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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Kid show birthday (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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danfreed
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That is true Ken, sometimes nothing will work, people be crazy! One of the craziest situations was showing up to a party and the room I was supposed to do the show in had a bubble machine going. It must have been on for a long time. The floor had a tarp on it to protect it, the tarp was tucked under the furniture. It was so slippery it was like an ice rink - it was dangerous. It was the only room big enough and outdoors wasn't an option due to the weather. I asked them to remove the tarp and clean up the area cause I was afraid of slipping and getting soap on my props. They looked at me like I was being fussy. They wouldn't do it, said it would take too long or whatever.
I should have refused, and to this day I regret doing the show. Kids were slipping and getting hurt, and I was afraid the whole time,and didn't want to be associated with kids getting hurt. I didn't want to disappoint the kids or end up with a bad review, and didn't want the drama with the parents, so I did the show. But I should have left, or just done balloons in the kitchen or whatever.
MaveriQ
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Dayton, Ohio
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I did a Christmas Eve party just last year for 25 or so kids. Mom hired me, Grandma hired Santa. The big guy showed up 15 minutes into my show. I like to think I'm pretty good, but I'm not compete with Santa on Christmas Eve good!
aheller5
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Hahah great story maveriQ I can def see this happening..See steve I hope you understand it happens to all of us!!!
derrick
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I once had a wealthy couple hire me for their daughters 6th birthday party. As I attempted to set up my show she continually attempted to go through my props. I finally asked the parents to please ask the birthday girl to give me a little privacy so I could set up the show before guests arrived. She looked at me and said I don't have to mind. The parents, who were in the room, didn't correct her. I was a bit taken back by this. I said to the little girl if you don't mind me and stay out of my props I won't perform at your birthday party. She again said I don't have to mind. Again, this was said WITH HER PARENTS IN THE ROOM. I finally said, I don't have to perform your show either. I began packing up my props, thinking surely the parents would take charge of their child. NOPE! They let me pack up my show and leave. To the make the story even more amazing, the next week they were back to see me with their daughter at the restaurant where I performed walk around magic on family night. That's the worst I've ever experienced.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Oct 15, 2018, Dynamike wrote:
You misread it. I will post it again: "In the past I would have a person be a clown for the kids. I would 'train' her to do face painting and balloons. She kept the kids under control by doing face painting for 30 minutes as I set up my equipment. She would keep the kids under control again, this time with balloon twisting as I pack up my props." I mentioned I trained her. I used a man also in the past. I did not use a boy, girl or teenager. I used an adult with common sense. I would train them again now when I do it again. If it worked before it will work again.


I didn't misread anything. If you are having problems with it yourself there is no way someone new to all of this could handle it even if you trained them. That is still throwing them into the lions.

It is an art and science to working with wound-up, untended to kids that only comes with experience, and even then, as one can see by all of the posts and horror stories, it still can be a challenge. It would be easier to find and train someone to do your prep and breakdown for you and then you - the one with experience and skill, deal with the uncontrolled kids.
Dynamike
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No problem, I will explain it to you in a clear manner. The kids do not get rowdy at every show I do. It can happen once from 30 to 50 shows. If I train the right person, they will be experienced after show many shows. It is harder when I try to handle two things at once. If I had a helper, she will watch the kids while I am doing one thing, packing my props.

If I have her be a clown, she will be keeping the kid's attention while I unpack/pack my props. Kids can get bored and rowdy from doing nothing.

Excuse me for not being as clear the first time.
Mindpro
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I (and everyone else here) understood completely, no need to clarify. Of course, it doesn't happen at every show, if it did there would be no kids performers. All I was saying is there was so much incorrect with your line of thinking on this, from putting a new, inexperienced person in the line of fire, to having her be a clown which, today more than ever before, are uninviting to kids and often even scary to many.

You can keep explaining it all you want over and over again, it still is a poor idea regardless of how you try to justify it. And she wouldn't likely last long anyhow, so at best it is a band-aid solution. As you can see here, guys with decades of experience still fear and have difficulty with this when it happens, a newbie would have an even worse time. Excuse yourself for your defensiveness.

Of course, if you want to go ahead and do it. When it blows up on you it will only affect you and your image and reputation with your clients.
Dick Oslund
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I continue to agree with Mindpro.

"Band-Aids" are a rather poor way to patch up a show.

I haven't met or seen DynaMike work. But. from what he has written, I feel it's safe to make a few assumptions.

Like way too many magicians. who do kid parties. His show appears to be too prop heavy, or too "trick oriented".

I learned, when I was a teenager, in the '40s, doing "whatever kind of date that I could book". that, "stage conditions" were RARE. I was "hiding behind the piano" to load silks, etc.

I had learned what I knew--and, could DO, from a few kid books that mainly showed tricks with "cans, pans, tubes" etc. I decided that, I would learn PRINCIPLES for tricks that needed GENERIC PROPS, which needed NO SET UP, or ALMOST NO SET UP. THAT. has "made" my performing life, for well over 50 years", practical, and fun.

I studied all the books on PERFORMING, that I could find. (Maskelynne & Devant, Tarbell, Fitzkee, et al.

--In an old "SPHINX" magazine, I found, on the editor, Dr. A. M. Wilson's "op-ed page, a quotation on the mast head: "Magic is an art that sometimes instructs, sometimes amuses, but. always entertains." I believed Dr.Wilson! But, after seeing a few other magicians, perform, I realized that the good doctor, was WRONG!

Then, I "discovered" some writings of R.L. Sharpe. He had written: "Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained." I memorized THAT!

I produced a show, that has had a "few" revisions, over the years, but. has clung to Sharpe's philosopphy.

I wrote a rather strict criteria for the tricks/routines, that I could use, and, I produced a program that could ENTERTAIN almost everyone, and, be performed, almost anywhere.

I've never been "at liberty".
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Oct 17, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:
"Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic."



Some great thoughts here. This is the problem I have with kids entertainers. Through my agencies and coaching I have probably worked with over 300 kids performers and booked 2500-3000 kids events. I also get submissions for representation or coaching from probably 30 kids performers a month. The one thing I see in so many kids magicians is they are not performers or entertainers, but just being executors of purchased tricks.

They rely on the tricks for everything - laughter, amazement, engagement, etc. I have always been from the school that the tricks are just the tools you use to entertain and that the entertainment comes from the performer, not the tricks.

It should always be entertainemnt and personality first, and the tricks used only to enhance that. Before we rep any performer I have a test they must pass. This test came about from an actual incident that happened to me many years ago. I was performing when due to an accident nearby the venue and entire part of town lost all power. The room I was in had those emergency lights come on over the exit doors and in two other places throughout the room. To make a long story short the manager of the venue asked me to keep performing to keep everyone in there so they weren't wandering around the venue in the dark. So I had no sound system, no props or accessories, and couldn't perform any of my normal show. It was just me and my talent. I did 45 minutes and it was one of the best shows I had done. Furthermore many audience members also came up to both me and the manager saying the same too.

As entertainers, we must not rely on our tricks, props or anything else to provide the entertainment value. They can be enhancers, but the true entertainment must come from yourself. Sure props, backdrops, visual illusions, and such are great, but it is when you can work out of a briefcase with your talent and abilities and a few enhancers that you really could still do without, that you pass this test.

Too many people stay in the beginner level mindset of "I can buy this trick and that trick and can use it to perform." Sure that's how everyone STARTS, but very few ever leave it to go on and become true performers. They remain reliant on these tricks, effects, props, and accessories. I call it the default approach.

What really concerning is it happens to magicians the most. Comedians grow out of the stock jokes or easy laughs and evolve to actual material, concepts, and writing. Singers and musicians go from covers to their own creations, and so on. I think the mentality is "I can just get 6-8 tricks together and become a kids magician. Again, great to start, but you can easily tell who has moved beyond this with the type of undersdtanding you (Dick) mentioned above, and who will be 5, 10, 25 years or more down the road still doing the same thing and approach.
Russo
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Reminds me when Wife and I were hired by Bullocks Dept. Stores, to do a 15 min.show for Mickey Mouses Birthday( early 70's) -We built a large Birthday Cake that held 4 (kids)tumblers - after producing the tumblers from the cake- did our Show - BUT Mickey was stranded on the San Diego Freeway, we were asked to stretch the show another 20 minutes- so we did - I don't remember how - . Haveing experience and able'ness( a word??)I guess!! we did have fun - and the Managers were Very HAPPY
danfreed
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Most people don't have the talent to be a really good entertainer (or maybe it's often just a lack of no in-person training/mentoring from someone else who is really good). That's why so many people think they are good clowns because they are wearing a clown outfit and do face painting and balloons, but are not entertaining at all.
Gerry Walkowski
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There's some great observations and other stuff here. It's pure gold!

Gerry
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Oct 18, 2018, Gerry Walkowski wrote:
There's some great observations and other stuff here. It's pure gold!
Gerry


I agree, this is a valuable thread!

One thing I do to reduce poor behavior at my shows is to almost entirely eliminate performing at peoples homes. The reason for this has a lot to do with what Mindpro discussed regarding client perspectives. Performing in such unfavorable conditions also can negatively impact your brand image. The Great Zucchini is known in the Washington DC area for his stringent and seemingly quirky demands regarding performing conditions in homes, where the host is told to rearrange furniture, cover toys with cloths, switch to another room, cover windows, no adult talking etc. it was written in a Washington Post article and I personally witnessed it. It is his way of protecting his brand image and creating expectations. I do not feel with my age and personality I could pull that off, but I have experienced enough dogs walking through my set, poorly behaved kids and such that now I explain that in-home shows are a poor fit with my performance.
Dustin Baker
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I did roughly one birthday a week for about three years, and I only had issues on one occasion.

I did the show in an open auditorium at a school, with children standing (I was told there would be rows of chairs - they didn't pay for those).
I was doing the show for 30 kids ages 4-10 (they told me it was 10 kids around 6-7yrs)
There was no parental supervision at all (I was told there were plenty of parents, and there were - outside).

Basically, nothing about the venue was what it was described to be and the kids were running all over the place through the whole show.
About half way through the show, I have a section where I make a balloon sculpture for one of the kids (it's mostly a gag routine). After the balloon sculpture was done, the kids rushed forward demanding their own balloons.

For the balloons, they were happy to form an orderly line and wait patiently for their turns.

The parents saw nothing wrong with this.

Granted, that's one out of maybe 200 kid shows over the period when I was doing it regularly, but it was a weird experience.

Quote:
On Oct 13, 2018, Stevethomas wrote:Did I mention that the party was at a house that would cost you at least $3 million in my city?


Cost of a house isn't a super reliable measuring rod anymore - not since the '08 collapse.
Tons of people in really high end places are renters and lots of the houses got sold for pennies on the dollar.
Having class and having money are also largely unrelated now.

I must disagree with Mindpro's assessment that Gen X (currently in their 50s) and millennials' (currently in their 30s) lack experience with live performance, this is simply untrue. Stage performance is seeing a new renaissance largely driven by millennials, and it's reviving many theaters and off-broadway productions. Forbes had an article earlier this year about small stage productions becoming more profitable and more viable than they've ever been. The art is evolving, largely at the hands of millennials.
Think inside the box. . . it's less crowded.
TrickyRicky
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Mindpro---you are right on with your post.
I too have had many performances over the years with parents and children behavior and mind you, a few of these were uncountable, but you learn to do the best you can.
I've had the same problem as Steve been through. You win some and you lose some, as long as you win most you're doing well.
As Mindpro posted--use the props to entertain the children and you will do a good performance.
Tricky Ricky
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