Dealing with Children while performing.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      I strive not to be one who thinks they know it all. I know I don't and I prefer not to annoy those who do.


      He says, after litterally saying he's the kigu ambassador on /jp/.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      Mine tends to reflect the years and years I have been in this activity, and more years in similar activities which are applicable.


      I've been taking shits for years and years too but that doesn't make me a proctologist.
      I grant you that point Sofa. I do consider myself to be a KIg Ambasador. I promote Kigurumi when and wherever i can. As in my opinion we all should.

      Beyond that, if you should choose to keep slinging mud at me, at least have the decency to start your own thread on the subject. Quit polluting this one.

      You are already confusing those who don't understand your sarcastic wit.

      Sofa wrote:

      The best way to approach kids is to charge at them aggressively,
      flailing your arms and screeching unintelligible incantations.

      tuxminnis wrote:

      That's not good that method flailing your arms at children would scare
      the children the parents wouldn't like that I think the kigurumi
      cosplay should be appropriate not inappropriate where you scare the
      child it supposed to be safe and fun not where a kigurumi cosplayers
      gets hurt I am not a kigurumi but I have read the rules of the educate
      you have to be appropriate as a kigurumi cosplayers not inappropriate

      Kiki

      Post was edited 2 times, last by “Miss Kiki” ().

      Neko-Nico wrote:

      Sofa wrote:

      The best way to approach kids is to charge at them aggressively, flailing your arms and screeching unintelligible incantations.


      I have tried this with varibly mixed results. Often it has resulted in injury to the central pelvic region


      Not to return a hilariously irreverent thread to boring practicality, but that reminds me of one time at Canada's Wonderland, as Dora's cousin Diego. A parent was determined their kid was going to see me, to the point where I though "too bad I'm not having a heart attack, 'cause these kicks would work as CPR."

      To the summarized rule of not holding crying or struggling babies, I'd suggest that you only ever accept a baby if sitting down. While you have more control of your digits than a theme park character, a baby's mode can change in an instant. If they squirm to the point of breaking free, best they do it inches from the ground, as opposed to in your arms.
      nomatter what a lot of people think you're creepy if you're:
      -covering your actual face
      -have stationary expressions
      -humanoid but not human
      -dont talk

      but more often than not people are amused by it and want your picture. (i had more pictures of me taken outside of a con by random people than actually in a convention). I had a guy come up to me and tell me to give him my mask so he could take a picture of himself.. like 3 times. didnt ask just kept telling me. -n-
      children seem to love it or hate it tho. usually LOVE it. i do appreciate the tips. i get more scared of parents than children, they dont know im not a creeper!
      Sometimes I poorly manage a costume supply business catering to masks. Come judge us harshly! http://idlehandshobbyshop.com/

      Miss Kiki wrote:

      I suspected that there were members of this Forum, who are or had been professional "Mascots".


      Possibly, but there's probably less than you expect. Of the two years I was at Wonderland, only one other woman from the cast is still performing in any way. She's also freelance on the side of being a medical office admin. No one in my casts really had interest in cosplay or anything costume.

      Miss Kiki wrote:

      This thread has been quite the learning tool. Such varied responses. But if I might take a moment, I'd like to recap what's been said, in the form of several "suggestions".

      We all have the child's well being at heart, it gives us pride to make a little child smile, but sometimes situations arise. We are not child molesters, but how does a parent know?

      When approached by a child.

      - Look around and identify the parental figure. Parents will rightly freak out if their child wanders away unknown to them. Especially if they find the child with a stranger, or a stranger mascot.


      - "Parents will rightly freak out if their child wanders away unknown to them." The hilarious/sad thing about this? At a theme park, all too many parents would go plop themselves on a bench, push their kid in our direction, and then zone out. We're not babysitters, folks. Also, I'm guessing kids at conventions tend to be way more interesting to interact with, because they've got interesting parents. Ultimately, the most interesting, interactive kids at theme parks, they have the politest parents, who as a result keep the line moving. But it's like "noooo, you're the first cool kid I've had today. You're talking to me as if I'm actually Diego, you're being creative in your interactions, Why must you go?"

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      - Establish communication with the parent. Determine by gesture if they are cool with you interacting with their child. Conversely the Handler could ask that question. Be prepared to back off if they begin to act hostile.

      - Oh, handlers (or "cohorts" as we called them). Be very appreciative of your handler, because he/she willing chose to be with you. Introduce money, and the frequently handlers are only there for the money, and totally distracted.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      - Get down to the child's level if possible.

      - Yes, definitely. Especially true with costumed characters, since the kids are already familiar with the character on their screens, to the sudden gargantuanous is even more of a shock than a mahō shōjo that they've likely never seen before, and have only approached because you're awesomely interesting. Squatting, while tiring if there's too many kids, is great for interaction.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      - Let the child come to you. Never approach the child
      - Mirroring posture, high fives, down lows, blowing kisses, making heart hands, waving, all seem to be appropriate gestures.
      - Ask if it's OK before hugging or hugging a child back. Parents can become concerned if it seems to them as if you are restraining their child.

      At theme parks, or as a mascot, you have a lot more room with these ones, because of the inherent trust of being hired by a company. You still have to make judgement calls on a case-by-case basis, of course. By default, we hug back, or even make the first restrained offer of a hug. It's a whole other ball game.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      - If a child hands you a toy or stuffed animal, play with it a bit, entertain the child, then hand it back.

      Totally. One of my favourite experiences at Wonderland was on a slow afternoon, a boy had won a basketball at the park. As SpongeBob, I gently knocked it out of his hands, and (not able to see my feet, because of the giant box I was in) started to kick it like a soccer ball. For the next 5 minutes or so, SpongeBob, Patrick, maybe Jimmy Neutron, and a bunch of middle schoolers played soccer with improvised goal nets made from the appearance area stanchions. On the flip side, one licensed character that I currently perform as, semi-regularly, if kids bring a stuffed toy of me to the appearance, I actually can't officially interact with it, because then it would a.) mean that this character was self-aware that he was a TV character and not real, and b.) possibly suggest endorsement of that specific toy, and the while the licensor is extremely active in that lucrative field, they've never had their characters appear in ads for products.

      More later, it's almost the start of my work day. Hopefully I'll also be able to find the Wonderland training guide, and throw it online as a PDF. I can offer the script of Dora's Sing-Along Adventure easily,* but I'm trying to remember what box the training guide would be in. (It's in terrible condition, as I carried it with me to and from work in my bag, being an absolute keener.

      * There was a photocopy laying around at the end of the year in a laundry stand, and the park was nixing Nickelodeon, so I took it. I say this only to disclaim that I can't remember choreography to save my life.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      When dealing with a shy child.

      - Never push the issue of interacting with a child who does not want to be with you, even if the parent "must" have the shot.
      - Let child know it's OK to be shy. Weepy eye, Peekaboo. Act timid, sad, or scared of them.
      - Never accept a crying or struggling baby.
      - If in a group of performers. Single out one to interact with the child. Have the others draw back. One on one is not as intimidating as facing a crowd.
      - Little Boys will shy away from "Living" dolls. Little girls won't. But little boys are all over "Male" characters no matter who's performing them.


      - Agreed, the United Nations Convention against Torture applies here. ^^ Freaked kids grow up to be freaked adults. Freaked adults turn into 4chan trolls. Once, I was in a theme park called Ontario Place, and a clown rounded a corner. I proceeded to run to the edge of the island, a good 300 away from my parents. No one was forcing me, the clown was just walking. Things can be freaky and mess with your mind when you're a child.
      - "it's OK to be shy": Yes, as they say, animals in the wild are more scared than you, than you of them? Acting reluctant yourself can often soften the barrier of unease.
      - Hehe, just imagining a pack of kigs surrounding a child like gang ready to attack.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      Posing with a child for pictures

      - use sideways pose if child won't turn around to face camera.
      - Try to carry a prop so your hands are occupied in a picture.
      - Strike a pose which is appropriate for your character.
      - Try not to touch the child without asking parental permission.
      - Have handler put down his camera and offer to take the picture. This way parent can get into the shot and hold kid.
      - Hold strollers or baby carriages with infants in them, only with parental consent.


      - Occupied hands is a clever idea. Basically, we were trained that hands must be visible at all time, no matter what, lest someone be able to accuse us of grabbing their butt because of an unclear photo. That said, we could place our hands on shoulders, on heads, that sort of thing, we were fairly we to "hang" with the visitor if they seemed comfortable with us.
      - "appropriate for your character": Yes, but also a side note. You know how there's that undercurrent under people's voices, that if they do a "voice", you still recognize that it's them doing a voice? Apparently I have that performing. One of the girls in the Dora show would arrive later than the walkaround characters, during our first walk when the park was dead, and she'd always say hi to everyone individually by their character names. But she'd always address me as Nick, no matter what character I was. After a few times, I asked if I was that out of character, did I never take on the character's personality? But she explained it was just some strange undefinable trait about my movement, the same as the underlying tone in a voice. Anyway, off topic.
      - Parents getting in the shot with kids: Good idea for liability's sake. Also, even if there's two adults, one taking a pic of their friend with the kig, the handler should at least occasionally offer "would you also like one together?" It's a nice courtesy, and ups the odds they'll post online and share with their friends.
      - Without reading back on when this was suggested, I don't think you need to be too afraid of touching strollers and carriages. As long as you've already made the contact with the parent and established the infant freak at the sight of you, I can't see anyone objecting to you touching the unit. Don't run away with the baby, of course.

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      Catching a child unawares.

      - Handlers should look out for and warn you of, a child who does not notice you. You can't see clearly.
      - if you are at a distance, make a noise. Clap hands, or something to get the child's attention.
      - Have handler talk.
      - Look around for Parental unit. Get their attention.
      - Once child recognizes you are there, they will choose how to react.
      - Don't approach the child, even if that's the direction you were headed. Stop. Wait for them to move.


      This is another difference between paid mascots, particularly entertainment ones as opposed to marketing ones, and kigs. Many older kids actually quite enjoy a fun startle from turning around and discovering that SpongeBob's behind them. (Again, this is a case-by-case basis thing.) Definitely not the same ball of wax with kigs, I'd agree that you should be particularly cautious.

      So yeah, it's not all comparable, but many instances of overlap.

      zanimum_ wrote:

      - Oh, handlers (or "cohorts" as we called them). Be very appreciative of your handler, because he/she willing chose to be with you. Introduce money, and the frequently handlers are only there for the money, and totally distracted.

      Dang i would so love to handle some ppl at a con or something, but there are pretty much no kigs near me, neither crazy cosplay cons. (Doh!)

      I think the "paid handlers" are more the thing in the paid mascot scene.
      It might be just me, but here i would think most handlers are unpaid because they are either friends of yours or kigs themselves or both.
      Maybe if its somebody realativly unknown you owe them a coffee and a snack afterwards, but i feel kigging is more settled without money.

      Renko wrote:


      I think the "paid handlers" are more the thing in the paid mascot scene.
      It might be just me, but here i would think most handlers are unpaid because they are either friends of yours or kigs themselves or both.
      Maybe if its somebody realativly unknown you owe them a coffee and a snack afterwards, but i feel kigging is more settled without money.


      Sorry that I was clear there. Paid handlers would be weird for kig.

      What I was referring to is the fact that, friends care about you, and that fact they're going to the con with you, are likely going to rock as a handler, and if someone is a kig themselves, and they're cohorting you, then they share your passion and are likely going to be an awesome handler because of that experience/passion.

      A recent movie promotion I was on, my cohort and fellow performer were both grumpy cats that had no passion for performing. As Shaun the Sheep, I was interacting with people, exploring the bookstore to find more people, the dog and the cohort were content to stand, unmoving, unhappy. They knew that their boringness wouldn't be reported to the movie studio, and thus they could put in as little effort as humanly possible. In contrast, I have a well-paying office job, but I continue because it's great escapism, a paying hobby.

      Money does not equal motivation. Money does not equal passion. Only passion equals passion, so be grateful to have competent, passionate handlers.


      I have had to interact with mobs of children on occasion. As well as drugged out hippies. It is why I dislike public appearances, It is not my desire to entertain children, I am usually at these events pursuing my own footage but of course if you are a brightly colored Kigu at a public venue, small children will flock to you and you will have to do Kigu things like give high fives and take pictures, it is unavoidable I suppose.

      I try to make myself look busy so as not to be interrupted, but even so if you are approached by a parent and small children, you should at least be friendly and courteous, have a few posses ready, practice them in advance, so it can be over with quickly. Personally, I believe body language is very important whilst in Kigu since you cannot speak so try to have gentle, silly, cartoony, yet slightly over the top movements so that you are amusing if your Kigu allows for it.

      I guess it's part of the Kigu Experience, even if it is not your objective to perform for an audience, It feels bad to let a children down, or appear lazy and uncaring in a photograph they are excited about. So it must be done, even if only for your own sake, do the best you can to be fun and accommodating.

      Even to Drugged out Hippies and Teenagers, I've never refused a photo. I have never told a Child or their Parents to go away or leave me alone. It leads to awkward moments however, one moment I am minding my own business gathering footage, and the next moment I am somehow hugging a cancer patient in a wheelchair while a crowd of people gathers to "awww". It is not what I signed up for but whatever.

      My best advice if you are not confident dealing with children would be to avoid places like the circus, the zoo, etc where a Kigu is not to be expected, you will get swarmed, they will think you are a clown or part of the act or something. I would recommend attending only Anime/Sci-Fi conventions as they are mostly 20-30 year old adults, and if there are any children, there is an understanding and they and their parents are prepared to encounter many costumed characters, so you are not out of place.

      Post was edited 5 times, last by “Nonperson Human” ().