I was a member in the FISM 2006 group and at the time vice president of Swedish Magic Circle who was the FISM-host.
What I write now is my personal opinions and is not the FISM organization or the Swedish Magic Circles opinion.
To organize a huge convention like FISM isn't easy.
You have to cope with the FISM organizations strict rules and business. You have to cope with TV production companies.
You have to deal with the local convention bureau that are in it for the money and holds a very tight budget.
And, finally, you have to deal with magicians from all over the world with different cultures.
You have to be a great diplomat to make all these companies, organizations and cultural differences work together.
Naturally everything is not everybodys cup of tea.
Something that is great in one country is bad in another etc, etc.
The Swedish Magic Circle, could only put in their members who worked for free or helped in other ways (300+ members scattered over Scandinavia where only a small percentage could help out).
We really tried our best but you should all know that theres a lot of politics going around an organization as big as FISM (the same politics you probably find at other magic conventions in the US and elsewhere as well).
If we could do the FISM 2006 convention again we would do some parts in another way and some parts the same.
You have to remember that a FISM group is put together mostly by amateur magicians who seldom stand on a stage.
They have to work with convention bureaus that are used to attend to corporate conventions where you just need a lavalier microphone and a good connection to a computer to show PowerPoint presentations on a screen.
They have often no, or very small, experience when it comes to technical requirements, lights and viewing abilities of a magic act. Their main concern is to balance the budget and tries to cut everything that is costly and then makes a profit (hey, its a business for them).
You have no idea how hard I (with my background as a professional performer) worked with them so that they could understand how important good sound and lights are and that there will be a need of an extremely professional crew when it came to the backstage people and light- and sound technicians.
They are used to handle professors from universities who need a headmike and a PC and not competition-nervous magicians with hot temper and great egos.
Nothing wrong with that.
The convention bureaus do events like this all the time but the magic events are extremely different.
A few month before FISM 2006 the convention bureau we hired for FISM 2006 (StoCon) held a one week long convention for 20 000 heart surgeons at the same venue we later used.
Thats a piece of cake for them but handling 3000+ magicians was something they never thought could be so difficult.
For example did not even ONE of the 20 000 surgeons break out in a fistfight or was spitting a ticket controller in their face (yes, that and other bad behavior happened at FISM 2006).
BUT; The idea with FISM is great and I think everybody will agree with that.
Look at FISM winners like Michael Ammar, Daryl and others who still use their gold medal winning in their CV.
We all look up to Fred Kaps and his three FISM wins.
Look at Lance Burton who starts his show with his gold medal winning dove act at the same time as he speaks about that he went to FISM , also called the Olympics of magic, and I was the first American who won the gold (at least he did that when I saw him last time at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas).
Yes, Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy didnt compete in FISM but Lance did and it was a big break for him.
It is up to us how we respect a FISM gold medal and a world champion magician.
I think a more global FISM would be great. Why not really try making it into the Olympics of magic?
But it is up to us, the magicians.
FISM has been around for a long time and I know the FISM organization is trying to change FISM so it is a more modern organization. If we all give it a few years I think the idea will set and the FISM in the future will be much, much better.
Hopefully a FISM member club in the US will try to organize a FISM in the future?
You see, a magic organization has to bid for the FISM and show that they can cope with the demands. Its not that FISM themselves organize a convention in the US.
Anyway; I suggest that you all read more about FISM and FISMs goal at this URL
FISM has its flaws but hopefully they will be lesser and lesser in the future.
I will never personally be in a FISM group again but I do not regret I was part of FISM 2006 in Stockholm.
Even though you read some negative comments about FISM 2006 so many others really had a great time in Stockholm and thought it was one of the absolute best FISM:s, but you cant please everybody.
I really wish FISM 2009 in Beijing good luck. Unfortunately I cannot attend but I hope there will be a lot of magicians from different cultures visiting China, have fun, compete, make friends and be a part the brotherhood of magic all over the world.
Former part of the FISM 2006 group in Stockholm, Sweden