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Todd Robbins
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If performers want to make more money, they should consider doing a pitch during their performances. You can't do this in every venue, I must admit. Where you can, you should. It is possible to double your income from pitches. There are a lot of great things that can bring in money besides t-shirts and posters. I'm going to start a list here to get the ideas rolling.

Blade Box
Magic Slum Packet
Mini Bibles
Wonder Mouse
Svengali Deck
Mini Coins
Swiss Warblers
Pitch Cards

I'm sure Slim, Doug, Harley, the various Docs and others will add to the list.

And what about doing a Blow-off? If there is a second room in the venue, offer to take people in there and show them something extra.
Doug Higley
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Much of my output of Bizarre objects and weird artifacts have gone to Magician who make a litle extra on the side by pitching an exhibit or 'Blow-Off'.
One doesn't need a 2nd room...just a trunk or a box!

You have their attention and if the ding is small...50 cents or so, EVERYBODY will want to see it...especially once one or two go for it and their reaction is strong enough. That's why you need an item that does not offer a mundane image but really makes them step back and say 'What The F!?'

Doug
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DonDriver
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I have to jump in here and do a plug for my Svengali pitch video.There is a review here at the Café at:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......1&33
Pitching anything after a show is a MUST! When I worked with Sealo in Hawaii back in the late 70's,when Sam Alexander own the show,Seal pitched photo post cards of himself.(pitch cards as Todd said above)Sealo took in a ton of money with them.I don't think anyone that came to the show didn't buy one.At that time he was getting .50 each and even though he didn't have arms he would come to the edge of the stage and wait on everyone that bought one.I really think some bought them just to have Sealo himself hand it to them and they got to shake his hand.
PTICHING makes money!
Don
Crossroads Mystic
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Pitch Books.

Todd,
By Blade Box, do you mean the peeking inside to see the girl or a product that I’m not aware of?

Gavin D.
...from whose bourne,

no traveler returns...

Formerly Mr.Skin

facebook.com/CrossroadsMystic
Doug Higley
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http://home.nethere.net/darkrider/LIONPO~1/Crypto_Main.html

I just put a little demo on the page...all the way to the bottom...allow to load please (it will load last)...the secret is knowing what to say and when to say it and definately what not to say...just like in any sideshow bit...you don't just take a sword and drop it in your gullet...somebody who's already paid a lot of dues will have to teach you in order to maximise the outcome.

Same with exhibits...you don't just find or buy a piece of roadkill and expect it to attract the tip ($$). But then, that's how I pay the rent and lucky for you I don't live on a mountain top in Tibet. Smile

If you want to pitch cards talk to Card Pitchman!! or buy the Vids! If you have an extra leg, talk to Todd! He'll hire you on!

The Bladebox has made money for EVER and still does.

Doug
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Todd Robbins
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Yes, the Blade Box is the girl in the box that people come up onstage to look at, for additional charge.
TAIT
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Hi was thinking about this last night.
guess your weight
guess your age
getting nailed
the bottle toss
drwilson
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We tried something that worked out beyond my wildest dreams. Most of the fairs have very strict rules about leaving your pitch unattended, even for a moment. In some of the contracts, it states that if they find your pitch "closed" in the sense that no one is there during fair hours you are out, no questions asked and no refund. So even my shabby little pitch needed two people. I didn't have anyone who could do the bally or the lecture for the Feejee Mermaid, or even pitch slum magic, so I had to come up with something that anyone could do.

That was the Gypsy Fortune Teller. We built a booth like the ones in the penny arcades with the mechanical fortune tellers. Any woman who has ever had the gypsy fantasy can do this job. I used four different gypsies. We sell cartomancy fortunes, which are a miniature playing card and a fortune keyed to that card wrapped in beautiful handmade paper. These cost us under a dime, mostly for the paper, and they sell like wildfire. We have a nice crystal ball, the gypsys dress up, people get a lot of atmosphere for a dollar. For the kids, we also have Magic Dreamstones. What's the pitch here?

"Inside the stone are three good dreams. When the good dreams are used up, the power of the stone keeps away bad dreams. Keep it under your pillow."

These are very successful, and they work! The stones are polymer clay (FIMO), black with a little bit of glow-in-the-dark marbled through them, and look like nothing anyone has ever seen. When the little ones get them home, they take them to bed, and they can see the magic coming off the stone!

If you are pitching the Tel-A-Vision or Color Vision box (the die with a different color on each face and the little box that it goes in), your gypsy can nail the color by gazing in the crystal without ever getting near the box! I use a verbal code to communicate the color (be sure to have codes for "I can't get it, these dorks are burning my hands" and "The mark took the cube and gave me an empty box"). You wouldn't believe what this does for the credibility of the readings, and lots of people buy the magic trick, too.

The fortunes alone have paid our ENTIRE fair rent and covered the cost of the gypsies that I'm not married to (there's only one of those). Everything else you take in is yours. When we first started, I would have guessed that only a small fraction of the take would have been fortunes, but these have been brisk sellers every time.

I would love to use the Gypsy Fortune Teller as a lure to get people to sit for Palm or Tarot readings, but the fairs here really don't want that going on. If you can do that in your venue, you have a harmless, fun front that lures people who want full readings and filters them from fundamentalist nut cases that want to bust your runestones because you are dealing with the occult -- hey relax folks, it's just like a fortune cookie. All my gypsies are instructed to melt away like snow into a harmless pastime if challenged, and to turn it up if they get a believer.

Yours,

Paul
Harry Murphy
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Thanks Paul for the dream stone.

And don’t forget the easiest and cheapest bit of slum to pitch – “The fortune telling fish!”

I’m one of those who has been using a “What Is It?” blow off following a stand-up magic act in clubs/bars/pubs (thanks to little Ms Murphy gotten from the Phantom of the Midway – I think that Doug has a picture of her on his site somewhere). While, she hasn’t brought in a ton of extra cash she has reliably made a bit on top and is clearly a nice “extra” to help sell the show.

She does better as her own attraction (following Doug’s grind tips).
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
drwilson
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Harry,

We do sell Fortune Telling Fish. Our best gypsy at this pitches them this way. When people come up to the booth and are having fun, she asks, "Have you ever had your palm read?"

Whatever the answer, when they hold out their palm, she puts the (red) fish on their palm and says, "Well it's red now!" (Bugs Bunny joke, I think).

They have a laugh and by then the fish is moving. She interprets the movement, then says, "They are only a quarter."

So let's assess the situation here. They just had a good laugh and a fortune. They are holding the fish and the gypsy has the little envelope. The nice gypsy just asked them for a quarter. They can either peel the fish off their sweaty palm and ask the gypsy to stuff it back in the wrapper, looking like a complete loser to their friends, or they can give the gypsy a quarter and keep the fish.

I tried to get them to work the dreamstones the same way, putting them into the hands of a kid and curling the kid's fingers over the stone, but instead they use a softer approach. When selling the stones we have only a very few at a time, carefully shaken out of a velvet drawstring bag into the gypsy's palm. She asks them things like, "Have you ever been to the circus? Did you ever ride a pony?", then looks over the stones and picks one out for that particular kid, as if she can see what dreams are in each stone.

I always hand out plenty of Fortune Telling Fish to the folks working the other pitches. I go around in the morning before things are quite open and cheer everybody up. Of course, I'm wearing my costume and make a big deal out of it. The word spreads, and I think we get some traffic out of it. The cops, they get Two Card Monte.

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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Doc Wilson: I love that Dreamstone idea!! Do you actually put something in the 'stones'?

For use of a Blow-Off type Strange 'Zibit after the act, be sure and hype it a bit before the finish of the act...about a 3rd of the way thru...let them know you will be allowing them to see something really Strange and Wonderful...blah blah blah...have a recently used (happy) volunteer have a free peek and get them to help the 'sell' with fast banter "Is that Strange or What! (yes) Did you ever see anythihg like that before? (no) Do you think somebody in the crowd might know what it is because I sure don't know what the hell it is!!"

...don't charge much either...no ore than a 1/2 a buck.

Nothing is written in stone that the 'blow-off' can't be in the middle of the act either! Meaning you can sell TICKETS to see the oddity after the show.

Harry your mer is a special...she's so darn cute.

Doug
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drwilson
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Doug,

We put a lot of "mana" in the stones when we make them, and the nightglow FIMO is marbled down in the black so that it doesn't glow too much. I'll post some pictures on my web site and link to them. The rest is suggestion. If I were a five year old and a gypsy working a sideshow with a guy in a top hat and frock coat who could do magic told me that there were dreams in the magic stone, I would sure have dreams.

Yours,

Paul
Harley Newman
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I haven't done pitch items. But I've used quite a few pitch-type items as promotional giveaways. I like noseflutes best.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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There was a guy at the del mar fair a couple of years ago with those plastic Canaries that you dip in water and they tweet like birds when you blow in 'em...is that the Swiss Warbler? He sold a bazillion of the things. Every kid had to have one and drive the parents nuts.

My favorite though is the Wonder Mouse. I have a great pitch video for it somewhere...brilliant.

As to the Bibles...I only saw the freak girls sell those...they already had the sympathy thing going...remember those two Slim? The Bear Girl and the Turtle Girl...both Black.


Another idea is to get 4 or 5 cards made up of Human Oddities photos and put 'em in an envelope.

Also a book of matches in a small paper bag as a Cigarette Lighter that needs no fuel and is guaranteed to light every time! (That one was at OLD Coney too)
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drwilson
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The greatest champion of the noseflute, in his day, was Mark Osterman, aka Barabus Bumstead of the Lenape Liquid Show. The great thing about this item is that no one would buy it without a pitchman. Dreamstones are the same way. If you went into a toy store and there were lumps of plastic for $1 you wouldn't touch them. It requires performance. Ditto the Wonder Mouse.

Yours,

Paul
Harry Murphy
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Last night, Saint Patrick’s Day at “Kelly’s Irish Pub” here in town. Not a paid gig, I was just celebrating the green you know. I was kilted out (yes I’m one of those!!!) and just playing with my old “Squiggler” (I found it in my Sporan – dang I forgot I had it!). You know, the hairy-worm version of the Magic Mouse. I could have sold a gross if I had them! Dang, I was just showing off and drinking Black and Tans. I should have been pitching for cash! Dozens of people wanted one!

Squiggler is another nice blow-off bit of business. As the good professor Paul says, it must be performed! OK, now I have to find a whole source for the hairy-worm! I’ll call it the Larva put into some brands of Tequila. The booze burns off the hair! Play “Tequila” and perform the worm!

Doug’s scripting for using an ‘zibit for a blow-off to your stand-up act is right on. He gave me this formula and I’ve used it most successfully. I’ve gone to a “buck-a-peek” and gotten the bar crowds up. Especially after the audience assistant reacts to it. I play the price by gut. If I can’t get a buck, a half-buck will do. If I can’t get a half-buck then God Bless You!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
drwilson
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As promised, here is a picture of some dreamstones. The pale green parts glow in the dark. I just sent thirteen of these to Doug, The Phantom of the Midway, because he knows polymer clay.

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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Sweet dreams to me! Thanks Doc

Heck Harry, I wouldn't call it scripting, just a bit of Direction. On the other hand, I'd sure love to hear your script for the pitch.
Wearin' the Kilt, with a Brogue you get away with MURDER!

Here's another Pitch for those with cajones enough to wear a Kilt in a Pub...

"All of ya wonder from toim to toim I'm sure, what a Gentleman has oonder the Kilt...well lads and lassies I'm about to present to you, the opertoonity of a loif toim...but it's a dollar I'll be needin from every one of you..."
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Harry Murphy
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Doug, fell off me chair laughing! What a pitch! It really fits with the “what is it?” theme!

I must confess that I was a bit on the risque side last night "hey little girl, wanna play with my worm?" kind of thing! Too bad I didn't have any inventory or I would have sold a bunch!

Interestingly, anytime I am out and about in my kilt, I get several ladies (all ages but the older seem to have more brass!) who ask me what’s under there. Of course, I answer that I am totally “regimental” (and I am!)!

I know what you all are thinking! “Isn’t it sad that a clean, little, old, cross-dresser has to stoop to this to earn a living?!?” –

“Whoa, now you’re thinking that ‘he’s a bleeding mind reader!’”

Sorry Todd, we've drifted a tad off topic!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Slim Price
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Is it true that Pipers march while they play, to get away from that awful noise?
Slim
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"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
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