Birthday party: The second trick

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 09/20/06 06:56 AM

So you come out and your first trick has it all - the kids are involved, your character is established, the parents like you, and magic has happened.

Right now I've got a TT & silk opener for younger kids, and the Invisible Deck for older kids.

Then what? You've got the ball started rolling. Is this the time to begin a string of tricks connected by a common story line? Or would you drop in one other routine to get some more energy going?

Ed
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Postby Guest » 09/20/06 07:58 AM

Two words.

Vanshing Bandana.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/20/06 11:28 AM

Originally posted by Gord Gardiner:
Vanshing Bandana.
I'm not sure I follow you. For the younger set (up to 8 years old), I'm doing the TT Vanishing Silk. Is this different? Or are you referring to the Bananna/Bandanna routine? I've got one of those in mind, but haven't worked it up yet.

Actually, I was wondering about what the second trick should do. Would you want a short intro into a set? Or, if you've got the kids "involved" with the first trick, would it be better to follow with a longer routine?

I would assume the second trick is a good time to begin choosing volunteers. Would you start by just picking one? Or use a routine that uses more than one?

Ed
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/20/06 11:51 AM

For a children's show it is important to set the rules right off the bat, but in a fun way. Get them clapping and laughing. Tell them you need helpers and show them HOW to volunteer. I then recommend that the first trick include a volunteer, this shows the other children that you are not going to embarrass them and that you can be a lot of fun.
Then go into the Vanishing Bandana (Banana). It's a fun routine, it makes them laugh, it's got great magic and comedy. It is also so strong that odds are it will be the one trick remembered by the majority. Placing it second gives you a good chance of having something else remembered as well.

Hope it helps.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 09/20/06 12:26 PM

I would strongly recommend you pick up a copy of Seriously Silly, by David Kaye.

He was here to lecture last year, and being a close-up kinda guy I know nothing about kids show magic.

Since I knew him by reputation I decided to expand my knowledge base by attending his lecture and it was a revelation.

He really understands how kids minds work, and how different age groups have different entertainment needs. And he's very good at imparting that wisdom.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/20/06 12:46 PM

Sorry if I seem thick here, Gord. I've got a small bit of experience here, and most of it was done wrong, so I am desperately trying to figure out some of the underlying concepts rather than performing canned patter!

I am going to try to restrict my perfromances to 6-12 years old (generally speaking - I know younger and older show up to kids parties). I'm trying to put shows together that are applicable to the age group (another thing I did wrong before).

For a children's show it is important to set the rules right off the bat, but in a fun way. Get them clapping and laughing. Tell them you need helpers and show them HOW to volunteer.
I can see this working for maybe up to 8 year olds. But by the time they're hitting 4th-5th grade, do they still want the silly stuff?

I then recommend that the first trick include a volunteer, this shows the other children that you are not going to embarrass them and that you can be a lot of fun.
I was once told by someone else NOT to use a volunteer right out of the chute, because the kids don't know what they're getting into with me yet, and I run the risk of getting either a child who is pushed up there and will freeze or one who takes the opportunity to hijack the show!

I think for me I would rather use the first routine to establish myself while allowing them to participate from where they are sitting down. It also gives me the opportunity to gather my confidence and know we're all going to have a good time. I know that will change as I perform more and gain proficiency; until then, though, an initial success does wonders for me!

Then go into the Vanishing Bandana (Banana). It's a fun routine, it makes them laugh, it's got great magic and comedy. It is also so strong that odds are it will be the one trick remembered by the majority. Placing it second gives you a good chance of having something else remembered as well.

Hope it helps.

Gord
What age groups would you use this for? If this is so strong, would it be better placed later to erase any memory of weaker routines (especially in my case!)?

I hope I don't run you out of patience! If you can recommend a couple of good books dealing with this kind of "theory of routining", I would appreciate it. I've got "Seriously Silly", and regularly check out from the library Hay's "Amateur Magician's Handbook" and Mulholland's "Book of Magic".

Many thanks!
Ed
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Postby Guest » 09/20/06 03:48 PM

Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/20/06 03:54 PM

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
I would strongly recommend you pick up a copy of Seriously Silly, by David Kaye.
Thanks for the reply, Bill. I've got that one, and re-reading it jarred me from the mistakes I've been making.

I had basically the same questions, though, and emailed him. He did respond back that since he mostly performs for 3-8 yr olds, that's the midset of the book.

I think I can do okay for up to 8 yr olds, although I just wonder if the second trick is the place to start in on the main show - volunteers, the running gags and storyline, etc. - or if there should be one more. I guess at that age, though, once you've established that you're here to play with them and it's gonna be fun, whatever you do after that is golden.

The older kids (9-12) can be a different matter from what I understand. (My kids are now 15-23 - 9 yrs old was a long way back!) Is one initial routine from a decent but not killer performer going to be enough? (And if it isn't, should I not do this?)

Ed
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/21/06 06:39 AM

Thanks so much, Gord. I appreciate the link to the book - it will probably be my next purchase.

And thanks also for the words of encouragement. I tend to over-think (in case you haven't noticed), and I've been "eaten up" more times than I want to remember! So I'm trying to make things as bullet-proof as possible - before that meant "make the tricks good"; now I know it means "make the ~performer~ good!" But there is no bypassing time and experience. It's just good to hear that there really is a light at the end of this tunnel!

Cheers!
Ed
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