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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Traveling With Your Show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cliff Hopkins
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Pennsylvania
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Hi Everybody,

Lately I have been booking more shows that are requiring me to fly with my show. I usually ship all of my illusions cargo, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts of traveling with your show by checking it on an airplane.

In the past I have put everything in a suitcase and shipped it that way, but I would like something different, like a trunk. The airlines have so many restrictions and excessive baggage fees, I thought you guys might have some tips.

Thanks,,
Cliff Hopkins
ricker
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Tampa, FL
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ATA cases, all the way.
chmara
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Tucson, AZ
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About two years ago I had a wonderful conversation with both Franz Herrari and Andre Kole at the table....comparing costs and problems of travelling with big illusions. Two different approaches and one MAJOR solution emerged.

1. Have at least one duplicate of everything in the show -- and the ability to fix breakage (time particularly) on site. The dups are for the NEXT show in case of damage, or air express in if essential. In Franz case he has at least 3 copies each (see below.(

2. Andre tended to ship everything along with the show to arrive with the cast (same plane air express, truck hauls, etc.) and does very little carry-on of big items. At times, but rarely this may actually mean shipping slightly ahead of arrival and getting a confirmation from the venue.

3. Franz indicated he has at least three units of his show -- and plans well in advance and ships complete units via freight well in advance of show date. Storage fees if needed.

When comparing costs -- it was amazing to discover they are about the same. Damage -- the same. Problems -- immense, but the same. You need to be paid to solve those problems smoothly as you gain reputation.

It was after this conversation I decided to start working on mentalism.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Wade Live
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Earth
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"It was after this conversation I decided to start working on mentalism."

LOL... :0)
Chezaday
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My equipment never leaves my site. We've always traveled with the show in a cargo van. Sleeping in hotels, four to a room .. your basic rock and roll lifestyle.

Doubles of props .. Copperfield doesn't even do that. I think what Franz was trying to say is that he's got enough equipment out there for two or three separate shows. Some of the illusions may be duplicates.

Who could possibly afford all that?? Only Franz!

Steve
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2008-01-04 01:47, Chezaday wrote:

Doubles of props .. Copperfield doesn't even do that.

Steve


Actually.. he does. He buys two of everything.

Best,

Tim
SpellbinderEntertainment
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I try to have doubles too, but I use a lot of one-of-a-kind, no-longer-made, and antique artifacts in my show, so I can’t duplicate everything, and as I travel a lot, this leads to nail-biting and white-knuckles.

That said, there are some great extent threads on this topic here in the “Tricky Business” section, including:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=44

Over my last decade of heavy traveling I’ve leaned a lot of the ropes, and some neat tricks for getting there and back safely, but it is getting to be more and more of a challenge, and last year travel by air became almost unbearable, as well as necessitating higher costs that had to be passed onto my clients.

I love the packs-flat and plays-huge stuff that is coming out, such as the B-Screen from Creative Magic, and things like this are saving my rear-end.

I’m also sending stuff ahead by UPS or FedEx more, but that can be tricky and hard on the nerves and wallet as well.

Sometimes I wish I could work more in taxi or walking-distance, or just buy a camper with lots of storage and get on the road!

Lots of challenges with no sure solutions these days!
Magically,
Walt
Wade Live
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I have a double of my helicopter appearance, Osmosis and double levitation. There all fairly inexpensive props and light weight, so I said heck why not??

LOL........ :0)
HarbinJr.
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Wade,

I don't think your seeing the big picture...youll need 3 of everything so that you can really expand and travel even more.

Robert
Father Photius
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EEK! Airlines and Illusions, two words that don't belong in the same sentence. But sometimes it has to be done. ATA cases absolutely. Duplicates a must (and I like the triplicate idea). Cost, these days astronomical. Homeland Security giving you headaches- no question about it, it is going to happen. Raise your prices to cover the cost of having to fly your equipment to the show, and plan in advance. Insure.
Mark Wilson a while back in Magic Magazine wrote the story of his trip to China, including carrying the illusions with him on the same plane, and how that, in spite of months of planning and verification, didn't work. It was a nightmare.
Hope you have a strong stomach, you are going to get lots to worry about flying your equipment.
I always used a truck, didn't trust airlines. They lost my luggage so many times, I hate to think what they could have done with my props.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Q:
What do the Airlines call checked bags?
A"
"Damaged" and "Lost"

Hmm... wonder if my Sword Basket fits as Carry-on???

But then again, my FedEx box went to San Francisco, via Portland Maine, what's a zip-code between friends?

My 2008 motto: "Act Globally, perform Locally"

Ah, were it as easy as it sound!
Road Warrior,
Walt
Bob Sanders
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First we do have doubles and often triples of everything.

Secondly, air is the shipper of last resort.

Even for my doves, my first choice is USPO. I rate UPS and FedEx about equal and OK. But we do use them. Given a choice, I own the vehicle containing my props!

For corporate magic, they often handle the shipping and may even own the props.

Airlines do have two classes of baggage: Carry-on and LOST!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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Jim Snack
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Denny Haney had the best solution for traveling with his two person illusion act that included the Substitution trunk and Sword Basket. He told me about it one day in his shop in Baltimore and I was amazed. Everything broke down and fit into checked luggage that did NOT require any extra fees.

Of course, that was when people were slimmer and you could check 70lbs of luggage. It took some creative packing and he had to shave the thickness of the Substitution trunk boards so the entire thing would weight just under the 70 lbs limit. Nowadays you are limited to 50lbs, so it would not work, but hearing how Denny solved the problem was a lesson in packing small and looking big. I told him that he should write it up, how he packed his show and sell the manuscript. It's a lesson for any traveling act. Ask him about it next time you see him.

Jim
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Hi Jim,

Like Denny, Jeff and Abbi McBride are able to mostly travel with their entire evening show in two under 50lb cases as well, it is possible.

And though I don't need to travel with more than one illusion I am generally able to have a fairly opulent full-evening show with costume and backdrop in an under 50lb. case and my personal items and back-up in carry-on.

The problem is, airlines in the last six-months were "mis-routing" about 40% of their checked luggage! My last trip to NYC my case did arrive, but it took them almost two-hours to unload our flight!

Canceled and delayed flights were at an all time high last year, and a few times I was stranded in airports for 12-14 hours, on one Florida flight the security-check line was two-and-one-half hours of wait length, and I almost missed that flight!

In short getting you or your show to anyplace in a sure and on-time way by air is iffy at best.

I now only feel comfortable arriving the day before a gig, and that adds another night of hotel and per-diem to either my bottom line or in cost to my client... and that's IF the baggage makes it to the right city.

I choose not to drive for various reasons, so it's find a way to work more locally or become a plumber sometime in 2008 <grin>.

Magically,
Walt
Keith Jozsef
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While I think it's great when you can pack small and play big, at what cost does it come to us, as performers? By that I mean, are we still able to charge the big fees that we want to get out of our illusion shows? Talent buyers that I encounter almost daily, would laugh at an act that played out of only 2 suitcases, yet charged a typical headliner's fee. For them, your perceived value comes, not just from your value as an entertainer, but also, the cool, shiny props/set that fill the stage with you. While it's true that many of my in-one pieces, that utilize far less equipment, are just as entertaining as any big illusion--the reality is that you can't advertise an in-one piece on a marquee or full page ad....you have to have the equipment to look like a headliner. Has anyone else encountered this attitude from agents/talent buyers?

Keith Jozsef
SpellbinderEntertainment
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It is very true Keith, that you can't sell a smaller packs-small illusion show, as a full-staged illusion show!

If you're doing a full-out headliner illusion show, you'd better have the pizazz to carry off all the trimmings.

However, I think many of us offer an evening platform show, which on request from the client may feature one or two smaller illusions. "I like your act, but can you make our CEO appear or his wife float" is the request I'm coming from.

Both McBride's and Denny's shows are pretty wonderful and spectacular, but when they are under 100lbs total, they I'm sure don't sell them as their "Illusion Shows".

There is a place for the big stuff, and a place for the mid-stuff, and a place for the smaller stuff too, but it is all increasingly costly to get moved from point A to point B in an efficient, on-time, safe, and sure-fire manner.

I sort of envy the mentalists and close-up guys who can travel the world with a briefcase, but that's just not what I do.

I agree it's important to know what your show "is" and to sell it clearly and honestly to your clients, so they know what scale to expect and are pleased with what they've purchased!

Magically,
Walt
Keith Jozsef
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Walt makes good points--

To illustrate: On New Year's Eve I worked a program for Harrah's Casino here in St. Louis, with Jason Byrne and another performer. We were hired to work different parts of the property. Jason, in addition to his wonderful bird act, performed a few illusions--shadow box, origami, assistant's revenge....as well as a few in-one pieces. He drove his equipment himself, from Nevada, via Uhaul. He's had so many problems in the past with traveling with the birds, lost equipment, etc...that he simply takes matters into his own hands. Not a short trip, but one that I think many performers are now doing themselves--if you want it done right...do it yourself! (Luckily, I live 25 minutes from the casino.--Whoo Hoo!!!)

Keith Jozsef
Lusion
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I just bought a 24ft trailer to travel with my props. I have a back up illusion or trick for each and every part of my show. If an illusion is broken I have a back illusion that is not in the show available.
Wade! I have room for a helicopter Illusion!!!! LOL
Doubles geez I wish! Well I have a few decks of cards if that counts!
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