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Creativity with new magic

Next time you’re thinking about buying a new magic trick I would encourage you to try and rehearse the trick before you buy it. Doing this will let you think about the various elements that make up the overall effect before spending the money on it. You’ll think about the scripting, blocking, music, costume, and everything else.

Think Before You Buy

But how can you rehearse the trick before you have the props or know the secret?

In many cases you can make a temporary prop and just act out the trick as if it were real. You don’t need to have the actual effect take place if you are only practicing.

For example, once I used a teddy bear as my stand in prop for a fountain of silks. I was able to produce a bunch of silks, then steal the teddy bear out just as I would the fountain of silks, and I just make believed that all the silks were flowing out. By doing this I was able to plan my routine out to see if it would work without spending the money on the prop.

You can do the same thing with any trick though, let’s say for example you were thinking of performing Kevin James’ Bowl-A-Rama. So instead of spending the $750 up front, take some time scripting what you’ll say at the start of the trick and what music you’ll use. Because you don’t already have the prop you won’t feel so limited to do it exactly like you saw it done before. Maybe you’ll decide to produce a zombie head instead and use spooky music. (That’s actually a pretty good idea…. nobody steal that. I’m going to use that!) If you had purchased the effect first though, you’d probably just produce the bowling ball since you already owned it and it was easier.

Anyway… my point is that by play-acting the routine it will push you to be more creative and you won’t be limited by a physical prop or method, you’ll also be more likely to develop something creative and new.

Let me know if you’ve used this technique before in the comments below. Don’t forget to sign up for the RSS feed or the newsletter in the sidebar.

Networking Events — Why you don’t go to them

Networking events are a great way to get new business. These events are filled with people who are fellow business owners, local government officials, local media, and other individuals who are highly networked. My guess is that you already know that you should be going to these events but you aren’t. If you want to get more bookings you need to be in front of the people who can hire you.

My guess is that one of the reasons you don’t go to these events is because you don’t “know anybody”Really that’s just an excuse to cover the fact that you don’t like to network. Yes, its uncomfortable and awkward, but I’m going to tell you exactly how to get over it. As a performer you have a natural skillset to navigate these types of social situations. Most businesses don’t get to immediately demonstrate their services– but we’re very lucky because networking events are exactly the type of environment that we’re hired to perform in!

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How to Perform and Work Internationally

Many magicians have a dream of performing internally but there’s many road blocks to navigate along the way. That’s why I decided to do an interview with Paul Romhany who’s without a doubt one of the most qualified people in our community to answer the golden question “How do I work internationally?

For the past 25 years Paul Romhany has been travelling the world performing at corporate events and festivals, as well as cruise ships around the world. During that time he has been in over one hundred countries and in 2012 flew over 500 hours to get to gigs. When asked where he lives he replies, “I’m a Citizen of the World”. The answer that Charlie Chaplin gave when asked the same question almost 80 years ago.

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It’s All About The Music

Great events have energy and excitement filling the room, its your responsibility as a performer to provide this to your clients. During your performance you do this by having a great show, but you can create this party atmosphere before your show starts with preshow music. If you go a formal production they’ll have music playing before the show starts to set the mood, and your show should be no different.

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Why You Should Work For Free

Should you never work for free? Should you always turn down charities? Do you offer discounts or reduced rates for not-for-profit organizations? There are lots of things to consider when considering these types of shows.

The problem with free shows

  1. Often these show offers come with the promise of “great exposure”! While its true that there will be an audience that hasn’t seen you before, more often than not you aren’t going to end up directly booking more shows because you performed at their event.
  2. I’ve also found that for free shows they are more likely to be less organized. These events will be run by volunteers or people who are just trying to help out, but may be outside their element. You will need to take extra care to make sure that you get as much information as possible upfront, so that when you arrive you can put on an amazing show just as you would at any paid event.
  3. When donating a performance it will cost you money to perform at their event. You will still need to pay for gas, the wear on your equipment, and all of the consumables such as playing cards, rope, and flash paper.
  4. Make sure that when you accept a donated show that everyone else at the event is also donating their services. There’s nothing worse than donating your time to arrive at the event and find out that the reason that they couldn’t pay your fee is because they spent their money on food, bounce castles, etc. I only donate my services to events where everyone else is also donating their services. (Once upon a time I discount my show fee for an organization but when I arrived I found out that the reason they asked for a discount is because they had already spent the rest of their money on other activities. I only made that mistake once…)
  5. One of the biggest dangers of donating a show is that you will be giving up a date/time that you could have sold to somebody else. If this happens you not only lose the money you could have made, but its also costing you to perform at another event still. This is why I am very specific with the groups that I support. I have to be willing to not only donate a show for their group, but I also have to feel it was still worthwhile if I have to turn down a booking. Some performers will offer to do the show under the condition that they don’t receive another booking on that date/time. I would never ever do this– I feel its unprofessional because it shows that you don’t care about the success of their event.  Read More…

Improve your emails — gMail

There’s no doubt that gMail (Google Mail) is the best email service in the entire galaxy. So if you’re using hotmail, yahoo, or any of the other services I suggest you get with the times grandpa. The spam protection is amazing, the custom filters rock, the themes are decent (check out the cool cloud wallpaper I’m using right now in my account), and I can access it anywhere in the world on any web-enabled device.

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Controlling Your Show Music

Controlling your show music can be super simple if you have a dedicated show technician to operate your sound for you. But for most of us, most of the time, we need to find a solution to operate the sound ourselves. It makes sense then to have a pre-set playlist on an MP3 player and with a remote control. More advanced features might include fade in, fade out, and skipping around the playlist to suit your needs.

Virtual Sound Man

All of my shows have music so I use this system for every show I perform. I use the Virtual Sound Man combined with an iPod that connects into my sound system. Basically it’s a remote control for the iPod.

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Sound Systems, Microphones, iPod’s, and Speaker Stands

In this article I’m going to give you a detailed description of the equipment that I use, why I use it, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

I should preface all of this information by telling you the types of venue’s and events I normally perform at include birthday parties, community events, festivals, and corporate floor shows.

Sound Systems

Small events

At events with less than 150 people I use the Fender Passport PD-80. This system has two speakers that disconnect from each side, so that I can place them on either side of my performance space. Personally, I really like this setup over the single speaker arrangement because it gives better sound coverage across the room. For small events children will be sitting close to the speakers. Children’s eardrums are more sensitive than adults so you don’t want to blast your music. You want the music to be loud enough to create energy and excitement, but you want to keep the levels low enough so that they are still comfortable. By having two speakers you can more easily fill the room with sound without having the volume too loud.

The disadvantage is that it takes a minute or two longer to setup, but I think it’s worthwhile. I’m usually done setting up before the audience is ready anyway.

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