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Topic: I have a show and I want to TOUR the US how to?
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 13, 2006 02:21PM)
Hey all..

I am a resident of Clearwater, FL and I have, over the past year, been buying props to create a few different shows to make a marketable show. I want to take this show on the road and tour to several places throughout the US.

I have taken a liking to Smalltown, USA and using Community Centers with Stages for Grand Illusion. I want to basically promote the show like a month before the arrival in town. Then during the stay there do a publicity stunt and get local news (print and other media) there to help with promotion. Sell tickets starting a month before the show and perform a GREAT show. Then packing up and moving to the next town repeating the process.

Can I please get some input and advice from touring Illusionists of the process you go through to make your tour a success. I really want to succeed rather than fail in this market. I figure your input and advice would be priceless. Thanks in advance for your responses.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 13, 2006 03:36PM)
Have you considered purchasing John Kaplan's course on [url=http://www.fundraisingmagic.com/login.html]Fundraising Magic[/url]?

He performs a touring illusion show, and helps groups in smaller communities raise lots of money (all across Canada). He also makes extra money with additional sales, BOR, Programs, etc.

I don't have the course (ask Den Dowhy, though, he's a huge fan), but I have seen John living what he teaches since way back in the 1970s! He's the real deal, and knows his stuff.

There are several threads on John's course, especially in the Tricky Business section. You know, I never recall seeing anyone review his product in a negative way.

- Donald

P.S. Yes, I did not give a direct link to the information page. You should sign up for a login code, to be able to access the information. If you have logged in before, you should know the code.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 13, 2006 03:41PM)
Man are you going to need people for this!

You need people to do the front-end work; departments of people.

You need a truckload of money to do exactly what it is you have described. Just to buy the ads and space on TV will be expensive even in small town America markets.

All of this can be done, but you need qualified people to buy ads for you and design artwork, do radio spots, I mean you have to employ an army if you want to do it right. Then the show itself.

Good luck but if you are asking the questions, well quite frankly you will not have enough knowledge to start.

I am sorry if this sounds harsh, but realistically you have to be a publicist, promoter, ad agency, performer, stage manager, or pay people to do it all. If you are not proficient in all of these areas, or can not afford to hire people who are, then as I said you are behind the 8 ball when even starting.
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 13, 2006 03:56PM)
Danny Hey, man, no you didn't offend me at all. In fact I think I may have misinformed in the statement. What I meant by TV and Radio Media was no buying space but rather having stories done about me and the show. Example, do a blindfold Motorcyle Drive through Main St, etc. And then that would gain media exposure. Also send out press releases... Being interviewed etc.. No, I don't want to buy space for a commercial at all. Way too expensive, I aggree.

Donald, I will look into his course. Others have suggested Jim Summers' course... do you happen to know if Jim Snack's material will help out with this or not?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 13, 2006 06:30PM)
If you don't intend to buy space then you will fail, without question.

Second of all if you don't intend to buy space what makes you think you can regularly find people to do stories on you? Let me tell you it is a trade-off, plain and simple. Yes, there is stuff done all the time without the trade, but it is tougher to get it done.

These are businesses you are speaking of.

As I said, it is a huge expense to try to do this with every town. What kind of exposure do you think you can have if you don't spend money? You can NEVER simply get enough exposure without some expense. You're talking about selling tickets a MONTH ahead of time, but the stunts will give you maybe a day hit at best. You have to have saturation if your going to sell it.

To be considered also is scheduling. You don't want to conflict with the local Grape Festival weekend now do you? No matter how much money you spend you will lose to that. Many small towns have LOTS of things going on throughout the summer. Especially in the summer in the Midwest where they get exactly 5 days of summer anyhow.

Lots of magicians think they can just blow into town and people will give a hoot. It is not at all the way it works. People don't like magic nearly as much as we tend to. Without a big name you will have a tough time. Heck, look at how the big names like Copperfield do it. Saturation is the key and that costs money.
Message: Posted by: inhumaninferno (Jan 13, 2006 07:21PM)
Dunphy's advice is good. Kaplan's materials can help you to tour with an illusion show without the expense of promoting it yourself. Don't be a hack-get all your PR and show materials in order, make it professional, live up to your claims and make your sponsors happy. Do this and you'll find success.
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 14, 2006 06:49AM)
Thanks for all the good input so far.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 14, 2006 11:31AM)
This is a duplicate line of posts Also see:
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 14, 2006 01:05PM)
Brandon -

To learn about getting publicity the RIGHT way, something you might want to invest in is magician / hypnotist Rick Allen's product called, "The Ultimate Publicity Secret Weapon System". It is a little pricey, but totally worth it!

Rick has been a master of getting press for many years now, and teaches you how, with dozens of examples from his personal scrapbook of news clippings.

If you are serious about your business, you need to invest in yourself, by investing in some business books, courses, etc. Then go beyond that, and devote yourself to devouring and applying the contents.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 14, 2006 01:05PM)
Yeah, they suggested I post this in here as well. I thought I would get more responses.

Is Rick's material available through any certain magic dealers, or Borders, etc.?
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 14, 2006 01:15PM)
Hi Brandon -

Thanks for asking.

Here's a link to Rick's product page: [url]http://www.getmorebookings.com[/url]

From there, scroll down aways, and among the other products, you will find a link for his "The Ultimate Publicity Secret Weapon System" product. There are many links to products on that page, so you need to look for the right one.

BTW, the product may not be "pretty", or appear first class, but the quality of what he teaches is first class all the way. He has clearly "been there, done that!", and is not just some newby teaching stuff they haven't actually experienced, to make a quick buck. Just be sure to look beyond the appearance when you first receive it.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jan 14, 2006 05:55PM)
I, too, have Rick's “Ultimate Publicity Secret Weapon” as well, and it REALLY delivers on its promises! There is TONS of "proof" even, right there in the course as well, and all that for less than the price of a newspaper ad and you can use Rick's stuff to get thousands of dollars worth of FREE Press you can't buy! (Like the FRONT page or cover of you favorite paper or mag...!)

I’ve even had him as a guest on my weekly “Success Madness” Radio Show a couple of times!

Just another satisfied customer of Rick's!

I am at your service and In HIS Service,
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Jan 16, 2006 10:33AM)

Listen to Danny! But if you are going to go out and spend a load of cash on a course or book or anything why don’t you just spend that money with a consultant who works nationally in the variety entertainment arena? Get a real pro, not a magician who decided to become marketing professional to help you. Pay them for their time to tell you if what you have is even ready for a tour.

Look, I see nothing wrong with a magician drafting a course or marketing that course to other magicians so please do not get me wrong. I am not saying anything like that. What I am saying is that most of those courses (and some of them are quite well written) are written regarding what worked for that particular author and just because it worked for him or her does not mean that it will work for you.

Facts are facts there are a lot of really good performers running around with good acts but there are a relative few who can take those acts on the road and come home at the end of the tour with any cash in their pockets or without having to spend their cash to bail themselves out of trouble. There are even fewer who can do it without any real NAME RECOGNITION. Not attempting to be harsh here, Brandon, but on the grand scale of things you have none.

Do you have an agent?
Does that agent work on a national level?
Can the agent get you a sponsor?
Do you have any touring experience even in your home state where you worked more than one date in any town in any given week?
What makes you think that your show is worthy of going on tour? Have you ever sat down with a magician who has been on a real tour and talked about all of the technical aspects of what goes on during a tour?
Do you have the resources to acquire everything that you will need i.e. sound, lights, people to work the sound and lights if the house will not provide them, licensing of any music that you may use, the list can go on and on.
Do you have a contingency plan if you fail and need to get home?
Do you have insurance?

I am not trying to be critical but these are just some of the things that you need to be asking yourself before you set off to see the world. I am all for seeing someone “make it” but I am one of those people who think that it is better to make an educated decision prior to jumping into the fire. I think that you would be better off spending some time listening to people like Danny about these things than trying to get information from people who want to sell you a book from a web page.

Not too far from you there is a host of people who have touring experience; Rebekah Yen for example in Orlando traveled on tour with Greg Ferwin, Ammar, Bev Bergeron, Giovanni, Fred Becker, Fred Moore, and others all are within just a short drive or even shorter phone call away. Why not try to talk to some of them about their experiences and see if you have what it is going to take to make a tour work.

I am all for you giving it the best shot that you can but rather go off half-cocked you should use what you have at your disposal to make sure that when you do take that jump into the fire that you do not get burned.

Good luck and let us all know when tickets go on sale.

Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Jan 16, 2006 12:58PM)
Hey Brandon,
Back in the 70s I did exactly what you’re wanting to do. Working the small towns here in the south. Mostly community centers, schools, etc, places that had a stage. I was only doing one or two shows a month, because I was also the one doing the lead work. Finding a sponsor, selling the tickets, selling ads to a program book, etc.

I was quite successful with it for a few years. Made a ton of money. Of course thirty years ago we didn’t have the phone regulations we have today. Had very little competition, and I didn’t mind the hard work. IT IS a lot of work. Very little doing magic, it’s sales work. I had a great SALES job.

Anyway to my point: Even if you plan on hiring someone else to do the front-end sales work, LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN about the business yourself. This IS Important. No matter how good the hired help is, you need to know what they are doing, you need to know that they are doing it right, and you need to know if they are stealing half your money or not.

Maybe a little outdated for today, but still has some valuable information in it is, Ken Griffin’s “Illusion Show Know How” The book is only around twenty dollars and well-worth reading.

Getting free publicity is very important and it’s really not that hard if you know what you are doing, especially when you have a good name local sponsor.

I don’t own Rick's books on free publicity, but if I were to start over again in this type business, I would own them. Not only has he done this type thing before, he is one of the good guys and after reading his stuff if you still have questions he will go out of his way to help. It’s certainly worth thinking about buying.

Anyway, just wanted to wish you luck.
Also, if I can be of help, just let me know.

Oh, one more thing; the dressing rooms in the community centers, don’t count on all of them being real, real nice. Lol

Best of luck,
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 18, 2006 11:20AM)
Thank you all for all the great responses. Pickacard, Im not looking to hire someone for reasons Tom explained. I have spoken with Ammar and Fred Becker from Orlando. Ammar is in an entirely differnt venue than what I want to work. First, he does lectures ALL THE TIME. So his marketing and show reservations will work differently than how I will approach. Mr. Becker also tours the high seas. And he does corporate work. He also works with an agent. Me, I really just want to gain free publicity and come up with creative ways to sell tickets. BUT also undertand the back-end work of touring a show.
Message: Posted by: keithmagic (Jan 18, 2006 09:01PM)

It may be helpful to develop a tour of PAID gigs before basically four-walling it.

When I was touring the midwest all summer long doing fairs and festivals I was aproached several times about doing larger school and fundraiser type shows (rural areas always seem to be more open to this sort of thing) by some of the people who had attended the festival and had seen my show. They saw the show and saw that I was entertaining, and it also didn't take long to realize I wasn't from around there.

I never really took them up on it (and sort of regret it) because I had to go back west for school right after my summer tours, but I always thought by creating a tour that is already paid for like I laid out in my book, I think it may help someone like yourself plan and book a route, and get PAID to do it. Treat it like a paid audition, and then by the time the summer is over after a season or two, you have another few months of work booked on that route. Seems to me like it would be a lot easier than trying to stage these things in towns you have never been to (and on your own nickel to boot...)

Keith Stickley
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 18, 2006 09:29PM)
Keith -

Excellent advice on another approach! Well done.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 19, 2006 03:59PM)
That is a good way to approach it. I will look into that as well.....
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 19, 2006 04:47PM)
Still a tough approach as you will lose money on the four-wall deals most likely.

To do what you specifically want to do is going to require one thing. Capital!
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 19, 2006 05:42PM)
Capital? Not to sound stupid but is that money??
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Jan 19, 2006 05:48PM)
Doing your homework and the proper lead work can reduce costs, but still, yes, to hit the road does require money. When you're away from home, everything costs, even a drink of water.

To walk into town and say, “I have a magic show, ya’ll come,” will never work, or at least not enough times to keep you moving. Maybe if your name is Copperfield, but for the other 99.5 percent of us, it takes a lot more. Even with him, most don’t go to see the magic, they go to see the name.

To have any kind of success in working the smaller towns, the fund-raising approach would be your best bet. Local folks support each other. You find a good sponsor, do a great job with them, and then try finding a like group in the next town.

Regardless of how good the show is, it all comes down to proper planning, good advance work,and a sack of expense money.

Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 19, 2006 06:15PM)
Now this is going to sound horrible and I don't mean it to BUT if you have to ask what "Capital" is, then you will need to do a LOT more research before you even consider starting to do this.

Yes, it is money.
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jan 19, 2006 06:42PM)

THANKS for you willingness to say what needs to be said.

YES, we want to see people to succeed phenomenally, and part of the success requires for each of us to pay a price for our success prize! I'm guessing Danny, Jim, and all who are enjoying the fruits of their efforts that lead to their success will not only agree, but applaud that truth!

THIS thread is yet another step closer to success… CONGRATULATIONS!

Are we discouraging anyone’s success?


Quite the contrary, we are encouraging the TRUTH in this day of microwave ovens and the instant internet and so on, we ALL could take a lesson from what Danny has offered up here.

THANKS again Danny!

I am, as always at your service and In HIS Service,
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 19, 2006 09:39PM)
Dean, thank you for your kind words. Funny thing is most don't appreciate my "saying what needs to be said".

The problem certainly is my lack of tact.

I do offer an honest opinion and feel that trying to encourage those who will lose money doing it is really a disservice. I won't do it. It makes me a lot of enemies, but in the long run it is better for them I believe. If I didn't really care I would let it go. Since I do care, I can't!

You're so right, I mean to be encouraging, although it seems the opposite some times. This thread, taken right, is a fantastic step toward the success you speak of and I hope it helps.
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 20, 2006 10:52AM)
Danny That was a joke.. I know what capital is....... lol no harm...

I do appreciate your input Danny. I appreciate everyone's input up to this point. Like I stated previously, I want to SUCCEED and if it requires you to tell me the harsh realitites then GREAT. I want to know not only the good but also the bad.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Jan 20, 2006 12:18PM)
It really is best to look in all directions before leaping, but don’t get discouraged and don’t give up, because if this is what you really want to do, you can. The know-how will always come to the person that wants it, just keep asking until you get the right answers.

My top ten suggestions are:

1. Learn as much as you can about the business side of the business.

2. Make sure you have a great show.

3. Don’t quit your regular job until the time is right.

4. Start close by home and work your way out.

5. Set aside enough money from each show to help finance the next.

6. Work as many small shows in between big ones as you can. (Schools, parties, etc.) Not only is this extra money, it helps promote your bigger show.

7. Don’t get discouraged when times are bad.

8. Believe in what you’re doing.

9. Make each day count.

10. Count your blessings each day.

Always remember,
The success in magic is not in “knowing,” but in “DOING.”

Good luck with your dream/goal,
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Jan 26, 2006 12:01AM)
If you do everything that Tom has mentioned- you'll be right on track. If you ever want to do outside the United States; that option is open to you too. Even probably more so than the United States.

There are certain groups that cater to touring. ALA USO/AFE/or MWR groups; for whom I tour and work. All you need is an entertainment value worth its weight to tour. Some good shows behind your belt, and be a productive entertainment product. You get those things down pat and you're set.

When you get outside the US- things change. I just left Guam. A tropical paradise beyond words. I couldn't believe my eyes 99.9% of the time. There's only one true magic show here and that's Steve Wheeler's show. Think of the possibilities in just this one island. Then you could go to Japan- there's even more for you there. But on the downside- they're in their winter climate now, unlike Guam.

Asian countries and the Western Hemisphere are ideal places to, 'get your chops.' More so if you perform for the military. Only a suggestion. If you're interested; just let me know. Best regards,

Matt Tomasko
Message: Posted by: Reuben Dunn (Jan 26, 2006 07:19AM)
Matt, could you give me an idea of to whom I might apply?

As an ex-Army guy this sounds like a good way to pay back "Uncle Sam" for the things I've learned..
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (Jan 26, 2006 02:42PM)
Hey, guys, I just ordered Rick's Publicity Course. It should arrive soon. Thanks again for all the good advice.

Posted: Feb 6, 2006 12:14pm
I ordered his course and it's everything you said it would be. Has TONS of useful information in that binder. I haven't read all the way through it yet but hope to soon. Now I have to get my creative brain going to use the info he provided.

Posted: Feb 19, 2006 11:16am
Anton, have any creative ideas to get sponsors for this type of tour? Like using their coupons in the show, etc.?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Feb 19, 2006 12:20PM)
You need a good salesman and a prospectus and a good business plan.
Message: Posted by: brandonford1982 (May 16, 2006 09:30PM)
I finally bought John Kaplan's course as well. It's the answer to all my problems. Publicity course from Rick Allen is focused on newspaper publicity, where as Kaplan's course is a whole new approach to selling your show, which I love and I am putting together right now and will do exactly what I wanted. Thanks for all your help.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (May 17, 2006 01:32AM)
I am sure that both John's course and Rick's course will be of benefit to you, if you study the material, and act on it. Try new things, think, learn, and adapt to create your own style based on their examples.

- Donald