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Topic: FCM 2007 *Some highlights and a link to an article*
Message: Posted by: Joey Evans (Jul 27, 2007 03:50PM)
I saw that we only had one message about this year's convention so I decided to write a little about this year for those that couldn't make it.

To start off here is a great article that was written up in the Marion Chronicle about the convention.


This year's convention was great as usual. It was particularly great having Duane and Mary Laflin back this year. His lectures were excellent and his presence at the Late Late magic was great as well. If you haven't seen Duane do sponge balls, then you need to look into it.

There were many great lectures this year. Some that stand out are Oz and Wilde's lectures on constructing a great routine, Kerry Kistler's lecture on showmanship, Steve Taylor's lecture, and well, more than I can mention. The balloon art schedule was great this year as well with the addition of Ed Chee.

The evening program had many new faces on it this year, such as the splat experience. Steve Varro did a silk routine that was amazing and had me in stitches. The late show had quite a bit of new talent on it as well. There were a couple of jugglers that are well on their way.

Of course this convention is my favorite simply because it's great to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. The format of the convention is great for this. If you have gone, or are thinking about going, let me mention one thing I've learned there. Although you may only do magic, look through the entire schedule. There are classes in other categories that will help you immensely in your magic. I took a class in balloons about business and in chalk art about showmanship. Both of these carry over to your art. This is what I love about the FCM and why it stands out so far over the other conventions. It shows you so many different arts and their take on entertainment. Some of my best tips on showmanship and comedy were given to me by a juggler.

Overall, this was a fantastic convention. The only thing is that I would love to see more classes on developing routines, the business aspect, showmanship, and things like that. Also, I would like to see if they could add more hours to the day so staying up until 7 am wouldn't effect me as much.
Message: Posted by: ChrisG (Jul 27, 2007 09:28PM)
The Key Note speaker was great. At 92 years of age Phil Foxxwell is still performing and lecturing.

That guy I think his name was Joey was pretty good to. I really did enjoy your performance Joey.

The launch of the new Members area of the web site looks good also. I hope everyone checks it out.

Next year can't get here soon enough.

Message: Posted by: Steve Varro (Jul 29, 2007 02:05AM)
I agree Chris. Joey's program was great! I haven't been that impressed in a long time. Well done Joey!

As good as this years convention was, next years is going to be even better. It's our 50th convention and we are pulling out all the stops!

Hope to see you there.

In HIS service,
Steve Varro
Immed. Past President, FCM
Message: Posted by: Rodney Palmer (Jul 30, 2007 12:00AM)
I thought that I would chime in here and cast my thoughts. This was my first FCM International Conference and my wife attended as well. Joey you did a Fantastic job with your magic and your future is bright. The registration for the event was handled well by Jim & Chris Austin. My wife and I chose to stay at a motel due to my back problems. The FCM has a lot to offer, but I was really frustrated by the way the evening shows were handled. In magic we do make mistakes but the evening shows were very mis-managed and very poorly produced. I know that we recently lost our stage manager, however that was some of the worst MC's and performances due to lack of communication. I did enjoy meeting people such as Chris Gardner, Joey Brummett, Kerry Kistler, Barry Mitchell, etc. I have been a part of the FCM for 4-years and we do not have a local chapter here in Michigan that is close to drive to. If I were a lay audience member and have never seen a Gospel Magician I do not think I would ever want to see one again. I love the FCM and what they are trying to do. We really need a change in LEADERSHIP and I must say that we need some newer younger members to lead the FCM into the next level. I was there for the business meeting and we need to change. We should not keep passing on the President to a Past President and down the line. I believe that the FCM Board is in a Clique of its own. We need some new blood. And before you ask, YES I would step up to the plate. I am 41 and have over 24 years in the Art of Magic.
The FCM's new SLOGAN should read: IT's TIME TO CHANGE, otherwise we are headed down hill. I have taken many days to think about what I wanted to write and even wrote this out before posting here on the Café' Gospel Magicians get a BAD RAP because of the low level of Professional Commitment to the Art of Magic. We all need to step up our game including me as I am NOT perfect I do and always will continue to make mistakes. Some of the magicians on the evening shows just need to say "It's Time To Stop" that is performing in front of the LIVE lay audiences. I know this letter will offend many please remember that this is my opinion and mine only. God Bless and may each and every day bring you closer to Perfecting the Art of Magic for GOD.

Rodney Palmer
Message: Posted by: Viano (Jul 31, 2007 05:55PM)
I agree with Rodney's assessment of the shows at FCM. I have been there twice and I have concluded that the FCM is more about "Fellowship" than about "Magic". The performers are satisfied with the level of their performances and the attendees also seem to be satisfied.

For the sake of the Art of Magic, I hope most of them only perform for adorning friends and relatives.

Message: Posted by: Viano (Jul 31, 2007 05:58PM)
Additional thoughts.
I enjoyed the FCM because of Fellowship with some really fine people, some of whom are excellent performers. It is a wonderful, friendly environment.

Message: Posted by: ChrisG (Jul 31, 2007 08:06PM)
To name a few I enjoyed the programs of Joey Brummett, Steve Varro, Steve Taylor, Nathan Robert's, Jim Austin, Duane Laflin and others. I know some were not as good as others that is just a fact of life. Some that are good performers I don't care for, because I don't care for their style but I can learn from them.

The Emcee's, Oz and Wilde, Janet Tucker, PJ Webber, Jeff Scott and again Duane Laflin I thought were good. I can't think of anything they did wrong, but for some reason I think they are occasionally slow coming back out. If that is what you mean by mismanaged then I agree. I did not notice any other problems.

Youth Night was plagued with sound problems.

The Mystery Men while aren't my style I think they are a very good singing group and I enjoy them.

While I felt there were some programs not as good this year my wife liked the overall week better than years past.

Anyone wishing to raise the level of performers has only to sign up for the late night program. That is one of the ways future performers are considered. As far as getting involved with any other area like working to improve the communication during the shows an e-mail to the FCM can get you going. Six years ago was my first FCM convention. My wife an I decided then we would not attend again without putting back into the organization. We have been helping five years in registration and the last two doing the video. We are looking forward to the 50th next year.

That is my 2 cents worth on the convention.

Now some thoughts on criticism of Gospel Performers.
I am only guessing here but out of the 31,000 + registered users here that you would find the same percentage of less than average secular magicians as there are gospel magicians. So I can go along with a statement that there are many magicians that are happy with their level of performance.

We now have a forum on the FCM web site use it to help strengthen our organization, express you views there where it is a little more private and will be seen by those who can make a difference.

Chris Garner
FCM 11562-02
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 1, 2007 11:47AM)
As a member of FCM for a little over seven years and a second time attendee of the International Convention, perhaps I can share a little insight from my perspective having been a performer last year and an emcee this year (I'm "Wilde" by the way).

Being part of the evening program is a learning experience. FCM has folks helping with staging who are students and they have everyone gather at 3:00 in the afternoon to get the show ready. So for a couple of hours of rehearsal, things really go pretty well considering. Not perfect, but we can't judge it by say Broadway standards.

As for the acts, I think many did a good job, a few shined, a few had problems, but that's the reality of live performances. What the audience sees for the price of admission to the shows every night (it's free by the way) is a group of folks who celebrate their love for Jesus with their talents. And we are all learning. I've seen several acts over the years away from FCM do programs that made this show look like a David Copperfield special, but the Lord used them to bring in new believers. Obviously I am for everyone doing there very best and I am doing everything in my power to help FCMers be the best not only Christian entertainers, but entertainers as a whole. But that is a team effort.

That said, I think a possible way to improve the evening program might be to limit acts to ten minutes and have a couple of more folks perform each night. Maybe the last act get 20 minutes. I would really like to see more acts on the stage. It is a great experience. However it is a showcase. The Monday night show of 2006 there was an act only a handful of people at the conference had ever heard of...and they were asked to close the show. Ed took a chance on a couple of guys and talked them into coming to the convention. It was Gene and I (Oz and Wilde).

I don't know about everyone else, but when we showed up at tech rehearsal this year, we had scripts, marked for music cues, so the backstage and sound folks knew exactly what we wanted when. We also had CD with all the music on it, a back up copy. And while every cue wasn't perfect, it all flowed for us. We were very appreciative of the crew (and even had one be part of our show). Again...only a couple of hours to discuss things...it went very well. Oh...and as emcees...we tracked down all the acts during the week and made sure we could properly introduce them so we didn't have to stand there and read the intro.

As for the leadership of FCM, I know them all, some before I started going to the convention, some I've met there. Personally I think they do a wonderful job keeping our organization going considering this isn't a paid gig for them. If any feel they want to run for office and give their input to make changes, get involved.

This was a great convention. If folks haven't attended, they are missing a lot. My hats off to Ed Jarvis, the Varros and the rest of the crew for the 49th convention. Looking forward to the 50th in July of 2008.

><> J
Kif "Wilde" Anderson
11015-00 (well Chris started it)
Message: Posted by: 4merryhearts (Aug 1, 2007 02:29PM)
I echo Kif "Wilde" Anderson's comments as well. I emceed the Wednesday night show as "the Dollar Store Man" and had a ball. My experience was that the sound crew was not as experienced as we have had in the past years. That being said, there were some very inspiring and entertaining acts all throughout the week. We love going to FCM as it gives Christian entertainers of all stripes a chance to improve on their disciplines as well as pick up new ideas from other areas such as puppets, vents, clowns, etc. The people are just fantastic all the way around. You would be hard pressed to find a more encouraging bunch. I lead the ventriloquism section this year and can tell you the lectures were outstanding from folks like Liz Von Segen, Tim and Amanda Cowles of Dummyworks, Dave Mitchell, Steve Taylor, and Steve Parker just to name a few.
And the Late, Late night stuff Joey puts on-- the parodies and skits-- what a mind. Imagine putting on a different show every night with new material each day!
Jeff Scott
aka "the dollar store man"
Message: Posted by: Kerry Kistler (Aug 4, 2007 01:01AM)
Hey Gang,

Nice article Joey. Thanks for posting the link. And also for all of the hard work you put into the convention to give it that special late night touch. Also, your chops as a stand up comic really came through in your act. Hat's off. I'm still recovering from that all nighter ;o)

Steve, wonderful animated silk segment and costume change routine. Class. I hope you and Joey will send me a postcard from the road sometime ;o) Jeff, you had us rolling, as usual.

Y'know, I'm somewhat conflicted on this topic. Our convention had some very sterling moments this year. Sadly, there were some moments I found too hard to watch and had to put my head between my knees. But, here's the deal - I've also been to a few of the Big Dog magic conventions over the years. I've witnessed some pretty spectacular stuff - polished pros, highly produced shows, world-class talent with wonderfully original material.

But, I've had to put my head between my knees there too. Imagine watching legendary illusionist Harry Blackstone, Jr. perform Six Card Repeat, along with a racy vibrator joke, in front of a capacity crowd. Imagine close-up legend Al Goshman selecting your wife to assist with a lecture routine and then listen to him crack wise about her bra size. Somehow you don't expect to see the Big Dogs lick themselves in public. But, sometimes, they do.

With this in mind, does our little convention have just cause to be embarrassed of itself. I think the honest answer is, yes, at times it does. Room for improvement? Sure. I think Rodney Palmer is correct in pointing out that some of our old-timers need to lay down their wands. I respect Stan Adair for making that wise decision some years ago. He got to the point where he knew he could no longer do justice to our art and packed his trunk. Some of the guys who were booked for the evening shows this year needed the courage to politely decline. I hope I have enough grace to know when that time comes for me.

I don't mean to say that we ought to load them up and ship 'em off to the glue factory. Certainly, these patriarchs can still make valuable contributions to the FCM. But, should it really be on the Grand Evening Program at our International convention? Don't misunderstand - I can be a bonehead onstage too. Just a few days ago I bungled the finale of my Knife Board routine by forgetting to remove the last cup to reveal that the knife really was there. In hundreds of shows I have never forgotten. My volunteer had the crowd of 500 laughing so hard that I was momentarity distracted and moved into my next routine. Few of us are perfect ALL the time while on stage. But, I think you understand what I'm trying to say.

Someone mentioned that the FCM is more about the Fellowship than Magic. Probably guilty as charged. But, I think we made that decison years ago when we gave equal footing to all of the variety arts within our organization. We are not a magic club despite what our name says. We are a group of Christian variety entertainers that also happens to include magicians. I personally do not enjoy watching a clown as MC or a 10 minute balloon routine. I'm not even fully sold on the Colorama - shouldn't each act on that stage be booked indivually, based on some sort of recommended merit or audition?

But, we have chosen to be inclusive - this year we even added a Face Painting department!

Clearly, if you are a magic purist, you will find this convention irritating at times. There are some things you won't care for but as Joey suggested, try approaching the convention like a buffet - fill your plate with what you like and bypass the rest. It also helps to come with the attitude of a servant's heart, as Chris Garner has said.

Now, here is the most astounding trick that we pull off every year: We fill our stage PLUS scores of workshop slots with people who willingly bleed...for FREE. Let the Big Dog conventions try to pull THAT one off. Dry up their money to book headliners and big name draws, and watch their conventions dissolve like a Snowstorm in China. We survive because of the love and passion that our members have for Jesus and the willing sacrifice they make for the FCM. If we ever lose that formula...start folding the tents.

Let's do all we can to light a candle. There are enough people cursing the darkness.

Message: Posted by: phill (Aug 6, 2007 09:31AM)
Howdy -
Some great thoughts in this thread.
As this was our first convention, the big thing we came away with is this - the lack of ego. Time and time again, whether workshop, program or jam, the emphasis and focus was on the audience - in particular "the audience of One", as the song goes.
Instructors/performers across the board stressed the concept of reaching the audience with the message, not having it be all about the artist. It is true that a polished act is more likely to send that positive message and we are "strongly encouraged" to do things as though the only One in the audience is God Himself.
We had a terriffic time and still talk about the time we saw such and such or remember the testimony of so and so. This convention is a powerful gathering and it was great to be surrounded by family of like mind. Just imagine if it wasn't there.

Message: Posted by: Steve Varro (Aug 7, 2007 11:53AM)
I've watched this thread for a week or so, and wanted to respond in the beginning. I'm glad I waited. The comments have been great to read.
I've enjoyed hearing what Joey, Chris, Viano, Kif, ,Jeff and Phil had to say on this subject. I especially applaud the words from Kerry I can not state things better than Kerry did, so I'll just say thank you for your comments and support.

I do however want to comment on the "Need for a change in Leadership"comment earlier in this thread.

I have been a board member since 1990. I started out in the position of secretary. My nomination came from the floor, not from the nominating committee. I tell you that lest you think that only those nominated from the nominating committee get elected. As a 30 year member of the FCM I would have to say that the friends I've met over those years have in some cases become closer to me than family.

When you serve on a board for any length of time the organization becomes like a child to you. You want the best for that child and you want the assurance that when you pass that child on to another (Like a father giving his daughter to another man) they will be in good hands. It has been an honor to serve in several position on the board. An honor to see the changes and growth. It has also been painful to have to make hard decisions. Decisions that may have caused pain or disappointment to one, but in the interest of the organizations future was the best decision to be made at the time.

The elections for the board come up every three years. These elections are open so that all members can vote, and nominate possible board members. The elections are not just opened to those who attend our convention. The nominations are open to every member of the FCM. If someone wants to serve on the board they only need to have their name submitted from the floor on in writing according to the bylaws and constitution.

The members of the FCM board are always thinking to the future, knowing that each of us must turn the rains of leadership over to the next generation of leaders. Our prayer are that those future leaders are ready to take the organization to the next level. We are a working board, not just figureheads.

I seen presidents elected to that position when they have never served on the boards before. Some do a great job, others struggle along. All would be the first to say, start at a lower position, learn the ropes and inner workings of the organization, before taking a stab at leading this fine organization.

All this is said to state that we are always looking for change in leadership. The board is not a "clique" We are members, just like everyone else. We may not have the time to attend all the lectures everyone else at the convention gets to attend, and we may spend more time in meetings than we want to, and by the end of the day we may be too tired to attend the late shows (sorry Joey) or the late, late shows, but rest assured that we do what we do because we love the organization. When I think of the future of the organization, I pray that men, and women with vision and leadership skills and love for the FCM will step forward and help guide this organization to the next level.

It's easy to say we need a change, it's even easier to criticize or complain about the current officers while sitting on the sidelines. Remember it only requires a nomination to become involved. But unless your love for this organization is bigger than your desire for leadership, I'd rather you just sit back and complain. Enjoy the lectures, share in all the fellowship, but please don't get involved in leadership unless you are a team player and have what's best for the team at heart.
Message: Posted by: Joey Evans (Aug 7, 2007 11:12PM)
I have been watching this thread for a while as well and thought that I should put my two cents in.

First off let me say, thank you to every one for the kind comments about our act. We loved doing it! It really was an honor to be on stage at FCM. FCM was literally where I got my start and it was great to finally give back. To hear that people really enjoyed it means so much. Thanks a lot, and I'm probably going to quote you, Steve! Chris I can't wait for the video, thanks so much for doing what you do. The behind the scenes jobs are always the toughest and the least rewarding it seems. However, I want you to know we really appreciate the job you do.

As far as late night goes, I love doing it. Every year I get to literally try out dozens of new routines, most of them thought up at 4 am, the night before. Some will make into my act, and some like the day in the life of David Copperfield, well, are for FCM only. I just wanted to encourage anyone, amateur or professional, to be in the late show. It's where you can take your act that isn't quite there or a brand new idea and try it out. You can get feedback and know which areas need work, if any. Also, like Chris said, it's like an audition for the evening program.

Now on to what has seemed to become the meat of the thread. I'll say right up front that I know very little about the inner workings of the FCM. So the words of Kerry, Steve, Jeff, Kif, and Chris probably hold far more weight than my own. I will say that the FCM has been getting better and better. Of course, it has a lot of room it can grow, but I still believe it is without a doubt the top convention in the country. Like Kerry stated, they added a face painting department, which is great. Like my post above said, I think the variety this convention offers seperates it from the pack.

As far as the evening programs, I am sure there are some acts that may not have needed to be on the big stage or weren't polished enough. But they had 5 nights to fill, and hundreds of people to please coming from various different arts. Everyone has different tastes. It's really impossible to bat 1000.

Bottom line is that FCM is a convention that if you want to get involved, all it takes is initiative. And take time to talk to the board members, they're very approachable and will help you out with anything you need. I know I would love to get involved in the political side one day, simply to give back. If that happens, I know those that have been involved would be there to give guidance. The FCM is only as good as we make it. So let's make it great!
Message: Posted by: danielluskmagic (Aug 8, 2007 05:05PM)
I just wanted to add my comments to this thread.

I have been a member for three years and am grateful for all it has offered. I have grown so much from the National Convention and from our local chapter. The first year was so overwhelming to me. I could not believe all of the information I was receiving. Everyone was so approachable and helpful.

I have made many friendships at the FCM Convention that support me throughout the year. Thanks to Joey, I have been greatly involved in the late show for the past 2 years. I would also like to thank Kif and Gene for their support and information. Their lectures were a highlight of this year’s convention. Also, a big thinks to Kerry Kistler for spending many 3am mornings with me at Steak and Shake tossing around ideas and talking business. I must also thank Steve Varro for his leadership and approachability.

The main thing I long for at the convention is more lectures on the business end of magic and ministry since we are now doing magic full time.

We are looking forward to the big FIVE-O next year.

Daniel Lusk
Message: Posted by: Steve Varro (Aug 8, 2007 06:11PM)
On 2007-08-08 18:05, danielluskmagic wrote:
The main thing I long for at the convention is more lectures on the business end of magic and ministry since we are now doing magic full time.


You don't know how refreshing it is to hear you say this. I will keep that in mind when I set up the magic lectures for 2008. I've often said that if we had three lectures going on at the same time. One on 10 tricks with a rubber band, another on 10 tricks with belly button lint, and the third on Showmanship and Business, the first two would be full and only a handful would attend the one on Showmanship and Business.

It's refreshing to know that there are young up and coming magicians who want to learn more than how to do another 10 tricks.

We all now plenty of effects, but so many lack the showmanship and stage presence to present them well, and even fewer now how to market themselves to the next level.

Thanks for your comments. Be assured you'll find the lectures you want and need at next years FCM.
Message: Posted by: danielluskmagic (Aug 8, 2007 07:48PM)
That sounds wonderful. We are just getting started in the business. We actually just met with our CPA today to iron out all of the details for the IRS. The website has launched the cards are in and we are booking. Here are some bullet points of what information that we were looking for in starting. Thanks to Kerry, Joey, and our Townhouse neighbors (I am so sorry I do not have your names in front of me) we were able to find most of our information.

- Business names (registration)
- Business types and taxes (DBA, LLC, INC)
- Advertisement (what works best)
- Rates (how to find the best rate to set)
- Where you can make money (ones we have not thought about like local conventions and convention dinners, Thanks Joey)
- Websites (what works best)

There are plenty of people doing it full time with a wealth of information. Maybe even a panel of pro’s on one lecture to do a Q and A.

These are just some suggestions.

Daniel Lusk
Message: Posted by: Joey Evans (Aug 9, 2007 05:32PM)
First off, Daniel, thanks so much for your help at the late show. The brainstorming sessions are well worth the price of the convention.

I completely agree about more lectures about the business side and showmanship. I really think all of the problems that we talk about concerning people's performance can be helped by teaching people about showmanship. Classes on routining, business, showmanship, and things like that will address what is really lacking in the new generation of performers. I think to put these classes on the roster, and plenty of them not just a couple, will show that we really want to help magic as an art form.
Message: Posted by: Rodney Palmer (Aug 24, 2007 12:53AM)
FCM-what does that stand for? Fellowship of Christian Magicians!

If you look very closely to the above posts you will see a very distinct clique with certain members of the FCM and if you go against the grain you are not a part of this group as a whole. Why do I take a very serious HIGH Stand with the FCM, I take this stand because we are ambassadors for Christ and we will be held to the HIGHEST regard when Judgement Day comes. I am sorry to say that a great magority of Gospel Magicians should not be in that respected field and some that were really good in their younger days should now realize that it is time to step down. A quote that was once said is "The only thing that can keep a good organization from bettering themselves is having the same people in charge for years" We need a change in the FCM and that is with the Leadership. I am not sorry, I know some toes are being stepped on here but c'mon same leadership same old FCM. I heard a comment from someone who attended this FCM Conference and they stated the FCM never changes same people year after year. We need a Change and I would like to get my name on the ballot for FCM President I know without a doubt I with a good staff could take the FCM to a higher level where God really wants us to be. Please nominate me for your next President you will be glad you did.

Rodney Palmer
Port Huron, Michigan
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 30, 2007 10:15AM)
FCM may stand for Fellowship of Christian Magicians, but "magicians" are not just what the organization is about. Anyone who goes just for the magic misses a lot. I take advantage of the week at the International convention to sample many different arts. I don't know of a conference or conventions anywhere that gives someone such an opportunity...or (and for me more importantly) a community of folks who are so willing to share and encourage one another. I applaud the current leadership for fostering such an environment.
I am also a testimony that the convention isn't the same folks over and over. Our current president, Ed Jarvis, in 2006 put a couple of guys not too many people had ever heard of, or much less ever seen perform, and had them as the final act on Monday night. Steve Varro also asked them to give a lecture...and in 2007 two. The act is Oz and Wilde (Gene Oswald and myself).
I'm open to new ideas and it is my hope that our leadership is as well. And who ever our new president will be after the convention next year, Del, Rodney or maybe someone else (if I knew of anyone else running I'd have listed them), I think it is my duty as a member to be as great of support to them as possible. The fellowship is only as good as everyone works to make it. And it is my hope that those with ideas are listened to by the leadership.
Also FCM is more than just the annual convention. It is contributions to the Christian Conjurer, it is regional conferences world wide, it is monthly meetings of chapters. And it is getting the word out to the world about our great organization.
And as for the future of FCM...we need to make sure we don't forget the past. And be sure we glean from those who have been in the trenches and have experience to share. And keep it the positive experience it is meant to be.