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Topic: Does anyone have their own stage?
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (May 1, 2006 10:16AM)
I've been developing my illusion show slowly over the last several years, moving from illusionettes to the larger full-scale illusions. One of the things I always tried to do was control my performing environment as much as possible. So, I've acquired my own lighting sytems, my own sound systems and my own backdrops.

This has had the added benefit of allowing me to perform in a larger variety of venues. You see, where I live, there isn't a huge market for large illusion shows, and I don't have thr luxery of a full-blown tour. So, I'm trying to adapt my show to play well in shopping centres, banquet facilites and community leagues.

The stumbling block has often been, though, that some of these facilities don't have an elevated stage or platform that will allow for the performance of such illusions. Although I could perform the show on ground-level, it greatly reduces the visibility for larger crowds.

So, I was thinking of purchasing or making a portable stage. Has anyone done this? If so, what are your thoughts and experiences with this? Thanks in advance.

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (May 1, 2006 10:33AM)
This has been a stumbling block, and I too would like a stage but the cost is much to high as well as needing another trailer to pull it or at least a larger trailer. (Which means a new truck to pull it).

There are a lot of stage trailers, but they too are expensive. There are no easy solutions to this dilema, other than rental.
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (May 1, 2006 10:49AM)
I have built a portable stage but it's not suitable for doing illusions on it. It's too small for that (4' x 6'). I considered building additional sections but then realized it wasn't really practical for me to have to transport more than two of these which would only give me a 6' x 8' stage.

The nice thing is that the stage is reasonably light, very sturdy and easy to transport. It was built from a set of plans I bought on eBay, although I modified it a little. (I've been trying to find the designer for a while for permission to sell my variation.)

As for full illusion show stages, Landis & Co. used to transport their own stage. The last time I saw Landis he had given up on bringing their own stage because of how much room it took in his truck and how much time it took to set up. And, he travels with a total of six people.

Message: Posted by: NFox (May 1, 2006 12:11PM)
I seem to remember a company that either specialized in ATA cases or trussing (probably the latter) that seemed to have a nice, portable, segmented stage to buy. Unfortunately, if memory serves correctly, each piece of the stage was about the cost of a small illusion. Does this sound remotely familiar to anyone else?

Nick Fox
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 1, 2006 12:25PM)
Many magicians used to perform floor shows in nightclubs - some still do. I suppose the trick is to have the people up front verify what is happening outside of the view of those in the back. You can also use your script to fill in the blanks, for that part of the audience.

Few illusions are suitable for a floorshow, but the ones that are can be performed under a wide variety of conditions.
Message: Posted by: M-Illusion (May 1, 2006 12:36PM)
I used to travel with a relatively large (30'x40') staging unit. We used it a lot for arenas and such similar venues. Although this was a very nice way to perform, and we could control EVERY aspect of the performance, it was as much of a curse as it was a blessing. The initial expense of purchasing the rig wasn't a major issue for me. We had to add an additional truck to the entourage to transport the rig, as well as additional set up hours. We always used a local crew to assemble and tear down the stage, guided by one of my team members. On occasion, we'd have to begin setting up the day prior to the show due to the complexity of the show. Anyone doing large illusions knows that a two day set up is time and money, if you're only doing one or two nighters. For an installation show, it would not be an issue.

Naturally, shows where we would have to provide staging would cost the client or sponsor more money. Clients who legitimately could not obtain a venue with proper staging never complained about paying more. It was those who could secure a venue with adequate staging, but opted not to so they could save on rental costs who were sometimes a problem. Since they were already trying to cut costs, the room they would end up providing was often below par, and even with our own staging, sometimes, the show was compromised. I also had a few clients (or potential clients) try talking me into giving them the stage for the price of a show without it.

All in all, I found it to be a beneficial piece of equipment to use and still have it in storage. It's a nice piece with three working curtain systems (proscenium, mid and backdrop), full truss and lighting capabilities, is well-elevated and built to support the biggest illusion shows. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
Message: Posted by: Steven True (May 1, 2006 02:58PM)
There are a couple of stages for sale on magicauction.com They are under the stage accessories. Nice but costly. When I was doing a big show in California back in the day I would have loved to have had my own stage. Fairs and carnivals had little to offer.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (May 2, 2006 11:40PM)
As long as you have to haul it around anyway, you might consider turning the platform itself into a trailer that you simply hook up to your car, pile on all your equipment, tie it down and off you go. A simple frame with four wheels would get you started. Go to a U-Haul place and look at some of their low trailers to get an idea of how you could adapt one and turn it into a platform. Maybe you could even buy a used U-haul trailer or frame.
Message: Posted by: Steven True (May 3, 2006 03:12AM)
Would it be safe to load onto a flatbed trailer? I know it would be covered but in my state you take a big chance haveing any equipment out in the open could be bad. Rocks and debris falling from other trucks and cars. It is ok I guess if you are just transporting just trunks but if you are hauling a big illusion I would be worried it would get damaged. Am I way off here?

Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (May 3, 2006 10:20AM)
Those stages have been on magic auction for a long time.
The one is very nice but they won't sell it until they bring the price down.
Message: Posted by: Lusion (May 4, 2006 06:48AM)
As an Illusionist those trailer/stages are not good, when you take gigs in which you need a portable stage you will be performing in many venues,and a large trailor stage will not fit thru the cargo doors at 90% of the venues that I have been in.
Message: Posted by: Lusion (May 4, 2006 06:59AM)
To have a potable stage WILL cost!!!! and to need another truck to pack it in, if your opting to get something that can be used in gyms...and a other places then I am guessing you will want what I have been looking at:
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (May 4, 2006 09:24AM)

That stage is absolutely gorgeous! I'm almost afraid to ask but,

1. How much does it cost?
2. How much space does it take when stored?
3. How long does it take to assemble?

Message: Posted by: Magic Patrick (May 6, 2006 11:02PM)

For the cost and the hassle of a stage have you ever thought of buying a couple of tvs and stands and a video camera and puting them up in the wings to show those in back what you are doing in the front? Kind of what they do at concerts? Just an idea.

Message: Posted by: Steven True (May 6, 2006 11:19PM)
I know what you mean about the stages on magicauction,they have been there for quite some time. I did see on a website,the name escapes me right now,and no pun intended, it was a smaller indoor stage with backdrops,risers,stairs,and a small backstage area. I wish I could rememeber,I will look and see if I can find it and then post it. I know there are company's that will build a setup for you that breaks down but they do get a little pricey. The outdoor stage thing on magicauction would only be good if you were going to travel and do fairs and places like parking lots.

Message: Posted by: Payne (May 8, 2006 10:16AM)
If you need a stage for a certain venue rent it and just add the cost to your fee.
Many Party Supply places have such things for hire and they will transport and set it up for you. Larger Hotels also have these in their inventory for rent as well so if your engaged in a large hotels banquet facilities they more than likely will have such a thing.
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (May 8, 2006 10:58AM)

I actually do have a large screen projection for close up portions of my show, but I prefer not to use it for the larger effects. For me it's a personal choice more than anything. To see me on screen seems to impersonalize the show.

Message: Posted by: magicmarkdaniel (May 8, 2006 01:46PM)
As Payne said, these are avialble for hire. But choose carefully. A client booked my show and brought a hired stage in which was made of 15 blocks if memory serves, 5 wide, 3 deep. Really nice set up but the top of each individual block was capeted with a wooden ridge around the edge. A nightmare when trying to turn illusions as some castors don't take too kindly to the ridges!

Message: Posted by: J Sleight (May 15, 2006 08:10AM)
Another idea would be to find a staging company and tell them exactly what you need so you can be sure its right then do a deal where they always supply your stage (for an agreed discount because you are pushing work their way) and you just add this known fee to your own quote. They set it up for you and you know what your getting. James