This is a list of things you must be able to do or should do before actually performing a paid kid show.
Most of you guys won't read this because well, you hate to read. But what are doing right now?
Also, the following list can be adjusted to fit in with any type of performance. Whether it be close up, to big stage illusions.
1) Research- Research, Research, Research. I can't say this enough. This is one thing that is a must, that is why I put it at the top of the list. Even though this list is not in any particular order. Research things so you know the history of what you are actually performing. Research things such as phsycology so you know how to actually know what people are thinking when you are performing.
2) Think like a lay - If you think like a lay person while coming up with your show and routine your show WILL BE BETTER! Think about it... You see a trick that you want to buy because, well, you don't know how it works and you want to learn it. You watch the demo or the previews and you get fooled. Once you get this trick in and you learn the secret. Do not get disappointed. Think back to when you saw the demo and watched it over and over again and you were still fooled. Well same with the people you will be performing for. Unless you don't master it. When coming up with where you will stand during an act or what to say...think like a Lay. "what would they like to see?" "Am I blocking the view of the trick?" and so on.
3) Scripting and Patter- This is very hard for some people yet as easy as opening a can of soda for other people. Scripting is very cruscial. I know a guy who masters his tricks and can show them to you and fool you with them everytime! Yet he goes off the top of his head with patter and presentation. I was once told by someone, "Yes you can have ad libs, but write you script out". Everyone should get a pen and paper, turn on music or what ever helps you think and come up with some patter and write it down or type it. Also, When I am scripting I think from the end. I think "What do I want to happen?" and "How will I get there?" and "will I be able to do this with what I have?". Once I have thought of patter and I like what I see. Then go out and buy your prop.
4) Buying Props - Before buying props, like I kind of suggested above. Please think to yourself, "When will I use this" and "Where will this go in my routine?".
5) Practicing - A couple of days ago I went to a Michael Ammar lecture and he had a good point. Master one trick at a time before moving on. He gave an example that was hilarious because he acted it out for us. If you are working on cups and balls and you drop a ball off the table and you go to pick it up but when you bend over to pick it up you see a hot rod and you start playing with that. That is not a good rehersal techniqu to pick up. When practicing use a mirror or a video camera. Practice patter so it seems like you are adlibing the WHOLE show! But really you know what you are saying and doing to the WHOLE time! And it is all natural. Practice so much that you could do the show even if a little chihuahua at a birthday party was hooked to your leg and wouildn't let go!
Reviewing - Attend a show of a perfmer in your area. Review it for him and take notes. I have done this countless number of times and trust me. THIS WORKS! You can then compare what you have scripted earlier to his/her show. A lot of times you will think your show still needs work and can be better BUT that is ALWAYS the case. A show can be improved anytime. People always say "No one is perfect" ...This can also be tied in with a show. You also might to start doubting yourself and your show after this has happened. Do not doubt your show. Just think to yourself, "What can I fix?" and "Good thing I have not yet performed this yet"
I may be adding more later but I hope you can learn from what is posted so far!