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Jestnjoker
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Hey all,

Thanks so much for sharing so much information in this forum. Everyone is very supportive and knows their stuff. I've emailed back and forth with Don a few times this weekend and decided to buy his DVD. I just got engaged and am looking for a way to supplement my income so that I can avoid incurring any sort of debt from our wedding (no comments about the implausibility of this, I'll be darned if I'm starting my marriage in debt). So anyways, I have until the end of May. I am up in the Cleveland/Akron area. I am looking for any advice really, but my main question is where do I start pitching? It's cold and dark up here now for the next 5 months. What do I google? What do I look for in the papers? How do I find my venues to keep myself busy? Thanks so much.

-Jeff

PS-I'm sure Don covers some or all of this in his DVD, I'm just trying to get a head start. Also, anyone in Ohio know what kind of vendor's license I need? Thanks.
Jeff Wright
www.WrightEntertainment.biz
Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
B Hackler
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In my area we have flea markets that are inside which works out pretty good during the cold months. You could see if there is any flea markets that are indoors in your area.
DonDriver
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Jeff,
Car shows,Boat shows,Christmas shows.Call the local civic center or where ever they hold shows like that in your area and get a list.

I already found this: http://www.clevelandautoshow.com/ and

http://www.clevelandboatshow.com/

Now you go find more.....

Also the local fair grounds hold some shows,call them etc.

Your DVD went out today.

Thanks for your business...Don
sethb
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Jeff -- Look for Christmas bazaars at the churches in your area. Check the weekly papers, they are much more likely to list upcoming fleas, bazaars, special events, etc.

When you are working a show, ask the other vendors about upcoming shows; since you are likely the only Svengali pitchman in your area, they will not view you as competition and should be glad to help you out.

In the beginning, you will have to hustle a bit to get started, but after a while, it does get easier. Good Luck! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Jestnjoker
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Thanks all.

Another question. If I want to hit the ground running, should I just stick to the Deck and a TCM kicker to start off? I've never worked with a squirmle.
I imagine it would keep me more focused on perfecting one pitch and also help me keep my overhead lower to get started. Thoughts?
Jeff Wright
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Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
sethb
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Good question!! I started with just the deck and added the worm about a year later. Then I was sorry I hadn't added the worm sooner, because at least for me, it is a tremendous crowd puller and a very good seller in my venues (I now sell about four worms to every deck).

On the other hand, if you have never worked with IT before, it will definitely take about 2-3 weeks to get up and running with the Squirmle, and probably a few more months before you stop breaking a lot of gimmicks during your demos. (I still carry about a dozen pre-tied spares, just in case I have a bad day.) There is a knack to working with IT that cannot be taught, it must be learned by doing.

You also need to become comfortable enough with the gimmick that the animation looks completely natural. I have plenty of people guess that the worm works by magnets, static electricity, gravity, body heat, friction, conduction, and so on. But those who don't know almost never guess the actual gimmick, because the handling doesn't suggest or lead to that conclusion. When you can make the worm move up, down, sideways, and forward or backward in different dimensions, and also jump through hoops, people are thrown off the scent. Practicing in front of a mirror can be very helpful in this regard, so that you can see what the crowd sees, and work towards getting and enhancing that effect (it's really quite amazing from the other side!!)

But I will say that pitching the deck and the worm together is an unbeatable combination. The worm attracts the crowd and sells to kids who may not be quite old enough to handle the deck. Then you can pitch the deck to teens and older folks who have little interest in the worm.

So in my experience, pitching both is a desirable goal, but you certainly don't have to start out doing both. I'm sure it's better to have one pitch down completely, so you can do it in your sleep, than to have two mediocre pitches and not be really familiar with either one. Maybe one answer is to figure out who will be your primary audience and start with that trick, then add the other one later. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Jestnjoker
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Thanks Seth. Good advice. I've spoken with Don and I'll be ordering a few gross of each to get the ball rolling. I will also be putting my own TCM together. Where will I get the best prices on the DB, DF decks? Thanks.
Jeff Wright
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Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
B Hackler
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Funinc.com has pretty good prices.
sescarny
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Here's a little tip I learned long ago. When you are starting out, try to video yourself practicing. In front of a mirror is ok for working the gimmick, but video is great for the whole presentation..
sethb
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To hold down shipping costs (and also meet your minimum wholesale purchase requirements), I'd suggest getting your TCM card stock from wherever you're getting your Svengali Decks from. I think both Robbins and FUN, Inc. carry them, not sure about Loftus. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Bill Beach
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Hi Jeff,

Good sound thinking on your part not to go into debt when starting your marriage. I just moved to the Cleveland area last year and have done only a few outdoor flea markets, my day job has prevented me from being very active the past few months.

If you do a quick Google search for Ohio Vendors License you will find the information on what you need. It's a transient vendors license (since you will not be doing business from one sole location). As I recall, it costs $25.

Also, if you do a search here at the Café, you will find sources in previous threads for banners, attention flags, canopy parts, tarps, and most anything you will need in putting together your pitch joint.

I'll second Seth's recommendation on Squirmles, they are a great tip builder.

PM me when you book a show, I'd like to stop by and make your personal acquaintance.

Bill
Jestnjoker
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Thanks Bill. I'll let you know when I pitch. I'm more in the Akron area, but obviously I'll try to cast a pretty wide net.
I tried to get ahold of Carl today for the squirmles, but had no luck. I just wrote him an email and will try again tomorrow. As soon as I get some inventory, I'll get going.
Jeff Wright
www.WrightEntertainment.biz
Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
Jestnjoker
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Bill, send me your contact info. partywithjeff@yahoo.com
Jeff Wright
www.WrightEntertainment.biz
Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
DonDriver
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Jeff,
Carl is in China for a few more days but someone should be in the warehouse.


Don
Rod Pringle
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Hello Don:

Hey thanks for this info, I can't reach Carl either, I was wondering what was going on?

ROD
sethb
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Jeff, if you are going with Squirmles, I strongly suggest that you also get some good IT for your demos.

In my experience, the best IT for the worms is the Kevlar IT from James George's Sorcery Shop. He sells a 40-foot piece for $15, and it must have 50+ strands in it. Since you will only need about a 26-inch strand for one gimmick, there is enough IT there for at least two lifetimes of demos. It's not pre-stripped, but it's very easy to remove one strand at a time with just a little patience and some practice; the instructions explain how to do it. Click HERE for more info.

Kevlar IT is about 20% stronger than regular nylon IT, and it is also smoother and more slippery, which is great since the gimmick needs to run through and over your hands. Unlike regular IT which just snaps and breaks, the Kevlar IT stretches very slightly just before it snaps, giving you some warning that it's under too much tension. The Kevlar IT might be slightly shinier than regular nylon IT, so you still need to be careful about light sources (although people cannot see the IT, they may see the reflection of light off the IT, which is just as bad). But if you work in the shade under a tent with this stuff, or stay away from bright direct indoor lights, anyone further than 24 inches away (the width of your pitch table) will never see a thing.

Also, get yourself a $3 container of Johnson's Baby Powder (the cornstarch-based kind, NOT the talcum stuff). If you dust the palms, sides and top of your hands before each show, you will have far fewer broken gimmicks, because the baby powder drastically reduces any friction or drag caused by rough skin or perspiration (if you're outside on a hot day). SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Jestnjoker
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Seth, thanks for all the info. I have probably about 20-30 feet of the stuff sitting in my close-up drawer. Not sure if it's kevlar or nylon, but in either case, I'll probably kill all of that before I get something else.

Thanks.
Jeff Wright
www.WrightEntertainment.biz
Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
Jestnjoker
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Just talked with the Squirmle warehouse. Ordered 2 cases. Guess I should find a venue to pitch them. Haha!

I got called to Substitute teach today, so I couldn't go grab my vendor's license, but as soon as I do I'll order my cards from Loftus. This isn't 100% certain, because if they don't sell DF and DB decks then I might go elsewhere.
Jeff Wright
www.WrightEntertainment.biz
Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
sethb
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You may be able to get that license online and save yourself a trip. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Jestnjoker
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I've seen mail-in and walk-in. Didn't see online. It's a pretty short trip, just need to find time to make it.
Jeff Wright
www.WrightEntertainment.biz
Voted Best Party Entertainer in Cleveland, Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards
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