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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Let there be magic! » » So you want to market your effect? Read This! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Zednanreh
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I originally posted this in another forum here at the Café and was suggested to copy it here by Andy Leviss. I will include his additional advice. Take this for whatever YOU think it's worth, but this should be *highly* considered as important advice. If possible, I'd like a moderator to make it sticky so that it will be around for a while.

I want to sound out what I suggest to do when it comes to designing, selling, and marketing a trick, illusion, or whatever you want to call what you want to sell.

1) Now you have "created the illusion in your head." Ask yourself: Is your effect truly unique? Am I just mixing moves and handling from similar effects to create this effect?

This is probably the most important step in the creation. I have to use True Fly as an example. How many 3 fly tricks are out there? There are some with e**** coins, some with g*** coins, and some with plain 'ole misdirection. Is it really worth it to make another 3 fly? Are you just taking ideas from someone else and filtering? I *think* there should be a moratorium on some effects. 3 fly and coin matri (plural of matrix?) should be stopped for some time now. There are too many out there and the few that keep coming out are junk because they are the same ones, just recycled. Bob Kohlers Ultimate Three Fly is probably the only recent flys useful because it is a twist on the basic concept, hence the price.

2) Now you know what you want to do, the handling and what you need. Good. Perform it for strangers. This will let you work on the handing. Get their feedback. Then perform it for experienced magicians of the "category," ie: if it is a card trick, perform for card magicians... coins for coin magicians... etc. Get their opinion on it. Magicians will catch your sleights better than lay people AND will tell you if it is good or bad. This will save you the next step. Perform it in person if you can or get a VERY GOOD quality video online. Example for this I will use the Elevator. Great quality and clean performance. The first time you heard that "it's another levitation", you went through your head thinking about "how can this be different." The first, fifth, or fiftieth time you saw the video you kept eliminating a possibility of how it works. If someone figures out your trick the second or third time they view the clip, it means that there is a 1 in 3 chance in getting caught... etc. For short: Take the effect and eliminate the common and uncommon posibilities so that people can't figure it out.

3) So you've gotten positive feedback from both parties. Alpha testing time! (Yes, ALPHA!) You get a group of magicians, small number (about 10), but good ones, and get their opinion on the secret. Get their estimate of value and alternative handlings. Let them go out for a month or so and let them perform with it. Play with it.
"Destroy" it if necessary. For this section, I will use Double Back and Dr. Daily's Last trick as examples. Let's say you were designing Double Back and you were in alpha testing. What you do is perform Double Back THEN Dr Daily's and ask the spectator which had a better effect. "Same effect" but two ways with different subtleties. (Now that I think about it, maybe on a moratorium on these kind of card transpositions are needed too). If the spectator says "I didn't notice anything different", then stop and go back and redesign! Obviously nothing has been accomplished.

4) **BETA TESTING** Take the feedback from your alpha testing and apply it to your beta. Beta testing should be the same as your alpha but with more testers. Computer software, especially games, are given away for free before they go "gold" (the cds are made and the packages are shipped to stores). For computer games, they use 1,000 to 10,000 people. Obviously these numbers do not apply for magic, but you should find *at least* three or four times the number of people you had in alpha testing, for beta testing and repeat the same process of step 4. Get the feedback and what-not.

5) Sell, but remember, "The customer is ALWAYS right." When it comes time for your pricing of the effect, realize this: You make a profit from EACH sale. Let's say printing per "pamphlet" and "gaffs" (if any) total to: $2.00 per copy. If you charge $10.00 per copy, you get $8.00 profit, meaning $80.00 with 10 copies and $800.00 with 100 copies! If you get this far, obviously there is a demand for the effect since it is "new and fresh" and you will have no problems selling many, many, many ...copies.

Andy Levis:
Quote:

That said, there are a couple flaws with what you wrote about profit. First, if you are releasing an effect with the expectation of making a significant amount of money on it, forget about it. The magic market is very small, and it is the rare effect that makes a notable amount of money.

Second, I don't think it's a good move to view your costs (and thus your profit) as being split among each copy you sell. Instead, you should take the cost of the quantity of the effect you've made, manuscript you've printed, DVD you've duplicated, and figure out how many copies you need to sell to cover your production costs, advertising costs, etc. Then, anything beyond that is profit (if shipping is paid by the purchaser; if you pay shipping, that comes out of each item sold).

If you calculate things based on splitting the cost among the total product produced, you'll always be in the hole.

Also, you have to realize that a major portion of your sales may come from wholesale or jobber sales (to dealers or distributors, respectively). If I only sell to direct retail customers, I'll be limited in the quantity I can sell by those who know of me or hear of me and are willing to mail order from me (or see me at a convention). If I go direct to dealers, I can sell at a reduced price but sell many more copies. If I go through a distributor, I can sell even more copies, but at a lower price (the trade off being that I can sell many copies to one distributor and let him get them to the dealers, or a few copies each to lots of dealers-I'm making less money, but saving lots of time and hassle).



If you put your heart and soul behind an effect, it will show when someone opens up the packaging and people won't say "I could have thought of that!" ...instead they will say "Wow, why didn't I think of that! that's smart!"

In conclusion: Creating magic isn't easy, it's art. Good luck in the future!

My ...uhhh.. $0.02 and then some.

- Alex
So you want to market or sell your trick? Before you do, read this!
Plato986
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Thanks for the info!
-Plato986 (that's me)
Necromancer
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Another question I would recommend you ask yourself during the creation of an effect is this: should it really be brought to market at all?

This question recently came up in another forum of the Café. It seems that lately, magicians have been rushing to market with effects that, a few years ago, would have simply been submitted to a magic magazine for publication.

How to know if your effect should be printed in a magazine instead of being marketed outright? Obviously, there are no hard and fast rules. But, if your effect (1) doesn't require the manufacture of special gimmicks, (2) is only a modest variation of previous effects, or (3) isn't likely to be financially worth selling on its own, then the magazine route may be the path to take.

True, you won't make a dime distributing an effect this way. But it could go a long way toward establishing your name as a "brand" among a large group of magicians (as Tim Trono has pointed out in his posts on this topic). And if magicians like your published effect, they'll be more likely to trust your name on the effects you eventually do bring to market.

Best of luck,
Neil
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
Zednanreh
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In the words of Homer Simpson, "DOH!". The whole reason I wrote it was that of what you just mentioned, "should it really be brought to market at all?". Aside from that, "Is there a need for such an effect?" How many fake flower productions do we really need? How many bill switches do we need?

On the issue of bill switches, I can think of a plethora of which all have the "same" end result (Hundy 500, Slow Burn, CREAM, classic with TT, ...etc). One question I forgot to include was, "What will the spectator remember?". I have had many regular card performances with a stacked deck and after I'm done (without doing ANY false shuffles), I've had spectators say to eachother "He shuffled the deck! I saw him!". Likewise, "He changed the $1 to $100!" will be what they say with bill switches. Will they remember which way you folded the bills or how you waived your hands? Probably not.

- Alex

PS. When this is all said and done, I probably will redo the whole thread with the input from anyone that chips in.

Another 'point of interest' that you should focus on is:

Am I creating a magician fooler?

What is a magician fooler? It is a trick designed to outsmart magicians instead of lay audiences. Be sure when marketing it, be sure you aren't overkilling the effect with excess slights. There are certain subtleties only magicians will pick up.

Example:

Lets say you have a trick where you are stealing cards constantly off the top of the deck and you are "dirty". A magician fooler would be showing the hands empty, and that will floor magicians when they SWEAR you have stuff palmed. Lay people may not even notice the 'empty hand flash'. Same thing with a DL. "The trick that fooled Houdini" (gimmicked or not) is a good example of a magician fooler, regular people will automatically assume it is one card, magicians need the proof that it is not a DL.

I felt like tacking this on as an addition point. I will re-write this whole thing and make a version 2.0 after I hit a page or so of feedback, comments, ideas, and whatnot.

- Alex
So you want to market or sell your trick? Before you do, read this!
Bradley Morgan
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That is some really good advice.Thanks you so much. I am going back to read it a few more times.

I have a question or two. I have some original routines using some other peoples moves. Do i have to ask for permission to show and teach my routine to my local club.

Thanks
Brad
"I do not know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones." - Einstein
Zednanreh
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Absolutely not. Feel free to teach them all you want. I dare say it would be silly to 'copyright' a DL. My focus with this thread is towards magicians that want to sell what they call 'a new effect'. Some effects are too confusing to follow while others scream gimmick and still others are very poorly constructed. So, if you just want to show people a routine at your club, you should have no problem.... if you plan on televising the club meeting, that's another story. You might need to find the origin of the 'major sleights' and see if they reserve tv rights (for some odd reason).

- Alex
So you want to market or sell your trick? Before you do, read this!
Carron
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thankyou, what a great post! Smile
Andy Leviss
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Actually, there is no legal form of protection that covers most sleights (and if there were, it would be a patent, not a copyright). It's purely an ethical decision.
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
gkfreed
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In my only attempt at real marketing, I think the keys would be
1.Make sure the trick is "different" in effect or method. Also it must be strong
2.have a clear effect that can be demonstrated by dealers.
3.Repeated advertising in the "Big" Magazines
4.Do not underestimate the "name" of the trick. Names like Color Monte, Cardtoon, B'wave, are catchy and memorable. (please remember the trick has to be good as well!)
4. Consider having a professional (Elmwood Magic, Meir Yedid, etc..purchase and produce your effect)

My only real experience with marketing an effect followed the above rules. The results...12,000 units and counting.

Gary
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dillib
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Thank you for such good advice Alex!
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