Batteries Not Included…

Batteries_Not_IncludedI stumbled upon this trick by accident and it quickly became one of those “gems” you find yourself performing at every opportunity. It is contagious. Whenever I teach a fellow magician “Batteries Not Included,” they end up performing it just as often.

When I perform the trick, it is usually because there happen to be two batteries lying around; a friend is changing out the batteries in a remote for instance. Double A are best, but you can sometimes do the trick with D’s and C’s too.

You can carry a couple of batteries in your pocket to perform anytime.

“Did you know those batteries are magnetic?” Pick them up and lay one next to the other lengthwise. Nothing happens. “Oh wait, you have to rub them together to get a static charge.” Now, hold one battery and the other is magically – supposedly magnetically – stuck to it. When your friend tries it, there is no such magnetism.

If you would like to learn how the trick is done and share with your friends and family, Click here and place a FREE ORDER of Batteries Not Included.

Dracola: A Bloody Good Trick!

dracola_gerald_kirchnerIn the late ’90’s, everyone in the world had their eye on newcomer David Blaine. Including me.

One night, as I watched Blaine’s newest television special, I waited anxiously to see what amazing thing he would do next. He picked up an empty, crushed beer can and was like, “Look, look!” I looked. He moved the can around in a circular motion and it popped back into shape. He waved his hand over the can—the opening resealed—and the can was brand-new again. He cracked it open and handed it to one of the spectators, who took a refreshing swig of crisp beer! The spectators totally freaked! And rightfully so.

My first thought? Camera tricks.

My Second thought? Gross!

He found the can on the ground and asked someone to drink from it—that’s disgusting! Plus, “discovering” the can is weak in my opinion. I knew there was a more dramatic way to perform the trick, so I tinkered around with the idea: is it possible to “resurrect” a can from the dead?

After developing the final routine, my first victim—Ahem! Spectator—stopped by the warehouse to pick up his order. I showed him the trick, which now included the unexpected draining of the can, Dracola style. He was floored! And he was familiar with Blaine’s performance, so it was even better. He said it was like two different tricks—Blaine’s routine just sort of happens. Dracola explodes!

Later, I learned the version Blaine performed was a culmination of ideas from John Kennedy, Anders Moden, and Tim Ellis, who later produced the trick in booklet form, calling it “Healed and Sealed.” Other magicians came up with similar ideas as well, but Healed and Sealed was the best known at the time.

Unlike Healed and Sealed, you can perform Dracola impromptu with a can right out of a vending machine. Thanks to one of magic’s favorite tools, I was able to eliminate many of the weaknesses of the effect—namely, starting with an empty can. The routine itself plays a part too. The vampire theme offers the freedom to drain the contents of the can and to “revive” the soda by returning it back to its original state, inside and out, right in front of your spectator.

Try it yourself and see firsthand the power of this amazing trick. Get Dracola for less than 10 bucks! You will enjoy fooling your friends and family, convincing them you are the true Dracola! Do you hear that? It’s the children of the Sprite. Bwahahahaa!Picture 1



Magic Store or Well-Stocked Affiliate?

Some magic store owners didn’t realize they made the switch!

If you own a magic shop, you are constantly searching for new ways to expand your marketshare, increase your product range, and better serve your customers.

But sometimes that means embracing new technologies or unconventional archetypes. It’s important to explore all aspects of these new models to ensure the concept fits your longterm goals, and at the very least, be aware when you take your business in a whole new direction.

Example: magicians visit the magic shop’s website, order a digital product, and are then redirected from the store’s website to a third party where the customer downloads the product.

This is known as an affiliate program. And the magic shop, instead of being referred to as a “store,” is called an affiliate. The term affiliate may apply to the shop as a whole, or to just one section of the shop’s website. A shop may begin as a traditional store and then convert—gradually or all at once—to an affiliate.

Photo by Jayson Shenk.

Photo by Jayson Shenk.

In non-magic industries, the affiliate concept is also known as “The Gallery Model.” Typically, the gallery model is used as part of a lead generation program—the main company builds its own mailing list and customer base from “tentacle” sites that feed the larger enterprise.

Since traffic sent to the fulfillment site has purchased a product, lead generation via the gallery model is a good way to capture real customers while filtering out casual visitors. Even if the customer only paid one dollar, it still means they are the cream of the crop—the best the referral site’s mailing list has to offer.

As far as the magic business is concerned, nobody is claiming third party digital vendors are recording customer info for the purpose of capitalizing on those customers directly (other than the initial sale of course). Similarly, magic vendors are unlikely to share customer info with content providers as a means to prove sales and to factor royalty; in this industry, such providers are often direct retail competitors with the affiliate sites.

One way to ensure these situations do not occur is to verify the vendor’s target demographic before choosing a third-party affiliate program. Does the vendor advertise their products and services exclusively to retail companies? Does the vendor’s online following exceed the number of potential clients? If so, that company may covet the same customer base as you.

Like merchants from any industry, magic shop owners are drawn to the idea of affiliate programs because they are fast, easy, and have zero up-front costs to get started—the exact opposite of the traditional store model. That’s not to say this is a bad arrangement by any means. Some magic stores want to be affiliates—commission is simple compared to gross and net. “Affiliate” should not be considered an evil word.

But even if you are not an affiliate, you should still be aware that as the affiliate model gains popularity, it alters—fundamentally—the industry landscape for everyone.

Eventually, the biggest buyer or “storer” of goods is no longer the most important client to vendors. The greatest assets are high-traffic online magic shops—galleries—who send the vendor the greatest number of customers. Magic stores with tangible inventory are unnecessary in this model.

That means website owners with zero buying power, but with heavy traffic flow, are more valuable to a vendor than the merchant who actually stocks a dozen DVD’s here and there. The affiliate model puts internet-only-including-no-warehouse-start-ups on equal footing with the “big guys.”

There are some powerful advantages too. The affiliate model opens the industry to more retail outlets, a larger market for content producers, and greater access to magic products by potential customers in areas of the world previously restricted.

In short, there are only two ways to distribute downloadable content. By affiliate program or by royalty free license. Merchants should consider the pros and cons of both systems and make a choice that best reflects their longterm goals.