Genii: The Conjurors' CONVENTION in 2012

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 01:32 AM

Thanks for the ideas: please give me more!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/29/11 03:19 AM

Thanks Richard! (I just got my assignment for the event: I will be spreading rose petals at David Acers feet. Hey, it could be worse...[clap-clap] Wipers!)
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/29/11 05:14 AM

Obviously the East Coast/West Coast thing is always going to be contentious, but there's a really easy way to even things out for everyone.

Hold it in Scotland. Job done.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/29/11 07:49 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Not quite what I was looking for.

What are the most important things YOU would want to see at a convention?


[censored] and Glenn Bishop lecturing. Seriously though, make it an Unconference. I wrote this on my adult marketing blog, but it would work for this idea too, swop out 'adult' for 'magic':

Trade shows are in a massive slump. Same faces. Crap seminars. Over-priced rooms, sponsorships, badges and everything else really.

For too long AVN and Xbiz made a killing selling insanely expensive sponsorships to BROgrams who just wanted to have a d*ck waving contest. Lucky them. They made a load of money. However, the model just is not sustainable as anyone that has been to a show in the last two years will testify.

The porn industry told all the organisers what they wanted to see after the first lousy AVN Vegas. And how did AVN respond? By adding Peddlers of adult toys to the summer show. Genius Dreadful idea.

So what can we do about it?

I propose an Unconference. We all want to get together for a variety of reasons. One is to network. One is to meet old friends/reinforce business relationships. One is to learn new things. One is to party. No one wants to pay 300 bucks to attend. No one needs to be bought sponsored drinks. No one wants keynotes that are VERY thinly disguised product pitches. No one wants round tables where no one is watching.

An unconference would remove all the bad things and keep all the good. It would revolutionise the way porn industry meetings happen.

No badge cost. No sponsorships. No money involved at all. One of the most popular unconferences is a camping trip. Awesome!

There are LOTS of different ways other industries have organised this, and how they work out what events to hold. Some are invite only. Some are free for alls. Some have invited speakers, some have a whiteboard and anyone that wants to speak can speak and it is up to the people there to decide what is popular by voting with their feet. See this image from FooCamp:

Image

The most important thing is it removes the money from the event. Since we can all agree those days of shows in the 90s are over, removing the money from the show will FORCE it to change in a dramatic way.

The goal would be to bring together the adult industry in a way never before seen. What if all the hosting companies got together and talked about how they could make things better? What if shooters talked about the latest kit and techniuqes? What if all the coders sat down and shared knowledge and information?

What if we all had what Smiley from NSCash invented, a No Dinner Plans Dinner where anyone at the show that wasnt on a big boring sponsor dinner could sit down and have a great time and then just split the bill at the end of the night?

Hey, Im just throwing this out there. Im so down for going if anyone else would be!

Further reading

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foo_Camp

http://thenetworkgarden.com/weblog/2009 ... foo09.html
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Reason: Edited for clarity
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Postby Terry » 10/29/11 09:49 AM

Lexington Ring 198 has it's annual Unconventional Convention at the Dupont Lodge in Cumberland Falls State Park. The cost is $30 for magician with family members at no cost. Lodge reservations are $89 per night this year.

They invite 1 guest magician to highlight the weekend and Fri/Sat evening shows are comprised of attending magicians who have come prepared to perform.

It is a chance for everyone to reconnect and just hang out with no real organized events except for the guest lecture, close up show and the 2 evening shows.

Genii's convention would be on a larger scale, but would draw more attendance by keeping costs reduced and being near family friendly attractions.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 11:42 AM

Damian, most magic conventions bear little resemblance to normal real-world trade shows or conventions. I don't think your ideas are applicable.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/29/11 11:52 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Damian, most magic conventions bear little resemblance to normal real-world trade shows or conventions. I don't think your ideas are applicable.


Really? I thought there were stands that are sold, tickets that are sold, people giving seminars and hotels and people chatting in bars?

I've not been to a convention in the US, so maybe they are different from that. Sorry for wasting your time.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/29/11 12:08 PM

I want to see performers who aren't already working the convention/lecture/dvd circuit. I want quality performance environments constructed to maximize both the performer's success and the audience's experience. I want teachers who actually know what they are doing, and are not just glorified magic dealers who call themselves "creators." I want time to hang with my friends (meals, etc) but enough planned activities that I never feel like there is "empty" time. I DON'T want to watch a movie. I DON'T want a contest to be passed off as feature entertainment. I want there to be events which I don't think will appeal to me, but end up becoming a highlight of the event.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 12:48 PM

You're not wasting my time, and I appreciate your input.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/29/11 01:17 PM

Cool. So it's going to be in Scotland, then?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 01:19 PM

I'm not having a convention in any country where men don't wear underwear as a matter of national pride.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/29/11 01:55 PM

To Damians point, having attended both, I recognize the similarities between magic conventions and mainstream industry conferences. However, usually most magic conventions do not have a group of speakers followed by breakout sessions (where the sales pitchas he saysis thinly disguised as a learning session when all it is is a demonstration of some new software or service that you can buy). I can see where Damian links magic lectures to those.

And the usual industry conference always has at least one well-known keynote speaker that everyone looks forward to: generally a bigwig of business or politics (and their fee is why these conferences cost attendees upwards of $2,000 for the eventthankfully my company has always paid my way).

But perhaps the thing that sets the two apart more than anything is the entertainment. Magic conventions have multiple shows. Industry conferences usually have one B or C list entertainer at the end. One year, at a Nielsen Conference, KC and the Sunshine Band was the big hit. I was in Malones Bar, thank you (it was in Boca Raton back when Malones was still open). But I think you get the point.

All that having been said, Damian is exactly right when he says what the main reasons are that the attendees want to be there in the first place: face-time with colleagues and friends you only see during these events and meeting new friends and colleagues (networking). Whenever you read about conventionseven not so good onesthat is always the one positive recurring thread that runs through the comments.

And some recent magic conventionsin a misguided belief that the schedule needs to be packedleave little time for this most important aspect of these events. To this day (though, ironically, they had too much spare time), the best time I had at the last SAM/IBM combined convention in Kentucky was the time spent in the Skywalk, the area that spanned the two towers of the Galt House Hotel. The convention had a room setup for sessions. I never saw anyone in it. Everyone was in the Skywalk. It was brilliant (to borrow a phrase).

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Postby AJM » 10/29/11 01:56 PM

Have you thought about holding it in Blackpool?
No, didn't think so...

Anyways, if it's not going to be Scotland then the East Coast would be fine by me.

How about NYC, we could gather at Harry's place - Harry, is that ok with you?

Seriously, just say when and where and I'll be there.

I'm sure with sessions hosted by the Genii regulars - RK, The Rock, Giobbi, Giorgio, Steinmeyer, Maven, Britland etc - and perhaps some of the Forum regulars too, we would be in for a treat.

Cheers

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/29/11 02:02 PM

We're considering having a room setup where Forum regulars can throw rotten fruit, vegetables, and pies at me.
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Postby David Acer » 10/29/11 02:23 PM

It would be an excellent time to introduce a big, fat, "Best of Magicana" book spanning 75 years. Excellent time.
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Postby Doc Dixon » 10/29/11 03:05 PM

David Acer wrote:It would be an excellent time to introduce a big, fat, "Best of Magicana" book spanning 75 years. Excellent time.


Why not bind it all into several volumes? Make it so, Number One.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 04:16 PM

All of Magicana is available free to every subscriber right now, any time of the day or night, any where in the world. No need for a book.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 04:18 PM

There is already a convention held by a magazine that labors mightily to present itself as a "live" version of that magazine.
No thank you. :) I've got my own ideas.
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Postby Bill Wells » 10/29/11 06:39 PM

Richard -

My first recommendation would be that you need to visit a shrink!

Don't you already have enough to do with the magazine and books?

If the shrink says you do retain some degree of sanity and you really think you have some spare time, then let me know and I will try to talk you out of it :)

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 07:23 PM

Bill, I think anyone who has run a convention (and you have run many) will try and talk me out of it. But Genii will only have one 75th anniversary!
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Postby Doug Thornton » 10/29/11 08:58 PM

Its a great idea, Richard.

Its certainly got to be a labor of love but you have been to enough conventions and know plenty of people who can advise you.

Youve got a great staff who could put on both a stage show and close-up show.

Have Neil Patrick Harris host both.

There are some on the Genii staff I havent met and would love to say hello to. Most of them Ive met and/or seen lecture and/or perform. The others, including Dustin (we could reminisce about Johnny Carson), would be a pleasure to meet. Use Dustins idea of a dunk tank or whatever carnival games available at his expense.

I like the idea of a mix of lectures and a group discussion (panel) or two. A few lost video clips.

Ok, one juggler.

Do it. Make it happen. Ill be there.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/11 09:26 PM

I've been pondering the idea of variety acts in a convention stage show. Not sure how I feel about that.

I'm afraid Neil Harris is a very busy man, and my convention is on the wrong coast!
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Postby skeptic555 » 10/29/11 10:17 PM

One vote FOR variety acts. One thing conventions can do is expose us to things outside our comfort zone (" I'm in a groove now, or is it a rut?"). So bring on the jugglers. Or the stand up comics. Hell, even the geeks and the carnys.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 10/29/11 10:35 PM

Ideas:

Sessions pertaining to topics of high traffic on the Genii forums. (possibly open to only those that have participated online)

Gather the older contributors of regular Genii columns from years past

sessions of discussion, demonstration and teaching devoted to one trick per session

Personally the dealer rooms hold little interest for me. while I understand they are needed for the convention to make money, maybe there is a way to improve the room: an idea that comes to mind is a screening of the dealers to avoid multiple booths selling the same general merchandise. Charge more per unique booth or product but in doing so insure the seller of a less diluted/jaded buying group.

A plan to get people to meet others outside of the their current friends that they just haven't seen in a while. I would suggest at least a thread where attendees can start discussing the events they plan to attend well in advance of the convention.

Maybe a couple large meals with assigned seating. Thus mixing people.
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Postby Ted M » 10/29/11 11:35 PM

I want to see the 24/7 Bob Farmer 10-Card Poker Deal Marathon.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/30/11 12:19 AM

Larry, thanks for your thoughts.
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Postby David Oliver » 10/30/11 12:23 AM

The same unique elements that separate Genii from the other magazines, is what should separate the Genii convention from other conventions.
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Postby Don Hendrix » 10/30/11 12:55 AM

Have two Genii Conventions. One for each coast. Surely there are enough folks who would attend each one to make it worthwhile, and a lot would probably attend both.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/30/11 01:03 AM

Ouch! Let's try just one first.
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/30/11 01:29 AM

You start on the East Coast with all talent on a TRAIN... travel from City to City winding up on the Left Coast. Attendees can ride along and session all the way.

Now, my really great idea will be emailed to you.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/30/11 05:35 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:All of Magicana is available free to every subscriber right now, any time of the day or night, any where in the world. No need for a book.


Except for the fact that people like and buy books. Vernon Touch is available too for free isn't it? I never, ever look at that online and read the book all the time. I know I'd buy a Magicana book.
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Postby IrishMagicNews » 10/30/11 08:04 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Bill, I think anyone who has run a convention (and you have run many) will try and talk me out of it. But Genii will only have one 75th anniversary!


Best of luck with it. If it comes to fruition and I can be of any help publicising it let me know.

With regard to variety acts - from my experience the highlight of any show is always the spec act. Presuming any gala show would be for magicians only and budget allows I'd pack it full of variety acts.

With regard to a suggestion for the convention. Not saying "our way" was best but for Shenaningans last may we made every decision with the attendee in mind. Anything we considered, we always brought up the question. How is this better for the attendee?

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Postby mrgoat » 10/30/11 10:17 AM

I can't stand variety acts. I think 1 in 1000 are worth watching. Otherwise it's just another [censored] juggler doing stuff to that Yellow song.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/30/11 11:54 AM

Been talking to your brother again? :)
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Postby mrgoat » 10/30/11 02:52 PM

I like the idea of sessions devoted to particular effects. Could have classics discussed by experts. That's be awesome.
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Postby Mark Paulson » 10/31/11 02:19 AM

When do you think it would be held? Any chance of having it in late August/early September?
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Postby mrgoat » 10/31/11 04:17 AM

Mark Paulson wrote:When do you think it would be held? Any chance of having it in late August/early September?


Have you been to NYC in August?

That would guarantee me not going, maybe that would be a good plan.
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Postby Doomo » 10/31/11 05:58 AM

Got to agree with the Goat... Please not NY... at any time... Too crowded, expensive, and just plain annoying...

How about Baltimore? If you are set on the east coast...

Also, may I suggest a con suite? Contact Kent Gunn if you are unfamiliar with the concept. Some are.

Also, a film room... Showing old and new vids from magicians... But unusual stuff... And it would run constantly, so you could pop in at any time and catch interesting stuff and leave at will...

A convention only issue of the magazine published there and given to attendees... With contributions by the same...Maybe make it a video issue..

A dealers review of some of the more unusual aspects of items and people who have advertised in Genii... Richard Himbers stuff alone would be great if you included his ads.

A Larsen tribute would be a good idea.. With a parody of one of the Bill Larsen convention reports...

A roast to wrap it all up..

Of course there are all kinds of other things... But it is six in the morning and for some reason I cant sleep....So there ya go....

Almost forgot... More panels with the ever fascinating myspacezhang...
RFA Productions yeah... It is cool stuff.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/31/11 11:23 AM

It definitely would NOT be in New York City.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/31/11 11:50 AM

Have (as part of the convention) a group of magicians perform and teach their favorite effects from Magicana through the years, and video it for DVD.
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