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Jolly Roger
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Sedona, Arizona
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It has been a while since I posted a new topic in The Little Darlings, but something I have been coming across all over other threads is magicians talking about rules! As many of you who have read my sometimes controversial posts may have noticed, I am not someone who likes rules. I actually think that the downfall of many entertainers, both adult and children, is that they go too much by the rule book. I have read people say you have to do this, or you have to do that when you are entertaining children!! Nonsense! Children themselves, for the most part, hate rules, so why should we who entertain them be any different?
Here are a few examples of rules I have read. You must never end a show with a vanish. You must never let spring snakes jump out into the audience. You must always have a live animal in your show if you want to get more bookings. You must never make jokes about a child's name. You must never do a show unless there are adults present in the room. You must never do card tricks or rope tricks for children. You must never do classics like the Linking Rings for children, etc., etc. I could fill a book with this stuff.
It is all nonsense, in my opinion, and it is up to the individual performer to perform to their very best ability, and not worry all the time about stupid rules that people make up and write down in books or type out on magic forums. Rules are there to be broken, in my opinion. What do others think?
Magic Jeff
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I think you are mistaking "rules" for opinions.
Everyone is different.

I'm pretty loose in my show, pretty crazy, in fact. I get kids wet, dirty, things like socks fly out into the audience, etc. But I know one guy who does a trick for kid shows where he takes his shirt off. (don't ask) So, are you saying that you have NO rules (like clothing), or you just have certain preferences?

I don't think we need to make fun of people's preferences here on this board.
Let's help out some others instead. Be positive.
calamari
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The San Francisco Bay Area
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No rules, anything goes... I think you are just talking about rules you don't like, not all rules... (rules = opinions = preferences = wisdom from experience)
Most entertainers would not do geek magic for kids, like skewer through tongue. Kids would most likely love it, but the thought of some 6 year old sticking something sharp in their mouth in an attempt to emulate the performer keeps most sane performers from doing this. Objects into the audience - sure the kids love it, but my experience shows that most kids will try to fight for their chance to touch, hold, or whatever, something thrown into the audience... This can lead to injury, anger, fights, or crying... This is not what I am shooting for, and I gladly pass up the chance of causing any of that sort of thing. But we all have the right to our own opinion, no matter how wrong it is. (And, yes, I mean mine, also.)
Rich
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
Jolly Roger
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Maybe I should rephrase my original post. No rules.......just common sense! JR
Ed_Millis
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For my level, I relish the rules that others present. It gives me a framework to stay safely within while I build my act. I think it's a lot like music or writing - know the rules, then you will find where your style and abilities allow you to break them and become unique.

Ed
Ron Reid
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Hello, Jolly Roger:

I've not seen very many posts about rules. Like Magic Jeff as already said, I think you're confusing advice/opinions with "rules".

I think most of us agree that dogmatic rules aren't usually good, but sound advice from the mouths of those who are experienced is good.

Ron Reid
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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What looks like "rules" ("Booo! Nasty repressive rules! Bad!") may just be strong statements of opinion - but please consider that those opinions were very likely formed from long (and sometimes sad) experience.

I have rules that I gladly pass on to others in the field about "no fire, no liquids, no candy productions" ... isn't that drab and boring? Stodgy? Well, each of them came from an experience I wish I had never had.

As with finance ("Don't tell me not to speculate, I can invest in this scheme and make a million!"), sometimes boring and conservative is the way to go...if you want a future. If that results in drabness, find some other way to add sparkle.
Jolly Roger
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"Snakes from PB jar: Rule #7 in The Basic Kid's Magic Show Rules Book, says don't send something into a kid audience unless you want mayhem and/or the object to be ripped to shreds."

This is straight out of another thread on the Café. If you would like the link, I will give it to you. I will give you more examples in due course.
Smoke & Mirrors
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Quote:
On 2006-11-14 21:07, jolly roger wrote:
This is straight out of another thread on the Café. If you would like the link, I will give it to you. I will give you more examples in due course.


So, that was someone's opinion.
Makes sense.
Doesn't mean you have to agree.

What is your point here?
That you want mayhem? That's cool for you.
I had a kid wet their pants they were so excited and screaming about my Silver Scepter. Others were doubled over laughing, some were shouting. It was mayhem, and nothing got destroyed.

All opinions and personal taste, JR.
Jolly Roger
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"So, that was someone's opinion."

Where is the word "opinion" mentioned, Smoke and Mirrors? I only see the word "Rules" there. Opinions are great! Hard and fast rules are what my opening post is about here. That is what I object to - Rules. Hard and fast rule books. Very different! If I listened to all the rules laid down over the years in various media about how to entertain children, I think I would have to give up my profession and take up a day job!!
Smoke & Mirrors
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"The Basic Kid's Magic Show Rules Book"

I don't think that book really exists. I think you had your leg pulled!

Don't get mad at me, I'm a nice guy. I just don't understand this post, except to pick on what others do?
Donald Dunphy
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In my opinion (not rules), it's OK to let spring snakes go into the audience on some occasions. Just be prepared for them to get mishandled by the children now and then, and also realize there may be some temporary pandemonium.

If it gets too much out of control, show the kids your new Lamborghini. They might be distracted by shiny objects. Smile

- Donald

P.S. I also like the classics of magic!
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Jolly Roger
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http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......9&27

Hello Donald,

I am not doing this in any way to promote my products, but there is a thread out there at the moment which is discussing this very subject of spring snakes. Check it out!
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2006-11-14 22:47, Donald Dunphy wrote:
In my opinion (not rules), it's OK to let spring snakes go into the audience on some occasions. Just be prepared for them to get mishandled by the children now and then, and also realize there may be some temporary pandemonium.


At one time, I held a different opinion about the snakes because I didn't like the lack of control and the mishandling of my props. So, I would have had a different opinion at that time.

Sometimes, opinions change.

And like I said, I think it's OK to do it on some occasions (and therefore, not OK on some occassions).

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
kimmo
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Sheffield
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I suppose we all develop our own styles and figure out what works for us. In that sense, we create our own set of self-imposed 'rules' for our own performances. I am quite happy to accept that what works for me won't work for everyone else, and I'm the first to point that out when offering advice to others on here.
For example, I always do a card trick in my kids show, I do linking rings, I detest long routines full of repetition, and I will not perform a trick, even for the very young, if I think the magical content is weak. However, I respect that there are many brilliant entertainers who would disagree with all of the above. How boring it would be if everyone worked in exactly the same way!
We all speak from experience and are passionate about our opinions, but I don't really think anyone is trying to impose their own 'rules' on anyone else. Even your 'anything goes' approach could be seen as a self-imposed 'rule', Jolly Roger, and judging by the reactions you get from a crowd, it's obvious that it works for you!

I enjoy hearing other people's views on entertainment - especially if they challenge my own. Sometimes, I will try something out just because someone else tells me it won't work!! Who knows - maybe in the next show I will end with the rabbit vanish!!
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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Know the rules, and then make a decision which to hold (that work for your persona) and which to bend or throw away.

A couple of days ago, I watched the Jolson story. He started singing in the synagogue and ended up breaking many rules because what he did made sense. I am one that likes to turn the house lights on during some points of stage shows. I didn't realize until watching the movie that at one time that was a "no-no".

What was common didn't work for him, and he was told "no way" for quite a long time before he, i.e., changed the style of song "accepted."

This nearly normal guy has to balance dancing to the beat of a different orchestra(and yes, sometimes providing his own music) with connecting to the audience. Sometimes, I have held onto a bit/joke that I knew did not fit my audiences..

This week, I will be sharing on the elements of comedy in 5 middle school classrooms.

Elements, like rules, can be a great foundation for your, mine, and our programs.

Sometimes, though, it is still fun to risk...that is when I grow.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
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Dennis Michael
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Change the word "rules" to "guidelines". If you want to use them, do so at your own "risk"... Risk meaning...be prepared to offend, be prepared to get negative testimonials, be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.

Do you HAVE to use a rabbit (Animals)? NO. Must you NOT do 20th Century Underwear? NO. Must you take into consideration the cub scouts will step on the little kids hands and squash them trying to get that snowflake or candy thrown into the audience, or jump on other scouts trying to get that spring snake. NO!

"Common-Sense" is a phrase I eliminated from my vocabulary, because that phrase really means one's level of experience and intellect on a topic. It is an insult phrase. An experienced children's magician's common sense is quite different than beginners, or one who is well versed in magic just getting into children entertainment.

What does a magician want when he is performing for children? A topic that can fill numerous books. I attend KIDabra International every year, and every year I learn more and more from those who experience those little "flaws" or mistakes, which were not anticipated. Experienced children's entertainers use the audience reactions, plan for the unexpected, and build on those funny moments. We learn to avoid the "political incorrect", or at least take the "risk", if we choose to use it.

These are not rules. They are all guidelines to increase marketing, booking, stage presence, and quality of one's show. (And much More) We learn certain characters and certain locations in the states, as well as other countries, see things differently. There are NO MUST Do’s and MUST Don’ts, only advice from the experienced.

One chooses what they are willing to do. Do not do card tricks for kids is sound advise for numerous reasons. However, it does not mean you can't do Pro Viper, Card in Balloon, and hundreds of others. Card Tricks can be done if done "Right". There are hundreds of card tricks that should not be done. Do I do them? Yes, especially with boy scouts. Are there more better choices in my vast library of magic that is better than some of these standard card tricks designed for kids? Yes, so I make choices on what I do based on numerous factors, hence guidelines.

And most importantly, the need for an organization like KIDabra International is to teach others the vast amount of knowledge that can push a children's entertainer into the business world of family and kid show entertainment much faster than learning it on your own or through books.

This, of course, is my opinion.

Dennis

PS...Want to do School Shows and gain respect from the employer (principals and teachers have a lot to say)? Then you better understand this concept of "rules", and how to properly apply them, if you want to consider full time work. An "unorderly crowd" is different than a "controlled crowd of children responding as they should".
Dennis Michael
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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Different strokes for different folks.
A mother called last week to book. She requested the snake can trick.
She said, "Dave loves that bit. He thinks it's funny."
Another requested the "flaming book". I told her I don't use fire in front of children.
Also, as J/R says --common sense.
Richard.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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As someone who has done a few school shows, I realize the importance of a good connection with staff and kids. I work in a middle and high school, full time.

By risk, I mean adding a bit - i.e. before juggling a basketball and 2 baseballs...the first time, I brought on a H.S. Basketball player on the court for a quick 1 on 1. (It played well.)

Doing a magic routine with improv mixed in...(Getting a subject, emotion, place...)
is a risk.

Talking with our principles/principals, counselors, and staff, I get to hear feedback about the presenters for our media center and gym assembly programs. It is equally important to have good relationship with custodians and Caféteria persons.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Now, where is my accordion?.....Currently, I am thinking of adding last years Xmas present to my routines. I am going to play a song called, "I don't know how to play the accordion....."

Along with seeing other magicians, I suggest going to see presenters on History(i.e. Civil War), Herpetologist, percussionist/musicians, as they share in kid and family programs....

According to "Hoyle"...er
The Nearly Normal One...

aka

Harris "Still Learning after a few 24 hours in the biz" Deutsch
Laughologist
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Jolly Roger
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I do many school assembly shows. The part I enjoy most is when the Principal gets up there and says: "I would like you all to welcome our guest speaker today. His name is Jolly Roger, and he is all the way from England. I would like you to be very quiet in his show and listen to everything he has to say!"
At this point, I enter into my warm up and get the kids screaming and shouting, and there is apparently utter mayhem in the audience. Much of this consists throughout the show (naturally, in a controlled fashion), and at the end of the show, when the principal asks me back again the following year as she tells me she has never seen the kids enjoy themselves so much, I scratch my head and wonder if she remembers her opening remarks!
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