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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » My Fear of the 10-12 Year Olds (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Danny Diamond
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A couple days ago, I did a pretty big show (by my standards). It was actually 3 shows, all back-to-back, for a local YMCA Daycamp. The first group was 6-7 year olds, the second was 8-10, and the last show was 10-12 year olds. I just reworked my regular birthday show for the first two shows, and I created a new show over the last few months, specifically for this older group.

Well, I thought the first two shows were going to be simple, but I was fearing the last show, the 10-12 year olds! I thought it was going to be very tough.

The first show went great, great responses, great enthusiasm, very nice show!

The second show was fairly terrible, with the kid's all appearing half asleep, and the staff for that group of kid's not helping me out at all. I couldn't get the reactions, no matter what I did. This was surprisingly the worst of the three shows.

Now the third show, the dreaded 10-12 year olds! Believe it or not, this was my best show!! I had the most fun, my effects got the best reactions, and the kid's didn't want the show to end!

I realized that the secret to the older kids, was to do adult magic to them, not goofy tricks. I have read that here in the Café before and my experience in that show verified those thoughts. I did a couple card tricks, very visual ones, and ones that interact with the audience and use multiple volunteers. I also did T&R Newspaper, Ring and Rope, a Rabbit Production, a brief Sponge Ball routine and a signed silk flight routine.

Well, my first reason for posting this is to let those people who are afraid of the older kids, know that there is nothing to fear, you just have to treat them like little adults.

My second reason was to ask a question. I have done a couple stand-up shows for adults now, and before this, I had only done kid's shows. I am seeing that I am much more relaxed and natural doing the adult shows, as opposed to kid's shows. I think I have a good kid's show, and I get a lot of positive feedback, but I wonder if I should consider giving them up to pursue the adult gigs? If I am realizing that I enjoy the adult shows more, and that down deep, I don't want to bonk myself in the head with a magic wand to get a laugh anymore, than is it not fair to the kid's to continue doing kid's shows?
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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It's nice to hear of someone who wants to chose to specialise rather than try and be a jack of all trades. I went the other way and chose to do kids, rather than adults.

One thing you should know before I continue, the banging yourself on the head with props is not compulsory. You have the option of poking yourself in the eye instead. Better still wack your helper, it may not get the same laugh, but if you pick the disruptive kid it will make you feel better. Smile

The way ahead is to develope your adult show, then do a few, if you find you are still enjoying them more, and are liking kids even less, then you can consider switching to totally adult work.

However it often takes longer to develope an adult customer base than a kids so do not plan on giving kids up totally just yet.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Finding your niche and filling it sounds practical.

My "regular job" is working with Middle and High School Students. It is a great way to share magic and a way to have fun without hurting others or your self.

My Extreme Deck(my name for the new Black Deck from illusion.com gets a good response just from the look.

After a while I can bring in the Invisible Extreme Deck that my friend Laird made up for me.

Just the regular ones get a look over because they are unusual. After awhile I can ring in a "cold deck"/invisible deck.......

Mixing S.O.H. and decks like the Invisible One make up some great routines...

Even if you switch to all adults you will run into 20, 30, 40, 50.... that act like children.

Back in the 70's and 80's I thought about moving into the Comedy Club (think bars with stages) market.

These days I like smoke free and family venues.

Harris Deutsch
Laughologist


Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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Cheshire Cat
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Harris has such a valued point here about "smoke free". I used to work as a pro. musician and smoke was (and still is I believe) a serious problem. I'd say do what you feel you are best and most comfortable with, but the children's market is an endlessly lucrative one (and you don't work late nights!). I also go with the "Jack of all trades" Emazdad's comment. I see entertainers advertising "0 to 100 agegroup", or "kids parties . . . etc., etc., etc., . . ." going through the whole spectrum of life. I sometimes wonder whether these people are indeed 'masters of none'.
mghia
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You answered your own question.
If you love doing adults than that is your calling.
I enjoy shows for kids. I am happy with mixed groups as well.
I get more nervous when I do an ALL adult gig if I have not done one in a while.

For the longested time I wanted to be VEGAS style, it just never seemed to work.
The fact they you neede to do some head bonking to entertain kids also shows you just were not right for that market.

The only way you will earn your living is when you focus on the market you do the best at.

It is a bit easier for a family entertainer to do a kid show and transition to adults than the magicians who learn how to work adults and try to do kid shows.

I do just about all the same material for the children as adults. I never got into Run Rabbit run or any of the stock props. So maybe that is why I can transition only changing some of the routines.

But still it takes time to learn how to work with kids since many forget what it is like to be one.
So when some guys try to work children they are the worst kids performers when the little ones seemingly attack them.
That is why many magicians bad mouth children's entertainers. It is more that they know kids can be tough and are embarassed they can not do a good kid show. Show then they bad mouth what we do.

You are right,10-12 year olds can be the hardest group. I found the cub scoutsm if you can believe are the worst behaved. Treat 10-12 years with a firm hand and some more "adult" effects. But do not forget that they are still children and minors. At that age they are trying to challange you so they feel important. They will call out they know how something works even if they do not. The more they see you sweat the tougher they will be on you. Catch it right from the start and come over as "cool" (without being a dork or wannabe" and they will be a good audience.
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2004-08-06 21:52, mghia wrote:
The fact they you needed to do some head bonking to entertain kids also shows you just were not right for that market.


What's wrong with head-bonking?
Peter Marucci
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Is there something WRONG with being able to entertain all sorts of people, young and old, at all sorts of venues?
I don't think so!
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Peter,

IMHO, it is not wrong if you can do it.

My venues have ranged from inner cities to houses that look like castles on Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

One day I might be head bonking with youngsters, (slap stick), the next talking about the horrors of addiction with newly recovered addicts.

Next month I will be sharing at a conference on Foundations of Faith, Spirituality and Addiction Recovery.

Of course my jokes about PCP,(angel dust, sherm....)
don't go over at Angelina's 6 year old birthday parties. (and I would never use them there)

On the other hand.....

I used to accept any gig.

My mind goes back to the first time I was asked to do fire eating. Yes of course, I said. After some lessons from a local pro,(Reno, Nevada) I did the program. In fact I did the bit for about 14 years. These days my act is fire free. (Safer for me and you and less on the insurance coverage)

Be safe and enjoy your work.
Then create or find a market where they will pay you for it. Now that's some real magic.

I am blessed to have a "regular" job and the entertainment side that I love.

You are all appreciated by,

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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Cheshire Cat
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Dear Colleague Peter, of course there is nothing wrong with being able to entertain all age groups. But I think the emphasis is on "being able" rather than just being willing. You, I believe, could entertain any age group with Magic. I can entertain children with Magic and associated arts, and adults with my piano playing (the elderly especially with old songs etc.) Our equally 'entertainment weathered' friend Harris I believe to be an extremely versatile performer.

I just see so many people offering 'everything' just to fill a Diary. Ill-conceived acts that may appeal to one social grouping and be repugnant to another. That may fly over the heads of one age group and insult the intelligence of another.

As the great Eastwood says in one of his Dirty Harry movies: "A man's gotta know his limitations".

Tony.
mghia
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There is nothing wrong if you can do EACH effectively.
Most I have seen can not. I see quite a few "adult" magicians claim they can do kids shows.
BUT THEY SHOULD NOT BE! They do not connect.
I have also had many calls from parents who tell me of their negative experiences when they hired these magicians.

The OP admitted he does not feel it when it comes to kids. SO I said he answered his own questions.

I know one guy who calls magicians who will do anything and everything requested, (whether it is magic, juggling, ice sculpting, entertainment hoars.
Some top magicians have been teaching in their lectures not to put that you do EVERYTHING on your business card since the better paying clients will feel there is no way you can be all things to all people.

Many would agree it is best to find your niche and excel in it.

Quote:
On 2004-08-07 08:13, Peter Marucci wrote:
Is there something WRONG with being able to entertain all sorts of people, young and old, at all sorts of venues?
I don't think so!
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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What a great Café.

Tony,

"Our equally 'entertainment weathered'"
Speaking of Weathered, I rarely accept outside programs anymore. Last summer(2203) in the middle of the IBM big convention in Kansas City,(USA) I did two outside programs for the Kansas City Spirit Festival on July 4th. Although the programs were over by 4, I was in no shape to go back to the evening Convention Activities. I wisely went back to my Enchanted Cottage, and watched the fireworks with my magical wife Annie.

My card no longer reads,

"Magic for all occassions"

My "by line is"

"Bringing Magic and Laughter to the World, One Group at a Time".

At a recent "program" at a halfway house, I had prepared about 30 minutes of magic with a message.
After the first couple of minutes of magic, we ended up talking for about an hour.

In about a week, I will hear the pitter patter of over 3000 feet.(Between the Middle and High School Students returning with open minds and with much, for this "weathered nearly normal guy" to learn from.

Thanks to all for the magical inspiration.

Be safe and creative.


Harris Deutsch
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Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Kent Wong
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You have to do what you like and enjoy or inevitably, it will come out in your performance. If you determine that you enjoy adult magic, develop and perfect your routine. Then develop a business plan to attack the market you have identified.

On another note, you may also want to do a little navel gazing as to why the second show did not do as well. What time was the show? What type of effects did you present? Did you use a similar style to your first show?

I really like the fact that you developed a whole new show for the older kids. This recognized that they came with a different maturity level and attention span. Would the 8-10 year old kids have benefitted with the same type of approach? Just food for thought.
"Believing is Seeing"
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MagicalPirate
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There is an alternative to either or. There are adult entertainers, children entertainers and FAMILY entertainers. That last category is the blending of both worlds wherein you can present to the adults and the kids will laugh along with the adults when you tickle the adults funnybone. Children are easy to make laugh and find much humor in life. It is when you can make an adult laugh as well that you really show talent. Mostly they forgot how to. You can also use a mixture of audience helpers so that you vicariously include the full gamut of your audience in your presentation. Good luck no matter which way you choose to take your performing career. Just remember life is not always black and white, sometimes it can be gray.

Martin Smile
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Danny Diamond
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Thanks for all the thoughts on this subject guys. I am the type of person who doesn't feel morally right, just doing my kid's shows for the money. If I am not having fun with them, or if I do not truly enjoy them, I will stop doing them. It's not fair to the kid's to have a guy performing a show for them, just to get their parents money.

The reason I started with kid's shows in the first place, was to gain experience performing in general. I didn't realize that it really is one of the hardest types of shows to do, until I did my first adult show recently. Overall, I am very glad I chose to do the kid's shows first, because they taught me a lot and toughened me up, making the entry into adult shows much easier.

I am a believer in perfecting a certain niche, one I enjoy, rather than trying to spread myself too thin. Maybe after several more years of experience, I will be able to branch out into other areas of magic with confidence in a great show. But for now, I want to take on one genre at a time, and perfect what I am doing.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Starrpower
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I do it for the money. Really. If I wasn't getting paid, I wouldn't do them. That's my motivation.

Having said that, I won't get paid much if I don't do a good show. So, I do good shows ... so I can get paid a lot. And, after almost 20 years in the biz, I am seriously considering doing JUST family/kids shows, and leaving the banquets, trade shows, et.al. to someone else ... just the opposite of what you are considering, Danny!

"Thar's gold in them thar hills!" Yup, even with family shows!
Danny Diamond
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Well, that's very honest of you Starrpower. I find it hard to put on a good show if I don't enjoy the magic I am performing. I think that an audience can sense it. I have found that the better time I have performing, and the happier I am, the better the response from the audience. When I laugh, they laugh. They see me having a good time, and it relaxes them and lets them have a good time as well.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Good point about "Family Venues".

Although I do "Adult/Business... Presentations many of the programs are advertised as "Family Friendly."

Even so called childrens movies, festivals including Ren Fest, are filled with inuendos(sic??) these days.

Example,,, Cat in the Hat Movie.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
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