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jmdibrita
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Hi All,

Been putting together a kids show, haven't actually performed it yet. Still practicing some of the routines. Have a few free shows scheduled at a local school's recreation program in January. Hoping to get an idea then what works. Just wanted your thoughts. Am planning on a 1 hour show.

Bill Abbott's 5 Card Opener

Wolf's Magic The Groove Tube

Kandu's Knot Funny with comedy wands

Hobson's Balloon Bag

Vanishing Bandana

Bill Abbott's Smart *** (My own routine)

Top Hat Surprise (Paper Tear) with change bag and Bigger Wands

Close with Chico The Monkey
magicgeorge
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I'm not a big fan of the ole bandana but to each his own.

Apart from that, yes, they're all great routines.

The trouble with other people's great routines is they never work as well (in the long run) as your own routines. I tend to end up getting more from bad children's DVDs as I see something and go "Yeah, that's OK but I'd do it like this". When I see chico I think that's near perfect and I won't be able to improve on it so I'd end up doing someone else's routine in my show.
Abbott and Hobson are great entertainers and if you can use there ideas to spark something unique to yourself, go for it. If you're just going to do it verbatim. It'll work but it'll be unsatisfying for you and incongrous to your style.

Just a thought. I'm not making any assumptions about your act.

G
Ronald72
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I suggest that you read showmanship from nelms. There he is given some structure how to put a stage show together. For now it seems you've put great routines from others in a row.

My one question is have you found out what your style/character is?

I second G. Chico the monkey is perfect, almost impossible to make your own so you are doing a lot of routines from others. Nothing magical in that. Sorry not to beeing harse on you.

One tip, I do love jeff hobson but his balloon bag is questionable for children. The older ones (8-11 year) don't like sucker tricks. The young ones I doubt if they understand what is going on. You put things together you like but you have to find out what they like.

Stop looking threw magicians eyes at magic (props).

my best,
Ronald
SilvaAce
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Magicgeorge is right about the feeling you get from an original routine. I just did my first shows(3 in all) a couple of weeks ago. The crowd obviously didn't know which routine was who's, but hearing them bust out laughing to some of my original stuff was great. To my suprise the biggest hit was a completely original I put together using just a paper bag(hidden bottom)and a few funny props.It killed, and everyone was talking about it after the shows. In all this routine cost me about $11 bucks. My other original I combined with a few diff. wands at the beginning and it worked out great.
The point I'm trying to make is that now I look for single effects and try to link them together, throw in a few funny lines and it turns into great entertainment.
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I have absolutely nothing against creativity and building an act totally on your own.

I also have nothing against buying and using good material.

Two magicians can use the same pre-packaged routine. One is lackluster, dull, uninspired. The other is energetic, fun, and full of pizazz.

The audience will appreciate #2 and forget #1, even though they're both doing exactly the same bit.

IMO, the quality of your presentation and personality is at least - if not more - important than whether you're using a pre-written routine.

There are some routines I use unashamedly direct from the creator's brain. I paid for that routine. And they did a fantastic job coming up with something totally cool
and wonderful. Great! Why should I deprive an audience of that experience? Particularly when the reality is that most people will rarely if ever see a live magician perform.

Of course, I edit, enhance, and update to fit my own personality. That's natural and it happens naturally in the course of doing the routine multiple times.

But I still have ZERO problem reusing a great routine if it's something I have paid for and have the rights to use.

Can you build an entire act from purchased material? Sure.

Can it be as effective in the eyes of an audience as a 100% original act? Absolutely.

But is it art? Is it "magic"?

That's the issue. It's art in the same way as acting is an art -- they don't come up with their own lines when doing Macbeth. They play the part.

It's magic if the audience believes in it. And that's what they pay us to provide.

How we get there is our decision.

Just my opinion.

--Jack Turk

P.S., When doing sucker tricks for kids, my take on this is always to make ME the sucker. Kids love to one-up adults. Let them.
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magicman1
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P.S., When doing sucker tricks for kids, my take on this is
always to make ME the sucker. Kids love to one-up adults.
Let them

I TOTALLY agree with this

Don
magicgeorge
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Hmm, I dunno, Jack.
Of course if you pay for dvds you're entitled to that material and also if you rewrite the script you can make them fit your character but I think they'll fit you a lot more if they're your routines and your jokes and you'll have more respect for yourself and your material.

Maybe I'm a bit artsy-fartsy and it's certainly not the easy route but it's one of the reasons I love what I do.

I'm an actor, playing the specially written part of me, playing a magician...

George



P.S. If you punctuate your posts like a poem it doesn't make them anymore profound.
P.P.S. Sorry if that sounded like a dig I just thought it was funny.
keeblem
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Quote:
On 2009-12-09 08:40, magicgeorge wrote:
The trouble with other people's great routines is they never work as well (in the long run) as your own routines.


I think this stuff comes with time. Once you've performed Chico (for example) the same way Bill does a few times - you'll come up with your own ideas and it will automatically blend into your character.

Mark
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magicgeorge
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Well I agree somewhat, Mark, and a great example of this would be Kimmo's Charlie routine which originally started out as a completely different vent routine (something like "the frog princess", I googled it but couldn't find the original routine it was based on or its creator)and morphed into something completely original and unique.

And of course original routines tend to be a little under par first time out so it's a good way to keep the show up to standard.

However, I think using too many of them will still be unproductive and very easy for one to fall into a cardboard cut-out trap.

G
RJE
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Here's the downside that I see with doing routines "out of the box."

First, if you do an entire act like that, you might never get any better as a performer than the routines you buy.

Second, and this one is a killer to anybody who ever works on a circuit of any kind, including company Christmas parties or library shows, or any venue that uses magicians on a regular or repeating basis, is if you're doing the same routines as the last 2 or 3 magicians that performed at that venue, then your audience is most likely going to respond with far less enthusiasm to your performance than the first one or two times they saw the effects.

As for audience management, expect a lot more, "I know this one," we've seen this one," "this is when the....." and other disruptive comments from your younger audiences.

If it happens to be an adult audience, then they could see you as less of a performer since audiences tend to think that the first person they saw do a routine that they have not seen or heard of before, was the person who invented it. The same, in reverse, if you copy a great routine that the audience has never seen or heard of before, you get all the glory and credit for being brilliant, funny, whatever.

Are there some great routines for sale out there? Yup. Does that mean they're right for you or your character? Don't know. Only you can answer that. Still, my advice is, when you can and as often as you can, make it your own.
Potty the Pirate
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I agree with Jack. There are no rights or wrongs here, but when starting out, it's a good idea to use some established routines. Every performer will introduce more or less of his/her own personality into a routine. I perform Chico a fair bit, and keep it close to the original script. But I do have several little gags that I've added myself, and also have dropped a couple of the gags that didn't work for me.
Jmbdrita's show above looks pretty good to me, assuming he's a rookie. The choice of effects is very good, and the running order looks sensible, perhaps not perfect.
I'm surprised you don't like the Vanishing Bandanna, George. I guess you know how well it plays, so is it just because everybody's doing it, that you don't? I must admit I rarely use it now, but I always have lots of fun with this. It's a guaranteed howler! Of course, you can get a lot of fun out of bananas other ways too....
Potty Smile
jmdibrita
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Thanks everyone for your opinions.

Potty, I am somewhat of a rookie. Been doing magic for a while as a hobby and am looking to getting into kids show part time.

From what I have read so far I seem to think along the same lines as Jack.

I do have every intention of making these effects my own in some way. And do plan on coming up with my own original ideas/routines.
TonyB2009
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There is nothing in your set that makes you unique. You need some stuff that is just you, rather than one bought routine after another. There is nothing wrong with using other peoples routines at the beginning,but you need something of yourself in the mix as well.
And the vanishing bandana - we should all be better than that. You can talk all you like about the reaction you get with it, but you would get a good reaction if you brought out a stripper. It doesn't mean that its the way to go.
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2009-12-09 12:47, RJE wrote:
Still, my advice is, when you can and as often as you can, make it your own.


and excellent advice it is!

Also, if you're not doing that, you're missing out on half the fun!

Quote:
potty wrote:
"I'm surprised you don't like the Vanishing Bandanna, George. I guess you know how well it plays, so is it just because everybody's doing it, that you don't?"


I liked Copperfield's version of it to a degree. The handbag bit was the funniest part tho and you don't get that with the foulard. I did it once just to see what all the fuss was about. And yeah it got laughs but it wasn't me.

You could probably work it into something more original if you had a volunteer reading instructions (I'm not a big fan of performing to tracks of any kind) but it's still a messy affair and I'm messy enough as is.

George
rookrulz
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Let me throw in my 2 cents.

Take out 5 card opener and smart ***. Kids will NOT enjoy card tricks until they are about 9. So most of your audience will not like the tricks. Second, 5 card is too slow of an opener, with kids you have about 3-4 minutes to get them involved and gain control of them. That trick will not do it.

Stick with the originals, like P,b and J, coloring book, needle thru balloon, etc. They are not as exciting but there is a reason why pro magicians still do them. Get Chris Capehart's DVD. There are a few things on there that are perfect. Don't do his style but look at his props.

Chico is an awesome trick BUT while 3-5 yr olds will watch it and love the puppet, they will not understand the actual trick that he is doing. Dave Risley does a rabbit in hat puppet that the younger kids would like.

Hope that helps

Louis Meyer
rookrulz
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BTW, one hour is too long, don't go over 45-50 minutes.
JC Johns
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Good luck with developing your first show. I performed my first show about a year ago and had a fun time creating it and stepping into the kid arena.

For the young kids and to an extent the older kids, I have found the tricks themselves are of secondary importance to the funny stuff that happens prior to the climax of the trick. Make sure to script all those funny bits into your show. As you are likely aware, David Kaye’s book Seriously Silly is gold. I am just amazed every time I do his coloring book routine; for such an extraordinarily easy trick to perform, the kids (an adults) just love it.

My two cents on being original…don’t worry about it all. On these forums I see lots of discussion about it; I think it relates to us wanting to ensure magic is an “art,” which require personal expression. However, my first kids show was in front of 100 people, I was scared and I just wanted to entertain them and survive (I did not care about expressing myself artistically). The best way to do that is to use time tested and proven material that has been used hundreds of time before – which ends up being stuff in books and DVDs, not your own stuff. And as I said before, it is not the trick that the kids remember, it’s the routine (the patter, funny bits), so don’t feel the need to rewrite good patter that came with a purchased routine.

As time goes on you will develop more of your own style, figure out what works best for you, and be a true magical “artist.” But in the beginning, just worry about entertaining the kids to the fullest.

Good luck,
J.C.
magicgeorge
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That's a good point, JC. You're right, tried and tested routines are a good crutch when you're starting out and learning your craft. To be honest some of the routines I do now started out as someone elses routine but are now morphed beyond recognition. In the long run though I think you should aim to perform your own original show.

George
Potty the Pirate
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I agree, JC (JC??). Learning by performing established routines is a safe way to break yourself into the world of performance magic. No question though, those bits of business that you create yourself will usually be the most effective.
George, I agree about performing to pre-recorded tracks, it's not my style either, most of the time. But I don't mind making the occasional exception for Vanishing Bandanna. I just love to perform it, I like to eat banana during my show, and I have a devil's hank that cleans up with just a rinse under a tap. Of course, you could take the basic premise and re-work it, so you get to smash up a banana in your show, but don't make such a "meal" of it....
Potty Smile
Mumblemore
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Also, just to add to rookrulz, I wouldn't use too many card tricks with kids. Also, your show seems like it's fit for 7-11, but I'd get something for the younger crowd (variation on coloring book - or the Ian Adair Magic Painting routine from Practical Magic is excellent). Maybe a Humpty Dumpty prop, Three Little Pigs, or a good blendo routine. And yes, one or two sucker tricks where the magician is the sucker (there's a great mutilated umbrella like that on a CD by Matt Fore - Comedy Magic, I believe it is called). Might also try a family-type zombie and something with a puppet that is a little less esoteric than picking a card. Also, I've been learning that the magic spiral trick (Bruce Kalver) is great for all ages over about 4 or 5.
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I should have also mentioned my perennial favorite kid show trick, Blow Yer Stack.
LMLipman
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Do yourself a favor and by the book "Seriously Silly" by Silly Billy. Do yourself a really big favor and also buy the DVD with the same name.

There are two great lessons from both:
1.it's not the tricks its the performance
2.it's the journey, not the destination.

You can have great tricks and do a lousy performance; or you can have unexceptional tricks and do a fantastic performance. The best way to improve your performance is to do it as often as possible and get as much feedback-both lay and professional as possible.

As the for journey not the destination, all of the bits that you put into the performance of a trick will be the things the kids enjoy most out of your show. Just doing a trick isn't enough.

Larry Lipman
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rookrulz
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Well said Larry!

Louis
Michael Taggert
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You are getting incredible advice from some great guys! Louis and Larry I can personaly say follow what they preach here as Do I, My advice is to relax and let your personality come out! It is about who you are and how the Kids relateto you.

Michael Taggert
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Alex Palombo
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If you can add magic dralwing board it works
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jeffhobson
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[quote]
One tip, I do love jeff hobson but his balloon bag is questionable for children. The older ones (8-11 year) don't like sucker tricks. The young ones I doubt if they understand what is going on. You put things together you like but you have to find out what they like.


I've performed my Balloon Bag at least a thousand times and it's the best trick, I found, for kids or family audiences. That is, IF, you perform it correctly. Breaking a dog balloon in front of a child can be risky if you don't have the correct scenario set up. That goes for anyone that breaks a balloon in front of other people - entertainer or not. The loud noise alone, can upset adults let alone a small child. It must be done when the audience, and child, is set up correctly by the routine. If the performer comes across as non-caring or too serious, yes, the child can be upset and cry. I've made two kids cry when I first started to do the trick until I realized that it's all about the entertainer's demeanor while performing the trick. It must be made clear that it's all in fun with much laughter and clowning around - literally. The child will understand this and play along.
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Christopher Lyle
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I LOVE Jeff's Doggie Bag...however, there is no way that I can do it as Jeff does (NOBODY CAN). So I begin the routine with Mel Mellers "5 Minutes 1 Balloon" with several changes to make it my own. Mel ends that routine with the Balloon Swallow which I do as a stand alone routine.

So I end my routine with Jeff's Doggie Bag w/o his jokes or presentation. I have never once had anyone get upset or offened. I perform this routine not only in Corporate Shows (adults only) but in my Family Shows as well.

There is nothing wrong with doing things other people do...to a degree. My show features about 25% original material, but the rest is stuff I have worked out from others over the years...but have changed things around and made it my own work...so to speak.

What seperates the pro's from the hacks is learning what you can do to take an established routine and make it all your own.
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jmdibrita
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Thanks everyone for there opinions.

I do plan on coming up with my own routines and ideas. I do plan on putting my own spin on all of the routines expect maybe Chico.

Mr. Hobson, thank you for your input. I plan on making the routine fun and silly so everyone knows it is fun.

John
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It must be done when the audience, and child, is set up correctly by the routine. If the performer comes across as non-caring or too serious, yes, the child can be upset and cry. I've made two kids cry when I first started to do the trick until I realized that it's all about the entertainer's demeanor while performing the trick. It must be made clear that it's all in fun with much laughter and clowning around - literally. The child will understand this and play along.
Jeff Hobson.
A true professional talking.
Ever have a 2 or 3 year old cry when you give them the broken wand?
I give it to them in all my shows,they never cry. It's the way you handle the child and the comedy style in which you work with.
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T.House
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"I LOVE Jeff's Doggie Bag...however, there is no way that I can do it as Jeff does (NOBODY CAN). So I begin the routine with Mel Mellers "5 Minutes 1 Balloon" with several changes to make it my own."

I also use Jeff Hobson's Doggie Bag routine all the time for family and child audiences, and I incorporate some of Mel Mellers lines, though not the swallowing. Both children and adults absolutely love it!

Vanishing Bandana is also good . . . though not the newer version, which is WAY too long, in my opinion.

I would also second the suggestion above to use Tim Wenk's Peanut Butter and Jelly. You will find a fantastic routine for it on Silly Billy's website.

Bruce
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