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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Do you get upset by the prop guys.. WHY? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kevinr
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I see comments on Magic Café of people who are either upset (or mad they can't afford to do the same)of folks spending ALOT of money on very, very expensive props. I would like to get your thoughts on this..

When this is a business and your source of income you need to step aside... Get out of the picture.

I think its like a repair man who shows up at your home in a beat up truck and dirty clothes or the repair man in the nice new clean uniform and the brand new white truck that has just been washed. People are more willing to pay for the more professional looking guy... Its the perception of value.. Fact is the guy with the new truck may only have a years experince and the guy in the beat up trucks with used tools and worn clothes maybe able to perform the job faster and have many, many more years experince!

Sure we would all love to do magic WE want to do. BUT when this is your source of income (a job) its not about us. Its about taking care of the customer
mumford
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Like Eugene Burger says, there are a lot of different rooms in he house of magic. In music some pay to see Willie Nelson, others like Britney Spears or Tony Bennett.
Bradley Roberts
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If you cant afford the expensive props does not mean you don't have the talent. I know a few magicians that have all the newest stuff but have no talent as a performer and on the flip side some that have all the talent but not the props.

It comes down to this. The customer hires YOU the performer. If they like you and your act they will hire you again and refer you to others. They don't hire your props.

Cheers,
B-Rad
B-Rad "The Kids Magician"
Brad Kids Magic Website
"A child's smile is one of life's greatest blessings."
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2009-04-08 13:05, Kevinr wrote:
I think its like a repair man who shows up at your home in a beat up truck and dirty clothes or the repair man in the nice new clean uniform and the brand new white truck that has just been washed. People are more willing to pay for the more professional looking guy... Its the perception of value.. Fact is the guy with the new truck may only have a years experince and the guy in the beat up trucks with used tools and worn clothes maybe able to perform the job faster and have many, many more years experience!


And of the two, who's number would you pass on or book again.

Of course, the customer's perception is valid. And you do need the right tools to do a good job. I think there may be some concern in those that think just having the expensive equipment will make them a better performer like a repair man with a £2000 electric spanner which he uses as a hammer.

George
Chris LaBarge
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I will admit that I am the guy that doesn't have the flashiest of stuff. My props are old, my case is old, my website is horrible, and I drive a beat-up old car. I don't have a sound system and my business cards are generic and bland. I do however make sure that I am presentable and the kids are screaming for more. I think I have a pretty good show and therefore I spend zero on advertising and work every week because of all of the referrals and repeat business.
MagicSanta
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I'll give you my thoughts on the subject. I'd give you other peoples thoughts but I'm not a mentalist....yet. The issue as I see it is props vs magician, that simple. Kids magic is something that a person can walk into an 'entertainment agents' office and be handed five props, be told how they operate, and the next day be doing shows. No kidding, it happens all the times and there are many 'kid show magicians' who do no magic but just know how those props work and they make a living doing it. They don't get referals, they don't get called back, but it doesn't matter, the line of parents hiring magicians is endless and every month another pack of kids is turning five or six and are going to have their first and only magician perform. Tada, show over.

What bothers those of us who happen to be magicians in the classical sense and who REALLY understand how to perform a solid and entertaining show for kids is the prop guys are not only hurting our image but are snotty about it! The prop guys need their props because there is nothing else of substance to them. They couldn't perform a show without them and I, and many others, can walk in with what is in our pockets and have the kids rolling with joy. The prop guy walks in, does his 35 minutes, the kids stare at him and wonder what is next on the agenda.

That being said that does not mean a knowledgable kids show magician doesn't use props (I'm assuming by props you mean the stuff like Run Rabbit Run and the beautiful stuff Wolf Magic makes) when they fit the character and the show. The only actual prop I use in the sense I think you mean it is Hippity Hop Rabbits, I think it is a fun routine and gets the kids reved up as well as the parents. If you think a prop will fit into the show and the routine will work for the age group then you should try to get the best and highest quality one you can get so it will last longer and still function and look good.

In general props are okay but a prop only show, and I know of at least one guy here who did one for years and admits he has no magic abilities, is very often a mask to cover up a lack of skill and knowledge. The exceptions are very rare and I'm sure every prop guy here thinks they are an exception but when I see a routine list for a kids show and there are four Wolf products all I think is "man, he has money to burn, his show indicates he's a hack". When I see a show that uses an envelope, some rope, a couple silks, etc. and maybe one standard prop routine I think the guy knows what he's doing. Again, that is just me.

NOTE: I realize some here are rather dim, let me state clearly that I referenced Wolf products because, and this is good, it is the only manufacture that jumped into my head. They make beautiful props and many of them are suitable for kids shows.
Regan
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I am a prop guy. I admit it, but to say I am a hack because I like or own props is ludicrus. I have done, and still do on occassion, shows without a lot of props. Sometimes it is necessary. However, I prefer to use props at my stage shows when I can. I remember the feeling I had when I was younger, when I saw these beautiful, magical props that magicians had. They are probably partly responsible for my taking up this profession.

Bad things are often said about magicians.....both prop users and non-prop users alike. Many times I have heard bad things said about propless magicians, and that is ludicrus too. Simply because you choose to use, or not to use props does not make or break your act.

There are magicians that work out of a suitcase that think they are the world's greatest performers, but that are awful. I personally know a few that are just that way. I'm sure there are magicians that require truck loads of props to do their shows that think they are world's greatest also, yet their shows leave much to be desired.

Having said that, I believe that if anyone is doing a magic show that includes 4 Wacky Wolf products then I would probably think the opposite of what MagicSanta says he thinks. I would think that if anyone had that many nice, and yes, expensive props in their show that they must be very good. In my eyes, only an experienced professional, or at the very least, someone that cares a lot about their act and knows a lot about magic would spend that kind of money for their show. I do not know any beginners that own 4 Wacky Wolf props.

I feel that most magicians that spend lot's of money on props care about their act, and want to make it as good as possible. I have enough props to do me a lifetime, yet I continue to buy new things if I feel it will improve my show. Why would I do this if I were a "hack"? To me, a hack is someone who doesn't really care, only does enough just to get by, and is only in it to make a buck. It doesn't make sense to buy all these props, especially all these expensive ones if you are only wanting to get by and make a quick buck. If I were in it for those reasons, I would only carry in a suitcase. That would save me lots of time, money, and effort.

As for walking into an agency and them handing out magic props, well, I'll just say there are none that I know of around here that will hire an inexperienced magician that has no act or no props. Maybe if I could find one I'd be working more! Smile

Regan
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Ken Northridge
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Sounds like another Big Props vrs. Pack Flat debate is brewing. I’ve been involved in a few of these and this is my conclusion:

Big prop magician: Can be an outstanding magician or a horrible magician or anything in between.

Pack flat magician: Can be an outstanding magician or a horrible magician or anything in between.

I am a big prop person myself for mainly the reason that Kevinr points out about getting repeat bookings. I swear by it. Not only big props but every one of my shows is accompanied by doves, a rabbit, many tracks of music, microphone and sometimes even a backdrop. I will admit that part of the reason has to do with what Santa pointed out (hiding behind them). But the another part is knowing my personality. I do not have a loud showy personality. My props are loud and showy, and quite frankly, I know how to use them to keep the kids entertained. Also, take yourself out of the birthday party situation onto a stage. Unless you’re the Jay Leno type, the bigger props the better. If you are the Jay Leno type and can entertain with nothing but a microphone, you have my undying respect. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a better entertainer than me…unless you are Jay Leno. Smile
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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Scott Burton
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A good performer will be good with little props or many props.

A poor performer will be poor regardless of whether they have props or no props.

I just feel bad for the poor performers who buy expensive props when they don't understand that it won't make them better.

In addition, think about your clients and what they care about. People may say "nice props" to you once and a while BUT what clients really care about is how much entertainment you provided. Perform a great show and be a great entertainer, and the audience will forget about the props and remember YOU (which is what you want). Perform a poor show and, well, they won't care nor remember anything for long.
Kevinr
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Quote:
On 2009-04-08 16:12, MagicSanta wrote:
a kids show and there are four Wolf products all I think is "man, he has money to burn, his show indicates he's a hack". When I see a show that uses an envelope, some rope, a couple silks, etc. and maybe one standard prop routine I think the guy knows what he's doing. Again, that is just me.
MagicSanta
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Wow Kevin, that was deep. I like the way you didn't put the entire statement. It doesn't matter because as I said, some here are rather dim...and they are here.
TrickyRicky
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Pack flat play big or lots of props makes no difference.It's the performance that's count.
To quote Scott Burton "A good performer will be good with little props or many props".
As Regan says, there are horrible performers who pack flat, but that goes both ways.
I myself carry very little props. The largest prop I have is my rabbit pan, mail box and top hat.
I have to pack light. My bad shoulder cant take the heavy lifting anymore.
It really doesn't matter how many props you have in your show, just do a good job of entertaining your customers.
The props whether large or small are tools to entertain the audience.
TrickyRicky
TomBoleware
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I agree that props don't make the magician. We all know that. But I do think the one with the "stuff" has an advantage when booking the show.

The birthday mom calls and the first magician says, "I have six other shows that day, but I can be there in time, it only takes me a couple of minutes to set up."

The second magician says, "I will need to get there about an hour before to unload the truck and get set up."

There is no question in my mind that mom is going to want the magician with a lot of "stuff." (Assuming she hasn't heard anything bad.)

Maybe not fair to the magicians, or the best way to choose a magician, but that's the way people think.

If they could hire David Copperfield with his semi loaded with magic for the same price, he would be doing the show. Why? Because he does a lot of stuff.Smile

Tom
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BIlly James
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How about dressing well, having nice props AND being a good entertainer?


Just a thought.


:)
noble1
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Nice thought, except you have the order of importance backwards.
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2009-04-08 20:51, TomBoleware wrote:
The birthday mom calls and the first magician says, "I have six other shows that day, but I can be there in time, it only takes me a couple of minutes to set up."

The second magician says, "I will need to get there about an hour before to unload the truck and get set up."

There is no question in my mind that mom is going to want the magician with a lot of "stuff." (Assuming she hasn't heard anything bad.)


Luckily for the other guy 6 other moms felt differently...
TomBoleware
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"Luckily for the other guy 6 other moms felt differently...

Oh he didn't really have that many other shows, only trying to impress her.
It didn't work, she wanted the one with the "stuff." Smile

I agree that the second go around it may be different, but I do think most first time buyers, or with those who haven't seen both, will assume bigger is better. "Stuff" has its place and it can be used as an advantage with some.

Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

The Daycare Magician Book
www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

Tom Boleware
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Scott Burton
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Interesting...

Does "stuff" provide for a competitive advantage? I suppose this is similar to asking whether you will lose money to discount magicians. What I mean is that, in the short run, this other competitor will get a chunk of your gigs but it is the stronger entertainer who will be the one to get repeat business and referrals and grow a strong list of clients.

There is a big negative side to having a lot of "stuff". It can be incredibly inconvienent to the host - whether it be a birthday party, day care centre, or corporate party.

I once lugged around backdrops and larger props because I really wanted to supply a lot of "value". Then, I phased them out and focused on simply making sure I have strong material. Funny thing was that not a single client that hired me back ever noticed or mentioned it to me. They simply loved the reactions from my audience.

I have gotten hundreds of testimonials over the years and not one ever mentioned that they liked the "stuff" I brought. Not one. I really don't think people care beyond the "that's neat" level.

Develop your act, care about your audience, hold yourself to a high standard, and make 'em laugh.
MagicSanta
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Ahhh....the kids birthday magician who has a 'truck load' of props. This is likely the same fellow who does major illusions then a 45 minute manipulation act tableside at 'classy restaurants', does The Last Trick of Dr. Jacob Daley and makes a teenage girl run in circles screaming prior to fainting, does 748 shows per year with no advertizing just based on referals, and has business cards that are actually a digital monitor that they can download their info on their exciting new props via satellite. You know the guy, the one who post questions like "I have a show tomorrow, what should I do?".
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2009-04-08 22:15, TomBoleware wrote:
Quote:
I said: "Luckily for the other guy 6 other moms felt differently...


Oh he didn't really have that many other shows, only trying to impress her.
It didn't work, she wanted the one with the "stuff." Smile


Oops my bad, I didn't realise the other guy lied by default Smile

It must've been the prop guy who had 6 shows. Although, how he fitted them in with his 1 hour setting up time is pretty amazing.
I was kind of inbetween the two mindsets but I hope you snazzy prop guys can handle your props better than your similies ot fictitious examples.
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