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Frank Tougas
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Minneapolis, MN
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I think kids appreciate good strong clasical magic such as Linking Rings or Cut and Restored Rope. I seldom use the large "cardboard looking" children's props although I have nothing against them and in the right hands are both amusing and amazing.

I'd say match your props to your style and you can not go wrong.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Just a matter of personal style. I am not saying that creating "wonder" is wrong. I am merely saying I am wondering why magicians want to make the kids wonder instead of making them laugh which is what they want to do in the first place.


HI,
I am not saying do not make them laugh for the expence or istead of wonder.
What I am saying is if you truly believe it is the performer not the trick then you just as well do a good trick as a crap one and get the bonus further emotion of wonder.

I have heared a great singer sing a crap song really well.. but I would rather they sing a good one
Phillip
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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With children's shows, I don't believe in the pack small, play big philosophy. When you are hired to do a show, you are actually being hired to play the role of a magician. The audience has certain expectations of what that role should look like. Now, from a performance point of view, your main audience is the children. They expect a magician to look a certain way, to behave a certain way and to have all of the expected props to prove he is a magician.

This is absolutely essential if you are going to have any ability to establish who you are, why you are there and who is in control. On many occasions, I have had magicians complain to me that they can't seem to control their audience. But when they describe their act to me it quickly becomes evident that the children did not view him as a professional magician because he did not act and dress like one. As a result, they did not give him the respect and deference that a professional magician would deserve.

The other reason for a children's magician to pack big, play big is that children's attention spans are quite short. By giving kids a lot of eye candy to look at during your show, you have a better chance of keeping their attention.

This leads me to the third reason. The parents. Parents know how difficult it is to maintain attention and control over one or two kids for any length of time. If you, as a magician, are able to keep an entire group of kids riveted for half an hour, you proved your worth as an entertainer.

This is incredibly important since it is the parents who pay your bill and since it is likely the parents who will refer you to others. So, it is vitally important for the parents to feel they got their money's worth. When you show up early, set up on time, dress and play the part well, with all of the props expected of a professional magician, parents don't tend to have any regrets in paying you.
"Believing is Seeing"
<BR>______________________
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<BR>www.kentwongmagic.com
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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Hello Mr Sammy Haydn.
I have seen you perform for children and you are the best there ever will be.
Quite an all rounder you are.You can do almost anything as far as entertaining an audiance.
I don't think the Café posters really knows how excellent a performer you are.
I'd say say you're one of a kind, the likes of which we'll never see again.
Cherio old boy. See you around.
Ron Reid
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Yes, Sammy is a wise man and superb performer. I enjoy reading his posts very much!

Ron
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Although large props look visually better, the size of the prop does not influence the size of the effect. Some of the strongest magic tricks use the smallest of props.

If you are a full time entertainer doing lots of work, it's not practical to carry around lots of big props and do several journeys to the car, also you don't always have the luxury of space. As you get busier you downsize the show for convinience, but you do it without downsizing the impact of the show. I use a mixture of flat packed and larger more visual props, the props used though all have to fit into the one magic box.

<<<<The other reason for a children's magician to pack big, play big is that children's attention spans are quite short. By giving kids a lot of eye candy to look at during your show, you have a better chance of keeping their attention. >>>>

I don't dress the performance area with lots of stuff, Most of my props the kids don't see until it's time to use them, and they are put away as soon as they are finished with.

<<<<This leads me to the third reason. The parents. Parents know how difficult it is to maintain attention and control over one or two kids for any length of time. If you, as a magician, are able to keep an entire group of kids riveted for half an hour, you proved your worth as an entertainer.>>>>

I keep them sat down laughing for an hour, with a mixture of fun and magic, fun taking preference over the magic, the helpers get the credit for the magic working not me, they are the stars, I don't feel the need to prove I'm a real magician.
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.
Leo B. Domapias
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If I were the parent who had unfortunately hired a magician who spent 90% of his time making the kids laugh and 10% doing magic, I'd kick his butt for misrepresenting himself. Smile

If I wanted a comedian, a clown, a humorist, a wit, or a funny storyteller, I'd hire one. If my purpose is to make the children laugh, I'd rather invite my neighbor who could do funny faces. Imagine this: I flipped through the Yellow Pages, saw Mr. Magic's ad that says he does magic, and I hired him. On my son's birthday he comes to my house, makes my kid and his guests laugh with gags, funny bits of business, etc., but does so few, so little, and so tenuous magic that nobody notices it. Well, what do you think a parent like me will do?

First, I will ask him why does he bill himself as a magician when he barely does magic. Next, I'm gonna ask for his photograph and I will stick it with needles while chanting my most potent voodoo spell. Smile

I'll do that also to a singer who barely sings but does somersaults and tumbles around my living room, no matter how entertaining his acrobatics are. That I'll do, too, to a hired pianist who will instead choose to eat fire, or to hired dancer who will instead choose to perform a juggling act, etc.

I'm a parent, and I'm speaking now as one, not as a performer. If I hire a magician who can make children laugh, well and good. But he had better do it through a magical performance rather than through serving a "load of rubbish".

About the "great mysteries". It is not great, and it's not even a mystery if a performer stops gauging the entertainment value of his performance solely by the loudness of the laughter. An audience of children can be very silent and still be entertained. Being awestruck with wonder, mystified and amazed to the degree of speechlessness is also an indication of being entertained. I know. I have been a kid once.

Just a father's two cents, not meant to argue, for who can argue with success? Magicians who have success making children laugh instead of mystifying them have a following and successful businesses that span many years.

Leo
Manila, Philippines
Joseph_Then
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Well said Leo. It's a valid arguement.

Look around at all the successful magicians: David Copperfield, David Blaine, Lance Burton, Mac King, Jeff McBride, Penn & Teller, etc.

They perform MAGIC. They's why they are magicians.

Making their audience laugh is the by-product of their performance. :>


However, we can name very few successful kids magician and so far we can only name: David Kaye, Samuel Patrick Smith, David Ginn, Barry Mitchell.

They are recognized kids magicians in our industry because they perform MAGIC.
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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However, we can name very few successful kids magician and so far we can only name: David Kaye, Samuel Patrick Smith, David Ginn, Barry Mitchell.

Hi,
We only really know these because they are dealers lecturers and we are fellow magicains most lay people would not consider them famous
Phillip
Rupert Bair
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?
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We only really know these because they are dealers lecturers and we are fellow magicains most lay people would not consider them famous
Phillip
Absolutley Philip. I have never heard of most of them untill recentley and that is only because I have heard them lecturing or selling stuff Not because I have seen their act.
matt
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Hi Leo, I totally agree with you, if your going to call yourself a magician you need to do magic in your show.

My show is a magic show, but is full of fun, the fun take preference over the magic, when I look for new stuff for the show, 1, it has to be a strong visual effect, 2, A patter routine I use for it must need a child assistant, 3, it must play across the whole age range from 4-9yrs old, as I don't believe in changing my show for each age group. I prefer quality to quantity.

Though my show is a magic show, I don't do any magic myself in the show, that is done by the kids who come up for each routine. What you as a parent see is children, one of which is the birthday child who helps twice, coming up and being part of four very funny magical routines, the kids who are sat down, laughing ponting, occassionally going wow, and clapping and cheering the helper when the magic happens. The parents are not silly, they know that the magic happens because I have made it happen, so I don't need to stand there magicing at them to show I'm a real magician, They still come up to me afterwards asking how did you do that?. but what they really love that is I give the credit to the helper. That's why I get re-booked time and again as the
kids go home begging to have the magic man at their party.
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.
Bill Scarlett
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Vermont
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Some magicians rely on lots of props in lieu of talent or presentation. Other magicians take the pack flat/play big concept to the extreme and do 45 minutes with a tt and a pocket hank. (OK, I might be exaggerating). I think a more balance approach might be called for. I started out as a very prop-heavy act, making many trips out to the car to get my gear. I have gradually pared that down over time as I have improved my act and included more stories, laughs and bits of business. It has been good for my act and for my aching back.

I think that parents don't always like a magician who needs a "magic box" in order to always make the magic happen. They want to see something that they would consider a display of skill, such as slight of hand.

Presentation can really make or break the trick, especially if it packs flat. For example, I recently saw Mike Bent do his version of the color changing shoelace and it was hilarious. He was able to give a whole new perspective to a rather mundane effect. And he did it for children who were having a great time. They were definitely fooled and laughing, as well. If you are interested, his routine is in his lecture notes; "Putting the U 'You' in Funny". I highly recommend them.
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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My most popular effect in my kid's show is my egg bag routine, which includes two kids, hats, music cues, and gets the whole audience dancing.

The props are small and flat, however, the entertainment is big and a theatrical experience for everyone.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Chippo
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Pittsburgh, PA
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As with most everything in magic and entertainment, its mostly what you do with the prop or material that counts. I have seen famous singers perform the same song and get different reactions for various reasons. Likewise I have seen magicians, both local and famous, perform stuff I either have tried to do UNSUCCESSFULLY or would never dream of doing because it doesn't fit my personality or style. As I'm sure most of us do, I have loads of stuff I bought that is doing little more than gathering dust. However I refuse to get rid of it becuase over the years and idea has come to me and I found I already had a perfect prop to do what needed to happen.

Just because the prop is silk, sponge, "cardboard", large or small doesn't make it any better or worse than any others. It's what you do with it that matters most. If it accomplishes what you want it to do then you have used it to entertain.

The common thread, I think, running thru all this is that if whatever you are doing is working, so be it. If not, experiment and try other styles. Don't copy but watch other performers (magicians) and see what works for them and why. By adapting certain props to fit your style and developing your own patter and presentation.

The important thing is to keep developing as whatever type of entertainer you are striving for. My show has grown and changed over the years, inserting new effects and reworking patter and presentations. I never dismiss any prop because it is large or small, inexpensive or not. I have bought stuff at Conventions that other magicians thought too expensive only to find it has played well for me over the years. I alos have a few of those props collecting dust too!

Lastly I must add that you have to have some talent. You can have the best props, patter, etc. but if you cannot performn and entertain all the other stuff is useless. I have been performing over 25 years with many rebookings, referrals and consider myself a success only because I have managed to do what I set out to do for such a long time.

Thanks for giving me the time to ramble on. Sorry if I bored anyone.
Keep the Magic Alive
Chuck Lyons
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Channahon, IL
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Well put chippo, as we all can see its what type of venue we play in. In a livinroom we would not so a ashrah levitaion, and in madison square garden we would not do cup and balls. Put the punch in the prop and make it won and the audience wins no matter how flat the prop is. Chuck
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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Quote:
On 2004-09-08 18:25, JamesinLA wrote:
My most popular effect in my kid's show is my egg bag routine, which includes two kids, hats, music cues, and gets the whole audience dancing.

The props are small and flat, however, the entertainment is big and a theatrical experience for everyone.
Bravo! That's the way to do it.
The ones who need a stage or a room full of props, is so no one can them performing.
I invite all the posters to come to Toronto and watch my show in home or theater. You'll have a lesson on intertaining with pack small play big.
I've just finished 4 show at the Play house theater to 400 children in each show, plus parent. Standing ovation at the end.
1-Sponge balls
2-Linking ring
3-change bag
4-Silk Caddy
5-Misers dream
6-Ghost hunt "run rabbit run"
7--Bunny
Everyone wanted a business card.
Richard Lyn "Tricky Ricky"
Jim
paraguppie
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Forsyth Montana!
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This is an interesting thread.

I can see both sides of the fence on this one, but I will probably stay on the side that "packs big, plays big". I'm not saying that it's impossible to entertain without larger props, I'm just thinking "why would I"?

Most of my birthday show is Wacky Wolf props. Yes, they are big, bright, colorful and most of all, wacky. It fits my style and the kids are pointing at the props and talking about them before I even start the show. It sets the mood, if you will, to be fun and crazy.

I also think people expect a little more than a breifcase when they book me. The parents love to see my big goofy props. Yes, I take more than a trip to the car and back, but I'm paid killer money to walk 3 times to the car and back.

Most of my props don't break down very much and I'm fine with that. I have ATA cases for most of my Wolf's stuff and my ATA case doubles as a table.

I agree, we are paid to entertain, and I think that I am more entertaining when surrounded by goofy colorful props. Once again, it sets the mood to have fun.

If you are the performer that can do 45 minutes without a single prop, good for you. I have no problem with that, I just think that my props help me to be more creative and fun. We are all find motivation in different places, and that's what makes the Café interesting.

Keith
Check me out at www.magickeith.com
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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Those props are for the theater. My birthday props are far less.
1--Sponge balls
2--A piece of rope
3--Magic wand
4--Silks
5--Bunny.
Tricky Ricky.
Who is this Rick The Chinaman?
NJJ
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Whether you have more or less props then some other perform is of little consequence. Its like comparing apples and oranges!

However, I always like to try and treat my case like I treat my brain: There is a finite amount of space and its best to use what little room there is smartly! This means a combination of smaller props (sponges, ropes, the flat effect I mentioned earlier etc) and some larger ones (rabhit production etc.)

Assuming for a moment that large props and small props can both be pure magic in the hands of a professional there are several other benefits for having larger props.

Firstly, People expect them. I used to perform out of a breifcase and parents would say "Is that all you've got" and the start. I'd have to work harder to bring them round. Also, Kids like to see props out on the table and ready to be used. It creates an air of suspense for them!
Regan
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I want to know how Ricky The Chinaman gets Run Rabbit Run in that briefcase. That, my friend is a good trick.

Regan
Mister Mystery
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