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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Is it profitable (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

aussiemagic
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Adding illusions to your show seems like a lot of work. You need some place to store them, you need to transport them and you need to train assitants and rehearse. It does however seem like a lot of fun!

I was just wondering whether adding illusions to your show pays off for most people in the long run?

Thanks
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Dr. Delusion
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For me it has. All of the bigger illusions I have I've bought second hand, and several needed something done to them before we could use them. The good thing with that was that I don't think I've ever spent over $500.00 on an illusion. They are also older style illusions, like a Zig Zag, Palaquin, Doll House, Modern Cabinet, things like that. Don't get me wrong though, I'd give my front teeth for a Cube Zag, but I can't afford it. Anyway, back to your question, Having to pack the big stuff around is a lot of work, last summer we did 6 days at a fair, 4 shows a day, we would do a show, pack it up as quick as we could, get everything across the fairgrounds, do another show, pack up head back to the other stage, then back again. It was a lot of work, considering several days were over 100 degrees. But in the end we got a nice check, had a lot of fun, and we all are hoping to do the same thing back at that same fair again next year. I just perform on a part time basis, but I've made a lot of extra money and will have great memories of it to last a lifetime.
Bob.
jamiesalinas
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It is a LOT of work and more expenses. It also depends on where you will be working. You may need to buy a portable sound system, music system, lighting and back drops. Then you will need a way to transport the props. You will need good cases with good wheels and a strong back. You will need a dependable assistant. If this has not scared you away, then start simple and small. My first illusion was a sub trunk. Reletively inexpensive but lot's of practice with a dedicated assistant. Then I purchased a Chalet Mini-Cube Zag.

That was well worth the expense as it is a good illusion that can be performed in a variety of locations and is a strong illusion. My next purchase was a Blaney 3001 Suspension. This is when I decided to scale down and sold the trunk and Cube Zag. I never really got going with a full illusion show but I got a taste of it and I was able to perform in a lot of great situations. I used the Mini-Cube Zag center court at a basketball game for the Houston Rockets and used one of their power dancers for around 15,000 people.

Before you make the plunge, you need to have a plan for what you want to do and where you want to work. I make almost as much money now for a much smaller one man show. My fees with the illusions went up but along with my expenses. Was it worth it? For me yes. If you do make the plunge, check on used quality props that you can perform in a variety of performance conditions so you can get the most amount of performance time and experience.

Good luck with your decision.

Jamie Salinas
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aussiemagic
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Thanks for the responses so far.

I perform a lot of close up and parlor shows and do some stage. But even though I think that the entertainment value of magic is not in the props so to speak, I get the impression that there is greater perceived value when using bigger props and illusions.

I am not sure whether to just go the one man route and add a couple of one man illusions or what to do. I would like to do more shopping center gigs and venuses where anles can be pretty bad.
Any more tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again to those who have responded so far
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Chezaday
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Start slow if your going to make this type of commitment. There are some excellent illusions that involve volunteers from the audience rather than taking on the added expense of hiring a girl for the show. I could write a book on what a hassle that can be .. but, that's a whole other topic.

If you're looking to get rich .. it will take a lot of time and shows to recoup your investment. On average the props I purchase go for around $7500.00 US. Then you have to transport the prop .. do you own a van or a trailer? Are you going to rent a truck .. now things are starting to get expensive.

David Seebach has an excellent booklet on illusion called "So You Want To Be An Illusionist." It's available directly from him or the Abbott's Magic Company. I suggest you read it from cover to cover.

Steve
chmara
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Steve is right on -- but short on one thing -- revealing your need for ongoing energy. The hauling, set-up and knock down (unless you have reliable help -- not volunteers) requires you or your stage manager to be on site, setting, fixing, lighting, knocking down and packing at each date. When I was 64 the docs said no more and I am selling off all my illusions and stage stuff -- even though it was my livelihood. I never found reliable help I could afford, but others have not had that problem.

And, sometimes the big fees quoted -- include you getting stuff there and back -- so the bottom line (minus shipping and transport) may be tricky if you don't fool yourself.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Chezaday
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Yes, you do need a lot of energy to pull off the whole deal. Again, I do it so often it's just part of the deal. Imagine loading the van, unloading the equipment .. then the set-up. Once everything is in place .. well, the show is the easy part. Afterward everything gets packed, then loaded back in the van. Maybe a quick dinner after midnight at Denny's and then back home.

It's a long day. Then .. if you're lucky you get to do it all over the next day. What a way to make a living ..

Steve
w_s_anderson
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I too started off pretty small. I bought my first illusion 10 years ago. Like many other magicians it was a sub-trunk. Over the past 10 years I have put together a pretty substantial illusion show. One thing I have always tried to do was purchase illusions that could be performed almost anywhere, and didn't need a fancy stage set up, or lighting set up to work. As well as being easy for an assistant to learn. This way you can maximize the venues you can use the illusions in. Also, it was a great way to plus up the parlor act. More often than not I have been able to double the price of the parlor show by offering a large illusion or two. Just recently I purchased my first illusion that requires a lot of outside help (lighting, backdrop, behind the curtain help, ect.) That was after 10 years of performing illusions. I finally feel that I am ready!!! One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to BUY ATA CASES for all your investments. It will definately pay off in the long run. Just my 2 cents.

Scott
IDOTRIX
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A one hour show takes a minimum of 8 hours of your life, if you don't have to travel that far.
Lou Hilario
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It is profitable if you are a good showman and charge the right fee.
Magic, Illusions, Juggling, Puppet & Parrot Show ^0^
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Sam Sandler
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You know I have read lots of post about how difficult it is to do big shows NOW maybe its jsut me but I am confused as I do big shows and well it just does not soudn as complecated as many seemt to make it.

ok I do a 90 minute stage show I carry lighting,sound,curtains,and the magic of course. al in all about 3000lbs of stuff not to mention the BOR stuff too.

now I am going ot offer my ideas in hopes this helps you have an easier life.

First things first.
Have a contract and have a contract rider
the rider detials all that the client must provide.

inshort we require them to provide minimum 3 adults (men) for load in and load out after the show. we use them for approx 1 hour to load in and then to help set up the curtains and some other things then we kick them out so that we can set the magic.

my light and sound guy sets up the light and sound if we are using our own and if we are using the house then he works with the house person to get it up and rrunning. this is about 7 hours prior to show time that we load in.

the key is to have the client provide help and its FREE help.

this is jsut one idea that will go a long way in making your life easier.
the other thing is to make sure everything has a road case so that its much easier to load in by jsut wheeling everything in No walmart bags filled with cables and mics:)

anywho if you want some more ideas or ahve questions let em know.

I know my show is not the largest outhtere but its a two man show me and my assitant and we pull off what looks like must take a huge team. pack small play HUGE and make the set up look huge too.

good luck

sammy
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Sam Sandler
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I also feel I should mention that yes it is a lot of work still but there are ways to make it easier! but I also enjoy the hard work and not every show is my full stage show. we ahve a 1 hour version as well and of course I also do my solo shows too.

work smarter not harder!
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
aussiemagic
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Thanks for the replies.

On assistants...

You may have gigs booked throughout the month or year or whatever, but what do you do about your assistant's schedule? Even though you might be available, your assistant may not. Do you ask them to keep their schedule open? Or, do you have a few different assistants on call?

On transporting illusions...
What size vehicle do you need to transport your illusions?

On the show...
How many ilusions do you include in a show? For me, I would prefer to do a magic show that includes some illusions rather than an "illusion show". How many illusions would you include in a show like that?

Thanks again.
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David Charvet
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In answer to the original question in this post: "Is it profitable?" I'll fall back on what my friend, the late great Harry Blackstone, Jr. said:
"In the words 'Show Business' the larger and more important of the two words is 'BUSINESS.' "

In other words, you can have the largest, greatest, most amazing, entertaining (insert your own adjective here) Magic Show, but PROMOTING it is the key to making it profitable. There are many ways. I worked for years as stage manager on Stan Kramien's touring illusion show. We worked as many as 200 cities a year. Most of the promotion was done through telephone solicitation for a local charity in each city. This was 20+ years ago and the solicitation laws have changed. It can still be done, but one must be sure to follow the letter of the law in each state/city, or you could find yourself doing magic at the local "Gray Bar Hilton" (that's jail, if you don't know.)

I have recently produced a traditional illusion show using traditional ticket sales methods that works in small and medium-sized towns and cities. It works well for me. I am planning to write a book outlining the show and promotion methods used, which are much like what Birch and Virgil did years ago. Yes, it will work today, if done right.

Just remember to never think "One more illusion will make me a star." It won't happen. It's also impossible to build an illusion show instantly (even with unlimited funds.) You must season yourself as a performer, working various types of venues (which our Aussie friend seems to have done) and then add ONE illusion at a time. You can do a good, 90 minute illusion show with just 4 good illusions and a variety of stand-up material...providing you are a good SHOWMAN (or woman). And don't forget THE CLASSICS. Remember: even today, most people have never seen a real-live magician.

Have fun!
David Charvet
Sam Sandler
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Just remember to never think "One more illusion will make me a star." It won't happen. It's also impossible to build an illusion show instantly (even with unlimited funds.) You must season yourself as a performer, working various types of venues (which our Aussie friend seems to have done) and then add ONE illusion at a time. You can do a good, 90 minute illusion show with just 4 good illusions and a variety of stand-up material...providing you are a good SHOWMAN (or woman). And don't forget THE CLASSICS. Remember: even today, most people have never seen a real-live magician.
Have fun!
David Charvet

could not have said that better and sh oudl have in my first post!
I shodu lpoint out that although I book myself as an ilusion show I only have 4 grand illusions although some smaller items liek the guiletine (sp) and my snowstorm play off big.

to answer your question obout assitant I might not be the best to ask as my assitant is full time with me. there is the occasional clitch that she needs to be away with her family or something comes up but for the most part she is there.

the best advice I can give about assitants is to knwo their schedule!
aslo wehn I client wants you for a certain date let them know that you have to check with your team to make sure they are all available jsut be upfront about that don't tell them she a part time assitant I mean jsut let them know that you need to check all the tracle arrangements and you will get back to them with what shows are avaiable in their area.

have fun

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Dr. Delusion
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I'm a part timer. At the moment I have 3 Girls that help in the show. 95% of the time I only need 1 girl to help, so odds are one of them will be available to help out. If you treat your assistants right, pay them well, they in turn will do what ever they can to help you out. Each time I get a show I will immediately start calling them to find out which one can do the show.
Bob.
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