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MagikDavid
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Cincinnati, OH
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Jim,

Good luck with the show. I've got a lot of kids shows under my belt and will be here for any questions you may have. When I first started, I worried about everything... was I good enough? will the kids get roudy and spoil my effects? did I practice enough? ... by the time I started the show, I was a nervous wreck. Don't overlook the good advice you've gotten from the others here... especially about "having a good time." Go there with the mind-set that you're just a big kid, joining in the fun, i.e., don't be afraid to put on a birthday hat or 'accidentally' pop a balloon and jump back in a very animated way in surprise, feeling your chest to see if you've been shot (kids that age love that stuff.) When you get a volunteer to come up and help, and ask his name and he says, "Billy"... then start your trick by saying, "Okay Johnny, here's what I want you to do..." The kids will let you know that you've made a mistake by shouting and screaming, "BILLY"... then you say, "Oh, I'm sorry George..." It's that kind of stuff that kids love. Eventually though, you've got to try to regain control by starting the trick with confidence and assertiveness. Bottom line... just take the kids on a journey of fun, laughter and amazement... just bend with the fun and exitement of the moment... just be a kid yourself... you'll feel yourself loosening up as it progresses. By the way, you'll most likely hear a kid yell, "I know how you did that!" or "That's not magic!" or other remarks. Just ignore them. Final thoughts: for that age group, keep the tricks quick, colorful and simple... also, keep the show going quickly with no dead spots between effects (keep a list of your routine so you know what is coming next.) Dead spots will encourage the kids to take control... and I agree with the above suggestions to keep the show no longer than 20 minutes. Kids that age will become very antsy around that time.
That's all I can think of right now... Hope this helps.
Dave
One good thing about being wrong...
Is the pleasure it brings to others.
Jim Poor
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Fairfax, VA
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I talked to "mom" the other day. It appears that her son is very proud that he is going to have his "very own" magician. By the time September rolls around, they will be expecting the likes of Houdini :O I have been taking advantage of my proximity to mom to find out what He (and she) expects a magician to be. What does a magician wear, and what does he look like etc etc.

The funniest thing so far is whan the Bday boy to be piped up and said "Mommy, I think I need to meet your magician friend before the party." So I guess I am up for an "interview." Smile

Off to find a "Big hat and a cape."'

Jim
jdbach
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Suggest you spend some time thinking about how 7 year olds act in a group. Keeping children from grabbing at your hands and your props is part of your job.
Several great books on the subject of performing for Kids is a good place to begin with your research.

I started performing for my grandchildren and a few other children to learn how to present to kids. Test your market!!!!
Mercury52
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Kevin Reylek
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Quote:
On 2006-03-07 09:24, jgravelle wrote:
Three to five? Yeeeesh...

D'Lite
Sponge Bunnies
That four mile long paper streamer dispenser thingy
Squeaker
Wand in a wand in a wand in a wand...



Regards,

-jjg


Absolutely agreed. While I don't use squeakers much, at my last kids show I used D'Lites, Bunnies, a mouth coil, and the nested wands (as part of a coloring book routine) and all went over very well, epsecially the nested/multiplying wands. This was for kids around 6 years old.

You have plenty of time to get some stuff togehter for a show in September. Shoot for 20-30 minutes, get some routines together, and you'll be A-OK.

Kevin
Kevin Reylek
abc
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May I also suggest you do some balloon sculptures.
Kids love them and they are really easy to make and something they can keep.
mouliu
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The above has covered most of what you needed, I add one.

Enjoy getting along with the kids! Talk to them, play with them AFTER your show.

When I first started doing magic, I did it in schools. Beside performing, I found the time I spent with the kids after the show was very enjoyable. Ok, I admit that I like the feeling of being their hero, and listen to those little sweet hearts' compliment and questions. Smile

Who knows? You may make one of them grows up to be another Houdini!
A novice't reflection: I like watching my audience's jaws drop, but sadly in reality I'm just too busy to enjoy it. Smile
Brad Burt
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You are lucky to have such a good amount of time to prepare. I wouldn't charge for this show. I WOULD have her aware that you are doing this as friend and that you are not professional. Nothing wrong with being up front with a client, even if pro bono. Or, maybe especially if pro bono.

Also...make sure that she understands that the show MUST be inside. Outside shows can be a disaster if you have any kind of wind that comes up, etc. It's also frequently more difficult for people to see outside depending on conditions. If they have a large family room you are in. Maybe plan the show to go BEFORE the kids start swimming. That give them someplace to go off to after you have done your gig.

Look to get a nice 20-30 minutes, but no more. Try to pack small....all in a suitcase that you can set on a tv tray for instance. Flip open the Magic Suitcase and go to town. Here are some suggestions from a gazillion years of selling magic that I know from experience are effective and easy to put routines to...and, they play well in a standup situation:

Needle thru Balloon
Chinese Sticks...I suggest the Adams unit. Better than Royal
Chinese Linking Rings (Brad Burt routine and DVD of course! Why? It's a full 8 ring routine and it makes a killer finale to a show. Easy to learn and spectacular. Very magical AND it uses lot's of folks to examine the rings.)

Any solid short rope routine: Doing Proff. Nightmare followed by Cut and Restored using the long rope is a winner.

Torn and Restored Newspaper is a great effect. Many around including the one I sell for Joel Bauer.

The classic Vanishing Milk Pitcher is also killer for kids.

Mak Magic makes a trick called the Comedy Egg Trick. Inexpensive and a GREAT effect for any show. Fools adults AND children!

Believe it or not, if these kids are in an area that has not seen the Magic Coloring Book, then $10 spent on one of these is a great investment. Lot's of routines possible and I have used it even with adults to great effect.

If you are in an area without a lot of working or no working kids magicians you don't have to reinvent the wheel. The classics are classics for a reason and all above just keep selling year in and year out. They are effective and excellent for the beginning to get some confidence, etc.

Another excellent opener is the simple TT vanish of a silk. Secret door in hand, etc.

I always did one mouth coil when I did kid's shows. For the older ones 7 and up I would do the classic coil from mouth. For little guys you can borrow a show and pull from there. Look on 4 year olds face is worth it! All best,
Brad Burt
gollymrscience
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Everybody has given some great idea on effects. All of them reputation makers for you as a kids magician as long as you do the routine well. To me the greatest work has always been on the routine. The mechanics of a trick are certainly important but a routine not only builds the trick it acts as crowd control, misdirection, and flow of the show all come from good routines.
A lot depends on how you like to magic.
For kids I like maximum comedy. When I was younger and doing magic for kids in my teens I wanted to be the mysterious magic guy (oooooo!!). It was harder to get them involved and played better for older kids. In the 7 year old group it was easier to go for laughs and I had more fun too.
If you have good routine and story line you can cut down on the number of effects and concentrate on milking each effect.
One rule I follow is never embarrass anybody in the audiance. Some kids can be kidded more than others.
My act now is more a series of magical calamitites that get resolved more or less ok for me though we get to break an egg or two and still can't get some of those metal rings apart.
Little bits of clowning around can really sell something. I used to do a cut a restored rope but as I gathered the rope up I would absentmindedly gather my tie into it. The malicious delight of those little barbarians would be almost at a frenzy as I would look like I was about to cut the end of my tie off as I cut the rope.
If you wish to throw all dignity to the wind then Professor Cheer is good for a few minutes and makes a good segue to or from other rope tricks.
Don't forget the classic sucker effects - Run Rabbit Run, Fraidy Cat Rabbit, finger chopper- but don't go spending huge money using the upcoming show to justify spending way more money than you should. that's MY approach to new magic purchases and I have it copyrighted though I have been hearing rumors that other magicians have been stealing that system and not paying royalties.
sb
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I think the fact that the children are around 7, and not turning 4 or 5 is good for you. You already do some simple magic, that can translate well to kids of that age group. The littler kids, would possibly need more age specific material.

You have plenty of time to get ready. And everyone who is going to do or does shows, HAS to do a first show. Good for you that you have plenty of time to prepare.

Be prepared with a 20 - 30 minute set.

Do things that you are very comfortable with. Show time (especially in your case) is not the time to experiment with things that you aren't very good at. - But you do have a long time to get good at anything that you may want to add. Which brings me to....

Make 2 lists. One of what you can do now, that is suitable for the kids or easily adaptable to them. Now make a second list of items (effects/routines) that you would like to incorporate into your show. (ie. Rocky the Raccoon, chair suspension, whatever.) The second list should probably be more of standup type material (I am going to assume that most of your current routines are more close up).

Speaking of close up, if I am right about most of your material being close up stuff, then when you practice it- practice it as if you were doing it in front of a bunch of kids sitting down (stand up style). It can feel weird trying to do some effects in a stand up situation.

My final advice.....GO FOR IT, like I said, everyone has to do a first show. Heres your opportunity!

good luck
scott
sb
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I think the fact that the children are around 7, and not turning 4 or 5 is good for you. You already do some simple magic, that can translate well to kids of that age group. The littler kids, would possibly need more age specific material.

You have plenty of time to get ready. And everyone who is going to do or does shows, HAS to do a first show. Good for you that you have plenty of time to prepare.

Be prepared with a 20 - 30 minute set.

Do things that you are very comfortable with. Show time (especially in your case) is not the time to experiment with things that you aren't very good at. - But you do have a long time to get good at anything that you may want to add. Which brings me to....

Make 2 lists. One of what you can do now, that is suitable for the kids or easily adaptable to them. Now make a second list of items (effects/routines) that you would like to incorporate into your show. (ie. Rocky the Raccoon, chair suspension, whatever.) The second list should probably be more of standup type material (I am going to assume that most of your current routines are more close up).

Speaking of close up, if I am right about most of your material being close up stuff, then when you practice it- practice it as if you were doing it in front of a bunch of kids sitting down (stand up style). It can feel weird trying to do some effects in a stand up situation.

My final advice.....GO FOR IT, like I said, everyone has to do a first show. Heres your opportunity!

good luck
scott
Jim Poor
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Thanks for all the advice so far. This is my progress on the can do and want to do lists.

Can Do / have already
Tiny wand grows to normal wand, grows to 6 foot wand.
PB&J
Martian Rabbit Eggs
Mismade Flag
Chosen card to picture frame (a 7 since it's his 7th Bday)

Want to do/learn/get:
Production from Silks (like the champagne bottle, but I want to produce Rocky)
Build/Buy a square circle
build/buy a take apart vanish

I'm working on some baloon animals too.

I really want (notice I said "want," not "need.") a chair suspension, but we'll see if I can get the finance minister to approve that one in time. Smile

The Bday boy asked his mom if there would be live animals the other day. Thankfully she didn't commit me to that one. My other half is allergic to rabbits, and my dog is not quite ready for his debut Smile
DanielCoyne
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Good luck. I'd love to hear how it goes (how it went?)and what insight and advice you'd give to someone else thinking about when where and if to do a first gig. (Like, say, me!)

-Daniel
Jim Poor
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Stay tuned till September Smile

Who knows, if the opportunity comes up earlier, I may take it.
Julie
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You might want to check some of David Ginn's books (complete with routines).

Professional Magic for Children is a good place to start...
Sergey Smirnov
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I did my first kid's show 1.5 weeks ago. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Kids were 4-6 y.o. I statred with a mouth coil, then did the magic coloring book, then a silk with a TT, followed by sponge balls and sponge rabits. I don't want to brag, but it was a success. The kids were absolutely astonished. My girlfiend's nephew literally fell off his chair when I'd first vanished the silk. After the show they played pretending to be magicians during the whole party. That was so much fun.
Jim Poor
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Pozderavlyayu Sergey!

I did my first small impromptu show for a youngin' today. Actually the little sister of the September Bday boy I'm getting ready for.
She is turning 3 today and came into the office with mom for a few minutes. I did a silk vanish with a TT and then with a change bag, a multiplying sponge ball bit, and made her a pink dog balloon. She was happy Smile
jimhlou
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Jim:

Get trick where a couple of the kids can participate. Milk pitcher / milk through ear, coin flight, card in balloon, etc. Let them keep mementos from the show.
Josh the Superfluous
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I agree about giving things out during a performance. Good for memories and behavior control. A magic store clerk once advised me to give away the knot during a cut and restored routine. He was so right. The kid who gets it always treats it like gold. For your card trick, you could sign the card and have a signed card reappear. Then give the child the card to keep. Oh (a little brain storm), the signed (by you) card is removed from the frame and opened up... it has become a birthday card! *** THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE **
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
ChristianR
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Tarbell!
Williamanon
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Quote:
On 2006-03-06 13:37, Jim Poor wrote:
Well, the latest news is...

The party is a pool party outside :O From everything I've read, that sounds less than optimal. I'm going to try to secure a place to do the show inside if I can. If not, well...... we'll see.


Congrats on the gig. It's really a rush.

As for the pool side entertaining you've got a couple of options:

1. Arrange for a special place indoors or sheltered or at least away from the pool. Tell mom that kids falling/leaping into the pool is not a good thing. If you have to perform pool side then pick a spot where you are facing the pool and the children have their backs to it.

2. If #1 is not possible then (and this is the one I'd go for) Ask mom for access to the pool area the day before when BDBoy is off to school and preload the place with several effects (hide cards in weird locations etc.). Make sure mom and dad know what's going on.

On another note you mentioned animals. I don't use any and here's what I do if they really really want them:

You know guys (Or folks or guy and gals or people just don't use "kids") I was going to have Magical Mr. Bunny appear in this box (or pop out of this hat or appear in this pan, whatever) but something happened and he's just too tired. (Multipling sponge bunnies) Magical Mr. Bunny and Mrs. Bunny kissed and Poof! bunnies everywhere. Magical Mr. Bunny is so tired from helping around the house with all the little bunnies.
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