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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Let there be magic! » » How to market a mechanical based effect? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

toysnob
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I have drawn up the plans and schematics for a mechanical based magical effect.

Without going into details, the effect is made possible as the result of this machinery and in this way, its different from a manuscript that needs only a print or electronic delivery.

I guess my next step is to prototype it, but then I'm stuck in terms of what to do after that.

At the risk of sounding megolomaniacal, I believe this machination will enable such stunning effects that it will be the potential for great reputation making routines.

Additionally the device is quite sophisticated in its workings, and could hardly see it being sold in the $10-50 category. In fact if I were to guestimate its cost, I would put it in the $70-200 range.

I know that sounds absurdly high. Which leads me to my next questions.. Are there effects being sold that are so high end or so secretive that their prices are intentially inflated to deter exposure? That seems like an un-cool policy but I am just wondering out loud here.
MrHonesty
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There's actually a thread being discussed in the Mentalism forum right now that deals with this idea. It is the opinion of some that it is more valuable in the whole to overprice an item in order to limit it's exposure. This also makes it a more valuable secret to the performer that buys it and limits any leaks. I agree with this reasoning and think it would apply to your product as well given a fairly strong demand for the product.

Andy
toysnob
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Thanks for that tip. I took a look at that thread.

I kind of agree with the idea of overpricing an effect to keep its exposure minimal, especially when I'm talking about a device, not a method or technique, or perhaps the practice of overpricing an effect is more valid *when* talking about a technique or method, since possession of the device is the real exposure..

Things to ponder. When flipping through the ads in Magic Magazine, I see effects for sale that are in the thousands of dollars, however I suspect these are big illussions that are for stage, or something of that nature.

Well in any case my next bit of work will be to prototype the effect, and maybe I'll perform it for some high profile people in the magic industry, and see if their reactions are what I expect.

Thanks for the help..
ddyment
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The other side of this coin, of course, is that if a product is both popular and highly priced relative to its manufacturing cost, it simply encourages competitors to bring out copies. In theory, patents would solve this; in practice, there's rarely enough money involved to support the necessary legal process. There have been some dramatic examples of this just recently.

... Doug
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
toysnob
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Doug,

Yes you have a good point about copies being made. I am concerned about this, and I think the device is sophisticated and original enough to warant a patent, but whether or not I can afford the legal costs and hassles remains to be seen.

Could you cite some of the examples you illuded to? I would like to hear of the failure or successes of patents in the magic industry.

One more thing, I noticed in that thread I referenced above in the Mentalism forum, a lot of people were slamming "magicians" for not keeping secrets. I am new to magic, less than 5 months. Is this true? Ouch, harsh words.. That is too bad to hear though..
ddyment
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The "dramatic examples" to which I referred were of the copying of effects only; I have no information on the success of patents in this area. I hesitate to cite specific examples, as the Magic Cafe doesn't like claims about effect copying to be mentioned here.

With respect to patents:
The typical time for issuance of a patent in the United States is 24-36 months. It's possible to do it yourself... the initial filing fee is $355 and the issuing fee (if the patent survives prosecution and is subsequently "allowed") is $685. Unless you have considerable experience with patent law, however, a patent acquired in this fashion is much less likely to be defensible if challenged. A typical (total) cost to have a patent attorney prepare everything for you is $10,000. And this is only for a U.S. patent... you'll need them for other countries as well, where the costs are often much higher. But costs aside, the time factors alone make this an impractical solution for the vast majority of magic effects.

... Doug
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
knave
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toysnob

Where do you start? Production costs, distribution, marketing, Pricing… etc

You need to speak to individuals and companies who have experience in these fields within the Magic market. There are various different ways to proceed. You could find a manufacturer (not necessarily from the Magic community) then have a distribution agreement with another party. You could sell the whole idea lock, stock and barrel or license production. The best way forward depends on current intangibles such as; how broad the potential appeal is, and how much risk you and your potential partners are willing to take on board.

But first things first.

What level of commercial experience do you have? Not just in the magic field but in general. Are you comfortable negotiating deals with hard-nosed commercial operators? Do you know what you are trying to get out of it? Do you know the kind of deals they should be offering you? To be honest (and no offence intended if I’m wrong) it sounds if you don’t have much of a commercial background.

When trying to take a product to market you need a driver, someone with the knowledge, experience and contacts to make it happen, unfortunately a great idea is seldom sufficient on its own. Ideally this person should be yourself, but if you feel you are more of an ideas person than a businessman, then I would recommend that you find an agent to represent you, rather than trying to do it yourself.

You obviously need to intellectually protect yourself. Rather than go down the patent and copyright route at this initial stage I personally would use a Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). First of all – get this checked out under US law (I’m assuming you live in the states.) I’m from the UK so the law will be different but I think there is probably a US equivalent. Basically this allows a full and frank discussion of ideas whilst giving protection to both parties. So, for example, if the prospective agent had an idea for a great improvement during your discussion, you could not use it unless you came to an agreement. Like all legal documents, it’s worthless unless you have the will to enforce it, but they do work.

I use NDA’s all the time, I could find the most general one I have and email it to you so you could see what I’m talking about and maybe use as a frame work (could save you a little cash). But again I stress, DO get it checked out and revised by a US lawyer.

With regards to the agent, find someone you respect and like with a good track record and offer them a percentage deal, sign a contract and off you go. There are a number of members of the café and the magic world in general who would seem to be good candidates with the relevant commercial experience. I hesitate to recommend anyone directly as I don’t operate magic sector commercially and don’t recommend anyone I haven’t worked with myself. Scour the postings and profiles you will soon spot people.

Golden rules; never sign a contract without YOUR OWN lawyer checking it out. Never discuss anything without having the other party sign an NDA.

Anyone feel they would like to represent Toysnob?

Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Regards
Dave
p.b.jones
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Quote: have drawn up the plans and schematics for a mechanical based magical effect.
Without going into details, the effect is made possible as the result of this machinery and in this way, its different from a manuscript that needs only a print or electronic delivery.

I guess my next step is to prototype it, but then I'm stuck in terms of what to do after that

Hi,
How about performing it for a couple of hundred shows? How can you even consider selling an effect that might cost several hundred dollars that has not proven itself on the road so to speak?

Phillip Smile
toysnob
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"Hi, How about performing it for a couple of hundred shows? How can you even consider selling an effect that might cost several hundred dollars that has not proven itself on the road so to speak?"

This is a good general point, thanks.

Also to knave, great points. Thanks for writing such detail..

Lots to ponder.
Devin Knight
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It also helps to establish in this and other forums, the basic idea and the fact it is yours.

This is a solve-all solution, but it does help establish you as the creator and if someone tries to copy your idea, most magicians in the forum will blast the copy and protect your interest.

Just my 2 cents.
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