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Emazdad
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An idea I got (I think it was from Nicholas) when we discussed audience control in another thread was the use of a mat instead of a line.

I use a large blue magic mat, its about 6 yards wide and 3 yards deep and will seat 30 kids at a push, All jammed so close together they can't fidget. 20-25 kids, your average birthday number, fit quite nicely. I've found it heaps better than a line, and it has other control advantages as well.

As I do 2- hour parties I get to spot potential trouble makers before the magic show, I often remind the kids during the games that I am watching all the time to see who is the best behaved to help with the magic show.

When they've finished eating and come back from the loo, I direct them onto the mat under the guise of being safe, which on a slippery floor is a must. A single trouble maker will be directed to sit in the middle, where of course he can't move.

If there are 2 or more, whle they are eating I ask for 4 responsible people, these get to sit on the 4 corners before anyone else to stop it slipping while the others sit down. Yep you got it in one, I pick the potential trouble makers and they get seperated to each corner. Obviously any good kids picked to make up the 4 will get one of the front 2 corners.

If a boy (We all know 90% of trouble makers are boys)starts playing up during the show, I tell him if he doesn't stop he'll have to sit between 2 girls. This works wonders, and their face when I carry out the threat is a picture.

The problems really arise when the trouble maker is the birthday kid, you know he has to help, and thus you have to extend the boundries of your patience in the hope Mum or Dad will sort him out. I have on more than one occassion had to sit the birthday kid down because he would not behave.
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.
Kent Wong
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The advice that you're getting is bang on. The boy was seeking attention and control. By even recognizing him as a problem, you gave him exactly what he wanted!

I'll bet also that once he sat down and behaved, you went on with your show and didn't pay any more attention to him.

As a result, he started acting up again and, guess what? You paid attention to him again!!

So, now you have taught the child that the only time he will get any attention is when he misbehaves. Not surprisingly, he continues to misbehave.

What might you have done differently? If a child misbehaves like that, don't acknowledge him or his behaviour. Pay attention to children who are behaving the way they are supposed to. Tell one of your volunteers that you picked him/her because of how nicely he/she was sitting. As you say this, make discreet eye contact with the problem child. Slowly, he will get the message.

Then, when he starts to behave, make more and more eye contact with him. Get him more involved with the show because of his good behaviour. This method takes a lot of patience, but it does work.

It is based on advice I learnt from Tommy Wonder's books, and from personal experience. Hopefully there won't be a "next time" but if there is, give it a try.
"Believing is Seeing"
<BR>______________________
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<BR>www.kentwongmagic.com
Rupert Bair
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You can't really ignore somebody that keeps coming up to you and disurbing the show. If it was a larger event then yes that method would work.

Matt
p.b.jones
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HI,
There is one thing I think that has been overlooked here (not part of taneous list). For me if I get a child that is a continual stander it is usualy an over exited and not naughty child. Naughty children are usualy contollable, the most difficult are the ones that are simply so into the show that they cannot control themselves and they stand ext out of sheer exitment carried away with the moment when the wand breaks ext. you need to recognise this, for me anyway with this sort of child when I am looking for a helper and they are over zelous I look at them and I say "Yes but I cannot pick you this time because you are not sitting on your bottom with your hand up are you?" the "are you " being retorical I then pick someone else. Now if they start to apply self control I like to reward thet by picking them later for an effect. But this is just the over-excited not naughty child they never get to help!
Phillip
Rupert Bair
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That sounds a pretty good one Philip.
Matt
Emazdad
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Phil's right, the first thing you have to learn is the difference between naughty and excited.

Each is treated differently as the naughty one's behaviour you want to stop period. However with the excited one , you just want to calm down their enthusiasm, without effecting his enjoyment. These I handle much the same as Phil with the "ooh you so nearly got to help, but maybe next time if you stay sat nicely" line.

Some entertainers are afraid to tell kids off, because they think it will affect their bookings. If you stop a naughty child spoiling the show, look at the mum's at the back, apart from that kids mum, the rests body language all points to them agreeing with you, they know he's spoiling it for the others. They will be impressed that you took control and put the other kids enjoyment first. You'll also find that at any parties for kids who's mum's were at that one, the trouble maker will not be invited, they wont want him spoiling their party.

Don't worry about the naughty child's mum getting upset that you've told her kid off, you wouldn't want to do his party anyway.
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.
Andy Wonder
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Here is another little rule for controlling kids that is should be in the top 10 golden rules for managing kids. It is such a simple rule but so easy to break. The rule is:

Never say what not to do.

Never, never, never say what you don't want them to do. If you tell kid they must not stand up guess what they will be tempted to do. If you tell them not to cluck like chickens, guess what they will all do. Now, when you ad lib a bit and move from a script it can be an easy mistake to make. Sometime a kid will do or say something genuinely funny that even makes you laugh as well as the audince. You can milk this, but if you tell him not to do it again he will. So always tell children what to do & never what not to do. Half the time they never distinguish the difference and just do whatever you say.

Despite the fact that I know this, it is a trap I fall into sometimes. I few weeks ago I had a birthday boy helping me that kept turning his back to the audience. He wanted to look at my prop case (which I guess he had been looking at for most of the show from the floor) and not the audience. I turned him around a few times but he kept facing the wrong way. Then as I turned him around I said to him, Look, don't show your backside to the audience. So guess what he promptly did?
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
taneous
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Very good point. I had two girls at a party who thought it was really fun to cross the rope I had put on the floor to mark the stage. The more I told them not to cross the rope, the more they saw it as funny and crossed the rope. Eventually they were standing and crosing the rope, which the other kids thought was hilarious. It was my fault - because I told them not to in a really funny way - not wanting to sound as if I was telling them off. Getting all the kids to stand up and sit really fast down worked here - but it was a bit of a desperate attempt to pull my show together again.
Andy Wonder
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That is just like the Umpar Umpar stick it up ya Jumper line, one working against you not for you. It is an easy mistake to make. As I said I still make in sometimes even when I really know better.

Practice or script explaining the bahaviour you want in a funny or fun sounding way. You should have a little pre-scripted & fun to follow control routine you can insert whenever you you feel you might be starting to loose them. I have two that I use. It is important to nip in in the bud early as if one naughty child gets a laugh the rest of the pack will easily follow.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Macbeth
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Nobody has mentioned the use of cattle prods yet!
magicgeorge
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I had the same thoughts as Andy about saying what not to do. We had some discussion about it earlier in the children's reactions thread I put up a while ago.
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......7&10

Having said that I do remember using it succssfully once for the problem in hand. A couple of years ago when a kid kept standing up and refused to sit down when I asked him directly I announce "Jimmy will be standing up for the rest of the show and isn't allowed to sit down, lets hope his legs don't get too tired".
It worked that time but I suppose could've backfired.

I see a lot of folks who try to sort out the problem as quickly as possible because they don't want the flow of the show interrupted. I think this is a mistake as the message won't get through properly and you'll just end up having more interruptions. If the show has been interrupted anyhow you might aswell take a bit of time to nip it in the bud properly. I use the old favourites guilt, minor embarassment, installing a feeling of resposibilty in the kid and bribery.
George
Decomposed
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"Problem comes up, remind them, second time, stop show, ask "which Parents own this child?" If there is delay you say "I wouldn't want to admit it either, but come on now, its better when we admit our errors!"

Now there is a thought. I wonder how the parents will take it.
MarkTripp
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If you scowl when you say it, not well.

If you smile, it goes down a bit better.

Frankly it is easy when talking to the client to see what they want. I do not "babysit" and when they explain that they will be in the back of the room doing something else while I "entertain" all the children, I simply pass on the show, or ask for the money I want to deal with all of this.

If I DO take the gig, then the rules are explained before and when I arrive, and as I get CASH when I ARRIVE, it puts me in a better position if they are not doing as I asked.

Guys, come on, this is So simple.

BTW I do at least 4 childrens shows in elementary schools a day, 5 days a week, all year long.

Ready?

Play your music and do some trick as the kids are sitting down, or settling down. DO NOT TALK. If they do, put your finger to your lips and shake your head no. I do cut and restored rope several times, you do what you want. You want a repeat trick that looks darn amazing. If they don't clap, do it after each "magic moment" and guide them to.

When this warm up is finished you say this:

Thank you! My name is Earnest J Farkwarr the third, (best is you use your own name); and I am here to perform for all of you. But I have a problem. My problem is I can't do all of this magic by myself. I need people from the audience to help me! (At this point they will go nuts).

Now, if you all look around the room, you can see my problem! There are TOO MANY people that want to help! I can't use all of you! So I have to be fair. To be fair that means I have to pick the VERY BEST people to help me.

(At this point, many kids will change and sit correctly, but you re-enforce)

I only pick the people sitting up straight and tall on their bottoms! If you get up people can't see and I can't pick you.

There is more but you get the point. The "reward" of going up to help you is ONLY for the "good" kids. If they get up, you look them right in the eye and say "You must not want to come up and help me." In 99% of the cases they get right back in line. If you have a brat, and they are out there, who says they don't care or whatever, fine you say "Then if you can't follow the rules, you have to go sit with your parents (teacher), and you STOP till they do.

One BRAT does NOT have the right to screw up the show for EVERY other kid in the audience.

BTW if you helpers get a reward for coming up as well (like a magic trick or assistant cert.), this works better as they all want one but know only the helpers get one.

The only time his has no effect is when a child is simply too young to sit still, but the parents want YOU to bother with it. At this event you DO make eye contact with the person who paid you and say:

"Remember I told you about "wandering toddlers"? Then point. You should have said before the show, and say it again now if you have to, that you move all over the place doing your stuff, and you will NOT notice a wandering child, and you could STEP ON THEM (or if you are fat like me say fall on them), making a serious problem for all. I have taken said children by the hand and led them right to the person who paid me, given them to them, and gone back with the show.

ALL of this kind of thing is best handled BEFORE the show, and can be.
Rupert Bair
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Great advice Mark.
MarkTripp
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Thank you...

...it only took me 40 years to figure it all out.

Took 30 to become an overnight success.
Rupert Bair
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Mark do you only do scientific magic shows or do you do regular magic shows? As I can only see science parties. Mark I only have one critism for your site, you don't promote your self enough as it's just a little link to parties at the bottom.

Matt
Decomposed
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If you get up people can't see and I can't pick you.

This was my problem at my last school show. Vice principal made a comment at the end. They just get so excited and start to stand up. May have killed any repeat business at that school:(
Joseph_Then
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MarkTripp has given very good advice on kids control and I would just want to add 2 cents worth of my own here Smile:

In the event there is a kid who just keep standing up/talk during your routine, you can look into his eyes and put your finger on your lips/hand gesturing downwards with a pretty stern look. This will work with most of the kid.

If there is a toddler who just keep walking around in front of your stage:
1) If you are doing a routine halfway, stop and stare at the toddler with a surprised look. This will create a laugh and hopefully the parent will pick their child up.
2) If you have finished the trick, pick up the child and say, "Child for auction, starting price $10,000. First bidder?" This will also create a laugh and the parent will come to pick the child up. If they are too shy to come forward, bring the kid to the parent.
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
MDS
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The most important thing is to be professional at all times. At one of my Halloween shows today I had the same problem with a little girl. Every time that I would have kids come up to help this girl would come up as well. It almost got to be comical so I added it to the act. I just made little jokes about it and everyone had a ball. The adults even came up afterwards and complimented me on how well I handled her. Maybe this will help you.

Matthew
Matthew David Stanley,
Comedy Magician
matthew@matthewdavidstanley.com
www.matthewdavidstanley.com
Wolflock
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I use the other kids against him. Just tell them that if they are not seated the nthe magic wont work properly and that if the same kid keep stading up the magic show will unortunately stop, so does he really want to stop seen the magic and also spoil it for the others? The others will quickly get him to sit. Especially if the Magic does stop.

Regards
Wolflock
Wolflock
Pro Magician & Escapologist
Member of JMC (Johannesburg Magic Circle)
South Africa
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