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DanielCoyne
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Western Massachussetts
544 Posts

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Hey guys,

I just started performing for Mad Science. No real magic per se, but some fun experiments and demonstrations involving flash paper, dry ice, leaf blowers, electricity etc. I'm doing mostly stage shows for schools but will do a few birthday parties too.

I've been juggling for years and have loved magic for quite a while too. I'm hoping that these shows will help me get a sense of how to relate to younger audiences better, what kind of patter works well, and what sort of humor plays to different age groups.

I'm thinking of this of a stepping stone to my own kid shows.

Anyone else have experience with Mad Science? Does this sound like a good idea or am I sleeping with the enemy?

Cheers,
Daniel
muzicman
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LaCenter, Wa
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I would think this would be a great way to get into entertainment. It will help you develop your presentations skills and audience management skills. Present each one like it's own routine. With that I mean a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Use humor and music when appropriate. Make it "Theater" with what you have to work with. Be enthused about what you are doing and sharing and others with join in that enthusiasm regardless if you are presenting magic or a pillow factory tour.
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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I recently saw a mad science show for the first time. I liked it. My 4 year old was with me and he enjoyed it too. That same night, I actually had done three "the science of magic" shows for the same event.
How much do they pay you? How much do they take out for themselves?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Neznarf
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NY then AZ now
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I've had Mad Science go on after finishing my show. (a few years back)

I stayed and watched and the kid (teenager) was funny, interesting and had a great personality.

I liked it a lot and he made me laugh too.

I think the franchise is out of Canada?
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
Loual4
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Montreal, Canada
670 Posts

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Quote:
On 2009-05-13 13:22, Neznarf wrote:
...
I think the franchise is out of Canada?


YUP! Strait out of Montreal, my home town!

Louis Jutras
jackturk
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Mad Science is brilliant as a franchise. I sent for their
sign up materials and they looked top notch. It seemed like
a great business... for the franchise owner.

If you're one of the performers, you make squat. I think
around $50 or so. For the three hours it takes to travel
to / from the gig, perform, and then schlep the stuff
around. The going rate may be better elsewhere, but I'm
pretty sure that's the approx range promoted on a local
Craigslist ad looking for performers.

--Jack
"59 Ways To Recession Proof Your Entertainment Business -- FREE!"
http://www.GetLeadsLikeCrazy.com

"How To Make $25,000 a Year Doing Birthday Parties Part-Time"
http://www.magicmarketingcenter.com/birthdayPT
RJE
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We share stages with science shows (they may be Mad Science, I didn't really pay attention) every now and then while doing fairs or festivals.

They always seem to hold a smaller crowd then the regular entertainment, but there is still a genuine interest from those that stop and watch in what is going on. I believe I have seen them doing BORS as well.

Some of the presenters have been pretty good and some have been, well, not so good. If you are a showman, I think it can be a good vehicle for you.

Good luck with your presentations!
DanielCoyne
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Western Massachussetts
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Yeah, I'm coming in at the top of the pay scale, and it's still pretty meager. However, I'm doing this to get to know kid audiences better and get the rust off of my performing chops, so for me it makes sense.

-Daniel
Bill Nuvo
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I very much dislike Mad Science due to a number of issues.

Yes low pay for performers. Some franchises will pay out more than others though.
Exposure of magic secrets. Yep.
Inconsistent show quality. Some are good some are bad.
Some of the material being taught (may differ from franchise to franchise) was outdated.
The afterschool programs are babysitting programs. But I have to say, that the franchise I know of do routinely take out problem children from the program.

Yes I did work for them for a season. Smile


These are of course my personal opinions. Generally audiences seem to like the franchise and it does get kids excited about science which is a good thing.

To each one's own
Eldon
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Virden, IL
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I have an agent that books a lot of fairs and festivals. He also books Mad Science, so we work on the same stage quite a bit. The Mad Science guys I work with always do a good job.
madmanmike1
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Canada (Ontario)
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I have all kinds of challenges with these guys.

In my area they are rude, often degrade magicians with comments throughout their show such as "guys who try to trick you" then they give away all kinds of magic secrets (most often the change bag) a lot of the guys I have seen seem like no talent hacks who lack any kind of showmanship, and all do the same scripted show over and over for years- I appreciate talent, but these guys have just studied the purchased program.

Often they take up the whole stage, and are insulted if they are asked to get their plastic totes and fog machines off the stage for the next performer. They spend the first 10 minutes of their show shamelessly plugging that they do "birthday parties" then spend the entire last 10 min. selling their plastic toys. They cover the stage in soap and water and don't clean it up after. I just did a show today and they wanted to use my sound system and tables! no bloody way!

Sorry for the rant, I'm sure there are a few good ones out there, but I have not found any in Ontario Canada! Seems like around here they are either a bunch of retired guys or kids out of school. I don't mean to sound like a cranky old magician who hates other performers, I love anyone who can put an original show together and has talent and showmanship to pull it off. all this is of course just my opinion based on my experience sharing the stage with these guys over the years.

I guess the final judgment is during the mad science shows I've often seen over half of the audience dissipates before the show is over. I asked the guy about it today and he told me that's normal!
"it's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide!"
Louis LaLaurie
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New York, NY
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Quote:
On 2009-06-13 23:32, madmanmike1 wrote:
I have all kinds of challenges with these guys.

In my area they are rude, often degrade magicians with comments throughout their show such as "guys who try to trick you" then they give away all kinds of magic secrets (most often the change bag) a lot of the guys I have seen seem like no talent hacks who lack any kind of showmanship, and all do the same scripted show over and over for years- I appreciate talent, but these guys have just studied the purchased program.

Often they take up the whole stage, and are insulted if they are asked to get their plastic totes and fog machines off the stage for the next performer. They spend the first 10 minutes of their show shamelessly plugging that they do "birthday parties" then spend the entire last 10 min. selling their plastic toys. They cover the stage in soap and water and don't clean it up after. I just did a show today and they wanted to use my sound system and tables! no bloody way!

Sorry for the rant, I'm sure there are a few good ones out there, but I have not found any in Ontario Canada! Seems like around here they are either a bunch of retired guys or kids out of school. I don't mean to sound like a cranky old magician who hates other performers, I love anyone who can put an original show together and has talent and showmanship to pull it off. all this is of course just my opinion based on my experience sharing the stage with these guys over the years.

I guess the final judgment is during the mad science shows I've often seen over half of the audience dissipates before the show is over. I asked the guy about it today and he told me that's normal!


The first half of this is absolutely correct. The second half, don't apologize, it's only the truth you are speaking. Eldon must be on their level to think any of these guys are good. I have seen MANY of them. If you are a good performer, why on earth would you waste time working for these morons? They use phrases like "it's not magic, it's SCIENCE!". I also know who Eldon's agent is (Elsenpeter Productions), and his agent seems to pride himself on booking bad acts...including his brother, Troy.
ku7uk3
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I have never seen them work, but we have them in England, UK also.
TonyB2009
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I had the pleasure of working with a Mad Science guy at a Santa resort in Lapland two years ago. He had a very good show and was a very good entertainer. He was also a thorough pro to work with.
My son loved the show, and I have since put together my own science show for older kids (my background is in physics).
Daniel, the experience you get with mad science will be an invaluable training for you if you decide to branch out on your own as a magician.
magicgeorge
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Belfast
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We had them up in the 6 for a bit. The guy was very affable, an engaging performer and I'd bump into him around the place. I think he gave it up in the end because it was too specialised a market, he recommended me, though, so that was nice....
Eldon
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Virden, IL
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[quote]On 2009-06-14 11:49, Louis LaLaurie wrote:
Quote:

The first half of this is absolutely correct. The second half, don't apologize, it's only the truth you are speaking. Eldon must be on their level to think any of these guys are good. I have seen MANY of them. If you are a good performer, why on earth would you waste time working for these morons? They use phrases like "it's not magic, it's SCIENCE!". I also know who Eldon's agent is (Elsenpeter Productions), and his agent seems to pride himself on booking bad acts...including his brother, Troy.



WOW! Thanks for compliment but Troy isn't my brother.
Potty the Pirate
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I can't help feeling these shows are most often just a cash cow, and no real effort is put in to make them entertaining. In my area, they're VERY expensive (£250 for a one-hour "show" with 15-30 kids). The show appears to consist of demonstrating a few "science toys" such as the kinds of things you might find at Hawkin's Bazaar. And revealing a few well-kept secrets such as needle through balloon.
The total cost of the show (including the white lab coat and picnic table they use for their demonstrations) is probably about $200. Very low-market, but because the shows are "educational", they do appear to get a lot of work, especially from schools.
Any experienced kidshow performer could put together a science show, though of course it would help if you naturally have a bent towards science. A good show could include puppets, great magic (with an "explanation" that delivers science, not magic secrets - and then has a magical kicker that ISN'T explained), and if it were me, some science songs. There are some fab science songs on the internet - many of these are educational, and the kids would actually remember stuff.
I know several folks at the Café have their own science show - I wonder how they find Mad Science and other science show franchises, in terms of competition?
Doug
Mindpro
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We have been considering adding a Science Show to our offerings but upon initial searching found little information available on content and resources for this type of show for schools. I'd be interested if you could provide or PM me for info on the songs and resources you were referring to. Thanks!
TonyB2009
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I offer a science show, as that is my background. I find it gets me good work on occasion (library book weeks, older birthday parties, etc). If I advertised it more it would get me more work, of that I am certain. It is something different.
A lot of guys are complaining about the quality of the Mad Science show. I can only say that the Mad Science guys I have worked with (one quite extensively) have done highly entertaining shows. And their props aren't all cheap things you could pick up easily. Try getting a regular supply of cheap dry ice.
I am sure they have the odd dud among their presenters, but we have the odd dud among our magicians as well. Overall they offer a different and entertaining programme.
thescienceworks
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I started out as a magician, moved into working in science museums and teaching, and then put together my own science-based educational programming business, including two science-magic shows (you can see me at http://www.thescienceworks.com). I always start my science show by saying, "Has anyone ever seen a Magician? I sometimes perform MAGIC, and sometimes perform Science-Magic. Do magicians ever reveal their secrets? (No...). But if I am doing a Science Magic show, everything I have to show you is not magic, but SCIENCE, so I can tell you how I do it all. Or, maybe you can GUESS how I do it!". I make it a habit never to reveal any magic secrets during my show, and most of my props are home-made or easily purchasable at the grocery or hardware store, so it is easy for children and their parents to reproduce what I do at home, for little or no cost. This might be different from the fancy-prop and gizmo show, but it works for me and my audiences. I don't use my show to sell anything except myself and my services for future programs, which happens on its own with little or no effort on my part.

I do not have any specific beef with Mad Science or the 3-4 other companies that I have heard of that do this kind of work, aside from the way I describe the difference between my business and theirs to potential customers. If you hire a company such as this, I say, you might get someone who works really well with children, or you might get someone who knows the science end of things very well, or you might get someone who is a great performer, but you don't always get someone who can cover all three aspects at the same time. And you do not always know who you will be getting. If you hire me and my company, you will always get me. And I can cover all three aspects at once.

As a starting off point, I agree with TonyB that it can be a great jumping off point to start into the business and gain some experience, and you'll know when the time comes to make the move to do it on your own.

Hey...Can we start a forum for Science Magic? It seems like there are quite a few of us out here performing these shows, and I bet we all would have advice for each other on this score.

-Steve
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