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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » So, how do you like your illusion plans? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EsnRedshirt
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Newark, CA
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I'm currently in a bit of a bind, having lost my day job. A few money-making ideas have been floating through my head, and while I don't currently have the starter cash to set up a workshop myself (with liability insurance, workshop equipment, shipping costs, etc) I do figure the plans for my original illusions could be valuable in and of themselves, and would have a much lower production overhead. Keep in mind that these are my own original illusions, and I am the only person who has ever performed them.

Before I make the final decision on this, my main question is, as illusionists and builders, how do you like your blueprints? Would you like them shipped in hardcopy form with all the measurements and manufacturing notes printed out, ready for you to start working on right away? (Yes, I intend to provide actual, working measurements, unlike some other plans for sale.)

Or maybe (and I think this is a fairly novel concept) would you like them in a 3D-computerized format, each part rendered at precise dimensions, then assembled into the complete illusion and converted to a format like .3ds, .dxf, or .obj, and ready to be ported into your own CAD program for tweaking, with any manufacturing notes attached as an electronic file?

Or would you prefer a mix of the two (hard copy plus a CD-rom with the file info), or something else entirely?

I'm not necessarily asking if you'd buy my illusion plans- just the best way for me to make them as marketable as possible. Thanks for the feedback!
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
magicmarkdaniel
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Bolton, England UK
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Just my opinion but I prefer plans on good old paper. I like to have them there in the workshop in black and white, acting as a coaster for my cuppa!

Would be good to see your plans when they are released. What sort of effects are you looking at producing?

Mark
Mark Daniel
Starrpower
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I, too, prefer paper plans ... although an accompanying CD or DVD is always an enticing extra, as are photos or building tips.
Steven True
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Bonney Lake,WA
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The computer stuff would be good but how would they print out? I mean the quality of the plans. I perfer the paper ones myself. I have found them fairly easy to read and follow. The plans in the Mark Wilson course are easy to read but not a whole lot of technical drawing. I have never seen the Osbourne plans. I am currently looking for the Byron G. Wells books.
Wow I think I got off track there. I would also like to know what type of effects your plans are for. Are you looking to start selling the plans or holding on to them until you can get a workshop set up? Just curious here.

Steven
Michael Messing
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Knoxville, TN
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I would prefer to have both. The problem with having them in a CAD file is that not everyone has a CAD program. Fortunately, there is freeware available to read the files. (I recently had a friend e-mail me a CAD file and I had to find a way to open it. Fortunately, I even found a free program for the Mac.)

I would also like to have a PDF of the plans on the CD. That way, I could print it out again if I get wood glue on it!

Michael
Daniel Faith
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Neenah, Wisconsin
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I would prefer both a hard copy and a soft copy.
Daniel Faith
makeupguy
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I like my plans with a nice Chianti and some fava beans.
EsnRedshirt
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Newark, CA
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Thanks again for the feedback! So far it looks like people are favoring hard copy, with some who want electronic medium on a CD as well. That adds shipping costs- I was hoping to get away with an electronic transmission Smile But, hey, if it makes the customer happy, I'll gladly send out hard copies and disks. (And the advantage of this is I can keep the color photos on the disk as "extras" and save printing costs.)

Michael, you bring up a good point regarding file types. I am already entering my plans in a CAD-style format for precision and CG-prototypes, and figured the raw data would be valuable to some as well. However, since there's no certainty you'll have a program to access them, I'll stick with easily readable formats- .pdf if I can get a hold of Acrobat Publisher, and .jpg for graphics.

Steven, the general format I intend to follow is a picture of the finished product, then a list of all parts, with dimensions and a front/top/side view, followed by an exploded assembly view, which includes notes and cautions, and painting suggestions. I may also include an optional performance routine at the end for magicians to use as a guideline or basis for their own performance of the illusion. Obviously, this format would be very technical- sort of like pre-fabricated illusions, except each piece would have to be fabricated first. The disadvantage would be you'd have to make tweaks for your assistant's size yourself (but you already need to do this for the non-technical plans already on the market).

Ideally, I'd prefer to save these plans until I get a workshop and can build the illusions myself. However, like I said, I currently can't meet the financial requirements for a workshop. The second-best scenario would be, I guess, selling exclusive construction rights to a builder, and negotiating a percentage on each one manufactured. This would ensure that my illusions are known to be quality and well-constructed (and make it easier to identify knock-offs.) In other words, a nice business agreement for me, the builder, and the buyer. The third scenario is just selling the plans. I'd sell more, for certain, but the mark-up would be lower, and I'd have no control over the quality of the finished product. For both scenario two and three, I'd need to have the plans ready anyway. I may stick with scenario two- but I'll send around another thread (probably in a different forum) to let potential builders know once the plans are ready (translation- don't bug me for plans yet! They're currently on old notes and scribbled on napkins, and not of any use to anyone but me.)

These illusions would be large stage illusions. I did design them for portability, so they break down and pack fairly small... for the most part. If I sell the plans, you'll know in advance what you're in for- apart from how many stage-hands/assistants are needed for each effect, I'll list any skills/materials needed for manufacture beyond standard woodworking (such as welding, life-casting, etc.) The effects themselves are diverse, from vanishes to "vivisections", but run along the lines of the Zig-Zag and the fire cage- types of illusions you see professionals perform everywhere. I'll post some preview pics when I get closer to finishing some of these plans.

PS- Mark, you'll find that CD-roms make fairly good coasters as well. I've got a few AOL CD's backed with cardboard that soak up coffee rings nicely.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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I prefer that the plans be on paper, so I can look at them while I work. I don't like them to be in a format that requires a program to read it, that I don't already have on my system.

I like plenty of detail in plans. I recently ordered Osbourne plans for the Wakeling Sawing and was a bit disappointed in the lack of detail. I really wanted more detail on making detachable legs, that won't shear-off when using the illusion. Also, some MAJOR points were left out that make the illusion deceptive. Thank goodness that I'm able to get some of the rest of the info on the illusion, from other sources.

I'd still like info on how to build the legs. The trouble is that I don't have the equipment to build them them in a fashion that makes sense to me.
GarySumpter
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High res images that can be printed onto A4 paper. A combination of blueprints and 'this is what it should look like' 3D renders would be great!

Gary
Nell
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Germany
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Paper is ideal for building; however, as a designer and theatrical technician, CAD-files are a great way to go. Especially if dimension adjustments need to be made for body size...
"A trick may be very good...but...the illusionist must be better than the trick." -René Lavand
Starrpower
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Nell raises a good point ... if the plans can be edited and modified, as opposed to a "read only" format, it would be helpful. But I don't own a CAD program and would be quite disappointed if I bought something I couldn't use.
Nell
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Just about everyone knows someone with one of the various CAD programs out there and most adjustments can be made fairly easily. I use VectorWorks and is sooooo easy to use. AutoCad gives me a headache, but the files can be transferred between the two...I'm still working on figuring that out, but I've had TD's do it for me, so I know it works!
"A trick may be very good...but...the illusionist must be better than the trick." -René Lavand
Face
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Both would be nice.
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