|Topic: What makes a good Magic Product?|
Hey Everyone, hope youíre all well.
Apologies for the extremely long post. But Iíve done a lot of research on what Iím about to write and I couldnít find much about it at all. So hopefully it will become an interesting post with lots of opinions and input. I also hope it comes over as a real learning process for anyone who is looking towards working in the Ďcreating magic to releaseí side of things. So lately, despite traveling the world, I have been planning and working hard towards a DVD Release teaching 11 card effects that I have been performing in the past 15 years of my Magic Career. Eight of the effects will be my own creations and three of them are adaptations of some very well established Magic Creators. Jay Sankey, Wayne Houchin and Daniel Garcia have all given me permission to teach my adapted versions of their effects. The effects Iím going to teach are all generally easy to perform, but get insane reactions. I have been performing professional paid events for over 10 years and have tried and tested each of the effects in every working scenario there is. Weddings, Nightclubs, Birthdays, Football Stadiums, Television, Radio, Restaurants, Bars, Charity Events. Even on Stage. I have also performed them in multiple countries, some of which include the UK, United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, Italy and many more. Every effect is perfect for not only a working Magician, but a Hobbyist too. Iím also in talks with one of Hollywoodís biggest Movie Soundtrack Composers as they are interested in getting involved creating some music for the Project. Now, this all sounds fantastic on paper, but it lead me to a question which made me think. And then that question then led me to a whole bunch of added questions. So Iíll start off with one question. The one that this topic is titled. I will then break it down into ten categories that I can think of, and hopefully it will spark some really interesting answers.
So..... What makes a good Magic Product?
Itís easy to answer and say Ďgood magic effects and an easy to follow teacher is all that is needed. But if you think about it, so much more is required or overlooked. I see reviews talking about Production Value, Sound, Picture Quality, DVD Menus, Materials. So much can be seen as a positive or negative when looked at by some. But it can also be seen as something that others just arenít bothered about. Like if you think about my statement above about a Hollywood Movie Composer wanting to get involved. Yeah it would be cool, and sound incredible. But is it really needed? So I decided to ask you all several breakdown questions which all cook together to make one big question. What makes a good Magic Product in your eyes?
1) Is Production Value important to you?
Iíve seen some releases taught in the Magicians house or basement. Some are filmed next to a plain white background, and some are filmed in an expensive Studio. Nowadays you can film on a camera worth thousands, or a GoPro worth a few hundred pounds. Both of which record in 1080HD Quality. Which do you prefer? How much does the sound affect your view on the product? Are you happy just hearing instructions from the cameraís microphone, or does the sound have to be perfectly recorded using external microphones set near the Magician or attached to their clothes? When you watch your DVD, do you prefer a fancy Menu with snazzy Music, or just a basic one that does the job?
2) Outdoor Performances vs Studio Performances.
Do you prefer seeing Live Performances of each effect out in real life situations (i.e street magic, inside local businesses, at a party etc) or are you happy just watching the Magician Perform to the camera? Maybe you enjoy a mix of both? Some people enjoy seeing just how powerful an effect be by checking out some real reactions, whereas others can see the pure potential of an effect just from viewing it one on one with the Magician. Which one are you?
3) DVD vs Downloads? (Should the product even be a DVD?)
Now I did see a few posts regarding this but they all turned into a big squabble about DVD Copyrights and selling on rights. Forget any of that. Iím genuinely just interested in whether you prefer purchasing a DVD, waiting a few days for it to come and having it in the flesh. Or do you want it there and then, and enjoy freely watching the product on multiple devices?
4) Multi-Effects vs Single Effects
This is one I canít get my head round personally. Iíve been keeping my eye out and it doesnít seem like there are many Multi-Effect Products being released anymore. It seems to just be the rights to a method for one effect or slight. Iíll talk about pricing later but what would you rather purchase? A product that teaches many effects, or one solid effect that could be a reputation maker?
Would you rather purchase an effect(s) that is easy to learn, with minimal to medium practice time, yet it gets great reactions? Or do you feel your money is more well spent when you buy something that have six slights involved and takes some learning, but will be worth it at the end?
6) Every Slight Taught vs The Necessary.
Iíve come across reviews where people have complained because certain Magicians have advised on where to learn a specific slight or move that is required to Perform the effect. So do you prefer each and every slight to be covered at least with basic teachings. Or are you happy to do some added research to learn something? Lets say for instance a card needs to be controlled to the top of the deck. Would you be upset if the Magician just says Ďuse your preferred method to control the card to the topí, or would you prefer them to teach at least one way? Think about it though, this could go for anything. Fanning cards, fake take with a coin etc. If the Magician had to explain every little detail, the explanations could become long and boring, but on the flip side, someone may have no clue how to do a move and may get frustrated that they have to try and learn it elsewhere. What are your thoughts?
7) Do purchasing additional materials bother you?
Does it anger you having to buy added materials in order to Perform an Effect? Materials can cost anything from a few pennies/cents to (£$)10-20. What is your take on having to spend a few extra coins in order to perform some reputation makers? Or would you rather everything is supplied within the purchase? Bear in mind, materials could be anything from a gimmicked card purchased from Ebay or a Magic Supplier, to glue, ink, matches etc.
8) Name of Release important / Product Trailer?
Interesting one here. Is the name important to you? Do you really care what a product is called, or does a snazzy or eye catching name draw you to purchase an effect? Same goes for the Trailer, I know we all want honesty in the trailers and less edits at important points, that goes without saying. But what sells the product to you? A fancy trailer? Reactions? Writing? Visuals? Reviews from well known Magicians?
9) How many DVDís should be created for sale?
Not sure who would have an idea on this. But how many DVDís do you think should be made by someone looking to sell their product? If it is going to be distributed worldwide in countries such as the UK, United States, Canada, Hong Kong and China. Youíd expect the amount to be high. But I know Magicians who have had 5000 copies burned, and only 2000 have sold leaving 3000 sat in their basement. For those who are looking to sell their products, theyíll know DVDís cost money to produce and print. So this question could be helpful to many.
Kind of like above, would you rather pay say (£$)30/40 for a DVD with 5+ effects on. Or around the same price for one effect? Again you may purchase a DVD that costs say... (£$)40 and has 9 effects on, but two require spending an extra (£$)10, totaling to (£$)50. But thatís still only (£$)5.50 per effect. However you may spend close to 50 on a single effect that has a well made gimmick included. Lets take it in another direction. Would you happily pay (£$)40 for a product that teaches 8 easy effects, effects that make you think Ďwow, thatís so easy why didnít I think of thatí, and maybe some require a few added materials at added cost. But the effects get insane reactions?
So there you have it. Possibly the longest post to have EVER been written. Hope I didnít bore you to death and if anything, I got you thinking about some things you may not have even considered thinking about.
I look forward to hearing all your answers and input, and by all means feel free to add to any of the questions if you think I may have missed something.
First of all, I'd prefer you released an ebook with video performance clips to accompany the text (no shipping costs for international buyers). This way I get the best of both worlds. But that's just me. Others will probably prefer just a DVD, video download or maybe even a manuscript in dead tree format. Imagine that!
[quote]1) Is Production Value important to you?[/quote]
Yes, in this day and age it is possible to create solid video content without spending loads of money on equipment. You can shoot decent video with most smartphones, so there's really no excuse for producing poor-quality video. I don't mind if the production values fail to match those of Hollywood, but the video should be clear and the sound should be well recorded. Over-the-shoulder shots would also be appreciated during teaching segments.
[quote]2) Outdoor Performances vs Studio Performances. [/quote]
Shoot performances outside or indoors, it doesn't matter to me. However, the location should be a natural performance environment if possible, and tricks should be performed for a live audience. Explanations are better shot in a well-lit studio.
[quote]3) DVD vs Downloads? (Should the product even be a DVD?) [/quote]
As I've already stated, I'd prefer an ebook/video hybrid approach.
[quote]4) Multi-Effects vs Single Effects [/quote]
I'd prefer multiple effects per release.
If the effect is worth the effort, I don't mind difficult material. If you're just using sleights for the sake of it, I'd rather not buy the product from you in the first place!
[quote]6) Every Slight Taught vs The Necessary.[/quote]
Assuming this is [i]not[/i] a product for beginners, I rather you didn't go over basic moves and sleights. Needless content actually makes it more difficult for me to learn the material in a time-efficient manner.
[quote]7) Do purchasing additional materials bother you?[/quote]
If you're shipping DVDs to people, then I think the DVD should come with all of the required stuff ready to use, unless you're advertising this as involving some DIY elements (just be honest and transparent about the cost and effort involved). If it is a downloadable product or ebook, then I wouldn't expect physical gimmicks/gaffs, and I would be happy to make them up myself.
[quote]8) Name of Release important / Product Trailer?[/quote]
Yes, this is very important if you want to shift product. A good understanding of your target audience is also essential.
[quote]9) How many DVDís should be created for sale?[/quote]
I'd ask someone at Murphy's Magic Supplies, they're bound to have the best answer to this question.
Price is dependant on the quality of the material. If it is derivative and unimaginative I'm prepared to spend zero dollars on it! For a DVD of card tricks, I'd be looking to pay around $20-30. I'd only pay more if the material was exceptional. I can buy [i]The Secrets of So Sato[/i] for $50. For my money, I get a physical book and a DVD detailing 35 groundbreaking routines. That's approx. $2/$3 per trick (with international shipping). This is what you're competing against to get my money.
Hope this helps,