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Hoppini, the Mediocre
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Just a simple question really. I've been performing as a clown for a long time. Quite frankly, while I absolutely love working with kids, I'm tired of the whole kid clown/magician shtick, with "tutn it around!!" type sucker gags, magician-in-trouble syndrome ("Its behind you!"), all the different bits with gag wands, etc etc.

Is it possible, with the right amount of audience participation, to play it straight with kids?
Hoppini, the Mediocre
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I should just point out that I'm not performing as a clown anymore in case I wasn't clear.
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Profile of Spellbinder
There are many other non-clown characters you can adopt for kid shows; pirate, wizard, carnival barker, circus ringmaster, Santa Claus (or elf). OR you can drop all the costumes and themes completely and just be yourself, a magician. You do not need a single sucker gag or a "magician in trouble" effect, or props decorated with primary colors or whacky cartoon designs either.

Using just a quiet, friendly personality in ordinary street clothes, you can perform visual magic that kids instantly understand and relate to. For a small audience, you can do magic with sponge balls, eggs, newspapers, napkins, rope and be just as entertaining and interesting as a children's entertainer as when you put on make-up and acted like a crazy person. You need to have faith in yourself and just try it for a few shows to gradually build up a new kid show style starring YOU as a REAL PERSON!
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
Hoppini, the Mediocre
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Yeah, I'm looking for a way to just perform as costume character or anything. I guess I'm wondering because all of the kidshow "regular person" magicians I ever saw lecture all stressed the comical elements and all the gags and stuff. (Although most of the gags were things you could buy at their tables)

I just want to be a friendly, pleasant, yet slightly mysterious performer.
Father Photius
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Mark Wilson played a straight stage magician of the classic era in both Time for Magic and Magic Land of Alakazam and his primary audience was kids. Being goofy isn't required.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Drakmor Kain
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Having only seen two magicians do kids shows in my area (and only one of whom is still performing from what I recall) being goofy isn't required.

Not being intimidating would be the most important thing, in my completely uninformed opinion, because the other magician I have seen (the one I haven't heard of since) scared the crap out of the kids he was performing for, and kids don't seem to like anyone who's the least intimidating.

When I did a quick show for a kids birthday (time needed to be killed) I just went up and did a quick cups and balls and some card tricks, it went over good enough that they settled down and were distracted for the required time (for the food to get there) but it probably would have went -much- better if I hadn't had a cold and had been more energetic. So I'd say that's the second important thing.

Just some thoughts from a newbie.
John Long
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When I perform 1 on 1, goofy doesn't seem needed, but they do love it when I goof up.

Read Seriously Silly and Professional Magic for Children for different view points for performing for children. Each describes things that work, its not necessarily being "goofy", but it is generally not taking a serious persona either.

Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
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You write about your absolute love of working with kids. Why? What is it that you enjoy? Is it their eagerness, excitement, silliness, attention, sense of wonder, fun or some other thing you enjoy? Do you enjoy it when they behave? As an entertainer you have an amazing amount of ways you can ply your craft and get a reaction out of a kid. What kind of reaction do you want? Perhaps the real joy is the nuances, the dynamics of being an entertainer. Like the conductor of a symphony orchestra, a skilled entertainer can bring the audience up, make them laugh, and also make them ooh and aah over the mystery of magic. The silent moments between the effects are also very powerful if used properly. So, no, you don't have to always be goofy. But once in a while, showing that an adult can be imperfect can be fun to share with a child during an entertainment session.

Andy the cardician
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Not at all, but they should be entertaining
Cards never lie
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There are two different things be Goofy or be Cool,maybe be an straight magician works,Photius use a good example.Mark nevers act goofy,but he is a cool magician with the childrens,
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There is no reason to be a clown if you don't like it.
Be a magician that you would like and share your enthusiasm.
I would recommend dressing like some type of entertainer. This will help you win over the audience before you even perform. Your show will evolve as you perform it more. You might even decide to add a few "Clown" bits, but then again maybe not.
Enjoy the journey,
Best of luck,

Magic is fun!!!
Hoppini, the Mediocre
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Oh, I understand all that. I actually have a pretty good idea about a persona. I guess I was just wondering more about my choices of effects and the patter that goes along with them. As I said, I've seen a few widely travelled lecturers, such as Samuel Patrick Smith and David Ginn...and most of these guys seem to advocate lots of sight gags and magician-in-trouble routines. And because I've been a clown for so long, I've gotten a little tired of the "comedy kids magic" matter what I'm wearing.

I dunno, as I said, I love kids, but I'm just tired of being a goof. I want to perform all these more graceful tricks that I could never figure out a way to do as a clown character, like the Rings, the Zombie Ball etc.
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Tom Sawyer let me whitewash these
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There is a big difference between being funny and being goofy.

There are times in my show where I show my goofy side but they are rare. Mainly I focus on spotlighting my helpers on stage, telling one liners, using (not over using) comedy props, using topical (for kids) references, and being thier friend for 45 minutes.

I get to do my show, do real magic, and have fun with the kids all at the same time.

I do the same with adults to, I just change the one liners.

S. Patrick
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Profile of KidMagic
I have seen a few magicians play it straight with kids, however I find they have much more fun when you're goofy. I've performed for many b-days, schools etc and I love to be goofy and funny, it's fun for me and them!

Magically yours,
KidMagic/Zachary Gauthier
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