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Topic: Signaling the start of the show
Message: Posted by: phill (Jun 9, 2003 11:30AM)
What successful ways have been used to start your show? Not as in an opening effect, but as far as getting their attention and settled down to begin your opening effect.
Since there is no real emcee at the party, other than the host/hostess saying "the magic guy wants to get started, so......"
I have tried a couple of different clapping, song type things, but am looking for a something a little better.
Any thoughts?

Message: Posted by: flourish dude (Jun 9, 2003 01:19PM)
A boat horn. I have been thinking about a flashing light. like the "blue" light at KMART. Set this off then start music or blow a horn then say it's time to get started.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Jun 9, 2003 01:39PM)
HI. Why not just use a recorded intro. or write down what you want the hostess to say.
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jun 9, 2003 03:50PM)
I just call the kids over and tell them to sit down behind the magic line. I never have a problem as most times a lot of them automatically come over and sit to watch me make the bribery and corruption balloons before the show.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Jun 9, 2003 04:15PM)
I too usually just start by saying good morning or good afternoon. The problem I have is not getting the kid's attention when I need to start the show, it's not getting their attention when I set up. Fortunately I have a show that can be set up as the children watch.
In a perfect world I would be in a seperate room and the kids would be brought in after everything was set up. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world.

Are you having trouble getting the kids to settle down and watch your program or are you just looking for a more "professional" looking entrance?
Message: Posted by: Billy Whizz (Jun 9, 2003 04:49PM)
Once the kids are all seated I start by saying in a really soft, slow and quiet voice "Is it time for the..." and then shout "MAGIC SHOW". The kids ALWAYS scream Yeeessssss.
Message: Posted by: Harry the Clown (Jun 9, 2003 07:14PM)
There is always excitement when kids know that a clown or magician is coming to their party. Once the kids know you are there, it's not hard to draw a crowd. If it is, I tell the kids who have seen me, "Go and get your friends and come and see the most exciting magic show in the world", which they do!

How you arrive and set up your show is the key for getting control, excitement and having the kids think they are going to have a really great time.

When I arrive I greet the birthday child and make him or her feel special. Then I point to a 5 year old boy and say, "Is this your husband?". Of course you get screams. Then I might ask, "Are you turning 50 years old today?" Of course you get corrected and they tell you their right age. BUT what I'm doing is getting the kids to warm to me, like me and then think I'm really funny. So when I say sit on the mat they are ready for a lot of fun.

Now the kids are sitting there for about 5 minutes while I set up my show, so one thing I do is sing something funny behind my magic table until I hear them start to laugh, then I stand up and say "What's funny?", then I go back behind my magic table and repeat it until I am ready to start my show. You do get great reaction when doing this!

Then I go into a introduction game then into my fun-filled magic show. :jump:
Isn't it great being an entertainer?
Harry the Clown
Message: Posted by: knockknocktheclown (Jun 9, 2003 08:01PM)
This may be too out there, but how about a tambourine and just bang on it hard. Then announce to the kids to come over. I have not tried this yet but I plan to.

God Bless you all!
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Jun 9, 2003 08:24PM)
I've given up trying to start the show like a stage show with a introduction etc. I just sit the kids down and do my Rocky Racoon routine to get them focused and to set the boundaries. Then I start.

Works well for me.
Message: Posted by: flourish dude (Jun 9, 2003 08:37PM)
I really start by asking if everyone is here? I have never had a problem with this. When I am there they are really ready to get started, then I go into my warm up/ intro where I say who I am and the name of the show. Then I have them do the twisted arm thing. I teach them how to clap. Then I say turn to the person on this side(right) say are you ready? Then turn to the person on this side (left) say are you ready? Everyone turn towards me say Mr Bill we are ready. Then I say well lets get started.
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Jun 9, 2003 11:19PM)
I usually find I can’t help but get everyone’s attention just by the mere fact that I am dressed the way I am. Also the children are usually expecting me, so I just start by introducing myself. Sometimes I go around and shake all the children's hands with some funny by-play. If some children are still playing outside or in another room when I want to start I play some music so they will be able to hear that something is happening & be attracted.

I also think having a recorded intro is a nice professional touch. It really signals a precise spot in time where the show actually starts, rather than having it slowly build from children watching you set up. That is something I am planning on adding to my show soon.
Message: Posted by: BryanDreyfus (Jun 10, 2003 12:07AM)
I use a bit that got funnier over the years. It means looking stupid but hey anything for a laugh. It is also a great "Polarizer". For those who don't know, polarization is the act of taking many individuals and turning them into one collective audience.

"Before we can get started we have to be friendly and the best way to get friendly is to get to know each other". I will say "Hi, I'm Bryan The Magician and you say who you are; don't say "Who you are", say who you are (trailing off). You know what I mean don't you? When I say "Hi I'm Bryan The Magician", you say your name but don't say "Your name" say your name (trailing again). Lets try it. "Hi", blah blah and response. That was terrible!. If I asked your parents (teachers or whoever) if you can be louder than that, they'd say yeah, so, "Hi" blah blah and response. That was pretty good, now this time I want you to answer so loud the roof shakes. "Hi" blah blah (be "blown back by shock wave, put finger in ear and say), "You didn't need to shout!" and go into your act.

Hokey? Yes. Effective? YES, YES, YES. Anything along these lines puts you right in front of all of them as the center of attention and they LIKE you. Why? You've just played with them on their level, you are one of them. Perfect.

Message: Posted by: japanjazzy (Jun 10, 2003 12:20AM)
I usually don't have any problems starting, but a couple of times at larger locations I have used the rocket balloons. I just fill a couple of them up and release them and that gets everyones attention fast.
Message: Posted by: Mago Mai (Jun 10, 2003 09:11AM)
I usually start calling the kids to come gather by the performing area. Sometimes I say: "The last kid to get here is a skinny chicken."

Kids will run to where I am. Some other times I just change my voice over the microphone and announce the show is about to start in 2 minutes, then announce that is about to start in about 1 minute. Wait and announce in 30 seconds. Wait an say 15,14,13,12,11....GO.

I just play it by ear.

Mago Mai
Message: Posted by: wassabi_87 (Jun 10, 2003 11:11AM)
Why not do a hovering trick, "Can anyone help me down? helllllp!". This should get their attention.
Message: Posted by: phill (Jun 10, 2003 11:37AM)
Thanks for all the replies. There is a tremendous amount of experience out there and willingness to help. I have gotten an inspiration or two from the ideas of using lights and sounds.
Thanks again for the help!

Message: Posted by: harris (Jun 18, 2003 12:18PM)
Love the skinny chicken line.

See PM.

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jun 18, 2003 04:02PM)
For kids' shows, ask them a question that has to have a reply:

"Is everybody ready?" or something like that.

At least, it works for me.

In one adult show (The SEAM convention at the Holiday Inn in Greensboro, NC) -- and you have to pick your audience for this -- Rich Bloch was the emcee and I wrote my own introduction. It broke him up: "And now, direct from the bar of the Greensboro Holiday Inn . . ."
Message: Posted by: johnpert (Jul 1, 2003 03:23PM)
Steve Taylor shared this idea at a workshop:

There are two ways to have fun, the first is by clapping... go ahead clap. The second is by laughing, go ahead laugh (young kids will laugh on command, strange!).

Sometimes I use the exact description above, other times i add clapping and laughing jokes.

similar to another idea stated earlier, I introduce myself and have the kids say "Hi John" (b/c that's my name). then i have them yell their names. I respond w/ "Hello objuilewkjliweidkh (mumbble jumbble basicaly). It always gets a laugh from the kids. Of course, throw in a funny face while saying their names as though you combined them all.


Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 2, 2003 10:21AM)
I do two things that have worked great for me.

I always have a tape going about 2 mins before the start of the show that is filled with fun pre-show magic related music. This gets people and the kids interested and gets them aware that I am about to start.

Then I start to have some fun as what I call my pre-show warm-up. I have this upbeat music going on and I use an Axtell Expressions Drawing board. Being an artist, I start to draw one of the kids that is in the room. Sure enough kids and people gather around to start watching. othing draws a crowd more then curiosity. The drawing is comical and funny and the kids help me figure out what is needed. Then by the time I am done the cartoon, the kids are all seated and the show is ready to begin.

Just then the eyes start to move and the mouth opens and I have a pre-recorded tape that makes it appear as if the cartoon is intorducing me to everyone.

It really has worked well for me and allows me to gather a crowd in a fun manner.
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Jul 9, 2003 03:14PM)
I start my show with the old Ringlings Bros. spiel "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of aaaallllllll ages." I have a good set of lungs and a strong, projecting voice that can be heard in an enclosed building with approx. 135 loud adults so I have little trouble being heard.

Message: Posted by: Ricahato (Jul 20, 2003 08:50PM)
I really love all the ideas, I use music just before the show and whenever possible have someone introduce me by giving them a pre writen scipt! But I will start incorporating some of the ideas from here.
Message: Posted by: danryb (Jul 23, 2003 01:04PM)
i always use a speaker and mic.
When I am ready I turn on the speaker and count - testing one testing two testing... There i break and do it again until eventualy (usualy after the second time) the audience says 3. Then i go up a notch and count to 3 and they go on to for. Then I do it in another foriegn language and no one has a clue what i'm saying so they break into lauphter out of the unexpected. It always gets them. and "breaks the ice" from the start.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jul 31, 2003 01:03PM)
I ask the kids in serious manner, "Who wanna go first?" They all put their hands up the same time. Then I say, "Ok, you can go home first." It evens makes the adults laugh.

If everyone isn't in the public area yet I sing the song, "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands... stomp your feet... say hooray." The last phrase I use is... "If you're happy and you know it give me a dollar."
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 31, 2003 01:06PM)
I like your idea. It is unexpected and is comical enough to get people to laugh and gets them involved right from the start.
Message: Posted by: EricHenning (Sep 5, 2009 11:14AM)
Sometimes things just happen that you don't expect. One time I was doing a birthday party show in a fairly small, fairly crowded living room. I had finished setting up and placed my sound system under the table hidden by the tablecloth (which reaches the floor).

Just before starting, I repaired to the bathroom (adjacent to the living room) to put on my microphone. I was opening the door when I paused. All the kids were gathered, waiting for the show. Pre-show music was playing. I had my mic. = Bingo! =

The kids freaked out when this disembodied voice came from the table and introduced me!

Don't always get a chance to do this, but always try, around Halloween especially.
Message: Posted by: jackturk (Sep 5, 2009 11:41AM)
I always start with some version of the following, once all the kids have gathered together:

"Is everyone here? Everyone who's here, raise your hand! Great. Now, everyone who's not here, raise your hand!"

It's dorky I know, but when said with gusto it generally generates some chuckles and ... importantly ... sets the tone for my act.

Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Sep 5, 2009 11:58AM)
I too use preshow music and I recorded intro. I also use "show starting" announcements from the Magic Enhancer CD
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (Sep 5, 2009 12:23PM)
I also use pre-show music & announcements but I use Tim Hannigs THE SHOW STARTS BEFORE THE SHOW STARTS. It has some great funny & useful announcements (like cell phone use). I intersperse the announcements with some of Arthur Steads royalty-free music.

Message: Posted by: todd75 (Sep 5, 2009 02:08PM)
I too use a voice-over that I had professionally recorded for my show.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 5, 2009 04:40PM)
I do several and one of them is based on what jack does as well. However I add on to the "riase your hand" idea and not only do it as a warm up, but I also do it as a way to make the birthday child feel special and to guage the reactions of kids.

After having them riase their hands if they are here and raise your hand if you are not here, I ask them to raise their hands if they knwo the birthday child's name. I state how important it is for the success of the show.

I then walk over to a girl and ask them ok the birthdya child's name is? Mike?? Oh hi Mike.. silly name ofr a girl but glad you are here today for the party. (shake her hand). Ok but we STILL need the name of the birthdya kid so raise your hand if you know. Oh ok how about you. Mike? WOAH did you know there was a kid here already named Mike. How cool is that.

What's that? The birthdya kid's name is Mike? Oh ok tell you what on the count of 3 I want everyone to shout out the name of the birthday kid. 1...2....3..MIKE!!! you are all named Mike? Man that makes it easy for me to remember you all.

something like that. It always varies based on reactions and I improv a lot. But the kids have a great time with it and it makes the birthdya child the star before the show even starts.

Message: Posted by: JimbosMagic (Sep 5, 2009 08:15PM)
Before the show I have music playing and the children are usually dancing or playing. When I am ready to start I have my own theme tune, some music from Arthur Stead,and I added vocals to it. It has a great begining and then I have a pre recorded intro, I also have the same piece with out the intro, Then I just say on the mic, right let get every one sat donw behind the white line. (thats a line I have on the floor just in front of my box) then my Jimbo theme kicks in, the kids sit donw and away we go.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 5, 2009 11:08PM)
But do you also do anything in your show upfront to get them knowing a bit more about you, your character,personality and getting them to feel comfortable with you. If so, how do you o about doing this that works for you? I have many different methods as I call them warm ups. Each warm up is about getting the children used to me,letting them know we are going to have fun, how to react in the show and some of the simple rules we use for selecting helpers. Of course all of this is done in a fun way that the children are engaged in.

Message: Posted by: JimbosMagic (Sep 6, 2009 07:08PM)
Kyle, I to have many ways to get the children used to me. One of the best things I do is to chat to the Birthday child before the guests arrive. Ask them what they had for their Birthday and also let them help me set the stage and put the line out.
Once they get to know me I usually give them a lolly for helping and then ask them to introduce me to their friends as they come in. Just general chat and telling them what we do in the show really works well.
Some times you cant do this as the guests get to the venue at the same time.

I also have some catchable bubbles, these are bubbles the children can catch on their fingers. I say anyone who can catch 5 bubbles 1 on each finger wins a sweet. This does 2 things, it keeps the children around me and looks like I am in control to the parents and 2, it gets the children talking to me and showing how many bubbles they have caught.

Just a couple of things that I do.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 6, 2009 08:07PM)
Some nice ideas. I also talk with the child and basically show intersst towards him or her as well as their friends. By doing so they start to get a feelfor you and not as the starbger or scary adult. Just make sure when giving out sweets, to askl the parent/s first if it is ok to do so. In this day and age, you have parents who can get rather upset by handing out sweets without their permission. Sily as it may seem, it does happen, so I wouldplay it safe.

Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Sep 7, 2009 01:25AM)
Firstly, I announce that the show is going to start soon, so if anyone needs to go to the toilet, or have a drink, they should do that now. Then I play a short "intro" with gags and silly stuff (some from Tim Hanning's "The Show Starts Before the Show Starts"). I have many different intros for different types of show....the shortest being about 2 minutes, for Birthday shows. Then I walk on "stage", and do a comedy welcome, followed by a welcome song, business asking for magic words, and getting the kids laughing and clapping on cue....and my intro ends with a wrm-up trick such as Silver Septer, "What's Next", "Feather Plume", or similar. My whole intro last about 10 minutes or more.
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Sep 7, 2009 02:05AM)
Sometimes, I use the Mark Leverige idea of having the kids pretend they are in a theatre, get them to squeek their seats, get comfy, then pretend the lights are going down. You go off stage do your anouncement and come back to huge applause!

I must do it more often.
Message: Posted by: Magic Enhancer (Jan 31, 2010 01:24PM)
Just wanted to let everyone know that Magic Enhancer Volume 2 is FINALLY released. PLease check the web site for pre-order info and to hear samples. There are many tracks such as openers, closers, funny announcements, sound effects and more.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. Thanks so much!!

Robert Haas
Message: Posted by: Tim Hannig (Feb 11, 2014 02:23PM)
Just uploaded some samples from my pre show announcements cd to youtube.

See the link in my signature!
Message: Posted by: thekidsmagician (Feb 11, 2014 03:29PM)
On 2014-02-11 15:23, Tim Hannig wrote:
Just uploaded some samples from my pre show announcements cd to youtube.

See the link in my signature!

I have been using Tim's pre-show announcements for years and can highly recommend them. My personal favourite is the Movie Trailer intro. :)

- Mike
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 11, 2014 11:05PM)
I use his pre-show announcements too. Soon I will be adding music to my show at the start by Arthur and Leslie Stead.