Harry Potter Fodder

Discuss the art of Children's Entertainment with your fellow performers.

Postby Guest » 11/04/07 10:36 PM

I had a request today for a Harry Potter themed show. I've got 4 weeks, and nothing like that currently in my repertoire. At the very least, i think i could rework a couple of effects.

To get the creative juices flowing, i thought i'd put the word out to see what you all think. Anybody doing any Potter presentations that they'd like to share?

(Are there marketed H.P. effects available? I can't think of any off the top of my head...)

Thanks,
Damian
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Postby Guest » 11/04/07 11:00 PM

http://www.comicmagician.com/page_childrens_potter.html

I do numerous Harry Potter parties. I normally do a whole party with games and magic, including HP trivia, as well as effects with the golden snitch, COI, broomsticks, floating feathers, mirrors that reflect images from the past, three headed dogs, Giants etc. There is so much you can do, but you need to focus on your creative juices and not rely on magic dealers who probably think HP is the British PM!! JR
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Postby Guest » 11/05/07 07:11 AM

You may find some ideas for presentations in The Wizards' Journals, particularly #1-#3, but if you are familiar with the books, you should have no trouble starting there and coming up with an effect. The other approach is to take some themed party Harry Potter goods from the party store and use them in various effects (there's an article about this in Wizards' Journal #14). For example, using Harry Potter themed paper cups or plastic cups, use them for a Chop Cup routine, or use three for the Cups and Balls.
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Postby Guest » 11/05/07 12:16 PM

Thanks to you both for the support and recommendations. I'm not familiar with Wizards' Journals, but i found them at magicnook--looks like you can buy individual articles online.
Jolly Roger, you are clearly the man this party organizer is looking for. I hope i can do it some justice:)
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Postby Guest » 11/05/07 01:11 PM

I am sure you will be wonderful! To save getting too stressed out, why not just dress up as a Wizard, and do what you normally do. You could tell them that each trick you learned in a different year at Hogwarts! If you do the tricks well, and are entertaining, I am sure the client will be happy! JR
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Postby Guest » 11/06/07 09:28 AM

There are some very cool Potter-themed tricks available from Colombini Wild Magic.

Owl Mail, Sorcerer's Surprise, and a booklet entitled "Wild About Harry" with many ideas for Potter-themed tricks are just some of the things available. These are all only $10 each.

I have used these tricks in my shows and they work.

Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
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Postby Guest » 11/06/07 10:05 AM

Are there any legal implications to putting on a show such as this, especially considering THIS sort of story?

I'm not criticising anyone. I genuinely don't know if there are any implications.
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Postby Guest » 11/06/07 04:29 PM

If you're moderately clever you can devise a Potter themed act without too much trouble. I constructed my first one with three days notice and i hadn't even read the books. Fortunately my wife had read the first two and gave me enough ideas to go on. The 15 minute show I came up with was the basic skeleton I used to flesh out what eventually became my 45 minute Harry Potter show.
First off I decided on a theme which was that I had come from Hogwarts to give all the lucky first years their orientation. I created the character of Professor Hieronymus Payne so I didn't have to fight any preconceived notions people might have had about the characters in the book.

The tricks I did were all based on aspects of the book. I had one about the Fat Lady Portrait, Transfiguration Class, Potions Class and a cords of Fantasia Routine which demonstrated the rules of Quidditch.

Since that time I have built many custom props for my show like a Run Dragon Run and a Snake Basket which sports a baby basilisk instead of a snake.
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Postby Guest » 11/06/07 04:37 PM

There definitely are implications here. If you use references to any of the things that Rowling originated, such as Hogwarts, the Golden Snitch, Quidditch, or any of the specific characters, such as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Grainger, you may be in for a rude surprise.

Certain things will be in the public domain; for example, Merlin is in the public domain. Dumbledore is not. Basically, you should avoid specific references to HP material. You can use general references to wizardry, witchcraft, spells, potions, etc.

This kind of thing occurs every time there is a new hero with magical powers or very popular kid's icon. The way the people who own the licenses to these things catch the violators is that they go through the local phone books and say things like "I'm giving a birthay party for my 8 year old son, and he is a very big Harry Potter fan. Do you do a Harry Potter show?"

If you say, "Oh, yes. I come in dressed as Dumbledore and give every child at the party a diploma from Hogwarts and a golden Snitch," then prepare for a visit from the trademark police. If you say, "I do a show that is geared towards a wizard school. I dress as an old wizard, and during the show, I put a school robe on the birthday child and the other volunteers who come up to help me. When the show is over, they get a diploma from the Academy of Wizardry," then you are probably going to be okay. You can always add "because of copyright and trademark restrictions, I can't actually be a character from the Harry Potter movies, but I can still be a wizardry instructor and do some really neat things along that line."

That will probably get you off the hook.

About 2 decades ago, there were lots of people performing as Barney. A lot of them were busted when the Lyons group had their people phone the folks who advertised in the yellow pages. Now, it's even easier, because you can google Harry Potter birthday party and find out who the violators are.
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Postby Guest » 11/09/07 12:47 AM

A few ideas from a recent experience. A friend threw a Harry Potter themed birthday party and asked me to dress up as Dumbledore to help out. I volunteered to do so. It was great fun.

The major focus of the event was having the children participate in a day a Hogwarts -- they were divided up by an animatronic Sorting Hat (which started to malfunction so I had to improvise with some puppetry skills), attended classes and played Quiddich. I taught a "potions" class, which largely consisted of having them add mentos and pop rocks to soda, along with a colors, fake eyeballs and so forth. It was easy and fun.

In terms of effects, I didn't really do very much, but added a few things mainly for my own amusement. Believe or not, an old Fantasio cane appearing from a black silk extending from one of my black sleeves really created a dramatic moment. Beyond that, I dug up my old Zombie and introduced it as a Quiddich "blodger" (the nasty balls that knock players off their broomsticks). Pretending to protect them from it while using a thumb levitation worked quite well (though I was accused of using a string to levitate the ball probably due to the long grey wig I was wearing).

They distributed bamboo brooms to the kids at the party. Only later did it occur to me that one of these lightweight brooms could have easily been employed for a levitation or suspension effect, which really would have been very effective and appropriate.

Hope these help.

Gary
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Postby Guest » 12/11/07 08:38 PM

I'm going to start specializing in Voldemort Parties, but to avoid the trademark police I will call them "He Who Cannot Be Named" Parties... ;)
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Postby Guest » 12/11/07 08:43 PM

Originally posted by Chris McBrien:
I'm going to start specializing in Voldemort Parties, but to avoid the trademark police I will call them "He Who Cannot Be Named" Parties... ;)
And you're going to perform only tricks marketed by Jeff Bu*** and recommended by Mark Le**s - right?

;)
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Postby Greg Edmonds » 09/09/08 06:52 AM

My old friend Blain Goad created an excellent egg bag routine for the "snitch," is it?

Anyway, it seems you could have a great deal of fun alluding to, but never actually touching upon any of the actual names of things owned by Warner Brothers (created by Joann Rowling). You could explain that, as non-magic people are in the room, you've been forbidden to discuss things more specifically. This might help avoid some of the legal entanglement, and the kids would enjoy it all the more, feeling they're privy to "inside stuff."

By the way, I contacted Universal Theme Parks in Florida as a reporter and editor working for the IBM, trying to gain insight into whether or not "real" magicians/conjurors would have a place in the new Harry Potter's Magical World attraction. It took about 15 phone calls to get to the right guy (head of PR), and turned out he was completely tight-lipped on the project.

I know folks at Disney who might gain an inside track, but don't know anyone at Universal. If you do, and are interested, it might make a neat gig.

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Postby mattyMagic » 03/11/09 05:03 AM

I know this reply is a little late. :blush:

But I saw a really cool looking wizard hat. It looks like the sorting hat from the movies. It is a change bag.
By reading this you will suddenly explode!
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/12/09 08:24 AM

With the next Harry Potter Movie coming out in July, it's never too late to start preparing for all the parties that will surround the event. Just watch out for the death-eaters!
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Postby Spellbinder » 07/20/09 02:07 AM

I hope some of you are making some bucks off the latest Harry Potter movie craze. The Bizartists especially should be able to find material from this latest film. I think a "pensieve" would be a great addition to a mental act for the teen age audience as a result.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 07/28/09 01:33 AM

Image

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Postby Mark Pettey » 08/01/09 11:49 PM

What a great shot, Roger ! Must have been a fun gig...
Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
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CiRCUS of MAGiC!
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/03/09 10:36 AM

Thanks Mark. That pic was actually taken outside a library I had just worked. The Harry Potter bus goes to various cities and stops outside libraries. The bus is great inside, and is all decked out with Harry Potter Movies playing non-stop videos etc. JR
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