of emotional repsonse to what is happening.

For the children's performer, the entertainer really must understand and start to learn that performing just tricks will not win you over the children nor will it engage them in such a way as to get them having fun with what they are seeing.

This is where you must add in the "Entertainment" portion to the trick. Once the trick is learned, the performer must learn to build upon the trick and create an entertaining experience around it. Give that trick substance and make the journey you take the kids on even more fun then the trick's climatic moment.

How do we add entertainment value to our kid's show tricks? Well that is a good question and one I would like to explore here with you and hope that you will also share your thoughts on this as well. There are so many vast and different ways in which to do this, so I will describe some of which have worked for me over the years.

First, I would laike to make a simple anology as to why adding the entertainment value to a trick is so important in a children's performance. Let us say that the trick is a plain pizza. There is nothing wrong with the pizza as is and the kids may eat it and think nothing of it. However, the entertainment value you add is like the many layers of toppings you can place on this pizza to make it even more special and rewarding an experience. Each "layer" gives the children something more to enjoy.

So what are some of these so called layers that you can add to your children's trick to get it to be more entertaining?

- Comedy props: These are items that look funny to a child or have a funny thing happen to them. They can range from comedy wands to jumbo sized toothbrushes to even comedy rubber chickens. I think for children, just the site of a funny object can often times make them laugh and giggle and have fun with it in the course of the routine you build.

- They see but you do not see: This is a layer whereby you build into your trick a period in which something happens that the children notice first long before the magician does. Why does this work? Because children feel empowered. In their lives, they are seldom ever right when they are with adults. The adults are always correct and always corrrecting them. In this situation, the child feels empowered because he or she sees soemthing first before the adult does and gets to tell the adult that something happened.

- Imagination: This is a huge one. This is a layer in which you allow yourself to use imagination to make a trick more entertaining. Children live in a magical world. To them, turning on a lightbulb is magical. They also have vivid imaginations and you can see this when they are at play. So we can use this idea by allowing the children to pretend and imagine things as the trick progresses. Suddenly a rope is not a rope any longer, but is a worm named Bob. The kids can stretch their imaginations and they can have fun with imaging what will happen to bob the worm.

- Story Telling: This leads us into a layer called storytelling. A magician can change a trick into entertainment through the use of effective storytelling. Use a storyline to tie in the tricks or parts of the trick together so that it has more fun for the children. Children love stories and read or hear them all the time. A story can be a great way to tie in different aspects of the trick and make it fun and easy to understand for the kids watching.

- Dress Up and Costumes: As I stated previously, kids love to imagine things and pretend. They also like to dress up and become someone else they might admire. We can use this layer to change a trick into an entertaining routine by allowing ourselves to get the children dressed into costumes or even wear a costime ourself. If baking a cake for the b-day child. Perhaps the b-day child gets to feel even more special because they get to become the master chef with a chefs hat and chef's jacket. It is fun for them and gets them involved in a different way.

- Adding a human quality to an object: This is something fun that can be done to change a trick into an entertaining routine by simply creating a human character around an ordinary object. Kids may not understand or may not really grasps what a sponge ball is. However, they can have a lot of fun if that sponge ball all of a sudden becomes Marty the Martian. Marty always likes to travel from place to place but never likes the dark. Now all of a sudden the kids can relate to the little character and what this funny character will be doing in the routine.

- Magician in Trouble: This is a classic principle that works great for ading entertainment to a trick. Children love to see the magician apprently get into trouble or mess up a trick. I think they enjoy it becuase it shows them that even adults can and do make mistakes. They can have fun with it when the magician messes up.

- Empowering the child: This is a layer that I use quite often. This is where you really empower a child because they actually make the magic apparently happen on their own. You try it and it does not work, but the child tries it and wonderful magic starts to happen. The child feels extra special because they made something work on their own. Making the child feel like a star can be a very entertaining experience for them and the audience watching.

- Music: Music can be used as a fun layer to envoke a mood or an emotion. Funny music can get the kids laughing while upbeat music can get them interacting with the trick in an entertaining way.

There are many many more, but I will leave it at this for now. I hope this gets people thinking and starting to look at their own tricks in a new light. I hope it gets you to rethink routines and find ways to make old tricks into entertaining magical experiences.

I would love to hear your own thoughts on this and how some of these have worked for you or different "layers" that I may not have even mentioned. It is a great way we all can share and learn together. Thanks for letting me share this with you. I hope you find it helpful.

Kyle
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rossmacrae
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To a very long post, I can only respond: VERY WELL EXPRESSED!

This is what I have been trying to tell my clients (and teach otherr magicians) for years. Anybody can do a show consisting of "Here's a trick. Now for my next trick..." - but can they ENTERTAIN?

Docc Hilford's TWENTY MINUTES WITH A BALLOON video is a perfect example - almost no magic at all, yet you leave it saying "that was a great magic act."
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Wonderful post Kyle!You have described many important elements that can lead to great routines and a great total show.This creative process you outlined is what can make our routines unique because we all have 'unparalleled thought processes'.This is the creative nature of our Art.As you say,anybody can just do a trick.However,it takes thought and refinement to make that mundane trick into an entertaining wonder.Magicians can sometimes perform the same effects,however each magi can add his own signature,thus making it enjoyable for the audience who may have seen a similar routine and props before.Although this formula is especially important for childrens shows,it goes without saying that it apply's to all performances. I would like to emphasize the importance of WRITING things,thoughts and routines out and down so you have a hard copy that you can edit and work over time. All the best. Rich
magic4u02
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Rich:

Thanks for your kind words. I do appreciate that. You are most right in that anyone can perform a trick but it takes a truely talented individual to Entertain an audience. That is because it does require a lot more effort and brain power then just learning the trick element. You have to put forth effort into taking the trick and building upon it in your oqn unique way so that it becomes and entertaining routine your audiences will want to see.

Sure it takes time and hard work to develop and change a trick into an entertaining routine for children, but the rewards are so well worth it and I feel strongly that my audiences deserve that much from me.

There is so much out there that can be placed into an act to make it entertaining if we just learn to think oputside of the box. Too many of us get hung up on the trick itself and can not seem to think past that. What I try to do is to let my mind go elsewhere for creative ideas for routines for my kids show magic.

I tend to look at things kids like and watch some of their shows. I try to learn what they respond to and what they do not. You can learn a lot by really studying your audiences.

Your idea of writing things down is a great one that I often use myself. I keep a notebook with me most all the time. This way I can write down thoughts and ideas that inspire me in some form or another. It does not have to be a full routine or a magical sequence. Even a sign while out driving can spark a thought I might write down to use later. Keeping and writing down these thoughts helps to train our brain to learn to think creatively through the act of doing.

Ross brings up a great point. In that people watching the routine that Docc Hilford does do not go away saying, "hey great trick". Instead I bet they probably walk away saying something like, "Hey, that was fun and I liked what he did. I had a great time" The difference here is that one person is talking about the trick only while the other is talking about the magician and the overall experience they had. I would much rather have people enjoy ME and enjoy the experience then just a trick I am doing.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rich and Ross. I hope others will share theirs with us and tell us what methods they have used to bring entertainment value to their tricks and how they went about it.

Kyle
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chris mcbrien
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Wow, I just had a talk along a similar line to this with Julian Franklin a few days ago. I thank God I was both a theater monkey and a magician. Being an actor you learn that there is no entertainment value whatsoever unless you have a solid script. THEN you find the effect to tell the story. Especially when doing educational shows you really have to follow this particular rule. Then, once you have the script down, you can add fun bits like "look don't see" principles, gag items and funny outfits or hats. I won't pretend to be the "expert" in educational education, but I will say that I"ve seen enough magicians that did'nt follow this rule that ended up making my job harder by putting up a "stereotype" wall between me and my client that I had to "convince and prove" my way through.
Even then, there will always be someone with more experience...so it is a constant process of striving to be even better.
Ultimately, it's the performer they remember...the trick only really should highlight the character they are playing, not dominate the character. It's like putting on a play. You don't want the set to be so overwhelming that they don't focus on the actor. Many times a set for a play will have muted colors and tones and the actor's costume will be very bright and attention getting because of this very principle. Look at Jeff McBride. The guy can take a D'Lite and turn it into a spellbinding magical moment. His personality is what makes it magic, his reaction to what he's doing (actually, he reacts to the magic as if it's real)
magic4u02
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Chris:

Thanks for the kind words and also thanks for sharing your ideas here. You make some great points we all can learn from.

I absolutly agree with finding the effect to tell the story. In this fashion, you are not relying so heavily upon a trick. Instead you are allowing your story to shine through and everything you do in your routine or your act directly reflects back upon this story you are telling.

Too many magicians I have seen just can not or are not willing enough to take a step back and realize that there is more to doing magic then a mere trick. You must take that trick to the next level and be willing to put forth the ffort it takes to change that into a routine that reflects upon your character, style and personna on stage and does so in such a way that you build in the entertainment value.

I know in my own children's performances, I want them to remember the character (me) more then I want them to remember any one trick. I want them to have a fun overall experience and have enjoyed the journey I have taken them on.

Indeed Jeff is a perfect example. His lotta bowl routine with the bowls and the water coming from the heavons is so simplistic in nature that if performed just as a trick, it would fall flat. It is through his use of music, character, storytelling etc that really transcends this trick into an entertainment experience that gives an emotional response to the audiences watching.

The same can be applied to any children's magician. You can learn to take your trick to new levels and to make it entertaining for the kids who are watching you. I think it is our duty as magicians to strive always to better ourselves and our magic.

Thanks for your great information and sharing it with us.

Kyle
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chris mcbrien
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Yeah, and to quote David Acer,"boy, do I feel stupid!"
I said "educational education", instead of "educational entertaiment".
It was either magic or cash-register school, ya know!
I want to recommend a book called "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber.
You should see my copy, it's worn out and dog-eared. The man is a genius. The book will shake you up and make your face burn. He'll talk about the very things that we as entertainers know deep down is an issue with our show that needs work. It's a very humbling read, and continues to have great impact on me. You can go through a great theatrical training and know lots of trick, but you'll never know it all.
One thing I wanted to add. One time in a magic shop a "fellow magician" wanted to know how many tricks a professional magican like me knows. I said:
"I know how to perform 50 tricks."
the look on his face was priceless. Then he thought I was joking. I said:
"I know the mechanics of hundreds of tricks, but I know how to PERFORM only 50."
One of my favorite stories was the one in the Linking Ring not to far back about the young man with a sack full of hundreds of rough-cut gems and the old man with a small sack of a handful of perfectly polished and precision-cut gems that boggled the younger man's mind.
I agree Kyle, Jeff's Lota bowl routine rocks!
Great post, too! You always have something really good to say, Kyle...always a pleasure to check out your thoughts!
Chris
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One of the Greatest Compliments Gleeka and I ever got doing a B'Day Party was the mother came up after we were done and said simple, "You were suprising!". She was expecting someone just standing up there doing "TRICKS". We gave a magical experience using all of the arts that Kyle listed above.
In fact, Kyle, you created a great template that I have printed out, laminated and placed above my computer and one to carry. Thanks for your furtile mind.

Aragorn TM
aka: I used to be BOB (It's Cellini's fault)
"All Right, Who's Volunteering to be Turned into a Frog???"
www.aragornthemagician.com
Dennis Michael
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Chubby Harris posted the following on the KIDabra Forum...
Quote:
We have a magazine over here in the UK called "Magicseen",and at the back of every issue,there is a debate,for which you can write in to,for the following month,and the current debate for next months issue is .......
"Do Magicians only entertain kids,because it is easy,and they are unskilled in the other forms of the art?"...My blood is boiling already,but what do you guys think about this?...


This quote here is not meant to divert Kyle's excellent Topic. Kyle answered the question. Obviously that writer in the UK Magazine is talking about those magicians that perform tricks, not entertaining kids, like Kyle mentioned above.

I know exactly what Kyle is saying and a while ago put together a list of items that compliments and extends this thought process of perforimg for KIDs IS AN ART form. This is why KIDabra exists, to teach others this method, to break the habit of just doing tricks:

I. Magician Presents Comedy in Four Forms
1. Physical Comedy

  • Clumsiness
  • Facial Expressions
  • Gestures
  • Klutz
  • Movement: Slow Motion, Fast Motion, Freeze, Robotic
  • Physical Injury: Slapstick
  • Walking

2. Visual Comedy

  • Baby Toys
  • Butt Stuff
  • Competition
  • Costumes
  • Crying
  • Extremely Big Things
  • Extremely Small Things
  • Foam Objects
  • Funny Pictures
  • Funny Props
  • Funny Wands
  • Hats
  • Magician in Trouble: Trick Breaks
  • Noisy Makers
  • Nose Stuff: Boggers
  • Puppets
  • Running Gags
  • Sight Gags
  • Stinky Stuff
  • Strange Goofy Props
  • Underarm Stuff


3. Verbal Comedy

  • Bodily Functions Noises: Burping, & Farting
  • Crying
  • High Pitch Voice
  • Loud Voice
  • Low Pitch Voice
  • Musical Jokes and Comedy Limericks
  • One Liners
  • Puns
  • Running Gag Lines
  • Saying Funny Things
  • Silly Magic Words
  • Silly Names
  • Slow Talking
  • Telling Jokes
  • Verbal Mistakes, (Blue silk called red)
  • Whining


4. Audio

  • Funny Songs
  • Noise Makers
  • Sound Clips
  • Squeakers
  • Music Tracks (Even Background Music)

II. Group Participation by All Kids Enhances the Fun
1. Physical Interaction

  • Body: Standing Up, Sitting Down, Shaking Body, Shaking Hips, Hands on Hips
  • Face: Making a Funny Face, Making a Sad Face, Making a Happy Face, Making a Goofy Face, Making a Scary Face, Blinking, Nodding
  • Hands: Wiggling Fingers, Clapping Hands, Waving Hands, Erasing Colors, Throwing Invisible Objects, Pointing, Snapping their Fingers
  • Mouth: Blowing Knots Away, Sucking in like Vacuum Cleaners, Great Big Smile, Sticking their Tongue Out
  • Feet: Stopping Feet, Smelly Shoes, Stinky Socks

2. Visual Interaction

  • Seeing Something you Don't (Look/Don't See)
  • Abserb Contrasts: Small Child with Big Object

3. Verbal Interaction

  • Counting
  • Gibberish
  • Laughing
  • Saying it Louder
  • Saying Tongue Twisters
  • Silly Magic Words
  • Silly Sounds
  • Silly Words
  • Whispering

III. Empowering the Children
1. Physical Interaction

  • Skills to be a Magician

2. Visual Interaction

  • Look, Don't See

3. Verbal Interaction

  • Asking for Information
  • Asking Questions
  • Facts that the Kids Know
  • Misnaming Items
  • Mispronuncing Words

IV. Assistant Participation
1. Physical Interaction

  • Hand Shaking
  • Role Playing

2. Visual Interaction

  • Abserb Contrasts: Small Child with Big Object
  • Breaking Objects: Breakaway Wand, Breakaway Fans, Drooping Flower
  • Costumes: Big Hats, Abserb Outfits
  • Glassess
  • Props:

3. Verbal Interaction

  • Introductions
  • Playing with their Name
  • Asking Questions About Opposite Gender
  • Rhyming their Names
  • Giving Them Applause Credit



David Kaye, writes a similar format in his book.
Dennis Michael
magic4u02
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Great share guys and gals. Thanks so much for the kind words. I do appreciate them. Some great information has been posted here and I hope it has been of help to many or has given you incentive to go out there and really work on your tricks and make them entertaining routines your audiences will love.

Chris brings up a good point when he states that he knows how to "perform" 50 but knows hundreds. I am the same way. I know hundreds but can 'perform" only a select number. I have committed myself not to place anything in my show unless it is truely a unique and entertaining experience for the audience I am working for. This takes me time and dedication to thinking creatively and outside of the box.

Sure it takes me time to work on the routines and a lot of hard work coming up with the "layers" of the routine to make it what it soon becomes. However, I find that this work is very rewarding by the responses I get from the kids and my audiences in general. The trick soon becomes a routine that is a part of me the performer and an extension of myself.

Aragorn:
Thanks for the kind words. I agree with you in that people do get stereotyped in a certain way based upon what they have seen other magicians do. We as professional entertainers, must work to educate and convince our prospect and client that what we do is far from performing tricks for their guests. We provide magical entertainment that directly solves and meets their needs. When they see this happen, they will often see you in a new light and your perceived value will climb in the client's eyes. This comes from dedication to making your tricks entertainment.

Den:
Great list my friend and thanks for extending the ideas here so that we may discuss them as a whole and really learn to take that trick and make it into a rewarding and entertaining experience.

I would like to discuss why I feel this topic is so important. I think too many magicians just do not realize the importance of creating entertainment as opposed to doing tricks alone. I think the reasons are several really:

- A lot of folks starting out or even those who have been in magic for a while, simply do not realize there is a difference when we say tricks vs. entertainment. I think many think they are one in the same without realizing they both are vastly different and mean different things. With this in mind, the performer must study and learn and come to realize there is a difference.

- Once you realize that there IS a difference, the performer must learn the IMPORTANCE this difference has so they will act upon it. Just knowing the definitions of both will do no good if we do not come to realize the significance of why one path is better then the other.

- This brings us to the idea that even if the performer understands the differences of both and understands the definitions of the two terms, the performer may not act upon it. Why? Because 1) they may not know how to and 2) they may just be too flat out lazy.

Yes it is weird that I said lazy, but it is so true. No one said being an "entertainer" would be easy. It takes hard work to change a trick into entertainment and many magicians just are not willing to do the work that is involved in creating a entertaining experience. It is much easier to just do a trick as a trick.

I think a performer must have patience and a certain mindset to be able to really take a trick and create entertainment value. You must be willing NOT to jump the gun and be too eager to perform a new trick that you just got just because you like it. You need to invest the time and always remember that you are performing for THEM not YOU.

Hope this is helpful to some.

Kyle
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Dennis Michael
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My guess, the magicians who just do tricks, really don't know how to embellish the routine to make them entertaining. Some don't want to make themselves look goofy, act like a clown or make mistakes on purpose.
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magic4u02
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That is the real shame of it. In the process of being silly or poking the fun at yourself, then you are also being entertaining to the children. Children love that sort of thing and you can still be a magician while incoporating principles like this.

If you find yourself wanting to be taken and be too serious, then perhaps performing for kids is really not the right venue or market you should be doing. You must be honest with yourself and know when a market is right for you and when it is not. Do not push yourself into a kids market if you really are not cut out for it.

If you want to perform for children, then you really must allow yourself to learn some of the principles we have been talking about and sharing here. For children, performing just a trick will simply not fly. Kids like magic, but they like the funny and fun journey you take them on even more. It is just the natural way kids are and we magicians need to be aware of that and tap into it.

I also think Den is right when he says that some magicians simply do not know how to embellish a trick and make it entertainning. I would say to them to start to open their eyes more and realize and truely evaluate every performance they do. I always give out a simple evaluation form at my shows so I can gather this feedback ad information as it is valuable to me to know what I am doing right and what the kids are enjoying the most. Then I can adapt and change my routines to build upon that feedback and make my show even better.

I think too that magicians like taking the easy way out. Why should I work so hard on an entertaining routine that fits my character when I can simply steal or use one I see on a video. Sure you can do that, but you really do not end up learning anything and increasing your own growth. The routine may work, but it may also not fit your own personality and this can really be a bad thing.

Take the time to really study your magic and be willing to put forth the effort it takes to make your tricks entertaining in a way that fits you. Make it your own.

Kyle
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chris mcbrien
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Den, you totally nailed it. The fact is, is that many a magician (by all means not all...I don't want some magician doing a "drive by abracadabra on me") ultimately lives this reality:
1) Loves to do magic
2) Is afraid to be embarassed or to look silly. They want that "I'm a serious artist" thing on stage because they want to be taken as a serious artist for all the work they've put in.

I'm taken very seriously, and I'm one of the silliest entertainers you'll ever see! Go to my website (see my profile) and read the newspaper article and look at the pictures. I even shaved off my 11 year old goatee so I could make sillier expressions on my face the kids could see easier (now don't run to the bathroom and start shaving or anything...).
Ultimately, an audience MUST have laughter...even the most serious of dramas must let out it's pent up tension by giving the audience a laugh. I do a very scary character around Halloween named "Dr. Ozzmann"....even he has jokes and there are times when I go so over the top that the audience has no other choice but to laugh out loud.
Ultimately, the magicians who don't want to look silly must accept this truth:
Get over yourself, it's all about them...your audience. Give em' what they want.
And give em' EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT. If you do this, they will want more!
Chris
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That is so true. You do have to be true to yourself, however, if you are performing for children, you MUST allow yourself to be silly, act silly and not be afraid to have things happen to you in the course of the show. These are just natural things that children love and react highly on. If you try and be too serious for children, they just will not get it or appreciate the show at a level they COULD be.

I think you can be taken seriously and still not be afraid to have fun on stage when performing for kids. You are in a character and presenting a character like you would in a play. Just because an actor isplaying a funny and silly character, does not mean that actor is not serious or professional. You can be a professional and be seen that way and still have fun on stage.

Kyle
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Dennis Michael
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This whole line of conversation is from adults to adults. Lets just for a momment look at it through a childs eye and mind.

He's an adult but he's just like us, he's silly and he makes mistakes, clowns around. He's really cooool! He's not barking orders "Do this do that". I wish my Dad was like that. I wish he would goof-off and play with us like that magician.

Back to reality...
Some people don't like how silly "Silly Billy" really is because they can't ever picture themselves being that silly. I can understand this because I'm not that silly. I goof off have fun, groan with them, laugh with them and if things really do go wrong, most of the time I'm the only one who knows that.

Adapting, changing sometimes is mandatory when dealing with kids. Yes, I'm scripted, but when an opportunity knocks jump on it. Some can't do that; to rigit with script and show.

I saw bits of Kyle's performance and he knows kids. He has the first requirement to be a children's entertainer. He loves to make them laugh, and he loves doing it.

Dennis
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Den:

Thanks for the kind words my friend. I do appreciate them. I just have always found myself liking kids and I feel I can relate to them a lot because even though I am noe 35, I am still so much a kid at heart. I tend to act silly and goofy around kids and they relate to me better. I have no problem allowing myself to be that way in my character so that the kids do not see me as this scarey adult, but see me as this funny magician guy who has helped them have a lot of fun that day. I do indeed truely love doing what I do.

I also like what Den said about seeing it and viewing what we do from the perspective of the child. This is a very interesting point and one worth exploring. The child is constantly being told not to do things and being lectured to on a daily basis by teachers and parents and other adults. When you hit the stage, they first see you in the same light. This is why it is so important to really break down that barrier between you and the children and do so quickly and in a fun manner.

You need to let them know you are not there to lecture them but you are there to entertain them and they will have a good and fun time with you. I often have the magic backfire on me but the kids get it right. in this way yes I do look goofy, but I am ok with that because I am empowering the child and making them feel good in the process.

But I will say that childrens magic is not for everyone. I am also here to say that it is OK not to be a children's performer. I know personally I would much better appreciate and respect a magician who admits he is not ready or prepared for childrens shows then one who obviously is forcing him or herself to do it just because they think they HAVE to.

I have learned over the years just who I am and who I am not and that works for me. I am a family entertainer and I strive everytime out to make an entertaining experience that they will love. When performing for children, I have fun with it as much fun as the children are having. It is that time when it is ok for me to act like a kid again and to be honest with you, I really enjoy the moment. I think my audiences do as well.

Kyle
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p.b.jones
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Inner circle
Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Hi,
My personal style suits me but I dare say it would not suit everyone. I do use look don't see ext. However, a large part of my show is putting the kids into situations which causes them to react to me and what has happened, I think this is why I have performed the same show (basicaly) for 20 or so years, although the tricks are the same no two kids react the same , yes there are broad catorgories of behaviour but never really two the same. I tend to tease the kids and I am good at it they know I am playing, I am not like terry sebrooke in that I am cruel (funnily) to them I just tease and try to bring the kids personality out. one thing I know its that they are going to get much better reactions than I ever will!
I was doing a family show in a hotel the other day and performing cards accross, I asked the boy to sit on the cards and because I had got him to open up and be himself by this point in the routine he said in a loud voice "OK but I had a big dinner I hope I don't Trump (fart) on them!" this stopped the show for several mins.

Phillip
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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Phillip:

hehehe great stuff. The kid would not have said that if he was not relaxed enough with your performance. I think you bring up a good point here. That is knowing your show well enough that you can have the ability to impovise the routine and patter based upon any situation or reaction you get from the children.

You encourage them to respond to you and improvise off of this response factor. In this way, even though the effects are the same, no 2 shows are exactly 100% the same because the kid's reactions are always different and your response to their reactions is always different. This can lead to great fun and rewarding entertainment.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Brent McLeod
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Inner circle
New Zealand
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Fabulous post & advice guys-I've learnt a lot on childrens entertaining here!

In previous posts Im quite scathing at times about poor childrens entertainers or lack of!!

Which in turn leave a poor taste & vision in the mouth of the parents etc & in turn they think of magicians in a poor light-Making it difficult to ensure future bookings at Hotels,conferences,clubs etc

I wish everyone could read this forum-Well said by all!!

True practical advice Entertainment is no 1 priority no matter where you perform!

Thanks guys!!

-Brent
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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The unfortunate part of entertaing for children, is you got to jump in and do it, unless you have a personal trainer to point out and correct the pitfalls before they happen.

Another option is join a magic club and select mambers who have done this to critque your show and give it a shot. A third method is to copy the tried and true methods of classic efffects such as the coloring book and slowly change it by adding items like Sammy Smith vanishing crayons.

Do a couple of free shows for local charities, but be sure of the age group you're performing in front of. Yes, mistakes will be made and a learning curve is there, but one must start somewhere. Realize the actions of the children are normal and plan for them in the future.
Dennis Michael
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