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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » 2 concerns about Hilford's Star Trade Show Act book (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

joshlondon17
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Lately I've had the burning desire to start my magic business again. I did it for 6-7 years straight, with 90 percent corporate shows. It's what I know and love.

I also have been working on trade shows. I bought Docc Hilford's Star Trade Show act book a few years ago to get myself familiar with trade shows as they're an avenue I want to start.

I have 2 concerns/questions about his act.

One is can a trade show performer use fire as Hilford does in the act with a flaming wallet?

Two, how does an audience respond when you offer that someone has the chance to win $100 in cash and come to find out they never had a chance?

I want everyone to know I do not plan to perform Docc's act, but rather wanted a better understanding for what a trade show act looks like, as I've never seen one.

Thanks!
Josh London
Mr Amazeo
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The work that this company does might give you some additonal ideas about your idea of positioning yourself as a trade show performer:

http://www.corporatefx.com/

The tricks you decide to use will depend on your pitch and what sales message you develop. Personnally, I don't think a sucker trick is a valid sales tool. If you promise them something, you should deliver - just my opinion. It's just as easy to give away something with the companies logo on it, so try to work that into your pitch. The idea is to generate leads for the company that you are working for - it's not to just put on a magic show. Your emphasis should be to - in an entertaining manner - get their contact information or to hand them something about the company and their products.

I would avoid fire tricks. They probably aren't allowed anyways (it will depend on the venue and your insurance), so consider going with something else.
joshlondon17
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Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling that fire effects were frowned upon. And I wouldn't feel comfortable doing a sucker trick as a cheap way to get a crowd.

jl
AntonZ
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Quote:
On 2007-12-09 02:34, joshlondon17 wrote:
Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling that fire effects were frowned upon. And I wouldn't feel comfortable doing a sucker trick as a cheap way to get a crowd.

jl


Josh,

May I add that every Trade Show hall in which I performed frowned on anything that had the potential of starting a fire. I recall attending Building shows for my first trade show client Owens-Corning Fiberglas where the Association Group who handle all aspects of a specific trade show declared it a rule that if an exhibitor wanted to erect a two story exhibit they had to install a sprinkler system in the exhibit.

I never saw any act use fire in a hall.

Corporate FX headed up by my good friend Scott Tokar is a fine example of a stable of Magicians who work Trade Shows. The first group of Magicians who were handled by Bob Snowdel were Bud Dietrick and Eddie Tullock. In the 90's, Paul Gertner had a group that included Charles Green and I think Mark Phillips, then in late nineties Charles started his own group with Mark Phillips, Danny Orleans and (I'm a bit fuzzy but about this) but I think Scott Tokar was also part of that group.

It was a good idea for Paul, Charles and now Scott to have a small organization because they work so many shows (20-40) each year that it's not physically possible for them to work every job that comes their way so they pass off the jobs to each other.

I decided early on that I did not wish to work 20-40 trade shows a year so I took my business in a different direction by making my show more of a production (larger stage, back wall, signs and slides)and began asking for and receiving much larger fees than what the very able men whom I mentioned here were able to ask for and receive. Consequently I only worked an average of 13-15 Trade Shows a year. And I looked to create multi-project and multi-year contracts with existing clients rather than always prospecting for new companies to engage me. Only had 14 Trade Show clients in all the years that I performed at trade Shows.

Only recall two times in those 29 years that I had to turn down a job because I was already booked.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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I have found the best way to be successful with trade shows is
-Don’t use fire
-Don’t make a mess
-Don’t alienate their clients

If I offer something (like $100) then I pay it out,
and charge it as a business-related expense,
but I never, ever ‘sucker’ a client’s potential customers.

Come in clean, leave clean, is what they love.

My two-cents,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
joshlondon17
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Thanks Walt,

Offering an audience member $100 then saying, "sorry, you lose, but I always win," always left a bad taste in my mouth. Also, the fire thing didn't sit well either.

Why has everyone said nothing good to say about this book if you can't even use the act as it describes you can?

Josh London
Jim Snack
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Josh, could it be that those people don't have a lot of experience working trade shows?

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
joshlondon17
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I'm sure that must be it Jim. But, I try to take what everyone says here or anywhere with a grain of salt.

Thanks!
Josh London
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Docc is one of the smartest and most inventive guys out there, and he’s learned how to make fantastic entertainment viable and commercial.

That said, I don’t think his material is meant to be used word-for-word, but as a jumping off point to adapt the ideas for your style, personality, and client needs.

I’m against the use of fire, as it is just not allowed or practical in many places, and if you’re counting on using it you might face a lot of disappointment and last minute changes.

Things are constantly shifting and changing in both the trade-show business and in magic, and I’m not sure when that book was first put out.

What works for Docc may not work for you, he has a huge and bombastic style, and can get away with things a less experienced or low key performer can not.

Take what you can, and what is good for you, and leave the rest, but don’t toss out the baby with the bathwater.

Trade shows are a world unto themselves, and few have cracked the code to do them consistently and well.

Magically,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
tparrett62
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Josh-

If you've never seen Docc work, don't discount his approach. It's certainly not for everyone, but it works wonders for him.

From what I've seen and read of you, it seems like his style might appeal to you. As Walt said, Docc is a presence; he's a big guy, and his personality fills the room. Looking at your website, it looks like you're a pretty decent-sized individual as well.

He also has a lot of mischief in him, in a fun way. It looks like Docc's stuff might be right up your alley. You may be able to make that "honest conman" approach you've been working on fly in the unlikeliest of venues...

Terry Parrett
joshlondon17
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Terry,

To be honest I'd love to see more of Docc's material, unfortunately the only video I found on You Tube was of the Cassandra Deck and I just did not like it. I used to own it, with the book, but it was not of my liking. I do, however, see myself in him as we're both big guys and he does have that look like he's been through some s*** in his life, as do I. But I can't seem to find anything I really like that he puts out, but I'll keep an eye out for stuff.

As for the "honest conman" avenue, I'm dropping that and I'll be revamping my website in 2 weeks or so. I'm also creating a new motivational show with magic and live painting my partner and I will be marketing to associations and corporations. I'm really excited about it.

Unfortuantely, no one (maybe 3-5) will like the site as it will all be in flash and basically slap magicians stupid with our concepts. More on that later though...

jl
Bigmac
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On the subject of $100.00 bills. I perform "bank night" regularly as part of my trade show presentation. It has been one of the biggest drawing cards for me -generating large crowds and bring people back several times to see repeat performances. It's all about HOW you present it and whether the audience perceives you as a "nice guy" or a "jerk". BUT here is the real key. Everyone who participates always wins something nice. It may not be the $100 bill but they always walk away happy from my booth.

Alienate just a couple of customers and you'll never work for that client again.

Ralph Mackintosh
joshlondon17
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Ralph,

Thanks for the heads up. I love the Bank Nite effect in Stunners, but it doesn't fit with my current show, I'll look into working it into a future trade show act.

Here's another question:

When working on a trade show act, what comes first, the message or the effects?

Let me tell you that I have tons of experience in the corporate market, but no trade shows. I've been studying all the posts on The Café as well as reading every book I can get my hands on and feel I am ready to spend the next 6-12 months just creating a killer 10-15 minute act with lots of corporate branding, product info, etc. And only about 2-3 effects.

I know the effects are secondary to the presentation and the "pitch" but what does one develop first?

Josh London
AntonZ
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Quote:
On 2007-12-17 21:51, joshlondon17 wrote:

I know the effects are secondary to the presentation and the "pitch" but what does one develop first?

Josh London


Josh,

My approach was ALWAYS to find the client, learn what their objectives were, what communication they wanted me to pitch and then figure out what effects or demonstrations I wanted to use to make it "Edutaining."

And as you know I favor tying the effects to a theme rather than the clients products or company.

Love from AntonZ
Bigmac
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I agree with Anton and while I tailor the presentation more closely to the client's products then he does the message always comes first. The first step is to meet with the client and discover what their goals and themes are for the particular event. I usually then spend a some time with their existing marketing materials and in discussion with the marketing and sales directors discussing or trying to draw out the two or three most important points they want conveyed. When that's all done it's time to look through your repetoire of effects to see what fits the best.

This approach is totally different from what the great Eddie Tullock would have said (one show that fits all clients) - but its what has work for me.

Ralph Mackintosh
Bigmac
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Josh:

I'm based in Newport Beach and work the convention center in San Diego several times a year. Let's get together and talk trade shows one of these days

Ralph Mackintosh
joshlondon17
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Ralph,

I PMd you.

Josh London
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