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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Horrible children (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jeff Haas
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Randi, the look is the difference between telling the kids "I'm a big kid" (no matter if you're male or female, and no matter how old you are) vs. "I'm an adult who's fun." Playing the part of an adult who's fun makes it easier to stop when you're interrupted, straighten up, and correct a situation. If you're in bright colors and look like a big kid or a clown, you have similar or even lower status to the audience.

Referring to a comment earlier in the thread, the kid wanted to fight the clown because clowns are supposed to get whacked over the head. That's what they're for, to slip and fall and be lower in status than anyone in the audience.

So magicians and wizards are supposed to be powerful, but clowns are goofy and trip over themselves. What might work better for you is to look impressive and in control, but be approachable as a personality. So something darker, but with a spot of color to liven it up, might be a better look. It's the point Don mentioned above.
Stevethomas
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It's good to connect with the audience/children, but if they think you're an equal, they won't respect you, and they'll treat you like they would a friend. You don't want that. As good as it sounds, you REALLY don't want that. You won't be able to correct anything if the situation gets out of hand or stop any action you deem worthy of stopping.

Also...if you're the "goofy" kind of character and some child does something (ex: grabs a prop and takes off with it) that you don't want, and you CAN'T stop him/her, appealing to the parents in the group is pretty much a hopeless scenario, as well. They, too, will thing you're joking around and playing. You have to have boundaries, and the kids need to know what that boundary is, both in the physical sense and in the way they should act.

Steve
randirain
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Here's the funny thing.
They wrote me a check and I got out of there.
The next day when I went to put all of my pay into the bank...
I found they tipped me $25.

Not sure why.
Afterwards, they said they loved the show.
It was me that thought it sucked.
Or maybe they gave me extra because the 3 kids that were bad.
Who knows.

Randi
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Al Angello
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Randi
They emphathized with you, and everything came out in the wash.
congratulations
Al Angello
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Andre Hagen
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Yes, congratulations! All's well that ends well. As I said, you had a learning experience.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein
TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On 2007-05-03 10:25, Al Angello wrote:
... and everything came out in the wash.


Story of my life.
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magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2007-05-03 10:14, randirain wrote:
Here's the funny thing.
They wrote me a check and I got out of there.
The next day when I went to put all of my pay into the bank...
I found they tipped me $25.

Not sure why.
Afterwards, they said they loved the show.
It was me that thought it sucked.
Or maybe they gave me extra because the 3 kids that were bad.
Who knows.

Randi


I have found there's a funny paradox/irony here with some people. Because I never want to be seen as a disciplinarian or the shouty guy my control techniques tend to be subtle.

Teachers and people that work with children appreciate how I control the kids but other adults assume the kids are just being good. Therefore some adults are likely to be more impressed at your patience when the kids act up than your control skills when they don't.

George
jakeg
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I think that it's important to have contingency plans when running into certain situations. Now that you've run into this problem, figure out what to do the next time that it happens. I used to put the major trouble maker on stage with me as a volunteer, sit him in a chair, and have him hold something unbreakable with both hands on the top of his head. Every once in awhile I would get back to him and adjust his hands so that he was holding it correctly for the trick. At the end of the show, (or how ever long he'd put up with it), I'd dismiss him. I found that the usual trouble maker was almost always the birthday kid's older brother.
Andre Hagen
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Jakeg, make the older brother(s) security guards for your show. Makes them feel important and keeps them in line. It works! You can even give them a blaze orange vest with security on the back or a badge, etc.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein
jakeg
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Hey Magicgandpa, that's a geat idea. In other words, make them an ally. I like that.
magicmanfrank
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Like the old saying,

"Keep your friends close and your enemies CLOSER!"
The Early Bird may get the Worm, but it's the SECOND Mouse that gets the CHEESE!!!



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Andre Hagen
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Magicmanfrank, well said!

jakeg, yes you can make them your ally. If I smell trouble, like when 10 or so adults are in the back drinking and talking before the show, I tip off the "security" that if the adults make too much noise to go back and tell them the rest can't hear, and they gladly do it!

Sometimes they get TOO protective, so you have to talk to them before the show and set the limits.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein
triadsong
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Quote:
On 2007-05-03 10:14, randirain wrote:
Afterwards, they said they loved the show.
It was me that thought it sucked.
Or maybe they gave me extra because the 3 kids that were bad.
Who knows.

Randi



Aren't we always our own worse critic?
I work with kids professionally every day. I love my work. I love the kids. I do not always love their actions.

It comes back to the home and the parents. If the parents are there you expect they understand you are not a babysitter. Yet some still treat you as such and let their darling angel do whatever he/she/it pleases. There are a lot of professional studies being done about the decay of family life and values. We just have to go on with the show and be professional and then pack up and realize the child is with someone else.

Congrats on the tip. You must have handled the stress well.

Vinny
randirain
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I do have the comedy egg can. I used to do it, but not much any more.
Maybe I will use that as my brat stopper.
Make him stand up in front, not able to move...
because the "egg" will come out.

Randi
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todd75
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Hi Randirain...

Long time, no talk! You may remember me from the times I use to go into the magic shop you worked at in Fort Worth. Anyway, glad to see that you have joined us here on the Café.

Now...as far as your concern for "horrible children" goes, I can only say that this kind of thing has happened to all of us at some time or another. As many others have stated here, it is not YOU but rather the KIDS themselves. Some children simply do not have authority at home, school or anywhere else for that matter. It is going to happen from time to time but don't dwell on it. Simply move on to the next show and remember that you are most likely never going to see them ever again anyway.

Are you using control techniques before you start the show? I don't mean "sit down shut up and watch the show" but rather something more that sends a message to them that they need to sit up nice and strait, quite and listening? I don't want to give away my opening here for just anyone to take and use but I actually have the kids line up outside of the room where the show is going to take place and I talk to them a few minutes before they enter the room. Having them line up and listen is a difficult task for some and these are usually the ones I know I am going to have trouble out of because they cannot even line up and listen. Guess what? They are not part of the show at all...I never pick them unless they can show me that they truly can sit quitly and listen. I simply explain to them that we are all about to enter the room and that there will be some music playing, I need everyone to enter the room, find a seat on the floor and when everyone is quite we will begin the show. I also make sure to add in that a few lucky children will have a chance to be in the show today. Those will be the children that are sitting nice and quite and listening, not the ones that are talking. This will usually get their attention right away. What I have done is told them my expectations without calling anything RULES because let's face it, kids just don't like rules...period! After they have entered the room, I then go into my "4 important things you all need to know so that we can have some fun here today." Once again I reinforce my expectations without coming off like I am being mean. The 4 things are just simply a reinforcement! Now the show begins with total crowd control....

Anytime during the show that I have someone that decides they want to be talk, be rude or whatever, I always simpy say, "Oh I am sorry I can't talk when you're talking." This works great! Also, EVERYTIME you go to pick a helper you always say, "let's see, who is sitting up nice and quite and has their listening ears on today?" This sends a message to them that in order to be in the show they have to be sitting quite and paying attention otherwise they are not in the show.

Try this and see how it works. These are just a few of the many things I have learned in doing this for 21 years. I cannot tell anyone that I never have a loud group of children because sometimes I do. However, I never break my character but the kids always know that in order to be in the show, they must have respect.

Let me know what you think....
randirain
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Cool Todd... I like it.

Those are very good suggestions.
I will try to work those into my style of show.

And for everyone else reading...
I do know Todd and he is a professional kid show magician.


Thanks,
Randi
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TomBoleware
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Very good suggestions from Todd.

Also a finger on the mouth giving the hush sound and saying remember our rules works sometimes. Or a whisper so as everyone can hear, "do you want me to tell your teacher/parent" works well.

Tom
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Rupert Bair
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Randi...Try it once more...could just be an off batch Smile

M:C
todd75
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Oh, I also forgot to mention a little something about the $25.00 tip that you got. I find it so interesting that people always seem to give you a big tip when the show (audience) was just awful. I am convinced that the parent knew that the kids gave you a hard time and it is there way of saying "thanks for putting up with my rude kids and all of their rude friends." It seems to be this way after just about every show where the audience was tough. Yet, when the audience is great and the show went as perfect as perfect can be, they give you nothing. Amazing!

Again, don't let this one little show get to you. Just move on and whatever you, don't dwell on it. Kids are kids!
jakeg
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Todd: I do just the opposite. I tell the kids that when we say the magic work I want it so loud that we hear it all the way to Brooklyn. I constantly use the "I can't hear you" bit I and work breaks in where all of the kids can participate and blow off steam. It's a 41 year work in progress. If I have a quiet show, I figure that the show bombed. I want that entire audience to feel that they participated in the show even if they haven't been called up to the 'stage'. They all get a goodie that is 'reserved for those people who help me during the show', and I let them know that they got it for just that, helping me. It's the occasional pain in the you know what kid who tries to screw up the magician that I'm concerned about, and I think that Grandpa Magic gave me the answer to that.
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