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New user
Seattle, WA
16 Posts

Profile of davemen
As a new guy to the illusion show universe, I've got a few business-related questions.

First: Music. Can anyone recommend royalty-free music?

Second: Costumes. Recommendations on folks who do a good job?

Third: Sounds Systems/ wireless mic systems?

I'm on a limited budget so please keep that in mind when responding.

All help appreciated!
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Elite user
Sebring, FL
490 Posts

Profile of DougTait
As for royalty free music I use a CD by Bill White called "White Magic". It has 10 tracks , each one 2 to 3 minutes long.

It is (or was) distributed by Murphy's Magic Supplies.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."
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New user
San Diego, Califorina
57 Posts

Profile of Themagicquest

I know how you are feeling right now
"so much to do so little time"


To the first question:
1) where to get some royalty-free music?
Answer: if you have any friends in the biz or they are just good at jamming on their instrument make a list of what music goes with what effect and take them to a recording studio you might think it is to much but go to a small local studio on an off day and it will run about a hundred per two hours. OR (yes there is an OR) go to your local magic shop and they have some music there but it is not as good as a personal job but you need to save money right... RIGHT?

2) Recommendations on folks who do a good job?
Answer: if your mother-in-law does a good job sewing then I recommend that she do it. If you don’t want to GO that low then go to a costume shop and tell them what you want.
A NO BRAINER but if you need to save that Green dough then save it and get mom to do it.

3) Sound systems/ wireless microphone systems?
Answer: DONT GET WIRELESS YOU ARE NOT LANCE Burton. SLOW DOWN!!! Just run to Radio Shack and pick up the old amp and microphone with (the wires). If you want to move around, you are going to have to walk around with one wire. BIG DEAL! If you don’t care about it the audience wont care about it either!

P.S. it not the toys that make the show good it is you that makes the show good!!!
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
First: Music. Can anyone recommend royalty-free music?

Check out in the Café Archives: Music for Magicians

Second: Costumes. Recommendations on folks who do a good job?
Do an internet search on this topic and you will find some interesting costumes. Also, check with local costume shops and theater make-up stores. This is a tough one to answer. I got a friend who does this but she's moving. I've used my local cleaner who does sewing. Have you considered vocational schools or looked into places that teach sewing? You can give them a project (taking a risk) and see what it produces.

Third: Sounds Systems/ wireless mic systems?
One of the best and most powerful versatile sound systems is the Feder Passport 150 or 250 Systems for $500 or $700 dollars. I picked up a $180 wireless mike at a flea market for $25 which works better than my two Radio Shack mikes. I don't recommend Radio Shack products normally because I've always had problems with their equipment.

Check out local "Trading Places" "Swap Shops" or whatever they call them in your neighborhood. These are people who buy and sell lots of stuff and they usually focus on musical equipment. They have mics, lighting systems, speakers, amps, etc.

Do a search on mikes here and in the archives and you will find a lot of information on this topic.
Dennis Michael
Clayton Cavaness
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New user
56 Posts

Profile of Clayton Cavaness
On 2002-12-08 01:38, Themagicquest wrote:

3) Sound systems/ wireless microphone systems?
Answer: don't GET WIRELESS. YOU ARE NOT LANCE Burton. SLOW DOWN!!! Just run to Radio Shack and pick up the old amp and microphone with (the wires). If you want to move around, you are going to have to walk around with one wire. BIG DEAL! If you don’t care about it the audience wont care about it either!

Just remember if you are going to use a handheld in the show make sure to rehearse with one. This makes a huge difference.
George Ledo
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Magic Café Columnist
SF Bay Area
2886 Posts

Profile of George Ledo
As far as costumes, of course it all depends on what style you're looking for (Vegas, period, SciFi, cabaret, etc.). Two readily-available sources are local theater groups, which often use costume designers and can recommend someone, and dancewear shops, which often have catalogs and access to thousands of ready-made costumes for both kids and adults. In either case, don't go with the first recommendation -- think long and hard about what you're looking for and talk to several sources before making a decision.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine

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New user
St. Louis, MO
58 Posts

Profile of edfliss
Wow! This is really opening up an old thread.

1) For royalty free music I shopped eBay. There are dozens of CDs (not magic specific) available for low cost. I have a complete sound track put together from a variety of inexpensive royalty free CDs.

2) For costumes I shop the local thrift shops and my church rummage sale. My mother-in-law was very upset when she overheard me saying that I paid six-fifty for my latest tux. She thought I was spending lavishly on a $650 suit. Actually, it was $6.50. (I did spend $29 on alterations). It's not just tuxes. I got my son a gold-sequined coat at the Salvation Army store for $3.50.

3) For sound I have a 240W Sony compact stereo with remote. It plays a cd and two cassettes. I saw a 300W system at a store last night that played 5 cds, 2 cassettes, had a remote, and was only $99. I do not use a microphone (I'm also an opera singer and have a huge voice) but if I did I would probably use a separate PA amp/speaker combo and have my voice coming from a different place than the music.
Michael Taggert
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Special user
Fredericksburg Virginia
653 Posts

Profile of Michael Taggert
I think you get the idea. I work with two composers who are friends of mine and are looking to get credit for the music so they are willing to work with me. They have a small digital studio on their home and will work up a piece that fits the routine in a week or two.

Costumes are something you gotta get creative with. I have a red blazer I picked up at a thrift store for a routine that set me back a whopping $.50 a trip to the drycleaners and a few minor alterations and for $25.50 I had a great looking jacket. Just remember good costumes must be built to last and should not be throw away type garments (you can try betsy adorno at Raliegh Creative Costumes, Raliegh, NC; tell her the blutrol sent you).

Stay away from Radio Shack unless you gotta go there. Their equipment tends not to be durable for a traveling show and definitley underperforms on the quality. Go to a local music shop and talk to the guys there. A decent PA plus mics realistically will run you under $1000 bucks. If you are playing rooms that have a sound system you MIGHT be able to get by with just the wireless and receiver for starters. Simply plug into the house system. As far as music goes, I use a $100 cd player with a remote control that taps into my PA. I use a Crate six Channel PA. I rent a portable lighting system currently that costs me $50 a weekend complete. Check the pictures on the web page for quality.
Good luck in your search!
Believe you then that I do strange things
Paul Arthur
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Regular user
196 Posts

Profile of Paul Arthur
My best suggestion is to go to your closest professional regional theatre that has a costume shop on staff. More often than not, the staff in these shops is more than happy to do outside work, given you actually have some idea of what you want.

As far as music... search for Opus 1 Productions (located in Kansas City). They do royalty free music albums specifically for magic and also do custom work on a contract basis. Give them my name.

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Inner circle
7385 Posts

Profile of hugmagic
I agree the Opus 1 music is good stuff. Especially, if you take time to learn how to manipulate and edit it on the computer. I think there are three different cd's. My favorite is "Sounds of the Sorcerer."

I am serious about learning to edit on the computer. It is not that hard and there are lot of public domain programs you can play with until you are ready to invest in something more.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
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Veteran user
Las Vegas, Nevada
376 Posts

Profile of IllusionJack
I have to agree on the Radio Shack recommendations. If you want to start on the road to mediocrity, buy Radio Shack crap and use it in your show.

You would be better of renting real equipment from your local production company, and billing it to your client.

As for music - consider the purchase of the appropriate license to play normal, recognized, music. Second rate royalty free music will make your show mediocre at best - unless it's good, which from what I have found, seems too rare.

--Jack Smile
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20507 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
Fearing the cost of music is usually not worth the effort. ASCAP will license most shows for $7.50 flat. However, most facilities already have ASCAP and/or BMI license agreements in place. Then the facility handles the music fees. Today very few magic shows have over 5000 paid admissions per show. That is the line where fees change. If ticket sales are over $100,000 per show you can afford $20 for music fees.

Both are available on the Internet and should be in the Nashville phone book. Ask them, you'll be surprised how easy it is to do it right. Dry cleaning cost more per show than music.

Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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