What's up with this?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kingdamian1, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. I hear magicians say that they do not perform for kid's shows or that performing for kids is different... I don't get it. Why? Unles your routine is CRAZY complex, there is no reason why kid's show would be different from an adult show. In fact, kids probably like it more. What's up with this trend?
    natesmithimprov likes this.
  2. Kids have a shorter attention span and need fast and visual magic. You can't do Out of The World to an 8 year old and entertain them because they don't want to wait 1 or 2 minutes dealing cards. Kids also don't handle instructions as well. For example, try performing a Do as I Do routine to a kid. Some Do As I Do routines are made for kids, but most aren't. It all depends on the age and attention span. And it doesn't take a crazy complex routine to confuse or bore a kid.
  3. You can't do the exact same show for every audience. That's just how it works.

    You wouldn't do the same material for a blue collar audience that you'd do for a high end corporate event - at least, not the same scripting. You wouldn't do the same material for an Orthodox Jewish audience that you'd do for, say, a Pagan audience.

    You have to be able to do material that is suitable and relates to the audience you are performing for - this is something you learn from experience.

    My show has a lot of historic information as the premises to routines, some of it is genuinely dangerous if done incorrectly, and there's even the occasional bit of blood. It would not be a good idea for me to perform my show for children, and in fact, I have been told specifically that my show is like a magic show, but for adults.
    Brett Hurley, ZackF, CWhite and 3 others like this.
  4. Kids are a completely different audience. I've found that they often lose interest in most normal card tricks (Unless you use cards with pictures or something on them), the tricks you have to do for them have so be somewhat fast and often very visual. This is why children's magicians almost always put on a humorous persona. The good thing is, they have no filter and will call you out if you're a bad magician.

    Even if your routine isn't crazy complex, if it doesn't hook the kids, they'll lose interest quickly. I've been doing magic since I was about 6 and I remember I always skipped over the card tricks in my magic booklets because they didn't interest me. I thought they were boring. It wasn't until I was about 8 when I actually started playing card games with friends and seeing them do basic card tricks that I became interested. I could actually recognize the suits and stuff and understood how impossible it was for someone to find my card in a deck of 52.

    Unfortunately, kids nowadays aren't really playing cards anymore. I've got a few "meh" reactions because the teens (16-18) didn't really know how a deck of cards worked. So they were underwhelmed when I was able to make their "K of pointy things" jump to the top over and over again (or whatever trick I was doing). I even had one girl genuinely think the "13 of stars" was a card in the deck when I asked her to name a random card. I recently learned a really clean and impressive 18 card poker trick which I can't do for anyone my age because almost no one my age knows how to play poker.

    Now that mini rant might seem irrelevant but my point was, if the younger kids don't have experience with a basic deck of cards, card tricks probably won't interest them. And this applies to a lot of tricks. Different audiences require different tricks and scripting.
  5. Go watch an episode of Game of Thrones and then an episode of Dora the Explorer. Then, go watch a video of Criss Angel and one of David Kaye.
  6. Kids and adults are by definition at different stages of life and world experience. Little kids in particular are balls of energy waiting to be released. They have not learned inhibition yet. They want to be loud and to participate Big Time. Adults are generally more laid back and socially restained.

    When I do a kids show and ask for a volunteer(s), pretty much every hand in the room goes up and shakes back and forth wildly in the air; there is almost desperation in their little faces - that's how bad they want to participate and be involved. Adults - (with some exceptions) not so much; they generally prefer to kick back and watch.

    Then there are the differences in what interests kids versus adults. Look at the differences in the movies, TV shows, books and games that are geared toward and popular with kids, versus those for adults. So, to successfully entertain a group, you need to give them something that they can relate to. It's not so much a question of what trick, as it is how that trick is presented. What will they relate to? That is the key question, be it kids and adults. Take the cups and balls for example. I have used a Harry Potter type script, or sometimes Power Rangers, for kids. The 3 balls are Harry, Hermione and Ron; the cups are their rooms where they hide from Lord Voldemort. I got my wand from my friend Dumbledore last time I was in Diagonalley. The kids magically disguise themselves as pieces of fruit at the end, completely escaping detection. You get the idea. Compare this to say, Ricky Jay's sophisticated version of the cups and balls based on going through a history of the routine. Appealing and fascinating to adults - but would bore kids stiff. Or a card trick done with Pokemon cards will stir kids' interest and enthusiasm, (or for younger ones, alphabet cards), while many things done with "regular" playing cards, other than maybe simple color changes and other quick visuals, will leave them flat, as Antonio pointed out. The same holds true for Professor's Nightmare - for kids, I do it as Trevor Lewis' "Stop, Look and Listen" routine, with heavy involvement and participation on the kids' part, whereas for adults, I use a "hypnosis" theme, which they can relate to, and a kid generally would not.

    Whether it's kids or adults, the performer needs to have an understanding of psychology of the (little or big) people for whom he/she is performing and know how to apply that psychology to make it fascinating and entertaining. And as Christopher T observed, even what will work for one particular demographic of adults will not necessarily work for a different one. One size does not fit all!
    Brett Hurley likes this.
  7. Lmao .. that was awesome!!!
  8. What these guys said is great advice ^

    It's not that they won't perform for kids, just that they can't perform the same material for kids as they would for adults. With kids, it's gotta be a lot more... fun? Not to say that it shouldn't be fun for the adult audience, but with kids, you shouldn't be doing tricks that they can't follow and stuff.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  9. You would have to change most of the tricks you do, presentation, and diction. Also, some performers wouldn't have the personality to perform for kids.
    This kind of goes with what has been stated by others. Young kids haven't had the same experiences as adults. So, presentation would need to be different for both audiences. Secondly, kids' brains haven't fully developed so their thinking is differently than those of adults.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  10. I have a situation where kids love me, they see I'm a magician and flock to me like crazy. I can keep them entertained with some small vanishes and spongeball gags and they will be laughing for a while. But I don't think I could make a show out of that. The majority of my magic is either geek magic which is too dangerous for kiddies, or stuff that just goes over thier head.
    Though I watch many kids magic shows and love that they can do basically two or three tricks, with the same "silly magician gags" and fill out a full show.

    I'm quite happy at the moment to stick to my niche.
    Justin.Morris likes this.
  11. Ya I only do over age 15. My material and patter just won't fly for kids. Magicians who can do kids shows well have some serious extra skills. I'm just not that good at managing young kids.
    ....and they're sticky....

    When you pull a coin from a 5 year old's ear, they just think that their ear makes coins. So it's much more difficult to amaze them. Imo
  12. I like working with younger kids. That said, it's a whole 'nother ballgame from adults.

    First of all, performing for adults. The worst audience member is easily the drunk heckler. Honest with their words but very grabby. Might see 1 or 2 in a group or a night.
    Performing for kids. They don't mince words. They can be brutally honest. Worse off, ANY of them....if not, all of them can be the honest one.
    Sword cuts both ways, if you're a good performer, then their praise is 100% genuine.

    And if you're not very engaging, or they sense that you're not 'genuine'. Whatever you're getting paid for your gig isn't nearly enough for what they are about to put you through.

    The stereotype seems to be that you have to be funny or silly to keep their attention. You can be funny or silly, but there's a point to where it's contrived.
    storytelling magic, for a show setting, is probably the best way to go. Especially since a good storytelling routine completely takes their focus away from whatever props you're working with; and them trying to figure it all out is dropped exponentially.

    As for what magic works best? Like all magic, it's all different shades of grey. But I'd stay away from prediction and mental magic, as well as anything using a standard deck of cards. If you do want to use cards, use something that doesn't use the typical faces you'd see on Bicycles. Use cards with simpler (all of one color) designs or something more recognizable (Pokemon cards). If you go with Pokemon cards, put some practice into them because the card stock is thicker (especially reverse foils, ultra rares, secret rares, and full arts), there's virtually zero finish, and they LOVE to clump.

    And be careful with levitation. Don't keep 'one-upping' yourself, as it can give away whats going on. Get the point across and continue.

    Oh! And talk to them as people. Don't talk down to them because they are kids. I have a daughter who gets very frustrated when people don't give her straight talk and out on 'kid gloves' when talking to her. There are kids out there who, mentally, are tiny adults. I live with two of them. My daughter will be the one burning your hands and watching dumps happen. My son will be the one that'll let you know if your show isn't interesting (but if you have a routine about trains or Cuphead, you'll get high marks).

    But for anything you do with kids. For the love of god, put an original spin on a trick you're doing. You can't get away with stock performances and routines with them. That's a great way to lose 'em
  13. I’ve just started learning magic and have been practicing card tricks on my kids. Usually they are very into it, but occasionally I’ll be in the middle of a move and I’ll have to remind them to actually watch what I’m doing. It’s no fun if I finally pull off a decent double lift and they aren’t even looking.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  14. Has been replied to really well already, but since I wish to give my two cents, no matter how worthless they are :D :D :D :D :D

    Kids do like magic more. But unless you are a very close relative of them (I have performed for my small cousins, so I don't usually have this problem, but for other kids, I do) they may not follow your instructions really well and get bored very quickly. And then, they are just not interested in what you do. Because of that, they won't appreciate anything else you do too much, unless of course, you somehow teleport them to the Chocolate Factory, in which case you are a real magician and don't actually need this forum. Carry on with your awesome life :) :) :)
    Also kids need more visual magic, than implied ones. I once did an effect in which 2 rubberbands linked together, which I would say was done visually enough ( and they could feel the link too) , and then they unlinked again. YET it did not get good reactions, which kinda surprised me, because that one gets amazing reactions from adults. Then I performed the rubber pencil illusion for them. The reactions I got...I wouldn't be surprised if someone accused me of coaching them how to react.

    And if what you are performing is not relevant to their small lives, they won't care about your effect no matter what you do.

    Finally, since the question is how kids' magic is different from the one you'd perform for adults, I'd like to add this point (although it is not negative in any way, shape or form) that kids believe easily, if given sufficient proof. So, while they might ask you to show your hands empty thousands of times, if you show them that a coin travelled from one hand to another (and perform it sufficiently well) they are ready to believe that you surgically had a hole implanted in your hands.
  15. The need for "fast" or "visual" magic for kids is a common misconception. The effect needs to be something that accomplishes what they know to be impossible.

    This is exactly the issue with a mindset that kids need fast visual magic. That may work for table hopping where you are there for five minutes, but not for a 30 to 45 minute show. Kids need entertaining magic.

    I agree normal cards aren't interesting and that special cards have more initial interest. However, it is what you do with them that is important. I've done a jumbo invisible deck routine for children using a beach ball and music that entertains them. I have another routine that hole punches their selected card and it matches another card in an envelope with the exact same hole punches that amaze them. In contrast, I've performed some routines with Pokemon cards that just fall flat.

    Like. Like. Like. Like. (repeated 100 times).

    Be ENGAGING! Have you ever seen kids sit at rapt attention to hear a story read by a good story teller?

    The same "short, visual and silly" mentality dominated children's television for many years. Look at Sesame Street episodes - all short and to the point. Then there was a change in the thinking of how kids learn. There is a great book by Martin Gardner called Theories of Multiple intelligences that argues that kids learn based on a variety of different intelligences (the intelligences are not what you would think). The Dora the Explorer show took those theories and tested it by incorporating those intelligences in the show. Notice how each show is a series of events tied together by a common plot and the "Map." Notice the different interaction of the audience as part of the show.

    Good magic shows combine strong magic and strong entertainment. The problem with a lot of kids magic shows is that it is neither.


    Those who are not genuine or engaging typically perform one kids show and leave beaten, bloodied and tattered and say "never again." The problem is they blame the children rather than examining their own performances.

    I think it is more a matter of being interesting to them rather than relevant. The use of the word "small lives" gives the sense of what Brett is talking about -- they don't think their lives are small. As a parent and someone who has worked a lot with kids, I can say that their view of the world is more expansive and more open to possibility than any adult.... until of course they become a teenager and they think that because they know a lot about what they know that they know everything.

    Kids actually have a very strong baloney (for lack of a better age appropriate term) meter. I do think that young kids are more accepting of something not having a possible explanation than older kids. Heck, they know there is a lot about the world they don't understand. BUT, the focus should be on entertaining, not on the method.

    In a way, there is some truth to this statement. A good magic show draws in the audience, keeps their attention by being entertaining, builds the impossibility of the effect through providing context and then has a clear understandable statement of impossibility. How you get each of those elements is what is different.
  16. Because they've seen what happens when someone volunteers. (badump-psh!)

    Honestly, I pretty much won't perform for kids. Nothing more than maybe basic coin vanishes. My material is not going to entertain them, so I wouldn't even try in most cases.

    I recognize that I am not meant to entertain children, and I have a lot of respect for the guys that are good at it.

    David, Brett, and Al e Cat covered it really well I think. Voices of experience, there.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  17. I think it depends on the audience. Some kids are more mature than others and will be entertained by the type of magic you do for adults. And others might be restless the entire time and loses interest early on. I noticed a 6 year old playing cards with his mom in the yogurt store I work at and started a conversation about how it's pretty useful to carry around a deck of cards with you and pulled mine out. Then I explained that I was a magician, showed them a few tricks, and then taught the kid how to force a card easily. He practiced it on his mom and he was doing surprisingly well with it. So that worked on him.

    On the other hand, like I said, even kids my age don't know cards that well. I was doing the Invisible Deck to the "13 of stars" girl which usually gets killer reactions but she was just like "oh nice" while her friends freaked out. Kinda funny but yeah.

    Also, when I said relatively quick, I meant that you can't draw out a lot of the tricks like you can for adults, unless your story is engaging for them. And they don't have to be purely visual with no actual substance but kids seem to like to see the magic happen, rather than have it happen in their mind. Idk that's just from my experience working with kids and seeing magic as a kid. But that's just me.

    Edit: I'm not disagreeing btw.
    RealityOne likes this.
  18. I agree. There are a bunch of different age groups. There is the "5 and Under" group which I will not perform for; the "6 to 10 Years Old" which is my favorite to perform for because you can hold their attention with fun magic; the "10 to 13 Year Olds" which is a tough group because they want to be adults but are really still kids and the "13 to 16 Year Olds" who pretty much are like adults with short attention spans. The 6 to 10 year olds love my mismade Zebra routine but don't get Mark Wilson's Tic Tac Toe. The 10 to 13 Year Olds are the opposite.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  19. I've done 5 and under. It was a nightmare. 6-10 is great like you said. I've found that 10-13 year olds are usually annoying and sort of heckle you by yelling out the method to seem smart for their friends but 99% of the time they're completely wrong.
    RealityOne likes this.
  20. I don’t think that the card trick fell flat due to experience, but more to the fact that a plain deck of cards is a relatively odd item and not very relatable, especially nowadays. Even with direction, a deck of cards is a rather boring prop for kids.

    It’s doable, but you have to REALLY sell it with a great routine. Otherwise, you’re sunk.
    Antonio Diavolo and Maaz Hasan like this.

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