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Andrew Mann
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G'day, I was just wondering what techniques some of you use to get children to remain at a safe distance back from the peformance.

In the past I have used a rope layed out a few feet away as a Don't cross line, but find during the show sometimes children start playing with it, or hide it etc.

Any other good alternatives, to save children being stepped on flattened and having to be sent home in a postpack!
kenscott
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Blue painters tape. It has worked great for me for many years now.

Kids sit behind it and it is easy to pull up off the floor.

Ken
threecardmonte
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Ken is right. Kids are used to sitting behing a line.
magicgeorge
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I've used a line a couple of times but I didn't like it. The reason was it gave the audience the wrong shape! I know it sounds a bit crazy but there is some logic here. If the kids are sitting in a bunch in the middle of the room then you have eye contact with all of them. You look into the centre of that group and they all feel a lot more involved in the show and also you have more control. when the line was used they tend to spread out along it. A much better idea, in my opinion anyhow, is one I've learnt from the Café and that is to have them sitting of a mat/rug of some sort.

George
Bill Nuvo
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Well, a number of techiques can be used.

First telling them the rules that you need a stage area is a good way to start.

You can use various line/group techniques already mentioned.

Stand in front of your props. Have them at the "back" end of your stage. You should be the focus, not your table. This way you create a boundry because you need that space to move around in. Be energetic and move around a lot. They won't want to get in your way.

Do some "dangerous" juggling or something similar that will make them move back!

Did I say don't stand still? Again this is very important. If you stand in one place it invites the kids to creep up to you. What do you need this stage area for anyway? Move about. It creates a higher energy show also.

Pepper spray works.

Make sure that there is a path to get to your "stage" area from the audience middle. Volunteers stepping on hands to come up can be detrimental to your performance. Of course this is for the larger type audeinces but can also work in small areas crammed with 14 children.
Chad C.
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Quote:
On 2006-10-24 07:53, mrbilldentertainer wrote:

Pepper spray works.

Make sure that there is a path to get to your "stage" area from the audience middle. Volunteers stepping on hands to come up can be detrimental to your performance. Of course this is for the larger type audeinces but can also work in small areas crammed with 14 children.


Pepper spray would work...as would stepping on the audience's hands if they got to close. Ok, maybe those aren't the smartest suggestions.

I stand where I want them to start sitting and hold my arms out to either side and have them sit right there, then everyone else sits behind those on the front row and we are ready to go. I to move around a bunch so I rarely have anyone scooting up.
Regan
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Orange, safety cones.

Regan
Mister Mystery
Skip Way
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I'm with George on this one. For my library shows, company picnics and festival children's stage, I've found a large, lightweight rug or tarp to be ideal for controlling the wandering munchkins. For birthday party and classroom shows, I have a smaller alphabet rug that rolls and stores very easily. It's almost as good as barbed wire and guard towers...and the parents appreciate the clean, dry surface. I just saw Richmond peer Brad Matchett at the NC State Fair and he uses a 10' x 10' vinyl tarp with his sponsor's logo emblazoned in the center...VERY smart! By giving the children a recognizable space you make life easier for them and yourself. Four sides is far better than a single line.

I also recommend Barry Mitchell's footprint mats for the same reason. Children who are picked to help are asked to stand on the strategically placed footprints. The children stay where you put them and automatically face the way the footprints are facing.

In THIS case, think INSIDE the box!!

Skip Smile
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Neznarf
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Kids know about lines from school and they usually stay behind it.

Except if you drop someting they they attack.

I also use blue masking tape from Home Depot.

Even if it's a sand or grass surface.

I'll find a rock for each end.

Barry Mitchells footprints seem to slide around to much.

So I don't use mine.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
Neznarf
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They they really do!

oops!!!

Spellcheck please?
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
rossmacrae
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They pretty much ignore any type of line I try to lay down on the floor (what they did when I tried a bright yellow rope ... I've blocked it from my mind, it's just too horrible.)

But I do tell them exactly where I want them to sit, as they enter, and then I don't usually have to ask them to move back ... well, the range is usually about 0 to 3 times per show.

"Let me get everybody to take one good scoot back ... you don't wanna look up my nose, it's a horrible sight. Maybe one more ... baaaack, baaaack, baaack (I sound like a chicken, 'buck buck buck!')" and always at the end, "Thank you, now you can see me and I can see all of you!"
kenscott
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Kids always scoot up, and I am not a fan of having to keep telling kids to scoot back. It takes away something from the show if you keep having to tell the kids to scoot back.

IMPO the blue tape works great for me. In fact the parents at my birthday shows tell me when I put the tape down "you can tell you have done this before". As mentioned above, kids know what to do when there is a line.

Yes the foot prints move to much for me too. Tim Sonefelt has some great stars that I use and they work great for my helpers.

Ken
Al Angello
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Like Regan I create a "no kid zone" by useing small orange safety cones. They come in an 8 pack from the hardware store. The parents understand and obey this concept, but the kids pay no attention to it. The cones do pack small, and really look impressive. Where can I get some velvet rope, now that stuff is feared by all?
Al Angello
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Payne
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I never use a line and keep the children back through sheer force of will:)
On the rare occasion that I experience creep I just tell them to scoot back. I perform mainly at Libraries though and the kids there have generally been well trained by the librarians to sit in one spot.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
kimmo
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I've never used any kind of line either and can't remember having any problems keeping them back. Maybe I should change my deoderant! Smile
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Doodad
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Barbed, electrified wire seems to work well. I'm sorry...blue painters barbed electrified wire.
Alikzam
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I always just put my table closer to the audience than I will be performing. Then the kids ususally sit far enough back (they aren't stupid!). Then when I start my show, I move my table back and then stand where they can move up to, and I tell them they can move up closer to where my feet are, and they will form a semicircle/line up to my feet.

Its always worked for me. No need for tape or anything special.
TrickyRicky
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The blue tape idea is great. I've used it for many years.
The schools in Toronto teaches the kids to respect other's space.
I use that to help keep the children from not venturing into my space.
Even when I'm setting up. If the kids start to wonder around to peek,I enforce the (my space) rule.
My most effective way of keeping them back, is to use 2 sponge bricks. I tell them that there is an invisible line from one brick to to the other. The ones who don't cross it might get to help the magician.
Richard.
MikeDes
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I found at Hank Lee's this yellow plastic ribbon that looks just like the Crime Scene ribbon used. The only exception is that is says "Magic Zone - Do Not Cross".

When doing floor shows I put two of these up. One on the floor like a line and one at knee level. This really controls where both the kids and adults go prior to the show. When the show is about to start and everyone is seated, an assistant removes the high one just leaving the one on the floor.

I found this to be effective and people get a kick out of this ribbon.
Andrew Mann
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Thanks for the ideas, will put them to use and see how they go!
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