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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Tricks for older kids and teens (12 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

TheAmbitiousCard
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This seems like a very very hot topic in the kids forum. Over and over again, month after month, year after year....
"What to do when your audience isn't just a bunch of little kids."

Why are so many confused and afraid of this age group?

My opinion: You will never get a more engaged audience in your life.
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Oct 18, 2018, TheAmbitiousCard wrote:
This seems like a very very hot topic in the kids forum. Over and over again, month after month, year after year....
"What to do when your audience isn't just a bunch of little kids."

Why are so many confused and afraid of this age group?

My opinion: You will never get a more engaged audience in your life.


Yes! You will never get a more engaged audience in your life!!! (I added the !!!). Generally speaking, this is TRUE!

What to do when your audience isn't just a bunch of little kids? It's fairly simple: ENTERTAIN THEM!!!

Why are so many confused and afraid of this age group? Generally, IMHO, it's because they don't understand that, "IT aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it!!!"

In other words, they don't understand that, "Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic." They don't understand that "Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic had been drained." They do not understand that MAGIC IS NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING!

They don't understand that they cannot BUY A TRICK. They can only buy a PROP, and/or a SECRET. The TRICK, somewhat like music, only exists while it is being performed.

If the TRICK is performed with a good PRESENTATION, suitable for the spectators' age(s) and experience, and, further, if they keep the PRESENTATION SIMPLE, AND FUN, and, if the PRESENTATION creates a pleasing EFFECT, the odds are that the spectators will be ENTERTAINED.

The EFFECT IS SIMPLY WHAT THE SPECTATOR PERCEIVES.

If this is of interest, I may return with a little more.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mary Mowder
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Mind reading of any sort would be good. I do a book test which goes over very well.

Visual Magic done well entertains everyone.

Card flourishing is good for this age if followed by a great trick that involves them. I like to keep it simple and either do some calling for cards from a shuffled talon of cards ( from an Aronson deck) this allows me to let them pass around the cards from spectator to spectator ( involving more people).
I also do a simple spelling of the name of someone who has had a strong positive effect in ones life to arrive at a chosen card. If you do this, please ask them who the person is and what effect they had on their life. They are sharing with you and if you don't bother to ask it is a dismissive use of their involvement.

- Mary Mowder
danaruns
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As a rule, I don't do kids shows. But I did one last night for kids in a group home. I felt like I was in a street fight the whole time. These were not little kids, they were 10-14 years old, about 60 of them, and lets just say they were not charm school graduates. Kids were rushing the stage, one stole a prop from me during a routine (I got it back), and there was general pandemonium throughout. None of the adults in the room -- and there were several -- did anything to try to keep the kids in line, but left it all to me, a kid show virgin. Each of the volunteers was also a little "off" in some way, like they were mentally, emotionally or socially challenged in some subtle way. One was eager, but very mistrustful. Another kept trying to mess with the props. Etc. I kept a smile while I dealt with it, but resolved that this wasn't my cup of tea.

The actual magic I did was adult magic with a fun bent to it. I'm told they loved it, though I was just concentrating on trying to get through the gig, so I didn't really have a sense of it. There were lots of "No !@#$*** way!" and "Holy s***!" and other obscenity-laced exclamations showing that the magic was having its intended effect. But with all the pandemonium, I never really found a groove, and was more focused on crowd control than my magic. It was a good lesson in why you have to have the magic down to muscle memory.

I was worried about some of my material working in that environment, but it seemed to do well. Particularly, I was worried about my opener, which is a silent theatrical vignette to music, with the theme of "breakfast gone wrong." It ends with the razor blade trick done with Froot Loops (where I swallow Froot Loops and pull them out on a string of dental floss), and when it was over they loved it. I realized I would have gotten a good response with gross magic, which I can do some of.

The only changes I made were removing card magic (except for one card to impossible location trick) and substituting sponge bunnies and a clean version of my usually blue Professor's Nightmare. And it all worked with that age group.

Interesting experience, but not one I'm eager to repeat.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Mary Mowder
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Dana, don't let this experience dissuade you from this age group or these disabilities.

It was unlucky that this was your first experience but these audiences are usually very easy to work with and (depending on the disability) really engaged.

I had a recently had a Close Up show for an expected 14 to 20 teens and young adults width developmental and intellectual disabilities. 44 plus about 6 attendants showed up.
I always bring a couple of bits that play large but not enough for a whole show. I bounced around the outer edge of the group so that everyone could stay involved. There could not have been a sweeter or more receptive crowd. You do have to watch to see if potential volunteers are engaged enough to take part. I accidentally asked for help from a non-verbal guy who was really engaged. He held the bit and all the spectators pitched in with the magic word. The show resulted in 3 great Yelp reviews. The disabled in general are an underserved group from the Magic perspective but with a little practice (and better monitors than your audience had) very easy to work with.

Teens are one of the best audiences you'll run into but you did not have a typical Teen crowd. I think if you worked for Teens you would be a great success. They don't want to be treated like Kids. Just do your typical act minus any blue material and they will be very responsive.

Sorry your first experience was not pleasant but do try again, especially with a typical Teen crowd, you would be great.

-Mary Mowder
wizardpa
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One of my favorite groups to perform for. I do a lot of perceived to be dangerous tricks and illusions. I actually have 3 different hand choppers. Of course, I only use one for a show. I love them all, though each is different. I have a Lester Lake guillotine, that I extended the legs so that the volunteer can stand up to have their head chopped off. I have 2 visible sawing through body routines. One is battery powered. I have the spike illusion, and another by Scott Alexander, which is 100% safe. I have the drills of Death, that I use. I also have myself catching a dart between my teeth illusion after it pops a balloon. I do not think this is sold any longer. I show the danger aspect of these illusions, but I must also say that I am very careful performing these, testing them before each show. In my show, I would say they are 100% safe. Do not do anything stupid!
Russo
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Reminds me when in the late 60's Wife and I performed at the Wax Muis. on Hollywood Blv. - we were in the Madame Guillotine section where a tour guid would show - standing very still - we would then "chop" (wife in stock) after a half doz. chops Ann said "honey"(quietly) the blade guard came loose. I STOPPED - curtian closed - repair - then continued for the rest of the night - the people sure jumped - when we became alive and went 'chop'. Fun Fun fun. Though BE CAREFUL. L-O-L
TKD27
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Quote:
On Oct 19, 2018, danaruns wrote:
As a rule, I don't do kids shows. But I did one last night for kids in a group home. I felt like I was in a street fight the whole time. These were not little kids, they were 10-14 years old, about 60 of them, and lets just say they were not charm school graduates.



Yikes! Jumping in to kids shows by starting with 60 10-14 year old group home residents is definitely not the way to comfortably dip your toe in the water! That's trial by fire if I've ever heard it.
countrymaven
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Danaruns, thanks for the warning. to be prepared for a battle if this happens. also thanks to the others for the encouragement.
Dick Oslund
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In 70 years, I NEVER regarded working for young or old teens as a BATTLE.

I was hired to ENTERTAIN THEM, AND, I DID. I got many encores, and quite a few SOs, too. I was in high schools where the previous performer, was IGNORED, by the kids. I got an encore, AND A STANDING O. My BREAKAWAY FAN ROUTINE, TWICE GOT ME A STANDING OVATION IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOW in Senior High Schools. (It's in my book.) For heaven sakes, DO NOT READ MY BOOK! It's full of the routines that I used for all levels (Kindergarten thru High School, + Colleges for 50 years as a full timer. II was never at liberty. Bureau managers would call ME to find out my open time.

Don't come on as Uncle Charlie the Magic Man, and, plan to do tricks with change bags, and dove pans, and "FORGETFUL FREDDIE"!

Don't think you need "blue" material. Talk WITH them, not AT them. I can't give you 70 years of experience!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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PS I worked MANY TEEN AGE REFORMATORIES, TEEN DRUG REHAB FACILITIES, AND, EVEN "HARD TIME" PRISONS FOR TEENS.
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Dick Oslund
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Well, if "yourself" is an "Uncle Charlie" with an assortment of "kiddie props", you would be better off giving the date to someone who knows how to work with teenagers.
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imgic
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On Dec 10, 2018, countrymaven wrote:
Danaruns, thanks for the warning. to be prepared for a battle if this happens.


You have choice. If you’re not comfortable with the audience or environment, don’t take the gig.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
imgic
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On Dec 10, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:

For heaven sakes, DO NOT READ MY BOOK!


Dick, you could start a whole new marketing campaign with this slogan.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Dick Oslund
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I guess I'm more of a performer, than a marketer! heehee

I never dreamed, as a 16 year old, that I would someday write a book that would be sold all over the world!

Interestingly enough.....I've only seen ONE COPY for sale on a used book list.

Denny Haney and Joe Stevens keep the book, and, the dvd in stock.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Dec 14, 2018, imgic wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 10, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:

For heaven sakes, DO NOT READ MY BOOK!


Dick, you could start a whole new marketing campaign with this slogan.


Maybe I'm using a bit of "reverse PSYCHOLOGY! --For Pete's sake, don't tell the guy from Minnesota, who invented "matrix",!! (He thinks that HE is the only magician that knows how to spel PSYCHOLOGY!!!) heehee

Before I was a magishun, I 'met' "Uncle Remus". "Please don't throw me into the brier patch!" said Brer Rabbit to Brer Bear.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
TrickyRicky
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I'm also a banquet performer, but I perform for any age. I hardly have any problems with teenagers. I guess it's my approach that get a little respect from older kids.
As Dick says, entertain them with your magic, although the presentation and funny stuff has to be to their level. Just last week I did a party for teenagers. I open with Sucker Egg--20th century silk---Larry Becker Some Total. They wanted to talk about Some Total, they were amazed. Had lots of fun with my presentation with 20th century. IT's all in how I presented the tricks.
I guess experience had a lot to do with it.
Tricky Ricky
Dick Oslund
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Yup! Experience!

And, the only way to gain experience, is to perform! (We "learn by doing the thing!" (Some old Greek philosopher, said that. a few millenia ago!

Nate Leipzig, a very successful vaudeville magician, also said it well, back then: "If they like you, they will like what you do!"

I begin by saying (with a SMILE): "We are going to have some FUN, today, as we learn how our own minds can fool us!

"There are tricks to all trades, and, my trade is all tricks! --So! Keep your eyes open! Or, you'll never know what's happening!" As I say this, a yellow silk, changes to red, in my obviously bare hands! (This gets a reaction! I follow that by offering to show them how I did that, BUT, my explanation is "one step ahead" of the explanation! (The entire routine is in my book! It's a SOFT SUCKER TRICK.) When I'm done, they don't know anything more than at the start!

(See my posts in Kid Abra, about "illusion".) Have you read THAT? I'll wait.

Once you've read that, you should understand, how I work with kids, ESPECIALLY "tough" high school kids. (The whole "thing" is written in detail, in my book.)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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