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magicians
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In 35 years, I have been directly or indirectly responsible for a dozen careers in magic. From Rudy Coby, Jeff McBride, Harvey Berg, Jaire Bronnaire, and David haines to name a few. David is probably the biggest success story and when he was young, I responsibly guided him in creating some illusions, buying and building some as well. His parents had some money and he was an only child but with a passion.
Each Case was different, Rudy started out as my assistant on all of my kids shows and after a while he went off on his tangent, I gave out a lot of shows to all my students. Bottom line, you need a mentor: a good shop willing to guide rather than sell you. A location that has venues to perform once you get the act together (you need a place to be bad). Most of all, you need personality and some talent.
Rather than get some illusions, I suggest that you start particpating in some local theater to get your stage presence down. Maybe even take a class in dance.
A illusion act evolves and pays for itself in increments.
Haines has been doing cruise ships , but has(d) two tractor trailers of illusions and has done thousands of shows.
You only need the basics of an act and not a lot of money. Do a scout show or club/organization with a 1/2 hr to 45 minute act and do one bigger illusion.
Build it up to two or three and let the minor stuff decrease as it will eventually be your filler.
I have seen so many performers get the apparatus and wind up with a boring group of generic big illusions. Pick one and try to make it your signature piece.
The cardinal rule is entertainment first.
If you do theater, and dance movement and incorporate that all into the act, then get the big show.
As far as affording big illusions: everyday somewhere in the world, entire illusion shows become available. In this economy bargains prevail. The problem is being selective. Take a shot and buy a collection, use one or two pieces and sell the rest to pay for the ones you keep. Thousands of acts fall out of magic every day. I know one fellow locally, who drank too much and divorced a wife. He started doing other work to show a court that he could make a living (other than magic) in order to prove he could take care of the kids. He dumped all of his illusions cheap. What I am saying, there are different motivations for acts up for grab. Search , search, search the ads.
The local club auctions are a great source for cheap illusions. Some of the conventions have auctions as well. Recently, I saw dollhouses, mismades, and zig-zags for under $200. Its out there.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
chill
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Quote:
On 2009-03-28 13:51, magicians wrote:
In 35 years, I have been directly or indirectly responsible for a dozen careers in magic. From Rudy Coby, Jeff McBride, Harvey Berg, Jaire Bronnaire, and David haines to name a few. David is probably the biggest success story and when he was young, I responsibly guided him in creating some illusions, buying and building some as well. His parents had some money and he was an only child but with a passion.
Each Case was different, Rudy started out as my assistant on all of my kids shows and after a while he went off on his tangent, I gave out a lot of shows to all my students. Bottom line, you need a mentor: a good shop willing to guide rather than sell you. A location that has venues to perform once you get the act together (you need a place to be bad). Most of all, you need personality and some talent.
Rather than get some illusions, I suggest that you start particpating in some local theater to get your stage presence down. Maybe even take a class in dance.
A illusion act evolves and pays for itself in increments.
Haines has been doing cruise ships , but has(d) two tractor trailers of illusions and has done thousands of shows.
You only need the basics of an act and not a lot of money. Do a scout show or club/organization with a 1/2 hr to 45 minute act and do one bigger illusion.
Build it up to two or three and let the minor stuff decrease as it will eventually be your filler.
I have seen so many performers get the apparatus and wind up with a boring group of generic big illusions. Pick one and try to make it your signature piece.
The cardinal rule is entertainment first.
If you do theater, and dance movement and incorporate that all into the act, then get the big show.
As far as affording big illusions: everyday somewhere in the world, entire illusion shows become available. In this economy bargains prevail. The problem is being selective. Take a shot and buy a collection, use one or two pieces and sell the rest to pay for the ones you keep. Thousands of acts fall out of magic every day. I know one fellow locally, who drank too much and divorced a wife. He started doing other work to show a court that he could make a living (other than magic) in order to prove he could take care of the kids. He dumped all of his illusions cheap. What I am saying, there are different motivations for acts up for grab. Search , search, search the ads.
The local club auctions are a great source for cheap illusions. Some of the conventions have auctions as well. Recently, I saw dollhouses, mismades, and zig-zags for under $200. Its out there.


so good it had to be said twice....
I spent most of my money on magic and women, the rest i just wasted
Donald Dunphy
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I will point out that being an adult trying to save up for a prop, and being a teen trying to save up for a prop, are completely different things.

As a self-supporting adult, you have to deal with food, shelter, clothing, utility bills, taxes (not just income tax), automotive expenses, etc. first.

As a teen, living at home, your parents cover all (or at least most) of that for you. Any money you earn from shows, is much more discretionary.

Of course, all income from shows must be declared and reported to the government, for them to tax properly. But still as a teen, you don't have a lot of other things in your life that impact your ability to save up money quickly.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
MagicSanta
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Lil' Magic Michael, there are always exceptions to rules, then there are guys who's mommies pay for everything until, hopefully they make money on their own...coughcoughCrissAngelcoughcough.

Mr. Wiz, a trade school or vocational school trains kids and others how to be cooks, electricians, mechanics, CABNET MAKERS, machinist etc, usually found in metro areas. If you have plans you might be able to get them to build you what you need as a project. Believe me, these kids do a great job and should serve your purpose. My wifes uncle taught machining and he had all the equipment for computer machining to regular hand worked lathes. The cabnet guys could make anything out of wood and the teacher would give 'em extra credit!
Mad Jack
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Well, there really is a lot of good advice on here! After 22 years doing large illusions on big stages all over the U.S. and Asia, I have learned 3 things.

1)Buy a sword basket as your first real illusion. This is advice that Johnathan Pendragon gave me as a kid and I am passing it on. It is the best illusion you can own as a beginning illusionist (more on this later). Other magicians that come to your show may not think so, but it is... Which brings me to number

2)Never care what other magicians think you your sword basket! (they are usually not the people paying your salary)

3) Make your own destiny. Meaning: Don't sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Don't (when you do get some illusions and a good working promo DVD) wait for agents and producers to give you your "big break". You are playing incredible odds and it probably won't happen. We now live in an age where you have to (for the most part) produce yourself if you want to be sure to "realize your dreams".

Now... About that sword basket. It is reletively small, inexpensive (an Abbott's runs around $400 and can be painted, put in a base and re-themed to look almost as good as an Owen's), and is easy to stage under ANY conditions. It is AMAZING to almost any audience and can't be figured out during set-up, tear-down, etc. Even if people come up after your show and look inside, they are just as amazed because it is just a basket! (Try having someone examine your origami after the show and see where that gets you.) It also will teach you (and your assistant) how to move well and interact well together in front of an audience. I just did my Chalet basket last night (Fri. 3-27-09) and from behind the curtain I heard people talking about it after the show. They had no idea how it was done. It never ceases to amaze me....LOL...

Just my random thoughts...

Mad Jack
mrwiz
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Ok, I have a trade school in my area. Will talk to them and see.
Also thanks for all the advice posted here. I am still reading it through and I will be contacting ALL of you privately so you will hear from me soon Smile

Thanks and still working to achieve my magic goals....dreams ! I am not a teenager but an adult. Otherwise would be able to have a big illusion quicker like Donald Dunphy said that it is not the same as we adults have more expenses and is not the same.
Christopher Starr
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Great advice MadJack! Smile
dpe666
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Do what I am doing. Start with packs small-plays HUGE illusions, and PVC pipe illusions, charge a decent amount of money for a show and work your way up from there. Illusions and magic does not need to be expensive to be big. Check out Andrew Mayne's Razor Wire, Spector Cabinet, and Light Storm for starters. Smile
Chris Stolz
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Quote:
On 2009-03-28 20:46, Mad Jack wrote:
Well, there really is a lot of good advice on here! After 22 years doing large illusions on big stages all over the U.S. and Asia, I have learned 3 things.

1)Buy a sword basket as your first real illusion. This is advice that Johnathan Pendragon gave me as a kid and I am passing it on. It is the best illusion you can own as a beginning illusionist (more on this later). Other magicians that come to your show may not think so, but it is... Which brings me to number

2)Never care what other magicians think you your sword basket! (they are usually not the people paying your salary)

3) Make your own destiny. Meaning: Don't sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Don't (when you do get some illusions and a good working promo DVD) wait for agents and producers to give you your "big break". You are playing incredible odds and it probably won't happen. We now live in an age where you have to (for the most part) produce yourself if you want to be sure to "realize your dreams".

Now... About that sword basket. It is reletively small, inexpensive (an Abbott's runs around $400 and can be painted, put in a base and re-themed to look almost as good as an Owen's), and is easy to stage under ANY conditions. It is AMAZING to almost any audience and can't be figured out during set-up, tear-down, etc. Even if people come up after your show and look inside, they are just as amazed because it is just a basket! (Try having someone examine your origami after the show and see where that gets you.) It also will teach you (and your assistant) how to move well and interact well together in front of an audience. I just did my Chalet basket last night (Fri. 3-27-09) and from behind the curtain I heard people talking about it after the show. They had no idea how it was done. It never ceases to amaze me....LOL...

Just my random thoughts...

Mad Jack


He's right. My wife and I caught his show in North Carolina on our vacation and his sword basket IS a real pleaser! The little bit with the white flag just killed me...
magicians
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Quote:
On 2009-03-27 19:48, mrwiz wrote:
I want to find out how does one get to be able to afford all the big illusions that I see many performing out there. It just gets me and makes me wonder how young people that are 14 and up (around that age) can afford them ?

Also I would like someone to tell me and help in giving me information on how does someone goes about in putting a stage show with the lights, music and all that ?
Also tips, and help in advertising/promoting the magic shows.

I have been performing for a few years. I do all types of events and specialize in kids magic shows. Even now things slow trying to find out ways of advertising my magic shows to get more business and all that. U know what I mean ?

I have always dreamed and wanted to one day be able to have a stage show with the lights and all that and at least 1 big illusions. So far that hasn't happen. After all I don't get that lucky.

I have been trying to ask for help different places and so far everyone has refused and critize me. C'mon I just need help. Don't we all ? Also see that many out there get to perform at the end the same routines and all that like many have done on tv and other shows. Just want to know as well how everyone get to learn them and find out all that and such.

If someone understand what I mean and understands my frustration as well and what I want to accomplish please let me know and feel free to contact me. I appreciate any help you can give me and such.

Thanks in advance for reading this posting and any future help !

Take care and hear from you all soon.

One last thing, Mr. Wiz...you are in Pennsacola..are you a member of the magic club up there. It is a huge club with quite a few illusionists. That's where you will get the help you want. Maybe even apprentice with one of them to really see what it takes to do and get that type of a show going.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Donald Dunphy
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I have heard that Jim Snack's Success-in-Magic Course is a great investment, if you want to learn how to build a business in magic.

More info about the course on this thread, as well as other threads:

- Donald

P.S. Even though I don't have any of Jim's products or courses, I have met him in person and heard him teach. He shares terrific information. For example, check out Jim's posts on this thread (especially his post second from the bottom of the first page), or find other posts he has written.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
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Magicians: I am not in Pensacola. I am 2 hours away from Pensacola. Actually I belong to a local magic club that meets in Pensacola. Been for a long time. Don't get to go to the meetings often because of the distance and other things. I also do their web site and had for a long time.
This magic club is an independent club but also a combined club for a S.A.M. Assembly and an I.B.M. Ring.
The name of the club is: The Gulf Coast Magicians Guild
and you can check out the web site at: http://www.gulfcoastmagicians.com

I talked to a few members already and so far no one really does big illusions or anything like that. Thanks for the feedback.
George Ledo
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Number one, forget about buying illusions and stage equipment until you know, beyond any question, who this guy -- that your audience is going to see -- is. Successful performers in any field have a distinct personality and point of view. They are not just vehicles for their material.

When I was performing, many years ago, I spent probably more time on defining who I was and why I did what I did, and what I wanted to say with it, and why I wanted to say that and not something else, than I did on practicing. And it made a huge difference moneywise.

Study lots of other entertainers -- not just magicians. Last night we were watching the DVD of the latest Indiana Jones movie, and Indy said something that should be carved on every aspiring performer's bedroom ceiling. He and Mutt were on the motorcycle and barged into the library and slid under the tables. Then a student asked Indy a question and he started to answer it. But as they rode off, Indy turned around and said, "If you want to be a good archaeologist, you have to get out of the library."

Go for it. Just don't repeat the same mistakes many others have made.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
magicians
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Quote:
On 2009-03-29 16:36, mrwiz wrote:
Magicians: I am not in Pensacola. I am 2 hours away from Pensacola. Actually I belong to a local magic club that meets in Pensacola. Been for a long time. Don't get to go to the meetings often because of the distance and other things. I also do their web site and had for a long time.
This magic club is an independent club but also a combined club for a S.A.M. Assembly and an I.B.M. Ring.
The name of the club is: The Gulf Coast Magicians Guild
and you can check out the web site at: http://www.gulfcoastmagicians.com

I talked to a few members already and so far no one really does big illusions or anything like that. Thanks for the feedback.

I know the club well, I lectured at the other club in Ft. Walton beach last year, I just bought a used walkaway super-x from an illusionist in Destin. http://thefunconnection.com/Magic.htm . I am looking to resell it, I only needed it for one show. I know Bruce for several years now.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
mrwiz
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So you know Bruce too ! hehehe
That means you lectured at Brian's club. I never been to any of their meetings in Ft. Walton but many of the members there are members of the club in Pensacola as well.

Where in Florida do you live ?
magicians
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Central Florida, near Wildwood (on the Turnpike). 45 minutes from orlando/1 hr from Tampa.
My next lecture is on April 16th in Winter Haven, Florida. Our club is having John Calvert lecture on the 13th, and a huge show on the 14th. Our annual IBM fundraiser.
Featuring: Bev Bergeron, myself, Calvert, and some club members. I only know Bruce Walstad casually. OOps, I am in promotional mode. I am producing the show.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
mrwiz
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We just had John Calvert lecture at the Pensacola club. I couldn't attend though.
I think I receive your e-mails about upcoming events and stuff from your club in my e-mail. Also I think I replied back to you to find out who you were but I am not sure. Very bad memory here ! hahaha
My e-mail address is: magicjavi@aol.com

Bruce is a nice guy and funny ! Smile

I talked to Bev Bergeron once or twice before on Facebook. Never meet him in person, yet.

I live in North Florida as said before but used to live in South Florida.
So you are in Central Florida. Wow.... close to Disney !!!! ha ha
Ray Pierce
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Quote:
On 2009-03-29 16:42, George Ledo wrote:
Number one, forget about buying illusions and stage equipment until you know, beyond any question, who this guy -- that your audience is going to see -- is.


Wow... there have been some really good comments on this thread!

I've always said that at the edge of every performance area is a set of balance scales. In order to succeed we just have to tip the scales a little bit in our favor. If you're doing an effect for a friend, by virtue of the fact that you know what's going to happen and they don't, you've got a good chance of success! On the other hand, as your audience grows, so must your ability to control and sustain the energy for the size of your audience. Many do well in a group of 30 - 50 people but for 2000 people in a large theater, can't sustain that load.

These skills are equally as important as anything else in your arsenal. It is the MAIN reason that people who simply purchase a lot of illusions and try doing a full evening show usually fall flat. I've seen it with so called "award-winning" magicians with a VERY strong 15 minute act fall apart when shifting up to a 1 hour + show in a full size venue.

I worked doing a small 15 minute act for years, then got one feature illusion to close with for the larger shows. The eventually added a second illusion as an opener when I could use it. That was for about 5 years including playing Vegas, Reno, Tahoe, etc. all the while just trying to develop my skill set for those 15 minutes.

Eventually I got a shot to do a 25 minute set. I expanded my base set to add in a personality piece in the second spot, and a ballad in the center. That was another few years getting the 25 - 30 minute set to stand strong. Then came the 45 minute "full" set which is normal for private events where they need a full show for after dinner, banquets, the second act of "Multi Magician" Magic or Variety Shows, etc. That was about 3 - 4 years.

Eventually I got enough material and more importantly the tool set to "support" not just the time but the "weight" of 2000 - 3000 seat houses. With larger shows, I feel like you are literally carrying the weight of that audience on your shoulders. You are their guide, and you alone are responsible for their journey.

Additionally, when your price goes up, so do the expectations. Buyers don't pay for what you own, they pay for results. A professional is judged on consistency, but I feel that it is consistence of result, not consistence of execution. A real pro isn't just someone who does the exact same act every time, it's someone who consistently kill the audience every time. It might take changing your timing depending on the size and shape of the audience, or maybe it's after dinner and their reaction timing is slower, or their demographic will affect it.

These aren't things that come with the instructions for a Zig Zag. They come from years of trial and error, making mistakes when it isn't critical and learning your performance technique to balance out your technical magic and showmanship.

Ok, enough of my rambling!
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
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Not rambling at all, WDI, you've added some great thoughts to a thread that has lots of them, but could always use more.

Regards,

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
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Javier, I have just PM'D you !
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