Tradeshow suggestions wanted!

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Guest » 09/26/02 03:14 PM

Hi Everyone,
Any suggestions for weaving the message of a website design company into magic? I mainly do close up and stand up. This comapny's message is pretty standard: Easy to use, affordable, etc. Thanks!
Guest
 

Postby Simon Aronson » 09/26/02 04:46 PM

John
Why not play with the well-known lines:

Oh, what a tangled Web we weave,
when first we practice to deceive.

Perhaps it can be a theme, or running phrase that ties the web and magic together.
Just a thought.
Simon
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 09/26/02 05:10 PM

Spiders design webs. I don't recommend "The Web" as a performance piece as is, but the webby playing cards might be an interesting visual.

Ease of use... maybe you could use a routine where the spectator participates and does the magic himself... it's so easy you were able to do it the very first time you tried, etc. Just brainstorming here... Whit Haydn's 4-ring routine is really a joke about how you're teaching the volunteer how to do the rings... maybe a possible stand-up piece there with some patter adjustments... but probably better with a trick where the volunteer actually accomplishes the objective.

Affordability... let's see... more value for the dollar... a sponge ball explosion definitely conveys the idea of getting more than you were expecting... you might show a dollar bill and show that you can only fold it to hold one or two sponge balls rolled up inside, but then change the bill into a $100 bill silk, then change the 2 sponge balls into 50 and use show that the silk can hold 50 sponge balls...

Just some brainstorming...

JMT
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Postby Guest » 09/26/02 09:44 PM

The wheels are turning. Thank you very much, guys!
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Postby Guest » 10/05/02 08:40 AM

John,
Did you get the emailthat I sent to you?
Ian
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Postby Guest » 10/31/02 02:32 AM

The company is not hiring you to do puns or sell their products usually but rather to get people to their stand and to brand their name on the audience's brain.

Use their logo whenever you can and mention the company name often. When you finish say "If you want to see some real magic, go and talk to Steve over their about design...." Or even better, introduce the customer to the client personally. No one will EVER say no.

Be a good magician and the rest will take care of itself
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Postby Guest » 12/05/02 10:33 PM

I do a few trade shows. I think that you probably do need to do a bit more than just mention the name of the company.

I definitely recommend customising the trick to incorporate the sales message. In fact I think it is quite important.

It is actually not that difficult. I simply get hold of the company literature and study it. Or look at their website. I just take a FEW sales points that I think the company would like to get over to the public.

My method of incorporating these points into the presentation is pretty simple. It does not take me more than half an hour. Possibly another hour of rehearsal then I am all set.

I never change my presentation. I do the same 12 minutes wherever I work. I leave gaps in the show where I can fit in the sales messages. Always the same place in the script.

By using this method it makes no difference whether I am selling baby clothes one week or computer software the next. I don't change the demonstration. I simply change the name of the company and the sales message.
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Postby Guest » 12/11/02 08:53 AM

So John,

Have you done the show yet? What did you do? How did it go? I'm interested in hearing what you learned.
Mark Phillips
www.thinairproductions.com
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 12/11/02 03:17 PM

Everyone who has posted on this topic, or has an interest in the question NEEDS to read the David Berglas book.

Larry
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Postby Guest » 12/11/02 03:31 PM

Larry puzzles me. I borrowed the Berglas book from someone recently and took it with me on a trip to a Nashville trade show.

It is a great book but I don't recall anything particularly geared to trade shows. Are you on the correct thread?

Years and years ago I remember David saw me with a book on trade shows ( the Dietrich and Jarrow one) and asked to borrow it. He seemed very interested in the trade show scene, I recall. I don't think he did much in that line though.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 12/11/02 03:38 PM

The point is that not only should the message and the product be incorporated into presentation, But that larger ideas can be invisioned. More can be offered clients then just the normal enertainment at the booth. Something grand and memorable can be done. David has shown that this kind of approach can increase your demand and your fees.

Remember in that booth you are not an entertainer, you are part of the sales force. If the clients want to entertain the customers, they'll take them to dinner.

Larry
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Postby Guest » 12/11/02 03:42 PM

Hi Mark,
Thanks for asking...
So far, I've learned that its better to adapt your existing repertoire to their message instead of looking for message related tricks that you don't know as well.
I've also learned that it may be easy to stop a few folks at a time, but building up a crowd takes more effort.
This is of course, stuff you already know. But it took me a step or two to get there. I like what Card Trickster wrote earlier.
What did I do? Basically a twelve minute set every half hour. And when I had some retrun people come by, I went into some of my other regular close up stuff. My planned set consisted of a rope routine and a finger ring routine. Both have lots of opportunities to incorporate the message, and this is what I showed the client in our earlier meeting.
It went well. I got a picture for my website, I got a testimonial letter, and a nice check!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 12/11/02 04:45 PM

Thank you, Larry for clarifying the matter. David has always thought big. I have been a major fan of his since I was a kid. In fact he actually spent an evening coaching me. I don't think he has quite recovered from it.

I fully agree with John. You are so much better off doing what you know rather than trying to do everything from scratch trying to customise things by learning new tricks. I am of the firm belief that the trade show floor is not the place to be trying out new material.

I do things a bit different from other trade show workers. I do not follow standard procedures. I am not saying that standard procedures are wrong. I am simply saying that they are wrong for me. It is all right to break the rules as long as you know you are breaking them and you have good reasons for doing so. In other words, I have given my reasoning a lot of thought.

I do not work with a microphone.
I do not work "mounted". In other words on a platform. Horror of horrors, I know. Gasps of disapproval, I know.
I do not believe in working one or two shows an hour. I work continuously on a play by ear basis.
But continuously. Show after show after show after show. No stopping. Except when I know when. And I do know when.
It is axiomatic that the magician should never sit on the booth. My companies ORDER me a chair!

If there are any trade show workers here they can now go and have a nervous breakdown.
Fine. I didn't say that anyone else has to work my way. I will simply say that my way works for me. And it is me I have to feed.

Bear in mind that I have thought about all these points and I am not going against standard procedure blindly. I will not detail all the reasoning behind my way of working. I do not believe I will convince anyone and I am not sure that I want to. In fact, I don't.

However, I will give a tiny clue to just one thing.

John said he finds it tricky to pull a crowd. That is one of the reasons I prefer not to work on a platform.

I will say no more. I have already said too much.
Very few magicians will have seen me work on a trade show floor. Yet I have drawn thousands of crowds over many, many years on exhibition floors.
Figure that one out.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/02 09:50 AM

Cardtrixter raises an interesting point. There are many ways of being a successful tradeshow magician, not just one. That is why I was curios to find out what John had learned at his show. What works for me today is very different from what worked for Eddie Tullock back when I started doing tradeshows. What works for Cardtrixter sounds similar to the way many european trade show magicians work. I can think of some industries in the US where this low key, personal approach would also be very effective. I can think of many others where it would fail miserably.

If you are a good magician (first step), and a good salesman (second step), and a good businessman (third step) you will find clients who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

It sounds like John learned some very important lessons at his show about what kind of tradeshow magician he is.
Mark
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 12/12/02 09:52 AM

Dear Card trickster,

Sorry for messing up your name!
Card trickster
Card trickster
Card trickster

I'll get it right from now on! By the way, are you anywhere near Toronto? Have you seen David Ben's new show yet?
Mark
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Postby Guest » 12/12/02 02:07 PM

Actually I think cardtrixter sounds better. At any rate it sounds better than some of the other names people call me.

I know David Ben fairly well but shame on me I have not seen his show yet. Even in past years I have not gone to see it. This is a double shame on me since he is performing a 5 minute walk away from where I live.

I am sure it is a good show because of the reviews. I am a particular admirer of Patrick Watson who works with David in the show. Patrick is a Canadian icon.Everybody in Canada has heard of him. He is a broadcaster and was at one time Chairman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He is also an amateur magician. I have always admired his television work and his charisma.

David himself is a very knowledgable magician and is a fine sleight of hand artist. He knows quite a bit about the history of magic too. I think this, although not a necessity gives a certain authority to your work.

Incidentally, with regard to trade shows I am hardly low key. I can probably be heard better without using a mike than others can using one.
Furthermore, I have never seen a European trade show magician in my life.

I have heard a number of trade show magicians remark that Eddie Tulloch would not survive in the trade show environment nowadays. I don't believe a word of it. If his age wasn't a factor
I think he would still outclass many (if not all)of the young hotshots. I think you can say that I am a fan.

I think I am a good magician, I think I am a good salesman. However, I am certainly not a good businessman.

I find though that I don't have to be. It is murder to get a foothold in the trade show business but once you are in all you have to do is be good. I find that people rebook me and I am constantly approached by other companies to work for them. I can't walk around a trade show without other exhibitors calling me over thus giving me a chance to talk them into hiring me.

Of course doing show after show after show does give more people a chance to see you work thus allowing you more opportunity to be spotted by a future client. Method in my madness, I assure you.
Besides the companies love it.

I have studied the way trade show magicians are working nowadays. I do see the difference in approach to the old days. I am old fashioned though and prefer to do things the old way. That is to work your guts out.

Don't worry, though. I do know exactly why the modern breed only do two shows an hour. The crowds they draw are so large that if they do any more than that the neighbouring exhibitors will scream blue murder and you will also stop your own people from doing business. One of the reasons that I don't use a microphone.Too much bloody racket. My own voice is bad enough. I can be heard the other side of the hall sometimes especially if there is slow traffic!

I prefer to draw more manageable crowds, say 50 or so people. Once you draw more than that you are asking for trouble if you want to work continuously.

Years ago, I worked at a trade show for the Canadian division of Hoyle Playing Cards.They, of course knew the famous Bud Dietrich who had worked in the States for them. The salesmen complained "Bud is great but he is so much of a ham that we can't get a word in edgeways.We can't get him to stop so that we can sell."

I always remembered that and vowed never to make the same mistake. I am quite capable of drawing crowds of 100 or more by using a microphone and standing on a box behind a podium. However, I never do. I draw moderate crowds so that people can get past me to the salesmen. I don't want to block up the booth so that nobody can get in.

Mark will work his way and I will work mine. Neither of us is necessarily wrong. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Oh, John wants to know how to pull a crowd. I had better clear up this mounted theory of mine.
When you work mounted you can certainly draw a bigger crowd than if you don't work mounted. More people can see and hear you. Or so the theory goes. However, depending on how you work the idea is not that they see YOU , the idea is that they see the TABLE. If you work mounted (as they all do, it seems) you had better work off the table, I would have thought. The size of the crowd is irrelevant if they can't see the table.

I bet table workers get smaller crowds. As I have explained there is nothing wrong with that at all.

However when you work mounted and you try to get a crowd in the first place you will find it quite difficult if the traffic is quiet. If someone is towering over you it is quite intimidating. People are less likely to come over to you if you are high above them. The intimate atmosphere is not there as it would be if you worked on the same level. If you are not working on the table it is more uncomfortable looking up at the performer.

I have tried it both ways. When I worked mounted people would be reluctant to come over. I would get them eventually because I am good at what I do. I am simply saying it was more difficult.

I abandoned the box and found that it was far easier to pull people over in the first place.Sometimes if the crowd is building I will get up on the box that I carry with me but rarely use.

I believe any fool can draw a crowd at a busy trade show. It takes a good worker to draw a crowd when it is quiet.

Talking about being quiet perhaps I had better be. I do chatter rather a lot.

Mark will now be able to see that I am hardly "low key"
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 12/12/02 02:11 PM

Oh, when I said "off the table" I should have said "away from the table". This is what happens when you talk too much.
Guest
 


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