I wrote earlier about organizers hiring Filipino magicians to provide atmosphere, not entertainment, to their events. (See Hey, Mr. Magician, I want You to be our Event’s Wall Decor.)
This type of shows may pay well, but they leave the artists in us empty and unfulfilled.
While corporate shows needing this type of service are few, the possibility of being turned into a wall-decor performer is greater at birthday parties. Mommies are not experts in organizing birthday parties. Some of them are complete neophytes. They don’t attend birthday parties every week as we do, so they have no idea how to throw a smashing party. The possibility of their drawing up a program that will turn us Pinoy magicians into a wallpaper, though may not be deliberately intended, is real.
One of the most common requests I receive from birthday moms is for me to perform my show in two parts. The first 30 minutes before the children eat their merienda, and the second 30 minutes after they have their fill.
If I get this request, I explain to the mom that I brought a one-hour program, not two 30-minute shows. That being the case, my program has one beginning, one middle, and one end. If I have to slice it wide open in the middle, I will have two programs. The first one has a beginning, a truncated middle and no ending. The second one has a truncated middle passed for a beginning, a no middle, and an ending.
You see, if I agreed to chop up my program into two parts, I would have two mutilated programs that lacked cohesive parts.
I’d usually talk the mom out of this idea. Except for one hard-headed woman in the past, the moms would always see my point once I explain to them why it’s a bad idea to perform my show in two installments.
Another common show-killer is the unscheduled serving of food while the show is in progress. I once had a show that had very silent children. They would not even shout the magic words when I asked them to do so. I thought I was performing for a deaf-and-mute audience. Then I noticed the children were eating ice cream. As it happened, an overeager waiter sneaked in ice cream cups and served them while I was misdirected.
To prevent situations where the mom unwittingly turns me into a wallpaper performer (whom nobody watches), I send her the following tips when I confirm the booking by email:
1) Don’t serve food while the program is going on. I may lose control over the children and the audience if drinks, ice cream, cakes, candies or any food is served while the magic show is going on. The best time to serve food and drinks is when the party host pauses the show for dinner or merienda.
2) Do not give the children toys or giveaways or loot bags during the show. There will be a commotion, and it’s difficult to get back the kids’ attention once they are distracted.
3) Keep the pets on leash or inside the cages. Please don’t allow dogs or cats or any pet to roam into the performing area, as they can easily disrupt the program and distract the children.
4) Keep noise at a minimum. Noise can be a distraction.. Background conversation between parents and relatives should take place in another room. Don’t play the Karaoke machine, television or DVD movie titled “Shrek” or I will shriek with frustration.