Amazing things happen when we work together! – a blog series highlighting some of key times I’ve helped (alongside others) to organise entertainment for children and families – Issue V
I’ve been performing as a children’s entertainer since 2010? Can you believe it? In this short blog post, I thought I would let you in on how I first got started and how I feel the last ten years have gone. It’s been quite a journey to get to where I am today!
I was fifteen when I first started performing magic and I concentrated mainly on close up magic for adults. The type of things you see at weddings, parties, corporate events and on my website dedicated to that style of magic. At that time thought it was just for friends, family and at a local restaurant after school!
Ten years ago, however, I wanted to challenge myself by beginning to perform dedicated shows to children. I remember at the time that my main motivators were that I enjoyed working with children and that I wanted to expand my business.
That first point is a really important one, and for anyone who has stumbled on this post and is thinking about entertaining children, a key thing to remember is that you have to like working with young people! It sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many set themselves up as children’s entertainers thinking they can make a bit of extra money, but they don’t actually like kids.
Here’s my tip – If you’re in it for the money, you should probably look elsewhere. I know when I started I did a lot of shows for £50 to £75, which wasn’t a lot when I deducted the costs. I was happy to do it though in order to gain experience and improve.
Anyway, to be a great children’s entertainer you’ll need the patience to remind yourself that when children act ‘out of turn’ very often it’s because they are excited, not because they are malicious.
My magic show is full of new and exciting things. It’s an experience that many children haven’t had and if a child stands up in the middle of the show and screams in amazement – one child even ran to the back of the room in the middle of a trick and shouted, “MUM! Look what I’ve done!” – it’s totally fine. Magic is supposed to create those sorts of reactions.
The next point is also useful to remember. Entertaining children is my business and because of that, I’m always looking to improve not just the performance (more on that later) but also the service element. I want parents to relax as much as possible. That’s why I’m always prompt with emails, always happy to answer as many questions as the party organiser has (and sometimes they have a lot), and I even went as far as to write a party planning ebook that parents can use to help plan their party.
This again was something I had to develop. When I started I didn’t even have a contract, I just confirmed the details over the phone then turned up. Now, I have systems in place so that the client feels secure about what they are getting and they get a pre-show reminder email a few days before the event just to check any final last-minute details.
By the way, my party planning guide is available for free, and if you want to you can download it here.
In the past, I have also created relationships with venues and professional party planners, and this level of professionalism and respect applies to them too. Just be pleasant to everyone you meet. Simple really!
Finally, I wanted to talk about the performance side of my magic shows. I didn’t realise it when I started but an extra benefit to performing to children is that it has taught me how to put on a show. As a result, I have had the opportunity to learn new magic routines and perhaps more importantly how to work with a larger audience. Most birthday party shows are 20 – 30 children, but I love when I get the chance to perform for larger events. Some school shows, for example, can have 200 or 300 children in the audience! Those are some of my most memorable events.
One thing I am really proud of with my show is that it is a magic show! What I mean by that is there are many “kids entertainers” who put on a brightly coloured outfit, buy some basic magic props and a puppet and do some standard routines that have been doing the rounds. There is no thought there except to make money. Remember those people from before?
My show has been a magic show from the start. It has been designed and written by me and improved over the thousands of performances I’ve performed over the past ten years. There’s your assurances of quality. I’m in this for the long term not five minutes.
I’m incredibly proud of the show I’ve designed. It’s a unique experience for the children and one they won’t have seen at the last party. I have to smile when I think about all the children who have smiled, laughed and gasped back at me as I performed for and with them.
Of course, the theme for this blog series is Amazing Things Happen When We Work Together, and so I couldn’t end it without saying a personal thank you to all those who have helped me out on my journey. Even if it was in just a small way! Thank you!
Here’s to the next ten years!
Want me to help out at your child’s birthday party or family celebration? click here to email me.