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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Magic without balloon animals. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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cmwalden
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Cedar Park, TX
148 Posts

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I have been away from performing children's shows for a while. I'm expecting to have the opportunity again. One of the pressures I felt at the time was to do balloon sculpture. Several other performers in our area offered that so I did too. I discovered that I didn't enjoy it.

I won't go into detail, but please accept that while I appreciate the valid artistry of balloon sculpture, I've decided it's not for me.

So, I'm looking for what people who don't do balloons use when people expect them.

Please, balloon folks. Don't take this as a dig. I love what you do. I just don't love ME doing it.
"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our reality."

- William Shakespeare
JSMagic
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Boston
202 Posts

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Maybe you could make one balloon animal for the birthday child and that's it which will take about a minute. Josh
If a magician is not intending to "trick" a spectator, why is every "trick" called a magic "trick"?
Sir T
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537 Posts

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If you have a chance get hold of a copy of Life on the Living Room Circut. It is a complete birthday party show. It does provide a running balloon gag, which as it is a running gag, at the end provides a nice photo op. Really basic balloon skills required.

If people really must have them, balloon hats at the end of the party works for me. But, then I was never one to do the one balloon animal thing, so up to you.

Kevin Smile
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
744 Posts

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I don't really make balloon animals during my show; I do it afterwards or bring them along pre-made.

I don't really like balloon animals so much either unless I am performing for a small group. I think giving stuff away over a prolonged period encourages greedy behaviour.

At a birthday party you can conduct games with non balloon prizes. With older children you can teach them a simple magic trick. The fortune telling fish is a good alternative to balloon animals as a give-away item.

At my family shows I end with the production of my rabbit. I then break the children up into 2 groups. The younger children I leave petting the rabbit, with my dinky clown style music or jazzy happy birthday midi playing. I then perform close up magic for the older children & adults.

The other thing I do after my show at birthday parties is disco dancing. I get all the children dancing for about 5 minutes. They win prizes for their funny dancing & it helps burn up their energy in a nice controlled way.

Oh the other thing I just thought of is helium balloons as a give away item. I am planning on adding helium balloons as an extra up-sell item soon. I know they are still balloons but you don’t have to do any twisting.
Smile
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
cmwalden
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Cedar Park, TX
148 Posts

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Please understand I am not seeking a way to get balloons into my show. Quite the opposite. I'm looking to see how people resist the pressure to include balloons. What's your counter offer? Do you lose shows because you don't do balloons?
"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our reality."

- William Shakespeare
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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OK... If you don't want to do balloons, and compete with the others in your area, what unique benefit can you give the clients, that will make them WANT to choose you over the competition?

What else can you offer the clients?
Dennis Michael
Sir T
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My feelings have always been, "Give the Client what they want!" To quote Lee Earl, "Make it easy for them to say, yes!" I know a clown friend of mine who is wonderful, but he loses soooooo much work because he talks the client out of balloons. So they go to someone who will. Which is why I offered up the book I did.

Simply put, when asked if you do balloons, you can say, "I do a magic show, which will entertain kids from all ages, which also has a running balloon gag, which I give to the birthday boy or girl and provides a nice photo op."

As Den points out, if your not going to offer balloons, you will have to offer something that is different.

Kevin Smile
Zack
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I've got the same problem. I HATE doing balloons. I mean HATE it. The balloons pop, which means some kid ends up crying, the kids cut in line and get in fights. However, I'm afraid to stop doing them, because I'm afraid of losing the sale.

What I've just recently started doing is trying to upsell them into buying a CLOWN. I found some clowns in town that would be willing to work for $50 (and who are actually GOOD at doing balloons). So I've been telling them that I can do balloons for an extra $25 or they can have a whole 'nother performer for $50.

Note that I don't make a dime on this upsell. It's just to save me from the hateful task of making balloon animals (and to throw some work at my friends).

However, I'm sad to say that nobody's taken me up on this incredible offer.

(Sigh)

Another thought I had was to offer origami instead...you could do it with big pieces of paper. Of course, that means I have to go learn origami.
Peter Marucci
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Some people just don't want to do balloons; fair enough.

I make balloons at the end of my kids' show for all the youngsters (assuming a birthday party with fewer than 20). But if I didn't want to, there are a couple of options:

1: Kids (and parents) like something for nothing so have some sort of give-away (other than balloons) at the end of your show.
2: Have someone else just do balloons after you have finished. Zack, in the post above, gives some good ideas on that.
3: Simply explain that you don't do balloons and that your show is complete without them. You may be surprised at how many (if not all) parents will accept that.

Hope this is of some help.
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Let you into a secret CM. We have been doing balloons since about '79, and still loathe them. We have also created other 'rods' for our own backs over the years. If ever we moved to another area where we were not known (for semi-retirement etc.), I tell you, we would not be filling the back ends with seats down of SUVs with our shows! Smile

Alternatives: Puppetry, ventriloquism, good easily worked view nearly all around illusion (flying carpet?), origami, mini-disco, projector and screen cartoon shows, face painting, wild west rope spinning, and PLATE SPINNING— (dead easy!).
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Every Child at my birthday parties get a balloon model to take home. I love doing them, and am always on the lookout for new ideas.

It's a great selling point. Mrs Bloggs looks in the Yellow pages for a magician for little Sam's party. She doesn't know any of them or heard what they're like, will she book the one who just comes along and does a magic show, and maybe some games, or will she go for the one that does the games, the magic show and gives all the kids a balloon model?

The balloon model guy is going to get it all the time, the booker wants as much as she can get for her money.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Ron Reid
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Phoenix, Arizona
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David Ginn, arguably the most successful children's magician in the world, doesn't do balloons. Says he never did, even when he did birthday parties.

I have found that I really DO enjoy doing them and have included them in my act fairly recently. Now I can't think of doing a show without them...but to each his own.

It is very possible to be successful without the balloons.

Ron Reid
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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I can't believe almost every post is how to do balloons heh heh.

I don't like doing balloons and don't do balloons for kids' birthday parties. I also don't think you need a substitute. Why would yout try to look for a substitute to something that doesn't need to be there in the first place?

I do magic. I don't do games. I don't dress up like a clown. I do magic just like I would for an adult show with a few modifications. I do a very different version of Mike Close's BIG SURPRISE that keeps the kids behaving and on their toes and interested. You can PM me for more info on this fantastic modification to a great trick.

I do thumb tip work
cups and balls
Signed Quarter to nest of (big) boxes
Danny Archer's Triple Threat
Slydini Silks
I do paper balls over the head. Talk about a room full of laughing-their-%#$$# off kids.

They can not keep still. It is so strong for kids, I cannot tell you. The want to talk, point, get up, go get paper balls, etc. I use a parent's head, obviously, and I do not use paper napkins.

I tailor the show to the whole family not just the kid. To me, if the parents love the show then you'll get good press. I pay special attention to the birthday child and let them do a lot of the magic via magic wand, etc. but I do what I like and I think the whole family will like.

I give the birthday boy/girl the deck of cards I use during the show.

This seems to have worked out quite well for me.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
Payne
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Seattle
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I think it is quite acceptable not to do balloons in one's act. If you are loath to make them then stop doing them.

I do not do balloons, nor games, nor giveaways and have never even been asked about them. I leave balloons and such for the party clowns.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Tim Zager
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Kansas City
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The fact that I do NOT do balloons makes me unique in my market. I explain up front what my show includes, such as magic, games, music, dancing, etc., and each child gets a magic trick to take home. I always explain in great detail what I do. It helps to increase the percieved value of the entertainment.

IF, on the rare occasion I AM asked about balloons, I tell the prospect I don't because I want to be different than the other performers in my area. Seems to work for me.

Tim
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Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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It's a matter of preference, this job is meant to be fun, so if you don't enjoy something don't do it. I'm lucky enough to be in the situation where I can pick what I do, and what jobs I take. I can entertain adults with close-up, but I don't and I turn away work for adult close-up because I don't enjoy it as much as entertaining kids. It's the same with balloons, if you don't like doing them then don't.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Vaclav
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Now Seattle. Before? Who knows.
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Quote:
I can't believe almost every post is how to do balloons heh heh.

I don't like doing balloons and don't do balloons for kids birthday parties.

I also don't think you need a substitute. Why would yout try to look for a substitute to something that doesn't need to be there in the first place.

I do magic. I don't do games. I don't dress up like a clown.

I do magic just like I would for an adult show with a few modifications.

Hi Frank Starsini

I could not agree more.
Why as magicians should we be doing balloon animals? It's not magic. Next thing you know we are all doing face painting and playing fiddle. I have never done them and never have had a problem to sell a show.

So my advice is do not look for a substitute, just nicely explain to the customer that you are a magician not a balloon sculptor. And if they insist on balloons you can always say no to a show and recommend someone else who does them.
Vaclav

Smile Smile Smile
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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I'm a magician yes, but I make my money out of being a children's entertainer. I get the amount of work I do because like any good business I give the customer what they want.
I like doing balloons, my customers want balloons, I'm happy they're happy hence I do 25 - 30 parties a month. This allows me to do this job full time.

As I said it's not compulsory, but you do have to look at what your competition is offering, and ensure that whatever you do you are giving the customers that little bit more. There's a lot of PT magicians out there who would love to give up their day job, but don't get enough work in to justify it. Giving that little bit extra may just help tip the balance.

Some of you say, "I don't do balloons, I don't do games, etc. and I'm happy with that." Carry on doing what you enjoy, but take note that in this day and age where everyone wants the lazy way out, employing someone to do the whole party is preferable to having to try and keep 25 kids entertained yourself, and only getting someone else to come along for part of the party.

I get great joy out of entertaining children. I think kids are facinating, their smiles light up rooms, and brighten even the most miserable of days. I find I can communicate easily on their level, without having to pretend to be silly. It just comes naturally to me, but I do know that there are some out there who don't really like kids, and have to put on an act to perform. They're not themselves; they have to work at being the fun entertainer and would rather be entertaining adults, children's shows are just a way of making money, maybe that's why you don't like doing games etc.

But the bottom line is still if you don't enjoy something don't do it.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Hi,
I think that it is quite acceptable to do a magic only show if that is what you like. But as Emazdad says if you really enjoy children then games , balloons etc. are fun.
I remember once after a funeral when everyone gathers for the tea and sandwiches
my wife and friends were looking for me for some time and they found it quite amusing that I was in the kids' play room lying on the floor building lego things with the kids!

On another occasion a relative's children kept jumping on me and pretend fighting etc. The parent apologised and told the kids off. One of the boys said, "but it's OK he enjoys it"

Kids know if you are enjoying things or doing it for the cash.

Phillip

Smile
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13347 Posts

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I will admit my failing as a kids performer...right here in public.

I do not dress up as a magician (whatever that is).

Nobody has ever asked for a balloon but I do hear this when I arrive...

"Hey Mom, the magician that doesn't look like a magician is here!"

:)

Frank
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
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