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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Offer a backdrop at Birthday Parties? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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abbylondon
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This week I bought the large Jeff Jones backdrop for stage shows.

I'm considering getting a small one for living rooms since they set up quickly and seem sturdy enough not to topple when yanked. Many of the livingrooms I perform in haven't been decorated for the party. I only work indoors, so wind won't be a problem.

But then again... in a decade doing birthday parties no customer has ever asked if I'd bring one. So how much value would it add from the perspective of birthday parents? I'm wondering about the customer's perspective on this.

If you've used a backdrop for a birthday, what kind of customer feedback did you get?
Dynamike
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abbylondon
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Thanks! These are helpful.

But they don't' really convince me about birthdays one way or the other. Anyone have other thoughts?
Dynamike
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I see nothing negative about it. It will play of more of a promotional material when pictures are taken. Or you can just wait until the customer request one. It is all up to you on how you would want it too look.
TommyJ
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Back drop for birthday parties? Yea, it would look great, but I have been in this business for a long time and my experience is that most of the time you are confined into a small space while performing in houses. Of course sometimes you get a really big house with lots of room, but you can't count on it. I also have a large backdrop for stage and I also have two jet sets and using just one would look great at a party, but like I said, performing space is usually a factor to begin with, and it is something extra to carry. If you can make it work, go for it.
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Rich B.
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I purchased a back drop from Jeff Jones at the IBM/SAM convention a few week ago. I'm still waiting for it. I purcahsed this backdrop for the sole reason of using it at birthday shows in homes. I find myself moving things around when space is at a premium in small homes to create space anyway. So I'll create space for the back drop. I beleive my show will look more professional and hopefully warrant an upcharge of my current fee.

Of course this particular backdrop makes this worthwhile because of the simple set up and take down(about 1 minute). I have a backdrop that consists of photo stands and curtain material that I use only when I have to because of the 15 minute set up.

Rich B.
Skip Way
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Abby, I use my Magic Backdrop at all of my indoor parties. I have yet to find a space that it won't fit into...and I've used it in mobile homes, townhouses, apartments and mansions. Without exception, when the backdrop unfolds and I raise the upright support, the oohs and ahhs fill the room. Everyone wants to pose for birthday group photos and photos with the magician in front of it...so make SURE that your name appears somewhere in that shot! Either on your table, side banners, something!

Need more reasons? The backdrops cover distracting mirrors, windows, TV's and objet d'art behind you. It protects delicate objects on shelves and mantels from flying snakes and springing wands. It blocks the light from windows behind you...light that can blind your audience or shine through a foulard and expose a gimmick or steal. Best of all, it just looks good and SHOUTS "Professional!"

I owned a Spyder and found it plain, unadorned and inflexible to the space limitations some homes have. I have two Jet Sets that I almost never use anymore for much the same reason. Jeff's backdrops offer the beauty of an adorned stage curtain with drapes and swags with a 2-3 minute set-up time, poseable wings and fully adjustable height. Works for me!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Brian Lehr
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I use mine at all indoor parties as well. I love the "wow" that I hear from mom when she first sees it. To me, it sets me up as the "professional", the one who is about to turn mom's living room into a mini-theater.

Brian

PS. I didn't realize until recently that Jeff also carries bigger backdrops. They would go well for the bigger venues, such as my evening school shows.
abbylondon
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Thanks guys. That's exactly the information that I needed!
Skip Way
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Brian, he has just introduced his mega backs. Where his party backdrop has one arm that swings out on each side, the mega backs have an additional 3 ft swing out extension on each side and rises a bit higher. They are massive covering a 16 ft wall space...and every bit as beautiful and breathtaking as the original, smaller units.

There's more black space giving these newer, larger backdrops a real stage presence. I wouldn't recommend them for birthdays, but for school and library performers, they're priceless.

And, surprisingly, they are every bit as easy and quick to set up and break down as the original and only a couple of pounds heavier. A truly inventive mind.

Now, not to take away from Jeff's creativity (I feel that his backdrops fill a very specific and secure niche in the home entertainment market) you might want to check out David Allen's and Scott Francis' Macguyver Backdrops. They offer an incredible modern backdrop made from shimmering, stretchable Panne and collapsable tent poles. Cost per panel is around $50.00 Do-It-Yourself. Each panel is apprx. 10 ft x 4 ft. Three panels in bright primary colors create a truly eye-catching backdrop against any wall that add brilliance to your school or library shows. They're not as easy to set up as Jeff's (they take about 4-5 minutes per panel) and ANY light behind the Panne will shine through causing a distraction. But they are easy to pack and ultra light to carry with all three panels fitting into a basic tennis racket or guitar bag.

They sell the completed 3-panel backdrops or their step-by-step do-it-yourself video. Look for it soon at their website, http://www.macgyvermagic.com.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
MoonRazor
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Would you guys mind posting photos of your Jeff Jones backdrops, the photos on his site don't exactly show what they consist of. Thanks in advance.
Dennis Michael
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The thing I like about Jeff Jones' backdrop is that it carries in over the shoulder and can be set up in less than a minute. I have the basic black backdrop. Nothing fancy.

Since I already own lots of Triple Velvet panels, I made my own stands for about $60.
Dennis Michael
Brian Lehr
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Quote:
On 2008-08-20 08:57, Skip Way wrote:
Brian, he has just introduced his mega backs. Where his party backdrop has one arm that swings out on each side, the mega backs have an additional 3 ft swing out extension on each side and rises a bit higher. They are massive covering a 16 ft wall space...and every bit as beautiful and breathtaking as the original, smaller units.


Thanks Skip.

I went to the MacGuyver page but couldn't see their backdrop listed.

For Jeff's big backdrop, do you think the fabric of the curtain will cause the outside bars to eventually bend under the weight?

Brian
Skip Way
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David and Scot JUST unveiled their new backdrop idea at KIDabra this past week. It was a HUGE secret up until then. I suspect that they'll be adding them to their website as soon as they catch their breath...at least I hope so. You could email them from the site and ask them about buying an advance copy of their KIDabra 2008 MacGuyver DVD. Mention your interest in the backdrops specifically. Dennis, do you have any pictures of their stage set up? I didn't think of it!!

As for Jeff's mega back...he had several set up around KIDabra and I didn't notice any serious bending or weight issues. There was a slight, gentle bend along the top from the center out. But that bend was graceful and, in my opinion, enhanced the stage-like image. Anyone who has one of Jeff's backdrops knows that he puts a lot of work into these things. He doesn't cut corners or work with cheap materials.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Dal
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I have had my Magic Backdrop for over a year and I have used it a lot (several times a week). It goes up fast and it just looks "magical". I have used it outdoors with problems only on extremely windy days. Usually it's fine. When I set it up at one show (where I was a surprise) the audience knew that the show was a magic show before they saw me or any props. By the way, the one I have is 91/2 ' wide by 8 ' high. He has a new one that is MUCH larger.

The only problem I've had is with the hardware that holds the stands up. The tripods come from American DJ and they have had a history of issues with the Tightening knobs stripping out. Magicbackdrops has been very good about replacing them for me (for free) but I have recently gone to American DJ to get back ups. I don't want to be at a show when one strips out and be unprepared. You can see their prices at http://parts.americandj.com/ProductsList.aspx?ProductLine=LTS-2.

As far as the MacGyver Magic backdrop is concerned, it is also very nice. It also packs very small and it is very modern looking. It seems to have a larger footprint when set up and I would NEVER use it outside. Even the lightest wind would turn in into a kite. I haven't used it yet but I have set it up with the Scott & David and it sets up very quickly...though not as fast as the one from Magicbackdrops. My biggest concern about the MacGyver system is that I will not be able to hide my cases behind it.

Here's how it is going to break down for me. For most family shows and school shows where I am providing the only backdrop with limited staging, I will use the Magicbackdrop so I can hide my cases behind it. For corporate shows with a full stage I will use the MacGyver Magic system.
Dal Sanders International Comedy Magician and Illusionist Based In Dallas, TX

The Society of American Magicians Past National President
M.I.M.C.*
Skip Way
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Dal, you were at KIDabra this year? I never saw you! DOH! My great loss! Smile

You're right about the stands and Jeff and I have talked about it. Although, the last one he gave me really seems to be of a stronger quality and I've had no problems with it at all.

And welcome to the Café!!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Dal
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No I didn't make it to KIDabra...I am busy preparing for my little lecture tour next month. I saw MacGyver at the "Convention of Exclusive Entertainers Who Wear the Same Shoes As I Do" last month. They were great at COEEWWTSSAID They are also going to be at the Texas Association of Magicians (TAOM). Believe me, it I were at KIDabra you (of all people) would have seen me...in fact I would have bought dinner. Next time.
Dal Sanders International Comedy Magician and Illusionist Based In Dallas, TX

The Society of American Magicians Past National President
M.I.M.C.*
Potty the Pirate
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I've been using my Jeff Jones backdrop for a couple of months now, and it's beautiful. Simple and quick to put up and take down, and fits into the SMALLEST rooms! I had a party yesterday in a small council house - the front room was tiny, and had lots of furniture, a TV, ornaments, etc. At first, I didn't set up the backdrop as I thought there'd be no room. Yet after putting the rest of my set up, I realised the backdrop would fit in no problem. And it did. One leg slipped between the TV and a large chest of drawers, so the drop was immediately in front of this furniture. It transformed the room more so than when I use it in larger venues. I don't think it would be possible to come up with a simpler and more practical solution than Magicbackdrops offer.
As for the impact on customers, it's huge. I've had SO many comments about my new "set" - the backdrop + two roller banners. No question, it lets everyone know you're a professional, the weekend warriors mostly wouldn't want to spend out on a backdrop.
Jeff's site doesn't really illustrate his backdrops too well, in reality they look incredible. I will be photographing mine soon, but am waiting for my new Axtell Chimp before we get the cameras and studio lights out. But when I do, I'll post a pic at the Café.
Doug
John C
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If you have a wheeled case like a Lefler you can get a large enough banner with velcro on the back. It will stick to the case and roll up when finished.

http://www.sugarhousebanners.com/

J
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
alexa
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Abby,

Sorry we never got a chance to catch up at Kidabra! I bought Jeff's backdrop last year at the conference and a week later was at a large birthday party where the mother was giving me a lot of headaches about working outside. Fortunately when I got there the husband placated her and allowed me to set up inside, all I had up were the Jeff Jones backdrop and two side tables, and the mother was already thanking me for being a professional, even said that now she understood why I couldn't work outside like last year's magician. It paid to have this for birthday parties right then and there.

Alexa
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