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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Display of Skills and Haymakers (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Leo B. Domapias
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I’m a newcomer to this Board (though not to magic), so I’m not sure if this topic has been discussed before.

But I wonder how many children’s magicians include in their shows a couple of tricks that require technical skills, or tricks that are so mindboggling they would floor the adults?

Or are packs-flat, ready-to-go, self-working tricks the norm?

Ben Benjay
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Jim Snack
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Forget about "the norm" and try to include something for everyone.

Definitely include a few routines that will floor the adults. Even if the kid's may not appreciate the skill, the adults will.

Besides, remember who's signing the check!
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Mike Robbins
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I have a few that adults like. My script even has a few references that tend to go over the kids heads, but that the adults get (nothing unwholesome). Jim's right about who hires you. I've beat out other local magicians for shows because the parents found my show as enjoyable to watch as the kids did.

Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
Emazdad
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I'm paid to entertain the kids and that's what I do, I don't include any stuff for the adults at all and The Adults enjoy my show just as much as the kids. Does the need to do skill stuff to impress the adults stem from a feeling of insecurity and you think that even though your doing a kids show you have to prove your a real magician? I know what I can do but don't feel the need to prove it.

As I've said before I've had lots of people say they booked another magician last time, but he was doing stuff for the adults magic / one-liners and the kids got bored as they couldn't understand what he was doing. Their impression was he wasn't doing what he was booked for IE making sure the children had a fantastic time.
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AragorntheMagician
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I always do several things that skirt the line between kids/adult (ie - Jay Sankey's "In a Flash").
At many parties there are more adults watching than kids. I do always keep the focus on the kids. However, by doing both I've started to pick up follow-up gigs for the parents companies/civic groups, etc.
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ATM
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Brian Lehr
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I would say there's no definitive rules one way or the other. There are some who do nothing special for the adults, and others who like to include one or two effects that the adults would especially appreciate. You gotta do what what fits you (hey, that rhymes!).

While I don't usually do effects especially for the adults during the show, if I've arrived early, and have completed my setup, and if the kids are still outside playing (a lot of "if's") I would show the adults a few effects to entertain them (ie: Card Warp, Kollosal Killer, Scotch and Soda, Invisible Deck, etc.). These may not need a lot of technical skill, but they pack a huge wallop!

It would always depend on the venue, and the circumstances. I would always arrive prepared for this, just in case. For example, before leaving the house you may get a few adults say "Show us something too!" Be a good boy scout, and be prepared. Smile

Brian
Vilago
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No less an authority than David Ginn has always espoused a musical opener (after a warm-up) that consisted of some sleight-of-hand...card fans, balls, etc. I've found this is an excellent idea, so don't assume that the kids won't know skill when they see it!!

Dan

BTW, this may cause some flaming, but I firmly believe that you aren't a magician unless you can do some sleight-of-hand...anyone can buy a prop and deliver a line...I don't buy the idea that kid shows equal bought props...

Dan
Mike Robbins
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As I said in a previous post, I do include things in the show that the adults appreciate. These are not necessarily (and very often aren't) routines that require a great amount of physical technical skill (what some people may call "knuckle busting"). This doesn't mean the kids don't enjoy them! As Clive says, I'm hired for the kids, but if I can perform a few routines that the adults like as well (and I can!) then I do.

The references I make that the adults catch are not one-liners. They're more like asides and are original with me. In fact, several of them deal with local references that an audience outside of my state would not get. I personally think that magicians rely too much on old, unoriginal, and lame one-liners for their comedy (although that's a whole 'nother thread!)

As far as not being a magician if you don't do sleight of hand? I respect your opinion, Dan, but heartily disagree with it. Unfortunately, some magicians who do sleight of hand and "display skill" are rarely, in my opinion, doing magic. Pick one or the other. Do you want to display skill or perform magic? You might as well be a juggler (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course!).

Just a few thoughts and clarifications.



Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
p.b.jones
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HI,
I feel if I am booked to entertain at little johny's party I am there to entertain EVERYONE AT THE PARTY
I do not do effects or lines soley for the adults. In my opinion/experience it is quite possible to put together an act which is entertaining to both ...

The way I think is would I personaly pay more to have some one come and entertain everyone at my party or just to babysit the kids.

phillip
Leo B. Domapias
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Quote:
Unfortunately, some magicians who do sleight of hand and "display skill" are rarely, in my opinion, doing magic. Pick one or the other. Do you want to display skill or perform magic? You might as well be a juggler (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course!).


Surely, there are more than two choices.

A third choice would be doing sleight-of-hand that’s at the same time magical and entertaining. In the hands of Juan Tamariz, a deck of cards behaves magically and doesn’t look like being juggled. And while you’re trying to keep up with him, you get gas pain from laughing at his antics. Juan Tamariz is a sleight-of-hand god who performs beautiful and entertaining magic, notwithstanding his zany character. The same thing can be said of Bill Malone and David Williamson. Because their techniques are flawless, they produce visually aesthetic magic that is at the same time entertaining.

Their technically demanding magic is not, of course, the type of skillful magic I have in mind in writing my original post. I admit that children’s magicians need not acquire Jeff McBride’s manipulative skill to perform at, say, a birthday party.

Still, my guiding principle in choosing a method is, if there’s a method I could use that produces a more visually appealing magic, I’d opt for that method even if it were technically more demanding---within reason, of course.

Under this principle, I’d change the color of my silk handkerchief using a dye tube rather than a change bag. I’d produce a dove from a body load rather than from a dove pan. I’d vanish a finger ring by sleeving or tossing it into a topit rather than wrapped it in a gimmicked handkerchief. I’d produce umbrellas from body loads rather than from a square circle. And so on…

I would use the more technically demanding methods in the above examples not to challenge myself or massage my self-esteem (although these might be part of the reason), but to try to enhance the magical effect I want to produce.

Ben Benjay
Manila, Philippines
Mike Robbins
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Quote:
On 2003-08-22 06:42, Ben Benjay wrote:
Quote:
Unfortunately, some magicians who do sleight of hand and "display skill" are rarely, in my opinion, doing magic. Pick one or the other. Do you want to display skill or perform magic? You might as well be a juggler (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course!).


Surely, there are more than two choices.



The two choices I was referring to was to either a) do magic or b) "display skill". Doing magic through sleight of hand or gimmicks is one option. Performing physical tricks that are technically demanding for the sake of showing off skill is the other. Seems we agree. I could have been more clear.

Quote:
On 2003-08-22 03:59, p.b.jones wrote:

I do not do effects or lines soley for the adults. In my opinion/experience it is quite possible to put together an act which is entertaining to both ...

phillip


You bet. After reading your post, I've mentally gone back over my set and there's nothing I can think of that plays for only one or the other.

Now there are some things that I don't think would be popular for a "just adults" show, but not many. The hat tear for instance. But they enjoy it when I get the smallest child up and perform it with him/her.

Most everything else would work in an adult show. In fact I do use such things as the Prof's Nightmare, Balloon Balls, Miser's Dream, Disappearing Water, and the McCombical Deck in my adult shows. There are also a few things I do in my adult shows that I wouldn't do in front of kids due to the "danger" or "they may try it" factor (as discussed in another thread).

The references are another story. The adults appreciate them and I often hear them chuckling, while the kids don't notice them. They are small references, not one-liners or jokes, so they don't interrupt the flow of the show for the children who don't get them.

Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
magic4u02
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I try to always include a trick or two that plays for the adults as well. As Jim stated above, you do have to remember who is paying you for the performance. I like to aim my shows for the family crowd. in this way, there is soemthing in the show for anyone to enjoy regardless of age. This makes for a better and more enjoyable performance for me and for the audience as well.
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Dynamike
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When I do kids shows I keep all the tricks for the kids. That makes the adults watch more, they like the kids expressions.
Mike Robbins
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Did a show today. After the show a gentlemen came up and asked for my card, remarking how much he enjoyed the show and was surprised that, even though it wasn't as "kiddie" as he expected, the children enjoyed it as well (ages 4-8). We talked about the corporate shows I do and he asked about a couple of the tricks I did. I told him I did do those in my corporate shows. Come to find out he's an executive for a large oil firm.

I don't think this would have happened if all I did at the show was "Hippity Hop Rabbits" and that type of thing. I'll stick with my methodology of entertaining all age levels present.

Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
Dennis Michael
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Are there more than two choices? Yes.

Many magician's can display their skill, craft and art in magic in many differnt ways. I agree with a display of image as described by David Ginn as mentioned above, as well as Jeff McBride.

The justification is to plant in the mind of the viewer you are a "skilled magician." Now, this doesn't mean displaying manipulation egos. Any method, including producing a rabbit froma a hat produces this image that you are a real magician.

Miser's Dream in the hands of a professional does this well, but I'm not one to use an assistant for the first routine. A short burst of fast paced productions is fine. Not cards, not coins, but silks, animals, flowers, dancing canes, etc all look great and establish that image.

If you want justification for coins, and cards, unless it is ratically different such as Sylvester the JEster pitch producing potatoes, cell phones and crazy stuff other than just coins, it is not what that audience expects.

Entertaining kids IS a skill by itself, an art form more difficult than entertaining adults, and more difficult than learning coin or card moves.
Dennis Michael
Quentin
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There seems to be an impression that if a trick in your children's show requires skill, therefore it must be only suitable for adults.

I have had effects in my repertoire that were accomplished by sleight of hand. They were only effects that I would show to children, not in an adult only presentation.

Don't forget "Farmyard Frolics" uses a Double LIft, normally referred to as a Double Turnover, but really it is a Double Lift.

Because most effects used by children's entertainers are self-working, don't assume that the children won't or can't appreciate an effect accomplished by skill, displayed or hidden.
Shadow
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I build my show to amaze the adults and entertain the kids. I close my birthday party show with the same effect that I close my adult stage show with. I love working for kids but I have never been hired by one, besides the feedback from the adults tells me this is the way to go.
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