Why FISM?

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mrgoat
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Why FISM?

Postby mrgoat » June 4th, 2014, 7:14 pm

don't many Americans come to FISM?

I will be doing the marketing for FISM 2015 in Italy. And we know already not many Americans come to FISM.

Can I start this thread as a market research exercise?

Why don't you come?

What would make you come?

I'd really, really love your honest feedback. It would help me hugely in the marketing of the event.

Thanks genii folk!

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Why?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 4th, 2014, 7:17 pm

I would guess that the number one reason is the cost, and the fear of not understanding a foreign language.

Most Americans speak only one language.

It's very expensive to go to other countries.

There are plenty of magic conventions to choose from in the USA.
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Re: Why?

Postby Q. Kumber » June 4th, 2014, 8:05 pm

I'm not American but can add a personal viewpoint and observation.

FISM is traditionally European.

It is six days - six full days, which is a lot for any conference. And as Richard said, can be expensive. It is difficult to build momentum for six days. After four days, recalling anything about the first day, or even what day of the week was the first day is an onerous task, and if you've been drinking, impossible.

FISM is really about the competitions. If you like watching magic acts all day, FISM is for you. I realised years and years ago that if you miss the competition (not just at FISM but at any convention), you will get to see the best acts anyway at other conventions over the next few years. For those who like the competition, FISM is an orgasmic feast.

In its favour, FISM does attract a higher level of delegate than the average convention.

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Re: Why?

Postby Max Maven » June 4th, 2014, 9:57 pm

Mr. J, your information is off. American attendance at FISM has been substantial during the past couple of decades.

Of course creating alternative domestic events scheduled just a few months later is not a helpful element in that regard.

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Re: Why?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 4th, 2014, 11:41 pm

Max, the number of Americans is, I believe, a few hundred. Certainly less than 300. This is why Stan is ignoring FISM and proceeding with MAGIC Live so soon afterward. He doesn't think it will drain that many attendees. He may be underestimating the allure of the beach in Italy in July vs. the sweltering concrete of Las Vegas in August.
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Re: Why?

Postby Brad Henderson » June 5th, 2014, 12:54 am

My schedule prevents my attendance, HOWEVER there are two concerns I would have about attending:

1) airfare/currency rates. Depending on location, air and hotel can get quite expensive. If I'm going to spend that much money in a foreign country I think I would be more inclined to do it as a tourist of that country/region than as an attendee to a convention. If I felt that I got to experience some of the city/region as an integrated part of the convention - that might sway me

2) horror stories of nasty crowds, pushing and shoving to fight for seats, and over flow rooms where once watches magic on TV are a HUGE obstacle for me. If I'm spending money to watch great magic, I want to be able to get the experience of having seen great magic. I want to know I have a seat and that seat will allow me a professional level theatrical experience. When you spend real money and invest real time and energy you don't want amateur hour on logistics, or spend your time waiting in line, worried if you will get a seat.

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Re: Why?

Postby Dustin Stinett » June 5th, 2014, 1:04 am

It’s always been cost for me. 2012 was supposed to be my first, but then the location became an issue. No offense, after what many people have told me about the town, I really did not want to spend the majority of my first-ever trip to Europe in Blackpool. Then I had what we will simply call a “major life change” in 2013 so cost is once again the key consideration. Otherwise I would love nothing more than to spend part of the summer of 2015 in Italy.

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Re: Why?

Postby mrgoat » June 5th, 2014, 10:50 am

This is all very useful. Thanks.

I think I'll use the slogan:

"It's not Blackpool".

:D

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Re: Why?

Postby Tom Pilling » June 5th, 2014, 11:37 am

That'll do the trick :D

And images like this:

Image

as opposed to this:

Image

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Re: Why?

Postby mrgoat » June 5th, 2014, 12:27 pm

Excellent idea.

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Re: Why?

Postby Matthew Field » June 5th, 2014, 12:53 pm

Only about 30% of Americans have passports.

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Re: Why?

Postby Ted M » June 5th, 2014, 1:30 pm

Americans with regular jobs also have much less vacation time (on average) than their European counterparts.

A week-long convention requiring a day's travel on each end is very costly not just in money, but in time.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2014, 1:59 pm

Addressing Brad Henderson's notes:

1. If you've never been to a FISM, it's a completely different experience than any other convention. It has a unique quality and feeling. Yes, it's expensive (particularly right now since the Euro is high and the dollar low--but considering that the European Central Bank has just made some drastic moves to stop deflation, the currencies stand a good chance of coming more into line in the next year), but you have to go to a FISM (excluding the one in Blackpool) to understand whether you feel it's worthwhile or not. In this case, you have all of Italy in which to vacation before, during, or afterward. That should make it very attractive. One thing to note: most people who go to FISM, ALWAYS go to FISM. That should tell you something.

2. Organization at some FISMs is poor--Stockholm is one the one where there was a near riot. I think the organization in Italy will be excellent. Walter Rolfo has been running the Masters of Magic convention in St. Vincent for decades and has lots of experience. Plus, the venue in Rimini is beautiful. The room where the close-up contest will be held has many more seats than at any previous FISM, I believe. Can everyone attending the convention get into that room? No. Those who don't make the effort to get up and wait in line will watch via external video. But most people know well in advance how many seats are in the theater and choose whether to wait in line or just watch on the monitors (some people actually prefer the monitors because you have a better view--I'm one of them).

I think it will be a good FISM, Brad, a very good FISM. Walter Rolfo has assembled a very experienced committee, the ICC, to help him every step of the way. I'm in the committee, and while the least experienced in some areas, I can see the expertise of the other members: Luis de Matos, Max Maven, Topas, and Ton Onosaka. They know what they're doing. Plus Walter has a room full of people who've worked for him full time for many years--they are loyal and smart. I met them a few weeks ago.

I'm proud to be part of this FISM. You should go.
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Re: Why FISM?

Postby PickaCard » June 5th, 2014, 2:59 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Addressing Brad Henderson's notes:

But most people know well in advance how many seats are in the theater and choose whether to wait in line or just watch on the monitors (some people actually prefer the monitors because you have a better view--I'm one of them).


If watching a monitor is satisfying, I would love to be able to watch this from home on my computer, sort of like EMC. Any chance of that ever happening?

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby mrgoat » June 5th, 2014, 3:13 pm

PickaCard wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Addressing Brad Henderson's notes:

But most people know well in advance how many seats are in the theater and choose whether to wait in line or just watch on the monitors (some people actually prefer the monitors because you have a better view--I'm one of them).


If watching a monitor is satisfying, I would love to be able to watch this from home on my computer, sort of like EMC. Any chance of that ever happening?


I brought that up at the ICC meeting in Italy last week, but it'd be technically so hard to do.

Maybe in the future when it all gets easier to do, but not for FISM 2015.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Brad Henderson » June 5th, 2014, 6:49 pm

RK, I hope this is a great FISM. That does not change the perception of someone who hasn't been to one that they are inconsistent and erratic. I base that entirely on FISM reports in trade magazines and reports from friends who have attended them.

i cannot attend because of my performance schedule. I have contemplated trying to work around it, but it seems (based on the reports) that going is always a gamble.

So - in an effort to help Damian with his question - I would suggest that eliminating this fear may go a long way in attracting would be convention goers. Assigned seats and no spill over rooms may make a difference. if I'm paying several hundred dollars for a ticket I don't want to have to fight to see the show I paid for. if admission were free, it may be a different story.

Perhaps making the experience of the convention organizers known could help. A statement of their goals in creating a pleasant attendee experience, with specific examples of policies intended to achieve those goals, may help. It is unfortunate that a great team must deal with the expectations set by poor teams. Better to know your customers perceptions and address them then continue forward blindly, yes?

Likewise, vacationing the month before or after is an unlikely prospect given cost and time. If I have a few thousand dollars that I am going to spend on a trip to Europe, I would rather spend it seeing Europe than a bunch of card tricks - many of which I will see more affordably at magic live, the magic castle, or perhaps even the genii event.

However, in an effort to help Damian with his question, if I felt I was getting to experience the culture and city of the convention AS WELL as seeing card tricks, I would be more likely to make that investment.

Damian asked why more Americans do not attend. I hope my reasons prove useful in his attempt to attract more attendees.

and please note: I think the problem isn't with this convention in Italy per se but the larger baggage that seems to be attached to FISM conventions as a whole. I hope this one is great and wish I could make it for all the reasons you mention. my comments apply to FISM in general.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Bill Mullins » June 5th, 2014, 8:33 pm

I'm a middle-aged guy with a job and a family. For me to go on a trip for magic (which my wife and son won't participate in) I have to use up:

1. Money from the family budget.
2. Vacation time from my job, that isn't used for a family vacation.
3. "Good Will" from my wife, who has to do double duty on the child rearing front while I'm away (she has a job of her own).

So for me to go to FISM, I'd have to make big withdrawals from all of those accounts. I could go to a couple of regional conventions or even the national conventions, have a great time, see more of my magic friends and use up less money, time, and good will than it would take to go to FISM.

If I really wanted to go, I could. I'd just rather use the resources it would take to do so elsewhere. For me to want to make the commitment to go to FISM, it would have to look better than going to Magic Live and the Genii Bash and the IBM/SAM convention all combined, and it doesn't.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby lybrary » June 5th, 2014, 8:50 pm

It might also help to look at the reverse situation. How many Europeans attend the big American conventions? I don't know the numbers, but my guess would be they probably look very similar to the numbers for Americans attending FISM, because the reasons for not attending will be more or less the same.
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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2014, 10:06 pm

That's true, Chris. Though I seem to remember far more from the UK and Europe at American conventions when I was young.
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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Bill Mullins » June 5th, 2014, 11:03 pm

I was surprised at the number of Japanese people who attended the Genii Bash. But Genii and Kaufman books have always given special attention to Japanese magic.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2014, 11:20 pm

I also had Dr. Sawa and Tomo Maeda booked: both magical stars in their country.
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Re: Why FISM?

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2014, 4:14 am

Brad Henderson wrote:RK, I hope this is a great FISM. That does not change the perception of someone who hasn't been to one that they are inconsistent and erratic. I base that entirely on FISM reports in trade magazines and reports from friends who have attended them.

i cannot attend because of my performance schedule. I have contemplated trying to work around it, but it seems (based on the reports) that going is always a gamble.

So - in an effort to help Damian with his question - I would suggest that eliminating this fear may go a long way in attracting would be convention goers. Assigned seats and no spill over rooms may make a difference. if I'm paying several hundred dollars for a ticket I don't want to have to fight to see the show I paid for. if admission were free, it may be a different story.

Perhaps making the experience of the convention organizers known could help. A statement of their goals in creating a pleasant attendee experience, with specific examples of policies intended to achieve those goals, may help. It is unfortunate that a great team must deal with the expectations set by poor teams. Better to know your customers perceptions and address them then continue forward blindly, yes?

Likewise, vacationing the month before or after is an unlikely prospect given cost and time. If I have a few thousand dollars that I am going to spend on a trip to Europe, I would rather spend it seeing Europe than a bunch of card tricks - many of which I will see more affordably at magic live, the magic castle, or perhaps even the genii event.

However, in an effort to help Damian with his question, if I felt I was getting to experience the culture and city of the convention AS WELL as seeing card tricks, I would be more likely to make that investment.

Damian asked why more Americans do not attend. I hope my reasons prove useful in his attempt to attract more attendees.

and please note: I think the problem isn't with this convention in Italy per se but the larger baggage that seems to be attached to FISM conventions as a whole. I hope this one is great and wish I could make it for all the reasons you mention. my comments apply to FISM in general.


That's really useful feedback, thanks Brad. And yes, I am trying hard to get allocated seating sorted. Found a Joomla plug in that looks like it will do the job. Only downside is that when 95% of the seats are gone would you be happy booking one knowing you would be in the back row on the far right...

Double edged sword.

But the stuff about the 'qualifications' of the organisers and how it will be different is really good. Thanks again. (To everyone, this thread is very useful for me).

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Q. Kumber » June 6th, 2014, 4:40 am

If you can get more Americans to come, great. But why not Canadians, South Americans and Australians? What's wrong with them? But if you do want more Americans, I'd aim for rich retired ones.

However from a marketing standpoint isn't it better to aim for the low-hanging fruit? Surely it's easier to get more Europeans to come as they are there already?

As for allocated seating - seating is allocated for the shows at FISM but not the competitions.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2014, 7:21 am

Q. Kumber wrote:If you can get more Americans to come, great. But why not Canadians, South Americans and Australians? What's wrong with them? But if you do want more Americans, I'd aim for rich retired ones.

However from a marketing standpoint isn't it better to aim for the low-hanging fruit? Surely it's easier to get more Europeans to come as they are there already?

As for allocated seating - seating is allocated for the shows at FISM but not the competitions.


Sorry for the confusion, of course we want as many people from as many places as possible to come, but at a discussion I was led to believe not THAT many Americans come over and I wondered why.

Of course, we can open the discussion to the world, rather than just Americaland. And yes, or course Europe will be top of the list for marketing.

Thanks Q

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 6th, 2014, 11:30 am

Yes, seating is always determined in order of registration for FISM shows. The competitions should all be open seating, with those who are willing to make the effort to get on line early getting the best seats. It's your choice to wait on line or not--it depends on how badly you want a particular seat. That, in my opinion, is the best way to do it. It levels the playing field.

For the close-up competition, which takes place in a room that will not hold the entire convention attendance, there should be a staff member, a "counter," walking the line so that once the maximum number of people are lined up, those behind that person can be told that there are no more seats in the theater. That way they are not stuck standing there, thinking they are going to get in. I've seen this happen repeatedly at Disney events and it really makes people angry.
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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Larry Horowitz » June 6th, 2014, 2:32 pm

You asked not only why not, but also what would make us come to FISM.

How about an organized charter flight from the US. Traveling in groups is more fun. And a full plane may allow for negotiated lower flight cost.

A continually updated list of registrants.

Activities/tours planned for wives or kids not interested in magic.

If it can be shown that there is a significant cost difference in travel for those from the US as opposed to Europe, maybe there could be a discounted registration fee.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby GlennWest » June 6th, 2014, 2:55 pm

Does FISM offer something that conventions in the US don't?

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby John Signa » June 6th, 2014, 5:51 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:I've seen this happen repeatedly at Disney events and it really makes people angry.

Ugh! I had almost forgotten about "that" event. For a company that seems to have line management down to a science in the parks, the management at D23 Expo was some of the worst I'd ever experienced.

Time for me to schedule some more therapy sessions.

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 6th, 2014, 6:00 pm

Yes, FISM does offer something US conventions don't: most of the attendees and acts are not American. FISM (Blackpool excepted) has a completely unique feel, and one of the reasons is that it's like the Olympics where world champions are chosen.
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Re: Why FISM?

Postby Brad Henderson » June 6th, 2014, 6:09 pm

wasn't it caveney who observed that FISM is like the Olympics and a high school track meet combined?

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Re: Why FISM?

Postby CraigMitchell » June 7th, 2014, 2:36 pm

Interesting thread ... And I think that Mike Caveney hits the nail on the head in so many respects ;-)

FISM, however, is something special.

It is a chance for the *world* family of magic to come together and celebrate our art in a true universal fashion.

And as with any family - we have black sheep & memories we would rather forget ( 2012 - Blackpool springing to mind ;-)

Italy, however, should be different. There is the promise of trying to restore the sheen ... of giving FISM back the 'touch of class' it so richly deserves.

With regards to US attendees - Americans are generally spoiled for choice in their own backyard when it comes to events. And unless you are someone who regularly travels overseas - FISM is an expensive endeavour compared to domestic offerings.

For those who do want to explore the world of magic outside of the US 'norm' - there can be no better start than FISM ... and Italy in summer provides the perfect excuse to head on over to Europe.

Yes - it is expensive. Will it be worth it ? I hope so ... they have a great team and are working hard to deliver the promise of everything that FISM should be.

If you are serious about your magic - you need to experience FISM at least once in your life. Once you've been bitten by the FISM bug - you'll be back. Guaranteed.


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