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Mindpro
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Ok, it's a topic that many magicians are thinking of or talking about, and to me, it really is a serious business concern or issue. Even more, it is a business issue that needs to really be looked at on a bit deeper and greater-picture level than I am seeing most magicians considering.

So, since no one seems to want to go there, I figured I would be the one to address it.

I've been talking to several of my coaching students and consulting clients, and many others that have contacted me for thoughts and insight that I don't even know about this over the past two weeks and there are really 2 issues pertaining to this I think need addressing.

Now also let me first say, I get why many are even considering this as they are looking at it as a way to make a few dollars and get some type of bookings and income in this otherwise unsettling time. So to put it clearly - for the money. None these guys considering it ever even had the thought before all of this and wouldn't have without the whole COVID-19 situation.

The other thing that made me reluctant to bring this issue up is the reality of this performing medium. I will try to say it as gently as possible, but it is what it is. I have discussed on here before how being the owner of several agencies and a production company I get hundreds of promo videos each year to view for consideration for bookings at mu venues, events, tours, and for representation at my agencies. As I have stated before most bare terrible, not market-ready, and either a simple cell phone video show vertically or the other extreme is a highly over-produced video that they couldn't possibly replicate or produce in their actual live performances. Some magicians are notorious for not having the proper video for such intents, and few are truly professional, market-appropriate, or purpose-appropriate for us to use for their intended purpose. Simply put, most magicians/performers are terrible on video.

So that leads to the two issues...

1. Most live performers do not perform well in the medium of video. Most simply just try to perform some of their "normal" material on camera. This is the first problem. Few, and I mean very few take the time or make the effort to learn the medium of performing on camera, video, or live broadcast. So most considering doing these Zoom shows have little or no experience performing for the camera or for live broadcast.

I discuss this greatly in my Press & Media For Entertainers book, about performing for the media and how performing for the camera in any format (live, t.v., video or Zoom broadcast) is actually it's own performance market, with its own set of dynamics and skills. Most never even consider this and almost always perform terribly like a deer in headlights in such mediums when they are given the opportunity.

Secondly is the business aspects of looking at it more than just the short-sided thoughts of "I need to do something now to make some kind of money." What about the effect or damage it can cause to your post-COVID-19 business? Many are charging a discounted price of $100-$140 for these shows. That now presents a slew of perceptions and concerns to your business as a performer when you go back to trying to charge normal pricing. Not to mention the clients or business you could lose forever by attempting to perform in a market/medium that you have little or no experience in and more than likely will come off poorly to your clients. Is it really worth then problems and potential damage it could cause? Does this devalue your positioning, price, and business? Is this how you want to be seen? This temporary situation can have lasting impact and effects and no one is talking about this at all. Over in Little Darings, you see the short-sidedness and the new "bandwagon" with wide-eyed consideration. Almost all are just seeing this on the surface level in what I feel are the wrong reasons.

Also, how about the industry? Magic is already looked at in a certain perspective so do you really want to see that drop even lower by a bunch of unqualified kids performer attempting to do and be something they are not? Let's face it, magic is a live performance medium unless solely created and performed for the camera-dynamic, and even then, audiences viewing the performance will not react or respond the way expected at a live performance. They are not used to responding to something they see on a screen that way. So it is not only the dynamic of the performers that is different, but also the dynamics of the audience that becomes completely different.

I think this is worthy of discussion and it seems few are looking at or considering the greater picture aftermath to this, their business, and the industry.

Performing/entertainment business owners let's discuss.
thomasR
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If you’re thinking of doing it, check out Matt Franco and Shawn Farquhars online shows. I think they are both excellent and give a good idea of how it can be done well. (They are also extremely talented performers, they make it look easy!).
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Apr 13, 2020, thomasR wrote:
If you’re thinking of doing it, check out Matt Franco and Shawn Farquhars online shows. I think they are both excellent and give a good idea of how it can be done well. (They are also extremely talented performers, they make it look easy!).


Yeah, but as I said, and you specified to in your last line, they have experience performing for the camera and in the medium. They would be in the 5% I excluded in my post. I am talking about the rest of everyone - the majority that do not have such experience.
Dannydoyle
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Ther huge percentage of these I've seen have been a disaster and seem more self indulgent than anything. I think they hurt more than help.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Exactly!
Ray Pierce
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I'll admit that I don't understand a lot of the online product now. Yes, I know video very well and have worked on camera a lot but I don't get the YouTube thing. I know it can be a good promo tool and we can use zoom and other platforms to sell some version of lessons and an entertainment product as well. I worked for years with a very talented young variety artist that I used in a number of shows and events and helped her any way I could. She went on to do well in a televised series and that lead to performing around the country. She even did a little YouTube show from time to time and I always hoped that would promote more live shows. After a while the live performances seemed to dry up and I worried that her interest (or the market's interest) had peaked. She was still doing some things on YouTube and I always hoped that would spark more interest in either live shows or possibly something else on television. Her Dad called one day to inquire about me helping on another project and I asked how she was doing as I was worried about her lack of performing. He said it was hard for her to work live as much as she couldn't afford to. She was bringing in over $1 million a year just from YouTube alone. The live dates (where she was getting around $15,000 per show) meant that she lost time generating content for her YouTube channel. It's a new world and there are many people who have no desire to go on to what we think of as "Traditional Television" or live shows. Yeah, I'm an old school guy but I have to understand that times are changing in ways we could never have imagined.
Ray Pierce
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Dannydoyle
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I think there is a huge difference in generating YouTube content to earn money, and desperately trying to seem relevant to a customer.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nash
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Good note on the concerns. Those are def. points we should look out for if we are to put on a live stream show
And for some 'rubber meet the road' knowledge, BOY oh BOY check out Scam School's (Scam Nation now I believe) recent interview with Michael Kent, who got some amazing tips on transitioning from a live show to live stream show, and tips on lighting/sound equipment/studio set-up.


That was super kind of them to share their knowledge. Learned a lot. Going to help a lot when I put together my live stream show in the upcoming weeks. (I wasn't going to do it, but looks like a lot more events are cancelling into the October. But the deciding factor is that - demands are coming in.I'm getting inquiries from clients + event planners for live stream magic shows. Looks like there will be a market for it for the next few months as people are STARVING for any kind of entertainment other than netflix/TV)

As for pricing. TBH that was my initial concern as well. I wasn't sure if a 30 mins live stream show can command the same $$ range I do for live performances. And what happens after this? Will my clients balk at my live performance $$ after seeing my magic for less on live stream ... etc..
But after much thoughts, ultimately I think our clients will understand why a live in person performance will cost more. You can watch "Cats" on DVD for $11, but the same performance live will cost you hundreds more to get in the door. Not to mention the magic we do on live stream shows will be different than the ones we do in live performances.

Cheers y'all. Smile
Don't give up, don't EVER give up.

NashFung.com/virtual-magic-show
Dannydoyle
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How many will not hire you once they see the live stream?

Again I have said it over and over but "how can I miss you if you won't go away?"

The idea also in your equation is that somehow you equate to a Broadway production.

Why teach them that you are not a vital part of the equation for entertainment? I mean once you get them in to the groove of not having you in the room and once they KNOW you can do it for less money, well then why would things just change later?

It is about positioning and branding. You are showing them something that you may not want to show them with this idea.

Personally I take the approach that you simply have to experience me live. When this is indeed over, and it will be way sooner rather than later, they can see me live again.

Magic in particular is just so tough to do remotely. It suffers even when done one television on network specials. Doing the show shrunk down like this is a real step back.

It is not the right way to do things, certainly not the only way to do them. It is simply the way I CHOOSE to do them.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Something to consider (and I can hear the negatives already “not comparable” blah blah blah)...
Disney released Onward direct to Disney+. You could tell Disney that they have to consider their brand and they can’t let the customers expect to see the first run of a movie on a live streaming service etc.
Mindpro
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Yeah, one of my greatest concerns is the de-valuing of our live performances and what we do. Clients and customers do not think like we do so we must adapt their mentality. As an example lets just say a performer is $500 for their 45-minute live show. Now during these new times he offers a live stream show for $200, what becomes the perception? That the show itself is valued only at $200 and the other $300 is for traveling, moving equipment, and the physical things. Is that how you're breaking it down and justifying the price difference?

No thanks, that devalues everything for this temporary period and then when you try to go back you can't simply re-adjust your value to them, that's not how it works and not how they'll see it. The real danger is you were once valued as a $500 performance, and how it's a $200 performance. So when this passes, in their minds, you are still a $200 performer (value) anything more is for your efforts and they feel should just be your own costs of doing business.

Then, of course, comes the fact that your performance will be nowhere what your normal live show is so you are working in a dangerous, limited and reduced capacity (at the reduced value) - combined, this is a double hit on value and perception.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, thomasR wrote:
Something to consider (and I can hear the negatives already “not comparable” blah blah blah)...
Disney released Onward direct to Disney+. You could tell Disney that they have to consider their brand and they can’t let the customers expect to see the first run of a movie on a live streaming service etc.


Disney already has video figured in as part of their income stream. Also being a billion dollar tech company helps. But you just want to blah blah blah it and somehow pretend guys who work gig to gig are somehow comparable to a billion dollar company. HILARIOUS comparison and it is about as accurate as apples to hand grenades.

Disney had no choice but to do so. They have movies in the pipeline and if you know the first thing about how major movie studios run you would not be shocked by this decision.

The product was made already. The NEXT product does not depend upon the perception of how this product is perceived. MANY ALREADY wait for movies to hit these mediums. Many don't go to movie theaters at all and wait for home formats. How many do that exactly with magic shows do you think? Oh wait that is part of the blah blah blah I guess huh?

Also it is NOT a live medium like magic almost HAS to be in order to be effective. More blah blah blah huh?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Honestly... yes. Blah blah blah. I knew exactly what the response would be before I typed it.

If I said the sky is blue you would have a reason why you can’t compare the sky to a color! :-p
Dannydoyle
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I know what someone is going to say if I say the world is flat. It in no way makes their response wrong now does it?

Not one single thing I said is wrong. But sure whatever.

Because naturally you are a multi billion dollar company or the equivalent. You should act exactly as they did, even though the comparison is not even CLOSE to doing live streaming magic shows. It was not taking a live event and making it a streaming show. It took a show designed to end up in the medium it ended up on. Go figure. All they did was speed its arrival.

Hey have at it. Do what you want man. If it is right for you it is right for you. Just don't make silly comparisons to Disney.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
charliecheckers
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A lot of interesting discussion. No one size fits all, but I agree many are jumping in having not fully thought through the implications. These are times like no other, and there may be an opportunity to introduce novel solutions and create value in ways that previously would not have been given a chance to succeed. I think it takes a lot to accomplish that. I know my brother has been asked by some of his library clients if he offers a virtual show. He anticipates many more will follow, as the uncertainty of their summer programs loom. To date, he has let them know he is investigating various resolutions and will keep them informed of his approach to providing a desirable solution. He is buying some time.

The problem with doing nothing and waiting for live shows to return, is that clients have customers to satisfy and they are asking us if we can help out- given that we already had booked live shows. To simply say “no” risks disappointing the client and giving someone else a chance to step in and save the day. This is a reality, and more so for those who are not established for many, many years.

Many have said we will go back to a new normal. There will be winners and losers in every industry, regarding learning new capabilities from this disaster. Taking the time to contemplate new approaches and the necessary components to pull it off may have rewards. Implementing easy strategies with desire to maintain cash flow may have undesired long term consequences.
imgic
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I watched Shawn Farquhar's online show from his library. As much as I admire him, it was painful to watch. His skill of course is unparrellel. But he's a performer that feeds off the energy of the crowd. I've seen his interaction with audience, with volutneers, and it's a lot of what makes the show. But as he peformed for the camera, the energy is way off.

Recently the Portland Magic Jam also change to a virtual convention. Watching that, Shawn lectured, and same thing. And it wasn't only Shawn. John Shryock did an amazing cups and balls routine (with most beautiful set of silver cups!) But he, along with Max Maven and Stephen Bargatze...lacked energy and entertainment during performance of their routines. Plus many of us were very distracted by Max's library behind him.

As magicians we can appreciate the method, the skill, seen with online performances. But otherwise it isn't that entertaining, in my humble opinion.

Videos captured with live audience are great (Fool Us Clips are always enjoyable on YouTube). Bits that are highly produced can be fun (Wes Barker does great bit on facebook about Magicians working at Home) work for me. But I don't enjoy live streaming...and I consider myself pretty average.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, charliecheckers wrote:

The problem with doing nothing and waiting for live shows to return, is that clients have customers to satisfy and they are asking us if we can help out- given that we already had booked live shows. To simply say “no” risks disappointing the client and giving someone else a chance to step in and save the day. This is a reality, and more so for those who are not established for many, many years.



Saying no is the way life works. You can't always say yes just because they ask. If you don't do it, you don't do it
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, imgic wrote:
I watched Shawn Farquhar's online show from his library. As much as I admire him, it was painful to watch. His skill of course is unparrellel. But he's a performer that feeds off the energy of the crowd. I've seen his interaction with audience, with volutneers, and it's a lot of what makes the show. But as he peformed for the camera, the energy is way off.

Recently the Portland Magic Jam also change to a virtual convention. Watching that, Shawn lectured, and same thing. And it wasn't only Shawn. John Shryock did an amazing cups and balls routine (with most beautiful set of silver cups!) But he, along with Max Maven and Stephen Bargatze...lacked energy and entertainment during performance of their routines. Plus many of us were very distracted by Max's library behind him.

As magicians we can appreciate the method, the skill, seen with online performances. But otherwise it isn't that entertaining, in my humble opinion.

Videos captured with live audience are great (Fool Us Clips are always enjoyable on YouTube). Bits that are highly produced can be fun (Wes Barker does great bit on facebook about Magicians working at Home) work for me. But I don't enjoy live streaming...and I consider myself pretty average.


Wow... if Shawn’s performance was painful you have high standards. I thought it was great. I do agree with your comments regarding other presenters at the Portland Magic Jam. Max, who I highly respect.. seemed almost annoyed to have to be there.
thomasR
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, charliecheckers wrote:

The problem with doing nothing and waiting for live shows to return, is that clients have customers to satisfy and they are asking us if we can help out- given that we already had booked live shows. To simply say “no” risks disappointing the client and giving someone else a chance to step in and save the day. This is a reality, and more so for those who are not established for many, many years.



Saying no is the way life works. You can't always say yes just because they ask. If you don't it you don't do it


And if you don’t do it. Others will. You can stay stuck In the past or you can evolve and adapt.


This thought goes with my above post (sorry for 2 in a row) - Obviously the energy is different. People know that. I watched a live stream of Dave Matthews from his living room. Naturally it’s a different energy than seeing Dave Matthews in an arena. Now again, Dave Mathews is crazy talented.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, thomasR wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 14, 2020, charliecheckers wrote:

The problem with doing nothing and waiting for live shows to return, is that clients have customers to satisfy and they are asking us if we can help out- given that we already had booked live shows. To simply say “no” risks disappointing the client and giving someone else a chance to step in and save the day. This is a reality, and more so for those who are not established for many, many years.



Saying no is the way life works. You can't always say yes just because they ask. If you don't it you don't do it


And if you don’t do it. Others will. You can stay stuck In the past or you can evolve and adapt.


SO WHAT? Others do LOTS of things I don't do. What is it about that which somehow makes me stuck in the past? Are you so self absorbed that you can't see what is happening?

Most of these performances of magic online are about the performer and not the audience.

Do you REALLY think the live streaming show is going to be here to stay? And no I will NOT evolve like that. As I said if you remove the live from live entertainment I will simply not evolve. How silly.

May as well close all theaters right? I mean if you think this is adapting and evolving then so be it. SO MANY of these shows are painful to watch and they devalue the performer. If you define that as adapting and evolving then go ahead and do so. I am not going to evolve like that at all.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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