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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Society of American Magicians! » » Starting an assembly? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sirbrad
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I have posed this question in the IBM thread, and I am as equally interested in SAM as well. So I would like to pose the same questions here for a more detailed response, and to compare the two clubs and their benefits before making a decision. Perhaps I will simply choose both! So here goes...


I always wondered how to go about starting an assembly in my local area. I simply do not have the time to travel even up to one hour away for meetings, which I believe were the closest ones the last time I checked.(IBM included) If I were to join, how would I go about starting my own assembly? What would be an ideal place to have meetings, or doesn't it matter?

Over the past 26 years of my magic career, I have met very few magicians in my local area, and as far as I know I am still the only one in my town. It would be nice to go through with something like this in order to generate more interest, and perhaps take some of my own work load/demand off by helping to create more magicians in my area. Is there any criteria that you must follow in creating an assembly? How would you make it official? I would love to generate more interest in magic in my town, and this seems like a great way to possibly do it.


A few questions regarding the assembly meetings.

1. Where are they generally held? Who decides where they are held? Do you have to rent a space somewhere, or can you meet up at a local coffee shop? I would think the meetings would need to be private from the general public, especially if methods/secrets are being discussed?

2. Which leads me to my next question. Are secret methods discussed of effects, if they are not owned by all the members previously? What is the ethical criteria of such discussions? Can these discussions take place as long as they stay within the group?

3. I also heard that SAM has a magic library that is available to all members? Something like every DVD, Book, etc available to all members? How does this work exactly?

4. What generally occurs at these meetings? Does the president, or group create a specific "topic of the night," in which discussion and performance ideas take place? Who decides who is the president, would this be the one who started the assembly? What are the other titles, and their responsibilities? I think I remember seeing a Vice President, and Treasurer as well. What are their duties? I also heard there are competitions?

5. I heard there might be dues for each assembly, who collects them, and what are they used for? Food and drink expenses, renting a space, magic literature? For example, has dues ever been used to create a "pool" so to speak, and then invested in magic literature. or media to be reviewed and learned by the club? Sort of like having your own "magic library" so to speak, only available to the assembly members and for a specified time limit. Has this been done?

These are just a few of the questions that I have after reading through many sites and still not being able to find the answers. I am not new to SAM, but I never been to an assembly meeting for reasons previously stated. In fact I think it would be almost impossible to find even 5 people, let alone 10 in my local area. Some would have to travel to get things started at first. But I believe after the word gets out, many more would come out of the woodwork and develop an interest in magic. So any further information would be appreciated, and hopefully some of the answers can help everyone who has the same questions, and wants to start an assembly as well.

By the way my location is Central PA, Bloomsburg(Columbia County) Thanks!
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Craig Dickson
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Pleasant Valley, NY
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Hi

Sorry I do not know your name, in any case, as far as the SAM, you need to have 10 members to receive a Charter for an Assembly. I am not sure of the IBM requirements. As far as dues, a meeting place etc, first you need the interest, and a list willing to join the SAM. A meeting place should be publicly accessible. We have found a members home just doesn’t work in the long run, places like Churches, Libraries etc are best, certainly if there are younger members involved. A few groups I was a member of had moved to Pubs, it just isn't a good idea, as the age is 17 to join and it is not proper. Just something to consider.

Most places charge some monthly rental fee, and there are expenses for refreshments, mailings etc, thus the reason for local dues. Don’t confuse these with National Dues. All local assemblies do need some capital to operate. As far as meeting location and rent, many assemblies will approach a local church, synagogue, or library with a proposal of a trade off. The local group can provide an annual show that could be used as a fund raiser for the location, in trade for meeting space. Its a win win situation, but all in how you propose it, and by all means keep the obligation.

Geographic’s do matter, so we have Regional Vice Presidents, and Membership Development Chairpersons to help you every step of the way with additional questions, paper work, National Requirements etc. I would gladly put you or anyone in touch with them.

Now as far as IBM or SAM, it is simple, we all love magic, there is no reason you could not pursue both, many clubs are a combination of both. The only detail is one of business meetings, they must be separate, as the Officers, and paper work are separate as well as other details. But meetings, lectures, theme nights etc. can all be combined.

Most SAM members are also IBM Members. To hold any local officer position in an SAM assembly, you must be an SAM National Member. The IBM has the same requirements.

When you wish to begin, let us know and we will point you in the right direction for applications, charter application etc.

Both organizations jointly penned and signed a code of ethics, every member has to agree to it to belong to either organizatrion. It is detailed on our site http://www.magicsam.com.

An assembly or ring has so many benefits. You have asked questions regarding ethical behaviour, we are all held to high ethical standards. Discussing an effect in a Ring or Assembly meeting is fine, that is where you can also seek help perfecting a handling of effects in found books, on DVDs or purchased ones. Many assemblies also hold monthly workshops exactly for that purpose. You can discuss anything, you just cannot publically expose (a meeting, as long as it is just members does not violate that), copy materials that have copywrite protection, or engage in any unethical behaviour. That is common sense.

Every area, even active ones go though slumps in interest. To give our club a shot in the arm a few years back, and get some new interest and new blood, I went to a High School that offerered evening courses in all sorts of things for adults. I offered them an Adult Magic course. We neogotiated an hourly fee, that was actually double what their teachers received, after all this was my area of expertise, and also I sold workshop supplies and books for the course. In the first class we discussed ethics, keeping the secrets, the importance of it, and anyone that wished to stay had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. From the first session alone, we obtained 8 new members, who went on to serve office in our assembly. From there I handed the Adult Ed course to another member, and 10 years later he is still teaching it. So there is another idea that has helped us.

So let us know when we can help, and we will.
sirbrad
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1998 Posts

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Thanks for all the information so far. The real problem I see is finding a way to come up with 10 members. I don't doubt that the members would eventually come once the club got started, but trying to hunt people down would be very time consuming, and difficult. Especially when no club yet exists. Does SAM or IBM help you get in contact with potential members who may also be in the area, and looking to find a local club? I believe the closest club is about 60 miles away, so my area should be eligible.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Craig Dickson
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Pleasant Valley, NY
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The Regional Vice President for PA is Philip Milstead. His Email Address is
plm6569sam@verizon.net. He may be able to provide you with better details on PA and members, plus any other questions you may have on possible members in your area. We have many Associate Members not in any active assemblies.

The top reason is they want our magazine, which since January has become the top publication in magic. The accolades for the publication have been overwhelming for our new Editor John Moehring, since he left Magic Magazine to come to the SAM and take over the magazine. It is simply incredible. Beyond that there are a variety of reasons they never joined an assembly, some because of Geographic’s as yourself, others because they don't know all the benefits of membership, and the magazine was all they wanted. So contact Phil, but he may be able to help there. Email him. Hope that helps. There are membership details at http://www.magicsam.com also.
sirbrad
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1998 Posts

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Thank you Craig, I have contacted him, and I will let you know how it goes.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
sirbrad
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1998 Posts

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How long are meetings in general? 1 hour, 2 hours? I would think they would need to be at least 2 hours, as it would go very quickly with 10 people trying to cover everything. Especially if everyone wants to perform. What is the longest they usually run? When are they typically held? I seen a few held on something like "the first Monday of each month at 7 pm," but no end time was listed. Or is there no definite end time, and people simply stay as long as they can?
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Craig Dickson
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Pleasant Valley, NY
351 Posts

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There is no set time, it all depends on the theme of the night. As far as time, you set them to meet need of attendees, generally 730 ish to allow those who commute to get home, have dinner then come. Times also depend on meeting place and if there is someone other than members to allow access. You have to find the place first, then work out times and duration
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