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Topic: Serious Trade Show Question?!
Message: Posted by: Brad Jeffers (Mar 25, 2002 04:06PM)
I have never even attended a trade show of any kind, so I really know nothing about them, but my understanding is that at a typical trade show, there are hundreds of different booths. I would imagine that less than 1% of these would have a magician working at them. My question is - What do the non-magicians (the vast majority of the booth workers) do to attract a crowd? And also, wouldn't these people's salary be about the same as the magician, as basiclly they both have the same job, the magician merely using his magic as his particular hook to attract a crowd? I have heard that trade show magicians get anywhere from $1000 to $5000 per day. Since in this environment, the magic is clearly just a means to an end (the selling of the company product or service), shouldn't every booth worker who is achieving the same end, but by different means, also be getting the same pay?
Message: Posted by: corpmagi (Mar 25, 2002 07:05PM)
Good Question. It's really just supply and demand. As you mentioned, there are certainly other types of attractions that companies use to attract attendees to their exhibits.

In the nearly 400 trade shows I've been to since 1982, I have seen almost everything from 9 foot robots to contortionists to Irish step dancers to bare breasted women being airbrushed by an artist (I swear this is true). Companies will pay for novelties that attract a crowd. They will also pay a premium if that attraction can also deliver a good solid sales message and pre-qualify the attendees (not just hook them). A good trade show magician is also an excellent sales person. They do their homework and learn a lot about what a particular company does and relays that message to the attendees in an entertaining yet informative manner. However, not any magician can be a trade show magician.

When I get together with my fellow trade show buddies, we sometimes try to estimate how many full time professional trade show workers there are out there and the number is always changing.

I have been involved in trade shows for nearly 20 years and have seen these professionals over and over again through the years. There are also faces I see once and never see again. Professionals like Paul Gertner, Harrison Carroll, Charles McFarland, Jon Stetson, Bob Kohler, Paul Green, Mark Phillips, Charles Greene and many others I have seen on a regular basis throughout those years.

Most professional trade show magicians make between $1500.00 and $3500.00 per day for their basic show and more if there is a larger theater type of presentation involved. If I had to take a guess, I would say that there are no more than 50 magicians in the entire country that make their livings almost exclusively from trade shows. Compare this number with the number of unemployed actors in this country who are making a living in the trade show business giving technical presentations for companies. There must be hundreds of actors to choose from to give these types of presentations who are paid anywhere from $350.00-$1000/Day (suppy and demand).

Now, there are other types of specialty acts that are getting the same money (or more) than magicians. The Gizmo Guys and the Raspyni Brothers are two juggling acts that draw tremendous crowds and deliver powerful sales messages as does juggler Scott Meltzer from San Francisco (the best trade show juggler I've ever seen). Denny Dent, an artist from Las Vegas, makes $15,000.00 per day for his act and there are celebrities who show up for two hours to sign autographs and make two to three times what Denny makes.

Anyway, to say that everyone should be paid the same as the magician is a little socialistic. That's like saying all entertainers should be paid the same salary- Seth Kramer (me) should be making the same money as Billy Joel...While that would be nice, It's just not a realistic view. If you deliver value to a company, you are worth and will be paid the (somewhat) big bucks.
Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Mar 26, 2002 10:53AM)
Wow, Seth! I couldn't have said it better. The problem is that many of our community think that they have what it takes without doing their homework. Many seem to feel that if they are good magicians, then that is all it takes.

In the next Magic Menu, the issue will discuss Trade Shows. I have contributed an article about "a day in the life" of a Trade Show performer. It ain't just high fees and roses!

Take care,

Paul Green
Message: Posted by: Bascomb Grecian (Aug 23, 2002 10:31AM)
Brad has some fantastic questions. I really like the interest.

If you wish to learn, if the "trade show" is your "gig", simply attend some trade shows.

If you like the selling aspect, and you can connect with customers using your magic, Go For It and Try Trade Shows!

Scott Tokar out of "Corporate Meca" Irvine, California is considered one of the best trade show magicians.

Not only is Scott a gifted artist with his magic, he is a dynamic salesman.If you ever get a chance to see his work, you will know what I mean.

Look at the trade shows (environment)and ask yourself, "Is this the medium I wish to work in?" Trade Shows to me are one of the many "markets" we can specialize in as business owners.

Good Luck
Message: Posted by: davidpaul$ (Aug 23, 2002 10:52PM)
We should not forget about Eddie Tullock's video set entitled "The Real Truth About Trade Show Magic..... Just wanted to throw that in there......
David Paul