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Billy Bo
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Ive been asked to perform at a toddler group but the situation is very weird, one which I have never come across before. the lady has a christmas party and wants something different ie, me. the ages are from 6 months to 4 years max. even amounts of each age. first the lady said about balloon modelling but I can see this as a nightmare when some kids can hava balloons and others cant. safety first when it comes to balloons. she says the children wont sit down for a small show for various reasons such as most of the toddlers will want to get up and run around. she has also said she refuses to put away the toys and there is also a ball pond and bouncy castle. any advice greatfuly recieved

steve
chris mcbrien
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Tough situation. YOu've got toys, a ball pond and bouncy castle. I'm betting she has this idealistic picture in her mind about what will happen. That's ok and is understandable for an event planner. What may really happen..... You'll stand there with not all the kids, but the older ones, who will want balloon animals or magic. Perhaps a combo of both? A balloon animal for helpers, and for all afterwards?
If you do magic, do easy manipulation, like multiplying balls...a short and sweet set. Little kids will love to see teh bright ball appear and dissappear for about 30 seconds. Then do rigid rope...it's a blatant effect that's really easy to understand. Spring animals, anyone? Ideal place for this! Coin vanish/reappearence behind the ear, knee, head, back of arm...whatever. Kids this age love this. Miser's dream (fast and short)
PUPPETS! Kids this age love puppets. What about the bunny in the hat routine that got such raves here a while back? Dan Garrett, right? (Make it your own though, copying is crap).
Hope that helps.
Steve V
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For lil'er punks get regular balloons and blow 'em up part way so they are tough. The ones that get those won't associated the fact they didn't get a balloon animal. Play with the ones that are into the magic and don't worry about the lil' ones that are not. Should be fine.
Steve V
rossmacrae
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You're setting yourself up for a disappointed (clueless) parent - when you tell her what you need (like putting the toys away) and she refuses, it's only going to get worse. And I've never seen a magician who can lure a 3 or 4 year old out of a bouncy castle for any kind of magic (to them, the bouncy castle IS magic ... heck, to them, breakfast is magic - they're too young!)

You don't need the trouble - cancel and don't look back.
Neale - Bacon
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I would politely decline, explaining that she would not get what she needed from me for kids that young and with such other distractions.
Neale Bacon

Ventriloquist and Magician

Burnaby BC
danryb
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To me it would depend on how many kids in total.
If they are roughly 5 to 10 in each group, I would reccommend a good puppet show and give this lady a telephone number of a decent puppet show.
If they are say 10-15 in each group then I would aknowledge the fact that I am looking at about 20-30 three and four year olds and the same one and two year olds.
In this circumstance I would readily except the challenge and would give it my best shot.

What would I do?
I would set up my Amp and headset and when I am ready to begin, I would gather up as many kids as possible with the aid of the parents. This is a SHOW and everyone of all the ages plus the parents like the experience of sitting in rows to "watch a show".
I would perform material from magic story telling down to hand puppets and comedy with balloons (not hand outs) and other entertaining illusions. I would use 2 children to assist me. One realy young alert mature child to do some sponge balls andone of the older kids to fold up some silks for a good blendo effect.

All in all, I can vision this event to be great fun for both me, the kids and the parents and I believe that it is this type of event that people remember you for and apreciate.

Steve, would love your feedback, after your performance, to let us know how it all goes and what you did.
(please try to use the balloons as an after show axtra bonus and only if absolutely nesseccary)

Good luck, and tell them that Dani has a lot of experience with this group and reccommends letting out the air of the inflatables only during your performance so that you can get maximum concentration for you and the audience.

Dani
Starrpower
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Run as far and fast as you can away from this gig! You don't need it. The word-of-mouth that you'll get will be negative. It won't be fun. It'll put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. You don't need money THAT badly. That's all the reasons you should need. If you want more, just ask.
muzicman
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I disagree about it not being fun for yourself and the guests. Granted, it is "different" but what I hear you all saying is "you cannot entertain in this environment"? I think the 6 month old is a bit young but toddlers can be a lot of fun.

A formal sit down show would be difficult if not impossible but to stroll from group to group and making contact with each child would be a blast. I have been in this situation with friends and family gatherings in a social gathering (not as a gig) and I had a great time as did everyone I approached. Funny how many of those kids wanted me at their party and I got future gigs from those great gatherings. It also gave me a chance to network with the parents who I promised a special discounted show since they now "know" me. Cards are handed out and my phone rings.

(of course it's the same price as my regualr shows but I call that marketing strategies or misdirection..LOL)

Honestly, I wouldn't be so quick to turn this down unless you really can't make people laugh and have a good time at social gatherings where there are various activites and age ranges.
chris mcbrien
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Man, I'm really on the fence with this one the more I think about it! I would approach this as realistically as possible. Be VERY honest with her, as you have been, and let her know that your hoping she's not hiring you as the center of attention, but perhaps one of the many entertainments that people can try. Don't do a "show", just do walk around and relax, float from group to group, bring whatever you can fit in your bag.
I'm thinking, from my own experiences, this would be the safest way to go and leave a winner.
Chris
Daveandrews
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Taking into account the whole situation as described by Stevie D, and being booked as an 'entertainer', I too would decline for all the reasons mentioned above.

Yes, I could make an attempt but it would not be as successful as I would want - especially as I would be being paid.

I can see the whole place being organised (possibly disorganised) chaos, toys and 'bodies' all over the place, balls from the ball pond flying all over the place and children falling over them, parents buzzing around amongst it all to stop their child from hurting him/herself on this or that toy/bouncy castle and the noise level promises to be fairly high as well.

To me, this is what nightmares are made of!! If you do go ahead, Stevie, would be interested to know how it went.

Best of,

Dave
http://[URL]www.partymagic.org.uk" target="_blank">www.partymagic.org.uk" target="_blank">http://[URL]www.partymagic.org.uk

Winner of KIDabra International's 'People's Choice Award'
Winner IBM British Ring Dittia Shield for manipulation
danryb
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When we all start out as entertainers and are in it for the money as well as other things, we tend not to reject any request.
And visa-versa, we actualy long for that phone call to entertain at a party so that we can get our name about.
Also, when we all started off on our journey, we had no experience of what it would be like to perform for a croud of 2, 3, 4, 5 year olds or a mixed croud or 10, 20, 30 or 300 kids.
We couldn't know what it would be like until we "did it".

This is why I say - "just do it".
It will only go down in your books as "experience" at the very worst.
Money, you will be making. Experience, you will be gaining. Possibly also some promotion and if you look at this event positively and don't get scared away by all the uninspiring material some of you have posted in this topic, then this one gig could be, eventualy, to your advantage.

If you yourself had done this type of show in the past - then you yourself could judge wether or not to do it again. Until then - you are you best judge and it is well worth trying for the first time to see what your eyes could, otherwise, not see.

Please don't forget to get back to us on the outcome.

enjoy,
Dani

P.S True, this type of party is not suitable for every magicianentertainer and it is those that have tried, who know if they can do it or not a second time.
TomBoleware
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Quote:
On 2005-11-29 18:45, STEVIE D wrote:
Ive been asked to perform at a toddler group but the situation is very weird, one which I have never come across before. the lady has a christmas party and wants something different ie, me. the ages are from 6 months to 4 years max. even amounts of each age. first the lady said about balloon modelling but I can see this as a nightmare when some kids can hava balloons and others cant. safety first when it comes to balloons. she says the children wont sit down for a small show for various reasons such as most of the toddlers will want to get up and run around. she has also said she refuses to put away the toys and there is also a ball pond and bouncy castle. any advice greatfuly recieved

steve



Sounds to me like she doesn’t want a magic show, (she said they wouldn’t sit down) she wants someone to come do balloons.

If you do balloons, I don’t really see a problem, you setup off to the side and make balloons for an hour, if they pop you make another. (Do a trick or two in between balloons.) The small kids, the balloons are given to the parents.

You then collect your money, go home, and everybody’s happy.

Balloon people do this everyday.

If you don’t do balloons: I agree, walk around stuff is what you will need.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
muzicman
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It could also be an opportunity to network and get future bookings. Knowing what is expected of you as paid entertainer is ALWAYS important. Never assume you know what they want. Personally, I would welcome the change from a formal sit down show and enjoy every minute of it. As I stated earlier, I have been in this multi-group, multi-age, multi-activities situation before and I had a blast. I take advantage of every social gathering to meet new people and introduce them to my magic. A true entertainer doesn't need a formal sit-down show to entertain. Why would this gig be any different??

Quote:
Satrrpower wrote...
Run as far and fast as you can away from this gig! You don't need it. The word-of-mouth that you'll get will be negative. It won't be fun. It'll put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. You don't need money THAT badly. That's all the reasons you should need. If you want more, just ask.


That's ALOT of assumtions. Are these based on your own personal experiences?
Starrpower
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Well, it was partly in jest, partly based on experience. Toddlers at a 3-ring-circus can be more interested in a booger on their finger than what the performers are doing. I, personally, wouldn't find such a gig rewarding. I just don't think it would be fun.
Chrystal
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Hi,

I'm also on the fence about this one as seems to me, the woman in charge is directing more of what you should and shouldn't do. More experience under your belt and I would forsee you would be more in charge of directing what needs to be done when you perform. You are the one afterall, that has or will have the more experience in what works best in these types of functions. Most people that put them on have limited experience as to what is the best choice and you as the professional guide them through to make the event as successful as possible. This one is a tough call and only you can make the choice. You will have the noise of the bouncy casle..if it's held in a gymnasium and the generator is on to keep the castle afloat..even a quiet one..the noise is pretty overwhelming. That with children of all ages and various activities, plus the limited attention span of the little ones. Yuppers, a tough choice.

I do agree with those that mentioned that walkaround is far more appropriate for this type of gig than a stage or platform act. Far too many distractions around. I performed weekly for a few years at a Childrens Amusement Center a couple years ago. The manager would turn off the "rides" for 45 mins while I was able to do my show and turn them back on at the end of my show - however it was only experienced on both our parts that led to this. We both realized the background noises and distractions did not make my show as successful as it could have been. You want to be seen in the best light as possible and while difficult to turn down a show you should also know when it's best to pass it on to someone that can perhaps deal with the situation. An unsuccessful show through no fault of your own will do much more damage in the long run and sometimes it just ain't worth it.

Balloons..ohhh no! There may be those that disagree with my point of view but stay away from balloons at this age group. Unless you have excellent insurance (and even then insurance would not cover you if you gave a balloon to a child under the age of two). The World Clown Association, Clowns of America International and even those involved in the medical field are adament that balloons are extremely dangerous to a child under two. Little ones will mouth these as they can easily bite them and break them, unlike a round balloon. Granted giving them directly to the parent doesn't alway guarantee that you will not be found at fault..and parents will get upset if you refuse a give their little one a balloon. Even in the scenerio that should you only give them to 3 and 4 year olds...my bets are there will be broken pieces that a smaller child can easily pick up and place in their mouth. Balloons are dangerous as they cover up the windpipe and even CPR will not allow airflow - they are considered the leading cause of chocking of non food items in North America. Yah I know I sound like a worry wart and even if the case was 1-million chance I would never risk doing balloons at a function where there is so much going on and lots of really young ones.

Providing the organizer with this information as to the reason why you don't think balloons would work at this function not only helps her from a possible lawsuit but for yourself too. Remember you are the professional with far more experience with these functions that the average layperson has with organizing these events. (In most cases this holds to be true.)

I'd say go with puppets and lots of visual magic..put a smile on their face as that is afterall what will guarantee their meeting with you was memorable.

Best Wishes to you,
Chrystal
PROFED
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You have received good advice and tips in the other posts. If you do decide to do the gig, walk around with puppets and pocket type effects, color-changing silks, sponge balls or sponge rabbits would play well. for these age groups, squeekers will make you a hit and be a lot of fun. For the younger ages squeek your nose, and then for the three to four year olds, after they laugh and begin to trust you- squeek their noses.
flourish dude
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Why don't you offer to have a "Magic station" A spot where you set up a table and do close up - parlor style magic as they come to you. You could also do the balloons but I will tell you this, if you start balloons you will most likely get stuck doing balloons. Treat it as a street show for kids. Tell the booker that this will be a station and it is up to them if they want to come see you. At your station you could do anything from your show. Try to work in as many people as you can. Gather a small crowd. On a side note, I have work this type of thing before and they sat for the show just fine but I also work a lot of daycares centers and that has helped me learn how to work that age group. A lot of people think that young children will not sit for a 30-40 minute show but I do it all the time even with other things going on. I do like the "Magic Station" best for a carnival type situation.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
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itshim
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Personally I would really make sure that I knew what was wanted before I agreed to do this. If they want balloons, then sure do balloons, but make sure the parents are aware of the dangers and make it their decision as to whether the child gets a balloon. I have yet to go to a party where parernts of 2 year olds or younger aren't present.

I wouldn't even think of performing a show if a bouncy castle is in the same room. In fact I insist that any bouncy castle is turned off before I start or I leave. There is no point trying to compete and if the parents can't see this that is their problem (not that this actually happens as parents tend to be reasonable).

If you are doing walkabout then big and visual is really good in a noisy enviroment. Pulling 18" silks out of a childs sleeve for example. I tend to do tricks with my hat which gets a very good response from a young group.

Nigel
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

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Jimmy Joza
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The only advice I will offer at this time is: how do you feel about doing this event? Is it something you want to do when you look at the whole picture? Is it clear what you can offer to this age group and what is expected of you? And how do these expectations fit in with who you are as a magician/entertainer? The bottom line is that your apprehension is pretty clear. Can you take this job and work with or through the apprehension? The answer to that will guide you as well as some of the suggestions that others have already made. Let us know what came of all this.

Jimmy
"Those who simply walk in others' tracks leave no footprints."
danryb
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Steve, whatever came out of this one?
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