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taneous
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I do kid's shows part time, but I've started getting a lot of bookings during the day. Most of them have fortunately fallen over my lunch time and happen to be close to where I work, so that hasn't been a problem.

Because of this, though, I find I have very little time to set up. I often have the kids follow me as I arrive and I set up with them all around me.
I entertain them while I'm setting up and 'll get some of them to help me - like I open some sweets and two spring 'snakes' jump out. I really struggle to get them in - they keep jumping out, so I give them to the kids to try and put back in etc.
I also pull sponge balls, eggs etc. out their ears while I'm setting up my table.

I've found I've had to scale my show down quite a lot and the effects that require any set up have been dropped.
What suggestions would you have for effects that require little setup (prep before I arrive at the show is fine), and can be performed pretty close to surrounded?
Rupert Bair
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I have exactly the same problem but time is usually not a problem for me. When I arrive 20-30 mins before a show the kids expect me to perform straight away. My table is set up so everything more or less set up and as I put things away unknown to the kids I set it up again. Change bag, linking rings, silver sceptre, thumb tip all require next to none set up if any.

Perhaps bring a small music system and record on tape, along piece of music with 10 sec stops, so you can play musical statues or something, while you get set up just look up and bring the kids forward that have lost and tell them their is a prize for the winner and of your out you come sit towards the front ready for the magic show.

When I do one and a half hours for playschools I open with this and the parents love it. I get a lot of repeat work with silly things like that. They really see the kids having fun. I managed to get 15 kids up that were sat on their mother’s knee as they were shy. When they saw all the fun the other kids were having they got up to dance along and have fun.
Joseph_Then
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I don't like kids to come and disturb me while I'm setting up. But I understand that as kids, they are curious...

The first thing I will do is to use a masking tape and surround myself so that they know they cannot cross the line. If anyone crosses the line, I will inform them and sometimes even the parents will tell them not the cross the line.

It works great for me. Try it.
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Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
Rupert Bair
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I think some people will not be too happy of you decorate their carpet, rugs and laminate flooring with masking tape.


Matt
Joseph_Then
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The one I used is the CHEAPEST tape I ever had. It has low adhesiveness so it wouldn't hurt any floor but it has helped me a lot.

Of course, I must mention here that you don't get the good masking tape which is strong adhesiveness.

It's 'masking tape' to me, maybe I should call it something else but just can't find the right word for it.

Thanks for pointing out matt.
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Joseph Then

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Rupert Bair
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I suppose you have to be careful with the tape and telling them not to cross the line, like when I use a magic line they find it funny to cross it. I think 'Anybody that crosses the line will not get a balloon' or something like that to show you are being serious.

Matt
dearwiseone
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Masking tape is a magician's good friend.
magicMatt...don't worry, masking tape couldn't hurt a carpet in a hundred years. Well, okay, if you left it there for a few years, it might leave a sticky residue. But we're talking about a few minutes. I've used masking tape dozens of times. Most people know that it's masking tape, and mothers will actually tell their kids not to cross the line. It works great!
Masking tape is made for jobs that require a removable tape line, like painting. It's a great tool to carry around in your magic case, for lines, emergencies, etc.
Rupert Bair
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Laminate flooring though? Or Posh parents? A lot of people will just complain about anything, I would not want give them anything to complain about.

Matt
Emazdad
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Lots of halls in Plymouth have banned the use of tape as even the low tac stuff pulls the top coat of polish off the floor leaving a line.

I don't mind chatting to the kids while I'm setting up, if they've never seen me before or are shy, it gives them a chance to get to know me. But I don't let them get too close, I just say "Oh don't come any closer or you'll turn into a boy/girl (whichevers the oposite to what they are) tomorrow morning"

I'm both friendly and if need be forceful in keeping them at a distance. It's not so much they may see in the box, they wouldn't know what they were looking at anyway. But they like to pick things up and look at them, or run off with it, so touching the stuff is a no no, Plus that's how things get broken.

What I've found though is it's the wands they want to look at, they aren't bothered about the other stuff, but the magic wands facinate them.

I can if need be be up and running in less than 10 minutes and can put my show away, resetting as I go, be paid in the car and away in less than 15 minutes. That includes PA, What adds to the time when setting up is the making of the bribery balloon before the show.
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.
rossmacrae
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What tricks?

Bongo Hat (OK, it's a gag, but the setup happens as it's being put away) also Nesting Wands the same

Chinese Sticks (I do a whole big thing with 3 volunteers and jacket-style costumes and a story)

Axtell Magic Drawing Board

Basic cut/restored rope

Giant McCombical Deck

If the put-away seems a bit long, I just say "Now I need to put things away, because if you take things out you need to ... what?" ["Put things away!"] "Right! Now you can't tell your parents you didn't know that!"
Emazdad
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What tricks?

Ribbon of fun, The longest to reset as I have to roll up the 5 meter length of ribbon.

Practical magic's magic painting, easy reset, slide a new picture in the back, change long 3" streamer from one side of the one handed change bag to the other, remove coloured sponge balls and replace in chick pan load chamber.

Marmites the lions version of who'who at the zoo, replace animal cards in set order, pull felt down over monkey in cage, and remove banana card from back of cage.

Production of happy birthday 36"silk by birthday kid followed by birthday kid producing present, which is a mini marmite lion beanie, he magic's it from the hat he's wearing. Easy reset, 36" silk goes bag in flat rip apart flapdoodle change bag (practical magic), new lion put in one side of magic hat. (it's the one practical magic have.)

Because the change bags are different, and the routines around them are totally different they don't look like the same trick. I've got some new ideas in my head for producing the beanie lion, but havn't got round to making the prop yet, the use of the magic hat is therefore temporary.

For non birthday shows, the final 2 tricks are replaces by my silk poke routine. Easy reset, remove 4 silks from silk poke, replace blendo in tube.
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.
andrew martin
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Sometimes I use bright orange cones instead of tape.
It works very well.
taneous
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Thanks - that's great advice.

I've been using rope to layout the stage - but I think I'm going to change that. In a show this past friday, a little kid (on a classic sugar high) took the rope and started trying to tie up some of the other children.
Magicman8
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Michigan
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Where could I find a color changing bag? I cannot think of the name, but the bag keeps getting turned inside out and changes colors?

matthias
We go through life backwards. The past is visible and the future is cloudy, it seems we are walking backwards.-- Terry Pratchet
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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I use a large plastic tote sitting on a restaurant tray stand to hold my props. I don't allow the kids to look inside for long, because the inside is a sensory overload for them.

I talk with them while setting up. Most of the props were set before I arrived, anyway.

Here's a list of some things I do in my show: Sponge balls, Chinese sticks, Uncanny Hanks, Linking rings, Kioma Tubes, Egg Bag, Jumping Knot of Pakistan, Stung Card, Flipstick, 3 to 1 ropes, Mismade Bill, Prof. Nightmare and Gagbag.
Wolflock
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Lol. Gav. Did you put the kid on a Sugar High???

I normally tell them that I am going to need volunteers during the show (which every little kid dreams to be), but some of my volunteesr will need to be fit and brave, so they must take a jog around the yard to see who is fit enough and brave enough. This keeps them occupied long enough for you to set up the tricks that need setting up, leaving those that don't need setting up for last.

Regards
Wolflock
Wolflock
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South Africa
NJJ
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My birthday party show is designed to be set up in 30 seconds. Open the rolon table. Take a couple of props. Done!

It means I can do more shows in a day and not have to worry about kids!
magic4u02
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That is certainly the way to do it. I still probably have about a 15 min set up time for most shows, but each year I work on cutting that time down by finding better ways to work and pack and tricks that reset at the end.

Kyle
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