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Seriously Silly DVD Review

Official Review

October 14th, 2008 11:32am
Reviewed by James Sanden
At its core, “Seriously Silly Live” is a DVD on performing magic for children. However, that sentence does not do justice to the quality, volume and practicality of the information provided. In fact, I would not hesitate to call this the best educational DVD on the performance of magic I’ve ever seen. When combined with Seriously Silly the book, this is a post graduate course on performing children’s magic.

For those magicians born under a rock, David Kaye, aka Silly Billy, is probably the most successful children’s magic performer in the world. In 20 years of performing over 7000 shows, he has entertained the children of the rich and famous, from the Sultan of Brunei to Bruce Springsteen. I only mention this because it points to the fact that the information provided in this DVD is the distilled wisdom of a master in his field.

In this DVD, David Kaye explains his basic approach to kid’s show magic as well as 5 principles that make for a quality kid’s show, including a section on the importance of entertaining the adults while entertaining the kids. He illustrates these principles using footage shot at a live show performed for about100 children. During the performance the entire audience is constantly laughing, pointing, screaming and generally going crazy. Which is exactly Mr. Kaye’s goal when performing. To paraphrase him, if a stand-up comedian’s goal is to get the largest number of laughs per minute, a children’s performer’s goal should be to get the largest number of interactions per minute, which is to say laughing, clapping, pointing, yelling or anything else that isn’t sitting still. What’s amazing is that during the show Mr. Kaye’s interactions per minute clock in at about one interaction every 9 or 10 seconds.

The heart of this DVD is a step-by-step, simple, clear and thorough course on how to maximize audience interactions. The principles Mr. Kaye covers to increase interactions demonstrate why, for example, kids will yell and scream when the magician can’t see what they see (see Trevor Lewis’ Blooming Bouquet, Run Rabbit Run or about a million other kid’s show routines). But the idea of “Look, Don’t See” is but one of at least 20 different techniques taught that can be used to add interactions to an effect. Even more importantly, Mr. Kaye explains WHY children respond to these techniques, demonstrating his deep understanding of the psychology of children. And this is where the true value of this DVD lies. Instead of parroting the way every other kid’s performer does the “Coloring Book” or “Hippity Hop Rabbits,” the techniques taught will allow the dedicated performer to make an effect his or her own, while getting maximum audience impact.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a magic reviewer is to see magic DVD’s produced where the magician has given no thought to effectively teaching his or her subject matter. There is clearly no preparation or rehearsal, and the explanations tend to ramble and are completely disorganized. In contrast, Mr. Kaye has not only thought deeply and extensively about his subject matter, but he has clearly given a great deal of thought on not only how to explain the material, but also how to organize the information so that it is easy to digest. As an example, he consistently refers to note cards he has prepared to make sure that all the important information and details been included. Also, in addition to the section of the DVD containing footage of the show, these same performances are played again during the explanation of the theory, which is immediately followed by a review of the points covered and how they were demonstrated in the show. All these little touches insure the viewer thoroughly understands the principles involved and is left able to apply them to his or her own performance.

It should also be mentioned that Mr. Kaye includes explanations for how to perform the tricks demonstrated in the show, as well as what props are needed. While most magicians will know the effects and methods used, Mr. Kaye includes those bits, ideas and touches that only come from performing a trick a thousand times. This kind of information is gold to the working performer.

Surprisingly, while this DVD is designed as an educational tool to be used in conjunction with his book, it could absolutely be used on it’s own to create a world class kid’s show. Which isn’t to say the buyer shouldn’t also purchase his book. I have read it as well and it is even more eye opening than the DVD and contains an encyclopedia’s worth of additional knowledge and information, including an invaluable section of how to perform for different ages, as well as an in depth tutorial on how to handle the top ten problems kid’s show performers have to deal with.

Let’s be honest for a moment. There are a lot of magicians out there who look down on kid’s show performers. If I were to tell the truth, while I have always respected kid’s show magicians, there has always been a part of me that thought I could “do better” (whatever that means.) And this is coming from a person who loves kids, was a camp counselor for years and has also been a teacher. I am happy to say that I am now a convert. After reading his book and watching this DVD, I am now excited and inspired to work on a kid’s magic show. I think this is the true value of this DVD, and shows that Mr. Kaye has truly his job.

When watching David Kaye either perform or teach, there is no filler. There is no wasted moment and everything he does increases the impact of his performance on his audience. This approach is the sign of a truly talented entertainer and teacher, and is why all magicians, whether they perform for children or not, should own this DVD. I give it my highest recommendation.
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Product info for Seriously Silly DVD

Author: David Kaye
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $40.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

How to Entertain Children with Magic and Comedy.

For the first time on video you can learn Kidshow Magic from David Kaye, one on one, and watch him perform his magic show live in front of 300 children. It's called Seriously Silly Live.

By watching this DVD you will learn powerful principles that you can apply to any trick in your show (or in your closet!) and create a wonderfully funny, entertaining, and interactive magic routine for children and family audiences.

With these six simple techniques you can turn any routine into a hilarious experience that children will remember for years.

As examples of these techniques you will also learn how to perform six incredible routines right out of David's professional repertoire. Your audiences will be in stitches when you perform these routines, which David has perfected during thousands of performances. Watch him perform live in front of 300 children and then watch the detailed explanations. Nothing is held back!

Learn his famous Crystal Silk Tube routine as well as the mile-a-minute World's Greatest Coloring Book Routine. Plus four more priceless routines, including a trick where the shyest 3-year old will get the biggest laugh of the show.

PLUS! Enjoy more than 20 minutes of hilarious bonus features including Street Magic with Silly Billy and The Masked Magician Returns.

David Kaye has appeared on the covers of MAGIC, Genii, M.U.M. and Funny Paper. For eight years he has written a column about performing magic for children in Magic magazine. Of his book, Seriously Silly, Terry Herbert said, "This is one of the best books on entertaining children ever! I cannot recommend it too highly." This DVD is a companion to that book.

"If you perform magic for kids, you cannot do without this resource! ...Put this disc in your DVD player. Click "Play All." You will immediately begin smiling, laughing, and learning. ...The value for dollar is exceptionally high. ...There is no substitute for seeing Silly Billy in performance. ...It is difficult to imagine a more thorough or effective way to provide real-world instruction on how to entertain children than this...."
-Genii Magazine

"This disc is a treasure for anyone who enjoys entertaining kids and making them laugh, regardless of skill or experience. Highest recommendation for children's entertainers. ...You can buy 3 DVD sets for $90 to $120, which contain far less content than this single disc. ...You can easily apply this theory to make every single effect in your current repertoire get more laughs and reactions...."
-M.U.M. Magazine

"Seriously Silly is widely regarded as not just the best book ever written for the kid-show performer, but one of the best books ever about performing magic, period, and now he has released a companion DVD. The production values are top notch, and the DVD is very entertaining in unexpected ways. But Kaye's real purpose of the DVD is to teach, and he does it well with a very smart structure...."
-Magic Magazine

Running Time Approximately 2hrs 26min

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