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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Affording to build Illusions (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

J.G. the magnificent
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Griffith Indiana
885 Posts

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I have designed about twenty seven magic effects in different areas. Some of which are large scale Illusions. I want to build them so I have stuff to test and have them ready when I perform for hire. For now I am looking for a job it should help me pay for stuff. Although I know the stuff could cost from a couple hundred to a couple thousand or more. How can I afford stuff or even get the know how. Does anyone know of any sites or books on the matter.
Jeremy Gates
EsnRedshirt
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Newark, CA
895 Posts

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Yes.

Osborne Illusions has several books on building illusions. ( http://hamiltonholtinc.stores.yahoo.net/books.html )
I recommend Professional Illusion Building for the Home Craftsman ( http://hamiltonholtinc.stores.yahoo.net/profilbuilfo.html ) which is inexpensive at only $20, and perfect for beginners.

However, keep in mind that to build any illusion, you will need a diverse group of skills- from cabinetry, all the way up to metalworking, glass-cutting, and electronics. You'll also need access to a fairly well-stocked workshop. It takes money to make money. Good luck!

-Erik
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11161 Posts

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Without a heavy initial investment, the magic wormhole through the universe closes down quite a bit. So, the more conventional route may be your best choice. Hold onto your regular job so you can survive. Then, devote much of your spare time to building an act.

Start small. Put together a good act. This can be done with little investment. Perform the act in as many places as you can, so that you are seen by as many people as possible. You will also polish the act this way. If you are entertaining, some of these people will begin to ask if you hire out for private events.

When you reach the point that you are getting paid reasonably good money to perform, take a percentage of your profits and re-invest it in your business.

It's a slow climb, but one that moves forward at a steady pace, so long as you put serious thought and effort into what you do.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Father Photius
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Grammar Host
El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
17197 Posts

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Your worried about the price of building them, what about the cost of trying to perform with them? The old joke, how did the illusionist end up with a million dollars? He started with two million.

If you don't already have the power tools, and a pretty well set up work shop, and don't have the skills with those tools to turn out fine cabinet work, then stop right where you are. It will be far cheaper to buy the illusions or have them made than it will be for you to make them.

If you do have the tools, shop and skill, then you should already be familiar with material cost. Best way to get the money, called work and save.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Steve_Mollett
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Inner circle
Eh, so I've made
3010 Posts

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Plus, you will need a vehicle large enough to haul them around.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11161 Posts

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What Steve and the Father have pointed out is totally true. My statement to start small by building an act with little investment, is meant to say a 'magic' act... not an illusion show. Bigger things can be added after you have gained experience, have the funds to invest in them (props, and assistants, and transportation), and the venues that you can use them in. You could otherwise end up with a lot of unusable junk gathering dust in your basement or garage.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Leland Stone
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Inner circle
1204 Posts

Profile of Leland Stone
Michael, you've been snoopin' around my workshop, huh? Smile

I LOVE building -- and performing with -- well-crafted Magic Boxes of various sorts; my background as a contractor and before that a blacksmith has left me with a ...boat...load of equipment I now use in crafting Magic. BUT...

I gotta go with The Gray Haired Guys on this one...and not just 'cause I'm one of 'em. Magic is about entertainment, and if ya can't entertain with a TT, a napkin, and some rubber bands, the fancy boxes ain't gonna work neither.

However...if you still want to build (I can understand that), maybe it's time to go back to school. Your local community college or adult ed centre has a ton of power tools that you've already purchased, plus the know-how you'll need to use 'em safely and well.

FWIW,
Leland
Dr. Delusion
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Eugene, Oregon.
728 Posts

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Hi J.G. What everyone has said is 100 % true. Be realistic when the time comes on what you build. How often will you use it, and how to get it to the venue. I'm 48 years old and have been performing for about 25 years. You would think I would know better, but I continue to make mistakes. Here's one example, along the lines of what Michael's talking about. About 4 years ago I bought a really nice "Things That Go Bump In The Night". You can easily produce up to 3 adults from this cabinet, so you can imagine it's fairly large. It does break down, looks great, and it only cost me about $ 300.00. The problem is I normally use one girl, and you need a large area with a backstage area. Result, I used it 1 time in the 4 years.
It now sits in my garage gathering dust.
Bob.
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