Danny Orleans has published some of the best material that teaches how to successfully perform for children and teens. His The Art of Presenting Magic to Children and The Art of Presenting Magic to Teenagers are informative, useful and insightful titles and now, Orleans follows up with his “Kids Show Masterplan.”
In this great book, he covers the real work of being successful in the art of performing magic for families and kids. From his advice, it’s obvious that Orleans is a real pro as the information here can only be gleaned from thousands of performances and he presents information that I have never before seen published in a book or DVD.
The contents of this book provides invaluable information to those of you who are just starting out, and even seasoned pros can glean some great ideas. Those of you who perform lots of kid shows will nod in agreement at the many insights presented.
This book clearly stands out because Orleans talks about topics that you don’t find in other books. Orleans discusses the psychology of working with kids. Some of the topics include creating a character, the selection of tricks and structuring a show and the placement of tricks in a show. I particularly liked his “Audience Participation Purple Pyramid” that creates a visual guideline to structuring a show in the manner of the old nutrition pyramid that provides guidelines for daily eating.
He talks about adapting a show to almost any room. Again, this is useful real world advice that I haven’t seen published in any other source. I had fun reading the various scenarios and then imagining how I would have adapted. It’s the stuff that pros deal with on a daily basis.
Orleans goes on at length on how to manage young children's behavior. This includes: keeping kids seated, preventing kids from rushing the stage, getting and holding kids' attention, dealing with crying children, choosing volunteers, managing kids' disappointment, controlling onstage helpers, and more. If you do kid shows, believe me, you’ll encounter all of these situations and it’s best to be prepared.
Orleans teaches some . There’s a transposition of two ballcaps on your head (actually, it’s more like pulling one hat out from under the other that’s reminiscent of swiping a tablecloth from a fully set table. He teaches you how to make a “flip over cigar box” to show an empty box and then pull out (produce) a brightly colored silk. Most of you will recognize the prop that is rarely seen these days.
Orleans teaches a jumbo coin and production of a bill from a lump of clay. He explains first rate variations on classic die box and the “do as I do” “confusing jumbo crayons” (you’ll need to own the well known magical props for these routines).
Instead of presenting the crayons as a scenario where a spectator fails to accomplish what the magician does, Orleans turns it into a routine where he talks about the fact that people do things in different ways. I appreciate the nice, positive twist. The last taught effect is an illusion that you can build that transforms a kid into a bunny and back.
The final part of the book offers marketing ideas. Here, I discovered some useful ideas, perhaps some that I can employ in the near future. Throughout, Orleans discusses specific situations and how he’s dealt with them, and there’s an informative interview of his performing partner, Jan Rose, that’s conducted by Eugene Burger.
If you’re serious about working the family and kid markets, Danny Orleans’ “Kids Show Masterplan” is almost compulsory reading. It provides thoughtful insights that you won’t find anywhere else.