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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How to handle heckling children (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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Greg, I heartily recommend "Seriously Silly" by David Kaye (aka "Silly Billy"). Understanding the different stages kid's egos go through can go a long ways towards dealing with them. This kid, being older, had to protect his status as "not one of the babies". If he looked like he enjoyed it - whether he did or not isn't the issue, because appearances are everything! - he would lose his top place in the pecking order. He *had* to do this to continue being the "big kid" - I mean, what self-respecting 8 or 10 year old ~doesn't~ know how every single magic trick in the world is done??!?

Depending on the ego strength and animal cunning of this kid, he could really make your show miserable if you fight with him. Then again, if he's just being a normal kid, why fight with him? He wants to be the big kid? Fine - "You know how magic is done? Great! My assistant couldn't make it today, and there's one trick I didn't think I could do because I didn't have someone to help me. Since you know magic, maybe you can help me." Then let him do domething like a card counting trick that always works, but this time it works for him in front of the little kids. The little ones were entertained, the big kid is involved and has even more bragging rights now, and the parents are wowed at your expert kid control.

Much better than fighting with the kids.

Ed
donrodrigo
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U.S.A. and Europe
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Put them center of attraction some get calm,be I'll teach you a trick at the end,If he yell's o I know I know!!!! psst.. don't tell anyone its our secret. finally I recommend Seriouslly Silly dvd try it for size.
MrFye
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I never get upset about a heckler if possible. I like to say, "Shhhhhh, it's a secret, don't tell anyone". That let's them feel like they're in on something together with me. Keep it light. If they persist, then I persist, "It's a secret don't tell anyone". I will say, "You don't want to spoil the magic for everyone else". No one wants to do that. If they are determined to disrupt the whole show then I call for the help of other adults. This is extremely rare for me, but it has happened. I think in my case it was a group of older kids. They had to be removed from the room by my girlfriend.
MrFye
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I'm not surprised the thumb tip from the smelly sock was a hit. That's a routine straight out of Seriously Silly. This book is must have if you're going to perform for children.
Dr_Ficino
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Quote:
Also, if you get a child that is really vocal or rude beyond the norm, call him up to be a helper on a trick.


Which, of course, works for most adults too!

And even though I tend not to go anywhere near kids if I can help it - David Kaye is actually one of the funniest men in the world - whatever your age - check out the extras on the DVD.

Ficino
MrMajestic
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Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in: I worked with kids doing magic almost every day this past summer, and the suggestion to bring the loud-mouthed one up to help is probably the most effective thing you can do. Also, starting your show will a quick statement that if anyone know how the trick works that they should keep it to themselves so as to not spoil the show. If you can size up the kids and find the one who you can tell is going to be the problem one, try saying it *almost* directly to him. And try not to make these statements in a scolding tone (which I've seen lots of kid magicians do and it sets up a very negative atmosphere) but more of a very genuine, just-short-of pleading tone.


Good luck to all!
The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible - and achieve it, generation after generation.
- Pearl S. Buck
MattSconce
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I also tell them that if they figure out a trick, they have become a magician with a secret. they need to keep it a secret and come tell me after. if they are right, I will tell them they are...or not....
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gbradburn
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Raleigh, NC
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Jym,

I'm glad to hear it went well. I did a birthday party once and there was a girl there, one of the neighbors, who wanted to grab all the attention she could. That was ok. But she caused quite a commotion when I was about to pop a balloon. I was doing a dove-from-balloon trick using a prop I had borrowed from a friend. It's brilliant, you take a balloon, blow it up for all to see, then pop it with a knitting needle or pencil or something. When it pops, you can produce a dove or silks or pretty much anything really.

When I was about to pop it she covered her ears and shouted "I don't want him to do it". I'm not sure but I think she may have had some real issues with loud noises.

Later, I passed out balloons filled with candy for the kids to sit on, to pop and get the candy. She really threw a fit then and yelled to all the other kids (about 20) it's not nice of you to do this when you know I don't like it.

I felt bad for her but didn't really think I could deviate from major components of my act for her.
There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.
critter
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Spokane, WA
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My girlfriends' kid is my toughest critic. The problem is that kids just don't look where they're supposed to. Too scatterbrained.
I have discovered that the 'sucker' tricks work on her. Where I pretend to show her a trick and then stump her with a better version.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
vincentmusician
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Toronto
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Hecklers?
That's a tough one. No matter what, you are going to get them every now and again. I can only give you a few ideas to reduce it from happening.
After 25 years as a Birthday Party Magician, I have noticed that as you gain more experience, it becomes less of a problem. First, how you feel about yourself makes a difference. If you are confident and sure of yourself, then the audience will be.
Second, have a strong show. Include some magic tricks that are different or not so overdone.
Third, try to have routines that are original. I have found that the heckling goes down if you do this. Also, show that you enjoy what you do and are at ease as a performer, what ever your style. Works for me. All the best
Russo
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So.California / Centl.Florida
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Hi ! Doing Birthdays for 50 years+, found that Effects done with a STORY -instead of ha ha, I FOOL YOU -or SEE how GREAT I AM-. Stories are a lot better. A heckler story - Once after I moved from California to the New Your City area - at a Party in Manhattan, a young lady (9yr) yelled out "Why do you 'taw'lk' so funny?" I just came from living all my Life in Calif. . -- <><> NOW living & retired from WDW. live in Central Florida, last 37 years. - Whew - Ralph ROUSSEAU (russo)
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