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kalanag
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Sounds like the close quarters could have played a major role in this fiasco.
It's not you, it's the children and their parents... Speaking of the poor excuses...where were the parents, and did they try to reign the little poopers in?
Munton's advice rings true. Perhaps try some "kid control"...and if you already apply this...perhaps stop, take a deep breath, and tell them of the time you couldn't do ANY magic because no one was behaving!!!! (A complete lie, but it may make them stop!)
Keep in mind, it's something to learn from. Perhaps write down what you would change if you could about what happened????
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randirain
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I agree with Mark.
I was there to perform and entertain.
I am not their parents and have no right to punish the kids in any way.
If I was to, I could get in a lot of trouble.

I think I did the right thing.
It was hot and miserable, and poorly planned.
They got out of me all they could in such a situation.

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TrickyRicky
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Hi, Randi.
Just let it slide.
I'll bet you've learned something from this bad experience.
We always gain something from good and bad situations.
Chin up, and carry on regardless.

Those brats are the way they are because of the parents. They let them get away with amusing themselves at your expense.

Were the parents siting there during your nightmare? And if they were, what was their reaction?
Richard.
James Munton
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Mark,

I agree we mostly think alike on this.

Yes, using firm eye contact can work wonders.
Yes, you give kids guidelines and remind them of the guidelines in a fun way if they forget.
No, I don't think you should "tell off" or scold a child in that situation.
I didn't ever mention "punishing" the kids, either.

But, I don't think you can always expect the adults in the room to monitor the kids and deal with disturbances.

Often parents are reluctant to do anything, not because they are awful people, but because they are respecting you as the performer and don't want to step on YOUR toes!

I think there is a problem here of expectations. You are expecting them to be the crowd control, and meanwhile, they are sitting there wondering if you are ever going to tell little Johnny to stop being a nuisance.

Also, often the parents don't know what is going on. They are sitting behind the kids and can't see what you are seeing.

Finally, breaking character for 10 seconds and firmly telling a kid to stop messing about comes after you have tried everything else.

You'll find it doesn't interrupt the show at all and does not spoil the show for everyone else. In fact, everyone else appreciates it because now you can actually do the show without further disruption.

And it is way more disruptive and embarrassing for the kid to have Dad come stomping through and yanking his kid off to the back!

By the way, in between writing my first post this morning and this one, I did two shows at an elementary school here in Dallas.

If you do any school shows, you'll quickly find out that teachers do not appreciate a performer who can't keep control.

Best,
James
Buster Balloon
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During my shows I am very wacky and silly. This actually helps with extreem cases of ill behavior, because when I change tone, it is very obviouse. If a child is doing something inapropriate I will gently remind them of the rules (still in character) that everyone must sit flat on their bottoms and no talking while I am talking. But if the behavior continues, I will kneal down, make eye contact with them, and address the offending kidlets individually to tell them that they need to stop.

I do not raise my voice, I am not scornful, I am in fact very polite. But because I have stopped being silly and used my adult voice they get the message. This is actually from David Kaye's book "Seriousely Silly".

In really extreem (and thankfully rare) cases I have told parents that I need them to play the roles of parents so that I can continue with the show. If the audience is that bad, I do not want to work for those people again, so if they take offense and I burn that bridge it is ok with me.

For after the show, on the bottom of each booking sheet I have three smiley faces and one skull and crossbones with the following words below.

They loved Me
I loved them
They Tipped Me (fill in the amount)
NEVER AGAIN!

Most shows I circle between 1 and 3 smiley faces. Rarely do I cicle the skull, but it keeps me from booking those disasters again. The more you work for people who love you, the more you will love what you do.

And remember, there are no bad kids. Their are just bad and stoopid grown-ups who are, unfortunately, allowed to breed. Idiot parents who either pass on their bad traits to their kids, or do not correct the bad behavior that their kids learn elsewhere.
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James Munton
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Don,

Excellent advice!

Best,
James
magicmarkdaniel
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Quote:
On 2007-04-30 13:11, Buster Balloon wrote:

And remember, there are no bad kids. Their are just bad and stoopid grown-ups who are, unfortunately, allowed to breed. Idiot parents who either pass on their bad traits to their kids, or do not correct the bad behavior that their kids learn elsewhere.


Amen to that!

Mark
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TomBoleware
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I think James said it well about the parents.

No parent wants to make it more embarrassing than it all ready is. They don’t like it, (no parent wants a bad kid) but most often they think they will only make it worst. They are waiting on you. It’s Your show and the kids are a part of it.

Now in a school or daycare, the teachers may help out if it gets out of hand, but parents simply don’t want to make a scene. I’ve had parents leaving my daycare with their kids and the kids showing out to the max, the parents don’t say a word. Until they get outside, away from everyone. Then they take care of the problem.

I personally think there is no such thing as a bad child, only children that do bad things. Some have problems yes, but we don’t know this the first time we meet them. We shouldn’t assume that a child acting up is a bad child all the time and can’t be controlled. The excitement can make the best of them act up.


Tom
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Doug Higley
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Tony James: I have made a promise to myself to come and read that post everyday. Next time I give somebody's obnoxious little 'food tube' the evil eye at Disneyland, I'll just blame it on my heritage. Great post my friend.

Oh...and Disneyland is the ONLY place I have to put up with other peoples biological blunders in my immediate vicinity. Enough kid show performances in the 60's cured me.
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randirain
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Richard...
Thanks, but to answer your question.
I don't think the kids parents were there.
There was one adult that tried to do something, but they didn't listen to her either.
No father stepped in, that's for sure.

And yes good advise Don...
But here is my problem and I really don't think it applies to any of you.
But I would like to hear your thoughts.

Kids don't see me as an authority figure.
They look at me as one of them, just a big kid.
Even if I break character and say something, which I do, it still doesn't work.
I guess it's the female thing.
But I would say the silliness, and the colorful child like clothes I wear play a part in it too.
Come to think of it...
The clothes may be a huge factor.
I usually wear dark clothes and tights with planets on them to give kind of a wizard look.
That day I wore a new colorful outfit that I was trying out.
hmmm... maybe?

But yes... I am not going to scold them. I do tell them upfront to stay seated and all that.
But they don't listen.

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Andre Hagen
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Randi wrote:
Ok... I had five shows in the last two days.
All of them went just fine, except for one.

Four out of five is pretty good Randi. You must be doing your job. Don't even think about giving up. Memory is very selective, and over time you will remember that one show as a learning experience, and remember the suggestions made to avoid it in the future.
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Potty the Pirate
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Randi, may I ask your age? Or is that impolite even for a pirate? Perhaps the kids don't see you as an authority figure, but then neither do they see me that way. I can become an authority figure when necessary. The fact that I'm running their party makes it neccessary for them to do as I say.
But your bad experience sounds to me like it's down to cheap clients. Any kids entertainer who works for the lower income families in the UK is asking for trouble. Sadly, those kids tend to include a high percentage of very badly behaved kids. They come from broken homes, live in poverty amid argumentative and violent adults, and have little or no sense of how to behave. Of course, it's not their fault, but it's an easy problem to avoid - simply get to the point where those families can't afford you.
I'd like to mention though, that when you do have a successful party with kids like this, it's most rewarding. And most kids from poorer families are lovely, it's only the few who have serious behavioural problems. I see these kind of kids at places like welfare clubs and single-parent organisations. The same kids who would behave badly at a private party can be little angels when they're in this environment.
James Munton
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Potty,

Don't even get me started. Your post is absolutely ridiculous.

The idea that wealthy kids make for better audiences than poorer kids is both offensive and untrue.

James
Buster Balloon
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Quote:
But your bad experience sounds to me like it's down to cheap clients. Any kids entertainer who works for the lower income families in the UK is asking for trouble. Sadly, those kids tend to include a high percentage of very badly behaved kids...


Oddly enough, I have stopped marketing to high end clients in my area for the same reason. I have many clients who scrimp and save for months, and have other family members and friends pitch in so that they can have me at their event, and they are wonderful. They are some of my favorite clients. Then I have over indulged children of wealthy parents who never correct them for fear of stifling them or damaging their young egos who I will, happily, never work for again. Living in the LA area, there is something wildly amusing and a little ironic about Lil' old me not accepting calls from a celebrity client. But it does happen.
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chris mcbrien
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It can be many things!
I still think that the parents should still be able to reel them in when necessary. And I've had rowdy kids from all financial, racial and religious stratta.....kids are all the same...it's the parenting skills...
TheAmbitiousCard
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I have asked a child before.. "where are your parents?".
In the one case I asked this, it shut the kid up pretty quick.
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Buster Balloon
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Quote:
On 2007-04-30 15:54, James Munton wrote:
Randi,

The fact is that we can only become better at something (and thus get better results) when we take responsibility for it.

Otherwise we may as well just hold up our hands and say it is all beyond our control!


Thou he may have initially come off harsh, James does make a great point. Some of the best advice I have ever received on dealing with difficult situations came from Jeff McBride's manager Tobias. "Begin with the assumption that it is all your fault, even when you know it is not".

When you approach a situation from that angle, the focus is on how you can change the situation and what you can do differently. The problem when focusing on others is that even when you are right, you cannot control the actions of another, only influence. By focusing on your own actions, you can create real change.

Next, while there are many who will disagree with me, the costume may have been a contributing factor. I used to wear a purple zoot suite when I performed. Then I changed to a bright orange zoot suite, and I lost control. My audiences were wilder and a lot harder to manage. Color DOES affect mood. It is used in marketing and advertising everyday. If you do not believe me walk into a Hot Topic store sometime and see how differently you feel than when you are at Old Navy. It is not everything, but it does contribute. And a great performer is attentive to all of the details that contribute to their shows. The color as well as the type of costume you wear do factor in to how an audience perceives you. I now wear a brown Zoot suite, but my personality is much zanier that it used to be. That is the combination that I found works best for me, and best creates the character and the mood that I want to portray.

My advice would be to trade off between the two costumes and pay close attention to how the audience responds. Over the long run, you may find that there is no difference at all. But you will have to experiment and find what works for you.

I can see where being a silly female could be a challenge when it comes to audience control. You may want to change the balance a little bit. The most effective female children's and family performers I know, have a good balance of funny and charming (think Disney Princess) with a hint of silly. Sometimes silly, self deprecating humor (the bungling clown) makes it harder for kids to take a performer seriously be it man or woman.

Other than that, the best audience control advise that I can give you is listen to everyone, and take all of it with a full shaker of salt. Every performer is different and what works for one does not work for all (sometimes it only works for the one). That not only goes for the yahoos on Magic Café (myself included) but even people like David Ginn, Sammy Smith, and Silly Billy. Learn as much as you can and try out the ideas that ring true and make sense to you. Keep trying until you find what works. And know that no matter how good your show is, or how good your audience management skills, there will still be those audiences that you struggle with. There will just be fewer of them. And when it does go wrong, just repeat the mantra, "It is all my fault".
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randirain
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Yes... Chris... I can't seem to pinpoint it down to one type.

Frank, I like that.. and also what you pm'd me with.



Well Don... You speak a lot of truth.
And I get what you are saying...
But I don't know if I agree with the "It is all my fault" outlook.
That sounds very depressing.
There should be a way to learn to solve situations without being so hard on yourself.
After all... we are all human... and no one is perfect.

But I am going to try changing the look back.
Because before... it was much "darker" look.
That may give me more of an edge.
Put a little scare into them.

Randi
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Mad Jake
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I find conjuring up Satan for undicplined children usually sets them straight, most of them just do a roadkill kinda twitch at most after seeing a demon in their living room Smile
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erlandish
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Kids desperately enjoy being around adults they can connect with. My own experience is that this simple truth trumps just about everything, including most environmental difficulties or incidental challenges.

Problem is, you can't connect with everybody. Some kids naturally connect to authoritative figures, some kids are naturally repelled by them. Most kids are attracted to fun characters, but few people have the same definition of fun, and while many passively respond to fun, many actively respond to it and try to become a part of it.

The best you can do is create a show that puts as many factors in your favour, use magic that's the most meaningful for them, figure out how to talk at their level, try to get the majority and/or the demographic with the most group influence onside, and hope for the best. Sometimes it doesn't work. C'est la vie, collect your pay, move on.

4 out of 5 shows sounds pretty good to me, particularly if you haven't been doing this for 20 years.
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