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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The May 2011 entrée: Mark Lewis » » Humility in Children’s Entertainers » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ken Northridge
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From time to time I have run into children’s entertainers in these type of forums who claim, “my audience never gets out of control.” The clear implication is they have reached such a level of professionalism in this field that all their shows are perfect.

I’ve been entertaining children for over 30 years, have read many books, (including the opening chapter of Open Sesame Smile) experimented with many techniques and strategies. And still, from time to time, for whatever reason, I will have an audience, or audience member, that will get out of control.

There are many reasons for this and some have to do with the society will live in today. Some children simply have not been taught anything about discipline. There are parents today who really believe they are hurting their children by telling them no, or feel its wrong to bog down there creative minds with rules.

In my maturity, I’ve come to the conclusion that to be a children’s entertainer you must maintain a fair amount of humility with ones self. I’ve learned not take an occasional bad show to heart, especially when I will often do the same exact show later that day and be treated with total respect. I’ve learned not to take entertaining children so seriously and find it amusing how rude children can be sometimes. After all, I’m the one with the last laugh; I’m the one with the money in my pocket at the end of the show!

Mr. Lewis, it is obvious to anyone that will bother to read your words that you are master in this field. However, would you admit to having a bad show from time to time? Do you find that a bit of humility is an asset to a children’s entertainer?
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
*Mark Lewis*
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Certainly not! In fact the less the better. All the best children's entertainers have egos the size of houses. Mind you some of the worst do too. You only have to look at the Little Brats,,,,,er,,,,I mean Little Darlings section of this forum to see what I mean.

I shall expand on this matter later. For the moment though I will merely say that it is ESSENTIAL to have a massive ego if you are in showbusiness. It is a very tough business and you will see some hard times. It is your ego that will see you through those hard times. Keep it as overbearing as possible.

I of course am an obvious exception to this rule. I am renowned for my modesty and humility. I shall be happy to act as a role model for those of you who may wish to develop a humble demeanour.
*Mark Lewis*
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To answer Ken more thoroughly it is true that I have had bad shows especially in the beginning. And anyone that says he has never had a bad show is either lying or has a bad memory. However, the frequency of bad shows has gone down dramatically as the years have gone by. With regard to kid shows I can't remember the last time I had a bad show. Quite frankly it just doesn't happen any more.

Reading between the lines I think it sounds like you are having trouble controlling the children. Perhaps you have not seen the other thread on this. If you study and apply it carefully I think your problems will disappear and you will be able to brag as much as the other twits.....er.... sorry, I meant distinguished children's entertainers on the little ***s........er.......sorry, I meant to say Little Darlings section.
*Mark Lewis*
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One more thing. Nate Leipzig once said, "If they like you, they will like your magic" This applies a hundredfold when working to kids. If they like you they will like your magic. And if they like you they will not harass you. You are their friend. They won't want to harass a friend.

Read very carefully the section in Open Sesame where the author points out that the more you tell a kid to be quiet or behave himself the more he will rebel against you. It is basic child psychology. It is far better to scam the little horrors into being well behaved. Bribery and corruption is a very good method. If they behave they get rewarded. If they don't behave they get ignored, never reprimanded. In fact the golden rule of a good children's entertainer is NEVER TO REPRIMAND A CHILD. The second you do that is the second you put a dent in your show from which it may never recover. Besides it looks bloody awful.
Potty the Pirate
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James Munton has a good line, which I have now interpreted as: "Magicians, and pirates like me, only choose children to help, who are sitting quietly, with their back straight, chin up, and hand in the air." I mention this as an opening gambit. I then remind them of this at every opportunity, and each time I mention that "of course, only those who are sitting down with a nice smile and their hand in the air, will be chosen", all the kids who are starting to crowd you, immediately sit down like angels, with a nice smile,and put their hands up.
Yes, it was James who led me down this psychological path - but now, I find it very easy to handle almost any kids who are starting to get out of control. But without doubt, Mark has it on the button when he says "the kids must like you". Of course, if the kids couldn't care less about you, they are highly unlikely to do what you ask in order to be "called up".
Dealing with kids in this way is pure psychology. It's not about the quality of your show (although of course, that makes a big difference to their attention to what you say). And it's not about you as a performer, but you as a manipulator of souls.
As Mark says, "Bribery and Corruption is a very good method." So, not only do you deal with them in the manner I've mentioned, but you make them realise that if they behave in the manner you prescribe they will receive rewards (candies, balloon models, whatever.)
Potty Smile
James Munton
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Yes, Potty, thank you. It also helps reinforce it if you use the Hot Book when you give them the rules. But I don't want Mother to get any more upset, so we had better not discuss that part.
*Mark Lewis*
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I am going to ignore Munton and give some pretty good advice on inviting children up to help. I got this from George Wallman.

I say, “I need someone to help me do some magic. I only pick the ones who
are sitting up the best. Arms folded (demonstrate), sitting up straight!”
The kids in unison will all sit up straight with arms folded hoping to be picked.
You now say “Oh dear, you are all sitting up the best. I don’t know who to choose! I know!
Let’s see who is sitting up better than best!”
The kids will now sit up even straighter. It is very funny to see and all the adults in the
audience get quite a kick out of it. However you continue “Oh dear, you are all sitting up better
than best! I know! Let’s see who is sitting up better than bestest!”
The kids will now almost break their spines sitting up “better than bestest” with their arms
folded. It is quite a sight.
The great thing about this system is that it automatically quietens the kids down.

All this and more is in my Wit and Wisdom book that can now be ordered from my website which is in my signature. You would all have been able to purchase it earlier if Munton hadn't scammed me into accidentally putting a link to his products instead of mine.
Ken Northridge
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With all due respect, I think you missed my point a little. My fault I’m sure.

I rarely have trouble controlling children, but every now and then it hits me by surprise. The same techniques that had worked for the past 100 shows are suddenlyineffective. For all of my experience I thought I had, some groups of children will make me feel like I’m doing nothing more tha n intruding on their video game time. This is humbling, and I find it helpful to modestly laugh these moments off. Doesn’t this play havoc with a man of ego?

True, as the years of experience grow, it happens less and less. Still, it does happen. Is it only the master children’s entertainers that can say they never have a bad show?

Maybe it’s more of a commentary on how children are being raised today.

I also wonder if its the area I live in. I’ve heard it from several spiritual men that South Jersey is oppressed by a demonic spirit. In addition to sexual immortality, there is a prevalent lack of respect for authority in this area. Since you are a spiritual Father of sorts, maybe you can comment on that too.

Thanks again for sharing Mark!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
*Mark Lewis*
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Sexual immortality? What on earth is that? It sounds terribly commendable. Or perhaps it was a spelling mistake and you meant sexual immorality? I am sorry. I am a psychic reverend and very prudish indeed so I cannot comment on matters of this nature.

Anyway, I must have misunderstood you. You certainly seemed to imply that you found it tough on occasion. If you do find it tough then develop a thick skin. Then take the money and run. YOu actually deserve the money more after a tough show than a good one.
Ken Northridge
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Ha, ha. Yes, immorality, not immortality. That’s what happens when I post late at night.

And yes, I can remember the 'take the money and run' attitude several times.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
*Mark Lewis*
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Incidentally I am talking about kid shows somewhere on this clip.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcxyQo1mg-s
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The May 2011 entrée: Mark Lewis » » Humility in Children’s Entertainers » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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