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NJJ
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What is your favourite effect using a child from the audience?
oagwood
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There are a ton of them, but the old standby that never fails to get great reactions from everybody is sponge balls.

oliver
Payne
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Cut and restored rope cause I get to threaten the kid with a really big pair of scissors!
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Emazdad
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All of my effects use a child from the audience so I'll have to say all of them.

It's a good question Nicholas. We all may have a favourite trick but it's not so much the trick that makes the routine but the child. If you get the right assistant the routine is extremely funny and entertaining. But as we know, all assistants are different. One day you'll have the perfect assistant, funny, maybe a bit gobby without being rude and feeding you lots of extra oppertunities for gag's etc, this is the one you want.
Other times they may just stand there and are a bit to shy, they want to help but don't want to hold the wand or wear the hat etc. They're just a bit awkward so you have to work hard not to scare them off.

Then of course there's the assistant from hell, looks perfect sat down, but when you call him up and he's next to you all the sugar he's eaten in the last week downloads all at once, he doesn't stand still, grabs stuff etc, a right royal pain. Your usual brilliant routine is spoilt as you have to divert attention to control him, and if it's the birthday kid you can't send him back to his seat and get another assistant.
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.
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2003-06-08 04:19, Emazdad wrote:
All of my effects use a child from the audience so I'll have to say all of them.

It's a good question Nicholas, We all may have a favourite trick but it's not so much the trick that makes the routine but the child. If you get the right assistant the routine is extremely funny and entertaining. But as we know all assistants are different One day you'll have the perfect assistant, funny, maybe a bit gobby without being rude and feeding you lots of extra oppertunities for gag's etc, this is the one you want.
Other times they may just stand there and are a bit to shy, they want to help but don't want to hold the wand or wear the hat etc, They're just a bit awkward so you have to work hard not to scare them off.
Then of course there's the assistant from hell, looks perfect sat down, but when you call him up and he's next to you all the sugar he's eaten in the last week downloads all at once, he doesn't stand still, grabs stuff etc, a right royal pain. Your usual brilliant routine is spoilt as you have to dibert attention to control him and If it's the birthday kid you can't send him back to his seat and get another assistant.


Wow! You're brave! I only use one (birthday child) for all the reasons you just stated! I hate not being in TOTAL control! (I must be in the wrong job!)

I dress them up as my assistant Kranky The Klown (who could be there) With a wig etc. The sponge ball routine I use comes from trying to get the red nose stay on the kid's face even though I never actually touch the child's face (think of the germs). The nose keeps falling off, it goes on the kid's nose and then out their ears and turns green. (lots of good snot humour which kid's loves)

The bit of the routine that gets the best reaction is when I try to wring out the nose and it breaks into two pieces. The child blows on the two bits and they both grow into two new noses. It looks quite cool.

And then of course the old in their hands finale.

However, because the noses are apart of the 'costume' it always seems a bit awkard sending the child back at that point. It almost feels as I get them all dressed up and then do nothing with them.

I thought I might take the flower off my lapel and have them drop into an empty change bag (lots of missing the bag gags for them) and after they water it, the big is full of flowers. I thought It might pin or tack the flowers onto the inside lining so that when I turn the big inside out it looks like a bouquet of flowers. Smile
p.b.jones
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Wow! You're brave! I only use one (birthday child) for all the reasons you just stated! I hate not being in TOTAL control! (I must be in the wrong job!)

Hi,
I use 8 children in my kids show. For me it's what makes the show and the differing child personalites are what makes it - as Ammar would say "Here and now and not a cookie cutter presentation".

Yes sometimes you get the wrong kid or if it's the birthday child have little choice but to use them. But honestly, wouldn't it soon become boring if there were no challenges? I think it would be really boring to have a perfect show that offers no mental stimulation on your part or plays exactly the same for every audience even the reactions are the same every time.
Phillip
Martin_H
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There is a great routine where liquid runs through a "hole" in the child (don´t know the trick name - it´s commercially available I think) - I just saw that routine again yesterday and it works great and gives many, many gags and laughs!

Martin
life is real magic
Emazdad
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I find that the thought that they may be the next helper makes the kids behave better. They know I only pick people who are being good. Also as I've said before, I don't like magicing at the kids. I use assistants for every trick, and they take the credit for the magic happening. The birthday child helps with the first and last effect. If they're shy, I just use them for the last.

It's winning formula that works for me as I've said before I do on average 25 to 30 shows a month, most of which are seen befores and reccommends.

A good contol item for the helper is a small mat or circle. Put it where you want them to stand and tell them they have to keep one foot in it all the time. If they take their foot out 3 times they'll run out of magic and I'll have to sit them down and get a new helper. If they take their foot out 4 times they'll turn into a boy or girl, which evers the opposite to them. If you get a young helper who gets excited and accidently steps out too many times you can ignore it and gently tell them to quickly put their foot back on it. If you get the hell child you've got your excuse to sit him straight down. I've done it a few times and the new helper is always so well behaved.
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.
oagwood
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Clive,
Great idea with the mat on the ground. I have also heard of making foot prints out of the mat and having them stand on that or in the center of a circle of rope.

I too, like many others, use as many kids as possible. This is not only good for crowd control, as they want to help later on, but good for business as well. It doesn't get any better than little junior going home and telling his mom/dad/etc. that he helped Oliver the Magician, he felt like a star and it would be the best birthday ever if Oliver could attend his party. It may not go down completely like that but you understand. Bob Markwood goes over this in his book "Poof you're a frog," and Poof II You.

One other point for having multiple volunteers is for the sake of the parents in attendance. Sure they will love to see their kid in the show, but the main thing is to keep them quite. Too many times parents think they can hold regular conversations because the kids are preoccupied across the room. This gets them to pay attention, and of course, its good for business.

oliver
Emazdad
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Hi Oliver. I can't take credit for the idea, I'm not sure exactly where it came from. Anyway, I think it's Phillip who knows a site where you can actually buy the mats with the feet already on them. I found a rug at a store with 4 funny faces on it, I took it to a carpet shop and got them to cut out the faces and bind the edges, I now have 4 mats with different faces that are about 10" x 12". I tell them it's a Squircle, a magic circle that's so powerful it's gone square. I'm still waiting for one to tell me they're oblong. javascript:InstaSmilie()


"This gets them to pay attention, and of course, its good for business."

It always amazes me when the helpers' parents don't watch their kid, which occasionally happens. I've even had the birthday Mum chatting at the back ignoring her child's performance.
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.
p.b.jones
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Hi, Here is a link to the footprint mats.
Phillip

http://www.barrymitchell.com/
NJJ
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Barry Mitchell seems to have some really good ideas!

I love the cow changebag.

The ultimate audience participation effect then is one that can be done by both timid children and over-excited children as well as smarter and slower children. I sometimes have trouble when I do Confusing Crayons that the child will turn the crayons the wrong way no matter how slowly and clearly you explain.
Dennis Michael
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It's a tough choice:


  • Instant Magician (Makes a child believe he is a real magician)
  • Wiz-Kote (Really a funny routine)
  • Pro-Viper II (Snake, Scary, Danger Element)
  • 20th Century Silks (The magic happens on the Child)
  • Miser's Dream (The fantasy of getting real money from nowhere is enticing to all children)


There are more but it is tough to choose which one is the best. Each have specific advantages, likes "packs small, plays big," or can be done anywhere or really visual, or has that right comedy element with a safe danger element. Oh so many variables.

As for Footprints, I asked Barry to expand on them, such as create a spider, "Stand over there on the spider."
Dennis Michael
Ron Reid
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I like Mark Strivings' approach to children helpers. He has a repertoire of tricks he can use with kids, and waits until the child gets up to help him to decide which one to use. He quickly gauges how cooperative they'll be and does the appropriate routine.

For instance, if the child seems wild or uncooperative, he's uses his coloring book routine where the child really touches nothing - the child is still a big part of the routine, doing others things to make the magic happen.

Of course there are certain things you look for when picking a child helper, but I think everyone has experienced picking someone they thought is perfect, and the child turns out to be very different.

All of this is in Strivings' book, "Anatomy of a Bullet Proof Show" or something like that. It has been a big help to me - really useful advice, and good routines too!

Ron Reid
flourish dude
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I like my Needle thru Balloon routine. It has all the gags that the kids love.
I also use four kids to spin plates. This is always a sure-fire hit.
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
NJJ
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Really good advice!

I think having an effect with minimum ACTUAL involvment but a lot of apparent involvment is a good way to go, or perhaps two effects that I rotate.
flourish dude
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I love the mat idea. I am going to order them very soon. Great price too!!
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
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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I like to use audience members as well in my nearly normal programs. Of course it is important to not let the folks I do not pick feel left out.

Here is an adaptation of a David Ginn idea that I use in my Library Program.

This morning I did a Nearly Normal Library Program. They moved it to the Museum. I talk to the kids about the magic of books.

"Before I could learn to read, I needed to learn my ABC's." Well I learned them so well that I can say them backwards (Turn around and say ABC's).

Then I say no one can say zyxwvutsrqpo......
Of course the kids shout out you just did.
OH YEAH. Would you like to learn it. (kids - YES!)

Repeat after me (I tell the kids- This is also the best way to learn it yourself.

ZYX (KIDS zyx)
WVU (Kids wvu)
TSR (kids tsr)
....
....
CBA (CBA)

Now I've said my ZYX's, so I can read a book about Tyranosaurus ____ (Long Pause - Wait for a few of the Kids to say REXES)

Then Repeat it real fast; zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba

Now I've said my zyx's, I'm go to read about Tyranasauros Rexes, or I'm going to read about the Alamo in Te--s!

Thanks for all your sharing.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Mark Strivings
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Hey guys,

I actually have four different routines in the case ready to go when it comes time for the birthday kid to be a star. Each of the four routines has a varying level of direct (hands on) involvement from my young helper/star. It runs the gamut from VERY hands on and a fair amount of responsibility from my helper (for those who are very much in control and helpful), to a completely 'hands off' routine where my young helper never touches anything. All they have to do is stand there and look good (or at least, as good as they can!). Despite the total lack of direct contact with any props the youngster is still the star of the show and the one who makes the trick happen (?), at least from the audiences point of view. The other routines fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

I determine which routine I'm going to use during the opening bits of biz and the stuff with wands that I do with the child. Once I get done with all this stuff (which is very entertaining and much fun), I know exactly which routine my young star will be helping with. No one apart from myself is any wiser and the youngster always comes out looking like a hero, regardless how much (or little) of a challenge he/she may have been. For me, that's the bottom line. ALWAYS make the kid a star, no matter how much of a pain in the #%* they may have been. The genuine problem children are fairly rare (at least for me), but I want them (and those VERY important parents) to feel like they got to be a star. It's my responsibility to make sure this happens, not the child.

I also carry a routine using two children since there are times when a brother or sister gets to help with the trick. Using this system I have yet to have a problem with a volunteer that I couldn't handle pretty easily, and we're talking literally 1000's of shows here.

Hope this helps,

Mark Strivings
Mark Strivings is the owner of the largest all-mentalism mail order supply business in the world, "Mental Connections", carrying materials not available anywhere else. For complete info, drop Mark a line at MarkyApril@aol.com
NJJ
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I get a lot of twins!
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