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The Art of Presenting Magic to Children Review

Official Review

March 13th, 2013 9:08pm
Reviewed by James Sanden
“The Art of Presenting Magic To Children” is a 3 DVD set by Danny Orleans covering, as you can imagine, performing magic for children. A full review follows, but it really boils down to this: if you perform magic for children, you absolutely need these DVD’s. This doesn’t just apply to beginners or the occasional children’s performer. Unless you’ve spent decades performing for thousands of children (and probably even then), you’re virtually guaranteed to find value throughout these DVD’s.

The set begins with a full performance of Mr. Orleans’ family magic show, filmed at a library in Chicago. This in and of itself is a huge resource as it demonstrates how an accomplished family entertainer opens his show, selects audience members, transition between tricks, routines effects and closes the performance. These elements are the real secrets to a successful show, far more than the methods and the individual tricks themselves. This is the reason why full time performers rarely share their full show on a DVD.

The entire performance is then shown again (including how he warms up the audience), but this time it includes a voiceover commentary from Mr. Orleans and child communication expert, Michael Brandwein. This is where the real value of this set lies. Imagine watching a magic show by a master, as they explain to you every choice they made and why they made it. It’s a personal lesson in exactly how to put on a successful performance. Then, if that weren’t enough, he also provides a PDF list of over 50 audience management techniques in the form of a study guide that follows the commentary, adds additional details and provides the reader with a place to take notes while watching. To top it all off Mr. Orleans also includes PDF copies of articles he wrote for major magic publications covering a range of topics including handling chatty parents, a list of warmups and openers, savvy marketing advice (including samples of promotional materials), the importance of silence in a show, and, the one I’m anxious to read again and again, how to successfully perform magic for pre teens.

Mr. Orleans also teaches the tricks he performs, not only explaining them, but also giving tips and the work on classics that can only be gleaned from thousands of performances and hours upon hours of dedicated thinking and evaluation. And while the material is classic, there’s much to learn. Yes, Mr. Orleans performs the coloring book, but his book is four times the size of the one sold in magic stores and the routine has a phase you’ve never seen before. Yes, he performs the Zombie Ball, but he also makes the ball vanish in full view in the middle of his show, and the explanation includes succinct instructions on effective mime work. Yes, he performs the miser’s dream, but not only is the routine practical and fun, but he also gives you every bit of business he uses. My personal favorite is his handling of the Gypsy Thread, taught to him by one of the trick’s masters, Eugene Burger. And again, showing his commitment to the viewer, he provides PDF files showing how to construct all the props he uses, including the extremely practical and portable tables he uses in performance.

Mr. Orleans is then interviewed by Eugene Burger, during which they discuss a number of topics, including the performer’s introduction, working with volunteers, handling difficult parents, routining effects and choice of material. The DVD ends with a performance and explanation of 2 bonus effects, Chris Carey’s “Ropes Through Dad” (a stage handling of Grandmother’s Necklace using an adult) and “Aqua Cups” (a nice liquid production.)

It should also be mentioned that this is the best produced magic DVD I’ve ever seen. Multiple cameras, professional editing and a well thought out approach to presenting the material creates a new standard in learning DVD’s. Almost any DVD producer in our industry could stand to learn from the commitment, time and effort Mr. Orleans’ invested in making this an effective learning tool for magicians.

Mr. Orleans gives the viewer every ounce of information he can, in every format possible, for one reason: he’s committed to quality family entertainment. Specifically, he believes a great magic show isn’t just entertaining, it leaves the audience and the volunteers feeling good about themselves and their participation. Furthermore, it’s a show, not a free-for-all. What’s amazing is that Mr. Orleans never has to raise his voice or tell a child not to do something. Using creative and intriguing applications of positive reinforcement, Mr. Orleans performs a show filled with all the classic kid’s moments but in a controlled manner. To watch him do this is, forgive the pun, magic.

Study guides. In depth articles on specific aspects of performing for children. Bringing in outside experts to offer insightful commentary. Additional articles and instructions on how to make the props used in the show. And over 50 techniques to manage your audience. This DVD set is literally overflowing with information. Which isn’t surprising since it’s the result of a lifetime of performing for children. In all the best and most extraordinary performances it’s clear the magician has thought through and made a choice for every moment in the show. Mr. Orleans epitomizes this. If you want to be an effective children’s entertainer (and even if you already are) buying this set is a no brainer. If you perform for kids, it should not just be in your library. It should be viewed again and again. My highest recommendation.

Product info for The Art of Presenting Magic to Children

Author: Orleans, Danny
Publisher: Danny Orleans
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $129.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Danny Orleans performs one of the best kids magic shows -- strike that -- one of the best magic shows, I have ever seen. -- Mac King

This project is something special for reasons that transcend the magic show. It is a master class in the psychology of young audiences...Invest in this content...It is an exceptional resource...You'll learn indispensable skills for interacting with children. -- Genii Magazine

A wealth of Audience Management Strategies...practical information that can be instantly added to your armory, to improve your shows, and to help ensure your audience's enjoyment as at its maximum. -- Vanish Magazine

Watching his audience management skills is worth the price! These DVDs examine and reveal every aspect of his show. -- David Kaye (Silly Billy)

Danny Orleans is an expert in presenting magic to children. In this 3 DVD set, he shares over 40 years of experience performing more than 4000 shows to over one-million children, parents and teachers. Over five hours of professionally edited performances, interviews, instructions and commentary teach you the details of every routine and audience management technique in his show. You will...

  • Watch his entire Family Magic Show, including 8 routines, 14 tricks and 2 bonus tricks.

  • Hear his dialogue with child communication expert Michael Brandwein, as you watch the show again with them and hear their commentary on the 70 Audience Management Strategies Danny employs.

  • See Eugene Burger interview Danny Orleans on his Philosophy of Children's Magic.

  • Learn to make and perform his entire repertoire of tricks, including warm-up, intro and segues.

  • Enjoy vintage footage of the show that Danny Orleans and his wife and partner, Jan Rose, toured internationally.

  • Download Danny Orleans' updated essays originally published in industry magazines, Genii, MAGIC and The Linking Ring.

These DVDs set a whole new standard for teaching magicians how to perform magic for children. I was blown away by the editing quality and even more so by Danny's revolutionary approach to managing audiences during a magic show. -- Doug Scheer

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