The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Heckler lines for parents (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2
harris
View Profile
Inner circle
Harris Deutsch
8695 Posts

Profile of harris
My experience has taught me to re-frame what I used to call heckling.

This has been from both past comedy club and kid/family shows.

There is a difference between non attentive and heckling audiences.

Though if it is a kid show, I don't play to the adults, I do find including playing to the band(or back of the room bits) helps to draw them in.


Years ago, I called it the Bullwinkle approach. That is to levels of entertainment going on.

Today I had what used to be a tough audience for me. Middle school summer school students and their teachers for a 7:30 A.M. show.

I used to start out with a flash quick affect....but today I simply started with a question.

As a musician, I know not everyone is completely quiet during songs.
Some are there to dance, some to talk, some wonder how I can get a G7 note on a diatonic C harmonica.

Harris
still 2 old to know it all
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
MickNZ
View Profile
Special user
Auckland, New Zealand
578 Posts

Profile of MickNZ
Have a show good enough that the parents at the back stop what they're doing to watch you Smile
rossmacrae
View Profile
Inner circle
Arlington, Virginia
2447 Posts

Profile of rossmacrae
"Okay, kids, before we go to our next trick, I want everyone to stand up ... that's right ... and turn around toward the grownups, and go SSSSSHHHH! ... thank you."
kimmo
View Profile
Inner circle
Sheffield
1193 Posts

Profile of kimmo
When parents ignore you and chat, it's generally because they have seen other kids' entertainers who have bored them silly. Shouting at them or making smart ass comments to them will only annoy them. All you need is a chance to show them that they are going to enjoy the show and they will fall in line and watch. So do a trick that involves them. I have lots of them. The race trick where a kid takes on 3 adults is perfect for this and it doesn't make the adults involved feel silly or embarrassed. The minute you get a parent to do something, the rest all shut up, the phone cameras come out and then you have your chance to win them over. If they continue talking after that, the problem is with your show.
VISIT MY ONLINE STORE!: www.kimmomagicshop.com
NEW LECTURE NOTES - SHOW US YOUR TRIX NOW AVAILABLE AS AN INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD!

Kimmo DVD available Now!
Watch the promo here!
Order your copy NOW! CLICK HERE!

ENTERTAINER,MAGICIAN AND VENTRILOQUIST'S BLOG - DON'T READ THIS...
Gerry Walkowski
View Profile
Inner circle
1434 Posts

Profile of Gerry Walkowski
Kimmo,

Very well said. I agree with 99% of what you said.

The 1% I disagree with is the part about, “When parents ignore you and chat, it's generally because they have seen other kids' entertainers who have bored them silly.”

I think some magicians would like to believe that whereas in reality most people have never seen a LIVE magic show, let alone a children’s entertainer. Also, there are some in our society that live in a different world than ours and have absolutely no interest in seeing a magic show - EVER! If a person doesn’t care for Operas, I’m not sure they’re going to enjoy a production of Die Fledermaus no matter how well it’s presented.

To us in the profession, we’d always like to believe that magic is one of the biggest things in show business, when in reality it’s such a small part of the industry. Charlie Reynolds once said something along the lines of, “Magic is like the circus…it will always be there, but it will never be one of the biggest things in show business like singers, comedians, etc.”

The advice you’ve offered is golden and I believe it will work in many cases.

Still, we must come to the realization that there will always be that fringe element (perhaps the sports types, the laborers, or the millennials) that would rather be doing something else because this isn’t what they’ve signed up for, nor do they care.

Best,

Gerry
Geoff Akins
View Profile
New user
64 Posts

Profile of Geoff Akins
Wow! Where to start...

First, I absolutely LOVE Heckler lines (and juggler Drop Lines too) and have used a variety of them earlier in my career. Then something changed...I had kids of my own. Then I understood a little bit more about what might be happening. In some cases going to a gathering and having the wee one(s) engaged with some activity may be the parents only break during the day. I'm not saying it's right, I'm not saying it's polite, I'm just giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I started looking at all the ways I responded to either parents talking and their kids trying to come up uninvited, etc. I focused on "how would I feel if an entertainer said those things to me or my child?"

Now, right in my introduction I mention how I choose my volunteers and can only use someone being respectful, "For me respectful means you're sitting up straight, you're paying attention to the show, and most importantly, you're not talking during the show because it makes it hard for others to hear. (Then, specifically with the adults in mind, I add)..."and if you MUST talk please feel free to use the rest of the beautiful library/rec center/venue just outside the door."

Does it always work? Of course not. But it cuts down on some of it. When it happens even after the introductory remarks I still address the issue but as gently and diplomatically as possible. Sometimes it works and others times it doesn't, but I often get compliments from other adults after the show thanking me for calling out the talkative parents.

Another thing I've come to realize (and this applies to both talking parents, and talking kids) is in some cases I'M really the one who is distracted by what's happening. I'm so focused on performing that any little disruption looms large on my inner radar. When I respond to those interruptions EVERYONE hears my reaction (because I'm amplified) but if they didn't hear the talking parent/child then my comments come out of the blue and can sound overly harsh. So, in some cases, I refocus on the 99% of the audience who ARE actively engaged and move on.
MichaelDouglas
View Profile
Special user
Portland, Oregon
766 Posts

Profile of MichaelDouglas
For me I send a pre-show email to the host parent with tips on how to help the kids get the most enjoyment from the show. One of the tips is to help me encourage parents that need to talk to move to another room. Once I arrive and begin to set up the parents ask is there anything that I need...usually. I ask that they just help side conversations to happen away from the party room. This helps to get the host parent on my side with this issue.

At the start of the show during the warm-ups I mention to the parents that "so that the kids can get the most enjoyment from the show, please watch, participate, and enjoy the show with the kids. If you need to have a conversation, please do that in the other room."

Then I do what MickNZ and Kimmo discuss.
Quote:
On Jul 6, 2015, MickNZ wrote:
Have a show good enough that the parents at the back stop what they're doing to watch you Smile


Be the most interesting thing happening in the room. When the reactions and laughter of the kids and the other parents in the room overwhelm the senses of would-be talkers, then they either leave the room, or pay attention to the show.

Yes, I still get an occasional talking parent. If it gets to be too much of a distraction, then I might just stop what I'm doing and stare at the talker. I might even make it comical and lean in and act like I'm listening to their conversation. It focuses attention on them and they then shut-up.
Geoff Akins
View Profile
New user
64 Posts

Profile of Geoff Akins
I like the idea of keeping it light and humorous whenever possible.
RealityOne
View Profile
Loyal user
224 Posts

Profile of RealityOne
Quote:
On Jul 6, 2015, MickNZ wrote:
Have a show good enough that the parents at the back stop what they're doing to watch you Smile


Best idea. I remember one show during my cups and eyeballs routine (you do have to watch closely and keep your eyes on the ball!) where a 70 year old grandmother yelled out from the back of the room "can you kids sit down, I can't see!" I'd hate to see what she would do to any adults talking.

If you can't structure your show that the adults are interested in what you are doing, make it so entertaining for the kids that the adults are interested in how their kids are reacting.
~David

Any perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8361 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Interesting comments, Reality One!

HERE COMES THE >>>BUT<<<: One of my "criteria" is: NO TABLE NEEDED --(sight lines!!!)

No matter how wonderful the trick is....

If "you" are going to perform a "table top" trick, you MUST consider the sight lines!

Unless you are performing on an elevated platform, or, the audience is seated on "gymnasium bleachers", those in the "third row", will not be able to see "what's happening!

They all "bought a ticket"! They all are entitled to see what's happening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






















11111111111
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
RealityOne
View Profile
Loyal user
224 Posts

Profile of RealityOne
Quote:
On Jan 3, 2016, Dick Oslund wrote:
I
If "you" are going to perform a "table top" trick, you MUST consider the sight lines!


I agree completely. The show was a birthday party for around 10 kids - all who were seated in a semi circle around my table. Both the kids up front and the adults in the back of the room could see fine... until the kids stood up. They were excited and, apparently, the adults were too.

For larger groups, I have a different set that doesn't require the use of a table.
~David

Any perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8361 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Hi David!

Thanks for responding! The reason that I commented so vigorously is that there are many beginners listening in on this "party line"! (hee hee! --I wonder how many even know what a party line IS!

Magic dealers tend to sell "boxes, tubes, cans, and pans ("self working" props ) to beginners. Many of these props (e.g. square circles, Hippity Hop Bunnies, etc. need to "work", on a table. (It's hard to use a square circle without a "working surface" to place it on. (Hooray! another Charlie Miller! --I used a preposition to end a sentence WITH! --OOPS!)

Most of the new guys present their show on anything but a stage or even a platform. Parlors, or church social halls etc. are the usual venues. They may have practiced (or even rehearsed!) at home, with their families watching. When they arrive at the "party", they find a hundred people seated on chairs (maybe 10 rows back from the front row.) Spectators seated 10 rows back, cannot even see the table, never mind the props!

Beginners are often so concerned with unpacking and setting their props, they don't think of things like visibility.

At one time, in my lecture, I had a segment titled: "See it from the audience's point of view!" I gave examples! I saw a lot of pencils scribbling on pads!!!

It's obvious from your response to my response (!) that you are not a beginner! (btw.I like your "eye ball" gag!)

I hope that our "face off" has awakened a few who had not considered 'how it looks" from out front!

Best Wishes,

Dick Oslund
Sneaky, underhanded, devious, and surreptitious itinerant mountebank --and, soon to be recognized as a qualified quacksalver!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
lurker
View Profile
New user
86 Posts

Profile of lurker
Oh, just go up to the two women nattering (It is ALWAYS two women nattering!) and simply say, "Now pay attention ladies, we do ask questions later!" Problem solved. If the entire audience is nattering and it happens show after show it may mean that your show isn't that good in the first place. However, if it just happens once or twice then simply get the the kids to shush the parents by saying, "Boys and girls, when I count to three will you all say Shh! If you wish to be a bit bolder get the kids to put their finger to their lips, and turn round to the parents when they say it.

The wishing card idea previously mentioned is a clever ploy but it makes me nervous. I can see it offending someone.
jay leslie
View Profile
V.I.P.
Southern California
9495 Posts

Profile of jay leslie
Lurker
Don't forget about culture & income. Some people are jaded & some think that talking during a movie, magician or other is no difference then talking during a football game.

It doesn't mean that your show isn't as good as you think. Various communities (here) have a culture where the kids are very quiet and it's difficult to build the energy. I've noticed that those parents are usually middle management and their entire way of getting through life is not to make waves .... And it rubs-off on the kids.

So there's all kinds of sociological reasons people do things other then what you expect or think you deserve/earned.

I like the susshing though, used it myself. There's a group psychology to shaming some and sometimes you possibly may need to do it. Smile assuming it's in your nature.
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13417 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
Quote:
On May 16, 2015, TommyJ wrote:
Look at all the other adults watching your show and point in the direction of the talking parents: "You can always tell who's NOT paying for the entertainment."


That's a good one!

I try to involve the parents to some degree throughout the show which reduces/eliminates any possibility of that.
The added "texture" of using kids and adults together in a show has numerous advantages.


With that being said...

Once solution I've used is to basically say nothing about them being a loudmouth but just walk over and hand an adult a prop as if it's just part of the show. This directs their attention back to the event.

I've also just stopped the show dead mid-sentence and just stared and waited... which makes everyone else stop and stare. Then we are all stopped, silent and staring at the loudmouth.... until they realize the obvious.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13417 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
For those of you that do a lot of kids shows, would you be worried using an insulting "line".
You might lose a client?
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8361 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Over the years, I had a few instances in which the faculty all sat together in one section of the audience. (In most schools the students sit as a grade, WITH their teacher.) At one particular incident, the teachers were talking so loudly among themselves, that they were disturbing the kids. who were a good audience. I finally walked over to the faculty group, and asked them to "cease and desist". They did. When the "report card" landed on my manager's desk, she kept it and, at our next meeting of talent consultants (we "bookers") she read it aloud to all of us. The comment on the card read: "This man insulted our faculty"! Then she laughed, ripped it up, and filed it in the round file. (My program was always at the top, or almost the top, of the list!).

I always kept December "open" for club dates in Chicago. In the early '70s, Howard Schultz booked me for the WRIGLEY CHEWING GUM EXECUTIVE "FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTY". We had a 3 piece band, I was MC, and was booked to do 15 minutes, Joyce Rice was set for 12-15 with her fancy western rope spinning act. A juggler, whose name I've forgotten, was also set for 15 minutes. Joyce and the juggler were "dumb" acts. The band played for them. as MC, I was also the only talking act. The show was in a large party room with a bar at the back of the room.

The kids, sat on the carpeted floor, all dressed in their party clothes. It was obvious that they had never heard those "six famous words" ("THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT K-MART"!!!) The executives/parents were at the bar discussing their last cruise and/or recent vacation in Hawaii. I had a microphone! I ignored them! I was being paid a VERY GOOD FEE, and, I decided that I would like to have the date "for next year"! I did the act, but, only did what talking was NECESSARY.

The client was happy. I was rebooked.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
RealityOne
View Profile
Loyal user
224 Posts

Profile of RealityOne
Quote:
On Jan 7, 2016, Dick Oslund wrote: In the early '70s, Howard Schultz booked me for the WRIGLEY CHEWING GUM EXECUTIVE "FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTY". We had a 3 piece band,


Juicy Fruit, Doublemint and Spearmint?
~David

Any perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.
TonyB2009
View Profile
Inner circle
5006 Posts

Profile of TonyB2009
Quote:
On Jan 7, 2016, TheAmbitiousCard wrote:
For those of you that do a lot of kids shows, would you be worried using an insulting "line".
You might lose a client?

Last year a woman re-booked me for her child's party. She said: You were very rude to my guests last year.

I had been. One woman just refused all hints, and eventually I told her bluntly to shut up or go to a different room. But the show had been excellent, because I had not allowed her to spoil it.

I said to the woman: Would you rather I had said nothing and let your friend destroy a show you had spent good money on?

I know she saw my point, because she did rebook me. And her friend behaved better second time around.

So no, I am not worried about loosing the occasional repeat business.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Heckler lines for parents (8 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.22 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL