Monthly Archives: October 2014

Professionals Take Care of Their Props

Pathetic looking silk

Pathetic looking silk

I remember in my first few years of business I didn’t have to do any maintenance or repair on my props. However after several years of business and a few hundred shows later everything begins to show its age!

No matter how well you take care of your props they’re going to show wear and tear over time. As performers we use use items that aren’t designed to survive the abuse we put them though. Thin pieces of cardboard and paper, envelopes, cards, and rope, all need to be replaced.

Once in a while look over the props that you use with a critical eye. Does it need to be touched up with a few minor repairs? Does it need to be repainted? Or does it need to be repaired? Even if it doesn’t need to be replaced it may just need some TLC. Iron those silks, give your misers dream bucket a wash, and polish those coins to restore their shine.

Awesome brand new silk

Awesome brand new silk

It’s really hard to see our own things as other see them for the first time. I find that pulling them out of their normal context helps to look at it with fresh eyes.

Even if the audience only see’s the prop for a brief moment it should still look its best. Take a moment to replace those pathetic old sponge balls, use fresh playing cards when you’re hired to perform, and replace old silks once they need it.

If you use anything mechanical make it a habit to check it before every show. Things like hand choppers, finger choppers, and anything with remotes or electronics should be checked frequently. Make it part of your setup and pre-show routine to check these items to make sure they’re in working order.

These small details contribute to the overall professionalism and quality of your show. Plus, by working with better equipment it will make you feel more comfortable and confident on stage.

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See into the Future By Creating A Marketing Calendar

SmallCalendarStockA marketing calendar is basically a series of goals for completing a marketing task by a certain date. Having one allows you to stay on top of your marketing efforts throughout the year. There’s nothing worse than discovering it’s already December and you forgot to do any marketing for your Christmas party shows!

It may be a pain to think about these things in advance, but it will save you stress in the long run. If you just finished a busy summer, the last thing you probably want to think about is that you need to design your Christmas postcard and get them printed so that you can have them sent out before October.

Example marketing plan for Christmas shows:

  • Send out Christmas Party Postcard to past clients by October 14th.
  • That means that you’ll want to have all the postcards addressed before October 10th assuming it will take a few days to address them all by hand.
  • Which means you’ll want to have the postcards ordered from the printer before October 1st assuming it will take a week to get them in the mail.
  • Which means you’ll want to hire someone to design your postcards before September 15th assuming it will take them a couple weeks to complete the project.

As you can see in this example, something as simple as sending a postcard to past clients means that you need to be thinking about that project at least a month in advance. You don’t need to necessarily use specific dates like I had in my example, often in our business you’ll just want to have a task completed before a certain week or month.

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DIY Rasmus Performance Case & Table

Barry Mitchell and his friend Rasmus from Denmark built an awesome performance case and table. Similar to Evan’s DIY Table in my previous article he was looking for a performance table / case that could fit into his small car. In this article I’ll show exactly how they built and constructed their performance case and table.

First they tracked down some ideal storage containers.They stacked, had lids, and even came in various sizes.

RasmusTable1

 

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DIY Performance Table by Evan Reynolds

The following article was written by fellow magician Evan Reynolds. This article was also featured in Vanish Magazine for magicians.

Performing Table Design

I do a lot of birthday party shows. I normally use a suitcase style table, and it’s wonderful. It has been a workhorse. But now I have a smaller car. It’s nice but my suitcase table no longer fits unless I laid it down its back. And furthermore, the suitcase table is heavy – it’s 45 pounds when empty, and once my show is loaded, it’s quite difficult to carry around. And when I get to a birthday party and have to climb stairs – that was getting ugly.

So I had two problems. My table was too big, and too heavy. But I loved having a table that carried all my stuff AND served as a performing table with lots of storage.

So I decided to design and build my own table. I’ve gone through three iterations so far. All of them have their advantages – and all of them are really easy to build. One involves nothing more than sticking on Velcro and using an iron. The other two involve a drill and a screwdriver, but if you plan carefully that’s about the only tools you’ll need. And the next plus? The last two tables have a built in sound system. It’s cheap, easy to operate, and there’s nothing to plug in. It’s not a big system – but it’s perfect for a birthday party.

I’ll point out the advantages and disadvantages as I go as well as the things I’d do differently next time. But the key to all this is to think about what you want out of the tables and then modify them. Make the tables bigger or smaller, add shelves, add compartments, and make it what you want. And then go to JoAnne’s and get some nice boxes/art storage bins. They go in the table beautifully and store your smaller magic props wonderfully while looking great.

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Travel Bags for Equipment and Props

The other day on my Facebook page I asked other magicians where I could source some new bags for my banner stands and I was overwhelmed with replies. It ended up leading into a discussion of bags and carriers that can be used for lots of items. Many of the solutions are quite creative!

Christopher Cool shared a link to a company called UndercoverNYC that produces custom covers and bags for audio equipment, but they can be used for anything since they build them exactly to your specifications. You can send them the dimensions and weight of the items and they’ll make a custom bag to fit them perfectly. These bags are a bit more expensive than other options, but you’ll end up with something specific to your needs.

 Soft Carry Bag Soft Bag Soft Case Read More…

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