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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » The Best Children's Magicians aren't Magicians at all! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MagicSanta
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Ahhh...I'm sitting here thinking of all the people reading this saying "yeah, that is the way I do it...entertain 'em" and then they'll go out and do canned routines without putting anything of themselves into it and using tired jokes they heard of some DVD. Bummer.
MagicSanta
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I think I need to clear up something based on a PM I received. Someone felt that the use of the word 'canned' was in reference to a specific magician who sells a wonderful routine based on the use of cans simular to PB and J. When I used the word 'canned' it means that someone buys a routine and uses it as is, this expression comes from the idea of buying canned food items that you don't mix yourself you just pour it out of the can and heat it up. I apologize if the individual who created the routine in question felt this was a knock to him, it was not what so ever, it was a knock to 80% of those doing kids shows that think if they buy five complete routines they can do a show, well they can, it just won't be as good as the other 20% of us are doing. Thank you.
flimnar
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Nothing is always, everything is sometimes......a beautiful thing it is (to me), that among the rich variety of human beings with their unique and distinct personalities, likes/dislikes, communication styles, and personalities, we manage to identify different purposes, methods, goals and measures of our success. It is terrific that those who have contributed to this thread are achieving their goals in magic/performing with integrity and excellence. A worthy goal for us all...

Flimnar
"This one goes to eleven..." Nigel Tufnel
Bill Scarlett
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Quote:
On 2007-04-28 19:26, Richard Lyn wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-04-28 18:57, magic4u02 wrote:


Let us say that the trick is a plain pizza. There is nothing wrong with the pizza as is and the kids may eat it and think nothing of it. However, the entertainment value you add is like the many layers of toppings you can place on this pizza to make it even more special and rewarding an experience. Each "layer" gives the children something more to enjoy.
My 2 cents.
Kyle

Kyle.
The paragraph above should be looked at by everyone. It is well said by Kyle.
A entertainer with lots of knowledge and experience.
The toppings are, as the British would put it(The Business).
Tricky Ricky




Kyle has posted some great stuff here, one of the most thoughtful posters on this place. Thanks Kyle.

By the way, I read that you are going to be lecturing at the SAM convention this summer. What is the topic, if you don't mind sharing?
magic4u02
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Hi Bill,

Thank you very much for the kind words my friend. I greatly appreciate it. I hope my words may be of help to some or get others thinking differently about creativity in the magic that they do.

Yes you are right that I will be lecturing as part of a 3 person 90 minute lecture/session at this years SAM Convention In Dallas. I am very grateful that they asked me to be a part of this and hope people enjoy the topic and information I will be sharing.

This lecture/session is about the Creativity, Performance & Presentation of magic. It is not a lecture or a dictatorial dissertation. Nothing will be rigid or written in stone. It will be informal, but structured. It will be fun, inter-active and hands-on. The session will cover several aspects of Creativity, Performance & Presentation in magic.

It will primarily focus on Kinetics specifically in relation to Body Language, the usage of Stage, TV, Walk-around and Close-up performing space, Pre-performance Preparation, Theatrical and Drama techniques, Working with a Partner, Make-up, Creating and Developing a Magical Persona, Wardrobe, Maintaining a Magical Image, Story-Telling Magic, the Usage of Music to enhance simple effects, Usage of Music in Magic, Audience Psychology, Creating Audience Rapport, Volunteer Selection techniques, and the fundamentals of Stagecraft. The aims and objectives of the lecture/session are to stimulate thinking, creativity and to provide ideas, tips and practical suggestions on how to be a better Magical Entertainer.

Are you planning on going to the SAM Convention this year Bill? If anyone plans on being at the convention, I would really enjoy you sticking around after the lecture so that I may be able to personally thank you as well as shake your hand and get a chance to meet you in person. It would be a pleasure to do so.

The lecture really ties in directly with what we are talking about in this thread here at the Café. It is really going to be one of the first times anyone has really done a full lecture on creativity in magic and how any performer can learn to be a creative thinker.

Getting back to the thread topic, I just feel so strongly that every single person has the ability to be creative if we choose to be. But being creative and learning to entertain takes time, patience and pratice. Like any good skill, entertaining has to be acquired. It is not given to you. You must earn it and to be a better entertainer means to devote time to learning how to entertain.

Too many of us are lazy and it is so much easier to buy a routine with patter or to steal a routine from someone else. Yes that is easy but it does not make you a better entertainer. No one said learning to entertain was going to be easy, but I feel your audiences deserve that effort from you. I also feel that the magical arts can grow so much better when each of us is determined to be a better and more creative entertainer.

Kyle
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Bill Scarlett
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Sounds great Kyle. I'm not sure about whether I'm going to Dallas, I'm on a pretty tight budget this year, but hopefully.
magic4u02
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I completely understand my friend. If you do decide to go, please stop by and say hello. I would love to shake your hand and talk to you about this topic. It would be my pleasure.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Tony James
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Quote:
On 2007-04-28 22:19, WhiteAngel wrote:
It all comes down to one word. Showmanship.


It's the middle of the night and I've not long been in. The show is out on the road these days.

Showmanship is part of it, but not all of it by any means.

The foundation is what I said, a theatrical training in all matters 'stagecraft' which applies whether you're actually working on a stage, or on a flat floor or in someone's home or out in a field.

It has to do with all those basics which Grandpa would love to learn this next week! How to stand and move and how to position yourself. How to turn and walk with economy of movement. And voice production and movement and gesture and many, many other aspects.

Then, you can apply this to an effect. Look at what Kyle wrote up there and see what is in Chapter One of Open Sesame. The original and classic book on children's entertaining. It's all there and explained and it's been there for 60 years. How to routine children's effects. ANY effect. Entertainingly.

And then, only then do you begin to apply Showmanship. And that is a subject in itself.

Ours is a craft which takes much learning and application. You learn by taking your courage in your hands and going out there and doing it. And if it doesn't work you try again, differently, and keep trying till you do get it right.

What you end up with is yours. No one else's.

That's how you succeed.

You won't do it by slinging money at flashy props.

It won't happen for you.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
magicgeorge
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I love Tony's post titles. He doesn't muck around. I sometimes think all his posts should be preceeded with the words "This house proposes that.."

I see the point Tony is making and agree with the sentiment but for the sake of debate I'll bite de bait.

Firstly, I suppose it depends on your definition of magician. If your definition of magician is someone who writes and performs a great act which utilises magic then there is no real argument here. If we're just using the term magician to describe someone with a knowledge of tricks and sleights and the ability to perform them then I still think being a 'magician' has its advantages.

I have a couple of colleagues who are great children's entertainers but aren't really magicians. Their acts are better than most magicians but on the other hand I think if they had more magical knowledge it would be an advantage.
The trouble with a lot of children's magicians is they place the magic first and are most interested performing a certain trick then struggle to make it entertaining. However if you're scripting an entertaining magical routine then your magical knowledge and performance skills are one of the many tools that will help you.

Those that buy big flashy props or shows in a box in the hope that they will make them great are not only working without any acting, stagecraft or showmanship but are also trying to find the easy route to do the magic too.

George
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Many magicians play the role of bad magicians.

I did when I first started out. Both my acting and magic have improved a bit since I began in 73. My first roll er role was in a college variety show. I played the harmonica while standing on my head. My jaws harp got me my first sitting ovation.

The actor at work(Benedetti) is my lastest book on my night stand. The director I work with has been slowly going over the exercises. I must admit it has been on the back burner.

Although some know me as a "Coin Guy", I would prefer "Audience Guy".
Coming up this summer a role as Stanley in Smoke on the mountain. He's the one that just got out of prison. (Type casting????)
I actually auditioned for the Pastor Oglethorpe role...(he doesn't have to sing all the 18 songs) as at 53 memorizing lines is not as easy as it was back in 73.

Over the last few years, most of my shows have included improv's with suggestions from my audiences. Along the way I have had classes and joined an improv troupe for several seasons.

Along with acting...writing is important. Did 2 years of that on a comedy radio show.... Our director helped me tighten up my scripts...as I had a tendence to go from A,B, C to Z. On radio things needed to be spelled out a bit more.
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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The Great Smartini
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In the film "The Prestige" Ricky Jay plays the role of a magician playing the role of a magician...or was he just acting? Hmmmm?

Everyone needs a place to work out the kinks of their show. This takes time, work, reflection and a real live audience. I don't know how many top name magicians I've met have told me/us this.
Potty the Pirate
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Acting is the most important skill for a kids' entertainer, yes. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Kids STILL love big props, good magic, ventriloquism, music, and all kinds of entertainment. Once you've mastered acting, if you can put together a show that includes lots of variety, props, and entertainment, you will have a career for life. I see too many kids' entertainers who are good actors, have excellent magical abilities, but who think this means they only need a couple of silks and a TT to make a great show. I do a few "briefcase" shows for kids every month, and they go over very well. But a Flying Carpet ride, or my Flag Machine, are quite awesome, and the kids adore this kind of stuff.
Thinking that it's YOU who the kids' want to see is missing the point somewhat. Of course, you're the one who has to command their attention. But it seems slightly arrogant to think that your humour will appeal to the kids more than, say, a Flying Carpet ride. Done properly, they will love your presentation of effects like this, and also remember the illusion for the rest of their lives. If all you do is join some ropes together and vanish a silk, the kids will quickly forget your show.
Here is an analogy - I used to be an a capella busker (unaccompanied voice). The main problem I faced was the very limited repertoire of songs that were suitable for this type of presentation. I ended up with about 2 hours of material, and made a very good living. However, when I've sung with bands, orchestras, or choirs, there is suddenly a HUGE variety of material to choose from, basically anything you're capable of singing. I could perform for hundreds of hours, as I know thousands of songs.
In the same way, my feeling is that the variety of effects I carry for my "pack small play big" shows are very limited. Having three of four hours of material of this kind can take some time to put together. Dealer bought props are a godsend for the experienced actor, as indeed your acting skills will entertain, while the prop provides for content. I have a large collection of props, most of which I use regularly. They provide me with material for dozens and dozens of different shows.
My philosophy is this - make your show the best it can be. If your acting needs brushing up, then get on the case. If your props are looking shoddy, give them a facelift or replace them. Look at EVERY aspect of your show, and consider whether you're being arrogant in any respects. Sure, include a sleight-of-hand routine if you find it plays better than your other material, but never forget that kids love the visual elements of colour, and toys (props), as well as the much discussed silliness, interaction, mystery, and characterful performance.
Just my 2c
Doug.
Marvello
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Quote:
On 2007-05-01 02:53, Potty the Pirate wrote:
Acting is the most important skill for a kids' entertainer, yes. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Kids STILL love big props, good magic, ventriloquism, music, and all kinds of entertainment. Once you've mastered acting, if you can put together a show that includes lots of variety, props, and entertainment, you will have a career for life. I see too many kids' entertainers who are good actors, have excellent magical abilities, but who think this means they only need a couple of silks and a TT to make a great show. I do a few "briefcase" shows for kids every month, and they go over very well. But a Flying Carpet ride, or my Flag Machine, are quite awesome, and the kids adore this kind of stuff.
Thinking that it's YOU who the kids' want to see is missing the point somewhat. Of course, you're the one who has to command their attention. But it seems slightly arrogant to think that your humour will appeal to the kids more than, say, a Flying Carpet ride. Done properly, they will love your presentation of effects like this, and also remember the illusion for the rest of their lives. If all you do is join some ropes together and vanish a silk, the kids will quickly forget your show.
Here is an analogy - I used to be an a capella busker (unaccompanied voice). The main problem I faced was the very limited repertoire of songs that were suitable for this type of presentation. I ended up with about 2 hours of material, and made a very good living. However, when I've sung with bands, orchestras, or choirs, there is suddenly a HUGE variety of material to choose from, basically anything you're capable of singing. I could perform for hundreds of hours, as I know thousands of songs.
In the same way, my feeling is that the variety of effects I carry for my "pack small play big" shows are very limited. Having three of four hours of material of this kind can take some time to put together. Dealer bought props are a godsend for the experienced actor, as indeed your acting skills will entertain, while the prop provides for content. I have a large collection of props, most of which I use regularly. They provide me with material for dozens and dozens of different shows.
My philosophy is this - make your show the best it can be. If your acting needs brushing up, then get on the case. If your props are looking shoddy, give them a facelift or replace them. Look at EVERY aspect of your show, and consider whether you're being arrogant in any respects. Sure, include a sleight-of-hand routine if you find it plays better than your other material, but never forget that kids love the visual elements of colour, and toys (props), as well as the much discussed silliness, interaction, mystery, and characterful performance.
Just my 2c
Doug.
Potty - you are 110% correct - thanks for articulating this. It needs to be a balance of acting skills, audience management/participation, great effects, and eye candy to be a show that they will remember.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
harris
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Combining song parodies, musical instruments, acting and yes magic is a great way for me to be flexible and provide my consumers with interesting programs. Due to the improvisation...sometimes they are surprising even to me.

Latest parody songs start...
(Dixie)
Oh I wish I wasn't in this line at Wal-Mart
Lady with the blue hair with a check book forgot
Look away, Look away....
....
'(Ole Susanna)
Oh I come from Johnson County with a mortgage on my back

As I recall members of bands fees (at least on the local level)
weren't that good back in the 70's..Have they gotten better????



Harris
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Prof. Alexander
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Hi

I think the important word here is magic.
An actor in a play can create magic.
A comedian can create magic
A musician can create magic
Etc.

Anybody can quote Shakespeare.
Anybody can crack a joke
A lot of people bash the hell out of guitars…..

And a lot of magician just do tricks!

It’s artists who create magic; some of them with all sorts of colourful props and expensive settings and some standing alone on an empty stage, some on the street and others in the front rooms of peoples houses.

But the magic comes from the person first and foremost.

I think this is the point Tony is making.

I just read over this and it sounds a bit pompous – I’ll post it anyway.

All the best
Prof. Alexander
I met this chap at the Olympics. I said to him, "Excuse me but are you a pole vaulter?" he replied "No, I'm German, but how did you know my name was Walter?"
Tony James
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Now then Professor. Once more you've hit the nail right on the head.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Al Angello
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Well professor
I just answered your question to me at "knots and loops", and now that I see how much pride you take in your work we will get along just fine. Welcome to the magic Café my friend. Where are you from?
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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Tom Riddle
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Well I may as well take the plunge, as a fellow Englishman is already here....Tony! Tom Riddleton! My old friend Max saw you do a children's show a while back...must have been the late 90's? Wanted to come here and say: "Good show!"
I am a retired investigator, and though the BBC has made my ex-profession look rather romantic, may I say it was in no way such! I now do children's parties when I wish it, though my back may not! Max told me this was a great spot to meet fellow Englishman magi and to hob-knob with others from around the globe...is this true?
Tom
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
Chelsea, UK
Al Angello
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Tom
Welcome to the magic Café, I'm not English, but I do speak it, kinda.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Tom Riddle
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Quote:
On 2007-05-01 17:54, Al Angello wrote:
Tom
Welcome to the magic Café, I'm not English, but I do speak it, kinda.
Al Angello

I also "kinda" speak English! We should get along quite well then! I see you are indeed a juggler. I used to be able to juggle clubs and knives quite well, twenty feet up in the air, actually, was my best hight I'm afraid. Have'nt done that in eons....used to have fun with that! Met my wife that way...threw up a club, and for whatever reason it came down funny, just slightly nicked her and her dad yelled "well, that's it son, you'll have to marry her now!"
After a very amusing conversation that everyone in the audience seemed to adore, we went on a date...and the rest is history!
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
Chelsea, UK
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