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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Cornering the market. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dr. Hoodwink
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Eastern NC
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Friends,

I couldn't find a forum that this post really fit into, so I chose this one as being the most "generalized" forum.

I'm curious...are there any other magi out there who have a lock on their local market?

For two years I have been framing a sideshow-style act ("steampunk" theme). However, prospective co-performers blanch at the concepts of commitment to a project & to actual work (like practice). The public, though, seems to be ecstatic over the idea of some sort of variety arts showcase. Local librarians, college professors & other such luminaries have been extremely supportive of any sort of show coming to town (we're far from anything...on the wrong side of I-95, so to speak).

I'm starting to ramble, so I'll cut this missive short.

I'm just curious as to whether or not any performers who have cornered the market in their area (perhaps because they are the ONLY performers around) have run into any special benefits or obstacles.

Yours in curiosity,
HOODWINK
Stuart Cumberland
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Dr. Hoodwink,

I'm not sure I understand your question completely, so if I'm a bit vague to you, please clarify for me.

A few thoughts.

There are really only two ways to "corner a market". One is to create demand and the second is to become THE name in the business. Fortunately, both are relatively easy, but do require action and effort.

My advice to you is this: if you are in a really small market, you have an amazing advantage. Assuming your act is good, start TODAY generating some publicity. Call up the media, and offer to do something for them. It's best to tie this in with a local theme of some sort or a popular event. For you, the more local the event, the better. Local sideshow master to participate in local XXX.

You are ten times more likely to get a full page story in your local paper than anywhere else.

Open your mind. You can even tie into local stuff like a Children's Hospital Telethon (if there is such thing). Bring the midgit with the iron tongue... "Boys and Girls, he wasn't wearing his seatbelt and went right through the windshield. He deeply regrets it, but has turned a lemon into lemonade ... never give up kids!"

Get it? Yeah, I know. Some won't like my idea, but they'll be missing the point. Use Earl Nightengale's suggestion of taking a piece of paper out and coming up with TEN ideas. Pick the best one and go for it. Maybe mine is the best ... maybe the worst. Who cares? Try it.

Now, the second step is to get known as THE act to choose. Make your act so good, so dependable, so amazing and reliable that people will brag about you.

The reason why the other event bookers don't want to touch you—I'm willing to bet—is because they don't want to go with an unknown. It isn't personal. Once ONE does, the dominos will start to fall for you, if you work it right.

Go for it. Read Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Don't let anything stop you. Sideshow is sadly dying a slow painful death and showbusiness NEEDS guys like you to keep it going. Thank you for helping keep it alive!

Go forth and profit.

(If I've been unclear, please clarify and post again. I'd love to see you become a tremendous success).

Cheers.

Blair

FREE Newsletter reveals inside money-making secrets of successful
mentalists & psychics! www.Mental-List.com
Stuart Cumberland
Dr. Hoodwink
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Eastern NC
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Blair,

Thanks greatly for your reply. If there was any vagueness in the matter it was due to my haste in composing my post (I was at a public-access terminal & had to move fast).

My post, however, was simply a matter of curiosity. I live in an area that has precious few variety performers of any breed. At any rate, I am the only one with any pretensions of public entertainment.

A decade or so ago, I did have a "show" of sorts, solely juggling. With small skill. With no real "schtick." With no routines. With only a medieval tunic, trousers & boots as costume. Word of mouth got around that there was a juggler in the area & people called my humble self.

In effect, I was unusual in my performance type (really it was just goofing around with all my props, making bad jokes, eating fruit on the fly, throwing the occasional boomerang, teaching jugglery, etc.), so word spread quickly. Over the course of the next three years, I pulled off a number of gigs. I "retired" due to burnout &, partly, having no one to play with.

So, in effect, I "cornered the market." Upon reflection, a better turn of phrase would have been, "Are there any of my fellow magi out there who perform in a locality where they are the only magicians in the area?"

I'm mainly just plain curious as to what anyone has to say on the subject. Do they find it a benefit? Do they get too many gigs? If so, do they wish to train an "apprentice?" Has their act influenced the opinions of the public (i.e. do they reinforce the tux-clad mage image or do they do something else)?

Again, Blair, many thanks for your reply. I think I'll hit Mental-List now. I've been looking at adding mentalism to my repertoire...

Your friend,
HOODWINK

P.S. I am happy to report that advance reaction to my current show format (The Human-Powered Novelty Show, Eastern North Carolina's Largest & Most Compleat Collection of Novelty Acts & Uncanny Personalities! a mix of sideshow, Vaudeville & magic) is getting favorable comments. I'm doing traditional sideshow acts along with jugglery & prop manipulation interspersed with "classic carnival cons & thaumaturgical wonders." It's sideshow-heavy, but watchable by MOST of the family.

I have made some 19th-Century style posters & shown them to certain members of my community (head librarian, chamber of commerce, student union, etc.) They have been enthusiastic to the extreme & very, very supportive... eager in fact.

P.P.S. I will make one small point of contention, though Smile I do not believe that the sideshow is dying a slow, painful death. It's really just "selling" the effect, making it LOOK painful.

Seriously, though... Sideshow isn't dead, but I do think it needs to change a bit. Jim Rose brought it into the public eye. Though I am a great fan of the sideshow-themed acts touring today (Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, for example... see them!) their target audience seems to be the college crowd. I plan on making my show accessible by most of the family. Families tend to have more expendable income than college students, therefore I need to tailor my show to family needs. Sideshow, like all performance forms, should adjust its presentation to the audience they wish to reach. Just an extra $0.02.
Stuart Cumberland
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Dr. Hoodwink,

Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. You sound like you are already on the right track.

Again, I think you can only benefit by being the only guy in town.

Your thoughts on tailor making it for your audience are bang-on. It's the only way to go. And, the family market is a huge fertile field... but don't do the human blockhead for them! Smile

You should check out this site: http://www.carnivaldiablo.com
Scott has a tremendous show with all of the right atmosphere. His character is GREAT... check it out.

I'm glad you disagree with me. Believe me, I'm thrilled to be wrong. Unfortunately, there's a lot of "Political Correctness" here in Canada and plenty of complaints about this type of show. Which sucks. The Canadian National Exhibition had a tremendous side show years ago. Those were the days!

Best of luck to you!

Cheers.

Blair

FREE Newsletter reveals inside money-making secrets of successful
mentalists & psychics! www.Mental-List.com
Stuart Cumberland
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