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alex cahill
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OK here is the challenge. How much (minimum) do you reckon you would need to spend to have a good kids show?? We are not talking making props.

What props would you buy??
Dennis Michael
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Less than $100:

  • 20th Century Silks
  • Rainbow Ropes
  • Breakaway Wand
  • Sympathic Silks
  • Milk Piture (Variety of uses)
  • Vanishing Bandana/Banana (Need Cassete Recorder)
  • Professor's Nightmare (Allows for Educational Messages)
  • Miser's Dream (Bucket at Plant Store, $5.00 in Halfs)
  • A Couple of Dollar Store Comedy Props


Theses can be done between 30-45 minute show routined right with some comedy, gags, and jokes. Assistants may or may not be used with them all except for the Symapathic Silks which is an audience participation effect.

I've used them all and they work well.
Dennis Michael
Peter Marucci
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You could put a good kids' show together for between $5 and $5,000.
Roughly.
I would do pretty much what I do now:
  • Open with the Miser's Dream (total cost, $1 which I give away at the end).
  • Paper tear to paper coil (which I make myself— because that way I can make them in the colors and lengths that I want) Cost: about $1.
  • Cut and Restored Rope (George Sands' routine, so you don't even have to replace the rope), square knot, moving knot— mostly my own and total cost about $1.
  • Various gag wands, most of which I make myself. Total cost, less than $1.
  • Rabbit silk vanish (this is the big expense— about $3)
  • Needle Thru Balloon $10
  • Balloon modelling, less than $1 for the balloons.
So, my whole show would cost less than $15 for actual "bought" effects.
Cheshire Cat
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It's OK, and I agree with Peter on putting a show together on a shoestring, and Dennis, as always, has a good reply— but what would you be competing with in your locality as people do notice the difference? Both myself and my wife Sue take out around £1500 (that's over $2000) worth of sound equipment, lights, quality wooden magic props and hand crafted puppets, plus CD/tapedecks etc. To quote Ken Scott who says he "turns their living room into a theatre". How would you feel about working the same party circuits as either us or Ken? How could you justify charging the same as us (or more!)? Aand before anyone says "it's not what you do but the way you do it" — both ourselves, and by all accounts Ken, "do it" very well indeed.

Or is your posting just meant as a 'challenge' Alex?

Tony.
p.b.jones
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Quote:
How would you feel about working the same party circuits as either us or Ken? How could you justify charging the same as us (or more!)?
Hi,
Personaly I would feel fine, so long as both I and my client thought I was worth what I charge. What anyone else does or charges is of little importance as I see it. My shows (though they're not minimalist) are made up of what I consider plays best for me. The monetary value of the props I do not see as a consideration.

Phillip
Emazdad
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A good performer can make a cheap trick a magical wonder, and a bad one can turn the most expensive trick in the world into boring rubbish. So I agree with Phil, it's not the monetary value that counts.

Also as Ace says, there's also the extras (PA etc.) to consider.

Electrics aside,

The most expensive thing I use is Scamp and he only cost £40 quid. The other expensive items are my large silks, but if on a budget I could get some cheap lady's scarves from a charity shop. The same goes for any other silks.

My present metal Organ Pipes cost me the grand total of £5 at an auction. Before that they were made from cereal packets covered in sparkly paper. I could replace my whole show for next to nothing using bits laying around the house, and stuff from charity shops. With the exception that is of my funny wands, but then again I could replace them with socks, bananas and other silly things.

PS
Scamp could be replaced by a large sock with eyes and ears sew on.
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.
Mago Mai
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If you really want to save some money doing magic, learn storytelling and you can tell kids as many tricks as you want. If you are real good at it, I bet you can get kids to wonder with your fantasies. Smile

You might as well start reading them some Harry Potter books... Smile

Mago Mai
I invite all of you to share some of my magic on videos.Please, CLICK HERE
Dennis Michael
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Zero Dollars...

Go to a good library and read books on magic you can do. Work with coins, cards, and rope. It won't make you rich but you can have fun with the kids doing closeup stuff.
Dennis Michael
Peter Marucci
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Well, obviously my clients think I'm worth what I charge because about 75 per cent of my business is repeat business. This is Tuesday (as I write this); I've got shows Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week and they are ALL repeat shows (three or four times, actually). So I MUST be doing something right!
flourish dude
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I hope my wife dosen't read this thread!
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
www.magicalmemories.us
JamesinLA
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Peter,
How do you handle repeat shows regarding repeating the effects? Do you do a different show with different effects? I think kids often like seeing the same thing again, but the parents might not feel that way. What is your experience?
Thanks.
Jim

PS: don't listen to Bill. He puts a lot of sweat equity into his props etc.
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
weehome
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Yes, I agree. A good show doesn't mean an expensive show.

I have a Mark Leveridge tape. He is a good entertainer and I remember that he uses very cheap props like cigarette paper for CHILDREN!

I also use a game that Patrick from Australia teaches. It's the No-No game where kids must say "no" for all the questions, except for one question "Am I the best magician...?"

It's funny and entertaining because you can ask questions like:

"What's your name"
"Do you understand the rules of the game?"
"Do you want to play the game?"
"Do you want the present?"

No props and can play for quite some time!!

Hope this is useful!
Snidini
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Jim you were reading my mind. I too had the same thought about repeat business and if the same show is repeated. In my own experience, I do often repeat my routines because the kids usually want to see it again. I do either a different start or ending if I know enough people have seen my act a few times. It also keeps my little show refreshed.

How much could I do my show for? I agree with Dennis that probably under $100 for a 30 minute show wouldn't be out of line.

Snidini
Emazdad
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Unlike adults children like familiarity. They watch the same videos over and over. So I don't worry too much about them seeing the same stuff. For one thing you never know before a show exactly how many of the kids have seen you before. At holiday camps where I work I alternate the shows every week and some kids who virtually live on the camp site see each show 7 times and never miss it.

I did a girl's party last year and her mum told me it was the 11th time she'd seen me that year. She was at a party the following week and laughed and shouted even more. I also did a show 12-1 on a Saturday and when I drove 5 miles to the next show and was setting up 7-8 of the kids from the first show came in. They laughed more the second time than the first.

I do however have a second show packup up ready to go in it's own box if I do know I'm going to see a lot of kids that I know have seen show number 1 a couple of times recently. I did birthday parties at one playgroup for 6 different kids over a 2 month period so I did start to take different stuff. But what I find happens is they keep saying, "You haven't done this yet!" or "When's so and so going to come out?" and often seem disappointed that the show is different.
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.
Cheshire Cat
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(Long post - press page down twice to miss!)

Hilarious how these threads turn into "Chinese Whispers" do you not think? But can anyone deny that a gardener is judged by his van/quality of his tools and service? A band (of which I have 'some' experience) can be judged at a function by the quality of their gear and presentation— although it does not make a better musician.

OK, back in '78 when I started there were entertainers running round, especially at Christmas with a floppy bow tie and one suitcase (and an inability to accept cheques/checks!)— and there still are; but people know the difference. Now I bet that will get the verbal juices and 'quote' buttons flowing! Fire away— as on the (mis-made flag thread) 'wind-up' stakes scale I'm about minus 100!

I'm the guy who 10 years ago when many kids entertainers were losing their live-on jobs with holiday camps in the UK, who wrote an article in 'Abra' asking why they did these poorly paid jobs in the first place, and why they didn't get into birthdays and make some money!! Amongst my other journalistic masterpieces, I wrote an article in The Stage Newspaper saying: "many emerging agents in the UK are nothing more than lost-lip trumpet players, hygienically-disadvantaged disc jockeys, or one-suitcase clowns seeking to sponge off those who possess true talent". I had a quite enthusiastic phone call following this from the bandleader at Blackpool Tower Ballroom showering me in praise! (Sometimes are a few Christmas cards down though.)

Yes, James, they do like, and expect, to see the same things over and over (we go through whole class-loads of birthdays)— but parents do notice and sometimes say: "he/she always shows them the same thing". If you see the same kids within a few days then I feel an effort must be made to change— but apart from this it's a changing market and human nature will always want to search out a different entertainer in any case.

In the 1980s we used to do a lot of parties within a large city Jewish community (even though we are not Jewish). On the conclusion of a lunchtime party we frequently used to say "see you at 3 o' clock again!" I know of one electronic organ player who has sat in the same spot, in the same club, playing the same tunes, since about, er, 1968!!

I still think Alex's posting was meant just as a 'challenge' though. Sadly such a challenge may rub against some who, er... just use a $10 show!!

Have a good Wednesday - Tony.
Peter Marucci
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Jim,
In doing straight repeat shows (i.e., birthday parties and such), I have three separate shows— some effects are new, some effects are repeats.

As has been mentioned here several times, the popular repeats (and why do them if they aren't popular?) are for the kids; the new stuff is for the adults who, after all, are the ones who are paying. (So keep them happy, too!)

"Repeat" usually means "annual" so this way I'm set for three years, at which time I start over again; three years is long enough for crowds to change, memories to fade, etc. For walkaround shows, with balloons, I do about three or four effects (as well as the balloons) and they change each year, for repeats.

Some performers haul around a ton of equipment; to what end? Just last weekend I was at a worshop run by Sammy Smith (the biographer of the late magicians Burling "Volta" Hull and Fetaque Sanders) and he pointed out that he has reduced his show, in size, to a briefcase. And he's been doing nothing but kids' shows— and heavy repeat business— for years, as a sole source of income.

Kinda hard to argue with success!
alex cahill
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Thanks guys. Yes it was very much a challenge. And I have a few comments. Card tricks for kids? I think not but if you go to a show with hardly any props just a load of gags and a few books parents will not enjoy it. Although it is for the kids, the adults are the ones which foot the bill. Keep the list of tricks coming. Smile
Dennis Michael
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You do not need to stick with playing cards. Use cards which they are familar with such as Pokeman, Magic, or Yu-Ge-Oh! cards.

There are fun card tricks, and I don't mean "pick a card, here's your card". (Boring)

You could get a blank deck and create a trick.

If you do use playing cards, pick a forced card they can remember like a two of hearts.
Dennis Michael
Cheshire Cat
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Ah— your last posting Alex— music to my ears...

Just an afterthought though, as many kids entertainers just do tiny houseparties in areas where the properties are none too big. Of course you are limited to what you can carry. But we do 2 hour parties in hired venues— in fact two today. (Hey why am I hitting the "self justification" button saying how many we do? I guess it's because others have done so already!)

Must dash—- got to load 35 tonnes worth of gear into two SUVs!

Tony.
p.b.jones
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Hi Ace,
I have never seen you work, but assuming you have a good act. I think that you may be lacking in your conviction of its value. I know that Ken Scott talks of a theatre in someone's home and I think this helps Ken to justify a higher fee and I know that he gets very good fees. But without being cheeky I think that £95.00 for 2 hours is an average fee for most magicians (non London) and a low fee for you considering all you have to cart around.
Phillip
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