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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Association of Family and Kidshow Performers » » Do you take it personal when a show of yours didn't generate the responses you wanted? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MT
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The last 2 days I did killer shows back to back. The kids were engaged, ecstatic, had fun... But tonight my show didn't generate the response I wanted.

1) The dessert table was open and kids just walked to the dessert during my show.
2) The kids didn't really seem to want to watch a show from the get go (not sure why)
3) The adults in the back were all talking to each other really loud.
4) The room was very large (equivalent to 2 basketball courts)and people were really spread out.
5) The seating was really long tables (like the ones in an elementary schools' Caféteria)

I gave them the same show that killed the last 2 days. I did email the organizer all the things about not letting kids eat during the show, have adult supervise kids getting out of hand... She didn't do any of that.

Has anyone had experiences like this? What do you do about it?

I kept thinking about what I could have done better and I'm generally pretty hard on myself especially when things don't go well (I have high standards for myself) and I really can't think of anything so much. I think I was put in a difficult situation.

Anyone else care to share a story like this? Do you take it personal? How do you move on?
TommyJ
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Foxboro, MA
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 00:37, MT wrote:

I kept thinking about what I could have done better and I'm generally pretty hard on myself especially when things don't go well (I have high standards for myself) and I really can't think of anything so much. I think I was put in a difficult situation.



Hey, this happens to everyone once in a while. When it does, just as your statement above suggests, I try to think of what I could have done different to take control. What was it about the room, the audience, the seating etc that I could have changed. I DO understand that once in a while I realize I have been hired to "babysit" after a dinner so the adults can talk. There are dessert tables, kids wandering and other distractions. When I am in this situation and I KNOW it is out of my control (Rarely, but it does happen) I think the best thing we can do is to try to fully entertain and engage the people who WANT to enjoy the show. Do your best with what you have. It is very aggravating because we know we can put on a great show for everyone if they all just sit and watch.

We are not always going to be in the ideal performing situation.

Some guys will probably respond here and tell you that you should have all the adults take a seat. Shut off the dessert table during the show. Command this and command that. The fact is we shouldn't have to do that. That should be up to the hiring entity. You can suggest to the hiring person to make those announcements when it is showtime so everyone can enjoy the show. But like I said, sometimes we are hired to babysit. They hire us to go "into the corner" and "do a little show for the kids" while the adults can have some "alone time."
"Keep the Kids Laughing!"
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MT
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Thanks. Good word
MR Effecto
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Every show I go home and think about what I could have done better. Not every show goes as plan. Well most of the time it does.

Number 2 : The kids didn't really seem to want to watch a show from the get go (not sure why)

I allways play some kind of game with them to get them in the mood.
KMFrye
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I did an adults award show last night (the gig was arranged through my kid's show) and the PoC wanted to have me go on while everyone was still eating. I told her I cannot compete with veal marsala, and we waited until the dinner was completed. After I was done, they had their cake and awards.

I also video my shows whenever possible - painfully helpful.

Regards,
Keith F.
TheGreatNancini
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Ohio
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 08:39, TommyJ wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-03-25 00:37, MT wrote:

I kept thinking about what I could have done better and I'm generally pretty hard on myself especially when things don't go well (I have high standards for myself) and I really can't think of anything so much. I think I was put in a difficult situation.



Hey, this happens to everyone once in a while. When it does, just as your statement above suggests, I try to think of what I could have done different to take control. What was it about the room, the audience, the seating etc that I could have changed. I DO understand that once in a while I realize I have been hired to "babysit" after a dinner so the adults can talk. There are dessert tables, kids wandering and other distractions. When I am in this situation and I KNOW it is out of my control (Rarely, but it does happen) I think the best thing we can do is to try to fully entertain and engage the people who WANT to enjoy the show. Do your best with what you have. It is very aggravating because we know we can put on a great show for everyone if they all just sit and watch.

We are not always going to be in the ideal performing situation.

Some guys will probably respond here and tell you that you should have all the adults take a seat. Shut off the dessert table during the show. Command this and command that. The fact is we shouldn't have to do that. That should be up to the hiring entity. You can suggest to the hiring person to make those announcements when it is showtime so everyone can enjoy the show. But like I said, sometimes we are hired to babysit. They hire us to go "into the corner" and "do a little show for the kids" while the adults can have some "alone time."


Well said Tommy! Basically we just have to learn to adapt to whatever situation we are given.

There was a time when we were handed the most difficult performing circumstances, but we took what we had and gave it our all. We thought we were doomed, but the person who hired us loved us so much that we got one of the largest tips we in our history of performance! Plus we got two more bookings on the spot at this gig. ( I think they thought if we could handle this, perhaps we could handle anything! Smile

~Nanci
-- Nancilee N. Jones --
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Kipley
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I totally understand this post - you are not alone!

Once, in what sounds like a similar situation to what you describe (large room, unruly audience, talking parents, food being served, etc) in the middle of my show, the director of the school grabbed a mic, walked right up on stage and said she was going to make a quick announcement. She was clearly not going to take no for an answer, so I thought it best to just let her do it quickly and move on with my show.

She walked right up in front of me and announced, "The cake is here! You can get yourself a slice back there at the dessert table!"

You can imagine what happened next. A mad stampede of children to the cake table. I could not believe she did that. I was amazed that I actually managed to get my audience back and finish strong, but that is not among my treasured memories.

I take steps to avoid these kinds of situations, but every once in a while you're going to be facing a challenging performance environment. I agree with Tommy (whose Halloween Safety DVD I love, by the way)... sometimes the parents don't understand how disruptive their talking is, and sometimes they just don't care. They just want you to do your little show and get the kids out of their hair. I've found this attitude to increase in direct proportion with the amount of alcohol being served at a party.

Sometimes the kids just aren't into it - I've had similar experiences where the exact show that mesmerized one audience was met with total indifference by a different, unruly audience. I call those "Lord of the Flies" shows.

I used to get upset about it, but it's just part of the job. Of course you want every show to have that wonderful feeling where the audience is totally engaged and having a great time, but if you do enough shows, eventually you're going to find yourself in the situation you described. It's never a good feeling, but you just keep your chin up and keep going.

I've also had experiences like Nanci described where my perception was that a show wasn't going well, but the client was very happy. So you never know. And I agree that the best thing is to consider what you might do differently next time. That might even mean refusing gigs you know will produce a similar result in the future.

For example, I perform music and puppet shows for children under 5 years, and I also have themed magic shows for older kids. Sometimes the mother of a 3 year old thinks my magic show for 8 year olds would be PERFECT for her child's third birthday. I have learned from painful experience to politely refuse those gigs.

Anyway - MT... if it helps at all, just know you're not alone. My wife was a dancer with American Ballet Theatre, performing with the biggest international stars of ballet at the most glamorous theaters in the world. They had the absolute best of everything at their disposal, and even THEY complained of off nights where things weren't clicking and the audience wasn't responding.

Hang in there and keep going!
wwhokie1
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Yes, it is sad that some people in charge are thoughtless, unprofessional, and disrespectful. It is just a growing part of today's culture. Many people are lacking when it comes to personal skills. Regardless of how unprofessional others are, always maintain your professionalism, which it sounds like you did. Look for potential problems or issues before the show and try to overcome them in advance if possible. For example, if large room where people are going to be talking in the back during the show, have the person in charge announce for people to keep the noise down during the show, or better yet have them join the audience for the show.

Also a very strong opener that grabs attention, and pulls the audience in is a must in these situations. It is easier to keep peoples attention once you have already gotten it. Make them want to wait on the cake because what they are watching is better. Perhaps even start with your closer if it is your strongest piece; closing strong is useless if you have already lost the crowd. I realize it is not always possible to compete with cake, but we have to improve the odds in our favor.

And don't get frustrated. If the performer is frustrated by things outside your control, that will come across to the audience, and it is just downhill from there. Some situations are just very challenging, but focus on amazing those who want to be amazed, and once that is established then hopefully others will be drawn in. Distractions are easier to control before they happen.

And as others have said, sometimes things are just off, maybe the audience, environment or the magician. It happens. I love the Abbott and Costello comedy routine, "Who's on First". How many thousands of times did they perform that routine. I heard a radio show where they did the routine, and it was just bland and uninspiring. Even the best professionals with the best material can't bring it every time.
danfreed
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West Chester PA
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I feel your pain. It really sucks. I prefer to have all the kids sit on the floor pretty close to me, even if there are plenty of tables and chairs and they are with their parents, it just seems to work better. I had a show (and my mood) ruined because someone handed out cookies in the middle of my company picnic show. I've never had that happen at a picnic before, so I didn't say anything to the client in advance. I should have, oh well...get back on the horse as they say.
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