Late Night Conversation – Lecture at the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention

This past weekend I lectured at the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention in Coquitlam, BC Canada. In the talk I discussed my stage setup for shows, branding, marketing materials, advertising, newsletters, and evaluations. There were a few additional topics that I discussed live at the event that aren’t included in the below video. You’ll just have to attend in person if you want to hear everything!

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How to Produce a Touring Illusion Show – Interview with John Kaplan

When I was getting my start in magic John Kaplan’s “Magic School Bus” show was one of the first live magic shows I ever saw. I remember that it was a fundraiser for an elementary school in Penticton, BC. Almost 20 years later and John is still touring Canada with his show, commanding thousands of dollars per show for himself and earning thousands of dollars for his clients.

Since he’s obviously on to something I wanted ask him how he did it. It turns out he’s leaving this week to tour a month long tour in New Zealand and Australia, but he found enough time to do this interview with me. But first, Who is John Kaplan?

kaplanJohn Kaplan’s career began, as most magicians’ do, when he received a magic kit at age 9.

Inspired by the life of Houdini and determined to make magic his life’s work, after high school John became a sorcerer’s apprentice, finding as his mentor Micky Hades – author, publisher, illusion builder and inventor of magic tricks (such as the world-famous “Micky Hades Improved Finger Chopper“) – and it was from Micky that John learned the business side of the magic business.

Early contest wins and TV appearances gave John a running start as he pursued his childhood ambition.

Many interesting career high points followed, including promotional shows that saw John escaping from straitjackets, making cars and people disappear, headlining gala shows for major sporting events, performing on cruise ships, in comedy clubs and being Jay Leno’s opening act.

In 1989 John created, produced and starred in his own theatrical production “Johnny’s House”, leading to years of creating theme shows for amusement parks and shopping malls, where he developed his acclaimed “Santa-via-Satellite” program currently licensed in over 60 markets worldwide.

In addition to his performing career, John’ s business-building programs, effects and routines have been well received by the magic community.

However, it’s his unique approach to the fundraising market that’s given John his greatest success. During his 30+ year career he’s performed thousands of shows in over 500 Canadian towns and cities, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for school and community groups with his Fundraising Magic program.  Read More…

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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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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