The two hour birthday party!

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

Postby Jolly Roger » 11/13/09 06:07 PM

I have lived in the USA now for 17 years, and the majority of my shows are two hour birthday parties with games and magic. It amazes me that most of my friends in the UK do the 2 hour party, and yet on this side of the pond it is very rare. I just don't get it. Can anyone explain the reason, or are Americans simply lazy? JR
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Postby James Munton » 11/13/09 06:12 PM

No, they are smarter. Don't get me started.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/13/09 09:11 PM

James Munton wrote:No, they are smarter. Don't get me started.


James, dear fellow, you confuse me on two counts. First, you say that Americans are smarter than the British, which I find very odd as you used to be very British...even to the point of attending a minor Public School. I went to Haileybury and ISC as you know.

Secondly, you have always admitted to me that you are lazy, and you are now implying that(as you now consider yourself an American)you are not.

The truth is, as all the top successful children's entertainers in the UK know, the games and magic package is a winner.

I hope you will attend my lecture entitled "Games and Magic....the icing on the cake" at the January Kidvention in Washington DC. www.KapitalKidvention.com

I look forward to meeting you at this event, but unfortunately I shall be unable to attend your show at the Spy Museum on the saturday, as I am needed that day by clients in Phoenix who appreciate my 2 hour games and magic package. JR
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Postby Jack Turk » 11/13/09 09:57 PM

Most of the parties I do involve 60 minute
programs, which is about half of the total
birthday party event.

What I recommend to Mom is this structure.
Say you start the party at 1:00...

1:00 - 1:30 -- Games, Crafts, etc. as
kids and families straggle in (everyone
is late these days...)

1:30 - 2:30 -- Magical entertainment with
Turk the Genie...

2:30 - 3:00 -- Wrap with cake, ice cream,
and presents for all.

I'm not opposed to hanging out longer, but
this seems to be very much in fitting with
the kinds of parties I'm seeing in my neck
o' the woods.

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/13/09 10:33 PM

There are arguments for and against the full party package. I think it depends on what suits you and what kind of person you are. And of course how busy you are. If you are like James who no doubt is very busy on weekends there is probably more money available by doing a bit more running around.

If you are like Roger who has been doing this full party package for years then you continue as you have been doing and of course in the US he has an advantage over his competitors who don't do this.

I tried the full party package for a while but didn't feel comfortable doing it. I did the games very well since I studied the books that Roger recommended to me concerning this but alas I hated the fact that since I was in the house longer I had to talk to the parents about the price of beans in the supermarket and how much I love children which I certainly don't. I hated the small talk and I hated the break where I would be accosted by parents who wanted to chat.

I am very anti social person and detest the human race completely. I just want the said race to give me money and then leave me alone. I therefore preferred to arrive at house set up in 5 minutes at the very most, do the show, get my money then get the hell out of there as soon as possible. It is better business to stand around and chat to the parents in an insincere manner but it wasn't for me. I have been ripping off the public for so long that it is a natural instinct for me to get clear of them as soon as possible.

So for me the full party is not the way to go.

To sum it up it is entirely a personal matter and there is no right or wrong about it.
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Postby James Munton » 11/13/09 11:06 PM

Roger,

I was just about to post a reply, but then Mark joined the conversation and I have been forbidden from talking with Mark. Perhaps we can continue the discussion on the Buskers.

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/13/09 11:11 PM

Oh, I think you can talk to Roger. I won't take part so as not to get you into trouble.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/14/09 01:27 AM

James Munton wrote:Roger,

I was just about to post a reply, but then Mark joined the conversation and I have been forbidden from talking with Mark. Perhaps we can continue the discussion on the Buskers.

James


Are you serious?

Why?
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Postby Christopher Lyle » 11/14/09 01:47 AM

On this one "rare" occassion, I agree with Mark. There are people in the USA who do the whole sha-bang, but I think you need to decide who you are. Are you a Magician, or a Party Planner (for lack of a better term)?

I for one would never have anything to do with games and crafts, and other stuff. If I were a clown then perhaps I would do that as that seems more "clownish" to me.

I want to get in, do my thing, get my money, and get out of there. I usually have several shows booked in a single day and if I don't, I need to get back to the restaurant to perform. For me, time is money. The more shows I do, the more money I get.

So IMO, the 2 hour show (games, magic, balloons, crafts, etc) just won't work for me.

On a slightly differnt subject I'll tell a brief story that you might find humerous. While living in Virginia, there was a Magician who would advertise that he could perform a 30 minute show or a full hour show. The price difference was $100.00.

The difference in the show...NOTHING! The 30 minute show was his standard show. The full hour show was still only a 30 minute show except he would produce a bunny for his big finale and for the remaining 30 mintues would let the kids pet the rabbit.

American's by design are very lazy. I know cause I'm one of em! We work extra hard thinking of ways to be indolent and get paid for it.

Another little bit here...

How many times are you asked by someone (young or old) if they can show you a trick while you're on the clock. You hate it don't you? I use to keep 21 cards banded together in my pocket and toss them on the table when asked. It was joke, but usually that was the trick they were going to show me. It quickly defused the issue and I could get back to work.

A friend of mine out here in Dallas told me that anytime he's asked, he let's them do AS MANY TRICKS AS THEY WANT. He's on the clock getting paid regardless of whether or not he's working. His job is to entertain which he's doing by letting this person show him magic...so he tells them to take their time, do several tricks, etc.

So like I said, out here in the US, lazy sells! It's sad really...

Off to slumber...

Christopher
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/14/09 06:09 AM

Now that Munton seems to have gone to bed it is safe to come out and make my point. We cannot be accused of conversation if he has toddled off to the land of Nod.

The mere idea of young Christopher being at a children's party for two hours is a horrifying proposition anyway so it is just as well he gets out quickly before he screams at the mother for not controlling her children as he is prone to do. Not to mention doing tricks like the razor blades and a bit of fireating on the grounds that these are American children who are going to grow up to be gun toting hoodlums anyway and need to toughen up a bit.

His remark about the same show for different prices amuses me greatly because I once knew a psychic who did precisely that. He had a regular reading for $60. He also had an "abundant reading" for $100 and most amusing and outrageous of all an "exceptional reading" for $250! All the readings were exactly the same!

Again there is no set rule for the full party or not. It depends on who you are and people who do it or do not do it are not necessarily right or wrong. It is a matter of personal decision and preference.

The same goes for people asking if they can show you something. In a set show it may disrupt the pacing and procedure so it can be difficult to allow. However in a less restricted environment I believe you should always let the spectator do something. It makes them feel good that you have recognised them and it helps them to become a fan of you. Matt Schulien always allowed the spectator to show him something and praised them to the skies saying "you have the professional touch". I do exactly the same.
They are never going to out do you and it gives you a rest.

Schulien owned the place he did the tricks in so he had a certain freedom of action. And if I have some freedom of action I will certainly let this happen. Even at a trade show you can let it happen between shows. And in fact it may be good business to do so. And I think at a restaurant you can do it on occasion.

You may not always be able to allow a spectator to show you something but when it is possible I always welcome it. I recommend it.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/20/09 12:45 PM

It appears on another forum that someone took my advice on games, and it saved the day.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view ... orum=17&15

You are, ofcourse, all correct that it is up to each individual performer to decide what suits them best. At least Mark tried it, and it didn't work out. I suggest others try it. You might be pleasantly surprised. By the way, when it comes to children, I have never thought of myself as a magician. I am an entertainer, and I entertain with both the games and the magic. JR
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/20/09 02:25 PM

True Roger. I have never thought of you as a magician either!
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Postby Dynamike » 11/23/09 11:54 AM

I look at you as a great magician JR. I like your creativity. We need more magicians in this world like you.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/23/09 06:24 PM

We do?
Fred Robinson didn't think so. Oh never mind. Perhaps we had better change the subject.
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Postby mrgoat » 11/23/09 07:43 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:We do?
Fred Robinson didn't think so. Oh never mind. Perhaps we had better change the subject.


Rev Lewis

Give up the being pointlessly rude about Robinson. The only person who knew him really called you out and you bottled it.

Let it go now. Maybe try another dead magician?
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/23/09 08:32 PM

Well, Fred Robinson was "pointlessly rude" about Jolly Roger. Fair is fair you know.

Besides he WAS a bit snobby. I knew him too you know. And I am featured in his book on page 22. I bet you're not.

But I do agree with you. I shall let sleeping Robinsons lie and talk about some dead magicians instead. The trouble is that I can't think of any I wish to denigrate at the moment. What about magicians that I wish were dead? Would that qualify?
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Postby Dynamike » 11/23/09 08:54 PM

JR, are you going to put a DVD together for us one day? We would appreciate that buddy.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/23/09 10:32 PM

Nope. But he is going to shortly be writing for a leading magic magazine for no money. Roger is very spiritual about that sort of thing and he believes that if he gives to the universe the universe will give back to him in return.

Personally I prefer food with my meals.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/26/09 02:51 PM

Dynamike wrote:I look at you as a great magician JR. I like your creativity. We need more magicians in this world like you.


Well...thank you so much Mike! In answer to your question about a DVD, I do plan on releasing my first DVD in 2010. I shall keep you posted. My book should also be available next year.

It appears that [censored] has let the cat out of the bag, as I have been invited by Michael Close to write a regular column in M.U.M. on children's entertainment. I believe the first one will appear in february. Hopefully many of you will find inspiration in the column. JR
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Postby Richard Perrin » 11/28/09 02:39 AM

I'll be look out for MUM magazine!
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/28/09 12:16 PM

I think I will devote one of the MUM columns to the 2 hour birthday party, and all it's advantages. What do you think? If any of you have other subject regarding the entertainment of children on which you would like me to pontificate in the magazine, do let me know. Thanks! JR
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/30/09 08:57 AM

Roger. You should probably write about the difference between the British way of entertaining children and the American way. The only one who has ever written about it in an intelligent fashion is Silly Billy. I was impressed that he even knew there was a difference.

The British way is FAR better and you would be doing all the daft Americans who do it the wrong way a favour by explaining it.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/30/09 12:08 PM

I would not be as bold as you to say that Americans do it the wrong way, but there are certainly huge differences in style between the two countries. It is interesting to note that the two winners in the competition at Kidabra this year were British......Jimmy Carlo and Dave Andrews. I will admit that this does give credance to your theory.

I will definitely cover some of the transatlantic differences and make suggestions to the Americans in my column. JR
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/30/09 02:06 PM

Roger. You know perfectly well that the British method is superior and in fact you have said it yourself many times in the past. I will confess however that I have seen some British performers lately on You Tube and I am beginning to doubt my own words. Every one of them that I have seen with the exception of you of course, has been utterly horrendous. I am beginning to wonder if with the demise of Supreme Magic standards are beginning to fall.

Munton would be quite good if he were to embrace the Choo Choo train trick and abandon that stupid hot book. Fire should never be performed in front of children and I do note that David Ginn also advocates fire in the shape of that awful hot book thing when performing for children.

No wonder he got nowhere in the Blackpool competition. Of course Blackpool magician's audiences are very unpredictable. I was told by Paul Diamond that Bev Bergeron was the best performer in Florida but yet years ago when he performed in Blackpool he died the most horrible death known to man.
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Postby Dynamike » 12/04/09 01:53 PM

I was hired for three hours of entertainment on Thanksgiving. I did get two more three hour shows out of it.
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Postby magomarcos » 03/10/11 01:18 AM

translated by Google

... ... .... There is a myth which says that a function of magic for children, exceeding forty-five minutes tired and bored. The experience of more than thirty years (since 1974) in the magical world of children, has shown me the opposite.
When I began performing the role in three parts, twenty-five minutes, ten-minute break and twenty minutes of magic. In seventy-eight ... ... discarded the first twenty minutes of play and later led the half, achieving a one-hour interactive show full of MAGIC.
If your show is interactive, fun and good magic, more than once pass the time without realizing it.
A magic show should be just that: Magic, but Magic, from beginning to end. Otherwise it is an act of varied entertainment, including magic, which does not mean it is wrong, BUT: "NO CHILD IS A MAGIC SHOW"... ... ... ....

In Uruguay, the holidays are done only with classmates and friends here in Houston do not come from classmates, just friends and family with their parents, which transforms children's magic show at MAGIC SHOW FAMILY, not just Children enjoy the show, the adults involved and watch the whole show from beginning to end. The show is interactive, always one or two spectators doing magic with the magician or transforming themselves into magicians. The basic magic show is 50 minutes, which adds 10 minutes to figure balloon made ​​by my assistant Tufy clown. This enables the magician save all your material in the bags. Usually hires and a half hour show where the magic takes 70 minutes and balloons last for 20 minutes. The two-hour show includes an air suspension and increasing the monetary cost of the show.
Saludos Mago Marcos * www.alegriaydiversion.com
Sorry, my texts are translated by Google
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Postby Jolly Roger » 03/28/11 10:35 PM

Jolly Roger wrote:I think I will devote one of the MUM columns to the 2 hour birthday party, and all it's advantages. What do you think? If any of you have other subject regarding the entertainment of children on which you would like me to pontificate in the magazine, do let me know. Thanks! JR


Just so you all know, this subject will be covered in my next "MUM" column! By the way, I do hope you are enjoying my columns, and I welcome your feedback! JR
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Postby Duncan William » 09/30/11 07:00 PM

For the 2 hours do you do games and music or just one or the other or combine the 2?
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