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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How to produce a show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

dearwiseone
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
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Are there any resources that address how to produce a show from start to finish? Let's say someone wanted to open up his own theater, and produce a magic show. Where would he start? How does he know what he'll need in terms of a set designer, costumer, choreographer, etc. There's got to be some books, websites, or a video series that address this! Thanks!
Father Photius
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El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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No one text that I know of, generally people who want to do that hire professionals at it. They learn from doing after that point. To read Mark Wilson's experience with Magic Land of Alakazam shows there was a whole lot he didn't know going into it, and it cost him a bundle before it was all over. When Harry Blackstone, Jr. got coaxed into doing a magic show by Tommy Smothers, he at least had the experience from observing his father's career, plus quite a few years of professional production experience in radio, television, and theater.
Anything short of hiring a pro is likely to prove very costly and very disasterous. Gay Blackstone and daughter Bellime are both still producers, looking at production as being the family business. Forget a book or tape, get a pro.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Moth
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Wise advice, Photius -

There are quite a number of angles to it all. I would bet that if you get in touch with your closest professional theatre - I think Off Square is in your neck of the woods - you would probably find some people who are willing to sit and talk with you about it.

One thing you might want to look around for is a producing organization that you could make a partnership with - theatres are often NOT booked every minute of every day, and they may be interested in what you have to offer.

That way, the venue is helping assume the producing infrastructre, if not a portion of the financial risk.

Getting a show ready is very very hard. Opening and running a physical plant is a whole different kind of hard. Marketing is another very difficult task - co-producing can lessen the burden!
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Photius, I'd much rather have a professional do everything! So you just hire a "show producer" and they handle everything for you? I assume they already have connections for prop builders, set builders, lighting, sound, etc.? Any idea where I can find a list of people waiting to produce a show?
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Moth,
Thanks for the advice!
-Kevin
Jim Snack
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Producing the show is only half of it. Then you have to sell the tickets! You better factor in the costs of marketing or you'll have a show playing to an empty house.

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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I absolutely agree with Jim on this one. My wife and I have done our large theater show several times over the years at large theaters etc. One thing I always rememebered is that you could have the best show in the world, but if people are not in the seats, then it does not matter how good it is. It really comes down to marketing and doing plenty of it.

Below is just a part of what my wife and I did to market these shows alone. It worked but the biottom line is that we made it work through taking direct action to let people know about the show. Hope thios helps.

- Posted full information about the show and confirmed posting of this information to well over 37 online websites and calendars including newspaper and other media websites.

- Created a full website just for the show itself and topromote it.It answers a lot of the common questions people have and out marketing materials is geared at directing people to it.

- Created a customized logo and brand identity for the show that is being used on everything to brand the show in the minds of the target audience.

- Created posters, 8.5 by 11 flyers and smaller flyers for retail business usage. These flyers are in full color and have the logo as well as the information about the show.

- We have set up a full answering machine message service at home to act as a box office for all incoming calls in regards to the show with a turn around time to contact them back in less than 12 hours if not sooner.

- I have created library flyers and library book marks which have already been mailed out. We have a total of 200 flyers and book marks going out to about 5 libraries locally to the vicinity of the event location. These will be replenished as we get closer to the event date.

- We have over 250 flyers already confirmed and mailedto retail businesses who are not only going topalce the flyers up but will also be placing the smaller flyers on the counters. We are confirming more of these retail businesses in the next few days.

- We have over 2250 color flyers going out to a multitude of day cares in and around the area. These already have been started mailing as of a week ago and we are getting close to having all of these mailed out in the next week.

- We have also contacted private schools in the area and have over 2500 color flyers goinbg out to them starting in the next week as well. These have all been confirmed ahead of time.

- We just got approval to get our flyers into the hands of the entire Public School system where the High School Auditoirum is being held in. This is huge for us as it means a staggering number of fluyers and posters being placed in the direct school district. I am following up with them this week.

- We have already posted up posters in the high schoolitself and gave coupons and tickets to the front office. They are excited about it and more then eager to help us out.

- We have also sent flyers as well as e-mail announcements that have gone out to every magic club IBM and SAM in the NJ and PA and NY areas. We have also sent flyers to be handed out at their meetings as well as had thempost our information in each of their newsletters.

- We have also contacted numerous MOMS clubs in the area of the event. These clubs have been wonderful to us and we have sent over 500 flyers to these clubs. We also have 5 of the clubs post our full color ad in their newsletter for free.

- We sent out a formal e-mail invite to our friends, relatives, magic friends and all of our ACT contacts, leads etc. This willalso be given a followup invite in the next 2 weeks.

- A good friend of mine wholives closer to the event area, also sent out the invite to his contact list of over 200 people to date.

- We are beginning public appearances and so far we performed a paid Blue and Gold Dinner who alsolet us display and promote the show at the event. This was last weekend and we gave out a lot of fllyers to the kids and parents., I alsooffered to sign and autograph the flyers to any kid that wanted one. This got a huge response and now the flyers are signed and peoplewere taking them home. We have already received feedbnack and calls from this first public apperance.

- We are also gearing up to do numerous appearances on April 1st in the direct area. We are lined up to perform at an YMCA public festival event they are having that is less then 2.5 miles frothe theater. This is great exsposure for us with large family crowds. We will be able to perform, pass out flyers and do anything we want to publicize the event even more. They were pleased with our offer to them.

- We also have calls into 2 other places to do apperances on the same date and willalso be posting up flyers and making an appearance at a chuch e cheese typeplace that is geared towards kids and families. This locations is right nesr to the theater.

- We also have the full color flyer posted on public access television in the area and will be broadcast now leading up to the event date.

- I have a full press release ready to go out but must confirm the information with the media places this week.

- We are alsogoing to be posting up posters all through out the town starting the first week in April.

I am sure there is something I am forgetting, but I wanted to get this out to you guys to show what we have done and to get further ideas on any of the above as well as other ideas we can do to help us with our marketing efforts.

I have a few questions I wouldlike additional help on:

- At these public appeaRANCES, WHAT ALL CAN I DO TO REALLY MAXIMIZE GETTING OUR WORD OUT.i WILL HAVE THE FLYERS BEING HANDED OUT AND WILLALSO HAVE A DISPLAY TABLE AS WELL. I WOULDLIKE OTHER IDEAS ON HOW WE CAN BEST USE OUR TIME AT THESE APPEARANCES TO REALLY GET THE NAME OUT AND GET PEOPLEEXCITED ABOUT THE SHOW. (sorry caps).

- How best should I do the press release and should I mail it out just once or should I do multiple mailings of the press release at different times?

- I have heard of folks doing radio and TV appearances as well.I have no experience in this area, so any advice on this would be helpful.

This is all we have done for the marketing of those shows and it shows you that it can be done and what can be done to really make it work for you.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Father Photius
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El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Quote:
On 2007-05-28 00:04, dearwiseone wrote:
Photius, I'd much rather have a professional do everything! So you just hire a "show producer" and they handle everything for you? I assume they already have connections for prop builders, set builders, lighting, sound, etc.? Any idea where I can find a list of people waiting to produce a show?


If they have experience in magic production they do. I know Gay Blackstone does that kind of work. I'm sure there are quite a few others out there, check with some of the pros and see who produced their shows.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Big Daddy Cool
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The Houdini Room at The Casa de Cool
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I offer a class and lecture on this subject. it is how I have made the majority of my income for 20+ years...

John
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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Dannydoyle
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It really depends on the venue.

Many times the questions answer themselvs. And usually that answer is NO.

To produce a show is a skill. To market a show is a skill. To package the whole thing so it can be done again and again is a skill.

To find one person with all that skill, and all that time, is not easy. Find a professional producer, marketer, advertiser, and so on.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Big Daddy Cool
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Again, I made over 70% of my living for 20+ years doing this. I produced my first show as a teeneager, and have gone on to produce not only for myself, but other performers as well...

Call me...
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
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Big Daddy Cool,

If you have so much experience would you mind giving some tips here?

I'm in the set design stages of my theater show and would love some advice.

Kyle, great advice, it seems that you did a theater show for children, my show will be nothing like that, but geared towards college students and up. I would take it that the same approach could work for my kind of show, just geared towards my audience?

Josh London
Big Daddy Cool
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The Houdini Room at The Casa de Cool
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Josh,
Give me a call. I don't have the time it would take to share everything you would want in print. I could write a book on the subject... Hmmm... Sounds like something I said a year ago about another subject...

615-480-8946
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
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