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TheAmbitiousCard
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A friend of texted me a photo of a bday party of a magician performing.
HIM:"here's your competition...lol"
ME: "how was he"?
HIM: "he was performing for 5 year olds so the older kids got bored".

Seriously?
Not being able to entertain kids of all ages is unacceptable behavior at a magic show!
Come on now!!!!

Ok, who was it? And how can we help you?
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Dynamike
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Was he an amateur magician? If so, we all need to get experience.
TheAmbitiousCard
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No, I don't think he was an amateur. I was told his name so I'll check.
Obviously I won't be outting him here at the friendly confines.
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stempleton
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I hope this thread picks up... this is a great topic. How can you best entertain a multi-aged group of kids? It haunts me every time someone says age ranges from 3-13. Ouch. Plus the adults are ALWAYS watching. Mixing up routines so that everyone is entertained during the show often means everyone is left behind at some point in the show. Or not? Would love to hear any thoughts.
TKD27
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On Feb 13, 2018, stempleton wrote:
I hope this thread picks up... this is a great topic. How can you best entertain a multi-aged group of kids? It haunts me every time someone says age ranges from 3-13. Ouch. Plus the adults are ALWAYS watching. Mixing up routines so that everyone is entertained during the show often means everyone is left behind at some point in the show. Or not? Would love to hear any thoughts.


This has been a challenge for me, as well. It's a goal for this year to improve my "older kid" offerings. I've got the 4-9 crowd down, no problem. But I struggle with entertaining older kids, especially if doing so at the same time as entertaining younger kids.

I honestly don't think you can put on a great show that entertains kids ranging in age from four to 12. I would LOVE to be proven wrong, but I don't think it can really be done. For anyone who says they do, I would argue that they probably think they're entertaining everyone but they're really not. Again - I'd love to be proven wrong on this.

Edit: just to clarify, I'm sure you can put on a show that's entertaining for half of your diverse audience and is passable for the other half. What I mean is that I don't think you can truly engage and enthrall the entire audience if the ages are that diverse.
Dick Oslund
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Well, TKD, and stempleton, also....

When I began touring for the various school assembly bureaus (U.S.A.) in the late '60s, it was necessary (if I wanted to have a full schedule)to produce a program that could play well to, and, entertain school grades from Kindergarten through Senior High. (That's ages 5 to 18). I did, and was never "at liberty" in 50 years. Generally, I didn't repeat an area, sooner than 4 years. I toured coast to coast, and, border to border, in many special schools (Physical AND mentally challenged groups, of all types. "Alternative" high schools, drug rehabilitation high schools, reform schools Prison ("hard time" schools, plus mental hospitals, asylums for the criminally insane,ETC.

I played Primary schools (grades K-3, elementary schools (grades K-6) upper elementary (grades 4-6) Jr. Highs (grades 7-8) Sr. Highs (9-12) and (10-12), and VERY OFTEN in midwestern rural states KINDERGARTEN THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE SCHOOLS.

I wrote about these "adventures" in my book ("DICK OSLUND -- ROAD SCHOLAR"). After it was published, I got requests from readers for a dvd of a typical show. Often, when magician friends, in later years, visited, on the road, they would bring video cameras, and tape the show. I never had magician visitors when I had a high school! I had ONE Jr. High, but when we dubbed the VHS to dvd, the dvd "locks up" in mid program, and Norm Barnhart, who did the dubbing, can't find the tape! So, the only dvds that I have are of elementary schools (K-6). They are NOT STUDIO QUALITY. They were taped in school lunch rooms, and gymnasiums, with lousy lighting, and, no amplified sound. (But, everything is visible, and, audible.)

In planning the "production", I set some "criteria" and, a general "rule". (These are written up in the book.) There were no "kiddie props, no "boxes and/or "tubes", or "red velvet bags on a stick"!!!!! Props were mostly "GENERIC" (rope, silks, golf balls, coins--Misers Dream--) I did use a few "dedicated" props (egg bag, Trouble Wit, Tip-Cee Bottle, 3 linking rings, "boomerang sticks", and the "six spot, four spot, three spot, one spot, eight spot, card. For about 25 years, two dove productions (dove bag, and silks) The two doves, with bits of business, and gags, gave me about 8 minutes.

I did ONE "SOFT" Sucker trick to open. (Not a "gotcha" sucker trick! I wanted NOTHING that could/would create an adversary situation.) I wrote an "essay" on sucker tricks, in which I describe the three types of sucker tricks.

I NEVER did a "KIDDIE SHOW", even for the Primaries.
,
In the "K-12" country schools, the high school kids, understood that I couldn't focus on THEM for the entire program! The younger kids were usually their brothers and sisters, and, because I kept my vocabulary very broad, and, didn't do "kiddie" tricks, they would enjoy the comedy SITUATIONS as much as the little folks did.

They must have liked me, 'cuz, I got MANY repeat bookings, and, my "share" of standing ovations! (I even got a standing "o" in two high schools with my routine that used a magic wand, a breakaway wand, a shooting (.22 calibre) wand, and a BREAKAWAY FAN!

The schools would fill out a "comment card" and send it to the office. The office "kept score". Of ten or more programs offered to the schools, I was always in the top three, and, I remember being the TOP program, too. Other programs would be athletic, musical, cultural, various skills, etc.

Denny Haney, Rick Fisher (FAB), Joe Stevens, Magic Inc. stock my books and dvds. The book was "motivated" by Jon Racherbaumer, who insisted that the story of Lyceum should be written. It took me 5 years. I cover my early formative years (I was 13--almost 14 when I became a part time pro. 20 years later, I turned full time. I've never bought a car, or motor home on "time" in my life. I just wrote a check.

I wrote up "hundreds" of anecdotes about the "things that happened", and I wrote up the presentations for most of the tricks/routines, that I used. NONE were the "latest & greatest". MOST came from an old timer named HARLAN TARBELL.

Over the years, I have lectured, nationwide, to Rings, Assemblies, Regional conventions, and, National conventions. and, was rebooked several times, both for local groups, regional, and national gatherings.

I'm not writing this to brag, but just to help you realize that, IT IS POSSIBLE TO ENTERTAIN VARIOUS & MIXED AGE GROUPS!

"Magic shows" may be defined as, 5% sleight of hand skill, 5% esoteric science principles, 5% perceptual illusions, and 85% PSYCHOLOGY!

My mentors always stressed, "PRESENTATION". (They said it more colorfully: "It aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it!"

Looking back at at the OP's post...You must realize that MAGIC IS >>>NOT<<<INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING! It's the performer's PRESENTATION that created the ENTERTAINMENT!!!
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Mary Mowder
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It wasn't me was it, Frank?

Anyway, I think you can entertain all ages in one show.

Not every trick will entertain them all in the same way. Visual tricks (like NewsFlash) appeal to everyone and jugglery can entertain everyone.

Some Magic may be originally written for the Kids but watching Kids watch Magic can be fun if you write it that way. Adding lines for adults (and this does not have to be covert blue material), interaction with the Kids and site gags can make it fun for everyone. It IS important not to choose stuff that will immediately turn off the Teen crowd (like coloring book, unless you are a very strong performer).

Dick Oslund has a GREAT site gag in leading a Child up to help. Everyone laughs because it is unexpected and comes up "naturally".

Don't be afraid to build some "skilled" material into your act. Ring and Rope is a stalwart routine in my acts and well worth the effort.

Not to swell Dick's head more but his Miser's Dream (LOUD but FUN) and Multiplying Balls (very magical and visually funny) work for all crowds. (They are not done one after another.)

Colorful silk done well will entertain everyone.

Tricks with money can be great for the family.

I know that Adults will often tell me they were just as entertained as the Kids. They don't know that a decision was made for that to happen.

I decided not to go for screaming Kids but Family entertainment. (Because I don't like screaming.)

Think about why the Ed Sullivan Show, The Muppet Show and Disney/Pixar work for the whole Family.

-Mary Mowder
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Feb 14, 2018, TKD27 wrote:
I honestly don't think you can put on a great show that entertains kids ranging in age from four to 12. I would LOVE to be proven wrong, but I don't think it can really be done. For anyone who says they do, I would argue that they probably think they're entertaining everyone but they're really not. Again - I'd love to be proven wrong on this.

Edit: just to clarify, I'm sure you can put on a show that's entertaining for half of your diverse audience and is passable for the other half. What I mean is that I don't think you can truly engage and enthrall the entire audience if the ages are that diverse.


An experienced entertainer, with challenging effects can, absolutely keep an entire audience engaged throughout the show. The secret is to have an engaging personality, a well written script, and effects that can be understood and visually engaging for younger people, yet challenging enough, conceptually to keep the older members of the audience guessing and mentally invested.

PS: It should be noted that the OP was reacting to the conclusion of just one member of the audience. It would be interesting to see what other members of that audience thought of the show. And, even if the description of the audience response was accurate, there are some groups of teens that are determined to be bored regardless of what they are involved in. It's their way of *appearing* more mature. Just sayin'.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On Feb 14, 2018, Mary Mowder wrote:
It wasn't me was it, Frank?

Anyway, I think you can entertain all ages in one show.

Not every trick will entertain them all in the same way.

-Mary Mowder


Mary hit the nail on the head. Make it entertaining PERIOD! And relate to the kids at their level and you're good to go.
When I hear 3 to 13...... I love that.
More later..........
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Gerry Walkowski
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I have read Dick Oslund's book, and I would recommend his book as well.

While I don't have the next publication, Scott Green recently released a new magic book about entertaining family audiences. This might be one to consider as well.

Lastly, pick up one of Chris Capehart's videos. He has a way of entertaining all ages as well.

Gerry
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Hey Gerry! Thanks for the kind words!

I don't know Scott Green, but, even though I'm retired, I'll check into it.

I've only met Chris Capeheart, once, but, I was definitely impressed with his work. (Jay Marshall and I were in the front row at Chris's lecture at Abbotts, a few years ago. Jay's chin "hit the floor" when Chris did his rings! We had a little chat later, at the Legion, and, I enjoyed his company.
(I DO like MY MISERS DREAM, better, but, I guess that's only natural!!!
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Dick Oslund
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Hi Mary! I've already had to buy two new and BIGGER HATS, this year!

Thanks for the good thoughts on the "pail" and the "balls"! --Also, the "getting the girl up" bit!

Hee hee,,, that routine with the balls, cost me a total of TWO DOLLARS! (I guess that I got my money's worth!) The "finish" (production of the four balls, simultaneously) was a "gift" from Karrell Fox!)
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On Feb 14, 2018, Mary Mowder wrote:
It wasn't me was it, Frank?


LOL. No. The show was in SoCal.
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Dynamike
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It was me, Frank. But I was tired from the traveling time.
TheAmbitiousCard
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Definitely wasn't you. lol.
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jdstewart
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On Feb 14, 2018, TKD27 wrote:

I honestly don't think you can put on a great show that entertains kids ranging in age from four to 12. I would LOVE to be proven wrong, but I don't think it can really be done. For anyone who says they do, I would argue that they probably think they're entertaining everyone but they're really not. Again - I'd love to be proven wrong on this.

Edit: just to clarify, I'm sure you can put on a show that's entertaining for half of your diverse audience and is passable for the other half. What I mean is that I don't think you can truly engage and enthrall the entire audience if the ages are that diverse.


I produce a monthly show for veterans and their families. As you can imagine, the audience is a wide age range, babies to teens and adults. I bring in family entertainers. When I have a new performer I watch the audience very carefully. I talk with them afterward. I have learned the type of entertainers to bring in. There are some who will never be back. But the repeat performers successfully entertain all ages.

There are two things that make it work for all ages. First, is the trick selection. None of the successful performers do "kiddie" tricks. They do solid magic that fools all ages. Second, is an attitude. They do not insult the audience's intelligence. No magic trick, in its essence, is too complicated for a 4-year-old to understand. Something disappears, appeared, turned into something else or one solid thing when through another solid thing. Good magic is followed by everyone. Silly tricks don't work. Being silly is fine, just don't insult their intelligence. Kids are smart. (Sometimes scary smart) If you don't insult their intelligence both the older and younger kids enjoy the magic. And finally, if the children are having a good time the adults are having a good time.

Strong magic makes everyone happy.

Just my experience. Take it for what it is worth.
TheAmbitiousCard
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Great post, JDStewart.
You're absolutely correct.

I've been recommending the type of act you described in this forum for years.
Not only do you end up with a better act overall...
you end up with an act that you can do anywhere, for any group, at any time.

The more you do it, the better it gets.... as long as you're paying attention and not just going thru the motions.
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Gerry Walkowski
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Amen brothers.

Gerry
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2018, jdstewart wrote:
Quote:
On Feb 14, 2018, TKD27 wrote:

I honestly don't think you can put on a great show that entertains kids ranging in age from four to 12. I would LOVE to be proven wrong, but I don't think it can really be done. For anyone who says they do, I would argue that they probably think they're entertaining everyone but they're really not. Again - I'd love to be proven wrong on this.

Edit: just to clarify, I'm sure you can put on a show that's entertaining for half of your diverse audience and is passable for the other half. What I mean is that I don't think you can truly engage and enthrall the entire audience if the ages are that diverse.


I produce a monthly show for veterans and their families. As you can imagine, the audience is a wide age range, babies to teens and adults. I bring in family entertainers. When I have a new performer I watch the audience very carefully. I talk with them afterward. I have learned the type of entertainers to bring in. There are some who will never be back. But the repeat performers successfully entertain all ages.

There are two things that make it work for all ages. First, is the trick selection. None of the successful performers do "kiddie" tricks. They do solid magic that fools all ages. Second, is an attitude. They do not insult the audience's intelligence. No magic trick, in its essence, is too complicated for a 4-year-old to understand. Something disappears, appeared, turned into something else or one solid thing when through another solid thing. Good magic is followed by everyone. Silly tricks don't work. Being silly is fine, just don't insult their intelligence. Kids are smart. (Sometimes scary smart) If you don't insult their intelligence both the older and younger kids enjoy the magic. And finally, if the children are having a good time the adults are having a good time.

Strong magic makes everyone happy.

Just my experience. Take it for what it is worth.


Well jd! You said that you would like to be proven wrong! >>>I DID "IT" FOR 50+ YEARS, TOURING THE COUNTRY, COAST TO COAST AND BORDER TO BORDER!!!!!!!!! --AND, I wrote a book about it which is selling on FOUR CONTINENTS!

I'll wager that you didn't read this whole thread! On February 18 (scroll up) I wrote up my philosophy, and method of ENTERTAINING, which worked. --I established a CRITERIA, for selecting TRICKS and ROUTINES, and a PHILOSOPHY for PERFORMING them. I WAS NEVER AT LIBERTY, IN FIFTY YEARS!!! I did about 400 shows per year. If you do the arithmetic, that is about 20,000 performances. HOW MANY SHOWS HAVE YOU DONE???
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jdstewart
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Dick, You accused me of not reading the thread. It does not appear you read my post. I read the thread and I thought I was agreeing with your earlier post. Not only was it possible to perform for all ages it is possible to perform for all ages. I think the keys I mentioned were the exact ones you mentioned. Did I miss something?

What did I do to set you off? Was it the fact I quoted TKD? I quoted TKD for context.

I would not claim to have 20,000 shows but I would claim about a quarter of that.

Peace dude
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