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MrBrett
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I just did a show for a birthday party of 15 5-7 year old kids. They were hyper, each and every one of them. they were running around, taking stuff from my performance, shouting, etc. I was waiting for the parents/hosts of these kids to calm them down but they did not. What would you do? Would you stop the show and ask kids to sit down and stop talking? or would you let them run around but remind them not to take you things???
DeaconBlu
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Nothing like sugared up kids to wreck your day. The act I do involves a suitcase. Most everything I use I keep in there with the exception of a few items. When I see the mob is uncontrollable I don't open my suitcase. I go ask the the person I have the contract with settle the kids down. I have a contingency in my contract that says they can opt out of the performance if they want to. If they insist on me doing my act then I leave it them to corral the kids and settle them down. If they can't/won't do it, what chance do I have?

The 'sit and watch' show I do lasts a half hour to forty minutes. After that I sit somewhere and do balloon sculptures, paint faces or do magic tricks on command (but not by request). I'm contracted at the party for an hour. I usually don't mind if it goes long, I like kids (generally speaking).

The contingency in my contract reads something like this... if the kids don't want the magic show then I'll stay for two hours and do balloons, paint and perform command magic. I think the deposit is the key. If they've put money down they can't get back they'll work with you.
Keith Mitchell
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I am no expert at Magic yet. Thinking about what you have said so far, I would probably start with a loud bang just to grab their attention. You will probably have to talk with a loud commanding voice. Point your finger at them while talking. If there is a birthday child make sure you have them as the volunteer and not someone else. I made that mistake once and it blew up badly.

Get some advice from a school teacher, I assume they would be the experts on little brats.

Hope that helps some.
BrianMillerMagic
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A loud bang to grab their attention? Pointing your finger at them? Enough little children are afraid of clowns and magicians to start with; you don't need to scare them into a state of shock. And of course if it is a Birthday the show should be all about them. Like DeaconBlu said, there ought to be something in the contract that relates to a situation that is essentially out of your control. Of course dealing with children is not entirely out of your control, but you are not being paid to babysit. You are being paid to entertain and it is not your job (necessarily) to act like a preschool teacher in order to begin your show.
Loual4
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About three years ago, I had a similar situation : Fully uncontrollable kids... It doesn't happen very often to me, thank goodness!

The situation was the following: Birthday party at the local Jungle Jungle. For those for not familiar with what a "Jungle Jungle" is, it is a place for children parties, with lots of playpens filled with balls, things to climb on, tubes to play in (they resemble a sort of three dimensional maze...), LOTS of noise...

The lesson learned? I do not do shows at these places anymore. I know I can't give my best performance there, so I prefer not to ruin my reputation as a children entertainer when I know the venue will stop me from getting the kids attention.

As for other places where I perform ( like peoples homes, community rooms, etc...), the people know I need 10 minutes to "set up". I tell them before I get hired. So they keep the kids away for this little time. When they come to see the show, I tell them where to sit.. and the rest is audience management and interaction...

Have a nice day!

Louis Jutras
jolyonjenkins
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Tried a whistle?
Jolyon Jenkins
Keith Mitchell
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How about a loud whoopi cushion. Something to make them laugh, not shock them. My earlier post I said some strong words, it was not my intention to terrify them. I am sure there are plenty of stuff to get their attention without scare tactics.

Are there books out there on how to do Magic for kids? They should have a few pages on how to gain their attention.
evolve629
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Quote:
On 2007-01-06 20:59, MrBrett wrote:
I just did a show for a birthday party of 15 5-7 year old kids. They were hyper, each and every one of them. they were running around, taking stuff from my performance, shouting, etc. I was waiting for the parents/hosts of these kids to calm them down but they did not. What would you do? Would you stop the show and ask kids to sit down and stop talking? or would you let thwm run around but remind them not to take you things???

NO sugar, candy or sugar pop allowed! Smile
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Greg V
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At the beginning of the show do somewhat of a "warm-up" with the kids to get all their hyper-ness(is that even a word?) out of them. We still want them to have a good time, but not to be running around going crazy. At the end of my show I usually do a candy production for all the kids, so you might say something like, "If you all sit down you'll get a treat... etc." I know that might sound like bribery but it works. If the kids sit down and pay attention they will get a lot more our of the show.
-Greg
Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.
MrBrett
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Thanks a lot everyone, these 'tactics' will really help. IN my situation the children were actually up n the middle of the show. It was mainly one child who couldn't keep his seatand then distracted the other children from the performance. I suppose it is inevitable that this will happen so when I caought most of the childrens attention I resumed at a normal pace and volume. Untill then I basically took things really slowly so those who wished to "tune back in" could do so without missing anything major.

The system I hope to be using soon for my show is take the tricks from a perforance box-like table and when I'm done with them have a large metal box (im forgetting the word for these boxes right now) and toss the tricks into the box as I finish them.
Greg V
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Sounds like you handled the situation quite well. When it comes to the one "problem child" (there seems to be one if every bunch) you could always try the old 'tactic' of giving this child a specific job or getting him or her to come up and help you with a special trick.
Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.
Bendy
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A few months ago, Michael Mode suggested a book to me: "Seriously Silly" by David Kaye, (a.k.a. Silly Billy). I bought it and was very pleased. If you do, or will ever do, magic for an audience that is mostly children, then you should get that book. It is an absolute wonderful resource that gives practical, applicable insight into the psychology of various aged children and provides guidance for those times when things go wrong or are out of control.

My sincere thanks go out to Mr. Mode for the recommendation and thanks to Mr. Kaye for putting what he's learned over the years down in ink so that the rest of us can benefit! Now, my advice to you is the same given to me: You HAVE to get "Seriously Silly" by David Kaye. You'll never look at a room full of children the same way again.
what
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The first thing you should do is take a look at "The Little Darlings" section here at the Café. There are many threads that deal with audience control.

You will get much more advice than this, but this is my simple advice:

1. Wear a costume that unmistakably itentifies you as an entertainer.
2. Have a line, and a performing area that looks like entertainment.
3. Bring your props out of boxes & bags, Adds mystery to the show.
4. If you are seriously wanting to get crowd control in a hurry, use pre/post music.

The "Seriously Silly" book is an excellent resource. Very Highly recommended

Please do not use any loud bangs, whistles, or scare tactics of any kind. You are not an Army General.

Although I bet you could get the kids in line with a simple game of pretend and march them into their seats military style if you put your mind to it.

Enjoy,

Mike
Magic is fun!!!
TheGiz
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Cake & Ice cream are always served AFTER the show. The cattle prod and bull whip help too.
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Father Photius
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Performer has to be in command, someone here once recommended a "magic rope" which was run between audience and performance area. And all children were told that the magic would only work if they stayed on their side of the magic rope, anyone crossed the magic rope, the magic would stop. That sounded like a good idea.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Ed_Millis
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I always explained that the line was the boundary to a special spell. If you got too close, you would no longer see the magic show. It would look to you like I was just standing still. <g>

Ed
SeasideShowman
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Quote:
On 2007-02-05 17:17, Ed_Millis wrote:
I always explained that the line was the boundary to a special spell. If you got too close, you would no longer see the magic show. It would look to you like I was just standing still. <g>

Ed


Ed,

That's very funny and spot on !! Remember too that this is a professional appearance and you should have a professional introduction written. Short, sweet and to the point. When it is time for the show, have the party host ensure that everyone is seated and paying attention and then announce/introduce the entertainer. Nothing like getting the show off to a good start - after that, it's up to you to keep their attention.

Cap'n Mike
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Habu
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Quote:
On 2007-01-06 23:22, DeaconBlu wrote:

The contingency in my contract reads something like this... if the kids don't want the magic show then I'll stay for two hours and do balloons, paint and perform command magic.


What is command magic as opposed to on request? I'm not sure what the term refers to.

I like most of the ideas here. As to preventing it I liked going from one trunk to the table to another trunk...one piece of apparatus out at a time. Besides being easier to control their access to my investments, it also keeps their attention directed on what I'm doing, not the props behind or beside me. I also like to make sure the parents are aware that they are supposed to be present and in control of the children...some parents want to dump off the kids and drink coffee in a different room, although most will want to see the show too. Lots of good advice up there on preventing that I do or will use.

As for reacting to the situation; there is nothing wrong with stopping the show, asking the children to sit down and concentrate on the magic so it will start working again while you put away items that are in danger.

As a substitute teacher I frequently have classes where the children know I'm not the "real" teacher. I always have been able to control them by starting to draw a cartoon character on the board. Then I stop and let them know I can only continue if they are quiet and are doing thier work. Bribery? Sure, but they get their work done, have fun and we have a good day. BTW this works on high school students too...even they like cartoons it seems. This can and will work just as well with parties too...if you have actually been entertaining them, if you have failed so far at entertaining them then a bribe will not work.
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Habu: Taken from SR-71 spy plane I worked on. It's name came from a poisonous snake on Okinawa. Hope my magic isn't poisonous!
DStachowiak
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I don't do children's shows, mainly because I don't have the personality it takes to engage and entertain them, but as a parent of two grown children and veteran of many, many birthday parties, sleepovers, holiday parties, picnics and school outings, I have had a lot of experience with kids in groups.

15 kids in the ages between 5 and 7 is an insane number. The parents in this case were out of their minds. 15 kids, high on sugar and itching for trouble! It conjures up images of Dodge City before Wyatt came to town!

We learned early on that the optimum party for kids in that age range was less than 5 guests.

One question you should ask, when booking a function, for kids or for any age for that matter, is "How many guests will be attending?"

You were totally outnumbered, surrounded, and never had a chance!
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
Habu
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Try 28 preschool kids... Smile

I don't think most parents are willing to shell out too much money for a magician and only invite 5 kids. At least not a middle income family. Wealthy folk think differently I'm sure.

It's been a long time since I did any performances, but I did children's parties of 10 to 20 kids frequently and didn't have a problem with the size of the group. In fact larger groups make more of a ruckus and are more fun many times.

But you do have to like kids and have the temperment for it, my wife would be sent to Rikers Island in no time!
www.magicbyhabu.com
Real name: Rick Jackson
Habu: Taken from SR-71 spy plane I worked on. It's name came from a poisonous snake on Okinawa. Hope my magic isn't poisonous!
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