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Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22858 Posts

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All these stories and advice brings back a memory from several years ago. We have a restored Vaudeville Theater in town, like so many cities. They have the promotion groups that supply talent on a regular basis. They promoted a children's magician one time, it was not a month later and a notice of him being canceled was announced on television after a month or more of television commercials for his appearance.

So maybe the experts are right, magic shows are dead, and even the children magic shows. Live entertainment just can't compete with this couch potato society the internet has developed.

Then there is the high cost of living eating into the entertainment budgets. A family of 5 just can't afford to spend $300 dollars to go to a theater these days. The ones that can like their private parties and functions.

Use to be the holiday season was a good time to do an theater show, as people were in the spirit and moving around shopping with the family. The Internet has spoiled that as well, just use your handheld device and by all your presents and gift cards on line.

Times are a changing - faster then new approaches to sell can be developed.
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
20566 Posts

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Nothing is dead if you do it. I am simply pointing out the amount of work, the realities of doing it and what it will take to keep it alive.

I do not claim it can not be done. I am saying if it is not done right, it can be a painful lesson. Very different things.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicofCurtis
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
2545 Posts

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We only speak from our own personal experience!
charliecheckers
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Inner circle
1969 Posts

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Quote:
On Mar 28, 2014, magicofCurtis wrote:
Mindoro,
When you state that people are not interested in illusion shows, my experience is a bit different.
At least 6-10 a month I get email request from laymen asking where they can find a public magic show and if I have any public shows. Keep in mind I do not market public type of shows usually. These are totally random people searching for such!


I think being in LA, 6-10 requests/month would not translate to people in seats for a show as much as you may be thinking. That is a tourist town and anyone interested in magic across the world could be contacting you due to a planned vacation where they are searching for activities. I know this is what I do when I travel. Most often, it is just a general interest and timing and location never meet up, even if the interest maintains. There are so many reasons why those inquiries would never lead to attendance at a show. This is too bad, because this is why so few are successful. Just for the chance to attend more of these shows, I wish it were different.

It seems to me that those who have the experience and wisdom to pull something like this off on a consistent basis have discovered more profitable avenues for their shows along the way so most who are attempting to do them are generally lacking in experience and/ or wisdom to some degree.

I really appreciate reading from those who provide insights about the opportunities/challenges of embarking on these type of ventures. It is most informative and interesting.
Donald Dunphy
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Inner circle
Victoria, BC, Canada
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One performer in the southern California area, who is doing a running magic show, is Ivan Amodei.

http://www.ivanamodei.com/

Tickets are available for an upscale adult show, which is performed at a hotel in Beverly Hills.

Somewhat similar in idea to what Steve Cohen offers in NY area.

http://www.chambermagic.com/

This is aside from the other magic shows, or magic and illusion shows, in tourist areas like Vegas, Branson, Orlando, Pigeon Forge, etc. And there are also touring illusionists, like The Spencers, Reza, etc.

I'm not saying that everyone can do it. But some performers are making it work. And I would imagine that it's hard work, but they've discovered a way to make it work. As was mentioned above, there are more skills involved than just offering a great show.

Tom Crowl once provided this link on another thread, and it seems relevant for this discussion as well:

http://entertainment-experts.com/the-job/

But again, 4 walling isn't the only way to do a magic show, or a magic and illusion show.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Cliffg37
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Inner circle
Long Beach, CA
2492 Posts

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I saw Ivan's show. I did not care for it. It was a lot of mentalism, which is not my favorite. However I take my hat off to him for several reasons.

1. Upsacle venue, and calling for professional dress make for a very nice evening.
2. He managed to all but sell out his seats. (About 60 in the room)
3. He was doing real magic, that made lay people seriously question how he did it.

I have no clue what his overhead is on the room, nor how many people pay full ticket price vs. people like me who got the deats on Goldstar. But money aside, he filled the room and did a quality magic show that people left talking about. I would say he did well.

Down side?
1. Room was crampped and crowded to fit all those people in it.
2. Advertised as an adult show - this related more to the dress up factor. The same show could have been done for a younger audience with a few small subtle changes.

Those aren't so bad really. Most of my problmes with the show were my problems and not his. Overall well done.

Does he fill the seats for every show? No clue. But he filled them for mine. One can extrapolate.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
charliecheckers
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Thanks for the tips on Ivan's show. I was not aware of him or his show. Always good to read about these kind of shows. It does say on his website that the show is for ages 12+.
socalmagic
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Loyal user
Los Angeles
267 Posts

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I've been producing, performing, and promoting a fundraising illusion show for almost twenty years. I now make 80% of my income from selling tickets (through sponsors) to my magic shows. The biggest question is do you have the time and money to absorb the cost of the learning curve?

No matter how prepared you are or whose course you have, it will be an expensive and major undertaking. You will have to fine-tune it so it works for your target market, and so you can reliably make money no matter who the sponsor is. If you don't figure it out soon enough, then you will be broke and/or demoralized. I reccomend starting small with little overhead and charging less.

I personally do not favor a split as it is too risky. You will either have to do what John Kaplan does, and charge a flat-fee and give the sponsor everything they need to plan the event, or create a turnkey promotional campaign that you can run concerrently on a dozen shows at a time. I do the latter because I have found it hard to convince enough local sponsors to take all the risk and do all the work. I find it much easier to sell the show if you do most of the work and take most of the risk. I have got burned, and still get burned from time to time, but I have used ideas from Kaplan, Kramien, and many others to create a system that works for me.

So to answer your question, it is going to be tough and expensive, but yes it can work in this economy, and it does work for lots of people.
magicofCurtis
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
2545 Posts

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Quote:
On Mar 29, 2014, charliecheckers wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 28, 2014, magicofCurtis wrote:
Mindoro,
When you state that people are not interested in illusion shows, my experience is a bit different.
At least 6-10 a month I get email request from laymen asking where they can find a public magic show and if I have any public shows. Keep in mind I do not market public type of shows usually. These are totally random people searching for such!


I think being in LA, 6-10 requests/month would not translate to people in seats for a show as much as you may be thinking. That is a tourist town and anyone interested in magic across the world could be contacting you due to a planned vacation where they are searching for activities. I know this is what I do when I travel. Most often, it is just a general interest and timing and location never meet up, even if the interest maintains. There are so many reasons why those inquiries would never lead to attendance at a show. This is too bad, because this is why so few are successful. Just for the chance to attend more of these shows, I wish it were different.

It seems to me that those who have the experience and wisdom to pull something like this off on a consistent basis have discovered more profitable avenues for their shows along the way so most who are attempting to do them are generally lacking in experience and/ or wisdom to some degree.

I really appreciate reading from those who provide insights about the opportunities/challenges of embarking on these type of ventures. It is most informative and interesting.

harliecheckers
6-10 email request a month is a lot when you are not marketing on on going show. People are searching and coming across me and other entertainers. Plus, when I go to the magic castle, it is always packed and that is a on going magic show in its own right.

It like you getting 6-10 emails for tables and chair rentals when you only promote live entertainment.

IT means there is a need for such!
Sam Sandler
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Inner circle
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Some great advice and personal experiences here that should help indeed.

what I offer is this.
first and foremost find what you want to do and become an expert in that field and then create the show that carries the theme you want.
for me it was moving from kids birthdays and communion parties to school assemblies. that's what I do now, I am currently on a national tour performing in schools across america.

while I still make myself available for other events yes even some times birthdays (hey $350 for 50 minutes! I will take that any time)
but my point is if you want to do fundraising shows then learn everything you can about them and then put the show together that will meet that need.

schools, hospitals, police leagues and many other organizations are always looking for unique and fun fundraiser ideas.

i have done many over the years but not something I advertise.

but again you must learn everything you can and work out the math so that you don't lose your shirt in the process.
as Danny mentioned too many times we magicians add up the magic money and really it is just an illusion. the reality is most times it is much more work then you anticipated. you depend on others to sell your tickets, advertise etc. no one will sell your show like you will.

one of the ways I combated this was to offer an incentive. meaning with my shows it was a percentage split. but the more tickets they sold I would change the percentage up to being 50/50. so there was an incentive for them to sell the tickets. at first it was 70/30 my favor. but lets say that every 50 tickets over the 200 mark I would give them 10% more. up to being a 50/50 split. but I was still making more money even with the lover split. but more importantly they sold more tickets.
not to mention the more people there means more BOR sales!!!

good luck and enjoy what you do.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
euroillusion
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Regular user
152 Posts

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JC Sum's new website is devoted to illusionists and illusion shows. He has many articles on the business and marketing of illusion shows.

His recent article on how some magicians can charge 10 times more than others is quite insightful...

"To really fully understand this aspect of show business, the first thing you have to do is to eliminate the notion of a “market price”. A market price is but a mere guideline but in no way binds you to charge a particular fee.

A perceived “market price” is a rough median of what magicians may generally charge in a specific market but this does not need to apply to you if you are not in that specific market or if you are completely unique from anyone else in that same market.

It is because there is no such thing as a “market price” that some magicians can charge 10, 20 or even 50 times more than others. Yes, you read correct. If you charge $500 for a show, there is someone who can command $25,000 for the same duration of show.

The biggest fallacy I have heard a magician state is that clients want the cheapest magician they can get. That is completely false. While it might apply to a small percentage of budget-conscious clients who just need some kind of entertainment and are not concerned with quality, clients DO NOT always want the cheapest. What they always want is – the best value for money that they can afford."

You can read the rest of the article at

http://illusionbooks.com/2014/04/16/why-......-others/

Jean-Paul
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Wow. The idea that anyone can just charge $25,000 for a show is ludicrous. There is way more to it. I hope that was a mere oversimplification and not a belief.

There is so much more to it than duration.

The main point is that there DOES exist a "market price". While it is not based on what others charge it is very real. It has to do with what customers can afford and what you can convince them your value to them is. To say it does not exist and just ignore it will cause you more harm than good. It is economics 101.

Price point vs. value is one of the most important equation in business. What value can you provide for the price you charge? That is "market price" in a nut shell. If you charge $300 and they feel they had a $200 value you have most likely lost a customer. If you charge $25,000 and it hey feel they have received a $10,000 value same thing. The idea is to exceed expectation. Make sure they have a good value for the dollars spent no matter what the number of dollars is. As you increase your value your market price goes up.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
euroillusion
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Agreed. But did you actually read the entire article as what you mentioned is discussed.

Jean-Paul
TomBoleware
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Hattiesburg, Ms
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I thought it was a good article.

Most people see market price as 'average' price. When you above average you enter into a different market.

He does say:

"If you want to charge a premium $10,000 a show fee, your show content, presentation, equipment, props, dressing, haircut, communication skills and support team must all reflect that $10,000 value."


Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
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