Prestige

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 01/05/03 11:55 AM

I'm just now reading "Strong Magic" and find myself in the can't-put-this-down camp. As is always the case, it's the "things you just learned for yourself" items that tend to jump off the page, and the section entitled "Prestige" is one of those for me.

Last week I was the "surprise" feature at a grown-up's birthday party, and I came barrelling into the couple's home with all of my magic stuff, and in the few minutes it took me to set it all up, I was of course bantering with the quite-surprised guests in a playful manner. I had no specific plan to mention it, but in answer to somebody's question, I revealed that I was the President of the Albuquerque Magician's Club.

Guest: "Whoa! Becca [hostess] went right to the top!"

Me: "Oh, yeah! When she called, she said 'Nothing's too good for Jack [birthday boy]!"

I can hardly describe the impact that this information had on the way that these people perceived my magic - and I hadn't even planned to say a word about it. I would have thought it was boastful and irrelevant.

Darwin Ortiz writes that sharing such information with one's audience is not bragging, but is actually for the audience's benefit. "They want to love your magic; you just have to give them permission to do so."

Well. Permission granted, and now I know.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/05/03 12:51 PM

Ah, yes...

Some say that "perception" is 90%. Some say that it's everything.

Case-in-point: I occasionally receive calls to perform, although I'm not a performer per se and do not advertize or solicit in this regard. One day a woman called and said that she was looking for a close-up magician for a corporate hospitality venue. She also said that I was recommended by a top-notch corporate "worker," who could not work this particular gig due to a scheduling conflict.

I explained to the woman that I did not really do such things and spend most of my timing writing. Besides, my fee is generally higher than the going rate. (I lied.)

"By the way," I asked, "what IS your budget for entertainment in this case?"

She explained that it was about $200 per hour with a three-hour minumum. I told her that that fee was a bit low. (I was of course exaggerating. If you don't care if you get a gig or not, permits you to be quite cavalier and diffident.)

I then asked her who the client was. She explained that it was for a cabal of very rich cigar-smokers who were gathering to sample high-priced cigars (as others sample wine at wine-tastings).

"Oh," I said, off-handedly, "I wrote a book called THE AMAZING CIGAR that has all kind of tricks, stunts, and fun things to do in it."

INSTANTLY, the woman's tone changed. She then asked if I had copies of the book and could demonstrate this stuff. I told her: "No problem."

At this point, she definitely wanted me AND the book. She could then advertize an AUTHOR, not a card trickster. She asked, "How much would you charge to do this?"

Again, acting somewhat indifferent, I blurted: $4000...

She didn't bat an eye.

Why?

AS just mentioned, she was hiring an AUTHOR, not a guy who did cute, close-up tricks. She could then tell her client that they would be getting an author-celebrity, a book, and as a BONUS, he would entertain you with cigar magic.

Her perception of me was different.
Her client's perception would also be different.

...and that's the name of that tune!

Onward...
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 01/05/03 08:57 PM

Jon,

From the business point of view you did everything correct. Unfortunatly, it reenforces the stereotype of magicians as being less then second tier entertainment and certainly not artists. Like Rodney Dangerfield, we get no respect.

Your story does raise the question about the woman's experience with the other "top-notch corporate worker". Was she used to getting just a "card trickster"? Has she possibly not experienced a "magician", someone capable of giving memories. The people she hires should not be another piece of furniture in the suite, but an integral part of the entertainment.

Of course, your cigar magic made you a part of the evening and not a throw-in.

Larry
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Postby pduffie » 01/06/03 02:28 AM

I believe Bill Clinton was an avid reader of Jon's book.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/06/03 08:52 AM

Monica L. did a book signing on the west bank of New Orleans at a Books-a-Million. She drew a huge crowd. Long lines. They had two port-a-cans outside.

I bought her book and had her sign THE AMAZING CIGAR. I suppose this is a collectible of sorts.

(Boy! Is this trivia or what?)

Onward...
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