Thursday, June 19, 2008

Weird Flashback----like the movies

While filming this week I experienced a moment I thought only existed on TV and in movies.

During our Sword Suspension illusion each Kent Kid is introduced to the audience officially for the first time to the audience. I start from the youngest and work up to the eldest. As I introduces 18-year old Jugglin' Jim I turned my head in the direction of my outstretched arm which was pointing at the soon to be college student we call Jim. It was weird but for a half a second as I saw his crooked smile and sparkling eyes I saw a 6-year old version of Jim walk out on stage. Like I said it was an instantaneous flash but it was as clear as when they show a father looking at his grown-up child and see the little child int he movies. It was weird! In that half-a-second I also had a flood of emotion; happiness, nostalgia, sadness (to see him grow sooooo fast), pride, etc, etc, etc.

I think it was triggered with Jim having reached adulthood and will be leaving the show during the school year for college. He will be with us on Summer gigs and on other vacation times but the season of Full time Jugglin' Jim has come to an end....

Video Tape

We spent the first three days of this week locked in a theater performing our show and routines from the show over and over and over again for the camera as we put together video footage for promotional uses as well as for other marketing uses.
OK. We weren't locked. We did however perform our acts a billion-kazillion times.
We filmed our acts several times without and audience or music and then on the last day we filmed the whole thing with a live audience. No I sit in the editing room and have to piece it all together.
Why not just film a live show and leave it like that? Well, live shows have complications that arise. For example, a volunteer from the audience may be eager to come up but then freezes in front of the crowd. A prop could loose a wheel, a curtain could open too soon or too late. A performer could stumble. Remember I work with children and animals...anything can happen. In a live show these faux pas can be glossed over or even cute. But through the cold eye of the camera lens they stand out and look bad. Video can't translate the essence of a performance as well as a live show. In fact, that has been our problem over the years. We have a 90% rebook rate, and rarely loose an audience member due to boredom. On top of that we get awesome responses from crowds during shows....but past video just doesn't capture the essence or spirit of the show performed. So, by controlling the edits and shooting a little better we are able to show potential bookers something the more closely resembles the spirit of our show.

Check out our video page over the next few weeks to see clips from the filming.

I should like to mention that the grueling schedule of filming, especially if there are a bunch of takes can wear out even the strongest person...the little ones (Victor JR, Princess Amelia and Princess Olivia) held up like a seasoned pro.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Animals and Children or Video Taping a Show

There is an old axiom in show business…something like it’s very hard working with children and animals.
We have both in the Kent Family Magic Circus! And I will testify that the axiom is true.
Take today for example.
We are booked for three days of filming at the very beautiful paradise Performing Arts Center (Spared by the giant fire that burned over 20K acres). We filmed several of our standard routines that we have all performed a hundred million times. Somehow though it was impossible to get any of the takes in one take. From fiddling with each other or themselves to emergency bathroom calls right in the middle of a shot or just missing their mark or queue…wow! After reviewing the dailies almost every take will end up on the cutting room floor.
Princess Olivia, for example, (remember she is 2) never would enter the stage the same way twice. Once happy, once upset, once a dancer, once and acrobat, once holding tight ‘cause she had to go! We were in tears from laughter; you know the kind you get when you just give up! Still she pulled off a few cute cuts that might make the final. Anyway, we perform the show as a full program open to the public this Wednesday at 2pm for the unbelievable cost of only $3.00 to quarantine a sell out. We will donate our profits to the fire relief. We will post clips from the video on our video page soon.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Grad Nights and Concerts in the Park

Trying to be a "NORMAL" family while being in the entertainment biz can be somewhat a challenge. First let me caveat this by saying "Normal" by today's standards is not my goal. I think most people who fall in the realm of "normal" today are nearly insane if not all the way over the edge of normalcy by my standards. OK, maybe I am a prude. I think kids need discipline, that people learn good and generosity not born that way, and that a basic respect of God is essential. OK...maybe more than just a basic respect...maybe reverence and obedience might be a better way to phrase it. (But that is a topic for another time.)
In my attempts to be normal we have to do a lot of non-normal stuff. Like this past weekend. Thursday (June 5th) found us at the new GAP park in Yuba City, CA performing a "Concert in the park" (More like magic-circus at the park) at 6pm. (What a great crowd too. There were a whole bunch of folk that made it out there...even in spite of the Parks and Rec folks confusing the masses with two different advertised times. ) After the awesome show (the audience was awesome) we packed it up and got back to Oroville in time for a quick change and a rush out to the local stadium to catch Jugglin' Jim's Graduation from High School. That went on until 10:30 or so then it was off to Chico for the Chico High Grad night where we performed our second year bringing the more extreme elements of our show at 2AM! Another quick load in and we were off to Oroville again to do a 4am Hypnosis show for another grad night.
The 4 am show went as well as can be expected with only about 35 kids braving the early morn!
That's 35 out of 267. So my pickins for the show were slim. We made do and the show went mediocre-ly.
Well, not too normal but the boy had a chance to walk with his class and we still fit in the bookings.
Finally the next night or next really early morn brought one more grad night Hypnosis show that came off swell! About 150 kids braved the morn this time and the selection of subjects was top notch.
The dawn brought the drive home and half a sunlit-day fast asleep at home.
It's amazing how with schedules like this the Kent Kids can pull a honor roll, participate in extra-school activities successfully (with one so far going to State in track and Field), and do so well in the show as well. Perhaps it is because these schedules they do well. I love the traveling with them as well. I get to know them better and (as far as I know) there aren't any secrets between any of us.
{Quickly I think Normal is when brothers and sisters get along as friends, not argue and fight. Bring them up respecting each other and knowing each other well is our normal. As parents we don't let them not get along and that is normal to us. Normal is communicating. Normal is families working together. I don't think both parents working is normal or healthy for a real family. (Never wonder why they find it easy to put you in a home when your old if you stuck them in homes of sorts ( daycare) when they were small.) Normal is giving up luxury to make sure you know what your kids are doing. Giving up the extras so you have real family instead of one that just gets together for pizza night once a month. As I said, probably a topic for another time. Normal is sacrifice, it's doing the right thing even when the right thing drains you, sifts you, and is inconvenient.}