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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Puppetry vs. Magic: What is in more demand for kids' entertainers? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DaiBato
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From a business standpoint: if you do both puppetry and magic for childrens' birthday parties, what have you found, in general, to be more in demand?

Do older children prefer magic? Do younger children prefer puppets? Or is the children's age not the deciding factor?

Please share what has been your experience as a childrens' entertainer regarding the demand for puppets vs. the demand for magic, and what factors decide this if you know.

Dai Bato
pixsmith
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I'll weigh in on this, to the extent that I can.

In the spirit of disclosure, I earn my living as a director and an entertainer, primarily as a puppteer. My experience has shown that, in spite of movies like Team America, that people's perception of puppetry, at least on this side of the pond, is one of a children's entertainment, and often very young children ("He's one, and he loves puppets. He's very bright!" I havent the heart to tell parents that they love ceiling fans, windmills, and watching a front loading washer as well.) During my performances, there is always a moment that I hear the adults suddenly start paying close attention. It's gratifying, to say the least, to have consistent proof that the entertainment they deem "kids' stuff" has an attraction to any age.

Magic seems to book more with older audiences, but still, there is a "kid's entertainment" perception, just not as young as with pupetry. One difference is that there are some people who are conditioned to viewing magic as an adult entertainment.

Puppetry held as honored a place in club entertainment as magic did in the earlier part of the century -- look through old issues of the Sphinx, the Jinx, and Stanyon's to see mentions of various marionette troupes sharing billing with some of the top names of the day. Podrecca's marionettes played to great acclaim. Jay Marshall, John Shirley, Doug Anderson and many more combined puppetry and magic successfully. In the UK, a lot of magicians also have a puppet show of some sort as an alternative. I think the division is more pronounced in the US, and moreso now than in the past. The advent of Howdy Doody on television, though, did a lot toward both defining puppetry as a children's entertainment and limiting it thereto. During the 50's and 60's touring puppet shows made giant strides as school assembly entertainment, paralleling magic's similar successes.

The fact of the matter is, in both arts, good entertainment will hold an audience of any age provided it is focused on the needs and expectations of the audience. To be honest, that particular goal is, sadly, oft-ignored by both magi and puppeteers.

My .02 I hope Rick Morse weighs in on this. He probably has a lot to add.
Wanlu
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I've been doing magic since 1988 but have just added puppets in my act just last August and I have to say that the puppets have really added humour and variety to my act... it's like adding an entirely different act to an existing strong act already...

To say which one is more in demand would be very difficult...but maybe, just maybe... the edge would be in magic at least in my case. I'm booked as a magician and the puppets are added attraction in the act...but now that I have added Ventriloquism in my act, I find it hard to perform without my puppets Smile

I've done three full Vent acts already...yup, they actually booked me as a vent and I love it...the feeling is different. Smile I even appeared on TV as a Ventriloquist already...not bad considering the fact that it's been less than 6 months since the first time I held puppet Smile

I would rate it at equal 50/50 ... both in demand for kidshows Smile

Thanks

Wanlu
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harris
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Puppetry is something that can appeal to all ages. Some of the puppets I use vent and some not. This nearly normal guy also uses marionette. My 50's rock and roller usually follows a slower energy routine.

For the younger group I do use more puppets than magic. Middle and High School groups more magic than puppets.
Both I use age appropriate humor.(clean even for adults)

I also used spring puppets and things like puppet made from a tennis ball etc...



Harris
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Neale Bacon
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I had also done magic and vent for years but about 3 or 4 years ago began shifting to vent and now my show is almost all vent. I bill myself as a ventriloquist who does some magic.
A lot of people hiring me want a ventriloquist because magicians are in one client's words "a dime a dozen" but they saw vent as unique. (Which I agree with)
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Slappy
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If your a puppeteer looking to branch into magic, I urge you to consider the Zombie. Any decent puppetteer with basic experience will have several legs up on the average magician that hasn't yet made the puppet/Zombie connection. I started out doing ventriloquism at a very young age then put it away. A couple years ago I began studying magic seriously and was immediately drawn to the Zombie. Just remember to treat it as a distinct personality, and away you go!
"Help, I've got a silver ball stuck on my thumb"
Dynamike
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I'm working on adding puppetry to my act so I can grab more customers these days with the bad economy.
Wanlu
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Quote:
On 2009-07-22 23:27, Dynamike wrote:
I'm working on adding puppetry to my act so I can grab more customers these days with the bad economy.


You won't regret adding puppets in your act...

Make sure you check out this site... http://kadoopsypuppets.multiply.com/

Thanks Smile
"The Old Path"
www.angdatingdaan.org

Wanlu's Affordable Puppets
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Dynamike
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I already have a rabbit. If I am looking for a second one, I know who to order from. Your websites also has several regular members from the Café. Thanks for the link.
stevezany
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Most of those I speak who are shopping for entertainment seem to start by looking for a magician or clown and then seem to be attracted to whoever differentiates him or herself the most among those they've spoken with--that is if they aren't shopping based on price alone.

From the child's standpoint, magic still seems to rule--likely because there's many more magicians on TV and performing locally and there's the Harry Potter movies. Thus it's more in demand.

The growing visibility and popularity of Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator certainly seems to have made ventriloquism much more familiar to adults than ever before, but not necessarily kids.

That being said, ultimately more parents call me looking for a magician than they do a ventriloquist, despite the fact that I do both.
cardone
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Puppetry in thr USA can get "fine art status " .. magic ... well ... not the same . I feel that magic is a fine art but the theatre folk get a different vibe from magic . .... or maybe its the magicians fault ! In Nyc we have puppet festivals and Toy theatre festivals and I have reicieved a grant for puppetry. Universities have puppetry courses and workshops.... I wish the same was for magic ...
tacrowl
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Funny that should come up Cardone. I was just reading the new Doug Henning biography and details about his Canadian grant. Maybe you are the guy who can make it happen! It starts with the desire.
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cardone
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That's right he got a grant !!!! I have been working on a new one .. more later .
Joseph_Then
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Quote:
On 2007-02-15 16:35, Neale Bacon wrote:
I had also done magic and vent for years but about 3 or 4 years ago began shifting to vent and now my show is almost all vent. I bill myself as a ventriloquist who does some magic.
A lot of people hiring me want a ventriloquist because magicians are in one client's words "a dime a dozen" but they saw vent as unique. (Which I agree with)

Agree. I used to perform magic and I realized that I SUCK in magic so I move to ventriloquism and perform fully puppet show.

That becomes my USP for parties and events.

Back to the main topic, I feel that there shouldn't be a difference when it comes to age.

Magic appeals to both adults and children.
Puppet also appeals to both adults and children.

It's just the way you present the art itself.
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
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