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iwillfoolu
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Upstate NY, USA
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I recently did a party and the kids (as usual) started creeping closer and closer. I used my usual tactics to back them off (setting ground rules, playing Simon Says, spraying them with water from McBride's Water Fountain Production, asking politely, stopping the show etc) and they worked as well as they usually do (for about 2 minutes each Smile ) however at the end of the show something unexpected happened (it will never be unexpected again). The kids "rushed" me. I had props still out and felt like a deer caught in a tractor trailers headlights. Here's how I dealt with it although I am anxious to hear other thoughts on the subject.

I quickly gathered up sensitive gimmicks/props from my hat and put them in my bag. I grabbed my bag told the kids to form a line. I backed up a few steps and took a few moments to speak with each kid (and give each one a biz card).

It worked but I want to prevent it form happening in the future (for fear of the dissappearing/damaged prop). Also I do not want to seem stuck-up for telling kids "and after the show stay away from me"
Obviously the kids enjoyed the show (I must be getting better) and were excited to interact with me. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Also a lot of the kids were asking for sponge balls to keep ... what to do???

Joe
Magician and Balloon Twister
New York Magicians
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Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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I have had a similar experience that sometimes happens in my school show where the front row of 5 year olds all came up to give me an impromptu hug. It was really one girl that wanted to hug me and all her friends decided to follow suit and mob me.

At private birthday shows my props are always put away after use & I never have liquid tricks or items that are would be messy in such a situation. I don’t even use a roll on table anymore because it can be pushed over easily.

I end my birthday party show with a rabbit production. All the attention is on the bunny at the climax of the show. The bunny is great misdirection that allows you to tidy up any loose ends after your show.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Like a lot of people I put a magic line (tape) on the floor to show the children where the front row has to sit, I also make a large balloon animal that they're told will go home with the bestest behaved child. I tell them they must not cross the line or when they wake up in the morning if they're a boy they'll turn into a girl, and if they're a girl they'll turn into a boy. I also tell them I'll get there mum to come to school at playtime and give them a big sloppy kiss in front of there friends. This approach works wonders, it's only the really bad brats that try to cross the line, they are gently steered back to the other side with a quiet warning that the balloon animal is watching them and if they cross the line they can't win it. once that fails a big stick or cattle prod can be bought into play.

As for children rushing forward at the end of the show, there is nothing for them to grab, I only have on show what I'm going to use, as it's used it goes back in the box, when the show finishes I just flip over the lid and everything is safe, they can't get at it. Plus as I give out balloon models to the kids they are more interested in getting the balloon that looking in the box.

Kids giving you a thank you hug is OK as long as it's done in full view of a parent, personally it petrifys me when it happens, and I try to hard discourage it, but if mum/dad are there with them it's hard to stop it without upseting the child who just wants to thank you. It often happens with special needs children, when it does happen make sure your hands are in full view, and try and turn sidways so they hug you side on, not frontways. it's harsh I know but in this day and age when the paper is full of stories about the sick perverts who pray on children it only takes one false accusation to bring your entertaining career to a grinding halt. that's why on my contract it says 'there must always be another adult in the room', it's for my protection more than the childrens.
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.
TroyRoark
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Springfield IL
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On the same day as my footlocker fiasco (check out the thread, "hit kid in the head. . .") I went to another country club where the parents would not watch their kids. I was constantly asking kids to please stay behind the line. Well, the asking moved to telling. I had kids litterally between my feet, and I'm doing a juggling show.

As one child was sitting between my feet, I said in a loud voice, "Whose child is this?!" I looked at every adult in the room. No one moved. Finally, after several seconds, a dad, who had been looking at me, came up and got his child.

I then said to the audience, "I would appreciate it if you could keep an eye on your children for obvious safety purposes. Does everyone understand?" I cut my 30 minute show to 22 minutes, packed up, got my check, and left.

They've called me back for next year. Oh shucks, I'm already booked.

I guess I'm saying that I can definitely relate.

Troy Roark
Peter Marucci
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Joe,
Do a trick and put it away immediately after.
That way, you have nothing out at the end of the show for them to grab.
Even more important, the used props and the yet-to-be-used props -- if they are sitting out on display -- can be a major distraction for the audience. Somebody will be wondering aloud what the red box is for, while someone else is speculating (aloud again) on where all those silk scarves came from, out of that little box.

Jeff Brown, of Alaska, sells rolls of yellow, police-line-type tape that says "Magic Zone -- Do Not Cross". That is highly effective in holding the kids back.

Also, you might try enlisting the aid of one or two of the older youngsters to act as "guardians" to stop the younger ones from getting too close.
khuber
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SLC Utah
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I like the magic line idea! Smile
iwillfoolu
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Upstate NY, USA
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I actually do what many of you have suggested: only display the prop(s) I am using. However at the end of this show I had a hat full of cards on my table and an unzipped bag on the floor. Obviously I zip my bag up now. I was more concerned that the props would get broken or destroyed.

I plan on using a magic line in my next few kids shows. If it works as well as others say it will, it will become a part of the show.

Joe
Magician and Balloon Twister
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Richard Landry
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Chatham, Illinois
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I tell the children that at the beginning of the show they will each get a giant MYSTERY DOLLAR with 5 magic tricks on the back at the end of the show: do not let me forget and give me a couple of minutes to put my things away. I have a colorful box with a hinged lid that I got a Lowe's hardware store. I place my props in this box at the end of each routine and when the show is over it only takes a second to flip the lid closed. Smile
Tor Egil
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When perfoming for kids make some rules before you start. Say something like this. " Im going to put a rope on the floore and if any one croses it I wont show you something special in the end. You can only cros the rope if I tell you to".
Always put the little kids in the back because they are the ones who intend to do every thing you don't want them to. Now if you use the rope thing and you have the small kids in the back and the bigger kids up front, the big kids are going to prevent the smaler kids to crawl al the way up to you. Because they want to see something special.
If you are going to pick a kid to help you don't say. " I need someone to help me with this next trick". Because then they all are going to say pick me pick me, and when you pick one kid the rest of the kids are going ahhhhh I want to be on stage. When you are going to pick a kid just say " I need you to help me on stage".
Billy Whizz
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Quote:
On 2003-02-09 10:35, Tor Egil wrote:
Always put the little kids in the back because they are the ones who intend to do every thing you don't want them to.


If you put the small kids at the back, they won't be able to see anything and will end up bored. You'll then lose their attention and they'll be off to do something else. Sorry, I don't agree with this idea Tor.

Billy
Emazdad
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If you put the little ones at the back they will start to stand up so they can see, this will result in a lot of unneccessary distractions as they bob up and down get bored and start to play up.

The trick is to send any grabbers/creepers to sit in the back row once they've failed to respond to the usual control methods.

Rope is no good as they will play with it, tape is better, I use 3/4" wide low tac masking tape , like what you use to mask up when painting, this is perfect as when you lift it, it doesn't leave a line on the floor when it picks up all the polish, which is what happens when you use stronger tape. You can also stick it safely to carpets.

Whatever method you use will never be 100% successful, there will always be the obnoxious spoilt brat, who never gets told off, and always gets their own way, and who doesn't understand the word No. Luckily they are not at most parties so the methods will work with most kids. There is also the 2 year old ankle biter that is not being properly supervised by Mum, walking time bombs everyone of them, they get under your feet, they touch/take everything, they find big bro/sis in the audience and start to fight, etc etc etc and their thick parents just watch and smile and say to the partners, "Oh look at mikey, he's having so much fun with the magician." If they do come and retreive them they only put them down again when they get back to their seats and back the little sod comes. Maybe instead of tape we could use a bare live 240v cable, that would at least slow them down.
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.
Tor Egil
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You don't really have to use a rope or a tape. You can just put some water in gasoline can and poure it over the kids and say if you cant behave Im going to lite this match. Im just kidding. What I was saying just use an invisible rope.Say " Im going to put this invisible rope on the floor bla bla bla. The youngest kids are those who cant behave them self, they are going to grab every thing. They can stand in back. The rope thing really works, trust me.
Billy Whizz
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Quote:
Emazdad wrote:
I use 3/4" wide low tac masking tape


Cheers Mate, I wish I knew about the 'LOW TAC' masking tape, I stopped using masking tape at Christmas. I went to pick it up as I always did only to find it had stuck real bad. And because I had started, people saw me, I couldn't just walk away, I had to peel it up in tiny bits, it took about 30 mins. I must have brought a different kind of masking tape. I'll look out for the low tac stuff next.

Cheers, Billy
All Smile
Emazdad
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I like the gasoline idea, but why use water, just pour neat petrol on them, in the witer it will help warm up those cold church halls.

The tape is not just for control, it's a feference point, without it they often forget where the invisable line is and therefore where the front row should sit. (In a house you can't put the tape down and you have to use the invisable line).
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.
Turk
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Portland, OR
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Billy,

Here in the States, this Low-Stick tape is usually blue. It is usually 2 to 3 times as expensive as regular masking tape, so that should also be a way to find it. It really works well and is used by painters on finiished painted surfaces so that you can paint right up to the protected painted surface.

Scotch brand makes a good version here inthe States.


Cheerio, ta-ta for now,

Turk.

PS Here's a thought: Use the tape to bind the hands and feet (and mouths) of the disobeying 'lil darlings. The Low-Stick tape won't leave permantent marks (grin).
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
Billy Whizz
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Thanks Turk, I'll look out for it. Billy
gizmoetheclown
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Most of my experience has been in a children's church, but we ran around 80-100 kids at a time. We used to start out by using a puppet to go over the rules. We had 5 simple rules which we called our "You-Can-ments" because instead of saying don't do this, we said YOU CAN do this. For example, "Don't come up on the stage or run around the room" became "You CAN stay in your seat". The puppet would come up with bizarre off the wall ideas for the rules like "You can lose 50 pounds on the grapfruit and gasoline diet" and then I would allow one of the kids to read the correct rule from a slide or a poster. I would then explain WHY we needed the rule to the puppet and in the process the kids learned it too. It proved to be such a funny skit that after doing it only once, we have continued it for going on 4 years now, and the kids never get tired of it.

If the kids acted up, the helpers (can you say parents) were instructed to take away their ticket - this was just a simple ticket like you get in a roll at Wal Mart - and that meant they did not get their special prize at the end of the night. They still got everything else, but they didn't get their sucker on the way out. This was surprisingly effective.

This proved better than the special prize for the "best behaved" because once kids realize they aren't getting the special prize, and someone else is, they tend to act even worse.

And for some reason, its terribly traumatic for a child to have his ticket taken away, even if he doesn't know about the prize at the end. (Thats MY ticket, and I don't want to lose it)
Body by Nabisco...a Waist is a terrible thing to mind
EricHenning
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Thanks to all! This thread is a HUGE help to me! I am doing more family shows, and these ideas are stimulating my own thinking. Great job! Here's another idea: I promise a visit with my friend Freddie (a Teddy bear puppet) if they help me with the magic (NOT if they are "good"). So I am giving them permission to get actively involved, but in a helpful way. This has worked well.

If there are a few older children (11-12, say) I enlist them as my "stage crew" with stickers for them to wear. They will do ANYTHING to help after that.
pradell
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Jeff Brown, who created and sells the rolls of yellow magic zone "back off" tape, can be found at:

http://www.alaska.net/~jbrown/Jeff-Home/Welcome.html

:magicrabbit:
davepb
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I posted this in another forum, but it's worth repeating here.

Having performed kids shows for over 30 years I can assure you it is a common problem world wide. I use several of the methods already mentioned. Ropes To designate my area, (not to tie the offending kid up, but that might not be a bad idea)Stating that I only use children that stay sitting down as assistance, I say that during the show I will be looking for the children that help by calling out the magic word really loadly while sitting down. They will all get a magicians assistant certificate at the end of the show, and have a pet of my animals. As a last ditch attempt at controlling a persistant pain in the bum kid. After stearing them back to their place. I say don't cross the rope again unless I ask you up, as I'm now turning on the FORCE FIELD, I GO TO MY TABLE, PRETEND TO PUSH A SWITCH, WALK BACK TO THE ROPE WITH A FUNKING RING ON. AS I WAVE MY HAND OVER THE ROPE, A MASS OF SPARKS, I JUMP BACK HOLDING MY HAND IN OBVIOUS PAIN. It is a brave or very stupid kid that will try to step over the rope again. (Just remeber before inviting a child up to help, you turn off the Force Field, then back on again) Lastly I found the best way, is to use the offending child to assist in a trick, then praise him/her as being a great helper and would probably make a good magician themself one day. Give them their moment of glory and they will, in the main, no longer be a problem. Then place him in charge of the force field, his job is to make sure no one tries to cross it.
It works.

Dave
Magic Mountain's Mr. Magic.
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