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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Really Bad Kids (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Steve V
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Northern California
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I have a wand that is a steel rod...works wonders. I am grateful, however, that I had a pump in my hand and not my wand when that kid pestered me. It would'a split him open like a ripe melon.
Steve V
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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Kyle,

There are times when a Magician MUST stop his show and correct a situation. You handle that well.

Den
Dennis Michael
MikeDes
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Montreal
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...just make sure you don't get shot in the parking lot later.
magic4u02
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Steve:

I can not thank you enough for your kind words. I do appreciate that. I really could not believe the kid did what he did and acted that way towards my audience, but I was not going to stand around and allow that conduct to continue much longer. I knew I could not and would not hit the kid by any means, but he certainly was going to hear a piece of my mind and why I felt what he was doing was not only immature but disrespctful to my audience and to me. It stinks that I had to do that, but it needed to be done under the circumstances I found myself in.

I did have many parents and others thanking me for doing what I did and that made things a bit better.

Den: Thanks also for your kind words of encouragement. It means a lot to me coming from you. Many thanks indeed.

I am looking forward to this weekends big theater production show that my wife and I are putting on with another couple (friends of ours). We have been working on the show for months now and it should take some of the bad taste out of my mouth from this past experience. I hope so at any rate. hehe

Thanks all.

Kyle
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Bridgewater
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North Carolina
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Kyle,
I would like to point out that you also did a tremendous favor to the young men you confronted. Obviously their upbringing is lacking. If they continue that kind of behavoir, they will eventually encounter someone who lacks your kind of self-control. In that instance, they may not receive a tongue-lashing but a beating or worse. Teenagers who display that kind of behavior do so precisely because no one is willing to confront them. If we choose to quietly endure rudeness, we will have no shortage of it.
"Don't run with those..."
MikeRaffone
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So far I have been lucky to never have problems with older kids. However a few months ago I encountered a 6 year old terrorist who happen to be the birthday boy. He was grabbing props out of my hand such as silks and putting them all the way in his mouth. As soon as I handed him the inflatable wand, he got much worse and started hitting me non-stop. He was hitting the other kids non-stop and he hit my dove as hard as he could. This is when his father finally decided to come up and help. The child's grip was so strong for a little kid, and he was so out of control his father tried a couple of times and gave up. We couldn't get his mouth open to get the silks out either. Finally I was able to get the kids attention long enough to tell him that if he doesn't behave right now, I am packing up everything and leaving right now. This got his attention and he behaved for about 5 minutes and then went right back to hitting everyone.
I really wanted to leave, but holding out for another 15 minutes I was able to get paid.
I have never had anyone come close to being this bad before. If it happens again I think I will just walk away.
Mike Perrello
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magic4u02
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Bridgewater:

Thanks for your kind words. It often is the case that many of these kids that act in this fashion do so because they have parents who are just as bad or who just do not care what their kids do. It is a real shame for sure, but I have seen that to be the case a lot of times.

I will be really honest that it took every bit of self-control in my body from stopping me short of hauling off and smacking that kid. I knew that wasn't the answer, but the thought ran through my head many times.

I can pretty much tolerate quite a bit of stuff and have no problems doing so. You do not have to like magic or even watch what I do. You can personally think that what I do is dorky or whatnot. I just will NOT tolerate anyone swearing at me or towards my audience and showing blatant disrespect as that teenager did. That is where I draw the line. I knew I had to confront the kid and eal with it right then and there before he continued to do it or make things even worse for the audience and crowds that were there.

Will he change from what I said? Probably not. However, I know for sure he heard me loud and clear.

Kyle
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circuskevin
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Hi Kyle,

13-16 year old kids love a bit of magic - even if they are hooligans. It's a good idea to smile at these groups, walk straight up to them, and show them a trick. Get them on your side from the off, even if they are not your target audience.

Some people are nervous of hooligans and walk past them as quickly as possible! Are you one of these?

Learning how to entertain these groups is an acquired skill, just as much as entertaining 3-6 year olds. Take the opportunity to talk to and entertain these kids whenever you can. Better still, volunteer your services at the local 'hooligan element' youth club.

I've taught circus skills full time for a few years. I fancy doing more shows now. I go down to the local youth clubs to practice more sketches tricks and routines to add to my repertoire. Voluntary work is great for honing skills, particularly where the kids will soon tell you if you are not up to scratch!

Entertainment skills can be extremely useful in dealing with potentially tricky situations. Not many people have them. If you do ... then why not use them?

All the best

Kevin
todd75
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There are always going to be misbehaved kids in just about every show. I agree that most things you should let go of as an entertainer but of course, there are always things that go too far and even though it should be the parents responsibility, you find yourself having to take action.

It seems as though kids today are worse than ever. Many of them are disrespectful and many of them have no rules to follow at all. This is exactly the reason for me slowly getting out of the private party market and focusing more on my school, libraru and church shows. In these sistuations it is rare that you ever have a child that spoils things because a teacher, librarian, etc. will pull the kid away
in an instant.

I have done over 2000 children's birthday parties and it's gotten to the point to where I feel as though I have paid my dues and it's time to move on. The money id good and easy from a birthday but there is not as much enjoyment in them anymore like there once was. Anyone agree?

I have started telling parents before the show starts that if there are any kids that decide to act up, that THEY need to REMOVE THEM so the remaining kids can enjoy the show. I also let them know that the adults are more than welcome to watch the show as long as they are quite. If they want to talk, I ask them to go into another room but leave at least one adult in the room with me at all times. While this may sound rude, I have yet to have anyone say anything to me about. I am not trying to sound like a knit-picker but I think in this business you have to DEMAND RESPECT from the moment you ring that doorbell to the time you leave. if you don't and let the adults or the children take advantage of you in anyway, you are in trouble from moment on. I think people realize that they cannot and will not take over my show....it works!

Anyway, the worst show I ever had was when rich mom and rich dad and all of their rich stuck up friends brought all of the kids into the room and left and said, "they are all your now- good luck." There were these 3 boys that would not stop talking, would not sit down, basically could not and would not do anything to make the show fun. They were complete little smart butts and after telling them time after time after time, I finally had to stop the show and go get the parents and inform them that I was the entertainer not the babysitter and that in order for me to do my show someone was going to have to remove these kids or else I could not go on. I hated having to do that but what else can you do?

As a dear friend of mine (Dave Risley) told me once, you have to demand respect in aspect of what you do. That means from having a front door parking spot, to inforcing no food and drinks during the show to whatever else. He is so right! If you let the client slip on one little thing you can expect that they will try something else...especially birthday party moms.
magic4u02
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Kevin:

Thanks for your feedback anf your post. I found it most informative and I agree with you on your comments. When I arrived there that evening, I saw teens hanging out and I never have any problem performing for them or any age for that matter. I have done many performances for teen based ages and audiences with never a problem.

Knowing there were teens there, I did approach them right off the start and performed a few shows for them and for other teen audiences early that evening and through out the night. I did not have a problem and they liked what I did and it went well.

The problem was in these teen that decided to just use the theater to hang out and cause problems. They had no desire for anyone to show them magic nor did they want to see any. They did not come to see a movie but came to cause problems and see what they could get away with. This was the main problem I was faced with. I will perform for those who want to see some magic regardless of age, but you can not force anyone to watch your magic if they have no desire to want to see it in the first place.

I am never nervous about hooligans or teens of any age range. I enjoy performing for them. I just can not perform or tolerate anyone being as disrespectful towards me and my audience as they were that night even after a nice and kind warning.

I demanded respect that night and I got it. It is just a shame that a teen had to choose to act in that manner just to get attention or to show off to his buddies.

Kyle
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todd75
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Way to go Kyle! Always let them know up front what expect if they give you problems. I can usualy spot a trouble maker before the show even starts and in many cases I will simply tell them something like, "hey man, if you want to help out in the show all you have to do is stay seated and quiet and I may just let you help out." This usually works but not always!
magic4u02
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Todd: Thanks for the kind words. This was a unique venue and a unique situation. The sad part about it was the fact that these kids were not forced into watching anything. Also, I was not shying away from performing for any of the teens and infact I welcomed them to watch as it gave me a great opportunity to work and show some of my newest close-up routines.

The problem here was just a group of teens who decided that on this Friday night they were going to hang out at the theater, watch no movies and just goof off and cause problems. I sensed it ahead of time as I am always aware of my surroundings no matter where I am performing. I was going to let things slide as long as they did not abuse what I call my "rules of conduct" that I keep for every show I do.

Aapprently they just felt they had to be a royal pain because they wanted to show off to their friends. It was quite sad really and the last result was doing what I did. I would do it again though if found in the same situation.

I will not tolerate anyone of any age swearing infront of me and swearing to little children in my presence. I will also not tolerate anyone disrespecting me or my audience and no one touches me or hits me and gets away with it.

In this case my um..er let us say nice little LECTURE to that kid set things straight and let him realize just exactly what was on my mind and that I was not going to stand for it.

I hate doing that and it really kills the mood for the evening. However, many audience members and parents thanked me for doing what I did that evening.

Thanks again for the positive feedback. I really do appreciate hearing it. It left a really bad tatste in my mouth driving home from that gig that evening.

Kyle
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magicalsongwriter
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Listen to this one...
First of all I have a guarantee that I offer to schools, summer camps, birthday parties or anywhere that I perform. It says "If you are not honestly satisfied with my performance tear up your check and do not pay me". I have been doing this for 5 years and not once has anyone not paid me or even brought it up to me. Until this party that is. It was at a country club and of course the kids were spoiled brats but that's OK I've dealt with spoiled brats before but not like this. I was setting up when a 6 year old kid who must have been impatient wanted the show to begin. He said "Hey dick (My name is not Dick) Start the show already". I did a double take and asked the kid to repeat that. He did and I was somewhat shocked but I put it out of my mind and dismissed it as "my hearing must be going bad".
As the show unfolded not only was this group of kids the absolute worst behaved group of kids I have ever performed for they were downright nasty. I used every tactic that I could but it got to the point that nothing I did mattered and the kids were not even interested in the show and neither was I. I was just going through the motions and in a sense I gave up.
Off in the distance was the mom and her friends having lunch and not wanting to be disturbed. Although she knew that the kids were being disruptive she never lifted a finger to help out the situation.
As the party ended I decided that I would not ask for payment. I did not feel as though I deserved to be paid because the party was not satisfactory. However, the mom wrote me a check and I accepted it as I was in a very bad mood and I did not want to discuss it at this point. In a way I felt that the least she could do was help out. After all it was her child that was causing most of the problems. Well I got a call the next day and the mom told me that she was not satisfied and she wanted me to tear up the check as per my guarantee.
I thanked her for calling and agreed with her and did tear up the check. But I did use this opportunity to find out some important information. I asked her "Is it possible that one of the kids called me a "dick"? Her response shocked me "Oh yeah we all hate that kid. His father is a jerk. He's one of those macho type guys that would probably laugh knowing that he did call you a dick". Then I said "Did you ever consider coming over and helping out a little? You knew I was having trouble. She again shocked me and said "Well it wasn't my kid that was causing the trouble".
"YES IT WAS LADY!!!!" which party were you watching?
Anyway this brings up an interesting question. You see if it were my party and my kids or my kids friends were acting up, as a responsible parent I would discipline the kids and make sure they were behaving. If they were not I wouldn't fault the performer. Here is the question... Is it the responsibility of the performer to make sure the kids are behaving? Of course, it is the responsibility of the performer to ensure that the show is compelling and appropriate and entertaining enough. It is also imperative that the the performer has command and control over the kids. However,there is a difference between that and poor behavior that simply makes it impossible for any performer to perform. I think it is a good idea for the performer to make sure that the parents or some adult supervisor is there to see to it that the kids are behaving. What do you guys think?
Steve V
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The parents need to keep the kids in line. The problem is if you were to really take action and reprimand the kid the parent who wouldn't get involve would suddenly be ticked with you. It is a real catch-22. Other than the kid I had to smack in the head I've never really had problems with bad kids. Of course if you were a monster like I am very few adults let alone kids would want to cross you.
I think that may be one reason kids react so well to me. Here I am, a train wreck, but I'm funny and nice and the contridiction gets'em.
Steve V
magic4u02
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You are there to entertain the audience fore most and you are not there to discipline the children or to make sure they behave themselves. That is the duty of the parents and the people hosting the event.

Of course you have to have a show that is compelling to watch and be as professional as you can be in your conduct and the way you present yourself at all times.

What I would do is to make an addendum to your guarentee that now clearly states that one adult/parent who booked the event must be in attendance and watch the said performance or the guarentee becomes nill and void. This then forces them to take a direct action to be a part of the performance. It also helps to stop a bit the shows you get that tend to be babysitter jobs.

This way if the person does not watch the performance at all, then they have no right to say anything to you because how can they blame you for something they did not even take part in. If they were not there, then your guarentee becomes void.

Kyle
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todd75
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We are entertainers NOT BABYSITTERS!
kenscott
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Very interesting thread. I will say for the most part we ARE expensive BABYSITTERS. Now at schools it is different but for your typical birthday or kids party we are HIGH paid babysitters.

I do require adults to be present at all times. But you are going to have shows when you say to yourself " why in the **** am I doing this".

Parents are looking for something to simply occupy the kids. I have seen kids so bad that I was shocked that the parents did not do anything. But a lot of times parents are blind to their childs behavior.

Ken
Decomposed
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I cannot believe she asked you to tear up the check.....unreal. Saddened to hear this. I also have a money back guarantee and of course have bad shows also but usually I have an effect that will make the others pale in comparasion in case something goes wrong. With kids acting up the entire show, it makes performing difficult at best.

Seems getting her money back had nothing to do with your perormance, just the control of the kids. IF the parents cannot do anything with them, what makes them think you can?

Ken is correct, high paid babysitters unless the adults take an active interest in magic.
todd75
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You may want to consider canning the whole "tear up your check" idea for birthday parties and only offer it for other markets such as schools, libraries, etc. This is what I do and I have never had anyone not pay me.

The thing is this....

Usually it's not a bad show but instead it's a bad audience. Ken is right...we are expensive babysitters. I just meant that it is not our job to discipline birthday party kids.

WE've all gone to the birthday party from hell where the kids are brats and simply mess the show up. However, this is not our fault sometimes. If you know how to control a crowd and hope that we all do, there are those times when your control techniques simply will not work on some kids. For this situation I better get paid for the crap I have to put up with. In my area, there are a lot of college kids and a lot of single parents with not a lot of money. Although I doubt that they would ever ask me to tear my check up, I am not willing to take that chance on a b-day party. On schools, libraries and churches I ALWAYS offer this guarantee because teachers will take care of the problem kids for me.

Just my thought!
magicalsongwriter
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Kyle and Todd,
You both make great points. I think that from now on I will make it mandatory for at least one parent to be present and actively involved in the party.Otherwise the guarantee doesn't apply. Todd you are right that it is never the performance, it is always the audience that ruins the party. Thanks, Jeff Blum
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