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magicguy88
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Hello,

My professional performances mainly consist of close-up and comedy/stage magic. This past year, I have been getting more corporate bookings and more requests to perform illusions with ceo's etc. That being said...a corporate client wants me to produce their guest speaker for an event after two hours of walk around. They don't want a stage show from me...they want two hours of walk around and then a 5-10 show where I produce the guest and then leave.
Now...I'm only contracted to do two hours of close up and my client knows this. However, they have agreed to pay me more if I can devise a way to do this before the booking which is in a couple of weeks.
I am considering using a flash production box or a black art flash production frame.
These illusions can range anywhere from $1800-$2500.
I can't afford to pay this out of pocket and financing an illusion seems tough with car payments, school loans, rent, and the like.
My goal was to rent the illusion and bill my client for a bit over in order to make a small profit for my efforts but nobody rents illusions. It's seems like an all or nothing deal. Why can you rent sound systems, video equipment, etc. but not illusions? Somebody please help me. I would love to make the extra $$ and get this client to call me back next year

Ryan Smile
zigmont
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Well most magicians when they invest in an illusion feel that they one up on the guy down the street. That is more of a reason to hire them over you.
Some magicians would make a simple appearance using basic methods or build something themselves to get started.

But, Image if a sound rental company rented you a sound system that they borrowed from a second company... that does sound weird right? Well it applies here as well, you have the gear or you do not.
Having the illusion and making it look good is two different things.
Its takes time to work your presentation.

A first rate flash appear is going to cost chalet 3300.00 to Bill Smith 5000.00 plus cases. A cheaper illusion (you get what you pay for) is in your price range.

Mark Wilson book has some ideas or the magic auction has appearances.
Perhaps some other can lend you ideas how to pull this off, if you ask.
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Michael Messing
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Ryan,

Since you live in Chicago, there's likely to be an magician/illusionist there who would be willing to rent you the illusion for the right price. I have rented out a double tip-over box in the past, when the circumstances were right. (A mall had a magic show already booked but needed a way to make Santa appear. I agreed to provide the illusion and help with the production.)

The advantage to renting an illusion from a magician is that he should be able to give you all the details on how to present it properly and what to be careful of. It takes a while to know all the ins and outs of an illusion.

Do you know any of the local guys who do illusions? If so, that's where you should start.

Michael
Geoff Weber
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Ryan... as a walk around close-up performer, to finish with a stage illusion is not only impractical, but also way out of character.. If they expect stage illusions from you, then your client needs to be paying stage show prices.. If you want to be an accomidating performer, I think something cheap like a victory production, using cardboard boxes would be above and beyond the call of duty for a walk around guy... You can paint this up to look nice, and the cost should be under 20 bucks... It just doesn't make sense to go for anything more ellaborate, unless you were planning to buy an illusion to add to a stage show anyway...
Michael Messing
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Victory Carton illusions are a good suggestion if you aren't able to find one for rent. Paul Osborne has a new book out called "Easy Build Illusions" and it has several ideas on inexpensive illusions you can build for just the type of circumstance you are referring to.

Michael
Thomas Wayne
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You're getting good advice here, but no one has addressed a major logistical problem: how will you get the guest speaker INTO the prop? Without a stage - with curtain and wings - you'll need a different way to keep the guests from watching you load the prop prior to performance (I'm sure I don't have to explain why THAT would be bad). For this reason a flash production frame will be problematic because it cannot be loaded and then rolled into the room - not very easily, anyway.

By the way, Paul Osborne's "Satan's Seat" is easy to build and would provide an effective production that you can break down and store easily. But no matter what you choose to do, remember that you'll need a private place to load the prop and then a way to bring the prop out that doesn't look like you're hiding something heavy.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
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magicguy88
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Thomas,

You make some great points here.
A flash appearance frame would not work. The lighting is bad for black art and people will be able to see the speaker. I was considering the chameleon flash production which can be done surrounded and rolled onstage. Bruce Chadwick also has a flash production box which uses a twister illusion type box to conceal the body. The guest can just stand their, step on the foot switch to cause the flash and "magic" to happen, and then walk forward.
There is an adjoining dining room and some other spaces from which the prop could be
"loaded" and rolled out.
Smile

Quote:
I think something cheap like a victory production, using cardboard boxes would be above and beyond the call of duty for a walk around guy... You can paint this up to look nice, and the cost should be under 20 bucks... It just doesn't make sense to go for anything more ellaborate, unless you were planning to buy an illusion to add to a stage show anyway...


I do walk around, children's, stand-up/stage, corporate, etc. I perform sub-trunk, zig-zag, guillotine, etc. for school assemblies and corporate shows. I also do street performing, fire-eating and juggling, etc.

I offered to do an hour of walk around and a 45 minute show but the client insisted on two hours of walk around. She said "if you can make our guest musician appear... we will pay you extra." I told her that I couldn't guarantee it, but if I did come up with the means I would send her a new bill. I am not obligated to do this... I just want to A+ my client.

I suppose I could use a portable flash appearance in my stage show... it just wasn't an expense I had planned on... especially with Christmas shopping around the corner.

Building the illusion would be simple... but the show is in two weeks and I want to make sure I have time to rehearse it.
Can anyone advise me on Douglas Tilfords illusions? Is this a good vendor to use? They want ~ $2000 for the flash appearance (the one that can be done surrounded). Bruce Chadwick asks $7500 for his flash box (which can also be done surrounded).

Ryan
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Marshall Thornside
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Why don't you just do something simple like the stack of boxes that is painted white. Just decorate it with paper of the corporate logo. I mean, why be extravagant when they just want something that amazes and entertains them. This is simple and entertaining and you don't have to worry about being insured or accidents with the employees present.
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Michael Messing
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I have had good results ordering props from Doug Tilford. Just beware that he carries a bunch of foreign made items that are rip-offs from several American creators. The Chameleon Illusion he sells is not a rip-off. In fact, he has an exclusive on it, as he does on some other illusions.

I have considered The Chameleon myself but haven't been willing to spend the money on it. (By the way, he has a special going on The Chameleon Appearance with the Vanish addition. Call him up and ask him about the special.)

Michael
magicguy88
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I am very impressed with the Chameleon... especially with a vanish. What's great is it packs flat. I could fit it in the trunk of my car!

My idea with this was, I could wheel out the chameleon, produce the musical guest, thank everyone for having me and say something like "I hope you enjoyed my magic tonight... I have another booking to go to. Thanks for having me!"

Then I could step into the Chameleon, vanish, and have my assistants roll the illusion out of the room a little later.

How does that sound? Now, I just need to rustle up 2 grand.

Ryan

How does the chameleon look? Is it pretty fascinating? Or does it seem obvious that there is something hidden? Are there any vids of this online?

Ryan Smile

Quote:
On 2002-11-05 16:40, Marshall Thornside wrote:
Why don't you just do something simple like the stack of boxes that is painted white.


I considered a stack of boxes for quite awhile but another magician advised against it. They told me that CEO's and the like don't typically appreciate getting crunched into a box that will wrinkle their suit and mess up their hair... especially before they're about to address an audience. With a flash type of appearance they can just step on a button and walk forward.

Ryan Smile
Michael Messing
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Doug Tilford has a promotional video tape that demonstrates many of his illusions, including Chameleon. He even shows you how to do Chameleon. He normally sells the video if you don't buy something from him but, if you tell him you you're considering the Chameleon, he might send it free.
Vaclav
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What about a shadow box? It can be build rather quickly and you do not have spend that much.
Hope this helps.
Peter Loughran
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I have to admit that I do not agree with the whole "renting" of illusions idea as mentioned before. Illusions are priced high for several reasons. Aside from materials, labour, crediting the inventor, and performance rights, Illusions are priced high so that not every Tom, Dick, and Harry can get their hands on one and keeping the secrets for serious peformers. Imagine if you could buy a brand new Impaling for just a few hundred dollars, there would be tons of people doing it, including the general public, at lets say their house parties for their friends and family.

Also if magicians have the oppourtunity to rent an illusion, I think many would rent it without the neccessary rehearsal time to perform the illusion properly, perhaps spoiling the effect altogether. This would also cause a domino effect, creating a lack of illusion inventors bringing new illusions to the market, having a devestating effect on our art.

Just my thoughts,

P.
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Zack
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Gay Blackstone rents illusions.

You can probably get her contact info from the magic castle website.

--Zack
zigmont
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A illusion rent is some where around 1000-2000 a week plus cargo round trip. But a lot of it is being sold.

From November 14 through November 24, 2002, one hundred years of magical treasures will go up on the Sothebys.com and Ebay (Nasdaq:EBAY) auction block.

These secretive, one-of-a-kind items, including Blackstone's signature "The Vanishing Birdcage" and "The Tiger Cage Illusion," can be viewed in advance at http://www.entertainmentrarities.com and Sothebys.com and Ebay.
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magicguy88
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Quote:
On 2002-11-07 05:45, Peter Loughran wrote:
I have to admit that I do not agree with the whole "renting" of illusions idea as mentioned before. Illusions are priced high for several reasons. Aside from materials, labour, crediting the inventor, and performance rights, Illusions are priced high so that not every Tom, Dick, and Harry can get their hands on one and keeping the secrets for serious peformers. Imagine if you could buy a brand new Impaling for just a few hundred dollars, there would be tons of people doing it, including the general public, at lets say their house parties for their friends and family.

Also if magicians have the opportunity to rent an illusion, I think many would rent it without the neccessary rehearsal time to perform the illusion properly, perhaps spoiling the effect altogether. This would also cause a domino effect, creating a lack of illusion inventors bringing new illusions to the market, having a devestating effect on our art.

Just my thoughts,

P.


Peter,

I agree with this on several levels...
"The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare." Magic should always be well rehearsed and properly presented by an experienced magician.
I don't think that illusions should be able to be rented or bought over the counter by just anyone...but if you think about it they are everyday.
I feel that as artists...we should be more focused on the ethics of performing effects and less on how much an effect costs.
A magician doesn't have to be good to have money or to buy tricks. In fact, anyone with the $$$ can buy an effect or illusion. This is why I disagree with the fact that you need to own the equipment to be able to perform it. Just because you own a trick doesn't mean you're good at it.
I remember working in a magic store in my teens. One day, a very prominent (and rich) man in the community came in and started purchasing several expensive effects for his grandson. We couldn't refuse the business...but how well were these effects presented by this mans grandson?
Without sounding like a braggert, I have theatrical training and much performance experience as a magician/juggler. Shouldn't that count for something? It's pretty interesting if you think about it. $$$ vs. Ethics has always seemed to be a large struggle in the magic world.

Ryan

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Starrpower
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Seems to me I saw an "illusion" (perhaps it was an Osbvorne idea) that was really more of a surprise than an appearance, but might be just the thing for your conditions.It was a set of nesting cardboard boxes. In essence, the slightly smaller inside box holds the squatting person, and the larger box is inverted and placed over the smaller box.

To make the "appearance", the person merely stands up, pushing the top box upwards. The boxes seem to "grow", until they reach the full height of 6 feet or so, and the mperson may then make their entrance from within.

While it's not true magic, but it will get the job done with extremely little expense or preparation, and the person needs very little rehearsal. Put the thing on a wheeled base, put on a theatrical label addressed to the company, and you're all set.
Peter Loughran
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Ryan

I agree with you 100 pecent that just because you have money or the props does not make you a good performer. But what I was getting at is trying to help exlpain why there is a high cost for an illusion, whether it's right or wrong.

Also, I sitll don't agree with renting an illusion and only having a few days to put it into your act, its hard for any performer, good or bad to give a prop justice with such little rehearsal time. Thats all,

P.
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Michael Messing
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Peter,

When I suggested that Ryan try to rent the illusion, I made a couple of assumptions. One, he is a professional magician. (He and I have had a couple of personal messages so I know who he is.) Two, that the magician renting out the prop has enough common sense to make sure the person renting it is qualified to perform the illusion.

I don't recommend renting out Broom Suspensions, Blammo Boxes, Metamorphosis trunks, Zig-Zags, etc. Those require much planning and rehearsal, but to make a VIP or Santa Claus appear, you usually don't get to rehearse more than a few minutes with them anyway. If the magician who owns the prop has properly prepared the person renting it, there shouldn't be any problems.

Keep in mind, I was recommending a double tip-over trunk, which doesn't have much to go wrong with it. I know because I owned one for three years. (Chalet Magic built it.)

When I rented it out, I actually assisted them in the performance. The magician was a professional that was presenting the "Garfield Magic Show." Since he and his assistant (dressed as Garfield) flew to the show, they couldn't bring large props with them. They just needed to add Santa's arrival at the end. (I had about 10 minutes to explain to Santa when he stood up and assisted the magician in showing the illusion to be "empty.") This is the circumstance I was referring to.

Even though Ryan is looking for something flashier, we're still talking about a situation where a non-magician (the VIP) is going to only have a minimal amount of rehearsal time. A basic illusion is all that is possible.

Your concerns are well-founded for more sophisticated illusions, but I would hope common sense would prevail in that circumstance.

Michael
magicguy88
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This has been a great thread! I think that this is a fabulous topic for those aspiring to doing larger things.
Peter and Michael, I agree with you both. Here's my final decision on this topic.
I will invest in a flash production for my show BUT will not perform it for my show next friday. I think Michael is right...this would not be difficult to perform last minute as it is simple in concept performance. But why not produce the effect and create some knock-out patter and a killer presentation? After all...the showmanship presentation is just as (and at times more) important.
Per Michael's comment, I think that I am experienced enough to perform something like this on a tight schedule and maintain the secret, etc. but better to do a super job at what I know well than a mediocre job at something I just learned.

Ryan

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