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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » A kid runs by and breaks my lota vase before the show?!?!?! What to do? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chris Westfall
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So the other day I was doing a 1st communion 40 minutes show for the kids. It was about 60 kids in a huge banquet hall with a a couple hundred adults. The kids were wild and just running around the place as the parents mingled. I started setting up my show and had to kind of tell some kids to stay away from the stuff... Just before the show a kid runs by while playing tag or something and runs directly into my table with my lotta vase on it. (Can't get the same style which I loved.) He broke the vase water everywhere. The banquet hall cleaned it up and I did the show without that trick.

Just curious to what other people might do to keep kids away, how they would have reacted to a 60 dollar prop being broken by kids after you tried to get them to stop horse playing around the props?

Advice? Similar situations?
Full Effect Steve
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When I get to a room like that I always start by having one or two of the children help me put down a blue tape line. I then explain that I have to setup my show that the children need to stay on that side of the line. If as I am setting up I notice that there is still running on my side, I look for the person who hires me and explain that I just don't want anything to get knocked down or I don't want to accidently step on anyone while trying to setup (kids have a way of getting under you when you are not looking). It doesn't always work 100% but usually the kids will get the message especially if you let them help put the line down and then one or two of them will tell all the other kids that they need to stay on "that side of the line". I have even had children correct "grandma" or another adult for crossing the line. I try not to put any props on my table until the show is about to start just so that nothing gets knocked down. Hope that helps!
Chris Westfall
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I like that and I think I might just use it!!!! thanks
ColinDymond
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I Will sometimes put chairs around my "backstage" area to stop children coming in. It's quite good at keeping the crawling babies out too!
Julie Carpenter
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I have this problem with my bear - kids will steal him off my magic box and wander off with him.
Parents rarely stop them - then I mention the £200 price tag - and they get the kids to put him back, really, really, carefully
BIGmagiclV
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As I was reading this an idea popped into my head... How about carrying an air horn and as a kid approaches you activate it. This brings the situation to the parent's attention and spotlights their kids involvement. any thoughts?
jay leslie
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Grab a few chairs and stretch some Caution Tape between the chairs.

Make a zone.
Mike Maturen
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Great idea Steve. I only have a problem with one kid...he is a family friend, and wants to learn magic...but when he comes backstage h wants to handle everything...and is usually the kid in the front row saying that "he knows how to do that". Drives me nuts...but can't do too much about it.
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jimhlou
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I have an air horn - it doesn't work. The kids will taunt you just to hear you blow the horn.

Jim
Alikzam
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They're kids. Speak with authority and tell them that you need space while you're setting up. I would also suggest only putting the props out on your table just before you're about to perform. That's what I do.

In some venue's a line of tape on the floor won't work either because the kids will want to cross the line just to tease you. But, in other venues such as libraries it works wonderfully. It usually depends on if the kids know each other or not. I stand at the point that I want the kids to sit, and tell everyone to sit behind my feet. The kids will creep forward slightly throughout the show, but with a little audience control you should be fine.

When I first started performing I had a wireless microphone receiver knocked off a table by a child running around. I've learned that its just part of the job. Smile
Mike Maturen
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I carry a poisonous snake. That usually controls them.......

Actually, most kids are respectful if you ask them to stay back while you get ready. Sometimes I will even reward the little guy/gal by asking them to help me on stage.
Mike Maturen
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dearwiseone
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A good venue can often begin with the confirmation letter, or booking agreement. Why did this booking go ahead with no demand or contract for a clear stage area, adult supervision, etc.? If it was in the contract, then why wasn't it enforced? Always make sure to specify things like that in your performance agreement. I once had a performance at the Four Seasons (a repeat performance, same corporation, different group of kids) where had trouble the time before and expected it again. I completely re-wrote my performance agreement to include specific areas where others were not permitted, and my contract stated that there were to be adult supervisors responsible for keeping kids off the stage. It worked beautifully, I wish I could have brought those workers to some of my other shows over the years!

When you arrive to the venue, and see that kids are running around your staging area (or anywhere close to it), that's the time to ask your contact at the event to have all the kids go somewhere else. Wait for them to leave your performance area. Then, and only then, you approach the stage, set up your things. Don't be afraid to forcefully (but politely) ask for what you need. (ie. "I'm sorry Mrs. Johnson, but I really can't keep setting up my stage area with all of those kids running around. I'm afraid something or someone might get hurt. I don't want to start the performance late, but I'm going to need the stage area clear before I can continue setting up.")

If you start setting up and still have kids coming over, stop setting up, and immediately inform your contact of the problem. Make it her problem, not yours. (of course, that's just the option I'd use if you aren't prepared upon arrival to start the performance)

Lots of this starts with the amount of respect you command. Why doesn't David Copperfield have kids running all over his stage? Why are some entertainers able to keep kids back with just a piece of tape on the floor, and others can't yell loud enough? Just a thought.

With smaller crowds, I take a more active role in discipline. With larger crowds, you don't even worry about it, just work through your contact, have them do the work, let them be the "bad guy," you aren't there to babysit, you're there to perform and entertain.

I hope you learned your lesson! Best wishes!
-Kevin
harris
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First thought was insurance.
Second was set up management.
Third was I am glad I have a metal lota.
Fourth was a time during my early days when a young lad tugged on my first vent doll. (Jerry Mahoney)

Yes, the whole leg came off in his hand.

I make set up a part of my warm up. If I really have to leave ask a reliable adult to watch anything already set up.

Though I am there to perform, as a counselor in a school as my regular gig, I take the opportunity to have teachable moments during those events that can and do happen. If you perform things can go ugly. How you respond is as important as your "show time". We don't have to be a bad man/girl when we discipline.

Good point to learn from things that happen. ...As the saying goes ..if it doesn't kill you, you can write a routine around it.

Harris
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Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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zimsalabim
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Barbed Wire
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Who is the Greatest? Everybody else! Borrowed with respect from the late Great Eddie Fechter Owner of the Forks Hotel

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Payne
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This is why when I do House Parties I work out of my case. There's no set up or break down time and no chance of kids handling or breaking my props.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Pete Biro
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Payne just said what I was going to say.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Chris Westfall
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Some good ideas. I have in the past asked a kid or to to make sure that no kids come near the table and when kids try that kid will stop them, it feels like he is part of the show!
Chris Westfall
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But what about a broken prop that might be expensive and the fault is on purpose by a child. what do you do? ask the event to pay for that expensive prop or take it as a loss because its part of the job.
dearwiseone
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Chris,
It all depends what your contract/performance agreement said. Legally, you'd be fighting a very tough battle. Morally, if you specified in your performance agreement that there was to be an adult or multiple adult supervisors at all times to protect and keep clear the stage area, and if it was their responsibility to ensure the safety of the props, then by all means, explain how they fell short and ask for the compensation.

If not, chalk it up to experience, count this one as a loss, and don't take any more expensive props to kids shows!

Best Wishes!
Chris Westfall
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Quote:
On 2011-05-12 22:30, dearwiseone wrote:
Chris,
It all depends what your contract/performance agreement said. Legally, you'd be fighting a very tough battle. Morally, if you specified in your performance agreement that there was to be an adult or multiple adult supervisors at all times to protect and keep clear the stage area, and if it was their responsibility to ensure the safety of the props, then by all means, explain how they fell short and ask for the compensation.

If not, chalk it up to experience, count this one as a loss, and don't take any more expensive props to kids shows!

Best Wishes!


it wasnt an expensive prop! but it did get me thinking for the future if there was a pricey prop present. lol ....... pricey prop present that sound funny.

thanks , I will take that in consideration to add to my contract.
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