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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Upscale Magic Theaters - How are they doing? (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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thomasR
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As a side note regarding marketing..... after I posted the above post where I typed "House of Cards" - I went to facebook and saw an ad for House of Cards. Facebook is watching.... always watching.
Bill Hegbli
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I think we may be going back in time to Vaudeville days. With the Internet and electronics keeping people at home, they want to get out for an evening and be around people and enjoy a different kinds of entertainment. Anything that does not involve a screen.

We have five or six old movie theaters in our city. Three were Vaudeville theaters. So far 3 have been renovated, the latest is popular band groups of all mixes of music. Why not be ready for people wanting to get out of the house for an evening.

History does repeat it itself, and those that recognize it will profit.

Much of the cost of renovation can be covered if the theater is marked as an historical building. It is a lot of work, but so many cities old theaters are being opened up again, that it is possible to meet the demand.

It may be time to get a stage act together, and set the close-up magic aside.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dannydoyle
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Yea no. The screens are here to stay. You are looking with wishful eyes at best.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Quote:
On Sep 16, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Yea no. The screens are here to stay. You are looking with wishful eyes at best.


Agreed that the screens are here to stay. However Bill is right that I've noticed quite a few old theaters being restored in the last few years as historic landmarks.
Some of these theaters show vintage movies.

Now how to make a vintage magic / variety show that is super marketable and sells out performances... that's the secret I want to know! ha.
Dannydoyle
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Yes but not enough of them to make a tour.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Could be a short tour!? Haha.

I think the trickier part about touring small theaters like that is they typically rent out to non-traditional renters like churches so that’s every wednesay, Sunday and maybe Saturday night rented to them. Or they rent out to community groups that build a set for a play so the theatre is basically in use by them for a month at a time.
Dannydoyle
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Yea the tour thing is tough because they are not looking to pay, they are looking to rent.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Yes exactly. And they Are more of a community center than a theatre in how they operate usually.

But still... A great venue for a magic show if you can make it happen. Old theaters have a really neat charm to them.
Dannydoyle
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Yea. I have a sure fire formula to end up with a small fortune after doing a tour like that.

First start with a large fortune.

Yes most once they are restored make great venues. I have done many of them throughout the mid-west and boy they are just great. But often as you said they operate like a community center. They have a committee, budgets and usually a "theory" on how they run. They do a "summer series" and so forth. To build a show specifically for that might be tough.

Mind you there IS money in it and if you can get to the right conventions (Every year in New York in January.) and make the right connections it IS good work. I am not saying it can't be done. Not by any means. It just can't be done the way most think it should be done.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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The types of theaters I'm thinking of probably don't even attend those conventions... if they have a season it's like an elvis impersonator and a bluegrass band. ha.

When you toured those theaters were you doing a 1 man show? Magic or more mentalism? And did you go through an agent or attend the conventions yourself? (feel free to ignore any questions you don't want to answer... )
Dannydoyle
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It was the hypnosis show. I book them on my own. It never was a tour of only those but rather I'd be doing comedy clubs, when they still existed, and did this in conjunction.

So I was in lots of small places like you're referring to.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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While I disagree with some of the perceptions and understanding offered here, I will say there is a business model that allows for decent profitability in the types of venues thomasR is referring to.
thomasR
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Quote:
On Sep 17, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
While I disagree with some of the perceptions and understanding offered here, I will say there is a business model that allows for decent profitability in the types of venues thomasR is referring to.


Well..... I’m all ears!!!! Ha.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Sep 17, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
While I disagree with some of the perceptions and understanding offered here, I will say there is a business model that allows for decent profitability in the types of venues thomasR is referring to.


One way to be profitable was to do it as a hypnotist with NO overhead to speak of. This is a TREMENDOUS advantage when costs are kept very low. Being there anyhow with other work is another way it was profitable. Having the convention to go to in January to be able to a route that allows for these things was another advantage.

The key to this, and I hope Mindpro agrees is to educate yourself PRIOR to jumping into the market. There are nuances to this market that are way different from other markets, and even WITHIN this market there are differences in the way to approach every venue. Knowing this going in, and LEARNING as opposed to trying to impose your will on the market will be a great help to anyone trying to make a go of it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Back to what Bill was talking about... do you think a "vaudeville style" magic and/or variety show would sell to those theaters? How easy was it to sell the hypnosis show to them?

And if not the vaudeville style... what style would most interest them?
Dannydoyle
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I think it is the quality of the show that sells. The problem with a "Vaudeville" style show is you are essentially speaking of a variety show. IF you want decent variety performers you are going to pay for them. Then you are going to pay to get them there, you are going to pay to house them and then a per diem. All this GUARANTEED prior to even doing a single show because you need a show to be able to sell in the first place. If you are an upstart show with little history performers are going to want guarantees and advances. (All this from a guy who produces variety shows mind you.)

Keep in mind you have yet to sell a ticket or for that matter market the show in any way OR paid for the venue. All of this is BEFORE you even CONSIDER if a show of any style will sell in that venue. If you want to tour a show like that then there is your task times however many shows you think you want to work out. While yes there are other ways to make the show profitable, BEFORE you get to ANY of that you have to be in possession of a show that is worthy of it. None of this takes into account costuming or what it costs to rehearse and write and mount the show.

What I'm saying is that it is not that the venues have little interest. It is that the task of putting a show that will sell tickets on the stage is monumental! It is so much more than the "style" of show. It is all that goes into getting it even close to being ready. It is very expensive to do that sort of thing.

As far as a "vaudeville style magic show" I have no idea what that really is. I mean most guys who did magic then did it in 12 minute segments. So obviously it needs to be WAY more than that. A good show will sell. But again to get a magic show to the point where it is ready is not easy.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Danny..... I know all too well..... ha. (Speaking of the costs and logistics to mount a variety show).

Lots to think about!
thomasR
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Talking about having a good show and bringing this back to the Upscale Magic Theaters... how do you get a good show?
For example.. Steve Cohen... how did he get a show good enough to open Chamber Magic. Sure he was doing private parties and such.. but that's not a show like Chamber Magic. At some point he had to decide for himself that the show was ready.

Since your not Steve Cohen... how did you get your Hypnosis show good enough that you were confident that it was worth going to NYC and selling it to theaters?
Dannydoyle
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My personal story?

OK you asked for it!

When I learned the hypnosis show basics and mechanics I then did 2 shows. I invited a bunch of my "friends, friends". People I did not personally know. Now I know I can do it. OK I am STILL HORRIBLE at the timing, the routines, the flow and all the things that make a good show worth watching. All the things you NEVER SEE, but if they are not there you KNOW they are gone. What to do? It happened to coincide with the post prom season and quite frankly even a bad hypnotist can find work doing that. (No offense to anyone but those shows are playing tennis with the net down.)

The next thing I did was to work a deal with a resort company in the Caribbean. (Not the one I work with now.) It was not much money but it was 6 nights a week. Now mind you prior to doing this I had spent a LOT of time studying theater and performance. As I did the 6 months I taped every show. (Which was not as easy back then.) I not only did the show, but then I watched the show every night, twice. Once with video, once without video. Concentrate on the sound, then on the stage pictures. I take notes on each day. This was the first 6 months without fail. I am in Jamaica and this is what I am doing. So you end up doing better just by doing the show that many times. BUT when you study it then it is even better.

To this day I still watch every show I perform. Once a week I do it without video as well. After this I started working in comedy clubs. It was different in the early 90's. You could make a really great living touring comedy clubs. SO much of marketing back then was not much more than word of mouth. I met the right people at the Funny Bone and Improv. It was that simple. I lived in Chicago. So working South Bend, Green Bay and Davenport was EASY. When they got calls for parties for magicians, comedians or hypnotists it was me they called. I worked a LOT. So when you study your show AND work it a LOT then it isn't long before you get to the 10,000 hour rule that Malcom Gladwell proposed. Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. I spent 10 years doing about 10 shows a week. PLUS watching the shows. Again not long before you become pretty proficient at something doing it that often. Not always in major clubs, sometimes in places like Alaska and rural towns.

The entire time I was working on bringing the shows to a more theatrical presentation as opposed to club style. I was pretty certain comedy clubs were going away fairly soon and didn't like the idea of having to travel 50 weeks a year. I worked with a director to help write the show.

Even now I work with a director and writer to help.

I have no idea what process Steve went through. I have no idea what process anyone goes through. This was indeed my process and it works great for me. This is the reason I tell people to be part time performers. It is a full time job plus to compete on a high level. That is for a ONE MAN SHOW! I can tell you how bad it is for a variety show, but just multiply it by 5 or so and you get the idea.

That is the short version, but suffice to say that it was a LOT of work. Accepting the idea that I have a lot to learn, and that is a constant state. Being willing to be away for extended periods of time was a huge part of it. Right place right time never hurts either.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Thanks Danny. That's great information and reminds me a lot of Mac King talking about him and Lance performing so much when they were younger and then how he performed at comedy clubs etc.

That's a huge pro-tip.. tape each performance. Watch it and listen to it. Be critical and listen for umm's and awkward moments. Yeah it will happen but notice it when it happens and polish it up..... That right there is SUCH important advice.
Same with watching the video. Oh did I turn my back to the audience there? Oh does that look strange when I do that? etc.


I can tell you... Putting together a variety show is easy... paying the bills is the hard part!!!! ha.
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