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Dynamike
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A few times when I performed the birthday child wanted to take over because of being so spoiled.

One time a birthday boy torn apart my sponge bunny when I let him examine it. I'm glad his mother tipped me after the show.

One time a boy 4 year birthday boy kept coming behind my stand to see what I had to perform. I told him in a nice manner it's best to get a front row seat. His drunken mother said a few words to him in a non serious manner. He wouldn't stop. I had no choice, I had to let him be part of the show. His mother told me I got a lot of patience after the show.

I let the birthday girl take apart my linking rings as I held the *** ring the right spot. After I showed everyone I put together the double rings, she wanted them so she can take them apart as she did the previous ones. I did not want to embarras her so I wouldn't give them to her. She whined.

Have any of you had times with any of those type of kids?
JSMagic
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ohhhh yes. I made the mistake of performing in an arcade. The room was right next to the arcade and for the most part it wasnt enclosed. Im sure you can figure out the rest....they didn't want to see a magic show they wanted to play the games ect. ect. There was this one kid who just WOULD NOT SHUT UP. He kept going he was like a nightmare heckler. "I KNOW HOW YOU DO THAT ITS IN BETWEEN THOSE" and so on, every trick he'd do this. Speciffacly (sp) i bought this prop for a heckler. Its a foam word that says "something" - so i ask if he wants to come up and hold something for me and i tell him to put it over his head and stanbd there (and "accidentally" i leave him there for a few minutes) - well that didn't work he kept being an annoying little brat while he was up there while his mother sat at the back of the room talking to another adult. so eventually he gives me the "something" and knocks over right in the middle of my PB&J rouine he knoed over the cover exposing the whole thing...There was nothing I could do about this kid he JUST WOULDNT LISTEN. So I know many would not agree but I says out loud "thanks buddy for ruining that whole trick for us, now im going to have to ask you to go sit in the back with your mother" (and of course she didn't know what the heck was going on) - that was my worst expierence with a heckler.
If a magician is not intending to "trick" a spectator, why is every "trick" called a magic "trick"?
ClodAppleleft
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Manchester, NH
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At one of the Ren Faire's I was working, there were two kids that are known to be hecklers and such. When i saw them at my show, I knew I was in trouble, and low and behold they started to heckle me right from the start. So I brought both of them up on stage, and gave each of them an envelope to hold in their mouths for a special "effect" that could happen at any time. They stood there with the envelopes in their mouths, nice and quiet, and I went on with my show. When I was done I took the envelopes out of their mouths and one asked me, "What was the special effect?" I looked him square in the eye (I know both of their parent's so I could get away with this) and said, "Shutting the two of you up so I could perform my show..."

I got a big laugh from the crowd for that one...

Jeff
There are many different ways to cut an apple.
Neale Bacon
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Every once in a while I have a little troublemaker, but in 26 years nothing I couldn't handle, provided I handled it the right way.

There are a lot of magicians who do kids shows, yet don't like kids. Here's a hint..they know if you don't like them!

My best "weapon" has always been to try to make the kid a "hero" or give him some focus which is generally what they are after.

Let them look like they did the magic (or at least helped)

If they are REALLY out of line, a firm tone will go a long way to letting them know you notice them with actually saying "I see you and you aren't going to ruin the show for everyone".

Just my 2 cents (and not aimed at anyone in particular) Smile
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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Tate
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NC
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A friend of mine uses a technique whenever he is doing a party and the older brother looks like he may be a troublemaker. He uses the older brother as a security guard. He tells the older brother, "I know you're too old for a kiddie magic show, you probably know how all this stuff works anyway, right? Could you help me with something during the show?" Well, now the older kid feels special. He feels like he's on the "inside" with the magician. My friend tells him that during the show some of the little kids may try and come up without being picked to help with a trick. The magic show needs a security guard and would he help? I think my friend may even travel with a t-shirt that says Security on it for the kid to wear.

This turns the potentially problem child into a helper and makes him feel important.
Andy Wonder
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I once had a party where the birthday boy threw a tantrum and sat in the corner crying. The reason he was crying? He wanted to hit his guests with a broom handle & his mother would not allow it.

I’ve found some of the best solutions to dealing with difficult children are the preventative ones. You can avoid a lot of these issues by having shows for younger children earlier in the day. Removing distractions helps a lot. I consider my own props a distraction as well I keep them out of sight when not in use. Also I never give things to children that are easily broken.

Generally keeping your show fast paced is the best solution I have found. If your show has a lot of action & surprises they tend to easily forget interrupting.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
mystic shriner
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Midwest, USA
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I think we children's Magicians should start a group:
ABUSED MAGICIANS ANONYMOUS

I'll bet it's membership would grow really fast! Smile
Emazdad
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I deal with them firmly and quickly before they get a chance to ruin the show, if neccessary for a really bad spoilt brat, I'll inform the booker that unless he behaves I can't carry on with the show and tell them to sit him by them if he still is a pain I'll stop the show and get him removed. I don't care if he is the birthday child, it's not fair on the rest of the kids.

I've only ever had to do it once, at the end of the party the booker was falling over me to apologise, and I got a £10 tip. I had the feeling though that once I'd gone the kid wouldn't have been told off as if he had any discapline in the home he wouldn't be like he was.
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.
keeblem
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Quote:
On 2003-08-09 04:03, Emazdad wrote:
I don't care if he is the birthday child, it's not fair on the rest of the kids.

I admire you Emazdad, but it's not the rest of the kids mums and dads that are paying you - it's the birthday child's parents. Yes, you've got to be firm, but I don't feel you can be that harsh to the person who's paying you! Smile
Just my opinion, though.
Mark
magic4u02
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I agree with Clive on this one. Always try to use some of the methods mentioned above. But, if that does not work and fails to calm the child down, then Clive is right, you must take matters in to your own hands and get it solved. Birthday child or no b-day child, the child should not be interupting the show and ruining it for the rest of the kids.

Now this does not mean you go into the party with an attitude of a disciplinarian. It just means the show should be enjoyable for everyone there, regardless of who is paying you.

You certainly should try your best to get the child to cooperate. Often times giving them an important job or role in the show will allow the child to get the attention they are after.
Kyle Peron

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drosenbe0813
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more often than not, if it just one child, then I ignore him (or her.) All of the other kids are yelling and having a good time, and after a few minutes, the heckler realizes that he/she is being left behind. This works especially well if you have a sound system, so that you can always be heard, but i've used it in smaller (15=20) children shows as well.
It is always the most challenging when the birthday child is a smart aleck. The first trick that I do involves Mom and Dad and the birthday child, so maybe having mom and dad up there with him calms him down a little.
magic4u02
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Drosen:
That is a nice idea using an early trick that uses both parents and the child. This way the parents feel important and the child may be less likely to screw around. Also, it shows that you want the parents involved without having to beg them for it. Nice idea.
Kyle Peron

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Emazdad
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All situations are different and have to be handled depending on the circumstanses, We all have an arsenal of methods we employ to contol the kids, a lot of them are so suptle the kids don't realise they are being manipulated.

However if you've exhausted all the options, tried everything and more, and the kid is still not reponding and is spoiling everyone elses fun. then I will stop the show and remove him.

We're not talking about a heckler, they are easy to deal with, we're talking about the un-disciplined mega rude spoilt brat and naughty child.(and some are just horrible naughty kids, no excuses like so & so symdrom, they're just bad). They refuse to sit still, push the other out the way, want to win all the prizes, and help with every effect and have a tantrum when they don't.

Luckily they are very rare, but on those rare occassions when I do meet one I come down hard and firm before they ruin it for the rest. I don't care if they are the birthday child. My business has never suffered from the times I've had to deal with these kids.
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.
magic4u02
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Clive:
Nicely stated and I do agree with you. I think it is important that you stated that a good magician does have an arsenal of ideas and methods to try first. These should be tried and exhuasted before you have to be more strict and take matters into your own hands.

I have no problem with stopping the show and settleing the situation before it gets out of hand or ruins the fun for the others at the party.

My only problem is that I feel some magicians do not have this arsenal or tools and methods to try first. I think some magicians get so fed up that they snap at the wrong times and handle a situation poorly when it could have been handled i =n a much better fashion.

I guess some of this comes with experience from just getting out there and doing it. But, I think sometimes we also must learn to try and be as profesisonal as we can and only use harsher methods if everything else fails first.
Kyle Peron

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Brian Lehr
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What do you do when a child won't give you your prop back?

I had one girl (around 8 years old), who simply refused to return my spring snake. I had planned to continue with a certain little routine, but had to cut it short. I finally got it back, but it was frustrating, and, more importantly, a lesson to me.

I was thinking about this while watching Quentin's "Five Minutes with a Pocket Handkerchief." What happens if a kid grabs it and won't give it back?

I noticed this on one of Ginn's videos a couple days ago ("It's About Time"). After vanishing the boy's watch, Ginn offered to pay the boy a thousand dollars! He then took out a plastic bag of shredded money that totaled a thousand dollars. When the watch finally reappeared, the boy didn't want to give the money back (he felt it was a fair trade). As Ginn bent down to the boy, you could hear him whisper, "It's really not worth anything." The boy did give it back, but I wondered what Ginn would have done if the boy hadn't.

Brian
Emazdad
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I've had it happen and I just gave the kid a choice, Give it back to me, or leave.
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.
Dougini
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The Beautiful State Of Maine
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I've made myself one rule about performing magic:

I don't do magic for kids in a group...period!

One-on-one, or a couple at a time (even that was a disaster, recently).

I have a permantly bent Fantasio Appearing Cane, and some stolen stuff I'll never be able to replace, to remind me of doing magic for children.

The last children's group I performed for, almost made me quit doing magic for good! Smile

I don't do well with kids...never have. Probably why I'm still single... Smile

Doug
Dynamike
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Doug,

Have you ever thought about getting an assistant to help you watch your props?
Quentin
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The more you perform the more you instinctively become aware of potential problems, and diffuse them before they happen. The best prevention is a well structured show performed with confidence. You know where the show is going.

Still no matter how wonderful you are, you will still have problems, just less often. I've always found the BIGGEST problem is ignorant parents, but that's another story.

If it looks like the group is going to be overly boisterous it is far better to be firm and if necessary strict at the start of the show, and become friendlier as the show goes on, than to be friendly and have to get strict during the show.

Occasionally I've had a child hold on to the handkerchief mouse when it jumps onto them but they are usually trying to make it move themselves. If they hang on to it and won't hand it back or if two children are trying to grab it between them, I urge the audience to tell them, NOT to squeeze it." This usually has the desired effect. Likewise if a child holds on to a prop, tell the audience something like, "That's a pity, because I had brought something special for everyone and I won't have time to give it (or show it) to you all now," thus turning the anger of the audience against the child. Peer pressure works wonders. What you give them should be what you were going to give them anyway, a balloon animal, goody bag, souvenier etc.
Chance Wolf
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I have 2 words to handle this situation...
DUCT TAPE
works like a charm!! Smile Smile Smile
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
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