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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
Hehehe thanks Frank. It does help. =)

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Tom Stevens
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Veteran user
361 Posts

Profile of Tom Stevens
Once when I was hired to twist balloons in front of a gaming arcade (one of my first jobs as a twister) some teenagers to whom I had given balloons were starting to get a little too familiar, and one started bopping me on the head with his balloon sword. Fast as lightning I grabbed his balloon, calmly saying, "can I see that?", and sank my canine into the balloon. "There you go." and smiled while I dropped the remains at his feet.

The others who saw that, said "You're cool. Don't take no $%^&."

Other times I have been harassed by people, I have just left. If they look like they are capable of aggressive behaviour, I'm not going to stick around. I'll live to fight another day.
Autumn Morning Star
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Today, I corrected grammar in
1379 Posts

Profile of Autumn Morning Star
At birthday parties a magician is often the "sacrificial lamb." This is seldom true at school shows or library shows where the stage affords the performer some protection. It seems that when they can reach you, actually physically get to you (en masse) that it can become a free-for-all. I quit doing kids birthday parties about 15 years ago and moved to venues in libraries, schools, theaters and community centers.

Now, I rarely have a public show where a kid is disrespectful, and I perform fulltime. Of the few times when I have had a kid onstage who got disrespectful I called them on it (quietly and immediately). I told them if they did it again they were gone. Only two ever did it again and they WERE gone. I asked them to leave the stage. "Suzie, can you help me, little Johnny needs to go sit down now."

One girl I kicked off stage twisted one of my songs up to make fun of gay people and I refuse to allow my show to disrespect others. The other kid tried to kick me. He was off in an instant. No second chance. I pointed to the stairs and said, "Nope. Nobody kicks me. You are OUTTA here, Bud." He was totally shocked. The look on his face was total disbelief. It was as if no adult had ever stood up to him.

Maybe it is easier for me because they are used to listening to their moms and I am a woman. Maybe I just have a *look* in my eye (that no one else can see) that scares them. Or maybe it is the old stereotypical threat found in John Wayne movies where the Indians tie the bad person to an ant hill (ha).
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
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Eternal Order
High Desert
12001 Posts

Profile of Decomposed
Makes me want to rethink doing birthday parties anymore. I raised my prices at least twice this year already to reduce the bookings.
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21 Posts

Profile of vincentmusician
I have raised my prices too because of bad kids. However, I have found that with more experience, a strong show and looking them straight in the eyes with the confidence of wielding a a steel sword, my shows have less problems with the audience. However, I am not a babysitter and refuse to discipline the kids. If it gets really bad, I stop the show and leave. There has to be a limit to what I will put up with.
Al Kazam the Magic Man
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Living in Perth Western Australia
995 Posts

Profile of Al Kazam the Magic Man
Just out of interest many shows have you stopped and left? I'm keen to find out what happened there.
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
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Inner circle
West Chester PA
1178 Posts

Profile of danfreed
There have been some shows in the past where I should have left early or stopped the show to talk to the parent privately, but didn't. I regret not having done that. I have far fewer problems than I used to have because I know how to handle and prevent problems much better than I used to. But no matter how good at that stuff you are, you will run into very difficult situations, and sometimes it's best to cut the show short or stop and tell the parent privately that you will leave if the problem kids aren't under control. Or you can go to plan B, instead of finishing the show, ask the client if it's OK to switch to balloon twisting, or close-up magic, or games, or whatever else you can do.
To prevent problems in the first place, well that's a big subject, but a few things are having a show that matches the age and personality of the audience, for example don't do a show meant for 5 years olds for a group of mostly 9 year olds. You might have to switch some material mid -stream, or do the same stuff but with a different style/approach. Make the transitions fast, be very interactive, maybe you should add more humor, or maybe "cool" David Blaine style would work better. Find out as best you can what the performing situation will be in advance, age range, etc. Last year I did a gig that was a disaster, they were spoiled rich kids in a mood to be jerks and show-off, and not in a mood to sit down for a show, etc. I don't know what I could have done to make that one work, but if I was psychic I would have refused the gig, or asked to switch to close-up strolling magic or caricatures toward the beginning of the show. Or I should have left. The planner was in a different area and it would have taken a while to find her and get help, so if I had asked her to stay, that would have helped, but you live and learn.
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Inner circle
Gainesville Fl
3193 Posts

Profile of MeetMagicMike
I don't know if it's my personality, region I pofrom in, luck of the draw or what but I have never ebcountered anything like the "bad" kids people are describing.

I've been doing birthday parties for thirty years. One thing that I have noticed is that the kids of higher economic status are a little togher to perform for. They've had ponies, bounce houses, face painters clowns and magiicans at most of the parties they attend. However once you do get their attention they are just like any other kids.

When I arrive at a party I scope out the audience. If there are mostly little kids and a few older ones I approach the older ones before the show and tell that this show is aimed at the younger kids but would they like to see the kind of magic I do for adults. I then do a couple of card tricks for them. From then on they are on my side. After the show they might even help me pack up my stuff.
Magic Mike

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