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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » The Future of Children's entertainment..... (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jolly Roger
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Sedona, Arizona
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About 10 years ago, The Little Darlings was buzzing with activity. There were so many great threads on here, which can still be found in the archives. Enter Facebook and other social media sites, and sadly there is not as much interest in this little corner of cyberspace. However, all that can change in the twinkling of an eye, and I have a feeling it will! So...here is my question. Do you think that children's entertainment has changed in the last 10 years, and if so, in what way? I have been performing kids shows non-stop for over 50 years, and I have some thoughts on this, but I would like to hear from you all first. JR
monkeycat
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It has indeed changed especially in Her Brittanic Majesty's Realm of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Alas not for the better I am afraid.
Russo
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Entertained all over So. Calif. 1950 - 1973, then New Jersey/Manhattan 1973 - 1983, - central Florida 1983 to 2000 (then simi-retirement). All pretty good experiences, though with ALL the Violence - Immorality 24/7 on TV and in Schools - Don't know whats the climate now. ??????????
Jolly Roger
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Quote:
On Jan 10, 2020, monkeycat wrote:
It has indeed changed especially in Her Brittanic Majesty's Realm of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Alas not for the better I am afraid.


In what way has it changed in the UK MonkeyCat? I used to live there, based in London, and there was never a shortage of birthday parties both mid-week and weekend. I now live in Arizona, where the dynamics are different in many ways, but I am constantly adapting to the new situations as they arrive. My general impression is that the children were better dressed in London, but not as well behaved as in America! JR
monkeycat
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Roger. I can only go by the videos I have seen. I am afraid that the standards seem to have gone down. I also used to live in the UK and there were some terrific kid show entertainers around at the time. I hardly ever saw a bad one. Now, I hardly ever see a good one. Of course the situation may be different if I saw them work live but on video I shudder at the low standards exhibited. Terribly working class toilet humour seems to abound that would not be welcome in the best country homes. I suspect it has something to do with the demise of Supreme Magic.
Mindpro
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I think you've touched on something I discuss with many here all the time. Both the Café Little Darlings have changed, as well as the industry.

Unfortunately, all anyone wants to talk about here in this forum these days are tricks. Nearly every post is about tricks or something to do with tricks. There is soooo much more to being a kids or family performer than tricks, many which used to be discussed here but are all but gone.

There is a stereotype about kids performers and I firmly believe stereotypes come from a place of reality, which seems evident here.

Magic has changed. It is not as it once was. These days many people have never seen magic live or a magician perform. There are not magic specials on T.V. like there used to be, schools have cut magic entertainment shows (expect year-end events) drastically over the last decade, and the days of kids or teens wanting to grow up to be magician are long gone.

For over 30 years I have spoken at schools and career days about job and career opportunities in love entertainment. I take the top 40 jobs, careers or business opportunities in live entertainment. At literally every school I went to I would always win the award for the most popular well-attended presentation (for many of these career days there may be 25-40 different job/career specialists there each to conduct a class/presentation - student must each sign up for three of them) and these created the most interest. Today, few even think about or are aware of live entertainment as a job, career or business possibilities.

I think the trend ended with Djs being the last type pf performer that people were interested in.

So across the board, interest in being a magician or kids magician has waned. The results are being seen here, in social media and elsewhere online. If people today have any interest it is in simply learning tricks, secrets and how to do things rather than any real interest.

I will tell you what I have seen an increase in is older adults 45, 50 and older who have a casual interest as a kid, teen or young adult who are suddenly now revisiting magic again as an adult. Some with an interest in kids performing others in just trying to pick up where they left off.

I'm curious as to how the dynamics are different in AZ than form when you were in London. What are the main differences and what adjustments did you have to make to succeed and remain relevant?
monkeycat
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I shall let Roger speak for himself but I suspect the main difference is that in North America they don't do the full party concept whereas in the UK it is the norm. I was once told by an Arizona magician that Roger cleaned up in his area because he brought that particular concept to Arizona.
Mindpro
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Yeah, I was aware of that beofre and would welcoem mor einsights int it as well, but was wondering more about any other dymanics he may be referring to.
monkeycat
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The main difference that I have personally noticed is that the British school of kid show work is based on traditional pantomime. Not spelled with an n but with an m. Here is an explanation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime

Since this form of entertainment is not known in North America they tend to do a magic show and emphasise the tricks rather than the traditional participation. They will try to make the kids laugh--yes-----but it in a different way. In the UK if you say, "Oh, no I didn't" the kids will automatically respond in unison without being prompted, "Oh, yes you did!" Over here they would have to be prompted to do it that way. Silliness is the emphasis in the UK whereas the "wonder" of magic is emphasised to the kids over here.

Now this is of course a generalisation and it is indeed true that some Americans will do what I call the "British style" and some Brits will do what I call the "American style"

Both work well. However, in the UK the silliness and audience participation in unison is emphasised more. Anyway that Wikipedia page I posted will explain it better than I can.
Jolly Roger
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This is turning in to a most interesting discussion, with the two M's on board, Mindpro and Monkeycat!! I will have more to say on this in due course, but I have a busy weekend of shows as always. Besides what has already been mentioned about the whole party with games and magic, versus the one hour or 45 minute show, one of the big differences I have found in the nearly 30 years of performing stateside, is that the American children are far better behaved, but have to be educated in the way to react to certain things, because of their lack or knowledge of pantomime. The scene has also changed a lot over here with the advances, not always healthy, of social media. I miss the Yellow Pages! More to come.....JR
Jolly Roger
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For those not familiar with me, I thought you might like to see my website, with recent video clips of my show, filmed at a library last summer. www.comicmagician.com JR
Ken Northridge
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Quote:
On Jan 11, 2020, Jolly Roger wrote:
This is turning in to a most interesting discussion,


It always does with Mindpro! My advice is to not provoke monkeycat.Smile

Just to throw in an alternative opinion, I honestly think very little has changed since I performed my first children’s magic show in 1974. There were times when I would have a few bad shows, kids misbehaving, not interested, etc. Then I would go through a period in which the kids hung on my every word. You could hear a pin drop if I stopped talking!

Of course, from a marketing standpoint things have changed. Roger mentioned the Yellow Pages. But still, the best way to market yourself has always been to do an outstanding show and be ready to hand out your business card. 80% of my business comes from referrals today as it has for many, many years.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
Jolly Roger
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Quote:
On Jan 11, 2020, Ken Northridge wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 11, 2020, Jolly Roger wrote:
This is turning in to a most interesting discussion,


It always does with Mindpro! My advice is to not provoke monkeycat.Smile

Just to throw in an alternative opinion, I honestly think very little has changed since I performed my first children’s magic show in 1974. There were times when I would have a few bad shows, kids misbehaving, not interested, etc. Then I would go through a period in which the kids hung on my every word. You could hear a pin drop if I stopped talking!

Of course, from a marketing standpoint things have changed. Roger mentioned the Yellow Pages. But still, the best way to market yourself has always been to do an outstanding show and be ready to hand out your business card. 80% of my business comes from referrals today as it has for many, many years.


Absolutely Ken....referrals is the way to go, and that is how I get virtually all my shows these days.....plus repeat clients. I note you have not been in the business long, Ken, with your first magic show as recently as 1974. My first was around 1960!!
Smile
danfreed
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The audiences don't seem to have changed since I started in 94', except for teens who are glued to phones, but I don't do shows just for teens anyway. I guess I have a British style of performing, but that wasn't intentional, I just do what works. I haven't seen other kids show forums that get much action, except for Roger's FB group, which I left cause they were discussing religion or politics or whatever too much, which is fine, but not my cuppa tea. Are there forums like this one here on the Café that gets used more?
Mindpro
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It would be so nice if more here discussed operations and what it takes to be a kids or family performer rather than just viewing everything in terms of tricks. Many of the pros have left here and along with them this type of thinking. Now its just newbie and amateurs and a few of us leftover (Donald, Dan, Howie, Curt, Ken, and now JR) that remember how it used to be.

I've always had trouble understanding why this is accepted here. Do you feel you have nothing left to learn? Nothing to share? I know its hard to want to share when the information offered isn't appreciated or valued properly or in the right perspective.

I do see a trend of more and more people leaving FB and some coming back here to the Café, not specifically here, but in other forums as well. I hope this can be a favorable trend that can get things back to what it once was, and that the newer guys and the wannabes that think they're better/more experienced than they are don't run off the pros again as they did in the past.
Jolly Roger
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Quote:
On Jan 12, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
It would be so nice if more here discussed operations and what it takes to be a kids or family performer rather than just viewing everything in terms of tricks. Many of the pros have left here and along with them this type of thinking. Now its just newbie and amateurs and a few of us leftover (Donald, Dan, Howie, Curt, Ken, and now JR) that remember how it used to be.

I've always had trouble understanding why this is accepted here. Do you feel you have nothing left to learn? Nothing to share? I know its hard to want to share when the information offered isn't appreciated or valued properly or in the right perspective.

I do see a trend of more and more people leaving FB and some coming back here to the Café, not specifically here, but in other forums as well. I hope this can be a favorable trend that can get things back to what it once was, and that the newer guys and the wannabes that think they're better/more experienced than they are don't run off the pros again as they did in the past.


Good post Mindpro....and I agree 100%. The tricks that are performed at a children's show are the least important factor when it comes to entertaining children.
Smile
noland
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I began performing magic for children starting 18 years ago. One change I've noticed over the years, is the spread to the U.S. of what has been referred to as the British, "silly" style of performing. You see this very clearly in the works of Silly Billy, Christopher T. Magician and Tommy James to name a few nationally known figures. I put my performing style in that category too. One of the reasons for the change, I think, is simply the proliferation of instructional videos show-casing this type of performance, starting with Terry Herbert's, with many others to follow both from the above performers and a host of British performers.
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