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newmagician123
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Hi everyone I'm phill and fairly new to magic but learning best I can , I would love in the future to do kids partys, etc , but can you give me some advise how to even present a show,
thanks.
Magic Ken
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Hi Phil,
I think it’s so insightful that you recognise how important the presentation side of our art is. The Tarbel Course in Magic is a great set of books that every magician should own. The volumes contain lots of information on presentation and showmanship and valuable information on putting together routines. The Tarbel Course also contains hundreds of tricks with performance and handling suggestions. The books are usually available through eBay second hand, worth having a look.
Robin4Kids
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Phill,
If you want to see how a great kids' show is presented, I suggest you get DVDs by Tommy James, Silly Billy, Ken Scott, Danny Orleans or numerous others that would be helpful. This should at least give you an idea of their recommended routines that have been effective for them. You will find that not all tricks work as well for all ages of children, so what may be funny to a 5 year old may be boring to a 10 year old. It is important to gear your show to the age group you are entertaining. Good luck!
neemdog
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I'm going to second Robin's recommendation of Silly Billy's DVD, because I'm in the same position as you--I'm just starting with kid's parties, and the Silly Billy DVD (Seriously Silly) taught me a lot about the basics of doing a show for kids, AND you also get to watch a show performed by Silly Billy himself, which I found extremely helpful. All of the tricks that he does are available for purchase if you like them!
morro3
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The only thing I can add is give you the name of some more great performers whos DVDs I urge you to watch.

Bill Abbott, Quentin Reynolds and David Ginn - all of them have some great material and all of them are able to show you a few things in terms of presentation. I hope you will find something that will be helpful to you.

cheers
RobertlewisIR
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I'm not a kids' performer, so I don't know a lot about those books and DVDs specifically, though I'll agree that what I have seen of Silly Billy is quite good.

I also recommend that you try exploring some other things that are not directly magic related. By that I mean, magicians, if they want to present tricks well, should know about more than just the presentation of tricks. You should consider reading general-purpose books on public speaking. In fact, you should be well-read and well-educated (not necessarily to say well-schooled) generally. If you're interested in kids' shows, watch Sesame Street, so you can understand how non-magicians relate to children. Be sure to read a lot of psychology, because that's a more important part of magic than the mechanical methods. Attend the theatre and pay attention to how theatrical presentations are structured.

I don't mean to blow my own horn here, but I think my presentations are above average precisely because when I script them, I draw from non-magical experiences, and I'm only able to do that because I have an extensive library at home and a passionate interest in multiple fields of inquiry. Think about some of the greats in magic. Eugene Burger comes to mind. His work is great not because of his technical mastery, but because of his ability to use presentation to bring magic to a higher level than "just tricks."
~Bob



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Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
MRSharpe
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I've done a lot of kid's shows and they are literally the toughest audience to perform for by far. A good warm up is essential. It establishes ground rules, gets the kids ready to watch the show and let's them know what kind of performer you are. There are many good warm ups available for you to customize. Personally, I use a version of Bob Markwood's warm up published in his lecture notes from the early 1990s. Try to start with a quick routine that gets them involved in the magic. It's not necessary to do routines which use audience volunteers for every part of the show, but hands on/audience participation magic is excellent. Try to do a section of the show where there are a lot of sight gags that aren't necessarily magic. This gets the kids laughing and laughter adds to the entertainment value of your show. It's a good idea to stay away from a lot of card routines and mentalism, especially for kids under 7-8. It's difficult for them to conceptualize cards and especially mentalism. Two ways to use cards, however, are to use a deck that has cartoon characters or super heroes instead of normal card faces so they can remember the cards easier, or do a broad comedy card routine with an adult, like the birthday kid's dad. This has the advantage of keeping an adult in the performance space with you so that you don't get stuck with crown control. You're not there as a baby sitter! I use The magician's Insurance Policy for this spot in my act. Don;t do too many 'sucker' type effects. This becomes too repetitive and the kids will eventually catch on and show you up. finally, end with a routine that leave you on stage alone and then hand the audience off to the next performer or to the next activity. This may be the birthday cake if the show is for a birthday party. I hope this helps!
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
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