Hidden Opportunities Find Magicians

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“Image by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I received a call the other day and thought I would share it with you:

Q. Will you teach everyone a magic trick during/after the show?

A. That’s a great question! We used to teach a trick during the show, but through experience, we have found it actually detracts from the magic. We want your audience to be amazed and entertained as much as possible and for you to have a memorable event.

With your permission, we set up a magic table in the back of the room. We sell a few easy to do magic tricks that audience members can take home and share their love of magic with family and friends. Of course you can prepay for everyone to receive a kit for free. That’s a great option and gives guest something to do after the show…

A very simple way to get away from and handle a semi insulting question.

“There’s a big difference between a demonstrator and an entertainer.”

What you don’t want to do. Tell your potential customer you refuse to teach a trick and you are way above that! The customer does not understand how it works and is genuinely asking a question. We know, asking a magician to teach a trick during a show, is like asking a band how to play the instruments.

What’s the hidden opportunity? Select six to twelve tricks audience members can buy directly from you. Put your name, email, and website on all the instructions. Put them all together as a package deal or magic kit. This gives you repeat customers and sets you up for new ones. You can easily double, triple or make even more off your “dealer room”. Some magicians even reduce the rate of pay, just to set up that booth at the end of the night.

Have an intermission for some sales during the show. It works best with a partner, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. This also gives you a nice break and set up time for the second half of the show.

Let WholesaleMagic.com know you want special instructions or Magic Wand Scrolls and they will be happy to work with you. They can even give you ideas to push.

Jay Leslie

The Best Camera on the PLANET for Magicians!

IphonecamIn the summer of 2011, I wrote the following article. All the information is just as relevant as it was back then. I will update it as I go along the post and compare 2011 to today, winter 2014.

I have always said, the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it – the one you carry with you every day. For most of us, that is our camera phone or smart phone.

Flickr Chart

iPhone 4 is the number one camera on Flickr in summer 2011

And at least one major online photo-sharing website agrees with me. According to Flicker, the number one used camera is the iPhone 4. Today the new winner is no surprise the iPhone 5. I think the iPhone 5S would be supreme, but with the 5C release and the smaller upgrade on the 5S, it has not taken over the top spot. I think the next release of iPhone will hit the number one spot quickly from all the iPhone 5 upgrades. Here is their complete list of the most used cameras http://www.flickr.com/cameras/

iPhone 5 Tops the List

While a modern smartphone’s 5-megapixel image resolution isn’t the best on the market, it is a remarkable improvement over camera phones released just a few years ago. Since the iPhone is the number one selling phone on the market today, the vast majority of the population who carries a phone also has a damn-good camera in their pocket.

Up until recently, I owned one of those big handheld monster camcorders and a digital point and shoot. When my camcorder broke, I thought to myself – my wife and I both have iPhones and my son has a Flip camera – do we really need to replace the old bulky single-purpose camcorder?

Soon after, my point and shoot digital still camera died. It was a nice camera, but I had the same thought – why replace it when my iPhone’s camera does a good job and is always in my pocket?

As technology gets smaller and continues to combine features, it is only logical that a device like the iPhone 4 would be the number-one camera on Flickr. By this time next year, the iPhone 4 will probably fall from the number one spot; bumped by none other than the iPhone 5. (This Happened.)

So what does Flickr and iPhone have to do with magic? Well, go grab your smartphone and I will tell you…

iPhone Photo Trick: One of my favorite tricks is the iPhone Cracked Screen. Search for the term “iPhone cracked screen” in Google Images, and you should be able to find a photo that works on your phone. If you are on your iPhone, click the picture you want and save it to your camera roll. Here are a couple examples:CrackedScreen2

To perform Cracked Screen, take someone’s photo. Snap the shot and say, “well, I have heard the old joke that you broke my camera with your face, but you really did it!”

Call them over to see it, and as you show them the picture, click the little square at the bottom of the photo screen (on the iPhone), it will take you to your camera roll and display the last picture – swipe past it to the cracked screen just in time to show your spectator. They broke your phone!cracked-screen

There is a trick in my “Magic with the iPhone II DVD,” where you can do some amazing photo magic – including a version of Cracked Screen that shows the actual photo of the spectator, cracked!

Smartphones create an ideal atmosphere for organic, impromptu magic. Similar to how our opportunity to capture precious moments on video and in photos has increased with the convenience of a camera in every pocket, so has the opportunity to perform extraordinary magic on the spot. All thanks to the best camera, the one you have with you!

Checkout all three volumes of my “Magic with the iPhone” DVDs, Magic City best sellers!

Check out: Magic With the iPhoneMagic With the iPhone

 

Infringement Accidental: Duplication isn’t Always Evil

 

"Stealing is never justified. Copyright infringement is illegal. But overlap must be recognized as part of the nature of the industry's structure." Image by WoodleyWonderWorks.

“Stealing is never justified. Copyright infringement is illegal. But overlap must be recognized as part of the nature of the industry’s structure.” Image by WoodleyWonderWorks.

The magic industry is a vast landscape, both deep and wide. Within “magic” are hundreds of categories, thousands of perspectives, and a plethora of places for a magic trick to hide.

There is a common misconception that “Niche Business” means a small market. Magic is a niche business, but it is not a small market. For instance, performers reach millions and millions of people, and though we may complain that selling magic tricks is a small market, that’s really only because we advertise to a small market. Certainly, the magic business is not small when you examine the sheer volume of magic tricks released every year.

A niche business is a business filled with niches. And magic is one of the nichiest. (roll with it folks!)

Within all of those niches are the perfect hiding places of accidental infringement—mistakenly publishing an idea, routine, gimmick, or complete trick already on the market. On average, if you take any two magic creators at random, both will tell you their sincere intention is to not rip anyone off or infringe on the intellectual property of others—rather, they desire to release only new, innovate products. Yet, unintentional duplication occurs repeatedly. Those same creators might even inform you they have looked through both sides of the mirror.

There are many reasons for accidental infringement, but I would like to focus on the situation from a jobber level. Certain magic creators and manufacturers have their preferred distributors and stores—just like how customers prefer Walmart to Target and vice versa.

If you distribute through only one or two jobbers—even if sales are very, very good—there may still be a large segment of the magic community unaware of you or your product line, opening the door for accidental infringement.

When a creator is accustomed to working with one jobber, they may only be familiar with products released by that one jobber. In another circle, there may be the exact same trick with different packaging, title, and routine, and neither party will notice. Sometimes consumers don’t even notice, especially when that consumer buys from their preferred retail magic shop, who in turn buys from their preferred jobber. Multiply that by countries with their own supply chains and languages, and you have an environment ripe with hiding places.

So why don’t these creators spend more time, effort, and money checking the market for duplicates before releasing their work?

Lets go back to the beginning—magic is a vast landscape. It is very difficult, near impossible in the magic business to check every niche, every exclusive circle [with absolute 100% accuracy] to see if an idea is a duplicate. However, it is the creator’s responsibility to make an extensive effort researching the market—and most do—via web search, talking with other creators, buying products, reading like crazy (magazines, books, blogs), watching videos ad nauseam, monitoring message boards, Facebook, and Twitter, and discussing the idea with their jobbers who then, in turn, ask questions behind the scenes.

But just because there were no visible duplicates on the market at the beginning of the process, doesn’t mean one won’t crop up during the research and development and production phases, which can take months or years to complete. By then, it is difficult for a creator to take a product off the market—or stop its release—even with a heavy demand to do so by the magic community.

This article isn’t to say that infringement is okay and we should release with abandon. On the contrary, we need to keep the published record as clean as possible—it is our duty as magicians. Stealing is never justified. Copyright infringement is illegal. But overlap must be recognized as part of the nature of the industry’s structure. It’s important that magicians identify the difference between a rip off and accidental infringement, if for no other reason than the reputation of those involved, which is an essential part of the published record in its own right.

Talk Back Question: have you ever thought you invented a new magic trick, gimmick, or move only to find it already on the market?

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