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Mr. Woolery
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2006 Posts

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Okay, ask yourself how to make a little red hankie funny. Seriously. How do you make it funny? I don't do this trick very often, so I'm not able to give you a really well-developed routine, but here's my general approach to making a 30 second trick into a 7 or 8 minute trick. I plan out a step-by step approach, do what I have heard called a mental movie, where I imagine watching the trick unfold into a moment of wonder with laughs along the way. So, here's a really rough idea for you to polish and play around with. Do this one and you'll have a workable kids' routine with a hankie, a TT and a couple of other props you probably already have. Build on it so it is your own personality and you will have something even better.

Part one.

Really build up the trick. "And now, the most famous, most amazing, most difficult, most mystifying trick in the world! Did I say in the world? I meant in the whole solar system! Maybe the whole universe! Are you ready? Really ready? Or should I do a lame card trick instead? Shucks, I didn't bring my lame cards, only my cool ones. Guess I have to do the most famous, most amazing, most difficult, most mystifying trick in the world instead. Here we go!"

Pull out a glittery cardboard gift box. I have several of these and they are usually available at any place that sells gift wrap. Handle it gently, like there's something valuable and delicate inside. Set it on your table (this can be a cheap folding TV tray table, just a place to put things while you perform). Lift the lid a little and peek inside. Close the lid.

"Are you guys sure you want to see this? I could probably do a different trick if you don't want to see this one."

If you are at all a decent actor, they should all be wanting to know what's in the box by now. If they are not screaming at you to open the box, you need to take a break from magic and get some acting lessons. That's a serious suggestion, not an insult.

"Fine, okay, it almost never works, but when it does, it really is the most famous, most amazing, most difficult, most mystifying trick in the world!" (Repetition is funny. Use the same words over and over to build this trick up.)

Remove the lid slowly. Reach into the box gently, like you're picking up a small animal or something. Focus all your attention on reaching into the box. Just as your hand is in the box, pull it out and start talking again.

"You know, just the other day, I saw a guy try to do this trick. He failed miserably. It was a really sad thing to watch. He didn't know how to do it right, but even if you do know how to do it right, it can be easy to mess it up. Are you sure you want to see it?"

(Note: by now you've spent 90 seconds or more getting their interest and you still have not shown them what the trick is. They should be ready to almost wet their pants in anticipation.)

Reach into the box slowly. Pull your hand back out quickly and step back one step.

"Did I mention that this is the most famous, most amazing, most difficult, most mystifying trick in the world? Okay, good, wanted to make sure you all knew that."

No more teasing at this point. Reach into the box, where you have several items. The silk, of course. The TT. A breakaway wand. A normal wand, but small. A folded up piece of paper with printing on it (doesn't matter what it says). A red spongeball with a slit in it, turning it into a clown nose.

Slowly bring out the silk like it is a wonderful and amazing thing. You should get jeers here. Be as totally serious as you can manage. Hold your empty hand up for silence and tell them "This is a very serious trick. People have been injured attempting this trick. In fact, I've worked very hard to learn it and put a lot of sweat and blood into learning it. This little hankie used to be white when I started practicing. Magic can be dangerous stuff. Don't try this at home."

Slowly, gently, delicately begin poking it into your left fist. There's no TT, this is not the vanish yet. Project intense concentration, frown as you stare at the fist, when it is halfway in wipe your forehead like you are sweating from so much concentration. Pretend in your head that you are trying to defuse a bomb with only seconds left on the timer. It is that serious. If the kids are not laughing, consider those acting lessons I talked about earlier.

When several kids are laughing at you, look up and say "gimme a break, guys, this is the really hard part of this trick. If I can't concentrate, it won't work." Go back to the exagerated concentration, build tension with every muscle in your body. Ignore the laughs as you finally get the last of the hanky poked into your hand, wipe your forehead and relax. There's a release of tension for about two seconds. Give them a goofy grin like you can't believe you just did it. Whatever you just did.

(You are at least three minutes into the trick and the trick hasn't happened yet.)
SmithMagicMan
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Lololololol.
I have taken your advice, and will certainly look into it.
The book seems rather expensive, I'm only 15 and have a set budget.
I'm attending the LADS convention this weekend, with about £130, if I have any left over, I will seriously consider getting the book.

Would the book be better or the DVD?
DVD is cheaper, and I'm a more visual learner.


James.
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
2006 Posts

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Step two. Fail.

"Okay, I think I did that part right. Now, we just need to say the magic words all together and the handkerchief will totally vanish. Are you ready? All together now, one, two, three, SAY THE MAGIC WORDS!"

They object that they don't know the magic words, or say abracadabra or whatever. You look at them like they are crazy, then it dawns on you that it is your mistake.

"Oh, no! I forgot to tell you the magic words! How could I be so stupid? The trick won't work without the magic words. We need to say them all together for this to be the most famous, most amazing, most difficult, most mystifying trick in the world. Who can guess the magic words?"

Let them shout out a few. Finally say "those are all pretty good, but they don't make hankies vanish. The magic words for today are actually... Icky acky ooky pbbbbbbb!" (pbbbbbb is how I type the sound of a "raspberry" or "Bronx cheer") Let them laugh at your words, then look at them angrily.

"What's so funny about that?"

Hold up your fist with the hankie in it. Frown and concentrate.

"All together, one, two, three, SAY THE MAGIC WORDS!"

They do.

Now, as you say the next bit of patter, open your hand, let the silk flutter out, don't notice it, and start clapping.

"You did it! The handkerchief disappeared! That was great, you guys! Give yourselves a big hand!"

Ignore them telling you about how it didn't work. You don't hear them for at least five seconds (which is a long time when you are trying to ignore 20 kids screaming at you). If anyone reaches for it, put your foot on the silk but pretend it is an accident.

"What? It's on the floor? That's amazing! It vanished from my hand and appeared on the floor, what a great trick!"

Posted: Sep 28, 2011 4:29pm
Step three: Fail again.

"It didn't disappear? Are you sure? We'd better try it again."

Pick up the silk. Shake it off a little. Poke it back into your hand, but go faster this time. Don't lose the momentum you have created.

"Okay, we're ready, let's do this again! But I want to make sure it happens just right, this time, so I'm going to use the magic wand."

Get out the small wand. Wave it over your hand as you all repeat the magic words, then toss it back in your box. Announce that it worked and clap your hands again. Notice the failure immediately. Shake the silk, hold it up to your ear like you are listening to a heartbeat or something. Look at it and frown.

"I don't know why it isn't working. Maybe I need to try again with the bigger wand."

Poke it into your hand again, then reach into the box and pull out the breakaway wand. Get everyone to say the magic words as you wave the wand, then let the wand break and leave it dangling over the fist with the hanky in it. Be horrified.

"OH NO! You guys broke my best wand! Now how are we going to make this trick work?"

Recover your good nature right away, toss the breakaway wand into the box again.

"That's okay, I have a spare wand in here somewhere."

Reach back into the box, rummage around like you are digging through all sorts of junk, then come out with the same breakaway wand held straight again.

"Allrighty then, here's my spare wand, here's the magic hanky, here's a whole room full of people who know the magic words, let's make this trick happen!"

Wave the wand, chorus the magic words, break the wand, toss it in the box, open your fist and see the hanky still there, start to cry.

Step four: Read the instructions.

“Fine, then. I know it didn't work, but there's a secret way to make tricks work. Most men won't do this, but sometimes you have to (stage whisper this last bit) read the instructions.”

Drop the hanky into the box next to the TT and pull out the folded piece of paper. Open the paper and pretend to read what is on it. Mumble and say “Ohhh.” Fold up the paper and put it in the box. Look at your audience.

“Turns out I've been doing this trick the wrong way. Who would have thought? See, there's a special magic enhancer I need to use when I do this trick and I forgot all about it. Sorry about that, you guys. But I bet it works this time!”

Reach into the box and pull out the sponge clown nose. Keep it hidden in your hand as you place it on your nose. Take your hand away and be surprised when the kids start to laugh.

“And just what is so funny, may I ask?”

When the laughs die down, say “Magic is serious business, you know.”

Reach into the box and pull out the silk and the TT. Use your favorite way to get the TT into your other hand. Tuck the silk into your TT in your hand. Do the standard TT move to have an empty fist. But don't show it empty yet.

“Now, here's the other thing we forgot. You all need to use your magic wands, too. Just hold up your peter pointer finger, yes, the one you pick your nose with. Now, when we say the magic words, we ALL need to wave our wands at the little red hanky. Ready? One, two, three, SAY THE MAGIC WORDS!”

Wave with your whole arm over the hand with the hanky. Use your whole body to demonstrate how they are to wave. Keep this up for at least three seconds. Stop waving and look at your hand. Look at the kids.

“Should we see if it worked?”

They shout yes.

“I'm kind of scared to look. Can't we just pretend we looked and assume it worked?”

Keep up the excuses for a short time, but only until they are all screaming at you to open your hand. Then put all the intensity and anticipation you can manage into slowly opening your fist to amaze yourself with the fact that it vanished. Applaud wildly.

“It worked! You guys are amazing! Give yourselves a big hand!”

Pull off the clown nose and ditch the TT with it as you put it back in the box, close the lid, and move on to the next trick.

Okay, that's something like 7 or 8 minutes with a red silk and a TT. It gets all the kids involved, gets them laughing, makes you the fool, and has them wanting more. Also, all the noise should make it clear to mom that you are really giving her value for money. Play around with this and act through it at home, then ask yourself how you can make it your routine instead of a routine suggested by a guy on an internet forum.

If you use this routine, send me the price of a beer. I think I deserve it.
SmithMagicMan
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Wow. Just. Wow.

That is just great. So blooming great(:

I would have never, ever done anything like that. I can soooo see myself working well with this.
Thank you so much

P.S: If I ever meet you at a convention or anything, I will pay for you to have a lifetime supply of beers(:
That goes for everyone who helps me out Smile

Thanks so much(:
Mr. Woolery
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Potty is absolutely right in saying you need to research how to do this. My process differs from the Seriously Silly process, but the results aim for the same goals. Having the tools from this book will help a lot with thinking through a routine. David Kaye gives three versions of his silk in TT for three different age groups. That's also important.

As has been said already, the journey matters much more than the destination. The magic moment at the end tells the kids the trick is over, which is important. However, they should have had loads of laughs along the way. All at your expense.

There's another wonderful routine for this trick in Kids Think Its Funny by Greg McMahon. Also well worth owning and I think of it as a supplement to Seriously Silly.

Above all, have fun with the kids. Magic is all about having fun.

-Patrick
TonyB2009
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James, here is how I get ten minutes out of a ribbon vanish.

I make a big deal of the house being haunted, and the ghost being at the back, picking his nose. Now he's moving through the crowd, hopping on heads. Finally he settles on one girl's head, and I bring her up.

Now there is a bit of fun while I ask her her name (what a co-incidence, that was my name when I was a little girl) her age (You're five? I was six when I was your age). Is she married, etc. To help me remember all the information, I then proceed to tie knots in her hair. I then demonstrate how this works by showing what a great memory I have. I recite the alphabet backwards - by standing backwards while I recite the alphabet. When the kids protest, I face them and actually recite the alphabet backwards - then backwards and forwards at the same time.

Then I tell the kids that ghosts hate Barbie dolls, and I have Barbie's hair ribbon. I produce a ribbon, do a one-handed knot flourish, then make a loop in the ribbon, creep up on the girl (making plenty of noise) and lasso the ghost. I now have the ribbon looped around her hair, and I get the audience to vote on whether to yank it off gently or roughly. The result is immaterial, as it does not hurt to yank the ribbon off.

I then do the thumb tip vanish of the ribbon. Then I pick a boy, and accuse him of stealing the ribbon. I bring him up, stand him beside the girl, and announce: ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today for the wedding of Tom and Mary. That gets a big laugh.

Then I get the boy to stand with his arms stretched out like an airplane, and I stick my finger into his jumper, pulling out the ribbon. The two volunteers bow, and I get a great round of applause. Seven to ten minutes every time.

How do you get ten minutes out of a balloon? Unfortunately I don't have a youtube clip, but I will send you a PM of my routine. I hope it is helpful. It works wonders for me.

All the best. Tony
charliecheckers
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James - the other thing I discovered is that each audience is unique in that certain tricks will get a bigger reaction than others from different audiences. Also - There are tons of examples to view on You Tube to see what you like that fits your style.
MagicJuggler
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In addition to all the great advice so far, another thing to learn is some simple crowd control for young kids. Make sure they all sit in an orderly manner, cross legged on the floor if there are no chairs. If you've ever seen a good teacher take control of a large group of kids at a school assembly you'll know basically what to do. And that kind of thing works even better if you use something the kids are familiar with from school, because they fall into line faster.

If you have a large group of kids that can help with those that start with too much energy, your goal is to settle them down to a controlled roar before you start. That way your battle is half over as you begin your show.
Matthew Olsen

www.mattolsenmagic.com




I heard from a friend that anecdotal evidence is actually quite reliable.
Ed_Millis
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Mr. Woolery and Tony, those were absolutely beautiful!! Those two routines alone would make half a show and raise a performer about 3/4 of the "kid's magicians" out there today!

James, if this is what you want to learn then you need the book. The DVD will help illustrate some routines in the book. I understand a budget - but if this is what you want to do, then please find a way. If you don't want to do it bad enough to find a way, then wait until you do.

Ed
Potty the Pirate
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I agree with you, Ed. Mr Woolery and Tony have been exceptionally generous in offering such fine and carefully-thought-out routines. I hope James can start to come up with some ideas of his own....for instance....Mr Woolery's routine only goes as far as the vanish of the hanky (don't call it a "silk", by the way, James.) There are heaps more gags (like blowing your nose into the hanky, etc), which can extend that routine further. And, of course, you can then have the hanky reappear, and go through another series of comedy mishaps before it finally reappears. (This part of the effect needs to move a bit more quickly.)
"Seriously Silly" is full of routines and ideas along these lines, and for such a modest investment, you get far more bangs for your bucks than buying "ready to go" magic tricks.
Do let us know how you get on, James. By the way, I think your fee of £25 is about right for someone just starting out. Don't be afraid to let your clients know that you're a novice. Experienced professionals charge way more than that, you can slowly increase your prices in line with your abilities. My very first paid show, when I went back to performing for kids, was just £20. Though I was given a £10 tip, which felt great! Had I tried to charge "the going rate", my client would no doubt have felt cheated, and I'd probably have struggled to get my business off the ground.
Potty Smile
SmithMagicMan
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Thank you ever so much guys, I know I keep saying it, but it really means a lot for you guys to be helping me out with all this.
I will most definately build my own routines based on these, and I thank everyone so much for donating these great routines.

Thanks Potty, I will stick to £25-£30.
I will look into getting the book, I just need to resist spending all my money at the LADS convention!
Mr. Woolery
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Word of advice that most of us learned the hard way (and you will, too).

Buy books. Don't get sucked into the great descriptions of the amazing props that you just have to get. Spend your money on books. There are some great DVDs and some great props and some great trick ideas out there. BUT your best value will be investing in your magic education, not your magic arsenel.

There are a few books I feel like I should not have bothered with, but mostly I've been happy with what I have gained from the books and that's the one place where value still outweighs cost for me.

In truth, I could put together a show for kids that would cost me maybe $25 in props. And it would be as good a show as I could do with $350 in props. The real magic isn't in the gimmicks and the flashy stuff. The real value is in how they are shared with the audience. Ricky Jay can entertain a whole theater full of people with just a deck of cards. And there are plenty of hacks who could not keep anyone's attention with all the fancy props and illusions that the magic shops want to sell us. The difference is that one knows how to entertain and the rest don't.

Little story I read a while back about a guy who was part of a shooting club. He had started with a particular pistol and a particular rifle. He had never "upgraded" them, but instead learned to get the most from them. Every so often there's a new guy in the club with what the old timers call Magnum Fever. He has the latest high-dollar gun with all the tricked-out options, custom stock, fancy customizations, the whole works. The old timers tend to be tolerantly amused until he starts telling them he can out shoot them because of his gear. The result is normally a challenge to a contest of marksmanship where they are standing, no slings, no tables, no scopes. One rifle against the other in fair conditions. The old timer with the pawn-shop gun that he has been shooting for 40 years will always win. Magnum Fever exists in music (gotta have the high-dollar Martin guitar so I can sound just like Doc Watson), in automobiles (gotta have the fancy sports car so I can drive like Mario Andretti), and in magic (gotta have the latest expensive props so I can get the results of guys like I see on TV). Nobody gets good because of his equipment. When your equipment is keeping you from doing your best, you will know it because you will already be better than almost everyone else. Try to avoid that Magnum Fever and invest in your ability to use what you already have.

Honestly, I could spend so much money on magic stuff I would not use. I don't know how long I've been trying to talk myself into getting some gimmicks that I really don't have a need for. But I keep wanting them. My act includes such things as paper balls, silks, rope, a deck of cards, and cups and balls. Lance Burton uses ordinary coffee cups for his cups and balls. He can afford anything on the market, but he illustrates that what you really need is the ability to get the most out of the trick, not fancy props.

That said, there's a certain satisfaction in using really nice equipment and I love some of my props no end. I learned later than I should have how important it is to know what to do with them, though.

So, the real advice that you need to take to heart is invest in your education before your equipment. This is earnest and friendly advice and I think everyone here will agree with me. We really do want you to succeed as a magician and the best way to do that is to learn how to be a performer, not just a guy who can make the trick work.

In other words, get the book and spend less at the LADS convention. There's more for you in the book.

-Patrick
Ed_Millis
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Sometimes at a convention or gathering, you will find someone who is a "big name" who is willing to spend time with you. (Actually, a lot of people are - but they want to be asked politely by an eager and interested person with a dry sponge waiting to be filled!) If you can find such a connection, offer to buy them dinner in exchange for the opportunity to talk with them and absorb as much of them as you can.

Not "How did you do this trick?" but
-- "What has kept you through the difficult times?"
-- "What do you think when put a routine together?"
-- "Why did you decide to take on the character you are as a magician?"
-- "What won't you do and why?"
And a whole host of other things.

Successful people have things inside them that you'll never get from a book - only through conversation. A successful magician is made up of so much more than his tricks.

Ed
incredibrent
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Hey James,
There is a lot of great advice on this board! I just wanted to also say that I think it's great that you can take an honest look at your performance and realize what went well and what didn't. As you do more shows in the future don't lose sight of that. I truly believe that self awareness is extremely important when entertaining a crowd. If you can take a good honest look at yourself after every show you will begin to figure out what works for you as an entertainer and what your audience responds to. Don't get discouraged just keep challenging yourself to do better and you will go far!
SmithMagicMan
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Cheers again guys(:
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