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Mikael Eriksson
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I had two shows today, and once again a pattern has showed it's ugly face. The first audience is so good, and everything go smoothly. I get a really good contact with the audience.

Then it's time for the second show...

If the first show makes me love what I'm doing, the second show makes me wonder if I'm going to discontinue magic altogether.

One thing that happened was that surprisingly many children had theories of how I did what I did. Often correct, or half correct. And they let everyone know. It wasn't just one or two effects, but practically every effect I performed.

Have anyone else noticed this pattern? First one of the most wonderful audiences you have had, then one of the worst you have had.

Mikael
Peter Marucci
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Being an undertaker seems like a great job: You get a classy place to work; a big, new car; new, sharp clothes. There's just that one, little thing that's a drawback!

Well, it's the same performing for kids (or anybody, for that matter!)

Some are great and some are not so great.

But it could be about a zillion things besides you and your act; don't take it personally!

As the late U.S. president John Kennedy said: "Nobody ever said life was fair!"

Good -- and bad -- audiences are all part of the magic business and you never know which will be which until it happens.

So just soldier on! Smile
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Usually the second or third show of the day is the one that is better.

This morning I did a nearly normal program on the magic of choices. It was sort of like a trade show although the product was information on mental health issues including alcohol and drug use as well as teen suicide. You know the fun stuff.

I was "maning a one table among many in an
inner city - alternative high school's gymnasium."
Prior to the students checking out the tables each presenter was given a few minutes to tell the students who they were and what they had.

Most presenters just said My name is _____
and I have some information on.....

I came on with cartoon eyes inserted and
playing the blues harmonica.

I said heres a quick imitation of someone on
PCP. After standing there motionless for about 4 seconds. the kids and some teachers(the hip ones) started laughing.
(reference to getting stuck on the drug PCP was why kids and some teachers were laughing)

I told them to stop by my table to check out some street magic and pick up some knowledge.

Knowledge comes from books and experience.

Did you hear the one about the man with money met a man with experience.
The man with experience got some money.
The man with money got an experience.

Most students were really into the message and the magic. Occassional someone stopped by that would try to figure it out.
That was ok. In the past I would focus on impressing them. These days I do not make it a battle. We have fun. I emphasize that this is fun and if they want to learn magic to check out their Media Center.(those of my age insert Library)

It is not a battle of wits. If it was I would loose.

Heres something to throw out to someone who shouts stuff out.

Pause look at him or her and say.

"I have three t-shirts."


The magic, music and puppets were a great tool once again.

As Peter says it was simple stuff that plays well in the trenches.

Hwever even seasoned pros have off moments and shows.

YOU have to bomb to get good/better.

Keep growing and glowing and have a safe and nearly normal day.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
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kenscott
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Was there a age different in the two shows? Often if it is the older children you have to be a cool magician and some cases I have often taught them a trick. I tell them at the start of the program that I am going to teach them a trick that they can do at the end.

If the children are older you really have to do some great tricks. You also have to eliminate how something is done. For ex. doing card on ceiling, you have to show that there is nothing up there. If you do not do that they will say it was already there.

Hey and sometimes we all those kinds of shows where we wonder why we are in the business, but I think they are few and far between.

Good luck,
Ken Scott
Tim Zager
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Mikael, I can certainly relate to "on" and "off" performances. Like Peter said, you never know which audiences will be the good ones...and it's NOT personal.

In the show that you experienced the problem, could it have been a control issue? Seems like when one kid tries to get attention, a domino effect will happen unless put in check right away.

Tim
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Mikael Eriksson
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Quote:
On 2003-04-08 22:45, kenscott wrote:
Was there a age different in the two shows?
No. I have noticed age means nothing for this phenomenon:

1. Same age for both first and second audience. Result: First audience great, second awful.

2. First audience older, second younger. Result: First audience great, second awful.

3. First audience younger, second older. Result: First audience great, second awful.

It doesn't matter if the second show is the next day, the result is still the same.

It doesn't mean I have one good, one bad, one good, one bad etc. I can have ok audiences several times in a row, but when I get a REALLY GOOD audience, the next audience usually turns out to be bad.

Quote:
On 2003-04-08 15:59, Harris wrote:
Heres something to throw out to someone who shouts stuff out.

Pause look at him or her and say.

"I have three t-shirts."
I don't understand this, what's it supposed to do?

Quote:
On 2003-04-09 11:17, Tim Zager wrote:In the show that you experienced the problem, could it have been a control issue? Seems like when one kid tries to get attention, a domino effect will happen unless put in check right away.
No. Firstly, it wasn't just the last show, it's a phenomenon (one good, then one bad) that happens all the time that I have become aware of the last years. It doesn't start with one kid, there are simply more kids that are a problem, and they start at the same time.

Mikael
WR
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When I do a show I try to remeber that these are kids I am dealing with. I love performing for the kids. It feels my heart, and wallet, with joy to see the wonder in their eyes. Sometimes I do get an out of hand or problem child I just try to ignore them. Sometimes they are this way becuse they feel left out so I envolve them in an effect. I try to connect with the children on their level, my wife says this is easy for me as the kids and I have the same IQ level, And change my show around them if needed. I always have back up or filler material. If the kids are reacting badly I try other things. If all else fails I try to connect with a few kids and ignore the trouble makes. One thing that helps is I tell the parents I am not there to be a babysitter and if one of the kids start getting out of hand to please take care of it. I always do this in the first call to set up the show. I too have bad shows. When this happens I try to remember that I have good and great ones too. And draw on these for comfort.
Just my two cents worth,
WR Smile
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
p.b.jones
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HI,
First thing I think is important to consider is that How you feel a show went is not always how the audience/parents see it. I have performed and thought oh boy that was tough/ bad not my best show. yet parents come up after the show trying to book me raving about the show and how I controlled the kids (I was thinking that I had not controlled them so well).

Also don't fall into the self fulfiling proficy trap (we have all done it) you walk out and for the first few effects they do not react quite as you expected so internaly you think boy these ae a tough crowd I will lose control if I am not careful this makes you ineasy and leads to you (me) under performing.

WR I am a little different because the one thing I will not do when a show is not going so well is change the show. to me this is going to make things worse rather than better under fire the best stuff is the stuff you know best (in my opinion) because you are performing the stuff you really know eyes shut there is less opertunity for interupters ext. A good tight show is the main thing to avoid interupter/bad behavior in my opinion.
Phillip
ChrisZampese
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Its funny the things that can make a difference.

I perfrom occasionally at a place that runs a pirate theme. I become "Captain Chris, the magical Pirate Captain". The first two times I did this I had trouble with the kids. They werent terrible, and they enjoyed the show, but I just didn't feel like we connected. I discovered that it was because I was wearing an eye patch and could only see out of one eye. I rely a lot on eye contact through my show, and with the patch on I felt distanced from the audience, and I think that came through in my performance.

I guess what I am trying to say is there are so many factors involved. Also, just because you don't feel like it was a great show, doesn't mean the kids and parents didn't enjoy it.

Mikael, maybe it just seems like a bad show because you have just done such a great one!!
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
Mikael Eriksson
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Quote:
On 2003-04-09 19:09, ChrisZampese wrote:Mikael, maybe it just seems like a bad show because you have just done such a great one!!


I have thought about that, but on the second show they really are WORSE than they use to be.

It has to be coincidence, I can't think of something else...

Mikael
Emazdad
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I always find that the bad show is the one I expected to be good, so when it happens I get caught out. in the same way I enter a room full of wild animals and think that it's going to be a nightmare and instead it's a great show. You can never tell. After all if we knew in advance we wouldn't take the bookings off the bad ones would we?
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
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"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.
NJJ
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Don't you wish you could turn down the bad ones in advance?

I find that the bad shows show you your limitations as a performer (everyone has them) rather then show anything bad about the audience or you.

As for kids tipping the methods, I structure all my tricks so that the kids don't feel like I am trying to trick them. I am almost a passive observer to all of the wackiness that goes on.
Dynamike
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Yep, I fit in the category also. But remember it was not you fault. One day I was doing a show for an undisiplined elementary school. I was perorming in a proper manner. But the children would not stay undercontrol. The next year my agent set me up at the same school. I was playing clean rap music as they were coming in the autitotium. I was dressed and performing in a cool manner. That time they did like the show.
Zorak
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After decades of doing kidshows it has been my observation that audiences have distinct personalities. I know it sounds zaney, but I believe it is true.
I have done the exact same show, routines, comedy, lines, bits of business,enthusiasm, yet it gets different responses. Most audience love it and express it with laughter and applause. Many times the party host gives me a generous tip, (money talks).
Than you get the occassional audience that makes you feel like you are going through dental surgery. It's funny though, most times when I feel like I just didn't get the job done, the host exclaims, as I am leaving, how wonderful it was. I get many call-backs from these shows (I do make a note on their index card about the response). But I think I'm dying up there and they are digging what is happening. Go figure?
Of course, you never let them see your true emotions in these circumstances. ()Never let them see you bleed.)
Fortunately these shows are far and in between. Like Pete alludes to, it is part of the dues we pay. It's actually very educational. Have fun and keep the faith. Smile
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Emazdad
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That's true, I can't count the number of times I've had a bad show, with unco-operative hyper kids and afterwards the Mum comments on how good it was.

I did one last night where every kid was great except the birthday boy and his older brother who spent the whole jumping on and off the furniture, Dad sat there dutyfully doing nothing. The only time the birthday boy stood still was when he was helping with the show. It was on a farm and i got a nice hunk of steak as a tip.
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.
Jon Gallagher
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I've said it before.... no audience gets together before a show and says, "Let's be a bad audience tonight." Little things effect how the show will go and small things can snowball into larger things. One kid in the audience who shouts out his solution can trigger many others to do the same thing. The others figure that if it was okay for the first kid to do it, it's okay for them to do it as well.

Audience management is the key. When you step on stage, you must show them that you are the one in control (I learned this from my days as a classroom teacher). I always start my kids shows by telling them that this isn't TV and that not only can they hear me, I can hear them. When I talk, they don't talk because if they do, then we have to stop the show, go "SHHHH!" and maybe cut out some of the tricks and the fun.

When they get loud, I stand quietly, waiting for them to calm down. Sometimes, I tell them, "well, there went one trick that we won't have time for."

Honestly though, in the past five years, I can say that I haven't had a problem with an audience. If I do, I know it's because of something I've done. Experience is your best teacher in this case. Just keep in mind that an audience who is being entertained, won't become a "bad" one.
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Emazdad
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Nice post but as a very experienced entertainer I totally disagree that it's the performers fault. When dealing with kids I know the problems are caused by the kids not me, My show is tried and tested That know from experienceBut If 1 kid in a room doesn't want to sit with the others and decides he wants to push, kick or punch his nieghbour or run around the room and you've had to spend a lot of time directing your attention towards that brat then your show is going to be hard work. it's a long hour when that happens, the other kids willl enjoy the show, but you will have to work 3 times as hard to ensure the brat doesn't ruin things too much. Anyone who says they've never had a bad kid at a party either doesn't perform very often, or hires his audience from the bloke that supplies them to magic lecture video's or is telling porkies. Everyone has a bad one now and again.
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.
Mikael Eriksson
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I agree that it's not necessarily the performers fault. If I decide to punch someone for no reason at all, I don't think it was the victims fault Smile

It's also a very dangerous and insulting opinion that it's the victims fault when he gets badly treated. Think about all the children that gets bullied... Of course the situation with a performer is a little bit different, but it still has some relevance.

Mikael

Quote:
On 2003-04-30 16:34, Emazdad wrote:
Nice post but as a very experienced entertainer I totally disagree that it's the performers fault. When dealing with kids I know the problems are caused by the kids not me, My show is tried and tested That know from experienceBut If 1 kid in a room doesn't want to sit with the others and decides he wants to push, kick or punch his nieghbour or run around the room and you've had to spend a lot of time directing your attention towards that brat then your show is going to be hard work. it's a long hour when that happens, the other kids willl enjoy the show, but you will have to work 3 times as hard to ensure the brat doesn't ruin things too much. Anyone who says they've never had a bad kid at a party either doesn't perform very often, or hires his audience from the bloke that supplies them to magic lecture video's or is telling porkies. Everyone has a bad one now and again.



Emazdad
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Remember that when we say bad show, we don't mean everything went wrong, or the audience didn't like it. A bad show can be one where you've had to work very hard to overcome such things as crying babies, echoy halls, talking parents, people walking across between you and the kids to get to the bar, etc. Any show that I havn't enjoyed totally myself due to a combination of things like those I consider a bad show.

The worst one I did was when I had a group of 4 year olds for a 2-hour party in a garden. They wanted instead to play on the swings etc. in the garden. Despite all my best gentle efforts none would play the games, none would even talk to me.

When we started the magic show the mum put the toys away and the kids were sat on the grass in front of me, most on mum's lap. They still would not talk to me or join in in any way or form, not even come out with mum. As my show is based heavily around audience participation and I wasn't getting any (it was like performing to a wall), my normal 10-15 minute routines went very quickly. I had to use all the backup stuff in my box to fill in the time. Luckily that's only ever happened once.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
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"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.
sourcerer
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"Anyone who says they've never had a bad kid at a party either doesn't perform very often, or hires his audience from the bloke that supplies them to magic lecture video's or is telling porkies."

Hmmmm ... maybe people don't say they never had a bad kid, maybe they say they managed to handle it.

Do you realize it's not very nice to tell people they are not as experienced as you are (without having a clue whether that is the fact), and that therefore their statement has no validity?

And please, don't refer to kids as brats all the time ... it sounds soooo disrespectful.

Kaj
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