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Topic: Producing a magic DVD! Where do I start?
Message: Posted by: false_shuffle (Jul 2, 2010 03:26PM)
I wanted to post this question in another thread since it was distinct enough for separate conversation. Talk to me like I'm 5 years old here guys. I have a concept for an effect I want to put on DVD. Where do I start?? How will I make the most money doing this? I have absolutely no clue who to contact. On the average, how much more money will I lose (or make) by having someone else help me produce the DVD and market it instead of doing everything myself? I'm looking to make the most money on this, but I also want great production. Can anyone help lead me in the right direction? I'm looking for very specifically who should I contact here?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 2, 2010 03:45PM)
Whoa...slow down there partner!
Message: Posted by: false_shuffle (Jul 2, 2010 04:09PM)
What? lol. I'm anxious to get started.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Jul 2, 2010 05:19PM)
Usually you have some lectures, under your belt and a reputation before you would consider that.

Do all the guys at the magic club ask you how to do sleights? Does your web-site show the tricks you've invented... wait. I just checked your profile... Do you command high dollars, in your area and others are begging you for your secrets? Are you the student of another noteworthy artist, who sais you are superior to anyone he's ever seen? That's when you can consider producing a series of teaching DVDs.

We're not talking to you like you're 5. We're telling it like it is.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 2, 2010 05:57PM)
I thought Jay put it well.

I will simply say that if you have to ask the question it is likely you are not ready to hear the answer.
Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 2, 2010 10:18PM)
1. Get a decent camcorder (probably HD) and someone who can record you without moving th camera so much that everyone gets seasick. (If you want a shaky look for something you can always add it later. )

2. Have your friend record you performing the effect for several different audiences. You can do a studio version as well, but "real world" action is always good.

3. Now record the explanation. Multiple cameras might be desirable, depending on the moves needed. If you only have one camera, record from several different angles. Before going on to the nxt step have a magician who doesn't know the effect watch the raw footage and see if it makes sense to them. Rerecord if needed (doing that now is better than later).

4. Take the raw footage and sit down in front of a computer for a few days to a few weeks. Edit it down into something that shows a compelling effect and then leads the person through the steps needed go master it.

5. Use kunaki.com to create your DVDs and unless you like mailing out packages, have them do the product fulfillment as well.

There, that's all you need to do to create your DVD. Doing the lecture circuit, name recognition, etc., has nothing to do with creating your DVD. That stuff has to do with marketing your product. But even if you're a "no name magician" you can still sell some product. It's harder if you're not known, of course.

Jay Jennings
Message: Posted by: false_shuffle (Jul 2, 2010 10:46PM)
Thanks for the tip Jay. The guys that posted earlier, I'm not going to produce teaching DVD's. LOL! It's a single effect that I have made major changes with. I'm really excited to see where this goes.
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Jul 3, 2010 09:41AM)
On 2010-07-02 23:46, false_shuffle wrote:
It's a single effect that I have made major changes with.

Just thought I'd add that if you have made changes to an existing effect already on the market, you might want to get permission from the effect's creator.
Message: Posted by: sb (Jul 3, 2010 10:56AM)
Try contacting ellusionist.com

I believe they produce DVDs. If they are interested in your effect, they would market it for you, and can provide you with some of the answers you are looking for, as well as possibly produce, market, and distribute for you.

If that concerns you because your profits will be less, think about the fact that your production cost would be less (probably zero) as well, and your sales would probably be MUCH higher working with an established brand.

Good luck,
Message: Posted by: Jay Mahon (Jul 3, 2010 12:08PM)
Do it all yourself,
make sure THE EFFECT is so good that the production quality won't be that big a deal.
In short you need to test. Consider Hollingworth's, Reformation, or Lee Asher's, Asher Twist these were both originally released in limited runs or underground videos...

I'd suggest you do that to determine interest. This was also kind of before the were big magic stars.

Try doing a small run of say 30-50 DVD's and see how it's received. Word spreads quickly about good products in magic.

Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Jul 3, 2010 01:45PM)
Alright, unless you have Video directing/cameraman experience I'd try to find a friend who does. Having done both, let me tell you that, just like magic, the best video producers make it look effortless when its anything else, it takes time, skill and some natural ability to do really well. (Here's a hint, anyone who picks up their camcorder and wants to go filimigng on the street without a tripod in their other hand is a rank and useless amature. Or the owner and proficient operator of a steady-cam junior. But hand shot footage by itself is shaky, amature looking, and useless at best, and actually sickening to watch at worst.)

If you don't have a friend with these abilities, id suggest putting a sign up at your local University (assuming it has a film program). try to get a good collaborator and don't be cheap, a good one will easily be worth a 50% share of your proceeds.

Your collaborator should also be a good editor too, as editing is key. One possible thing to explore is actually doing a studio-shoot. This doesn't have to be expensive. many communities have "cable access" TV studios you can sign up for and use free. Three will even be a community of people there who have some experience (though skills and abilities vary greatly with such volunteers.)

In any event, the next thing you will need is a script. You just don't start the camera rolling and do magic in front of it. You need a step by step, shot by shot script to get something valuable out the other end. Storyboards, even stick figures, are even better. This is something your collaborator should have experience with and be able to lead you through.

Finally, you will need to do editing and post production. Again, this is something your collaborator should be proficient at. It used to be expensive and take very expensive equipment but thanks to the explosion of home computer power, you can now edit a small project like this quite effectively on a home system with a piece of software that costs less then $500. (With luck, your collaborator will already have all this.)

Video is like magic in another way, in case you haven't picked it up from all this. The visible part is just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of the effort is in the planning stages and post-production stages.

Now, all this just gets you to a master tape or DVD. Producing those DVDs, getting them into the channels, and marketing them effectively is another whole topic.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 3, 2010 04:47PM)
I've watched and reviewed a BUNCH of DVD's for MUM and other places.

My pet peeve is horrible audio.

Whatever you do, DO NOT use the built-in mike on the camera. If you do, you will get all sorts of extraneous noise and room echo. You will also find that any comments made by the cameraman or the audience will probably be louder than you, because they will be closer to the microphone. Instead, go down to your local electronics store and get a reasonably decent lapel mike with a wireless transmitter and receiver.

Or have a separate recorder for the audio, so you can mix it in post production.

Practice the trick until you have it down cold. Then perform it for the camera. If you can get someone else to do the camera work, so much the better. In fact, your best situation is to have someone who is a cameraman do the whole taping for you.

Script your explanation as you would your trick. Make sure you don't have a bunch of "well, uh's" and "er um's" on the video. It will make you look like an idiot.

Also, don't use cutesy pronuciations of various words. One DVD I reviewed was marred by a kid who kept calling the thing we put under a wet drink a "nakkin." Not a "napkin." A NAKKIN.

If I didn't know other people from his part of the country, I would have thought everyone from his home town was an idiot.

Three other things that shouldn't need saying:
1) If it's not your trick, get permission from the originator. Nothing will cut your career short like knocking someone else off.
2) Make sure you can perform it flawlessly. I've seen videos made by people who had to hire other people to do their trick.
3) Make sure your trick is worth the effort.

Good luck to you.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Jul 3, 2010 10:11PM)
I'm with Bill about the need for a seperate mike. This is very very important. However, for the studio shoot or in a controlled enviornment with a real crowd, you can probably run a wire from the mike to the camera's audio imput. ONE BIG THING NOT TO FORGET: have the camera person wear headphones so they can check to see how the audio sounds!

Message: Posted by: false_shuffle (Jul 5, 2010 02:25AM)
Thanks for the tip guys.