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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » A follow up questions to another 10-13 year old question (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

seadog93
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Hi everyone,
My last thread on 10-13 year olds was great, I really appreciate all the advice and I'm looking forward to having a new show. I have a follow up question and if anyone has any thoughts I would love to hear them and get feedback.

I'm wanting at least a lot of the routines to be topical. I don't want to shove any meaning down anyones throat, I just want everything (or a lot of it) to be directly relevant. For example a quick story/demonstration of how I got interested in a something when I was 12, or how I was able to use certain skills. This could be serious or tongue-in-cheek depending on the topic and the routine.

SO, what are the main issues in a tweens life? Here are a few ideas I had, what do you think?

-school (teachers, tests, policies)
-parents (esp. power struggles)
-self esteem
-social status/social acceptance
-money

Most of those apply to everyone over 9 or 10 of course, but (if I remember correctly Smile ) a lot of these only start to be issues at this age group, so it's still new and especially important.

I originally had "boys/girls" as a topic, but then I wasn't sure. 13 year olds I'd think yes, but 9/10 year olds maybe not. My thought is that it might be relevant to mention it in passing, but not as the focus of , say, a center tear routine that requires a specifically dreamy boy/girl to be thought of.

I would really appreciate any thoughts, feedback or advice on this topic.
Thank You
Courtney Kolb
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Al Angello
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My opinion is to make it all about entertainment, because if you start sounding like school they will close their ears, and start talking to each other.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
seadog93
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Al I agree.

In order to be entertaining it has to be relevant. Well okay, it doesn't HAVE to be relevant, but it can be. My list may have looked academic, but it wouldn't be presented that way.
For example, the opposite sex is very interesting to teens; so a billet/center tear/Q&A act around the boy a certain girl has a crush on will go over very well. Also, parent/child power struggles are common at all ages, so a routine based on trying to read a parents mind (well, wouldn't YOU have liked to know what in the world your parents and teachers where thinking?) could be more interesting than a mind reading routine on it's own, because it's directly relevant to a kids situation.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
themagiciansapprentice
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Have a look at Steve Harmer's website for motivational magic ideas -

http://www.motivationalmagic.ca/NewFiles/edu.html

He's a nice guy and may have time to reply to e-mails (It's busy season with Calgary Stampede and various Conferences going on this month.) I learnt a lot from him about story-lines I can use with the older age groups.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
Tony James
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This is the sort of thing which gets children's entertainers in general - and magicians in particular - a bad name.

Keep it simple, keep it direct, keep it easy to follow and above all keep it fun and entertaining.

You're getting too complicated and far too clever for your own good. It's no substitute or quick fix for being a substandard entertainer. There are far too many of those about already.

Forget about being seen to be clever, forget about awesome magic and all the other rubbish spouted here. Just be a good fun entertainer and that's what your audiences will enjoy and your booker - the person who pays your fee - expects.

Of course, being a good entertainer isn't as easy as some think. Any idiot can buy props and do magic, balloons, even basic juggling.

Being a good entertainer is quite different.

Judging by many of the Little Darlings posts there aren't a lot of good entertainers.
Tony James

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seadog93
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Tony,
You had a great post on another thread that I really liked. This post of yours is not great, or helpful.

"Don't worry about all that, just be a great entertainer." Wow, thanks so much, I'll just go out and be a great entertainer. Oh, it's difficult and most of the people here aren't very good? well that's OK because I know the secret now, I'll just be great.


That being said, I don't think people are understanding my first post. I'm not trying to make any educational, inspirational, intellectual or even complicated routines.

There is nothing complicated about asking a 13 year old girl to write down the name of a boy she likes and using a center tear to find out that name, or doing a living/dead test to differentiate it from several other names. That's easy and straight forward. It doesn't mention any of the psychology involved that makes it relevant, just like most magic doesn't.

So either people are misunderstanding me, or simply don't find this interesting. So, either way, please forget I asked.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
montymagi
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Seadog93, this is one of the reasons I never ask questions on the little darlings thread. There are two or three people here who's I respect and I will msg them if I have any real question. Other here see any type of question as a sign of weakness and attack! They think there way is the only way and they are better than everyone one else. It is not you some do it with everyone, even though they have never even seen your act. Tween are had to perform for because they are so afraid of looking like little kids that they shut down. Using stuff that my get them to look up is not a bad idea.
Donald Dunphy
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If I was performing for teens, I might stay away from the idea of asking them to reveal a crush, etc., on a secret ballot that you later on intend to reveal publicly. By revealing it to their friends, and to strangers, you could cause a lot a anxiety for them.

Also, remember that their world includes a lot of entertainment: music, movies, internet, the musicians and actors themselves, etc.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
seadog93
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Oh well. I think I may have watched Eugene Burger's "Exploring magical presentations" one to many times.

I thought people would be in to this, like "10-13 year olds are into ______, that would be cool to do a routine about."

People aren't into it apparently, but I wanted to try and clarify my meaning one more time. A lot of kids magic is, I feel, relevant to kids. Younger kids actually do color in coloring books, so a coloring book is relevant. They also love to help with cooking projects, so cake pans are relevant. Kids make a lot of mistakes and often get corrected by adults, they enjoy having the power and status of being the corrector to an authority figure, so look-don't-see is relevant. None of those is overly complicated, or too intellectual for kids, it's just fun and funny.

Again, if this doesn't seem like a fun thread then forget it, lets just let it die. I just wanted to try illustrating my meaning a little better.

Posted: Jul 5, 2010 11:09am
I was posting at the same time as montymagi and Donald Dunphy. Thanks guys, I appreciate your posts.

Donald Dunphy,
good points, thank you.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Wayne Schulatz
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One thing I do for this age goup is spell out at the very beginning that I know that they aren't little kids and I won't treat them as such. I politely ask them to turn off their cell phones, and things like that.

I actually really like the center tear idea but I agree with Donald, don't ask for a crush because that will be embarassing, but maybe ask for a "hot celebrity". Maybe you wouldn't use the word "hot", but you get the idea.

I do a monte routine where I ask "Who here has seen a magician who thinks they are better than everyone else because they can do magic." Hopefully, at this point I have won them over ans they won't comment that I am one of them! Or you can simply say, "How many of you have seen a birthday magician before?" Then I go into about how when I was (age of the kids) I saw a magician who intentionally tried to embarass me and how that wasn't cool... It takes the sting away from the monte and they can relate.

Parents are a great topic as well. An idea Capehart uses that could be funny is to load a chage bag with questions. One one side are questions that are easy: "What is your middle name?" On the other side are questions that are literally impossible: "(yada, yada, yada) what color are the pilot's shoes?" Use it as a running gag. The kids best the parents and its funny. Use a Carlyle forcing bag, or other clear change bag, to fool the kids. That is very important at this age.
Tony James
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Quote:
On 2010-07-05 10:30, seadog93 wrote:
..................just be a great entertainer." Wow, thanks so much, I'll just go out and be a great entertainer. Oh, it's difficult and most of the people here aren't very good? well that's OK because I know the secret now, I'll just be great.....




Go back and re-read what I said. I never mentioned being 'great' - I said good. There's a world of difference.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood your original post and then swept it in along with so many others which appear to miss the point of entertaining children.

The emphasis here on the Café is too much on tricks, props, materials, being seen as a wonderful magic person who baffles all and elicits spontaneous applause. That is not children's entertaining.

Children's entertaining should be light and fun, not heavy and probing intimate thoughts for some mind reading type effect. Dangerous ground. Children are cruel. If one was foolish enough to answer questions like that their 'friends' would never let them forget it.

Children are not adults - something else people here frequently appear to overlook.

If people spent more time understanding how to entertain, how to become a better entertainer then one day they might become good entertainers.

Great entertainers are generally born, not made. But that doesn't stop us lesser mortals becoming much better at our profession. You see, someone who is a really good entertainer wouldn't be going too far down these lines at all, recognising that simpler, more direct ideas work best and appeal to the entire audience.

Keeping an audience together as a cohesive unit is one of the numerous arts of entertaining.
Tony James

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seadog93
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Tony,
Thanks. I think you bring up some good points, and it seems that I didn't read your post closely enough either. I still find "work on being a good entertainer" to be a little vague. I am trying to work on it, but would appreciate any specific advice you might have, or resources you would direct me to.


Wayne,
Awesome, thanks man that's some great stuff. I really like all the ideas you brought up.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
montymagi
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As to respond to the question of your post. The twilight Saga is big right now so perhaps a vampire vs warewolf theme would be good. Lady Gaga (poker face) may be good for a card type trick.
Al Angello
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Tony
You say that some of us juggle. Later you say that there are not a lot of good entertainers here. I can read between the lines, and you have seen my act. LOL
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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Michael Taggert
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That wonderfull tween time is a challenge as the current trend for tweens is shock value in entertainment. Lets face it this is when mosty of use went to the movies to see sction movies, scify flicks and horror films. as for teh girls they typically seek out the the girl power genre.
How do we fit? You have to remeber as has been stated in other threads that the age group of tweens is intelligent but un inhibited when it comes to mannerisms. Remeber that many of us started in magic during this time from so don't be surprised when you arrive at the kids house to do a birthday party and find a zig zag setting in the basement. Yuour job at that Ppint is to present not only a technically sound show but a show that actually presents Magic to the kids.
we could spend hours on this subject but this is the truth if we want to be accepted to this age group we have to be on our game.
Believe you then that I do strange things
Wayne Schulatz
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I usually agree with what Tony says, and this time is no different. We should emphasize "entertainment". But it is my belief that in order to entertain this very specific and difficult age group, you must fool them. Win them over, of course, but they must be fooled. They are so jaded and too cool for magic. For me, this is the most rewarding group to perform for.

Monty had a great idea with incorporating Twilight. Being topical to what tweens like is strong.
TonyB2009
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I find when performing for teens that there is no point in trying to make my material relevant to their lives. I am a forty year old man. What do I have in common with them? It rings phoney. So I bring them into a twisted world of my own. That way we can all meet as equals and enjoy the entertainment.

The best show I have done for teens in recent weeks was at a school, where the teacher requested something a bit more challenging that normal magic. So I did some magic, and mixed in some science experiments, such as the coke and menthos one, and we launched a bottle into the air fuelled by vinegar and baking soda. I ended with walking on broken glass - with a full explanation of how it is possible. The kids loved the show - and weren't bothered by the fact I am three times their age and don't understand their lives.
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