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NJJ
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This is my list of criteria for great kid's magic. These are the goals that I strive to achieve when creating a routine. In no particular order:

1) Amusing: All routines have to have a strong comedic or amusing element. The routine may not be slap your thigh, tears rolling down your check funny but does need, at least, a sense of whimsy.

2) Engaging: the routine must have a hook or engaging element. This may be in effect or in presentation.

3) Simple: The routines must be easy to understand. Nothing too complicated or taxing.

4) Plays Big: The routine must play for an audience of 50.

5) Participatory: The routine must include the children as part of the effect. The children may be volunteers on stage, performing a task as a group ("say the magic words") or active observers ("It's behind you!")

6) AMAZING: This is important. The routine must have at least one part that is amazing and jaw dropping. Children love being amazed. No presenting the "gag bag" or "break away wand" as an effect. Although they can certainly be used in any routine. So much so called Children's Magic is not in the least amazing. Magic should be amazing!

Here are some examples of routines that meet the criteria:

1) Linking Rings: A Whit Hayden style routine where the child looks good.
2) Cut and Restored Rope
3) Sponge Balls
4) Chance Wolf's Fun house
5) Miser's Dream with a child on stage.

I was hoping other people might be able suggest effects they feel meet these criteria or have the potential to do so.
Bill Nuvo
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I disagree with number 3. It depends of course on the age group you are dealing with, but children in a broad sense for me refers to 5 year old to age 16 (I don't perform for under 4 unless they are in the group with older people).

Of course my youngest, when he was 2 could watch the 2 hour Illusion DVD of David Copperfield. Not simple magic but entertaining still....food for thought.
Mumblemore
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I would say that Kovari's Passing Water meets the criteria, as does the Invisible Deck, and Tim Wisseman's Remote Vision Die (older kids). Great effects all for kids and play big, amuse, amaze, and are participatory. But it would seem a lot of classics, from the coloring book to the dove pan can do this with a good routine . . . To me, the Miser's Dream without a great routine like Capehart's is no miracle; but with a good routine, it is gold (or Kennedy half dollars, at least). Also, sucker tricks like die box (but one of the pizza die boxes or another you can "work with" rather than the traditional one which would seem harder to apply to kid shows), or Wolf's Blow Yur Stack (outstanding game and another fun magic trick), or PB and J can also play well. . .
johnpert
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Fearless Fred the Daredevil Worm by Mike Bent accomplishes the list indicated on the first post, in my opinion.

Vanishing bottle (pop, ketchup, etc) targets the list also, depending on the presentation, of course.
Michael238
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Where can Tim Wisseman's Remote Vision Die be found?
www.mikebrownmagic.com
<BR>http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=885780636
Dennis Michael
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Add to the list:

Egg Bag
Pro Viper II
Wiz-Kote
Coloring Book
Dennis Michael
Michael238
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Doggie bag by Jeff Hobson
www.mikebrownmagic.com
<BR>http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=885780636
Mumblemore
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Mr. Lucky,

The best way is to PM cocomax at the Café. But here are some links, I believe one of which may have his direct website where you can buy (try to Google). Hocus Pocus stocks them too.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=82

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=109
NJJ
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The age group I am considering here is 4-10. Anything older gets the adult show. I don't see 14 year olds as children.

Of course, people are welcoem to disagree with the criteria. I was more hoping for effects which fit the bill! It should be assumed that these are routines in the hands of a GOOD performer.

The Classic Sucker Die Box is a fantastic and amazing piece of magic. Rub Rabbit Rub is not.
NJJ
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PS - Those are some great suggestions!

I wouldn't have agreed with Doggie Bag based on the description but having seen it play live it totally fills all of the categories.
Amazing Magic Co
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Here you go Mr. Lucky: http://www.mortlakemagic.com

Dan.
Dennis Michael
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David William's "Lights! Camera! Magic!"
http://www.ginnmagic.com/prod.asp?Protype=BGB-001-005

Lists 500 useful tricks for televison and gives a little blurb about each.

Its interesting the criteria you are using, it's very similar to mine:


  • Is the routine Understandable? (Simple)
  • Does the routine Grab the Audience's Attention (Engaging, Participatory)
  • Has Wit, Laughter, Charm and Magic built into it? (Amusing)
  • Builds to a Climatic Ending (Plays Big)
  • It has an Exciting, Interesting, element to it. (Plays Big, Engaging)
  • Is Memorable Days later. (Plays Big)
  • Has something Impossible about to happen! (Amazing)
  • It connect with Audience by some Physical Means (Participatory, Engaging)
  • It connect with Audience by some Visual Means (Participatory, Engaging)
  • It connect with Audience by some Verbal Means (Participatory, Engaging)
  • It connect with Audience by some Emotional means (Participatory, Engaging)
  • It connect with Audience by having some Dramatic and/or Danger element to it. (Participatory, Engaging, & Amazing)


The best effects has most of these elements. If you know Pro Viper II, then use the above and think of that routine, ... Have you done that and looked at how each element of this check list applies? Then you know why that routine is a stand-alone effect, is good for family shows, and children shows, except for the very young, who might be afraid of the snake.

Each of the effects I listed as well as the ones Nicholas listed in the first post fit that criteria. Fortunately, any "Magic Trick" which is designed with the above criteria can qualify.
Dennis Michael
Tony James
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Go back to the beginning. Number three. Simple. Simplicity and directness are essential.

Doesn't matter what the audience age. From 3 years to 103 years. The successful entertainers have always kept their presentations simple and direct.

We have a tendency to over egg the pud. To add and make it too complicated. To cover every angle. To answer every possible magical objection raised by a magician.

Forget all about that. Magicians don't pay your fees. Keep the presentation simple and direct and keep your routines easy and uncluttered. That way everybody can follow and understand what is happening.

We often treat our audiences as if they were fools and this is wrong. They're not fools. They're bloodyfools. Now, when you start from that premise, you've got a sporting chance of limiting the complications and keeping the routine simple and direct.

And do you know, it works. If you look at the majority of successful magical entertainers over the decades you will find that they did just that. What's more they picked up that bit of information through vaudeville or variety as we knew it in the UK. It's the same as most theatrical acts did with their routines regardless of the type of act.

Keep it simple and direct and the audience will have no trouble following you.

Now there are other ways at looking at the question but I'll deal with that next.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Tony James
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Anything that you do for children, any effect no matter how small or big, how short or long, how simple or complicated, for boys or girls of any age these are the following essential criteria of anything you do:

1. Comedy

2. Situation

3. Suspense

4. Repetition

5. Participation (Audience & Individual)

6. Dressing Up

7. Action

8. Story

9. Colour

10. Education

You can argue till the cows come home just how much of each of those elements is required in everything you do. But there's your checklist. It's the one I've worked to all my life.

Check your routines against it and judge for yourself whether you have sufficient or an excess of any or all of those elements. But they are vital to any successful routine.

Just remember to keep routines simple and direct, and shorter rather than longer.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
NJJ
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Does it need to be amazing?
AshleyW
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Education...essential?
Not. (unless you only do schools)

I agree with Nicholas that it should have "shock" or an "amazing" factor to it as well. It is, after all a MAGIC show. Some of us have become so enamored by great additions like puppets and balloons and comedy, that we forgot the essential ingredient to magic...the element of surprise.

How about your character?
I see too many shows where the magi jumps around, in & out character.
This is an essential "must" that is missed by most novices lists.
MagicSanta
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I believe in keeping it simple so you can pay attention to the presentation. From the lil' guys up to age early eight amazing is far less important than funny. If a lil' kid is told it is magic it is magic and they will be amazed, doesn't matter if you did anything or not. For late eights and up the effects need to become what is thought of as adults as magical and that would take the amazing aspect into it.

To be honest with you lil' kids don't appreciate 'amazing' they appreciate fun. I'm in Tony's camp, even if I don't understand all the words he uses.
Dennis Michael
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I look at "Amazing" and think of the impossible magic which has occured. For instance, in "Miser's Dream", extra coins from the nose or mouth is "Amazing, Magical and Impossible".

Likewise with the "Pro Viper", "Yea, Right, a Snake is going to jump out of the basket and select the card." (Amazing, Magical and Impossible)

A Rope cut in the middle is put back together. That is amazing and impossible. (Amazing, Magical and Impossible)

Sponge Balls disappearing from my hand and appearing in the hands of a child. (Amazing, Magical and Impossible)

Ashley, I like your "Character" thoughts and created a new tpoic on this
Dennis Michael
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2008-01-05 00:27, MagicSanta wrote:
I believe in keeping it simple so you can pay attention to the presentation. From the lil' guys up to age early eight amazing is far less important than funny. If a lil' kid is told it is magic it is magic and they will be amazed, doesn't matter if you did anything or not. For late eights and up the effects need to become what is thought of as adults as magical and that would take the amazing aspect into it.

To be honest with you lil' kids don't appreciate 'amazing' they appreciate fun. I'm in Tony's camp, even if I don't understand all the words he uses.


Why do you have choose fun over amazing?
Why can't a magician be both?
What type of magician ISN'T amazing?

I have always found children have a keenly developed sensativty to wonder and amazement. Children can find amazement in toys and stories and nature. They can be spellbound by things adults have long dismissed. The phrase 'childlike wonder' is created to describe this very attribute.

I find many magicians tend to measure the pleasure and excitement of children purely by the volume level. If the kid's are not shouting and screaming and gaffuwing they are not entertained. Some of the most memorable parts of my show are the stunned silence when the laughs and giggles and shouting suddenly die away as the impossible happens.

The key to being a great children's magician is to balance a variety of emotions and outcomes in your audience. You can amazed AND entertain AND amuse AND endear AND entrall AND involve a group of children with one routine.

The goal of this thread is to find these routines.

I would add the following effects

1) Breakway Duck Vanish
2) Do Not Remove style routines (milk on the head)
3) Colouring Book/Stamp Album etc.
4) Alphabet Card Stab
Tony James
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I agree with what you have just said Nicholas and I understand what you are saying (I think!) Sometimes it's the use of and our individual interpretation of words which can get in the way of understanding.. There are degrees of magical impact. From the stunned silence you describe through to surprise. I suppose 'amazing' is somewhere between.

Once children hit say five years they have come to understand the laws and rules of nature and what is natural and possible. Prior to all this even water coming out of a tap can be magic and fascinating. But by five they know the rules and appreciate when something magical or normally impossible happens.

Having said that, never forget a child's imagination and that fantasy world they can inhabit within their mind involves lots of magic and fairies and impossible things being possible. So they are more accepting of the impossible than they will become later in life.

The one thing I might have added to my list of 10 was 'Balance' but then balance is part of an overall approach to an act or performance. Of course you do need balance within an individual routine.

But balance overall is important. I often think magic is a little like music. If you were going to sing instead of do magic, the songs you chose would need to be carefully considered. You simply will not succeed if they are all like New York, New York and My Way and There's No Business Like Show Business. These are end of act belters and far too strong to have more than one or two at strategic points.

You need light and shade in a show and therefore 'amazing' has it's place but in context with the less amazing. You need balance. Magic which happens along the way in a dressed up routine is equally as effective entertainment as the high impact impossible vanish of some object. And a series of magical occurrences within a fun laced routine leading to a pay-off holds their interest much better than a stark magical revelation designed to impress the adults of your cleverness.

Children can be many things but in entertainment terms being impressed by something amazing is rather lower down a child's list of priorities than having fun.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
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