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Topic: Exhibitions, Zibbits & Gaffs
Message: Posted by: takeachance (Aug 10, 2007 08:50PM)
I've had Doug Higley's "How to" info for a while now and believe it is great advice, an absolute wealth of psychological info into how the public react to curious and why. It's a no BS approach to setting up a fun market stall type business, the emphasis being on fun. I believe however it is extremely important to get your actual display piece right for the culture, area and type of patronage you expect. My question is this, and I hope Doug weighs in on this, Is the best approach A "What is it" For me this type of gaff would have to be utterly possible, perhaps a mutation but still possible ( as in an gaint mummified rodent found between a wall when demolishing an old building). Or can the old curio of the shrunken head from south America with adventure story and historic info(not too many people know the process) still be interesting. Perhaps a good story about a carny freak show attraction from the 1800's (without offensive pickled punks)still interest people when exhibiting a disfigured skull based on a true story with a bit of compassion to it (as in the case of John Merrick.)
Maybe, what I need is a mini exhibit and combine all three types to satisfy my craving to set up my "What is it" display. Any advise to set me straight would be appreciated coming from some of the old pro's. I have a great fasination about all, and if done in an educational manner believe people would be interested, but in reality do you think from your experience, they will be.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 11, 2007 09:51AM)
I think another read of the material would be a good thing for you.

The information is about MY version of a Single-O show done in a SPECIFIC way. It goes somewhat against what many of the 'old pros' were doing (and some continue to do which is fine, just not THIS).

This show as detailed if done correctly is EXTREMELY successful and has nothing to do with local culture or type of patronage since to be successful the LAST thing you want to do is IDENTIFY what is inside. It is a specific blind pitch. It has worked in 23 countries! It has worked in poor areas and with the uppercrust ROYALS in UK. Yes the EXACT same pitch and idea. See:


Change the words and you change the show.

If you wish to do other than is what is in the How-To that's fine, nothing is in stone...but the wide success of THIS show is based on SPECIFIC wording and presentation.

If you have the mentality of a Curator, that's terrific! Do it! You'll do well...BUT if you're doing THIS show it is for two reasons. One: To make Money. Two: To have FUN and take NO HEAT from the public.

THIS show as detailed does something other shows do not and can not do in this new age...it attempts to attract EVERYBODY, including Women and Families. If you let huge elements of the population of any midway or Market just stroll on by either turned off or disinterested in what you have, you've lost a huge portion of the income you could have had. Sure you got SOME, you'll always get the punks but there aren't that many punks at a Flea Market are there...Long time Showmen (and Showwomen) once they switched to THIS idea, have seen huge increases in Women paying their dollar. There is a reason.

The study will be released soon but this idea of mine has just gone through some Scientific testing at a major Michigan University. (TRUE!) It was proven hands down WHY it works and exactly what I said in the How-To is dead on accurate.

I can't be more specific here without tipping the whole thing or going into far too much detail...but all your questions have nothing to do with THIS show...Apples and Oranges. PM me and I'll be glad to go through it with you on the phone if you like.

I had all those shows you postulate and the BIG ASS Museums etc...that's how I came up with this SPECIFIC plan.

Sure a giant mummified Rat can work with this BUT and this is key so would Grandmas old False teeth if you didn't care about patron reaction to what they paid to see. Those who have the plan and read it carefully, know what I mean. This plan is in the marketing of whatever is presented...if done properly it doesn't matter what it is you show...EXCEPT in this way...they should not have a clue AFTER they've seen it what they just saw. They can think it's fake, they can think it crawled out of the wood work, they can think it's from Venus or the Toilet Bowl but if they don't KNOW what it is there is always the question and they paid to see something QUESTIONABLE not identifiable. A huge difference in the after show process of them being satisfied or flipping you off or being bored. They paid to be able to TELL YOU WHAT IT IS and if they can or they can't they are leaving your show with a wonder implanted. They got EXACTLY what they paid to see, what they just HAD TO pay to see because their curiosity was put into high gear by the SPECIFIC wording on your show front.

I know none of this makes sense without knowing the How-To Plan but while it can be argued with, the FACTS are it kicks butt in the most odd situations and in the best of situations.

If you are showing a Rat for example...do you know how many people could care less and NOT even consider paying to see one? Or nearly anything else you can come up with. There will always be a certain segment of the public that will pay to see a dancing turd if you have one...but what we want is to build and motivate the curiosity of EVERYBODY ELSE and at least have a shot at their spare change AND have them leave HAPPY and not feel ripped off or BORED.

The How-To is a psychological breakdown of WHY this works, once you underdtand it (easy to do) you have the power. Simple as that. It's NOT a How-To put up a tent or spiel the crowd...it IS the CHEMISTRY in simple terms of what will work, has worked for those who do it right and continues to work BY detailing the Mistakes You Must Avoid in order to break into areas not touched in prior generations.

Give me a PM and get you the Toll Free number.

Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 11, 2007 10:31AM)
Message: Posted by: handa (Aug 11, 2007 11:08AM)
Patron: "Am I going to be totally p****d off and disappointed by what I see?"

Me: "If you are, I won't take your dollar."

I left her dollar on top of my case, putting my mug on it to keep it from blowing away.

She looked at it, couldn't identify it, and after about 15 seconds of staring and reading the sign under the exhibit, reached into her pocket to pay to see what was in the chest at her feet. She handed me the extra money.

Me: "Does this mean that I can keep the dollar?"

Patron: "I'll bring back some friends."

Another instance, a group of five young adults. Only one wanted to pay. She came in to see it.

Friend outside of the tent: "What is it?"

Paying patron on the inside: "Pay your dollar and see for yourself. I'm not telling."

All five came inside, and paid the extra money to see what was in the chest.

No hype. No claims other than the true and stated. Lots of fun.

It also helps when you have something worth seeing.

Message: Posted by: dough (Aug 11, 2007 11:31AM)
And, that my friend, would be why Doug is considered the master
Message: Posted by: takeachance (Aug 11, 2007 03:26PM)
Many thanks to you all for setting me straight, you're absolutely correct, I've now been shoved to the correct side instead of a foot either side of the line. Bare in mind, I think the "How To" manual is absolutely brilliant and don't doubt the fact that it would be an area of study in human behavior. And Doug, I'll certainly PM you, very generous(or it really irritates you to see people screwing up)I think a bit of both
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 11, 2007 03:51PM)
Mostly generous...haha.

Yeah I just found out about the University 'study' last night...got the performer/student a fat "A" and Professor kudos in Psych studies and was his Thesis. Basically showed one of my Mers and had some Questions set up that would prove or disprove my theories on public responses and why they react as they do.

The next one he will take on, I suggested and will be REALLY facinating to me as it is the basis for my whole premis...but we'll leave that unsaid till he gets it underway.

He also found what I've said for many years...the more the 'book' education the easier they fall for the gaff...and the facination level is as high or even higher in the egg head circles than the blue collar midways. I've proved that over and over but now it's University tested. haha.

Cool beans. My stuff is now not only Doctor Approved (see other threads) but Tested in the Halls Of Higher Learning. My work had been shown in ALL the major Universities and Colleges in the UK (Oxford, Cambridge etc) but this study is a first. Sorry but I get stoked by all this crap. :)
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Aug 12, 2007 06:07AM)
Doug is the master, and now the eggsheads have documented what the nice lady at the bank window who counts the money out of the cash box has known for a while.


Message: Posted by: Big Jeff (Aug 12, 2007 12:35PM)

I'm saving up for one of you zbits and I have your notes.

What is your answer for when someone asks where did you get that thing?


Big Jeff
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 12, 2007 02:53PM)
"An old showman." Always try and tell the truth. :)

Keeping a twinkle in the eye and telling a story doen't mean lieing and treating your customer like a sucker or a fool or the other term I never use, 'Mark'. As an entertainer, just entertain...like I say often, it's your own little Sci-Fi movie only done Live. Present it that way rather than attempt to make a fool out of the guest. More often than not they will be further confused and thrown off the scent if you are having fun too and you reject the stereotype of the grifter out to get their money.

Here's a FACT for you...those who did not do as well as others with this plan were just that way. Long time showmen, who thought they knew better, somewhat jaded and with a midway attitude. (Ken in UK is the exception to this...haha...but even he had to adjust his crusty ass attitude when dealing with the swells in some great Hall of Kings and he did follow the 'Plan'.)

Remember too...this is not Gone With The Wind...it's just a little Single-O...I have simplified it down to the bare floor basics and it can be easily OVER THUNK!
Message: Posted by: jeremysweiss (Aug 12, 2007 10:39PM)
All this "egghead" talk....sounds like another "zibit" idea to me.

Yeah, and congrats to Higley!

I have been reading Devin Knight's Cloudbusting book and here is a direct quote (page 105):

Though not "prop free", Doug Higley's incredible "Dark Museum" also works well, and is a strong enough prelude to cloudbusting. I used his Ear, Toe and Monkey paw set-up on a regular basis, and included it in dozens of performances which utilized cloud melting at some point.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 13, 2007 01:38PM)
Thanks Jeremy...that quote is by Jerome (TT2) Finly co-author and certified over the top genuine Shamanistic cool in the shade genius...I was humbled by the mention in this really eye opening book.
Message: Posted by: airship (Aug 16, 2007 11:20AM)
[quote]Doug Higley said:
"...just entertain...like I say often, it's your own little Sci-Fi movie only done Live. Present it that way rather than attempt to make a fool out of the guest."[/quote]

Doug, while talking about zibits, you have just summarized why many people don't like magic. They don't like the feeling that the magician is trying to make them look like a fool! They want to be entertained, not humiliated.

This is why PRESENTATION is the most important part of magic. You have to get the 'buy-in' of the spectator, get them involved and curious. It's amazing how many magicians don't understand that. They're too busy with the whole 'look at me - see what I can do' attitude.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 16, 2007 11:40AM)
"They're too busy with the whole 'look at me - see what I can do' attitude."

Arrogance only works at a distance...as in Movie Stars and Celebrities...the great 'I Am' types of the world when close up are pretty off putting to most folks. Close up not many people like a know it all or a self absorbed jerk...close up you had better 'bring them in'...The point of my show is to get the oportunity to reach EVERYBODY not just a few...that goes for any performance as well when they are right in front of you. At a distance we don't know how badly that actor needs a TicTac...nor do we care if after the movie shoot they beat their dog or vote for Harry Reid...in LIVE magic however we are dealing on a close up one to one basis with every member of the audience on a personal level...unlike the arrogant twerps on a screen you are within reach of a tomatoe. :)