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 Post subject: Am I ready?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:39 pm 
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Joined: 30 Oct 2007
Posts: 51
My cousin asked my awhile back to perform for her child's birthday party. Now, when I finally think about it, I was overconfident in my skills. I accepted without a moment's hesitation. It took a few days for the daunting task to finally settle in and I realized how foolish I was. Thankfully and fortunately, I had a year in between to tell myself how stupid I could have been for jumping head over heels into a situation I literally had no expertise about.

My past repertoire consisted of Cards and Sponge balls. I did a little experiment in the early days of my preparation and I realized kids for the most part really can't comprehend cards. I threw that out of the way. I then had sponge balls, which I knew I would not be able to carry out an entire show with only one routine and act.

I had numerous nights where I was attacked by anxiety, plagued by future embarrassment and ridicule. My hands trembled, my eyes darkened and I knew that at the point I was at then, was no where near ready to handle a show full of short attention spanned kids, who were use to the colorful action panned shows that they are brainwashed by in today's society.

I then decided, to sweep up the tragic mess that I was in and pull myself together. I bought Seriously Silly by David Kaye and kept my eyelids open with toothpicks analyzing every minute, until they images were burnt into my eyes like hieroglyphics. My jaw stood gaped with astonishment as the knowledge slapped me repetitively, reminding me every single time, that I was an idiot for accepting such a task.

Out with the old and in with the new, I began to research and experiment. I asked about the age group that I would be performing for, and about the theme of the show. Carnival, and the kids would be 5+ with the birthday child turning 2. Children barely escaping kindergarten, teenagers ready to rebel against adults, and adults themselves tortured by the very same children. These were the people that were going to look at me, and gaze into my very soul, forming an expectation I knew I would have to meet and overcome.

I threw out my deck of cards and sponge balls, and I picked up Hippity Hop Rabbits. I found out a little later on that my cousin was planning on handing out goody bags that contained coloring books. *Bing* A light bulb brightened up in my head, and I obtained the Magic Coloring Book, a classic I remember myself enjoying several times. I then picked up Paper Hat Tear, reminding myself that I would have to interact and keep these attention-challenged children absorbed into my show.

The Magic Coloring Book, although simple was something I still found compelling. I knew that this could have probably been the show maker I was looking for. I knew that there was a whole in the original "basic" routine that was learned. So I decided to throw in an appearing crayon with the act, and I was able to stretch out this "simple and basic" act to 10 minutes alone. Simply amazing was my opinion, as I practice and performed, obtaining delight from my most trusted friends and their siblings.

I realized that the carnival theme was something I would have to fit into. My patter and my presentation would have to make me become apart of the carnival itself. I chose an acceptable costume, colorful in appearance, matching the color theme of Red and Yellow might I add. My patter, although this may border the lines of gloating, is a natural talent I harbor. I've practiced and practice, keeping up late nights with shots of Red Bull and Coffee.

I wanted to be something besides a family member that was helping another family member. I wanted to be something besides a kid with a knack for cards and little red meatballs. I wanted to be a magician that would give these children, these teenagers, and those adults a show that would entertain them for a lifetime. I tested my performance for trusted friends and I've gauged their reactions, changing and manipulating myself to meet the needs that I know they expect.

With this training experience, I've reached a point where I can truly say I don't recognize the arrogant kid that I was at that point in time, accepting a quest with no idea on what it may have contained. Did I also forget to mention that the time allotted was 30 minutes? Which I did my business research. Since it was my first show, and for a family member. I charged $120 USD.

My time limit is almost coming to an end, the performance is ever weening slightly closer. So before I reach the point of no return, I ask you all, "Am I ready?"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:24 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 Jan 2009
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Location: Kettle Falls, WA
Well,

It sure sounds like you've done some of the necessary reading. The first step, and the most important, is the one you made when you admitted that you had no idea what you were doing.

Reading Seriously Silly and rethinking your routining considering interactions per minute.... etc....... is exactly what you needed to do. I would say, from what I just read in your post, yes, you look to be ready.

Good Luck
Ted


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:04 am 
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Joined: 18 Aug 2004
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Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
What? No Tossed-Out Deck? What the heck are you thinking?

Just kidding. :D


And don't you want us to rate your cart...?

Just kidding again. :lol:


Seriously... sounds like your ready to kick a55 and take names. There are quite a few members here who should be reading this thread and paying close attention to the thought and effort you've put into developing your show, not to mention the fact that you were able to admit that you needed to put in that time and effort.


If you can, try to get an ungimmicked coloring book that matches your gimmicked one. Switch it in if anyone asks to see it after the show. Burns the ones who "know it all."

Which hat tear did you get? I use Top Hat Surprise when I do birthdays. It's a great souvenir and gets around the fact that I don't use a live rabbit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:54 pm 
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Your approvals are boosting my confidence. I believe I grabbed the Party Hat version of the Paper Hat Tear. The colors luckily matched the theme perfectly :]. The Ungimmicked Coloring Book I found doesn't have the same cover, unless I pull out a Adobe Print out cover switch-a-roo. Also, I recently attended Houston's Texas Association of Magicians Convention, and I was honored with the opportunity to see the great Michael Ammar in action. His cups and balls routine was simply beautiful.

Would a Cups-and-Balls Routine be too difficult to follow? Or would it be the right middle ground to grab the eye-rolling Teenagers and adults? My cousin was willing to negotiate a full hour for $230 USD. I have not yet accepted the offer because I'm having a clash of wills on using Cups and Balls. Also, I don't believe there is enough time to fit in another routine and adjusting my entire show.

I simply refuse to ruin a show , by allowing it to be made in haste because I wanted a few extra bucks. The upcoming birthday is settled at October 18th. My time line is pretty short when it comes to squeezing in a whole extra 30 minutes. I believe I will certainly just have to refuse. So, may I ask you for your opinion?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:09 pm 
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Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
I try to keep my kids shows under an hour. If you've got a half hour show that works, don't pad it, especially with material you haven't learned yet.

Granted, you can script two tricks in to 30 minutes worth of kid-pleasing routine, but Oct. 16 is not very far away.

If you're going to do C&B for kids, keep the routine simple and funny; the more absurd the loads the better.

Here's a free tip: Look into the Tri-Color Cups & Balls routine Aldo Colombini sells. It's very simple, but it's colorful and has a kicker ending kids will like... which could actually be connected somehow to your paper hat tear.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Posts: 51
Thank you very much for you advice, and I actually have that set in my dusty shelves somewhere. I'm getting more anxious to perform as I mark off the calendar days. I'll be sure to post a video if I can get a recording, as an appreciation to the support.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:53 am 
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Joined: 18 Aug 2004
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Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
lucnguye92 wrote:
Thank you very much for you advice, and I actually have that set in my dusty shelves somewhere.


It's not a "set" per se... it's a routine using a set of standard metal cups, but with balls made of tissue paper -- each made in front of the audience from a sheet of a different color. At the end of the routine, two balls "unexpectedly" vanish and appear nested inside the third.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:18 am 
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Location: Milford OH
Do NOT go for an hour long show!!! Don't even THINK of longer than a half hour. Remember your audience consists of children. kids have a short attention span, and if you lose one kid, he gets antsy and you then have a roomful of inattentive kids. Believe me, that will destroy your whole show.

I keep my shows to 30 minutes, but I also pay attention to the kids and when I see one start to act antsy, I hit my closer NOW! Yes, I have had some 20 minute shows at birthday parties and in each case the parents told me that it was the best show they had seen. In all cases I have gotten shows from other parents in the audience because of knowing when to close a show.

Paddy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Joined: 28 Jan 2009
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Location: Kettle Falls, WA
paddy wrote:
Do NOT go for an hour long show!!! Don't even THINK of longer than a half hour. Remember your audience consists of children. kids have a short attention span, and if you lose one kid, he gets antsy and you then have a roomful of inattentive kids. Believe me, that will destroy your whole show.

I keep my shows to 30 minutes, but I also pay attention to the kids and when I see one start to act antsy, I hit my closer NOW! Yes, I have had some 20 minute shows at birthday parties and in each case the parents told me that it was the best show they had seen. In all cases I have gotten shows from other parents in the audience because of knowing when to close a show.

Paddy


I agree, 30 minutes is just about right. I think an hour is way too long for what it sounds like your audience is going to be. It's always better to leave your audience wanting a little bit more than to have them wondering when the show is going to be over.

Ted


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:44 pm 
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TheCaffeinator wrote:
lucnguye92 wrote:
Thank you very much for you advice, and I actually have that set in my dusty shelves somewhere.


It's not a "set" per se... it's a routine using a set of standard metal cups, but with balls made of tissue paper -- each made in front of the audience from a sheet of a different color. At the end of the routine, two balls "unexpectedly" vanish and appear nested inside the third.


Oh, I thought you met the toy cups and balls with the plastic red, yellow and blue cups, I saw the word "Tri-color". The routine itself? Now that is what I have to look for then. Also, Paddy and Ted, I wholeheartedly denied the extra 30 minutes for extra cash. With both of your insights and opinions, it makes my decision so much more right, thank you both as well. I'm glad to have the backing of experienced magicians and the sound advice of such company. Thank you all very much.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:51 pm 
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I haven't been around for awhile but the first thing I noticed when reading your post was the intelligence behind it. You are well-written, which tells me you are probably well spoken and also at a higher maturity level for a teen. In my opinion, this is keen when being a youth performer. You need the respect of both the adults and the children as you want the adults to take you seriously and the children to look up to you so as not to act out during your performance.

You've had a year to practice your craft and study. Everyone must start somewhere. Whereas you didn't have a clue what you were getting into when you took on this event, you did make the conscience effort to learn and that is all anyone can ask.

Also, may I just say "thank you" for admitting your mistake and then rectifying it by properly studying and preparing for what you committed to. Trust me, that goes a long way with some of us older ones here on the boards and renews our faith that there are young magicians who are willing to properly train in the art of magic.

Good luck to you. I wish you every success and hope it goes well.

~ Kristen :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Location: Kettle Falls, WA
Kristen is back!!! :D

Where ya been?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:16 pm 
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Hi Ted,

Thanks for the warm welcome! It has just been one busy, crazy, summer. Unfortunately, not too much going on for our family magic wise as we had too many remodeling commitments this summer. Our daughter also just got her first full-time summer job, which kept her quite busy. The sad part is that because we were unable to take her to any weekend jobs this year (a first for us) she had to refer several of her callbacks to other magicians. :( Of course after spending all that time with promoting, and things finally paying off, we had to take a summer off because we just couldn't ignore some home repairs any longer. Go figure...

Our daughter just did one nice theatre show a few weeks back though. It was nice. The magicians all performed to live rock music.

She's already looking forward to performing next summer. She has decided she wants to learn a full choreographed dancing cane routine to David Bowie's song Magic Dance. She also is trying to get her dad (who builds her custom illusions) to build her a sub-trunk for next year's show. So even though it has been a busy summer for us she already has her plans for NEXT summer all worked out in her mind-- and ready to put into practice.

Good to see you!

P.S. Oh, we're going to an event this weekend in honor of Edited Blackstone. We are really looking forward to meeting her!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:32 am 
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Location: Kettle Falls, WA
Well Kristen,

At least you had too much to do instead of not enough. We were fortunate to have that problem too.

My wife and I are leaving in 7 weeks to get our second and third adopted daughters. I started making a set of cabinets today for the closet in the girls room. This weekend I'm tearing out the old closet. Oh I cant wait to suck in some good old fashion drywall dust. Yipee!!! :roll:

Anyway, glad to have you back.

Ted


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:14 am 
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Congratulations on the newest members of your family! How exciting. You and your wife must be thrilled. :D

If I never choke on, or have to dust up sheetrock dust again in my lifetime, it will still be too soon. Alas, since we own an old Victorian much more is still coming my way in the future! :cry:

Have fun with those remodeling projects!


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