(Close Window)
Topic: Pitching a Vanishing Silk?
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 26, 2008 10:00AM)
I was wondering - magic pitches seem to focus so much on the Svengali. Don gives the history of it in his video, and I've seen those old commercials for "TV Magic Cards"...

But I was wondering, given how visual, easy, and cheap a TT and silk are, why have they not been pitched as well?

If it's that TTs were more expensive back in the day when they were made of metal (were they more expensive?), why not pitch them now? They're super cheap.

Anyone (Don? ;)) know the history behind it?


Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jan 26, 2008 12:16PM)
It way too good a trick to be selling the plubic. Besides they would only mess it up.

Stick with the Svengali deck..."if it isn't broke...don't try to fix it"

Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 26, 2008 07:06PM)
Another problem with pitching a TT/Vanishing Silk is that the whole trick takes about ten seconds. How the heck could you build a tip with that?

At least with a Svengali Deck, you can do two or three effects in a row, have a 5-minute routine and draw a crowd. The TT is a great utility item, but there are other tricks besides a TT that are much better suited for a pitch. SETH
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 26, 2008 07:50PM)
It may be because I'm a thumbtip freak, but I could do a five minute routine with it, though I see your point that the Svengali is more versatile, generally speaking.

What other tricks do you think are suited for a pitch, Seth?
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 28, 2008 07:00AM)
On 2008-01-26 20:50, TKD27 wrote: What other tricks do you think are suited for a pitch, Seth? [/quote]
I have had good luck with a Money Paddle, Multiplying Rabbits, Dime & Penny set, Cups & Balls, Magic Worms (Squirmles) and Money Maker Machines. All of these are readily available wholesale.

The only disappontment was a Ball & Vase, probably because despite my best efforts to dress it up, I never came up with a really good routine for it.

You need something that is mystifying, yet not too tough to do. As Don teaches on his Svengali Pitch DVD, it's crucial that the specs be able to perform the trick with a minimum of practice. If they think it's going to be too hard, they won't buy it, and after they buy it if they think it's beyond them, they'll bring it back for a refund. So you have to convince them that the trick is not only amazing, but also easy to do. BTW, the Cups & Balls set that I sell comes with a booklet that contains both a non-sleight of hand routine using only the inertia move, and a more advanced sleight-of-hand routine that uses a shuttle pass. So it can be done as a "self-working" trick or not.

The TT is certainly mystifying, but in my opinion, probably takes more practice (and guts) than the average person would be willing to commit to. Interesting idea, though! I believe that Gazzo used a TT silk vanish/reappearance to build a tip for his busking, but of course he doesn't sell the device. So I'm sure that someone skilled in its use could do a five-minute routine with it. SETH
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 28, 2008 03:25PM)
The vanishing silk was the first magic trick I ever owned. My father came home with it from a joke shop. I was about 8. I guess it goes to show how much our own experience colors our perspective. I always thought of the TT as a beginners trick, but I guess in retrospect I can see that I just spent a lot of time practicing it because of my interest in magic. Oh well.

My thinking here is that I'd really like to have something to couple with the Svengali deck so I can better justify ten dollars. I don't have the means to do dvds like jon, and all the major fairs last year had someone pitching the worms, already... That's okay though, I'll think about it some more :) Thanks for the great input, everyone...
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 29, 2008 07:00AM)
[quote] On 2008-01-28 16:25, TKD27 wrote: My thinking here is that I'd really like to have something to couple with the Svengali deck so I can better justify ten dollars. [/quote]
Do you already use the Two-Card Monte? You can make these sets up yourself very cheaply and even make your own sleeves for them, Don shows you how on his DVD. I used colored paper to jazz up the sleeve a little bit.

I tell people, "If you can turn your hand over, you can do this trick!" SETH
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 29, 2008 07:52AM)
Seth, yes, I do it just like Don teaches. I even made my own design for the two card monte sleeves. Maybe that's enough to get ten dollars each, I dunno. I'm not as worried about getting ten dollars at the fairs as I am flea markets.
Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 29, 2008 10:01AM)
I don't have the means to do dvds like jon, and all the major fairs last year had someone pitching the worms, already... [/quote]

Actually, making the DVD is simple. It doesn't have to be a pro production, just get someone to make a video of your hands (mostly) doing the tricks, transfer the video to DVD, then copy it on your computer. I have a player that transfers VHS to DVD (Sam's Club $150) but I'm sure there are places (Yellow pages) that will do it for a fee.

Once it's on your computer, copy it to as many other DVDs as you wish. As I've said many times, the real problem is the time involved, using my computer--17 minutes each. Seth suggested there are services that will copy the DVDs in quantity but I'm too lazy to research them. And Sam's has a machine ($100) that copies at 20x instead of 4x like my computer, but I'm too cheap to buy one.

If you use Sam's DVDs, they cost only about 47 cents each, including tax and thin clear plastic boxes--which is less than the cards and 2-card monte cost. So the 2nd $5 (of the $10 you want to get) costs less than the 1st.

Now, before you start, realize you can get more people to part with $5 than $10, so you will make fewer sales. And if being told "No" more than before is discouraging to you, forget the DVD (and the $10!) However, as I've also said many times, if you sell only 51% of what you sold before, you make more money.

I'll be happy to e-mail you a copy of the label I use for the box but you could also use envelopes instead of the boxes--so it would cost less than 47 cents each. I like the plastic boxes because they look more professional. And I can put a $19.99 price on the label. I tape 'em shut with a small piece of scotch tape so people can't open 'em at my table.

If you don't want to use the DVD, Doug Higley suggested adding the Professor's Nightmare rope trick or the Hyrum Hank handkerchief trick. I have never priced them but a couple of pieces of thin rope, a page of instructions and a baggie to put 'em in, can't cost much.

Frankly, the advantage of the DVD is that they can see it playing on my computer on the table while I'm doing the pitch, so they KNOW what it is and that they can do the tricks.

Good luck.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jan 29, 2008 11:07AM)
Jon says it almost right as to my advice. When asked, I told him of my friend who not only sells a bazillion decks but packages a small collection of magic tricks for $20. He includes the PN ("My Fav Rope Trick" version)), Hyrum, and a few other things and bags it. Rather than just the deck though he winds up doing a small magic show umpteen times a day. He is the hardest working man I ever knew or even saw. He is non stop and works the big fairs...most everyone knows him as Zuchini. (Jim Burns)
No one else can do what he does...every demo is like it's the 1st of the day. How he stays fresh and happy I have no idea. Works the booth non stop from morning open to midnight if they open that late.

So the question was what else can be sold with the deck? Package some tricks and work your butt off. :)
Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 29, 2008 03:41PM)
I need my butt! ;-)

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jan 29, 2008 04:18PM)
Like Don says...be a TRUE pitchman sell one item. Like I say be a Single-O showman show one Zibit. Look, I wouldn't say that if it wasn't the right thing! Hell I could sell you a another Zibit or more! If your stubborn I will of course and then you go FROM a single-o to a Curator. Rather pointless unless you can get more $ for showing more than one thing. In that case do a Blow-off with #2 and leave the front a single-o. Where the $ is. There aint a person on the planet that gives a snot if your a great curator or not. The game is getting their interest and springing the buck. One pulls them in...2 cause a pause. 3 or more thins the takers. Why? Buy my How-To. It's a formula. This is all chemistry after all. The more they have to think or decide on the longer the process...eliminate ANY questions, simplify, don't dilute. Keep your butt and do what works. :)
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 29, 2008 04:20PM)
Sounds like an idea...

As for the DVDs, the thing I don't have is a lot of time. I did research having someone duplicate the DVDs, and it's an average of around $2 a DVD in small quantities. In larger quantities (1000+) it can be as low as $0.69, but my wife won't let me make that kind of initial investment on my silly little project of selling magic tricks on the weekends ;)

Robbins sells the Vanishing Silk for $0.75, so that's why I had thought about that. I think I might try the money paddles like Seth suggested, though I'd like to eventually be able to do the DVDs :)

Thank you all for your input, it's been very much appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jan 29, 2008 06:16PM)
I don't see anything wrong though with the vanishing silk...maybe a an inducement. Just build in the cost and profit and like Don says raise the price of the Deck!
Doing it as a kicker would be VERY fast. "Tell you what, I throw this in!"

The Thumb Tip is so worshiped as sacrament BUT it is in ALL the kids magic sets and joke shops. The first magic I ever bought as a kid that got me started was a TT in a TV magic set. YOu're not giving anything secret away, that's bunk. They are available EVERYWHERE. :)
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 29, 2008 06:58PM)
Doug, I tend to agree with you. I think that's especially so if it's being sold as a "vanishing silk," not as a utility gimmick with a "101 Tricks with..." type booklet.

I'd be willing to bet a kid would buy the vanishing silk, play with it for a week, then go see a magician who vanishes salt and be completely flabbergasted, ya' know?

Oh well... lots of food for thought, I guess :)
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 30, 2008 06:59AM)
I'm confused! John said above that "If you use Sam's DVDs, they cost only about 47 cents each, including tax and thin clear plastic boxes--which is less than the cards and 2-card monte cost."

I costed out the Two Card Monte and figured they were running me about 25 cents apiece, based on 20 cents for the two cards and 5 cents for the sleeve. I got a dozen double-backed and double-faced Bike decks and made up the sets myself, a total of about 500 sets. Duplicating each page of sleeves cost about 15 cents for a double-sided copy, 7 cents per side plus a penny for the paper itself, and I got three sleeves from each page.

I'm sure that doing these in larger quantities would result in even cheaper costs. Also, I used poker-sized Bicycle cards, you could get the cost down to 20 cents a set or less by using generic bridge-size cards, but I thought the larger poker cards gave better visibility. Anyway, even at my smaller volume, I could make them up for about a quarter apiece. So I'm not sure why it would cost 47 cents or more to do so, unless you were buying the decks at retail. SETH
Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 30, 2008 11:02AM)
Sorry, Seth. I guess I didn't make myself clear. Remember, I'm verrrry old! ;-)

My decks cost me .703 each, including shipping. My 2-card Monte about .04 per set ($1 per deck 54 cards), each of these bought from the places listed in the pages that come with the DVD.

I print the "packages" for the monte cards using my computer, 3 to a sheet printed on one side. Dunno what they cost but say .02 each "package", so .77 for the deck and 2-card monte "deal".

Then, not counting time, the DVDs cost me .47 each. So when I sell just the deck and 2-card monte for $5, it costs me .77. When I sell the set INCLUDING the DVD, the 2nd $5 (of the $10) costs me only .47. So it costs me .77 to make the 1st $5, .47 for the 2nd $5.

Sorry for the confusion.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 30, 2008 11:28AM)
OK, John, I got it now, thanks.

BTW, you certainly got a good deal on those double-backed and double-faced cards at $1 a deck. SETH
Message: Posted by: TKD27 (Jan 30, 2008 11:40AM)
Yeah, one dollar a deck??? Even Eddies now sells the brand Don recommended for $5. The cheapest I found is $3 a deck, wholesale from Robbins.

For what it's worth, I actually prefer using bridge cards so that they match the deck. It probably really doesn't matter at all, but since it's a minor preference that actually saves me money, that's what I use :)
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 30, 2008 12:15PM)
I agree, I paid about $3.75 a deck for the poker Bikes, but could have gotten generic bridge-size cards for $3 a deck. That's what I'll probably use in the future -- unless I can get some of those $1-a-deck specials!

BTW, I can only get 40 Monte sets out of each double-faced deck, because a dozen of the cards aren't usable (they have the same card printed on both sides). So I actually go through five double-faced decks for every four double-backed decks. Is this about par for the course with everyone else, or am I missing something here? SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jan 30, 2008 12:48PM)
You said "they have the same card printed on both sides" I think all double face decks come this way.

Once when I was working a market I ran out of two card monte and had to make them up in between pitches.I was in a hurry and put 5 same both sides in some directions.

A kid came back and said: Hey mister mine is broke" I still didn't know what I had done and was thinking to myself " how can a two monte be broke" Well I found out how...LOL

The funny thing about this story is that four of the same both side never came back.I can see these kids at home saying: "
Yea..right the guy said this is easy...its going to take me a week to learn how to make it work like he did it.." Hehehehe...

Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 30, 2008 02:18PM)
Thanks, Don, for the info and the story.

Meanwhile, I'm saving all those same-sided double-faced cards for something -- someday, I'll think of a packet trick to use with them, and then I'll be RICH! SETH
Message: Posted by: Rappel (Jan 30, 2008 08:34PM)
For my Zibit,I've done the TT vanishing silk to start a tip getting the attention of the folks then bringing them in closer for a couple of rubber band tricks and then finally pitching Doug's "Strange Thing" Zibit with very good results.
(Doug, I hope I'm not talking too much).

Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 30, 2008 11:07PM)
I just looked at my catalog for the double-sided cards at Don's recommended wholesaler. Price list 5/17/2007 they were still $1 a deck. May have gone up since. Glad I bought a bunch, tho I don't like the Zodiac brand as well as those from the other supplier Don told me about.

However, the other supplier is much higher than $1--BUT you can buy 'em by the EACH instead of by the deck. That is, they don't come in boxes of 54. If you order 288 sets as I did, they come in one long box. I think it was $75 for 288 sets. But I was new and in a hurry so....:( I guess you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 31, 2008 11:57AM)
And furthermore...;-) While I did find 2 cards in the Zodiac decks with 2s on both sides, they were different suits, so all the cards are available for the 2-card Monte.

Maybe I just got lucky.

Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jan 31, 2008 12:13PM)

With the Zodiac decks the 9's are the same on both sides and and one 2 and one other card that I can't remember. You need to check all of them.

Message: Posted by: Michael M (Mar 19, 2008 12:59AM)
Just wanted to add that such fantastic buskers and street performers as Cellini, Gazzo, and Chris Capehart all started building their tip on the streets with the vanishing hanky trick.

I also know that, if one wanted, a full 5 - 10 minute routine can be demonstrated during a TT pitch by combining a series of TT effects. There are tons of them. However, the great aspect of pitching Svengali decks is that the crowd can see what they're buying! They know they are purchasing a special deck that can do miracles! They know what they're getting for their money. With a TT, I don't think many pitchmen would want to outright show the gimmick he intends to sell the crowd. Yet, with a Svengali pitch, you can show them the deck, and even get them involved! With that in mind, Svengali pitching is the way to go.

However, as former the US Demonstrations Manager of Marvin's Magic, I, along with my sales team, developed a variety of killer TT demos and pitches that were specifically designed to entice consumers to buy the magic set the TT came in. We never had to reveal what it was or how it worked to make a sale, yet the poewr of the amazing hanky vanish seemed to be the icing on the cake for many who grabbed a magic set for their children or themselves. So yes, the TT can be pithced but I believe it should only be pitched in a magic shop / novelty toy store environment. If you are out on the streets, stick with pitching Svengalis, magic mice, squirmles, and other standard easy-to-do tricks that are not in the working repetoire of every professional magician!

Michael Matson
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Apr 10, 2008 01:46AM)
I pitch the "vanishing disappearing silk hanky trick" - it's an easy pitch. The nice thing about it is that once people see the tip, they are happy with their purchase. Who cares if they can actually do it or not, they aren't paying for lessons. And as Michael pointed out, it can be used to build a tip.

The biggest downside to pitching tips is skin color. Black people want black tips, and you can't convince them a white tip will work. With the increase in Mexicans at my market, I find myself pitching them less ... not trying to be raciest or anything, its just about the money and the darker ones cost me more money and I have to sell them for the same price. But I do keep a few on hand.

I actually pick up a few extra sales from older guys that come to me to tell me about a trick they or their buddy used to do with a fake thumnb. "I just so happen to have them right here".