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TJs Magic
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I come this evening seeking advice from seasoned child performers or anyone who has some good advice on how to bounce back from a unsatisfactory performance in my opinion. I have been performing for 2 years so I am a novice in this feild but I take my perfomances seriousley and truly want to exacute what I am bringing to the table. That is why I never perform anything exept for my family that I do not feel I have learned well. BUT! today I had the first show I was not proud of, I mean I still had parents request my card and ask for pricing and parents and children that had positive feed back, but it felt so out of sink and if it could go wrong it did go wrong.
Question 1. I had an audiance (3 time repeat customer) for there biggest group yet but the 1st and biggest problem was I have performed in that area about ten times between the school,preschool,and birthdays and 4 children in this group had seen me at least 3 times. Now I keep my show changing, but I can't change everything from one show to the next and today they hammerd me. Everything they had seen which was 2/3 what I had prepared they give out the ending befor I could start the trick which was soooooooo! frustrating this would be my biggest problem. WHAT DO I DO?

Question 2: The little guy whose birthday it was, has a true love for magic he just turned six today but you can see it in his eyes.This little boy had also seen my show before but even the tricks he had seen he would lean to his mom and say I love this trick in amazement. He also came dressed in a full magicians costume and I let him help me as an assistant several times. O.K. how do I get this kid to stay interested when his friends think there getting to big to believe in magic? Of course I understand this is not my kid but I remember being that kid and I want him to love it as much as I have grown to.

Question 3: Payment, My parent for this party appeared to be very happy with the show and the party and even paid me extra which I did not realize till after I had left( check was in an envelope.) Question is should I have taken payment in this situation? Or should I have done something else? if so (what,how, and what do I say.)I like making cash doing this but I am a liscensed contractor and I would rather not be paid than to get a bad rap. I don't think this lady would do that, but in my full time Profession I don't leave till I have satified my customer but I don't know I'm just frustrated and didn't really know what to do.

Now I don't want to over exagerate. I did not have a trick go wrong other than an elastic brake on one of my bunny boxes which I made work anyway,but my rythum seemed off and I just didn't get that jaw dropping experiance on somethings I am use to getting and I believe repeat buisness is the best buisness.

Thanks for reading this long subject but just needing some advice.
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Inner circle
Chattanooga, TN
1909 Posts

Profile of DWRackley
Very good questions all, and I’d be very surprised if anyone here hasn’t been in the very same place.

Before tackling any of them, I want to point out that your perception and your audience’s perception are two very different things. In fact, it would be a real coincidence if you and your audience even liked the same effects. That’s something to keep in mind throughout your magical career. What you like – what they like – two different things!

Other people will have other “best advice”, but trust me, we’ve ALL been there!


In reverse of the order asked; yes, you take their money. You performed the service requested and you did your best. Some of what happened was out of your control. A more seasoned performer might have had suitable tactics for handling it, BUT that seasoned performer would probably be charging a lot more!

It’s too late for some things, but if you really feel you underperformed, you could offer an added value, such as a thank you card (Not a bad idea anyway. Is there a picture of the birthday boy posing with the magician?), and include some coupons for the local pizza joint, or a self-working effect “just” for him. Of course, your contact information is on everything.


Question Two seems to have its own answer. He’s already hooked, now he just needs to be “protected” from discouragement. Some things (like belief in magic) will naturally disappear with age. If he grows up remembering that he had a wonderful experience (instead of thinking that someone fooled him), that’s probably about the best you can hope for.

Another thought: Ever thought about teaching magic? If he’s coming to see you every week, you can be that encouragement, able to show him that magic is so much more than just knowing the secrets. Timing, misdirection and even patter are simpler to catch onto when there’s a teacher instead of just a book.


Question One would take a book. In fact, I think there ARE books! Smile

Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin. You never want to fight with your audience (drunks, kids, not much difference, the kids are better behaved) you won’t win that fight. Very few people nowadays would recommend a “sucker” effect, or anything to make them look foolish, but often, if you give them just a little bit of attention, they’ll settle down.

Sometimes using the rowdies as an assistant can help. You may not want them onstage, but you can call them out. “Yes, and thank you for volunteering! I need a number between one and four million two hundred thirty seven thousand six hundred and two.” Or “Can you silently count down for us while we wait for the magic to happen? Start at 100. Count by 7.” It will draw a laugh, give them some attention and just possibly nudge them to submission.

I know others here will have much better ideas than I, but this should start a discussion.


Going back to Question Three and reading it again, the extra cash may be an indicator that she realized the children were being a problem, and hoped to apologize in this way. Again, receive the payment (to do anything else would be ungracious), and send a thank you note soon.
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Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
2290 Posts

Profile of Ed_Millis
One thing you must remember: the audience never knows what is *supposed* to happen; they only know what they saw.

If you got paid extra, then they liked and enjoyed what they saw. That's what you came to deliver, and that's what they felt they received. And people came up afterwards asking for you because they also liked and enjoyed what they saw. They saw a great magic show. It wasn't the same show _you_ saw, but it's their opinion that counts.

If you won't publicly perform anything you haven't practiced well, then you are already three steps ahead of everyone else! And apparently it showed. You were "off your game", but gave them an excellent show (remember: it's _their_ opinion that counts here!). That's because you rehearsed well and gave them the best you had at that time. Sure, you've done better before, but that night .... well, that was the best you had.

You and your magic are NOT the only factors in making up a good show. The situation and the audience are huge factors, and you can no more control them than you can the weather. I don't know what type of contracting business you have, but most construction jobs are heavily influenced by weather, and some days that's just aas good as it gets, even though it isn't the best you've ever done. The same holds true with a "rough crowd" audience. And you will learn to handle an audience like that the same way you learned to handle a broken elastic - with practice. Unfortunately, you don't have one of those audineces at home to rehearse with, so your practice comes in bits and pieces - like every time you get in front of one of "those" crowds.

Do not beat yourself. Sit back one night and critically examine in your mind everything that you did and what happened in the audience, and think of what you might have done to smooth out some of the bumps. Write it down. Work it into your rehearsals. In a year or two, those things won't bother you. (But you'll probably have some new challenges!)

TJs Magic
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Thank you guys so much for your advice it was very encouraging and helpful. You know every day brings a new light on things. Today my wife/assistant had to go by and pick up some fabric from the little boys mother. We have known these folks a while and this was something they had going on seperatley,but today was a great day because the mother told my wife how wonderful her,her children,and her husband loved the show. She went on to say that the little boy was so excited he had to wear his shirt today that had a top hat on it and had to get his dvd and pictures developed last night after the show and that he hung a picture of the 2 of us on his bedroom wall. I felt totally awsome after hearing this.Guys it is a great feeling to perform and see the excitment you can bring to others and I just got down when I didn't get my total usual response but you guys were a hundred percent right I think what I see and what they see are totally different. Your comments were great guys and have given me much to look forward to and several diffrent ideas on how to deal with and prepare for this situation not if, but when it happens again I know now this is something that only expreriance can truly prepare you for but now I know better how to examine ahead of the curve. Also thank you for the card and special trick just for the birthday boy that is a great idea.
You Guys though I don't know you personally are good friends to have in this buisness. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me see past this minor set back and also for you kind comments.

P.S. Anyone else who would like to chime in on this subject please do I would love to read them and see what others experiance have been in this dreadful area.
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NY Metro
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Profile of solrak29
I just want to add to the already good advise that you have received. A lot of times, we are our own worse critic. In that, we can only look to improve ourselves. If it is not in your show that you are dissapointed with then there is nothing to fret, but if there is you should try note that (write it down in the car after the show) and work to improve that situation or part of your show. It seems in this case that you are only concerned with your show repeating. It's ok, and you will have kid's who like to do what you described but in the end you entertained them.

But, if you are so worried on your quality of work that you are giving parents, you could do the following:

  • Provide a 100% gurantee for your show and emphasize that.
  • Provide a Thank You note and keep in touch.
  • Provide a feedback note.

Though most parents may not call you on the 100% gurantee, there will be a time where a parent will no be happy with your show. In that case you should note that and follow through with your gurantee. But it leaves the door open, I think for honest review.

The thank you note tells them something and keeps you in touch with your customer. With this you could offer, as mentioned above, magic instruction.

Last, the feedback note. With your thank you note ask for feedback. Perhaps a small questionar that opens the forum for critique from your customers.

Hope this helps, as it sound like your are doing well and that you want to ensure that your show is the best....
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Carrie Sue
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Auburn, MI
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Profile of Carrie Sue
Every show is brand new.
Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance.


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