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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Really Ridiculous Rules!! (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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"I would like you to be very quiet in his show"

It's a common introduction, and that is why a prewritten introduction always helps.

The key words "controlled fashion" says a lot to me, but I don't think a beginner will understand what this really means.

Without kids screaming, shouting, and involvement as a group in "Planned Excitement" or "Planned Grouped Responses", my show would be a flop.

Planned excitement is like Steve Axtell's video on "Off the Meter". Planned Group responses would be, "Turn it Around", or any response I want them to say, so I can properly move on with either funny bits or actions based on the response.

At the conclusion of the school's show, especially school shows, it is the magician's job to quiet the kids down, so they leave the auditorium in an orderly fashion. Call that a rule, guideline, or opinion - failure to do that, you assume the "element of risk" for future bookings.

If they don't book you, then you can rationalize why they didn't in so many ways, unless they come right out and "truthfully" tell you why, which does not happen often. A simple, "We have decided to use another assembly program." would be a kind way to say we are not using you.

This posting, as well as others, does not reflect what may occur elsewhere or in other countries. Only personal experiences, as well as experiences of local club magicians and professionals I have encountered.
Dennis Michael
Billy Whizz
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Special user
Plymouth, UK
576 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-11-14 16:47, jolly roger wrote:
I have read people say you have to do this, or you have to do that when you are entertaining children!! Nonsense!


You say NO to rules, but you give them in other threads. The following is from just one of your posts:
Quote:
On 2006-11-12 17:13, jolly roger wrote:
1) Have a good website.

2) Have some good giveaways. I recommended the Tony Griffith Puppet. Also, a rolled up wand with contact info inside. Every entertainer working in London for Jolly Roger Entertainments gave these out at birthday parties, and they brought in masses of business.

3) Get a Database of email addresses of all your clients. I have already discussed this above, but let me know if you have any questions.

4) Use Google ad words/overture or similar, as discussed above. Stay ahead with new technology for promotion. Yellow Pages is not what it used to be!

5) Make sure you have a name people will remember. I have a separate thread going on The Little Darlings about this very important marketing ploy.

6) Have a good answering machine message...very important. Be creative with it. You will be amazed the number of people who have booked me entirely because of my message!

7) Be personable on the phone when taking a booking. Very important. Be business like...yet fun at the same time. I frequently get bookings entirely on the strength of my phone personality. Clients tell me they have been calling around, and find what I have to say is much more interesting. I am high energy and talk to the client about all sorts of things other than the show!! When I get round to the show, I usually clinch the deal.

8) Try the Eric Sharp idea of a business card in the shoe. It works like a dream.

9) Put your website, logo, and other stuff on your car if possible. I get lots of calls as a result of this.

10) At birthday parties, put your brochures in a special fun container like a cardboard cut-out wizard outside the clients house. Then, the mums will all pick one up as they leave. I never find the client minds this, plus it helps dress up the house for the party!!

Woodfield
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728 Posts

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Hey, for you guys that like to throw things into the audience, here's a routine I used. For an ending to my egg bag routine, I would take the egg and hit it with my other hand as if to break it, then I would toss it into the audience where it turned into white streamers. Great reaction, followed by a frenzy of kids grabbing
and tearing it into pieces. Of course, after the show, I was the one to clean up the mess.
If I give my opinion on this or any forum, I try to explain the rationale behind it. If my 25 years of experience as a full-time magician can help another performer do a better show, and avoid some possible mistakes that I've made, then I'm happy.
Woodfield
(no agenda, nothing for sale)
Billy Whizz
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Plymouth, UK
576 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-11-14 16:47, jolly roger wrote:
You must never do a show unless there are adults present in the room.


This is common sense, but you disagree with it. I still can't understand your logic!!
Jolly Roger
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Sedona, Arizona
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"It is the magician's job to quiet the kids down, so they leave the auditorium in an orderly fashion."

Hello, Dennis. Good to have you on board! I believe it is the first time we have spoken in cyberspace. Some good thoughts there, Dennis. However, I would disagree with the above statement. I frequently end my show in organised chaos, such as the snakes jumping out of the Peanut Butter jar, etc. However, after my show, if the kids are still over excited and enthused about what they have seen, I believe it is the teacher's job to calm them down. Just my opinion......definitely not a rule!! Ending a show like this on a high excitable note has not, I believe, ever prevented me getting re-booked.
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Oddly enough, even though I can let the spring snakes go into the audience now and then, I don't like the streamers or Mylar confetti getting into the audience.

I think it is because I can get back the snakes and stop the distraction. But, I can't do that with some of those other things.

How's this for a rule? I saw a performer put scissors into his mouth to free up his hands from holding them. He was doing cut and restored rope and didn't place the scissors onto his table or into his pocket after the first cut. I disagree with placing scissors into your mouth. I'm hoping it was just a temporary mental lapse -- not really sure why he didn't use his pocket. Does anyone here think it's OK to place scissors into your mouth, and why?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Scott O.
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Midwest
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Just don't do any "running gags" while you have scissors in your mouth. Smile



Seriously, it's probably not a good idea. Always best to set a good safety example when in front of impressionable young children. (IMO)
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Quote:
On 2006-11-15 12:16, Scott O. wrote:
Seriously, it's probably not a good idea. Always best to set a good safety example when in front of impressionable young children. (IMO)


Kind of like the advice of no chopper tricks or fire tricks?

What about impressionable older children? Smile

- Donald

P.S. I have done fire tricks, and also chopper tricks, in my kids/family shows at some time or another. But for the most part, I don't do them now.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
calamari
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The San Francisco Bay Area
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I have a huge list of things I think should never be done for a children's audience,
and I see children's entertainers break them all the time. Example - using inappropriate music. I saw one performer use Mambo Number 5 for a children's program...very upbeat music, happy, fun, etc... I just question the Gin and Juice line in the song as being appropriate for a kids show. (Not to mention the adult nature of the song to begin with.)
I just wish entertainers for children would think about their choices more. I am not a prude, religious zealot or think everything has to be Disneyesque to be appropriate for kids, but I think we should be very careful in our choices. It is our responsibility to provide quality and appropriate entertainment.
IMHO
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
Jolly Roger
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Sedona, Arizona
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This is the topic to which Billy Whizz is referring:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......tart=120

I think all children's entertainers should read this from the beginning, as there are some wonderful posts on there. However, your point, Billy, about me being guilty of having rules (quote, "You say NO to rules, but you give them in other threads.") makes absolutely no sense!
All I am doing in that post is offering some of my marketing tips to folks out there who have been asking for them. Where, I would like to know, do I use the word "Rules?"
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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Now you know why I haven't responded before... What works for you just will not work for many others, in my humble opinion.
Dennis Michael
John Bowlin
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Maryland
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Couldn't agree with Dennis more. If everyone abided by a certain set of "rules", what a boring lot we'd be! And what is acceptable in one venue, may not be in another...or at another point in time. Your perception of how your audience perceives you should be your best guide. If you aren't that perceptive, leave a questionnaire with each customer and some incentive to give you the feedback.
Jolly Roger
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Sedona, Arizona
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"If everyone abided by a certain set of "rules", what a boring lot we'd be!"

I totally agree with you, John! JR
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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Let's see, now ... picture some magician, somewhere, who has posted some "rules" ...

"Hey! You! Yeah, YOU! You're not abiding by my rules! I'm calling the cops!"

This is a little like the time I studied music (a lost cause) or journalism (also wasted on me) - I was young and stupid, and I hated it when somebody sat me down, showed me a piece of my work (complete with red pencil corrections and a failing grade), and told me that I seemed to have no idea what the rules were. I would reply that I was striving for something beyond the rules, and the instructors would point out one important fact: you need to understand and really absorb the rules before you can break them effectively or creatively.

Of course, being headstrong, I would think "that's bull." But looking back on the work, often from the perspective of just weeks or months, I would see that my work was genuinely, thoroughly bad, and that those attempts to "push the envelope" had no hope of producing a decent product.

You see, the rules weren't written to "keep me down" or dampen my creativity ... they were written because they define what works for sure, and what the audience will understand. I could START with work based on the rules and proceed from there to stretch beyond them far more effectively than if I just "flew off the handle".

Remember Robin Williams' first HBO specials? "Genius!", people cried, "he breaks all the rules, he's brilliant!" But looking back at them, you can see him building on a foundation of classic forms and letting his creativity fly from there. How else could the audience follow such a fast-paced stream of new ideas? Could you expect them to take off from the ground and appreciate someone flying so high? Would you expect him to be so funny without one really valuable tool: taking our "rule-based" expectations, leading us right to where we expected to go (according to the rules), and suddenly tweaking the whole train of thought?

Maybe one thinks of "punk music" and its successors ... "Breakin' all those stupid rules!" - Yeah? Then, show us your never-seen-before instruments - the ones that don't use the same notes Beethoven used. You're still up on a stage, and the audience is still down on the floor and paying at the door. It was the same in Shakespeare's day, show me something different (OK, Burning Man, maybe that's it.)

The rules are there to be broken. But if you don't understand them, you're just flailing. Nobody pays a dime for that.
Jolly Roger
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Quote:
Would you expect him to be so funny without one really valuable tool: taking our "rule-based" expectations, leading us right to where we expected to go (according to the rules), and suddenly tweaking the whole train of thought?


I actually think that is a very wise and scholarly post, Rossmacrae. Especially, the Robin Williams example. I agree totally with what you are saying. I do it all the time, and I believe in many ways I am a better children's entertainer because of it!
Harry Stanley
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Donald Dunphy just made reference to this interesting thread. It is interesting that JR can no longer contribute, but Magic Jeff can.........except for the fact that he is in jail, I believe.
keeblem
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Essex, UK
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Sorry, but what happened to Mr Roger?

Mark
LBP MAGIC
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Quote:
On 2006-11-14 16:47, jolly roger wrote:
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?


I agree with you on almost everything except one point. And I do think it should be a rule for ANY child performer. There has to be at least one adult in that room. In todays lawsuite happy world the last thing I need is false accusations.

The rest of the rules are funny to me. Never use cards. hahahahaha I open with a card trick!!! It might be the kids favorite thing that I do!
jay leslie
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Southern California
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The worst rules come from PTAs and school districts.......

(He said, sitting back and waiting for the thread to run into hundreds of posts)

One of the silliest was a custodian who was holding up the procession of kids coming in the MP because the floor needed cleaned and it was district policy to make sure everyone had a clean floor.

The problem - and I pointed it out to the man - was, all the kids sat in chairs - so I asked him how often the chairs were cleaned..... "Never' he replied. And with that he made a quick get-a-way looking like a beaten dog.

(Please continue. I'm getting a sandwich)
SpellbinderEntertainment
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West Coast
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I am not too fond of "rules" for the sake of having rules.
(Clean floors dirty seats and keep the kids waiting...right)

However, some rules keep performers out of jail
(or in some rare cases in jail where they belong)

Happy H'Days,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
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