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satellite23
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I was working at another library gig yesterday. Went well. However, one thing that I have been noticing at a lot of gigs, especially at this one, is that people, especially little kids, love to come back behind the table that I am working at. They don't really touch my props unless they are told to, but still. It makes me feel crowded and limits my workspace. Are there any tips to make the kids stay in front of the table besides just telling them every few minutes?
mlippo
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Quote:
On 2011-10-30 08:39, satellite23 wrote:
... They don't really touch my props unless they are told to

Then you were luckier than I was a few weeks ago, when, while performing for 5-11 year-olds at a wedding, I had a few of them coming at the back a starting to rummage through my props in the briefcase I keep them in!

I tried telling them gently not to do it, but it worked for a bit. Then the same kid kept on coming and there was nothing I could do. At a certain point I told him in an angry manner but at a very low voice that I was really getting cross and that helped a bit.

I had no idea who his parents were and whether they were among the adults watching my performance. If they were they behaved really unacceptably in my opinion. If they weren't, its probably because they know the kid pretty well and they were enjoying the fact not to have him around.

I could certainly use any tips!

mlippo
DWRackley
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No tips here! You described the main reason I quit doing magic for kids. It’s not a market; it’s a competition. Having kids of my own now, I understand a lot more about redirecting their attention, but other people’s kids? Fuggedabouddit!

When I choose to do something (rarely), I’ll specify that it’s a FAMILY show, NOT a kidshow. Some parents want to use you as a free baby-sitter. I insist that the parent remain present, and then make it worth their while.

I will not be responsible ever again for someone else’s problem.
...what if I could read your mind?

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mlippo
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DWRackley

I don't have a decennal experience of magic for kids, so I don't have hundreds of shows behind me. Anyway this is the first time it happened to me.

In other occasions I had kids popping up from the floor where they were sitting to come at the table to check my props after some climax. In particular after performing the classic effect where four cards turn over one at the time showing a blue back, then have a red back to end up with four completely and differently coloured backs at the end.

But since I always end up clean I don't mind that. It means that they were really astonished at the various colour changes! But putting their hands in my briefcase is another matter!!!

mlippo
Spellbinder
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You could always try the rat trap ploy. You have a loud "clapper" in your suitcase, table, trunk and you reach into the trunk from time to time and make a loud snapping noise with it, then bring your hand out, apparently caught in a large rat trap. Yell "Ow! That hurts!" and remove the trap from your fingers (it actually has been made easy to put on and take off by weakening or removing the actual spring and replacing it with a very weak spring or even a rubber band) and toss it back in the case. Do this several times as a running gag, but it's also a warning to presumptuous snoops to stay out of your case. If you see any kids going near the case, you might point out that there is a big vicious rat inside there and you haven't been able to catch it yet. Towards the end of your show, you can snap the clapper and bring out a rat trap with a toy Mickey Mouse captured: "I finally got the rat! No more cheese for you!"

No flaming from the politically correct, please. If this solution offends you, pretend I wasn't even here today.
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Daniel Ulzen
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Lots of childrens magicians use rope (or duc tape) to have a line no one is allowed to cross. Such a rope really helps a lot.

Or mabye ask the library to give you an adult helper who makes sure during your show that no one goes behind your table.

Or maybe tell the kids everyone gets a little magic trick (or something else) later but only those kids who stay in front of your table.
pradell
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The magic zone tape from Alaskan magician Jeff Brown is like the police's caution tape. Draws a clear line as to where the kids need to be and where you need to work. Hank Lee's Magic Factory carries the yellow rolls.
satellite23
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Haha Spellbinder:

That would have worked perfctly with my act! At the beginning, I joke around with a fake black rat and joke arond with the kids with it! Thanks for the idea!

Daniel:

Yeah, I have seen people use ropes, chains, caution tape, etc. to show where they want the audience. I just never really thought about using it myself, especially in a small library.
satellite23
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Oh, yes. I learned something very valuable at this gig. My tip for the day is: If there is a mascot and there is kids, do a trick with the mascot! The kids love it! There was a mascot dog walking around named Rufus. So, when there were a bunch of kids around, I called Rufus over. I pulled a handkerchief out of his big, floppy ears, showed it around, and made it disappear right back into my fist! Presto, I'm a hit!
jasonmcconnie
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Mention at the beginning of the show, "Only the kids sitting in front of the table will be selected as volunteers."
DWRackley
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Quote:
On 2011-12-15 02:17, jasonmcconnie wrote:
Mention at the beginning of the show, "Only the kids sitting in front of the table will be selected as volunteers."


This is brilliant!
...what if I could read your mind?

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Dynamike
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Quote:
On 2011-10-30 08:39, satellite23 wrote:
However, one thing that I have been noticing at a lot of gigs, especially at this one, is that people, especially little kids, love to come back behind the table that I am working at. They don't really touch my props unless they are told to, but still. It makes me feel crowded and limits my workspace. Are there any tips to make the kids stay in front of the table besides just telling them every few minutes?

I have a few questions so I want to make sure I understand.

1. Do they come "behind" your table only? If so have it against a wall. You can also have chairs or tables sealing the area off.
2. They come to the table before your act, or after your act? Put a sheet over everything when you are not performing anything so the kids will not see it.
3. Do they come during your act? Use words like "Who wanna play a game? Those who stay seated and stay back will be the ones to get a turn today? If you get up or come to close means you do not want a turn." I repeat that if I have to in certain shows if they are wild.
Jim Sparx
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One of the many reasons I did not like (and won't do)to do children's shows except in a school auditorium with a stage. Other than barbed wire - no solutions from me.
mikedobias
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The only issue I have is during setup and tear down--rarely an issue during a show, unless it's a 2 year old being allowed to wander.

I also use the "Magic Zone" yellow tape on the floor (one roll will last forever--I use the same 15 foot strip for many many shows), and tell the kids who might wander across while I'm setting up that I only choose helpers who can follow directions (said in a very light-hearted way). The kids have fun quickly jumping back and forth over the line, or touching a toe or finger over the line, but it's now keeping them away from the back of my case and from behind my backdrop. It's also a good indication to the parents where you want the kids.

I always spell out in my confirmation letter for birthday parties to "Please have an area cleared for the show, preferably up against a wall or in a corner where no one can walk behind me". Also, when I show up to set up, I choose the best area in the room based on my experience.
irossall
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A hungry pit bull would do wonder's for the little tikes.

Sorry, I just had to throw my two cent into the ring.

Adults is all I care to perform for. Dealing with Kids is a special talent and there are many good books on that subject.
Iven Smile
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jmvives
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Quote:
Dealing with Kids is a special talent


Fully agree. For me, for example, is difficult to make magic for childrens. Adults are more easily fooled Smile

greetings,
"Make your magic meaningful" Max Maven
Ekuth
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Two words:

Cattle Prod
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satellite23
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ROFL you guys have some funny jokes (hopefully) to keep the kids out.

Irosall, could you please refer me to a book or two about performing for kids? I think I'd like to read up on it.
braabesflaben
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I wish I had read this thread a few months earlier
irossall
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Frances Marshal (probably not spelled correctly) is the only author that comes to mind. Check the "Little Darlings" section here at the Café. I'm sure you will find much help there.
Iven Smile
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