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Justin Flom
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We are so lucky here at the Café to have some really great magicians! Many have more experience than we'll ever have!

I would like to open this thread up for each of us to give one piece of advice, specifically for children's shows. If we each give our best tip that we've learned over the years, we'll have enough advice for a book!

My piece of advice would be to grab the kids attention right away, so it's easier to keep it throughout the show. Smile

Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Ok Justin, I'll go with this thread and say: 'always honour the trust that children and parents place upon you as an entertainer, - both in reliability and good taste' Smile Tony.

(and keep your props. immaculate - tired props./tired entertainer!)
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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You already know what the kids are going to say from either experience or from what others have said. Use this to your best advantage and flow with it, enhance it, and enjoy the fun it brings.
Dennis Michael
Mike Robbins
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Anchorage, Alaska
447 Posts

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Don't talk down to them.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Ontario, Canada
322 Posts

Profile of johnpert
audience participation (individual, group)

make the journey (to the magical moment) fun

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Washington DC
135 Posts

Profile of SpiffnikHopkins
I'd definitely also have to say don't talk down to them. They're kids, but not stupid kids. They know when you don't respect their intellegence. Note, that DOESN'T mean you can't be silly or tell funny fairy tale stories. It just means you have to tell it in a way that says, "This is a silly story, both you and I know its not REALLY true".

One other tip: Kid's love the stiff rope, break away wand, and coloring book!

Georgia Boy
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Sorry, I couldn't stop at one Smile

1. On "sucker" tricks make yourself the sucker, but then also save the day, just in time!

2. Use LIVE animals! (who wants dead ones?)

3. Use colorful props that are in good shape.

4. Smile, be happy and confident.

5. Control them with your magic, not your temper.
Peter Marucci
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Never, ever call them "children".
Call them "boys and girls", call them "guys", call them anything but "children".
They hate that word!
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Profile of p.b.jones
I will say....

Know your show

Knowing your show inside out and having a tight performance will eliminate a lot of dead space and opportunities for the kids to play up. My number 1 show has hardly changed in 15 years. I can put all of my thought on presenting the show and the psychological aspects of controlling the kids.
Phillip Smile
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Profile of danryb
make good, quick, eye contact with a smile from time to time throughout the performance. Never miss a single soul in the audience as young or old as they may be. Don't stare - you will scare. And again don't forget that beaming smile - as wide as you can. A smile is worth a million dollars!
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Profile of mr.rob
I do school assemblies full-time. I have made it a point to allow the teachers to take care of discipline. I never get on the kids in the show to make them be quiet. I say this because I've seen magicians that spend alot of time telling the kids to be quiet.

If we know our stuff... have a fast moving show you probably won't have these problems. I know I don't.

I had a principle tell me that if I needed to tell them to shut up go ahead. That's just not me.

"There is never a wrong time to do the right thing:.
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Plymouth UK
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Profile of Emazdad
Be punctual, Be Clean, Dress Smartly, Have a Professional Attitude, and remember your show is you best advertisment, every child in the audience has a birthday. Make it as fun as possible a laughing child is a happy child.

Don't be afraid to take charge, most laymen have know idea what your requirments are and you may find for example the party room has been set up with your performance area next to the toilets, exits or other high traffic area, Be firm, but polite in your requests if you have to get the booker to move things around so you can set up in the best place.

Never humiliate your child helper, if the others see that his experience has been fun they'll be eager to help next time, if you upset him/her the other kids wont want to help, and you may alienate future bookers.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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Bob Keeshan (who most of us know as Captain Kangaroo) once wrote "Children are not less intelligent, they just have less experience"

I try to use that as my guide, along with Red Skeltons "Always perform as if your Grandmother and a nun are in the first row".
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
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Essex, UK
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Profile of keeblem
I'll repeat this one as I also think it is the MOST important one:
Don't talk down to them.

Another one that springs to mind is have fun yourself. If your not having fun then they won't be either!
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
My best advice would be to always make sure your performing for the children and not for yourself. Most of you will know exactly what I refer to. =)
Kyle Peron

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Profile of Cabrera
Smile a lot and laugh with them. Be genuinely surprised when magic happens or doesn't happen.... You're not performing at them... you're playing with them.
If you truly love and care about people and the art of magic and entertainment, you can't go wrong.

"The quilt of life is woven with many different threads"
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
As an older magician told me when I was first getting into magic: "Magic is not about fooling anyone.. it is about entertaining them. You do not need a lot of props or money to entertain. All you need is a simple prop and your imagination. Also remember that the true magic is making someone smile and laugh because you cared to share your gift with them."

I still remember those words and advice and it has been so important to how I see, view and perform my magic.
Kyle Peron

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Profile of bobdomeros
I would second (and third, and fourth) Cabrera's post about not performing for kids but playing with them. Kids love to play. Ask kids whether they'd rather watch a TV performance, with very funny actors and special effects and a multi-million dollar budget... or whether they'd rather play with their best friend. Magicians get to entertain, with a slightly less impressive budget, but they have a big advantage over the TV. They get to play with the audience.

Okay now nobody bring up video games...
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Profile of RiffClown
Remember, you may have to overcome their previous bad experience with a clown, magician or entertainer.

Make sure nobody has to overcome you.

There is no second chance at a first impression.

To perform for a child, you MUST think like a child. Anything less alienates them AND you.
Rob "Riff, the Magical Clown" Eubank aka RiffClown
<BR>Magic is not the method, but the presentation.
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