|Topic: Kids Shows: How is your show structured?|
I saw someone in the forum bring up an interesting comment which I thought would make for an interesting thread. It was all about the structure of a kids show.
We already have our show and we have the effects we always do. But is the show structured well enough to maximize the true entertainment value.
How best do you staructure your own kids shows? What is your warm up effect? Do you have a good powerful ending? Do you use music in the show as msucial bits of business? And most of all... how is your show paced?
I think a lot of times we spend so much time on the effects, that when it comes to the show, we throw the tricks back to back with no real reason for their order or pacing.
For example, I would never place two similar effects back to back even if the presentations are vastly different. On the same note, if I just ended with a longer routine, I might want the next routine to be a little shorter to change the pace a bit so the kids do not feel bored.
I also like to mix up my effects so that if I have an audience participation bit with a child on stage, maybe the next trick does not involve one so it gives me and the audience a little breather or rest period.
I also saw a lecture by Denny Haney. He brought up a wonderful idea and said that every show he performs he uses what he calls a personality piece. This is a piece in your show that really lets the audience really see who you are and connect with them. It is performed early in the show so that the audience can better relate to you and they see you as a not this weird or scary magician, but they learn to see you as one of them. A fun guy who just happens to know some neat stuff.
Do you have a personality piece in your show? What rules dop you follow for your kids show structure?
I look forward to hearing the comments and reading the post. I hope this will become a great fun and informing thread.
Great topic Kyle.
Okay, lots of questions to be answered here, so I'll just let loose :) .
I arrive at the gig and introduce myself to the hosting parent(s) or organizer of the event.
Then for my warm-up, I go around and do a little bit of closeup magic for the kids and the adults at the party (just 10 or 15 minutes). There is a lot of reasoning behind this:
1.) It warms me up so I am ready to perform the show.
2.) It gets the audience interested in seeing more magic, so they are excited when the show starts.
3.) MOST OF ALL, I get to meet the people, introduce myself, and find the people that I connect with that would be good for audience participation.
That 3rd one if the main reason I do closeup magic before the show. I wouldn't want to call a kid up I have never talked to before, who I didn't know HATES BEING ON STAGE AND HAVING THAT ATTENTION. I find the people that jump on me when I perform my closeup tricks.
I also need help from adults during the show. I need two adults during it that DO NOT mind if they are laughed at by the kids. This sometimes is harder to come by in adults (more than you would think), so I make sure I know a few adults that will have fun with this, not take it personally.
After my closeup magic and I know a bunch of kids and adults that will like to be on stage and help me out, I go and set up for my show. This only take a few minutes, and basically is two things:
1.) Hooking up a boombox to the nearest outlet (for vanishing bandanna, and I also carry an extension cord in case it's outside and away from the house)
2.) Setting up my opener (bowling ball production) - this needs to be set up because I carry my sketchpad in a custom case I made for the pad, and my ball in with all my other stuff.
Now, I'll recap what I have so far: People that I will be using for the show, people WANT more magic and are anxious to see the show, and my show is set up. This whole sequence takes between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on how much the people enjoy my closeup magic.
Now it's time for the show to begin. I ask the host to collect the group and I help them out while seating.
When everybody is there, I do my show.
Here is a set I used for a show last Saturday:
1.) Bowling Ball Production
2.) Vanishing Bandanna
3.) Wipe Board Card Trick
4.) Confusing Crayons
5.) Wizard Hat Tears
6.) Change Bag, Baffling Underwear
I'm not going to go into detail about every one of my routines, but you can see 2 of them here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=41929&forum=17&3 and here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=41004&forum=17&19.
Here is the reasoning behind why I do my set in the order above:
1.) A good solid opener with no audience participation, but breaks the ice with a killer routine, lots of comedy, a story, and also starts my basic theme of "believe in magic."
2.) Now for the vanishing bandanna, I do this second because once again, I do not use audience participation. The reason these 2 effects do not use helpers is because I do not want to jump on having people come right up from start to finish. I want the kids to feel comfortable and connect with me before I ask for someone on stage with me (this goes along with my closeup magic before the show.)
3.) My wipeboard card trick is a trick a friend of mine made up, and is my only card trick I do in my act. Basically a card is selected, then the rest the kids can relate to, and not much more talking about playing cards. Now by this point into my show, the kids start feeling more comfortable with me and would not mind doing something with me. This is just a small step, I have a card selected by the birthday child, then I have him/her point to someone else, they sign the card, then they point to one more person, and they sign the card. The reason is that it's just a little bit of audience participation. They can stay seated, they don't need to get up and get onto stage, and I come to them.
4.) Confusing crayons is my next effect. Now by this point, the everyone is ready for some help on stage. I call up the birthday child, and his/her parent. You can see my basic routine here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=41929&forum=17&3. Now people are up from the audience, the birthday child gets the spotlight, and shows up his/her mother/father in front of all their friends!
5.) Wizard hats tears now. For this, I call up one person from the audience. I have a lot of fun with them joking around and using a lot of classic comedy "go ahead, tear it up... what are you doing? your tearing it down!", etc.
6.) My final trick is my favorite and longest. Tons of thought has gone into this effect, and it is my ending trick. You can see the routine here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=41004&forum=17&19.
That is the basis of one of my kid shows. The vary from show to show, but I used my latest one as the example.
What usually happens after the show, is that a bunch of kids and adults (mostly adults) come running up to me and comment on the show. I have had nothing but good comments lately, so this always lets me know I did a good job. I talk to these people as I clean everything up.
After everything is all finished. I usually do a little bit more closeup magic FOR THE ADULTS. This is my chance to get more shows, and repeat gigs by the host. I do adult closeup routines and usually get into deep discussion with them about me performing for them and them hiring me possibly. For me, this is the most important part of my time at the party/show.
FEEEEEEW!!! :eek: :bg:
There ya go, from the minute I arrive to when I leave, my basic show, and more.
Hope this gives some people some good ideas!
P.S. - I have only been doing kid shows for a small while now, so feel free to comment on it, but remember I'm an amateur 15 year old magician so be nice :bwink: . Any tips are much welcome!!!
Great post and I like all the thought you put into it. Even though you have not been performing for long, I can see some things your doing in your show that really do make a lot of sense.
I like how your show is paced and structured. I like the idea that you are starting with a warm up piece and then going into a visual and colorful opner. This gets the kids excited and shows you are the magician.
I also think it is nice that you do not immediately jump right into an effect using a hleper from the audience. By doing a trick where the kids can just watch, allows them to start to feel more relaxed with you before you ask for an assistant. Then when you do need a helper, they are more apt to help you out.
Your ending effect can be long because your building up to it. As long as it plays big and gets a great reaction, then your ending on a high note.
Do you have any piece in your show that you might consider a personality piece. A piece where by your showing a bit more of yourself and connecting with the audience on a different level? Just curious is all.
Great stuff and I hope to hear from others as well.
Thanks for the imput, Kyle.
Hmm. For a personality piece, I think I have one in my show. I think that my vanishing bandanna routine really helps people see me for who I am, a fun and goofy kid that loves to entertain. I have had some people actually see me differently after doing that routine, and they see me for who I am.
I think that is important. You should try and have some effect in your show that really lets people see who you are and what you are really all about. An effect that most represents your style. I think by doing this, it allows the people to connect better with you and makes for a better show.
I think there is a short period of time in your shows where you either connect with your audience or you don't. It seems to be what I call a breaking point. A point where the show will either be really great for the audience or it will just go down hill.
I think this break point is about possibly 8-10 mins into your show. This may vary for people. I usually think that this is about the right amount of time for an audience to hear you out, watch and listen and determine just how much fun they are willing to have with you.
With this in mind, I think it is important for magicians to establish themselves early. To warm the crowd up, perform some visual and comical magic that really lets the audience know your a good magician, you have skill and most of all that you're there to have fun with them.
My clown show is a mix of magic and classic clown bits under the theme of Professor Pickles Gherkin Circus, with the premise being I get to tthe party but the rest of the circus is lost and the kids have to help me fill in the roles.
My comedy magic show (non clown) starts with a warm up like applause flower, or some other claping hands fun warm up. I then say I will explain how magic works and use the color changing shoe laces to explain that what looks like its happening isn't really happening.
The middle part of my show varies a bit depending on age of the audience etc but uses lots of comedy and audience participation, all done with my own flavour.
My motto is "Just Bacon Up Some Fun" which is what we do throu-out the show.
I end with Vanishing Bandana as it ends the show with a very visual effect and on a laugh, with a good cue for applause.
that's the Readers Digest version of my shows.
I saw several things you do in the structure of your own show that makes a lot of sense to me and I will point them out for others that are reading this thread.
I like the fact that you start off with an audience warm up piece. This is a great way for the kids to see who you are and what you are all about and to show them that it is ok to laugh, smile and have fun.
I also like the fact that you wait a bit into the show before you use an audience participation effect. This way the kids get used to you and get relaxed and comfortable with you and will be more eager to help.
I also like your ending effect. It is strong and funny and matches your persoona. It also gives a good que at the end to appluade and lets them know this is the end of the performance.
Nicely thought out and it seems like the structure has worked for you.
Let me also ask this to the group here. Have you ever put something into the show and just realized that you put it in the wrong spot. That you chose the wrong structure for the show and because of it something was lacking?
I start my show off with some upbeat music and a small humorouswelcome monologue. I then go into the What's Next routine using as much of my personality as possible. I then follow by calling up 3 helpers for my Sketch O Matic routine.
Then I perform a vanishing liquid trick to music.
Next comes six card repeat.
Next comes a comedy balloon animal routine with a helper. Lots of slapstick, bits and gags
Then a cut & restored effect where the helper restores the rope.
Then a comedy four Ring routine.
Finally a quick vent routine or Vanishing bandana.
Last of all I close with Cardiographic.
This is a good mix for both adults and children
Then I flick on some upbeat music and perform a finale of silks andproduction magic. Lots of silks and color.
I find that this mix is good for entertaining both adults and kids. The parents have commented on how I also appeal to them
I’m glad you mentioned using music in your show.
I, too, use music in my show---at the beginning, middle and end. I like using music because I can show visually pleasing “fast and furious” magic (about one trick every 15 to 20 seconds) during a 3-minute song/music. My performance is announced with a fanfare and a voice over that I’ve recorded from one of Richard Wayne Productions’ Magician’s Easy Edit Music Kit series, which adds a professional touch to my performance right from the beginning of the show. I also close my show with an “exit” voice over from the same Easy Edit kit.
It is during these “silent acts” (I don’t know why they are called silent act when there’s music in the background) that I perform “skills” magic. Oh, yes, sometimes I cheat. During the “skills” magic portion, I perform tricks that look like they require a lot of skills but actually easy to do. My favorite example is Al Baker’s Diminishing Cards. The trick is both visually appealing and extremely funny to the kids. Even the most humorless magician can get a lot of laugh from this trick. And the best part, it looks like difficult sleight-of-hand when in truth it is easy to do.
Another easy-to-do magic is producing four different-color silks from four fingertips and transforming them into one sunburst 18” silk (blendo), using Duane Laflin’s method taught in his Sensational Silk Magic video. Yet another easy magic that gets good reaction from both parents and kids is the Dream Bag, where I produce 15 boxes of flowers, as against the standard four that comes with the trick when you purchase it from a dealer.
The rest of my show is the talking part, featuring lots of comedy, audience participation and interaction.