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Jason Palter
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Hello all:

Here is another topic I thought that I would start: inventing and marketing magic tricks. I’ve been doing this with my company Paltergeist Unlimited since 2006, and also as one of the partners with TenyoElite for the past few years.

Have a look at the sites if you'd like, so you can see a bit of what I'm about in terms of creating magic, marketing, design, etc.

So if anyone has any questions regarding the processes of creation, marketing, or whatever, please fire away!

Best regards,

Craig Logan
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I guess I'll start things off...

I tend to ask this of most creators I encounter, but what tools do you use in the way of research? In other words, are there specific resources (other than just reading a crap-ton of books) to determine the originality of an effect?

Also, what is your criteria for marketing an effect as opposed to keeping it close to your chest?

Thanks for taking the time to share,

"A wizard is not to be made in a day." -Professor Hoffmann (Modern Magic)
Jason Palter
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Hi Craig:

Thank you for starting things off!

I'm a firm believer that if you want to be good at something, or want to learn more about something, then you become a sponge and try to absorb as much as you can from people/sources that are in the field or area that you're trying to learn about. So that fact that you're asking me this (even though you've asked others in the past) is great! I may give you some info that you've heard before, or perhaps I may give you one little nugget of value that you haven't received from anyone else.

Anyhow, my effects come from two sources (and I'll elaborate on each one below):
A) I've come up with the idea myself.
B) Someone has approached me and asked me to market an effect idea for them.

So for how do I come up with my own effects, there isn't really an "exact" way. Sometimes it's from chatting to someone who has an idea of something they would like to see done and they want to know if I can do it. Other times I can be wandering in a department store or something, and I'll see an item that sparks an idea. So there are lots of ways that these ideas can come to me. Here are some examples with a few of my tricks (you can find all my products at www.
1. For "Third Degree Burn", it was a desire to do the "any card from pocket" effect, but make it very "street", and do it with a blister instead. That was my first trick I ever mass-marketed, and it was almost 2 years in the making until I released it, as I played with different designs and ideas. The result was great for me and really put me on the 'map' as a creator, and I was very fortunate to sell an awful lot of them.

2. For "Divine Time", I swear to you the idea came to me in a dream, and it went from there!

3. For "Twist Tie", I really wanted something to replace the "cheesy" card tie that magicians have (don't take any offence to that; I have a couple myself. lol). I wanted a funky, stylish tie that could be worn everyday, but also be used in a powerful trick.

4. For my latest "T.U.R.N." that just went on sale yesterday, this was born from a idea that I wanted a totally "free choice" combination lock to be used in a mental effect. Talking to a friend who was not a magician, I described the effect I would love to do some day. She turned to me and simply said, "Well then why don't you see if you can do it, and then maybe market it!" I remember it sort of took a minute, and then I realized that she was right and I should pursue it! lol This was many months in the making, and took a lot of man-hours with tons of trial and error to create.

Now for my 2 x "signature series" products ("The Red Carpet" and "Kings Crossing"), they came from the two creators of the original effects approaching me and asking me to use my marketing, branding and creation skills (plus the "name" that I'd built in the magic world from my earlier effects), develop their tricks further, and bring them come to life. And further to that, I'm also presently working on a couple of future ideas with someone else that may end up being another "Jason Palter Presents" signature trick, or it may be a collaboration with both of our names equally on the packaging, or I may just buy the "rights" from them and market it myself, with full credit given to them in the instructions as coming up with the concept, etc.

So in all cases, I have to do research and make sure that I'm not releasing something that has already been done. That is a very hard task, and I rely on my own knowledge, checking stuff out online, and also I ask others that I trust in the business. So in the case of my "Twist Tie", it was originally called "Tie One On". I was about a month from releasing it, and about 2 weeks from going to print up everything for it, a colleague pointed out to me that there was a trick where a tie rolls up on its own, with the same name! Arggggh! So at the last minute, I changed my trick's name to "Twist Tie", because I didn't want to confuse the consumer (a VERY important thing to always be sure to remember).......And in the case of "The Space Between", I was informed that Joshua Jay had a measuring tape effect. Arggggh again! I would never knowingly do something to rip off someone else, so I called and spoke to Joshua. It turns out that his effect was from his lecture notes, but he and I both mutually determined it was different enough from mine, and he was totally cool to let me proceed with the release of my trick. The point is that it is important to do your research to make sure that what you are going to come out with has not been done before (or is different enough from previous ideas that you won't be ripping anything off), and also to ensure that the name is different too---the last thing you want is brand confusion in the customer's mind!

And in terms of my criteria for marketing an effect as opposed to keeping it close to your chest, well that really depends on various factors. Sometimes an effect or even a routine is just so ME that no matter if I released it with full instructions and patter/presentation, it would never end up being able to be presented in the way that I do it---if you catch my drift. So it often is on a case-by-case basis.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Best regards,

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