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JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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I also agree about Julian Franklin's book on this subject. The straightjacket could work I think. But make the message more focused: each strap, each buckle are challedges we face in life and each we can overcome.
And this is just personal to me, but I don't like the "you can do anything" message. I think it's setting unrealistic expectations. Not everyone can be a brilliant concert pianist for example. For me perseonally, I think it's more healthy for the message to be more "be the best you can be" the "personal best" message.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Scott Burton
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This age group really responds well to you sharing a personal story or two about struggles you might have had and how you overcame them. Speak the truth, open up, share what you've learned, and do it in an interesting way.

Be more of a speaker and share your soul...and a magician 2nd. I think that will produce the best effect. You're a young guy and you can relate to them - and they will be able to relate to you.

Sure, add some tricks in there but I think this age group will see right through someone who is insincere and just trying to pass on a scripted message. Just adding in a "you can be a magician too" is likely to turn them off.

Just my thoughts on what has worked for me. At least give it a thought. Good luck.
Matthew W
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New York
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Thanks, Scott. I have been thinking of adding personal stories to it. I used to be extremely introverted before I got heavily into magic. It opened me up and now I am doing things I never imagined, such as being the center of attention in a room of hundreds of people.

The principal told me that they want someone young for the assembly, and I think relating to the group is why.

The phrase "I am a magician and you are too" is not saying that the children can be magicians, but that if they put their minds to something, even something they think they cannot do, but really want to, they can. There are all sorts of stories about people with physical and mental disabilities that are doing things that people told them will never happen. The put their minds to it and are achieving wonderful things.


Posted: Jul 17, 2009 12:20am
--------------------------------
I just did some reading on the Café, and it seems that chopper effects go over well with this age group. I am thinking of doing it.

The video games children play at this age are much worse, and this is presented in a lighthearted, comedic routine.
-Matt
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Quote:
On 2009-07-16 18:31, Matthew W wrote:
Moving the basket from the front to behind the person, "I'm starting to think I should put this back here"


I might be alone in this opinion, but I think it is an example of humour in bad taste (bathroom humour).

In fact, I think that it can cost you future business. You are working in a school, in front of teachers and a principal who maintain some sense of professionalism. Some things are appropriate, and some things aren't. Know your customer.

I just had a prospect on the phone yesterday, complaining about other performers using inappropriate humour in their shows. People who told potty jokes, used diapers in their show, talked about smelly underwear or smelly socks, and yet said they did "clean comedy" for children's or family audiences.

Think people, think!

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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I agree with you Donald. Eugene Burger has a nice quote on this. He says, "Not all laughs are good laughs. A good laugh is one that can get you a gig. A bad laugh can cost you one." Above and beyond blue humour, many magicians intentionally try to get laughs by embarassing their volunteers, belittling them, or seeing them fail. Although it may make the performer feel superior, it often makes the audience feel uncomfortable and awkward. Instead of being eager to help out, the audience then takes the position of "Thank goodness he didn't pick me!".

Although this is only my personal opinion, I believe that volunteer abuse is one of the key factors that has kept magic on the lower rungs of the entertainment ladder. It really shouldn't be that hard to treat every assistant with courtesy and respect. All you have to do is say "No" to the easy insult. If someone does need to be made the butt of a joke, the performer should take that hit himself and have the audience laugh along with him.

But, even if you do treat your audiences with utmost respect, people do tend to differ in what they consider to be "family friendly". Some people are very, very cautious when it comes to the type of entertainment children should be exposed to.

I remember, about a year ago, I was performing at a school fundraising show. One of my key effects involved a 6 foot guillotine and an adult volunteer from the audience. One of the teachers in the school took one look at the guillotine and immediately expressed concern to my sound tech. He reassured her that the routine would be a huge hit with everyone, but she didn't look convinced.

As I performed the routine, my sound tech kept an eye on this teacher to see how she reacted to the trick. She was literally falling out of her chair, laughing like crazy. So was everyone else in the audience. The really nice thing about this routine is that I have the audience cheering and applauding for the volunteer to succeed throughout the routine and, when he finally does come through, the applause is overwhelming. Solid humor prevails throughout and the volunteer is made to look the hero. To me, that's entertainment.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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Donald Dunphy
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One important nuance to mention, was that Kent was doing the guillotine illusion at a family night show at a school.

I would also perform that illusion in that environment, but I would be much more cautious about putting it in a daytime school assembly show.

And that's just talking about the trick itself, as opposed to the comedy lines a performer can do with the prop.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
JimbosMagic
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Kent and Donald have got it spot on. Anything to do with danger for youger children is a no go.
I seen a guy in England do knife thru arm in a Birthday party for 5 year olds. I could have hit him. he had most of the kids crying when the blood shot out.
1 Child ran so fast to his mom he fell over another child and they both got hurt.
I did mention it to him at the end and his reply was, its my show and it get a great reaction. yes it did but the wrong one.

He doeasnt work much anymore.
JIMMY CARLO. KIDabra International Family Entertainer of the Year 2009.
IBM Triple Award Winner. Uk Champion of Comedy Magic.
Represented the UK in the United Slapstick Awards on German TV.
European Children's Entertainer of the year 2007/8
Matthew W
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New York
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These are middle school aged kids (11-14, I was wrong in my earlier posts), are they too young?
-Matt
Donald Dunphy
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At that age, it might be ok with the students, but not with some of the staff (and they are the ones who approve the shows, and cause word of mouth).

I would ask Terry Parrett, and listen to him, as he is the recognized expert at this age group. He knows the business of tween shows.

- Donald

P.S. In case you missed it, he recommended against it in a post above.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Matthew W
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New York
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I am not trying to justify using it, but it was requested by the principal. He knows the students best and he must feel they would enjoy it, especially if it could be tied in with the theme of the show.
-Matt
Donald Dunphy
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Matt -

Can I ask you a pointed question?

Has this principal seen your show before? Does he know what you do? How did he / she hear about you?

My guess would be "no", because he is suggesting material for you to put into your show (cutting a person in half) based on what he imagines a magician might do.

I've had all sorts of suggestions from customers over the years, and some were way off base. They don't know me and my business better than I do.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Matthew W
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New York
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No, he has not seen my show, and he likely has not seen the others that he contacted. He found my website online.
-Matt
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2009-07-17 20:38, Donald Dunphy wrote:
I've had all sorts of suggestions from customers over the years, and some were way off base. They don't know me and my business better than I do.


I was going to edit this paragraph, but lost my chance. My fault.

I want to clarify.

It should have read this way:

Quote:
I've had all sorts of suggestions & requests from PROSPECTS over the years, and some were way off base. They don't know me and my business better than I do.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Matthew W
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New York
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I was going to edit mine too.

I was going to add:

He had asked for sawing a teacher in half and I mentioned the head chopper. I was actually thinking of using him for it.
-Matt
Donald Dunphy
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You are welcome to do what you want.

However, it's been my experience that when you take control and explain why you won't be doing something / why you know your show the best, that you come across as an expert. You don't have to be rude about it. But you do have to demonstrate that you are a professional, who knows their business.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Matthew W
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New York
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I don't think I am going to submit a proposal. I think it is going to be more work for something that is not even my usual type of show.
-Matt
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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A side benefit of this Matt, is that you may have dodged a bullet.

Those who tell you they want you to do something special / unusual (in this case, an illusion you didn't have, along with a message show you didn't have), but haven't seen your show, are often the same people who turn into nit picky customers. Plus in addition to being nit picky, they don't want to pay a decent fee. They want the world for nothing.

They see they can push you a bit, and just continue down that path.

It's better to take your time and create the right show.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
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