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sethb
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Thanks, Don for the advice -- as usual you are right on target.

I do use your initial card transposition during the first phase of the routine, and it is very strong when the cards "change places." So I agree that another instantaneous change from the "wrong" card to the right card would be equally as strong. The best part is that even though it is the same M.O., it appears to be a different effect (sort of like getting two for the price of one)!

My problem is that about once in every 20 DL's, I get sloppy and somebody picks it up. I guess that's not too bad as far as the Law of Averages goes, but it would unacceptable to most good workers and it's also unacceptable to me. So I will just have to clean up my technique, that's all! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
TKD27
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Seth - remember that you're teaching them the trick at the end, anyway, so if they pick up on your DL, it's not the end of the world. It would probably make the effect a little weaker (it makes the deck look harder than you want it to look), but like you said, law of averages and all...

I have a question to the point of changing your cards every so often - how often do you pros change your demo Svengali decks? I did my first pitch a couple weeks ago and my deck was getting really bad by the end of the day. The downside to switching it is that you need to learn a new key card and the card for the first switch. I was afraid I'd keep calling the wrong card, ya' know?
DonDriver
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TKD27,

Where I get my pitch decks from ( that info comes with my DVD)they all have the same key card so that makes it easy.

I do know what you are talking about.When you switch out to a new deck that has a different key card and you can't remember the card in the middle of an effect,just drop your hand holding the deck below the table and peek another key card in the deck by turning the deck so the bottom is facing up in your hand and just slide the indifferent card (bottom card)to one side.

Later,Don
sethb
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Quote:
On 2007-12-03 16:31, TKD27 wrote:
I have a question to the point of changing your cards every so often - how often do you pros change your demo Svengali decks? I did my first pitch a couple weeks ago and my deck was getting really bad by the end of the day. The downside to switching it is that you need to learn a new key card and the card for the first switch. I was afraid I'd keep calling the wrong card, ya' know?

The decks I sell have all different key cards, which is actually an advantage, in my opinion. I keep two or three different decks on the table during the day, and I switch decks about once an hour. Especially if I'm working outside and it's a hot day, a deck can get sticky pretty quickly, so rotating the decks helps solve that problem.

In addition to keeping the decks fresher, using multiple decks avoids the possible problem of the same people seeing the same key card all the time. This happens more often than you might think, because people sometimes stay for a second show or come back later, by themselves or with other folks.

Of course, I have to remember a different key card and indifferent card each time, but I usually manage to get it. I ignore the suits and just remember that it's a Seven and a Jack, or whatever they might be. If I forget, I just say "my card" and "your card" -- nobody's ever complained. Of course, Don's solution is much classier, as usual.

Back to your question, I found that my problem isn't so much a deck wearing out as it is just getting dirty. I sell a medium-grade deck and the quality of card stock is pretty good. The problem is that after a while, the cards just get dirty and dingy-looking, so I eventually toss the deck and replace it with a fresh one. But generally a deck will last me at least a six pitch days (which of course is lots more actual performances) before it goes to the recycler. SETH

P.S. Don is the real pro here -- the rest of us are just amateurs by comparison! <grin>
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Jon-O the Great
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I agree. I'd much rather have different key cards in each deck. I bought 2 gross from (YOU KNOW!) and so far, all three decks I've used have had the 9 as the key. It's easy for me to remember (one guy recommends, the first time the customer draws a card, NOT having him show the key card to the dealer, then saying, "Now you'll remember that.....won't you?") but you're right, many kids do see the same key card many times because they bring their friends, either before or after buying. I guess that's just one more thing to live with. Of course, I can always "DO" my own cards. ;-)

Jon-O
Jon-O the Great
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And by the way, I REALLY don't "teach" them the trick at the end. Only show the difference in card size and "magnetic finish". They gotta "learn" the trick after they buy the deck.

Jon-O
DonDriver
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Guys,

When I had decks with different key cards when you start a pitch have someone in the tip just grab a deck out of your stock box on the table and hand it to you to do that pitch with.This proves they all work the same way and not just the deck you use for the demo.Than when your done the pitch just sell the deck you demoed with as the first sale.Now understand rarely does anybody say "do all the decks work like the one you used?"

If I just keep useing the same deck to demo and it get "larry" (carny lingo for bad) I put it up and get a new deck out.Than someday a good kid will stop by and REALLY won't have the money for a deck,so I'll tell him...hey kid if you take this money and go to the snack stand to buy us a soda I'll give you a deck.

Never just give a kid a deck.Make him think he earned it.

Just the smile I get on the kids face is worth way more than a larry deck.Remember in this life,whats goes around comes around.

Later,Don
Jon-O the Great
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Another reason I HAVE for using new cards every once in a while--it seems that with cards that are "well used", doing the DL WELL is very hard for me. Sometimes the key card sneaks out just a little, particularly on the top left edge. And of course, people standing close sometimes see that little edge, so they know I have 2 cards. New cards, not so hard. I understand it takes practice to do it well and showing them back and forth to the crowd helps. But new cards really alleviate that problem for me. Maybe the "fanning powder" will help with the old cards. Gonna get some today and see.

By the way, when people SEE the DL and say, "Hey, that wasn't the top card (or whatever) I say, "Well, I SAID it was a TRICK deck." and go on with the pitch.

And frankly, in the shows I've done, I never have a problem with people standing back from my table. Particularly the kids WANT to see how it's done. And they come right up against the table when I say, "Gonna show you the secret...it's very small....."

One kid bought a set then stayed on to ask, "How do you make 'em magnetic?" I did my little magnetic thing again and said, "It's the finish on the cards. They're already magnetic." Believe it or not, he said, "If you leave 'em alone, will they point north?" "Dunno. You could try and see. Let me know what you find out."

Jon-O
sethb
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Quote:
On 2007-12-04 10:46, Jon-O the Great wrote:
Another reason I HAVE for using new cards every once in a while--it seems that with cards that are "well used", doing the DL WELL is very hard for me. Sometimes the key card sneaks out just a little, particularly on the top left edge. Jon-O

I have that same problem every once in a while, too; I try to use my first finger and pinky to square everything up before "liftoff," which usually helps.

But my bigger problem is angles. I usually try to keep the cards "face-on" to the specs and in a small but constant motion, per Don's advice. But once in a while I'm sloppy and they will get a flash of a partial side view and there goes the neighborhood, as they say. The key card makes for an easy DL but also makes it nearly impossible to keep everything tightly together (I do bend the card inward slightly, which helps a little.)

And hey, watch out for those magnetic Svengali cards, you could disrupt somebody's pacemaker! <grin> SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
SeasideShowman
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Sethb wrote:
" ...nearly impossible to keep everything tightly together (I do bend the card inward slightly, which helps a little.) "

Now I'm no old pro like Don (although may I mention that I have bought his DVD and think it's great) but I do the Svengali everyday as part of my demo pitch at a friends magic store here. As sethb mentions when doing the DL if you do the slight bend when showing the face it won't tell on you. It doesn't just 'help a little' it helps alot. I love the Svengali !!

And Don, I want to thank you here publically not only for the production of your DVD but also for the time you took to personally correspond with me this past summer answering my questions and helping resolve a very minor problem with turnaround time on the product from your vendor. All your help was (and is) greatly appreciated !!

Cap'n Mike
aka Alfresco Fettucini
http://www.fettucinibrothers.com
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TKD27
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Don - funny, I just assumed all the cards were different key cards. I opened up a new deck, and sure enough, same key card :-P
TKD27
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Regarding the cards - I've found that for cheap pitch decks, Fun Inc's is really the nicest quality.

That said, Don't place doesn't require a minimum order (Fun is $350, I think) and is actually 5 cents more expensive a deck when you buy to gross at a time(for what it's worth). Plus Don's recommended dealer comes with nicer looking instructions. And on top of all that, Fun Inc's decks are not collated.

I've been using Don's recommended dealer, but if I start doing more I might try out Fun Inc's. I personally bought one of these decks from the local magic shop some time ago and they really are just so smooth to use.
sethb
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Quote:
On 2007-12-04 22:40, TKD27 wrote: Regarding the cards - I've found that for cheap pitch decks, Fun Inc's is really the nicest quality.

That said, Don's place doesn't require a minimum order (Fun is $350, I think) and is actually 5 cents more expensive a deck when you buy to gross at a time(for what it's worth). Plus Don's recommended dealer comes with nicer looking instructions. And on top of all that, Fun Inc's decks are not collated.

After investigating several sources, I went with the Royal Magic Svengali Decks from FUN, Inc., for a number of reasons.

FUN sells three different grades of decks: a pitch deck, a medium-grade deck, and a Bicycle deck. The Bikes would be too good and much too expensive to pitch. The pitch-grade deck is not collated and uses thinner card stock, but does come with decent instructions printed on two or three extra cards that are packed with the deck; this eliminates the need to carry around and give out a separate set of instructions. I had also looked at a different pitch deck (the “1847” deck) from another supplier, which was about the same price, also not collated, but of lesser quality with even thinner stock, and with fair-to-middling instructions on a separate piece of paper.

(BTW, good instructions are important. When the kids come back and say they can’t work the trick, you don’t have time to stop and give them lessons. If the instructions are good and clear, all you have to say is “read the instructions.” And if the instructions are good, the child will actually learn the trick and won’t be frustrated with it, making a satisfied customer (and parent) instead of an unsatisfied one).

In the end I went with the Royal Magic medium-grade deck, which is actually basic magic-store quality. They are already collated and come packed a dozen to a box that can also serve as a good tabletop display. The card stock is of good quality and very durable. The decks are individually sleeved with a very attractive shiny wrapper, and good instructions are packed with each deck. FUN also sells a good companion “101 Tricks with a Svengali Deck” pamphlet that has a matching shiny cover. (Don’t laugh –- as they say, you can’t sell the steak without the sizzle!) These decks are more expensive than the FUN pitch decks, but in my opinion they are a better quality product, look better and consequently sell better, too.

I recently worked a flea market where another fellow was selling toys, including a Svengali Deck. He had a good pitch and a nice setup, but I noticed that many of the kids were buying from me rather than him. Why? Well, I think it was because he was selling plain pitch decks, with homemade typed instructions wrapped around them, tied up with red or green ribbons (this was an Xmas bazaar). His decks looked cheap and unprofessional by comparison, even though we were both charging the same price. So even though my decks may cost me a bit more, I think it is money well spent. In three years of pitching decks, I have not yet had one complaint or return – that’s pretty good!

It is true that FUN, Inc. requires a large initial order, but I believe that reorders are only a $100 minimum (although you would likely order more than that anyway, to save on shipping costs). And even if you don’t initially need that many Svengali Decks and pamphlets, I’m sure you could find something else you might need –- a few hanks of rope, a Card Duck, some sponge balls, a book or two, etc., to bring that initial total up to the required minimum. I have also found FUN's service and shipping to be fast and accurate. Incidentally, the Royal Magic decks are also available from Robbins, too. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Jon-O the Great
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As I've mentioned in some of my posts, I got my cards from the source mentioned in Don's DVD. Two gross cost $202.61, including shipping to San Antonio. That's $0.703 each. The 2-card Monte cost about $0.05 from Don's source. So, including printing out the sheet for the 2-card Monte, it costs about $0.77 per sale.

I know there are guys selling the cards for $10 but I don't see how to do it without raising the perceived value. I've been toying with the idea of raising the price to $10 by adding a home made CD or DVD of me doing the 10 tricks in the box. Could show close up stuff that the instruction sheets only SAYS, doesn't show. Sam's has blank DVDs in thin crystal cases for about $0.45 ea., including tax. I have little to do during the week, so making the video and the disks would be no problem. A $10 sale would require a $1.22 investment.

The only prob, Don says there are codes that some home DVD copiers would not put on the DVD. So it would not play on some players. I'm thinking I'll try it and see what happens.

Opinions?

Jon-O
sethb
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I could be wrong, but I think $10 is a tough number to hit for an impulse item like this, at least in my area, regardless of what you are including. I think S. David Walker gets $10 a deck, but I'm certainly not anywhere close to his category!!

This is why I have priced my decks a bit below $10, which seems like a lot less money but really is not. I'd rather make a little less on each sale and make more sales; at the end of the day, I think you come out better.

But if you wanted to increase the value, you could try adding a "101 Tricks" pamphlet; these are easily worth $3-4+ on their own, but would only cost a little more than the price of the DVD's you are considering (with no player compatibility or technical issues!). I used to carry the pamphlets, but found that most buyers were satisfied with the seven tricks in the instructions and didn't want to learn any more than that, or at least didn't want to pay extra for any more tricks. But you could certainly get a few dozen of the pamphlets and see how they go, then you'll know! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
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Kids today don't want to read and most won't.They sure won't pay more for a pamphlet.

But you could just jack the price of the deck and GIVE the pamphlet as part of the package.

I think the DVD will work much better for todays kids.

If you guys aren't pitching the Squirmle with the deck as a package deal,you're loosing lots of money.

Don
Jon-O the Great
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I'm sure not trying to change procedure, only make more money. It may not work.

But years ago, I sold 2 automatic wire strippers for $10. Now sell them 2 for $20. But the perceived value is higher now, because now I use a copy of the site where the guy on TV sells them for $20 for one. Sometimes, if they start to walk away, I use a 3rd one as a "drop". Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but if it's a matter of "Sale" or "No Sale"...I'll take "Sale" every time.

As for impulse items, I'll guarantee no one comes to a gun show or car show WANTING wire strippers, which I think makes 'em a $20 "impulse" item.

My thot is that it won't take much longer to give 'em a DVD and if I only sell 51% of the number of sales as before, I'll make more money. I plan to have a very colorful label for the DVD, so it looks professional,...say something like "10 Tricks for your..." with a picture of the deck under it, then, "...complete close-up instructions..."

As for the worm, my mind is so busy now, trying to keep the cards aligned, being sure I count properly, etc., I think I'll save the worm for later. A DVD requires NO thinking ("...that's why they let ME do it...". Only a few words and they either buy or don't.

Maybe I'll find that kids don't wanna spend 10 bux or can't "jack" the money outta their folks, so it may not work...or it may. We'll see.

Jon-O
Jon-O the Great
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I re-read the above and aside from irritating Seth AND Don, which I DID NOT intend, my major point was "perceived value".

If I can make the 45-cent DVD LOOK like something worth near $19.99 (the price I intend to put on the label) then give it free with a sale, my hope is that while the $10 price of the deck with the DVD may DECREASE sales, it will INCREASE profit. (Was that a LOOONG sentence?) ;-)

E-mail me at TexasStrippers at Yahoo.com and I'll send you a copy of my proposed label. Tell me what you think.

Jon-O
markmagic
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Don, I haven't pitched Svengalis for years, Do the worm occasionally. Watched a video the other day, seems like the pitch was 10-12 minutes. Won't mention names of whose video, but seems to me, todays crowd won't stay around for a 10 minute pitch. Am I wrong? Maybe I should get your pitch videos, but 10-12 minutes seems like a long time to hold a crowd? Thanks,
Mark
sethb
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Jon-O, I know you didn't irritate me and I don't think you irritated Don either, I don't know what gave you that impression. Sorry if my post upset you, it certainly wasn't intended to do that.

Anyway, Don's comments have confirmed my experience with the Svengali pamphlets, so perhaps your instincts with the DVD are right. Since the cost to you is so low, you could certainly try a few and see what happens. I have constantly had to review and adjust my pitch, my prices and my stock to find out what works best for me, it's an ongoing process.

BTW, I second Don's comments about the Squirmles. If you haven't done any thread work before, they will take some getting used to before you get the hang of it. But it is a beautiful pitch item. When people see that worm jumping from one cup to another all by itself, it stops them dead in their tracks. Short of setting yourself on fire, there's no better way to build a crowd.

Also, the worms go over big with kids that are a mite too young to appreciate and handle a Svengali Deck, so you would be expanding your market at very little additional work or cost to you. I can pack 75 worms in a medium-size Stanley plastic tool chest, take it along and make at least an extra $150-200 a day with very little effort. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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