We Remember The Magic Café We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » What would you like to see in a new kids-show DVD? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
Red Shadow
View Profile
Inner circle
1779 Posts

Profile of Red Shadow
Hi Guys,

I'm planning on putting together a new DVD on children's shows. It will be similar to my Ultimate Guide, but more up-to-date. I plan on separating it by disc topics. For example:


  • Disc 1: Marketing & Advertising Strategies (How I get the bookings)
  • Disc 2: Birthday Party Show (How I arrange my repertoire and choose tricks)
  • Disc 3: Theme Shows (Christmas, Halloween, Pirate)
  • Disc 4: Educational Shows (Reading, Recycling, Healthy Eating, Space etc.)
  • Disc 5: Magic Workshops & Magic Class courses
  • Disc 6: Holiday Parks & Cruise Ships
  • Disc 7: Life as a Magician (Stories from the road)
  • Disc 8: A selection of original tricks / routines - taught and explained.
  • Disc 9: Close-Up Magic for the kids show performer


All of these will be seen with examples of actual shows where I perform in that area (hopefully). Then explain the trick. Each discs will also look at the costume / character I portrays, the backdrop and the message including show structure.

I don't think they will be released as a set, as sets get bad reviews. The reviewer focuses on the one trick / advice they don't like and it destroys the sale of the entire set. So I will release them separately. I have to learn from my past mistake and the 'people' want individual discs so I'll give them what they want.

What material would you like to hear? What questions do you want to ask?

I would also like to interview a selection of other children entertainers for the DVD. Certain arenas like Holiday parks and cruise ships I've dabbled in, but there are other entertainers who have a bigger experience in that area than me. I also think its interesting to hear different point of views on a subject. So would anyone in the UK, or visiting the UK be interested in being interviewed for this project?

Steve
themagiciansapprentice
View Profile
Inner circle
Essex, UK
1381 Posts

Profile of themagiciansapprentice
Do we need another kidshow dvd?? who's going to be buying it? your content is already covered in a few books on my shelf next to the computer
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
Tony James
View Profile
Inner circle
Cheshire UK
1398 Posts

Profile of Tony James
Stephen - does this mean your Ultimate Guide will now be renamed The Penultimate Guide?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
esther_scheffer
View Profile
Veteran user
the netherlands
316 Posts

Profile of esther_scheffer
I would be interested in a kidshow dvd that goes deeper into the "how to make a (great) act / routine for kids out of a trick". And "how to make a (great) show out of the acts / routines".
Red Shadow
View Profile
Inner circle
1779 Posts

Profile of Red Shadow
The old set is still good, but this one will be more up-to-date. This DVD set would not be commercially released. Quite frankly, I don't want everybody to have the secret I will be sharing in it. I want it to be a special product that only a few will receive.

I'm making it for myself, as a way of recording everything I and a few other children's entertainers have learnt over the years.

I know from my own experience that there is no money in kids show DVDs. The number of sales does not warrant the time and money put into making the DVD. Even worst is when someone gives it a bad review and that's the death of any potential sales. The review can be completely unfounded, but it kills sales. And this isn't from my experience, look at the history of product reviews on this site. James Brown for instance has had to stop production on a number of his DVDs due to other peoples interference. Other entertainers have stopped selling their DVD after 90& of their time was spent defending it or trying to apologize for forgetting a credit.
The DVDs for sale market is gone. They go for a pounds at magic auction and most are pirated and put on torrent sites as well.

There's no point making another DVD just to have it stolen and pirated, and then the time and effort that is needed to process one order. When compared to how much I get from an actual live show, there's no point wasting my time chasing up pennies on a single DVD sale.

So, now that I've got that of my chest, this DVD is just to record all the marketing and business tactics that I and several others have mastered and put them on there for the few other entertainers we feel we want to share that information with. It is not to make money, it is simply to help those that feel they can make use of the information.

Tony, your local. I may have to visit you. Your knowledge on Punch and Judy would be a great edition into the set. I can't think of any DVD already out there that teaches Punch and Judy. You could explain set-up time, storage and transportation issues. Dealing with the weather and low crowds. As well as the brand of puppets you use, the script and dealing with violent storytelling. Also marketing to the shows I know you do in summer.

Would it be something your interested in getting on tape?

Steve
magicgeorge
View Profile
Inner circle
Belfast
4299 Posts

Profile of magicgeorge
Looks good Stephen but unfortunately I never buy any kids show dvds that have less than 10 discs.
Tony James
View Profile
Inner circle
Cheshire UK
1398 Posts

Profile of Tony James
Steve - I'm flattered you think P&J might have a market but it wouldn't. There's no one out there prepared to put in the daily hard work involved in travelling, unloading, building up and being ready to go for 8 in the morning, working four shows and then pulling down, packing and loading and moving on - day after week after month. Too much like hard work.

Those with day jobs - i.e. anyone under retirement age, and have you noticed how many reach retirement and suddenly become 'Professional'? - or with a pension don't need the hassle, the early mornings, the sheer graft involved. They play at it and it suits them and they sleep in their own bed at night.

What actually matters, what's important to a Pro - and this applies equally to magic, Punch or any other speciality entertainment - what matters is how to sell the show and THEN to make it work, how to pull and create an audience and HOLD it and then - get the booking back next year.

This has nothing to do with anything you can buy. Neither book nor DVD, nor lecture nor even any prop. It's all down to entertaining and some people are entertainers and most are not. Some will improve but often that's not saying a lot.

Because entertainers are born and not made. Of course you learn to be better. Old pros could show you how to improve things by applying 'golden rules' they had learned. Frequently they didn't know WHY they worked, only that they did.

Circus performers - another branch of the profession who have to pack and travel and build and perform before packing and travelling on again - know from an early age the subtle but essential ways of the performer, working instinctively this way rather than that because one way works wonderfully and the other less so.

Hard work which succeeds because of hard work and too many look for immediate results. That sort of result comes through experience - experience built on an inborn instinct which some people have more of than others.

That's the difference. Hard for those with more of a share of inborn instinct but insufficient to make them as good as they want to be. Or sometimes delude themselves into believing they are.

It would be a struggle for me to explain that which I don't necessarily properly understand myself. Why is one approach much more successful than another? I don't know. It just is.

All I do know is that at an everyday level - not a superstar level - when organisers in the UK consider entertainers they very sadly avoid anyone and anything with the words 'magic' and magician' associated.

Certain known individuals will be the exception. The rest - no matter how good in truth - will be overlooked because too many lousy magicians have bored and lost their audiences, even when handed to them on a plate.

I know, because I have stood there having handed over audiences of several hundred and watched magicians - people you know Steve, people other magicians consider good - I've watched them go from 300 people to a dozen in less than ten minutes. Couldn't hold them. Couldn't perform. Couldn't entertain. Could only do the tricks.

And the event - after four days of this, two magicians each day - the event said 'Magic? Never, ever again.'

The magicians were nice enough but out of their depth. You couldn't help them. They were beyond it. Too much wrong. It was difficult to know where to begin. The only bit they got right was actually handling the props and not even that was always so people could see and understand what was supposed to be happening.

So it would be pointless Steve to try and encourage people who don't have a clue about entertaining and who think what's important is the props and the backdrop and music and remote controls and all the gizmos bar the most important.

There now. Thank you. I know it was a rant. I didn't mean it to be. I wanted it to be useful and productive.

And now I shall get back to selling my show because believe it or not I still have four days in August to fill and one in September. There is a recession biting here and it's not easy getting work and it is coming later and later. All the pros know and agree. Fees are frozen and work is scarce. Some good acts have only a few days booked all this month and next.

And September is the end of the season. I'm doing alright! Hope you are too.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Potty the Pirate
View Profile
Inner circle
4620 Posts

Profile of Potty the Pirate
Tony.

Punch & Judy is still alive and kicking, although with modern PC considerations, I think it's tougher than ever before to really make it work. There is a very young chap local to me, who's one of the up-and-coming P&J guys. I saw him perform when he was just 16, and he really was excellent, even then. I will try to dig out his details and PM them to you - I know he'd be flattered if you were to contact him.
Because there are SO few P&J operators these days, I believe he's getting a lot of work, and rightly so.

On another note, I find it ironic that you regard backdrops and paraphernalia with condescension, and yet a P&J booth is really a LOT of kit to set up!

My interest in magic started when I saw a magician/P&J man, and he had a BIG magic show, as well as his P&J booth. From that day forwards, I've always loved big boxes and fancy props. OK, that is mostly for the younger kids, but still, my appreciation of "cool" magic props has never diminished.

Potty Smile
keeblem
View Profile
Inner circle
Essex, UK
1167 Posts

Profile of keeblem
I'd like to know how to make a million dollars from kid shows.

Serioulsy I'm always interested in new DVDs. I'm of the opinion you can learn something from almost anyone - even if it's NOT what to do!

Mark
magicone
View Profile
Veteran user
Doylestown, PA
357 Posts

Profile of magicone
Props to us prop guys potty Smile
keeblem
View Profile
Inner circle
Essex, UK
1167 Posts

Profile of keeblem
Quote:
On 2010-07-19 13:36, Tony James wrote:
Steve - I'm flattered you think P&J might have a market but it wouldn't. There's no one out there prepared to put in the daily hard work involved in travelling, unloading, building up and being ready to go for 8 in the morning, working four shows and then pulling down, packing and loading and moving on - day after week after month. Too much like hard work.


Tony

You call that hard work? Sounds like a walk in the park to me! Smile

Mark
Red Shadow
View Profile
Inner circle
1779 Posts

Profile of Red Shadow
I will also say there is a huge market for Punch and Judy. Quentin Reynolds does it and came second in the kids show competition a few years back. I know that was a unique market but it still got noticed.

I still get several phone-calls from clients asking for it, but I turn their interest into my other puppet shows.

However I do agree that its a seasonal & regional thing, and that places near the seaside or holiday parks are where its going to be most successful - that and the places you work off course Smile

So there is a big demand for Punch and Judy. I know to a lot of people its not going to be something they will pursue, but this DVD set especially is just for the special few that we consider will make the most use of it.

As for Punch and Judy itself, if I was to ever do it, I would love to see a full Punch and Judy show on DVD. It would be nice to have a script that I can see working , and yes 'copy' for my audiences.

The information you have to share would be very much appreciated by many I'm sure.

I'll let you concentrate on shows for now though and might ask again in October.

Steve
devlinn
View Profile
Regular user
Orangeville, ON
118 Posts

Profile of devlinn
Hi Steve;

While I defer to Tony regarding the viability and effort involved in a sustained P&J business, I believe the preservation and documenting of the act has merit in and of itself.

P&J is a dying art form and deserves to be properly chronicled for posterity.
A whole generation of children are growing up never seeing a street calliope, flea circus or P&J, the staples of a by-gone era.

Steve, I don't know how commercially successful a P&J DVD would be, but you would be doing the community an enormous service by properly documenting a working P&J act like Tony's.

regards,

Devlin Norris.
Dennis Michael
View Profile
Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
Steve,
I never heard of the torrent site you mentioned, I'm not the kind of guy that would look for it anyway, is probably why I never heard of it. I am interested in knowing whose DVDs are ripped off. You give the impression they are "all" ripped off.

If this is the case, then it really doesn't pay to produce them.
Are KIDabra's DVD on that list?
---------------
As for the 9 DVD set, will they focus only on the UKs method of presenting magic or will they be more broad and incorporate a wider range of methods or just focus on your personal experiences?

They are good topics. If I am reading it right, it is already completed, but you want to updated it?
http://magicmystery.co.uk/shop/dvds.html......y_Guide_

Have them been marketed in the States?
Dennis Michael
Tony James
View Profile
Inner circle
Cheshire UK
1398 Posts

Profile of Tony James
Nothing ironic in my attitude to magic overload Potty. I find it odd all the gear dragged in by some for a birthday party of what duration? An hour or two for a long one.

Good entertainers as I have always maintained, good entertainers need little but themselves. Some extras may add interest but surely backgrounds and pa systems and remote controls at a house party is overkill.

My P&J show is worked outside and is there all day midweek, two or three days at weekends and I'm doing four shows a day.It attracts big audiences and the booth height is essential to allow the audience far back to be able to see.

Most P&J activity is associated with birthday parties, a totally different market. It requires a small booth to go into homes with low ceilings, s style which will go up and come down fast so it occupies the limited space in a modern UK home for as short a time as possible.

Just the opposite is required outside and most domestic shows can get away with it but they tend to work locally at smaller events, with much smaller audiences who can sit closer.If it rains, they go under shelter. There are far more of these about than people realise. I sometimes wonder how many sets of puppets there are out there. Supreme Magic churned them out by the hundreds and thousands in the 70s and 80s.

Steve, seaside places are not good places for P&J. If they were, you'd some more of them instead of less. There's no money in the show any more.

And you assume a demand which doesn't exist. Most councils won't touch Punch because they see it as politically incorrect. I meet all sorts of organisations who have staff - usually women - who refuse to consider P&J.

That's why I am STILL selling this year!


First, at seasides you have to rent a pitch off the local authority. Have you any idea how much money they look for. It would frighten you. Second, you need a performing licence and between the the two lots of costs that will set you back most of your bottle (or hat, if you prefer) IF the weather is kind and you have a good day. If it rains, you are out of pocket before you've started.

Entertainers in public are not encouraged in the UK. Go and try it and see how long you last before the police come and take your show off you and impound it till you've been to court and paid your fine and the costs when you'll get the show back.

There are already available videos of plenty of shows, some circulating around entertainers and some out in the public domain. They are of limited use as there is no such thing as the Punch & Judy Show any more than there is such a thing as a Children's Birthday Magic Show.

Every performer has there own shows and every performance is likely to be different. As I have said previously, P&J is like a pantomime. Every version of the same pantomime is quite different. There are certain essential commonalities but after that it's down to the individual production.

Which is why good P&J is less to do with technique and all to do with performance, showmanship and good entertainment.

As for scripts - have you ever seen a pantomime script/ I don't mean one written for actors. A proper, professional and original pantomime script. It would scare you to death.

The bulk of it is descriptions of scenes, original lyrics and some very scant linking dialogue. Mostly it's almost blank pages with odd words:

Dance, Spec, Business, Flying. A lot of pages will say Business. The acts - NOT actors - supply their own business routines. All the different acts come together and thrash out what they will put in and who will do what.

Well, in a sense that's what a Punch script will look like. It's certainly what mine looked like when I created mine originally. Wouldn't mean a light to anyone.

You can find amateur scripts which provide every full stop, question mark and comma but that's not what a working professional show is about.

It's all down to an ability to entertain with the minimum of props. Apart from Punch's stick an the sausages I've really no props in my show. It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it.

Here are a few words of from our old friend Jay Marshall who knew his Punch & Judy and performed it.

"Punch & Judy is the longest running play of all time, with more different performers, playing more different versions, in more different places, for more different people than any other show, anytime, anywhere, ever. So there! They are all different and yet they are all the same."

And he underscores this with a quote:

"The late Al Flosso was a great punch worker and he remembered,'the best Punch worker I ever saw was Punch Allen, and all he had was three beat up figures, Punch, Judy and a black man. he could invent things that made everybody laugh.'

There you have it. What many of us here always maintain. Good entertainers need nothing much to entertain audiences.

So dear reader, if you won't take it from all of us, will you take it from Jay Marshall or do you prefer Al Flosso?

We can't all be wrong, can we?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Red Shadow
View Profile
Inner circle
1779 Posts

Profile of Red Shadow
Tony, everything you said is exactly why we need a DVD (or a book) on the subject. Nobody else knows what you know, the good and the bad. I understand all its problems and I have no desire to travel outside of Manchester, which is one of the reasons you won't see me doing Punch and Judy as there is not much of a local market for it.
But that doesn't meas that someone, somewhere can't find the information, useful, informative and entertaining. Even if it saves someone the money from buying all the props it will help them save them money in the long-hurl.

I will look at other Punch and Judy entertainers as well so that I can get a diverse selection of performers sharing the knowledge they have. Each persons show is different and if we can put together a DVD that documents it as fully as possible, then maybe in the future, it will help someone.

As for my own Ultimate guide, its still good and yes, they have been selling worldwide. Buts its day is coming to an end, and I think the next step on the subject should include multiple entertainers either supporting or offerings counter opinion on the advise I wish to share. I think a lot of what I advised was ignored and others laughed at me for saying it. I believe in strength with numbers and if numerous entertainers all say the same helpful advice, it may persuade a few people to actually use our marketing strategies and avoid pitfalls like yellow pages.

I'm not interested in marketing to the States anymore. I don't want to sound cruel. I'm just speaking from my own experience here. But not a single British DVD gets a good review from you guys. Magic's Dave's DVD is top notch, yet when David Kaye (Silly Billy) reviewed it in Magic, he slatered it simply because it showed a 2-hour show and he only does 1-hour shows. The same goes for Andy Clockwise and my own DVDs. Its too much work for too fewer sales to sell international. And its not just children's shows, its all brands of magic. The so-called 'Magic Police' seem to attack any British DVD that gets released.
And making money is not the goal of this DVD set, or I wouldn't even be attempting it. I know that must sound like an evil generalisation, and I don't want it to. But many of my magician friends who have released a DVD have had to withdraw it due to someone (often on this site) attacking them.

As for torrent sites and download sites... I haven't mentioned any, but there are lots. I know because my book 'Body Tricks' is on all of them. Just type it into Google and you'll find the sites through searching for my book. You'll also find a couple of others looking for Andrew Mayne's material, as his stuff gets ripped of a lot as well. I don't know about Kidabra, but I hope not.

Steve
Tony James
View Profile
Inner circle
Cheshire UK
1398 Posts

Profile of Tony James
The are several books - not many but sufficient - out there already. One is an excellent and comparatively recent publication. Whilst of variable content and usefulness, they all follow the same pattern.

1. About the author and how they started and have worked Punch.

2. Brief, potted history and background to the show.

3. Basic outline of a simple show.

4. Making puppets - or not!

5. Making frames.

6. Extra, additional routines, gags and tips.

I guarantee if you read them all as I have done over the years you still need to sit down and work it out for yourself. Apart from Sidney de Hempsey's How to do Punch & Judy published 1942 and a thin booklet from Supreme there was nothing when I started. You had to work it out for yourself.

And that's the way to do it! (Old Punch saying!!!!)
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Dennis Michael
View Profile
Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
Steve,

I understand your concern related to reviews of DVD by US reviewers. Even here on the Café, there seems to be similar opinions on the cultures and presentations of magic.

One thing that stands out are the social and legal laws related to what magicians can and cannot do over here, especially in schools systems, including Daycare/Preschools. Even PB&J and Live animals is given the axe by some Daycares because of allergies.

The concept of bullying is broad and very "touchy" guns, even toy ones or balloons made like guns are frown upon and could ban a magician from performing, in school systems.

The fact that Dave, Jimbo, Kimmon, Terry, and Trevor are so well received at KIDabra, do say a lot about acceptance as well as enjoyable humor by hundreds at the conference.
Dennis Michael
magicgeorge
View Profile
Inner circle
Belfast
4299 Posts

Profile of magicgeorge
Stephen, I've heard nothing but good reviews about Kimmos dvd and Terry Herbert seems to end up in everyone top 5 list so I don't think there's a trend of slating UK dvds.

People just slate rubbish dvds

David Kaye actually says he prefers the English style of entertaining children to the US style so I think you're just imagining that it's US/UK thing.
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13386 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
Mellers, Archer. They are both UK-ish, aren't they? Great stuff there.

Which great kids (or otherwise) UK DVDs have been slammed by US reviewers?
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » What would you like to see in a new kids-show DVD? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.27 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL