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Topic: Kid Show Magic Skills
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 13, 2002 05:25AM)
I received a newsletter from Denny and Lees related to numerous stuff he just got in. Since I was at the Spotlight Spectular Convention in the Poconos and saw Silly Billy and did purchase the below books, I wanted to let the Magic Café Members who do kids shows these books are now available without attending Silly Billy's lecture.

I've read them all and if you must get only one book let it be the [b]HOW TO PERFORM THE PERFECT KID SHOW TRICK[/b] There is a routine with the Crystal Silk tube worth the price of the book. What is most exciting in this book is the check sheet which you evaluated your kids show routines. The more of the items you put into the routine the more powerful your kid show routine becomes. It took me years to learn what Silly Billy states in this book. I also talked to David Kaye (Silly Billy) about this and how this just enhances the routines. By the way, there is a routine which he shows how this check sheet applies.

To me this is better than any of David Ginns books, although with Ginns Books, you can apply several of the check sheet items.

I posted this here in this section because it has to do just with kids shows and if you do kid shows and are having problems, or can't figure out what to do then maybe an expert in the field can help you.

I don't work for any of these people, I am just excited about these books that I wanted to share this information with you. I know some where, probably in the convention section, I mentioned these booklets.

[url=http://www.dennymagic.com/][b]Denny and Lees[/b][/url]
[list][*][b]HOW TO PERFORM THE PERFECT KID SHOW TRICK[/b] by [b][i]Silly Billy[/i][/b]-$15.00
Here is a book that NEEDS to be written. AND it needs to be written by a successful pro like Silly Billy. There is a true art to performing kid shows. It's much more than just throwing together a batch of colorful "sucker" tricks. A GOOD kid performer is as special as a GOOD stage performer. Here are the thoughts, theories, and approaches to good kid show magic right from Silly Billy himself. It really covers it all. Learning to Fish, Thoughts on Performing Kid Magic, Comedy, Interaction, Empowerment, Storytelling, Entertaining the Grownups, etc. Then there is a section on Applying the Principles wherein Billy gives you a couple of routines to illustrate everything he has just taught you. Do you do kid shows?? Then I shouldn't have to even explain how good this material is.
[*][b]POWER MARKETING FOR MAGICIANS[/b] by [b][i]Silly Billy[/i][/b]-$15.00
Silly Billy is the top professional kid show entertainer in New York, maybe the country. There's a reason. He KNOWS!!! Now in this 42 page book, Silly Billy teaches you the way to "Power Market" your magic show. Just look at these contents: Marketing Your Magic Show, Getting Your Name Out, Marketing When the Client Calls, Marketing AT Your Show, Marketing AFTER the show, and Now You're in Show Business. You want to do more kid shows? Never knew how to do it? THEN BUY THIS BOOK!!!!
[*][b]TOP TEN PROBLEMS PERFORMING FOR CHILDREN[/b] by [b][i]Silly Billy[/i][/b]-$10.00
Silly Billy makes his living performing for children. As we all know, kid shows or not, there are problems that must always be overcome. In all of Billy's experience, he has now listed the top ten problems as well as the solutions to some of our most difficult performing situations. It's all here. How to get the adults to stop talking, preventing toddlers from walking around, when kids yell out that they know the tricks, that "one" major troublemaker, the older troublemaker, keeping kids in their seats, when the birthday child is shy and won't participate, working a group of mixed age kids, convincing the client to have the show INDOORS, how to keep from getting burned out. Also contained is an extra chapter on Silly Billy's kid show performing theory. You think you already know this stuff? Then you should be as successful as Silly Billy. If not, then you need this book.
[*][b]KID SHOW KLIFF NOTES[/b] by [b][i]Silly Billy[/i][/b]-$10.00
The Psychology of Performing Magic for Children. Seven chapters on this subject that will definitely improve your kid show performing talents. Chapters include You're Not in Kansas Anymore, Understanding Children's Magic, The Don'ts, Differences in the Age Groups, Choosing Kids to Help On Stage, Routines, Additional Information. A wealth of practical, successful proven techniques in the world of kid show magic from the best in the business.
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Oct 13, 2002 05:07PM)
Just a question about the POWER MARKETING FOR MAGICIANS. Does this relate to kids' birthday parties or other types of kids shows? I am looking for a good book on marketing kids' birthday magic shows as opposed to library or school shows, etc... :idea:
Message: Posted by: Whiterabbit (Oct 13, 2002 05:43PM)
Thanks very much for the advice Dennis, I'll pick them up from the local shop.

Any other books you'd recommend?
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 14, 2002 02:10AM)
White Rabbit, Andrew Walker:

One of the best books on Kids Shows is Dave Fiscus [b]Birthday Magician's Handbook[/b]. It tells it like it is and makes it clear what you're getting into. You must like doing kid's magic, plan on your weekends being booked and being away from your family on your "day-off" because you most likely will not make more than $5,000 a year, therefore, you will probably have a "Day-Job" doing something else.

The books categories tricks for differnt age groups and how to deal with those kids in that group. Plus lots of other stuff.

As for Marketing, I like non-magic books such as [b]Guerrilla Marketing[/b] by Jay Conrad Levinson which can be found in the business section of your local library. (I have everything he wrote on the marketing subject.)

Since I also like Safety Magic, [b]Safety Magic for Children[/b] by Karl Wagner is excellent for this theme related subject.

Since I was asked about Birthday Parties, Another non-magic book by Lafe Locke, [b]Absolutely Unforgettable Parties[/b] (Great Ideas for Party People) will give you just that... to help your clients plan parties for all age groups. It includes lots of check lists. You just provide the magic part.

But my #1 book is the above stated book by Silly Billy, [b]HOW TO PERFORM THE PERFECT KID SHOW TRICK.[/b]
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Oct 14, 2002 02:19AM)
Plan on your weekends being booked, and being away from your family on your day off, because you most likely will not make more than $5,000 a year. Therefore, you will probably have a day job doing something else.

A bit pessimistic here, Den. If you're charging just $100.00 per show, that's only 50 parties a year.
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Oct 14, 2002 06:27AM)
I have the Dave Fiscus book 'Birthday Magician's Handbook' and was disapointed in it. It offers a good overview for entertainers new to the birthday party market but you won't find any fresh ideas there. :hmm:

Oh... Kids parties are my "Day-Job". :baby:
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 14, 2002 08:13AM)
[b]Phillip:[/b]"That's 50 shows a year..." That's assuming you don't ever buy another trick, you don't advertise, you don't give out party favors, you wear a suit never cleaned, you don't pay the phone bills, etc., etc. etc. Also Phillip, I'm really not a pessamist, a reallist maybe who has been in business, has owned two corporations, and knows what failure is as well as success. The "Magic Business" essentially is one-third technical, one-third presentation, and one-third business! Ignore anyone of them and failure is a reality when in competition with another who understands this principle.

Also related to your post, "charging just $100.00 per show thats only 50 party's a year" that means you are booked every weekend except two. It is not my logic. It is what David Fiscus wrote about and he went into detail, the cost of doing magic vs the income of Birthday Party weekender, after expenses.

[b]Andrew Walker:[/b] Since your posts indicates you are doing magic full time, and marketing is what you want, then consider some of the marketing books written by others such as David Ginn's [b]Promoting You and Me II[/b]. This book contains sample of marketing material by David Ginn and others with a page or two of notes related to the topic. Samuel Pactrick Smith has a similar one, but I like David's better. Of couse there is that expensive book by David Dee, [b]Ultimate Insider Secrets Marketing Program[/b] which is a marketing book for magicians. It is also good and offers sensible marketing methods. Marketing is Marketing and it has nothing really to do with magic so the business section of any good bookstore will give you tons of ideas in this area for the small businessman. And, that is really what you are. A Businessman, selling your services to someone who need that service. You are competing with the other local businessman in your area. It's competition, like any type of competition, the winner goes to the person who puts forth the right material, at the right time, to the right persons.

The question you really are asking is, "How do I get more Birthday Party Gigs?" Every birthday party is loaded with potential bookings. You need giveaways that are keepers, discount coupons with expiration times, cheap framed pictures of yourself so the kid can hand it in his room, with all the necessary calling information. Have a web site which offers tips for successful birthday parties...and the list can go on and on. It means getting your name out there, keeping it out there, and timing it right by a good database with reminders, and anything that keeps your name up front.

Don't limit yourself to just birthday parties, there's Halloween parties, Christmas Parties, 4th of July events, etc.

Hope this helps
Message: Posted by: Adam V (Oct 14, 2002 07:06PM)
Ok Den, I just ordered those three books based on your reviews on this board. Me being an Aussie means they cost $80 all up as well. They'd better be as good as you say they are :)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 14, 2002 07:33PM)
Wow, Adam, that's putting me on the spot. I am not an Aussie and nor do I know your culture well enough to say, What I like here for silly business, will work in another country. You read the information above, it is just what that info states.

Now, I absoultely loved the, HOW TO PERFORM THE PERFECT KID SHOW TRICK, and expanded on Silly Billy's Ideas in my own way. It is me, it is what David Ginn talks about, the fun/clowning part of magic, the comedy props. Kids want to laugh, want to have fun, Magic is the medium along with Visual, Audio, and Physical actions and props.

The KID SHOW KLIFF NOTES, was a review for me because I've learned what was said by working with kids my whole life.

I enjoyed the TOP TEN PROBLEMS PERFORMING FOR CHILDREN and liked the solutions and adopted several for my own usage.

The POWER MARKETING FOR MAGICIANS , just expanded my existing knowledge of Marking as mentioned above.

Please let the Café members know what you thought of these booklets!
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Oct 14, 2002 09:20PM)
Silly Billy's lecture notes are very good. I happen to have all of them. Of course, I may be a bit partial in my opinions since he happens to be a friend of mine. :bg:

Seriously, David does have excellent advice for childen's performers, and it must work for him!

Message: Posted by: Adam V (Oct 14, 2002 09:43PM)
I'll certainly let you all know what I thought of them. I didn't bother to get the marketing book because I've found that things like that are very often only useful if you live in America. Things down here are a little different on the marketing front. Hopefully our kids aren't too much different from yours, from what I've heard they're not :)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 15, 2002 05:24AM)
Kids love to laugh and have fun more than magic. Yes they love magic but they all know all the secrets and they will let you know that, loud and clear. This is why silient acts and manipulators acts do very poorly with kids. They must and will be involved even if you don't involve them.

Half of my kids show is non-magic props, or comedy props such as breakaway wand, or fan, spring animals, whistles, noise makes, rubber and foam stuff, giant items, glasses, toothbrushes, tooth, wands, squirting stuff, etc. It adds to the fun, and brings out a laugh.

They are out to get me, so I use that to my advantage, both in patter, and additional fun. Mistakes, lots of them, they love it but it all comes right in the end. Audience particiapation as well as many assistants is a must! All this is mentioned in the HOW TO PERFORM THE PERFECT KID SHOW TRICK book.
Message: Posted by: Tim David (Oct 15, 2002 03:56PM)
Andrew Walker: Eric Paul's course is right on the money. It's called "How to become your area's top children's entertainer" and it is a course chock-full of practical usable tips.

By the way, Eric doesn't do 50 shows a year...he does 50 shows a MONTH. (And he takes Sundays off.) Granted, they're not all birthday parties, but he's raking in the gigs. His course tells you exactly how.

Also, I noticed you just subscribed to my newsletter about the "Business of Shows". You'll be getting some great birthday party tips for free. Most of my business is b-days, so alot of my newsletter deals with booking b-days.

Dennis Dowhy: 50 shows a year is VERY pessimistic...about $35,000 of my yearly income is earned on Saturdays and Sundays doing birthday parties. (I average about 4 a weekend.)

I think if you want to be a full-time performer you need to perform at least 250 shows a year. More if you're supporting a family.

To sum it up, I recommend Eric Paul's course ($97) and I recommend putting in the hard work if you want the results. (Smart work, not necessarily hard work. Why would you work hard on a marketing method that doesn't book any shows? Just a thought.)

Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Oct 15, 2002 04:22PM)
Tim: $35,000 per year from 4 kids show per week! Wow! Now I see where I am going wrong. :whatthe: I am doing about 8 birthday parties per week & only getting just over US$20,000 per year. Can I come and work in the United States for you?
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Oct 15, 2002 05:27PM)
I am doing about 8 birthday parties per week & only getting just over US$20,000 per year

Hi Andrew,
But thats only (£30.00) $50.00 per show!

50 shows a month is too many for me.
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Oct 15, 2002 06:42PM)
Phillip: Yes, your math is right (these are kids' birthday shows I am talking about). That seems to be the going rate where I live in New Zealand. Maybe I don't need more marketing booklets, perhaps it?s an immigration consultant. :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: Adam V (Oct 15, 2002 07:27PM)

I just received Eric Paul's catalog and was reading about his "How to become your area's top children's blah blah blah" book. It sounded fantastic however the price to get it here in Australia is a little prohibitive. I'm also dubious of these things because obviously they're geared towards American performers.

Do you think it would be useful to people in other countries? Keep in mind our cultural differences. We give beer to six month old babies.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Oct 16, 2002 02:29AM)
HI Andrew,
Maybye money goes further there?

How much does an accountant get per hour there?

There is a performer in our area that advertises shows from £35.00(he does an hour for that)
At the moment you are getting 400 * 50 =20,000

the chances are you could charge $75.00 without much drop off. hell if you lost shows down to just 300 you would still make $22,500 for less work, costs, wear and tear and better health.

If you are performing 8 shows a week you should be looking at ways to up your average sale rather than booking more shows (in my opinion)

I would try this subtle way of upping your average sale with little risk. offer 3 different birthday packages (each can be just a more deluxe version of the show.)Each at a bigger price. say a $50.00 $75.00 and top of the range $100.00 show. I bet you will find that the magority of bookers will opt for the middle price and this will up your profits. Now if most people opt for this middle option start upping your fees to say $60.00. 90.00 and $120.00. I think you will be pleasantly suprised as to how well this works.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Oct 19, 2002 07:38AM)
I read Silly Billy's column every month in Magic magazine. I like his views and he does know his stuff. I am going to buy his books without hesitation!

Message: Posted by: Jewls (Apr 1, 2003 05:50PM)
Who sells Silly Billy's books?
Message: Posted by: WR (Apr 1, 2003 06:15PM)
Silly Billy.
WR :rotf:
Message: Posted by: charliemagic (Apr 2, 2003 07:05AM)
I bought my set from Denny and Lee's.
Message: Posted by: Cabrera (Apr 2, 2003 08:40AM)
I you're only charging 50.00 per show, you need to re-evaluate your entire act and see if you can make it worth at least 85.00 to 150.00. The higher you set the bar, the better your show will be. Then you will know it is worth at least 85.00 and your customers won't mind paying for a good show.
It's not the market, it's the marketing.
Message: Posted by: flourish dude (Apr 6, 2003 10:57AM)
THe silly billy book "perfect kid trick" Is GREAT!! But I must say Eric Pauls Course is the best for your money. He goes through every inch of performing for kids. Even how to put the show together, what types of routines to do everything. If I had to pick between the two First I would get Eric Pauls then Silly Billy's. Eric's course can take you the distance if you follow what he says to do. YOu'll earn your money back with your FIRST SHOW!!! That simple.
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Apr 16, 2003 11:56PM)
Steve Taylor has some great lecture notes on kids birthday party shows.

Contact him at http://www.stevetaylorpro.com.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Apr 17, 2003 06:56AM)
[b]Agreed[/b] [url=http://www.stevetaylorpro.com/books.htm][b]Steve Taylor[/b][/url] has some great lecture notes:

For Developing Educational Routines
[*] Creating & Writing Educational Magic Programs
[*] Motivating Educational Magic Routines
[*] Character Building Magic Routines

For Promoting Your Magic Business
[*] Putting the Pro in Professional
[*] Making Your Birthday Party Go Ballistic
[*] Promoting Your Educational Shows

For Writing Vent Routines
[*] Writing Educational Ventriloquism Routines
[*] The Magical Ventriloquist

What Makes these books so great is that Steve is an excellent ventriloquist. His skills at developing character for himself and his vent puppet or vent doll has given him the insight to develop educational routines for both magic and vent work.

His lecture books are $7.00 each and worth every penny. The drawback is he also creates most of his own magic tricks for the routines in the books. The routines are so great I bought ALL of his effects.

A variety of educational school show programs can be developed from these books.

His [url=http://www.stevetaylorpro.com/videos.htm][b]FANTASTIC FRIENDS SHOW![/b][/url] video tape ($35) is excellent.

If school shows are your "thing" then to get into the school market, you will need education themes. Here's a place to start.
Message: Posted by: BryanDreyfus (Apr 29, 2003 11:04AM)

Your show is probably already worth $75 minimun right now.

If you are doing 8 a week proves you are respected for what you do.

Time to up the prices......for everyones sake including your own.

I've seen good advice on how to do that by offereng an "up sale". $75,$100,$125 by adding a premium of some kind. Also have you thought about selling apropriate items de magic to your audiences after the show? Could be an upsale to offer a "no sell" option to your clients.
During the act you give the helper an item for helping and announce that anyone who wants one can buy one after the show...works good. Parents will gladly fork over an extra dollar if their kid really bugs em.
Think about it $75 for the show...an extra $10-$30 on sales depending on size of groups.

do the math....nearly $800 a week (or more)as apposed to $400...it's a no brainer.

even if you lose 50% of your gigs (you wont) you will make as much as you do now for 1/2 the work.

Message: Posted by: bloomclaude (Mar 17, 2012 10:58AM)
Does "Seriously Silly" cover all 5 books By Silly Billy mentioned above?
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 17, 2012 12:22PM)
This is a ten year old thread, I'm not sure if Dennis remembers starting it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Scott (Mar 17, 2012 01:00PM)
It may be a 9 or 10 year old post, but there's some excellent direction pointers in it. Most of the recommended books are spot on. The only problem I can see the best book of all, the one by Eric Paul. It's too bad that Eric is no longer with us, he passed at a too early age and we have not only lost a good friend, but a ton of valuable information from his inspired mind - so Eric's book my be hard to find. If you can find it, you'll have a wealth of topical information.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 17, 2012 01:14PM)