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SloMo150
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Regular user
Speedway, Indiana
121 Posts

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I have been practicing and studying magic for a few years now. I have a case full of tricks and props. I need to work on how to flow everything together. I actually want to do Kids Shows.

I love the idea and from previous experience Working for children. I know they are the hardest group to amuse and bewilder but when you see the sparkle in their eyes my heart allways melts.

My dilema is, who am I. How do I go about making or becoming "The Amazing Joe" (wife calls me that). I want to be remebered as a Magician, not that guy who does tricks...

Are there books or lecture notes? Since I work the night shift I cannot attend my LOCAL IBM ring. So I have to get help wherever that is. Hopefully I didn't ramble on. I just want to go to the next step. So thank you for all replies in advance.
THE???????? Smile
Hey wanna see me pull a rabbit from my hat, (lion appears). I gotta get a new Hat.
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

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It's a bit difficult trying to suggest a persona for someone else, especially when you don't know what the act is.
However, if you want to perform for kids, at least you are going into with your eyes open, knowing it is about the hardest field of magic to do WELL.
Your persona will develop with time; the more shows you do, the more you will get a handle on who your stage presence is.
Personally, I play the part of the know-it-all magician whose tricks backfire on him and the "stings" in the sucker routines are all directed at me.
The kids seem to love it.
From what you say in your post, Slo, you seem to fit the "big buddy" image to the kids; you are going to do magic but you need their help to make it work.
They love that sort of thing, too.
The secret is to get your audience to like you, and your persona will flow from that.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
615 Posts

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I agree with Peter. If the audience likes what you're doing, it's a sign you're doing something right.

Some folks do comedy well, others are more serious and still others are mysterious while some gravitate toward a mixture of these.

You need to decide if your "character" is goofy (Carl Ballantine) or manic (like David Acer) or suave (like Lance Burton) or insane (like Amazing Johnathan) or authoritative (like Blackstone Jr.) or commanding (like Jeff McBride) or genius or superhero-like (like Rudy Coby) or constantly caught off-guard (like Ed Alonzo) or playful (Tom Mullica) or full of excitement (like Doug Henning) or...

You get the idea. Your character will do tricks differently than another's character. Your character will say things and even move differently than another performer with a different character.

It's always best to be true to whatever character you feel inside. For example, I could never pull off a Lance B or Jeff McB. style of performing. I would look stupid. It's just not me.

Be true to what you really feel inside and it'll just happen for you. After you find your true character, study it and work on refining it. "How does my character speak?" "What tricks would my character do?" "How would my character interact with the audience?" "With the environment?" "What clothes would they wear?"

It'll take time but it's also very exciting. Good luck.
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
Tom Cutts
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Northern CA
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Hi SloMo,

Keep in mind, as well as the previous brilliant words, what you are doing with each routine.

In the first issue of AM/PM the legened Jeff Sheridan got into some specifics about using routines to express your character. Either to strengthen what the audience already knows or to give them some aspect they didn't know of before.

This is a very important aspect. You sound like you are well aware of what being a performer means. So many magicians settle on a persona and just give the same thing out through every routine. It is one dimensional and can get monotonous.

Especially if you are doing 30...45..or even 60 minutes for kids. Smile You need to have the ability to show them diversity.

Why do you produce a bunny? To show your warm side? To show another side when you do something Smile with the bunny (probably not recommended)? To show a caring side as you protect the bunny?

Give some thought as to what part of your character you get the chance to expose to your audience through any given routine.

Woody Pitman wrote a fantastic manuscript on the subject for magicians. Get a copy...you'll be glad you did. Smile
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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Whatever persona you choose, PLEASE make it likeable and respectful to your audiences. Like my own (or that of Tim Wright as "Skildini"), your persona can have a "fake" arrogance, as long as you make sure the audience KNOWS it's fake! But make sure not to come across as an arrogant jerk, who cares only for his own ego, as so many magicians (particularly the younger ones) seem to be doing these days.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Bird Brain
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I agree with Scott. I don't know a whole lot about performing, but I WILL say something that I learned as a guy who wasn't even interested in magic... I was just a little kid...... I still am, to some old geezers. Lol! Well, 16 ain't THAT young.... ANYway, the story involves two magicians at the same venue a year apart... At the pumpkin farm, to be precise!

There was this one magician, we'll call him
"Pete" (he wasn't Mr. Marucci, tho) ...Pete wasn't THAT great... He goofed one of his tricks, and the rest of 'em weren't that killer... Tho he did have a cool levitation, BUT, he was a totally cool guy! Hey, I even got to go onstage, and wouldn't ya know, yours truly couldn't figure out how to tie a square knot with two silks... BUT... When the pair of little kid's underwear appeared between the two silks, I felt so special, not to mention that I was laffin' pretty hard, along with the rest of the crowd.

Next year, another magician, we'll call him
"Jim", did a show... His props were much more expensive... He had more tricks... He did them much better... But........... You could tell he was a jerk! One of the reasons you could tell, was cause he was TRYING to be funny... It wasn't natural for him...

So.... Be yourself, and BE LIKEABLE! Most people are! Lol! Except my ex-girlfriend!! Smile (that was a joke)

Man, I DO ramble! I hope that helped ya out some! And I bet you're WAY better than I am! I just wanted to tell SOMEONE that story, in case it would help!

5150,
Bird Brain
Yes I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite
All of which are American Dreams, All of which are American Dreams
SloMo150
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Speedway, Indiana
121 Posts

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Thank you all for your great info. I do like the part about be the buddy. I have been working with children as coaches, mentors etc... since I was 16. Wow, half my life

Anyway. I do want to be enjoyed and likeable. I guess my next step is to actually start performing with others to see what is liked and disliked.

My wife is a teacher in the high school level but she does a lot of work also with handicapped children. They have been asking me to come in and entertain the children for 15-20 minutes but I have been putting it off because I was nervous about looking like a robot. All mechanics and no personality.

With all of your great advice I think I will take them up on their request and pop over to the school to see how I do. These kids need people to show them that they are important to. I am going to reread all advice given and take notes. Thank you all again.
SloMo Smile
Hey wanna see me pull a rabbit from my hat, (lion appears). I gotta get a new Hat.
Steven the Amusing
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San Francisco Bay Area
117 Posts

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SloMo:
I've had the pleasure of teaching a first grade Sunday school class for 9 years and here are some things that work for me (both as a teacher and as a magician).

1. Let yourself be the brunt of the jokes (never the kids). I have a routine in which
"Clarence" the flea steals one of my socks and replaces it with a pink silk. When I say "Clarence, NOBODY thinks that's very funny" the kids are rolling - some shout out OH YES WE DO. It's a great moment.

2. If you feel comfortable and can do different voices - do so for emphasis. Vary your volume, pitch and tempo.

3. Large exaggerated cartoon-like gestures help.

4. Depending on the age (5 to 12), kids are more entertained by pratfalls and manic antics than by magic so keep the magic simple enough that you're very comfortable with it and can focus your attention on enjoying your time with the kids.

5. Keep the effects short - but don't rush - especially when they're laughing or excited.

6. Keep the magic VISUAL, mechanical.

7. Throw in some clean humor that adults in the audience may find funny (and you, yourself, for that matter). After all, they're the ones who will be paying you. E.g. in one of my routines, the Shark is named "Lawyer"

I behave like a kid - only less dignified! The trick is to keep a balance between mayhem and control.

If you're planning to entertain teenagers... be MORE careful. They're VERY status conscious, much more likely to boldly challenge you or even grab materials from your hands.

Hope you find some help in the above. Smile
SloMo150
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Speedway, Indiana
121 Posts

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Always a pleasure to have people help me out. I do love working with kids of all ages, but mainly the younger ones. I want the kids to be entertained but also learn something. Even something as basic as sharing with others or learning educationaly. I am now in the process of honing a 20-30 minute presentation packed with magic and comedy. I just ordered (well I should say my wife ordered me some material) from David Ginn. I always have questions. But what is great about this place is, there is always an answer. Usually many and all different. Thanks again to all that have replied. I will keep you all updated as to how it's coming. Smile
Hey wanna see me pull a rabbit from my hat, (lion appears). I gotta get a new Hat.
Pokie-Poke
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Bensalem, PA
883 Posts

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As far as jokes are concerned, pretend they are street wise nuns Smile
slomo, how about doing your act in slow motion, it is kind of clownish, but could be funny, but don't go halfway, that would be even dumber than it sounds Smile
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
Steve Friedberg
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Inner circle
1401 Posts

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SloMo...biggest advice I would offer is to let your passion and love for what you do come through...if you're happy doing this stuff, the enthusiasm will translate to the kids (echoing BirdBrain's thoughts).

You got into magic because you love it. Let the kids see that.
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Seattle, WA
4160 Posts

Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
When entertaining children, I feel it's important to "think" like a child (not necessarily "act" like one).

If you can understand how a child perceives their world, you can create entertainment that will engage them.

But never talk 'down' to them... children are pretty sophisticated thinkers!
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Maynooth
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Australia
105 Posts

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SloMo,
If you work with kids and you joke with kids Smile already you're half way there. Kids love it when things go awry for grown ups.

The picture you're showing them is upside down but you don't know it, they laugh and point it out to you. If they are in on the joke before you are that's a great beginning.

As for a persona it's very hard to pick one for someone you've only seen on a postage stamp picture. If you want a fall guy and don't like using the kids, which in my opinion is very good advice, use an invisible helper.

Some of my shows have an invisible giant that helps me. When things go wrong I blame Wycome the giant and he gives me a boot in the back side. The kids love to see me on the spot.

As for being the Amazing Joe, I wish you the best of luck, but I'll tell you my story. I do goofy things to make the kids laugh, if they're laughing I know they're having fun.

I wanted to be a great magician, but when I went to a repeat booking one of the kids said, "Hey great, here comes the clown!" He was very excited. I was a bit taken aback, I wear no make-up or clown costume. So I said, "I'm the magician not the clown." The kid said, "No, you're the funny clown that does magic." So are we what we think we are or what people perceive us to be?

They love the clown that does magic and that's good enough for me. So a long post again, sorry I waffled. Give the kids a go, you'll love it, but you gotta jump in. Smile
Maynooth
The race is long and in the end it is only with one's self.
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