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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The February 2013 entrée: Diamond Jim Tyler » » Making a magic DVD » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Mark McDermott
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Union Mills, IN
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Please give us all some insight to creating and selling a magic DVD.

Diamond Jim
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Diamond Jim Tyler
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I will answer soon Mark. I'm just super busy.
Diamond Jim
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Diamond Jim Tyler
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Okay. Let's see where this takes me. First I think that a routine marketed and sold should be one that the magician has performed over 1000 times in a real world setting. Plus, I think that it should be unique in some way from other routines out there.

I originally let someone else produce my first set of video tapes for Pockets Full of Miracles. It was the right decision at the time because of the big investment. Plus, I knew very little about the process. During the filming I learned that I was having a hard time reliquinshing control. Later as I learned the process I began to regret that decision. I did not have control over my product, an extension of me, so I bought it back and put it on DVD. That turned out to be a wise decision on my part. The producer did a wonderful job, don't misunderstand, I just didn't like seeing my fate in someone else's hands. For example, when going on long trips, I prefer to drive. That's just the way I'm made.

I produced my next DVD Mirrors in house. Literally all of it.. in my house. It did well. I had the help of good friend with a nice camera. He was very patient with our many takes. Something I didn't get to do with Pockets Full of Miracles. A large magic vendor told me that they believed the card market was a niche, and that a smaller part of that niche would want to do magic with cards with mirrors. I am very tenacious. I believed in my vision and pressed on. Later they came back and ordered some once it began to take off. I think they've sold over 1000 of them now. It has been reprinted recently. Plus, it lead to my helping with a Hollywood motion picture. The promo people for the thriller MIRRORS starring Kiefer Sutherland asked me to help with a video that would be used the promote the movie worldwide. I convinced them to come to the Magic Castle in LA and produce it there instead of in their studio. The Castle was happy because they got to charge a location fee. And the production team was ecstatic because they knew of the infamous Castle and felt privileged to be filming inside. Plus I knew that the Castle had many interesting corridors and mirrors. You can see that promo footage here which I helped to write:

After producing my MIRRORS DVD I realized how valuable my time is. Also I learned that I really wanted better video and sound. So for DiaMonte I hired a professional production team to shoot, produce, create menus, create teasers, basically the whole DVD. But I gave them explicit directions as to what I wanted. DiaMonte I was extremely proud of and I thought showcased me and my magic well. It was a profitable endeavor but also very expensive.

So I decided that if I were to shoot a DVD again, since I was already paying for their time, I would pay a little more next time and shoot enough material for two DVDs. So in August 2011 I released SWEET and in early 2012 I released COLLATERAL. Both again were very well done and I was proud of the finished product.

Unfortunately, this being the age of free information, many people download videos from bit torrent sites or they copy the DVDs for their friends. Or they copy the DVD and sell off the original. So my last 4 DVDs include some necessary props. So if they don't have an original copy then they will not all of what they need. Plus, as a consumer, I find it nice to receive what I need with a trick so I can start performing it immediately.

Many guys just don't care or seem to grasp how much copying or downloading a DVD hurts someone like me. If an artist like myself can not get a return on their investment, then I will not have money to produce the next effect. This stifles our art and makes guys like me not want to share our knowledge. This is one of the reasons that Bamboozlers has been so profitable for me. It would be a pain in the arse to have to copy each page. And even if someone went to that trouble it wouldn't be as handsome as the bound Bamboozler books with their leather covers, gilt edges, and ribbon markers. These are the things as a vendor that I have to consider.

This is also the reason why I will most likely never release my books in an electronic format. That makes it too easy to share or steal. When Bamboozlers One went out of print I did opt to release it as I-phone App. Apps are much harder to steal. Plus, I knew that it would be good publicity for future volumes and my other works. It is the only volume that I will release in this format. It does sell on a regular basis and it is nice to receive that mailbox money from time to time.

Just to give you an idea of how rampant free downloads are I will share this next story. My nephew told me about a site where they offer free daily apps. I thought as a promotion I would make the Bamboozler app free for a few days. Over three days 17,000 people downloaded my app. Now is that 17,000 sells lost? I don't think so. Those people probably never would have bought the app. However, since it was free they couldn't resist. The way I saw it was that 17,000 more people now knew my name and might buy more of my products. Sells did increase after that.

So back to producing DVDs. Once you have the finished product now you must sell it. One could sell them on their website. Adverstise in one of the many magic magazines. They could be sold at conventions or lectures. They could be sold to magic distributors. Each of these has their pluses and minuses. What is right for me may not be right for you so. Some guys like Ellusionist keep their products exclusive.

My advice is produce it yourself with a professional team.
First submit your idea to people your trust and get their feedback.
To maximize your sells I recommend that you include something with the DVD.

Think about storage space and suitcase space and the "green" solution.
My DVDs first came in the standard jewel case.
A few I've reprinted and they are now in thinner plastic cases.
This means I can store 3 times as many in the same space.
But now I'm considering putting the discs in small cardboard sleeves.
This would save money and space... but I think most perceive a disc wrapped like this to have a lesser value.

I hope some of what I've shared has helped someone.
Below are teasers to each of my DVDS.

Pockets Full of Miracles:




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This IS helpful!

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