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

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randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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OK... I had five shows in the last two days.
All of them went just fine, except for one.

But, first of all...
Let me say that I put on the exact same show all the time, and I have very good reviews.
The kids love my show.

OK...now that being said...

The last show that I just did, not a hour ago from writing this, was the worst show I have ever done.
Not because of me, but because of the children.
These were the worst behaved children on the face of the earth.

So my question is...
What do you do about this?

I just ignored it, hurried up, finished, and left.
But now I am so peeved!!

I would really like some ideas on this because I almost packed my stuff up and left.

Not to mention that I am here in Texas, it's 85 degrees outside, we are in the living room with about 50 people, and they don't have the AC on.
I am sweating like a freaking pig, trying to do magic for a bunch of brats.

It was horrible!!!!
Makes me want to stop doing this.

Any advice?

Randi
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MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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Realize you get to pack up, go home, and leave the brats with those that spawned them. Makes me giddy just thinking about it.
magicmarkdaniel
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Bolton, England UK
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Have a beer and make a note of their name so you know never to take a booking from them again. The opening few lines said it all. You know it's not you, so don't dwell on it. We all have the odd job that makes you think, "Why do I bother," but we also have the countless jobs where the kids think you're the best thing they've ever seen!

Letting it play on your mind will only wind you up all the way to your next gig.

Mark
Mark Daniel
magicbyswh
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North East Tennessee
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Just curious, Randi, what effects do you do in your show?
Steve
Creator of Cereal Brainwave, Creator of the Tossed out Book
randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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Yes, magicmarkdaniel...
I am trying not to dwell on it, but it's hard.

I have done many, many kids shows.
And, yes, I have had some pretty wild kids there...but nothing like this.
And I must say, it was not all of them. It was like three.
The rest had a good time, but these three boys are just unexplainable.
And these were 5 and 6 years olds.

It does make me want to give up.
It makes me think, "Why bother?" And that I don't need this in my life.
But I guess I'll get over it.
I have a show tomorrow, luckily it's not a kids show.

But my show consists of everything but big, colorful boxes.
I open with a series of hank magic, which includes the hank mouse.
I then do some rope magic...
Nielsen bottle with the snake can...
Egg bag...
Bunch of Gene Anderson newspaper magic...
Stuff like that...
And the last thing is I produce a live goldfish in a bowl of water and give it to the birthday kid.
It usually goes over very well, just not with little spawns of Satan!!

Randi
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magicmanfrank
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Quote:
On 2007-04-29 17:32, MagicSanta wrote:
Realize you get to pack up, go home, and leave the brats with those that spawned them. Makes me giddy just thinking about it.


AMEN to that!!! Smile

=Frank=
The Early Bird may get the Worm, but it's the SECOND Mouse that gets the CHEESE!!!



Frank Thurston

www.FrankThurstonMagic.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Magic-of-Frank-Thurston/116625117910?ref=nf
Ron Reid
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Hi, Randi:

What were the brats doing, specifically? Were they heckling you, saying that they know how to do such-and-such? Also, were all three together?

I admire a lot about the late Brian Flora. He was a bit too harsh for my personality, but things worked well for him. The main thing I learned from his tapes (audio and video) was to be proactive. He would state upfront that the show was not like watching television - it was an interactive show - and he had one rule: "When I'm talking, you don't. If someone's talking while I'm talking, then I have to stop the show and wait for that person. Then, I have to leave out a trick or two." I say the same thing, but not quite as blunt.

Basically, you set the parameters for acceptable behavior. And, when you think about it, kids talking while you're talking is the biggest nuisance, so it's best to let them know upfront what's okay and what's not.

I hope this helps you. I had a bad show last weekend, so it happens even when you try to plan for everything.

Ron
Stevethomas
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Be careful, the last time I made a post like this, some guy said I was a racist! Really...and, just like randirain, same show every time, GREAT show, but there's always one or two (or in this case 3) kids who want to ruin it for everybody. I even suggested it was in the upbringing of the kids and was told that it must've been my fault.

Randirain, it wasn't you. Next time, it'll be a great show, and you'll forget all about this one! Karma always comes back. I usually start the show with proactive statements (ORDERS) like Brian always taught.

Steve
randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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That's a good idea, Ron. I will have to figure something like that that will work for me.
(Hmmm...two that's... I so rarely get to use that.)
Anyway... I am starting to get over it.
The beer helped, Mark.

And to answer the question as what were they doing...
Yes, they were heckling me.
A little "I know how it's done"...
But more of just flat out saying that it wasn't amazing, "that's stupid", and other stuff like that.
I can deal with the "I know how that's done."
It's just when nothing you do is good enough.
I could have pulled a rabbit out of my ***, made it fly around the room, drop golden eggs to all the kids, and these three would have still not liked it.
And, yes, they were together...
But, no, none of them were the birthday boy.

The truth is that they were just not very smart.
I try to give kids credit and do more than just goofy tricks.
It works most of the time.

And, geez, was it hot!!!
Turn the A/C on, people!!!

50 people in a room, 30 of them are hot kids that just came from outside playing, it's Texas, 85 degrees, hot and humid, and they got the A/C off, the windows open, and expect me to perform.
I literally had sweat running down into my eyes.
That's how hot it was.
I was so mad!!

Randi
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Tony James
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It's all perfectly normal. Happens to everyone. Take no notice. Take the money, smile, and go home to peace and quiet.

And you're right - children are horrible. We've known that in England for the last thousand years.

That's why English parents hate their children, send them off to boarding school at the earliest opportunity, and leave them there for for the next ten years or so.

Or else they have live-in staff to look after them. That's why we are employed to run their birthday parties, allowing the parents to keep well out of the way.

A few weeks ago, some parents went off to New York for the weekend, leaving the children with their Nanny and the Housekeeper and the Chauffeur to run the birthday party. If they can't arrange to get away completely, then they at least have a separate room where they are holding the event so they can keep out of the way.

They don't emerge even to sing Happy Birthday and are totally disinterested in anything you may have arranged for their child to do. Just get it over with as quickly as possible.

They even have someone else to pay you at the end, so they don't have to be involved with you at all.

That's children's entertaining for you. Well, it is at least at the top end of the market in England, where all the money is.

Isn't it like that everywhere?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Al Angello
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Randi,
School teachers have to put up with the same lovely children all day, every day.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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flimnar
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Salt Lake
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Been there, done that! All one can do is brush the dirt off of one's britches and climb back on the horse! It does seem to be a part of our wiring as humans to remember one critical/negative comment or experience about us over 500 positive ones. The truth is, I have found it takes a little while to shake an experience like this off, in spite of the fact that, in my head, I know better. Keep on keeping on! (Let's see, are there any more trite sayings I can include?)

Flimnar
"This one goes to eleven..." Nigel Tufnel
randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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Thanks, all... It all makes me feel better...or I am just really drunk right now.

And, no, Tony...I have never ran into all of that.
Maybe I need to up my rate or something to get to those type of people.

And, Al Angello... School teachers can send the kid to the office.
We can't...even though we would like to.
I so wanted to get revenge.
I do a very scary voodoo doll trick where I stick a real needle through my arm.
(It's sterile, I used to be a nurse.)
That scares adults, and I so would have loved to have done that to those little punks. But I couldn't, I had to be professional.

Anyway...thanks, all, for the comments.

Randi
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dandanmagicman
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Great Bend, KS
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I once had a child pick a fight with my assistant. My 9 year old son was dressed as a clown, and this little punk starts yelling, "Hey, clown! You wanna fight?!" Who wants to fight a clown? Seriously! It was very hard to stop laughing and continue the show.
All the world is a stage...
TheAmbitiousCard
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Northern California
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Tell them you're going to do a mind reading trick and send them outside while you try to read their thoughts, then go on with the show and never go get them.

Yep, everybody has these kinds of days. Your job is to forget this one as soon as possible, and move on and enjoy the good ones.

Since you do the egg bag, you could put a real fresh egg in one of the bad kid's pockets and tell them not to break it. You know what will happen. Smile

I don't personally authorize the use of these, but boy, would they be fun.
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Chubby Harris
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I did a show last year in the posh part of town, and was quite looking forward to it,...WRONG!!! What a nightmare show. This darling little angel had myself doing my Magic show, a face painter, Punch and Judy man, a bouncy castle, and a juggler ALL going on at the same time. Oh...did I mention that this was also held outside, around a large swimming pool?
At one point, a young lad just charged at my magic table and, with full force, decided to kick the thing over. Good job I did not have a loaded rabbit on top, my props went flying. But get this, the parents were watching, and not one of them said a word.
In hindsight, I should of packed up, there and then, but I carried on. I placed a birthday hat on the birthday girl's head. She took it off and just threw it across the lawn, stomping off to go back on the bouncy castle.
Funny thing is, when the dad paid me at the end, he gave me the cheque and said, "Great show" ....Huh???... One address that is now on my blacklist.
"Believe in the Magic of your dreams"
ROBERT BLAKE
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Quote:
And, Al Angello... School teachers can send the kid to the office.
We can't...even though we would like to.
Randi


Randi, no matter how many shows you do or have done, there is that one show you will get it. Forget about it, it is not you.

Maybe it was the heat.

Maybe they were impolite.

I worked in an amusement park and children thought they could do everything they'd like to do. One child was throwing an apple at my head.

(Which a teacher gave the children during the show - standing in front of me. I said, "Sorry, we are doing a show here." The teacher said she did not care, it was now apple-eating time.)

I said they should not do that again. Of course he did it again, and I said to him he had to go to the back of the stage and watch the show from there. He did not like that, but this was also a warning for the other kids. That was my last try, and it worked. Sometimes if the teacher doesn't do it, I do it. Just see it as a way of raising children.

The worse thing is that the teachers think it is OK because the kids have fun.
Regan
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Randi,

It is unfortunate, but it is going to happen from time to time. Don't let one bad experience get you down!!!

Regan
Mister Mystery
James Munton
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Dallas, TX
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Randi,

Sorry for your bad experience.

First of all, you are allowed to have a bad show. Try not to take it so hard.

However, unlike some of the previous posts, I don't think it is particularly helpful to join in a chorus of moaning about bratty, horrible, spoilt, badly-raised kids.

The only value in having a bad show is the experience you gain and the questions you are forced to answer that ultimately make you a better performer.

You have probably already asked yourself many of these questions.

I would agree with you that 50 people squeezed into a room with no air conditioning was a recipe for trouble. Could you have done something about that? Possibly not. Perhaps asked for a fan?

You had three kids who were primarily the troublemakers, and they were sitting together. Could you have done something about that? Absolutely.

In your original post, you said, "I just ignored it, hurried up, finished, and left."
Then, you asked for some advice.

If kids are disrupting your show to that extent, you cannot ignore it.

First, you try to prevent disruptions in the first place. I didn't see anywhere in the description of your show that you do a warm-up and teach "the rules".

I am a big proponent of setting guidelines at the beginning. That way, if a kid chooses to act up, you can refer him/her to the rules. This can be done in a fun, magical way.

If you still get a couple of kids acting up, you can break character, stop performing, and remind them politely, but firmly, to stop what they are doing and tell them how you would like them to behave.

If they continue, definitely split them up. Move one kid to the other side of the room and the worst one to the back, nearest the adults.

You are the boss of your show. You are an adult, they are 6 year-old kids. You should be able to get to a point where you can handle anything a 5 year-old throws at you (figuratively and literally!).

I don't think you did anything particularly wrong, Randi, but we can always do things better!

But we only improve as performers if we take responsibility for everything that happens before, during, and after our show.

I am repeating stuff I said on a previous thread. It seems some people are still not taking responsibility. They will not improve as performers.

Best,
James
magicmarkdaniel
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Bolton, England UK
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Hi James,

I understand what it is you're saying about taking responsibility, and I can connect with a lot of things you do, too.

On the other hand, we have to still make it clear to the adults and parents that we're not simply a child-minding service. We're there to do a show. A big part of the responsibility is with the adults in the room to watch behaviour, and I find making eye contact with parents, then looking at the children misbehaving works wonders and takes the work off me.

The way I see it, I'm there to be (and being paid to be) silly. That's my job. It's not fair on the rest of the kids when I have to break out of the character they're enjoying to be serious for a few moments. It takes a little time for the kids to get used to your character again.

Simple guidelines in the booking pack I send to parents make it clear that I'm there as a magician. They're there to enjoy themselves, remembering the kids are ultimately their responsibility.

It's such a difficult profession these days, as some kids just don't know right from wrong. If you (politely) tell a child off for misbehaving, and they feel embarrassed at being told off in front of all their friends, you end up with one crying child and a couple of unhappy parents. I personally don't want to put myself in that position. Now, I'm not saying I let the kids get away with murder. I will only ask them to behave in a fun way, which more times than not, gets the message across. But I refuse to break out of character and spoil the fun for everyone else when there's adults in the room who can deal with the problem.

Just my opinion, it works for me...

Mark
Mark Daniel
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