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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Playing "Bidness Man" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Servante
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In my heyday I didn't perform at that many birthday parties. The venue is too small, as a general thing, to have tables set up with equipment. Somewhere around here I've got a picture of me with a magic/vent show performing in a cramped restaurant setting for the children of some service club. I didn't do many of those. Did that one for a dear friend who had done much for me and wanted a show for the kids.

I liked performing in venues with stages or platforms or, barring these, some distance between me and the audience so I could set up tables and trunks with enough clearance to spot wanderers.
Some of my worst wanderers were adults immediately before or after the shows!
I learned to put magic props away immediately after performing them (open cases facing upstage).
If I was working with puppets, they stayed behind the stage.
If I was working with more than one vent figure, the unattended one(s) went immediately into cases.
I insisted on audience being audience, and participating only when asked. If they got too loud or too peripatetic, I stopped the show until things settled down.
I stopped the show in a friendly manner: "Okay, I'll wait till you guys are done," with a smile.
The smallest children, incidentally, are often the first to say, "I saw that!" on a magic trick, or say, "You're the one talking!" on the vent (though no one ever said, "I saw your lips move!"...and I take pride in that.)
I gotta feel like, except for rare instances, chaos during a performance is the result of a performer not being seasoned enough to know what is going on and dealing with it...or an experienced performer being set up specifically for a YouTube video (after all, who's taking the footage and why would the performer put stuff like this on YouTube?)
Adults are generally much better audiences. They know the ventriloquist is doing the talking, of course, and want to be entertained by the material. Kids can be wonderful audiences, but more challenging, in that they want to show what they know, and are more likely to shout out, "You're the one talking!" (well, duh) or, "It went up your sleeve!" (it hardly every goes up a sleeve). The performer MUST be in control at all times. Children's audiences wear you out faster...but they're also the ones who will encounter you twenty or thirty years later and say, "I saw you do this when I was a child and it caused me to become a performer" or, "It was wonderful and I never forgot it."

That's the stuff that makes you walk on air. It's like Mark Twain said, "I can live on a compliment for two weeks with no other provisions in sight."

-Philip
Howie Diddot
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Philip;

For the life of me, I don’t understand why a Ventriloquist would put a video like that on youtube.

I looked at who placed it on youtube; the majority of the videos are uploaded by the performer and they seem proud of the performance.

You have some experience with performing at these parties.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I have never even attended a child’s birthday party; not even as a paid photographer.


Buzz
Servante
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The fact that the performers provided their own videos to YouTube is way puzzling, Buzz.
Maybe the allure of being "famous" outweighed the allure of being "competent."

-Philip
ljlvent
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iowa
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A little bit of preparation will eliminate the possibility of those things happening. I have had to change things during the course of the show to make allowances, and sometimes things just don't happen the way I like them to but I can usually think quickly enough on my feet to handle things. I have had to re-direct small children into the arms of an adult and usually they "get the hint" at that time. My worst experience was when I had a librarian give the children a back-stage pass in to all my magic tricks when I was handing out prizes. That one took me by surprise - I expected that the librarian would understand. I have taken steps to avoid that happening again. One time I had a group of 5th grade boys making all of the puppets name rhyme with male and female body parts (not the ones like heart, lungs, hands etc. you get the idea). I stopped the show and the puppet I was using at that time had some firm words with them. Needless to say, that experience did nothing to change my stereotype of "rich country club kids". The only other "adults" in the room were underpaid teen girls who were supposed to "be in charge". I will never go back there again and I learned a few questions to ask before I decide to take a job! But I have always managed to have a great time at my birthday parties.
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-03-15 15:38, Servante wrote:
The fact that the performers provided their own videos to YouTube is way puzzling, Buzz.
Maybe the allure of being "famous" outweighed the allure of being "competent."

-Philip


Philip,

I am assuming that the performer is looking at his stellar performance, as he hems and haws trying to regain order and retrieve props; unaware that no child is watching him perform.

I am surprised that while the performer is watching the video before posting it on youtube, he does not realize that he can hardly be heard over the disorder, confusion and bedlam running rampant while the children’s behavior goes unchecked.
wizardpa
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If you want to pick and chose your shows, working in only the perfect environment with only the perfect aged children you just might only get 3-4 shows a year.
I've been asked to do a show in a single wide trailer. Many of my shows have been performed outside in 90+* heat, with 90% humidity, because parents do not want 25 children running around their house.
I've had my backdrop blow down because of wind gusts of 25-30 mph. There was the time I thought I'd be inside because it was 45*'s but was asked to perform outside and I did not bring a jacket.
You'll be asked to perform for a 9 year old boy who has friends 10 or 11 years old who will think puppets are stupid. You'll have 2 year old children coming up to you while you're right in the middle of a routine. I've had an 80 year old women come up to me while I'm performing asking for me to make her a balloon animal for her great grand-child.
I had a show at a rehab facility. I was expecting people recovering from broken hips or such. It sadden me to see that 85% of the people there were almost brain dead. 3 were in hospital beds with their heads twisted in awkward positions. I've turned down 2 shows for rehab facilities now.
At my last show I had the 4 year old Birthday girl having to go to the bathroom during my show.
You just might be performing at a nursing home with some guy screaming that he does not want to be there.
I think when you do your first show for the 3 year old Sunday School children you will see what I mean.
Dickens & Dave
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Quote:
I think when you do your first show for the 3 year old Sunday School children you will see what I mean.

That might be the one saving grace, that it is a Sunday school - they might not be quite as free to run around and get rowdy like at a birthday party.
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
wizardpa
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I have a bunch of shows coming up at the end of the month at an elementary school for grades K-3rd. It will my second year in a row for this school. I can honestly say school shows are very close to being the perfect environment. I guess I've done 20-25 shows for schools and I can not remember 1 bad incident. The teachers do a great job of controlling the children.
Dickens & Dave
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Elementary schools were the only children shows I ever did, so I was spared the terrors of the birthday parties, but I have heard many horror stories over the years.
Speaking of horror stories, it's time to go to work.....
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
wizardpa
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I've read some of those horror stories on this web site. I have been fortunate and I have avoided bad things happening to me.
All of this being said, I do enjoy performing for children. I hope I make such an impression on some of them that they chose to hire an entertainer one day for their children.

I'm not sure who (Howie/Buzz) will perform for down the road but I'd like for him to understand that things are not always perfect, especially when performing for children.
ColinDymond
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We all work in venues that are not the best, we all have audiences that could have behaved better, we all have hows that could have gone better but some people make these into a show reel and expect to get rebooked.
I hope the ones on web site do me some justice.

Colin
http://www.aceofdiamonds.co.uk
Howie Diddot
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Wizardpro;

Thanks for the heads up on what is in store for me when I perform for my first 3 year old audience.

My post was not to comment on any particular video on youtube, I have never experienced performing with children. I have attended hundreds of performances as a paid photographer, but never in events with small children as the audience.

My post was commenting that it was strange watching the videos and seeing the children’s behavior.
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-03-16 09:00, ColinDymond wrote:
We all work in venues that are not the best, we all have audiences that could have behaved better, we all have hows that could have gone better but some people make these into a show reel and expect to get rebooked.
I hope the ones on web site do me some justice.

Colin
http://www.aceofdiamonds.co.uk


Colin:

I am the exception as I have no experience and have never worked venues that was not the best, I never have performed in front of an audiences that has behaved, or could have behaved better; I am new with no understanding as to what to expect.

My post here is a comment on what I observe, initiate replies from experienced performers, and to prepare myself for what I can expect in my routine and how to avoid problems as a performer.

Thanks for your input

Buzz
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-03-16 07:17, wizardpa wrote:
I've read some of those horror stories on this web site. I have been fortunate and I have avoided bad things happening to me.
All of this being said, I do enjoy performing for children. I hope I make such an impression on some of them that they chose to hire an entertainer one day for their children.

I'm not sure who (Howie/Buzz) will perform for down the road but I'd like for him to understand that things are not always perfect, especially when performing for children.


Wizardpa;

Thanks for the post about my first performance.

I was not at all aware of how children’s react; I think I would have been shocked if I had just attempted to do my routine without prior knowledge of the kid’s actions


My Name is Buzz, I use Howie on the Magic Café because I goggled myself one day and all my Café posts came up with my posts, including how inexperienced I am; so I changed my user name
wizardpa
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I have only 1 youtube video of myself performing, posted on my website. It is a very successful video of me and Taco, and I'm not even doing ventriloquism with him on this routine. I think I might have 7 other videos of me performing or practicing on youtube. My videos are crude, no real editing skills.

I'm not talking about you Buzz, or really anyone else on this web site, but what I have posted, I share with other people like friends, family and anyone who might be interested. Some of these are just test videos and I tell family or friends to look at them. A great example is one of my Grand-daughter performing for the first time with me.

I've been performing enough now, that what I do has been very successful, and I've gotten great feedback. Feedback, from the people I perform for, that I have not requested, like; "how did you like that." People come up to me after my shows and tell me stuff like; "That was a great show," or like some elderly women recently told me; "she and her husband saw a magician while on a cruise and I was so much better."

Again, I'm not talking about anyone on this site. I'm not even sure anyone has even seen any of my videos. All I'm saying is if anyone, even potential customers do not like something I do, I do not really care. I do not post videos on youtube for that reason.

Just maybe that is what a lot of people are doing with youtube videos.
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Hey Dave, I enjoyed the video, it's good material and you come across as confident. I appreciate the sentiment and the story sounds so familiar. I still have this tendency, but I continually remind myself it's about the act. You gotta have an act and it's gotta be funny or nothing else matters. And if you have a great act, the 'bidness'part is much easier because people actually want you at their events.
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
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