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Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 10:02 am
by Tom Moore
I agree he's quite a "character" (i've been on the receiving end of his campaigns myself) and that FISM blackpool was a piss-poor fism, HOWEVER he's run an event that's made his employers lots of money, he's not damaged his employers brand, indeed he's done things and behaved in EXACTLY the way we'd expect him to. That's grounds for the people that thought he'd do something wonderful to resign, it's grounds for people to never trust him with a high class brand again but it's NOT grounds for resigning as his resignation as president won't achieve anything or make ANY difference.

For the record i've been calling for him to go for 10 years now, i just don't see that this latest "Derek does things his way, regardless of others" incident is any worse than all the previous ones.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 10:03 am
by Richard Kaufman
No, Damian, I mean it. It's an accomplishment to be proud of to get 3,500 magicians from around the world to come to that crap town in the dead of winter for a convention. If the convention wasn't good, magicians wouldn't go to a crap town in the dead of winter.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lever doesn't seem to recognize exactly what his accomplishment is.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 10:09 am
by mrgoat
Oh right, I thought you were joking.

I don't think he does a good job at all. I think he is a mental nazi. It's not hard to get basic things right for a convention. He seems to get most of those things wrong every single year. Booking his friends for cheap rather than good acts, thinking racist sexist acts are acceptable. Cocking up the A/V every year. Cocking up the scheduling every year. Having a convention in places that were falling to bits 30 years ago, etc etc.

There are modern facilities in the UK, there are much better places to travel in and out of and there are places that simply are not Blackpool.

I feel really bad for anyone coming the UK for Levers' convention and thinking Blackpool is representative of the UK, not because Level has booked another Korean dude that does a CD manip act or to hear a comic do gags that weren't funny 30 years ago when being homophobic, sexist and racist was not so publicly hated.

Magicians come because they want to see each other. This could be done better by anyone. Lever always cocks something up. He is old, doesn't get it and should be retired.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 10:36 am
by Ted M
HOWEVER he's run an event that's made his employers lots of money

The beef here is primarily that the employer was served more than the customers.

And given the mandatory sale of an exorbitantly priced (US $234 !!!) book to each attending magician, it would seem that Derek Lever served himself quite handsomely at the expense of the customers as well.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 10:42 am
by Tim Ellis
Richard Kaufman wrote:
Who created the worst FISM convention that any of us have ever been to? (Yokohama aside--I wasn't there)?
Derek Lever.


Yokohama was professionally organised, good acts on the galas, had a nice venue, and very pleasant. The banquet was a botch up though.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 11:08 am
by Tom Moore
The beef here is primarily that the employer was served more than the customers.

And given the mandatory sale of an exorbitantly priced (US $234 !!!) book to each attending magician, it would seem that Derek Lever served himself quite handsomely at the expense of the customers as well.


I'll state it catagorically - i don't like Derek & FISM blackpool was a joke. HOWEVER as convention organiser his responsibilities and loyalty belong to his employer(s). Making lots of money legally (not necessarily ethically) for your employer is NOT grounds for resignation as he has done his job. It's just that generally most convention organisers manage to make money AND put on a great event that makes participants happy. Since there was NEVER any chance of Blackpool hosting FISM again there's no obligation (or consequence) of making participants happy and want to return.

The "problems" highlighted at FISM were all problems that have plagued blackpool convention for years - gala show standards are all over the place, the venue is a dump, organisation is terrible, admin is out-dated and the "free gifts" always seem to have been purchased from Derek's publishing company. As others elsewhere have commented every one of the fears people have had about FISM Blackpool came true, we can't really blame Derek for doing his "usual job" without also blaming the people who thought that somehow he'd miraculously change and deliver a premium experience.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 11:14 am
by Tim Ellis
So earlier in the year, for 90 pounds, Blackpool advertised 37 acts:

Pete Hartley - UK,
Yoo Hyun Min - Korea,
Park Eung Kyoung - Korea,
Yu Ho Jin - Korea,
Charlie Frye & Co - USA,
Chris Hart - USA,
John Martin - UK,
Compagnie Poc - France,
Ken Dodd - UK,
Wayne Dobson - UK,
Christian Farla - Netherlands,
David Ginn - USA,
Garrett Thomas - USA,
Dave Windle - UK,
Do Ki Moon - Korea,
Lee Hun - Korea,
Jimmy Tamley - UK,
Dirk Losander - USA,
Richard Forget - Canada,
Jean Garin - France,
Sebastian Nicolas - Germany,
Les Chapeaux Blancs - France,
Lumina - UK,
Michael Weber - USA,
Ponta The Smith - Japan,
Yuji Jasuda - Korea,
Kim Tae Won - Korea,
Ha Won Geon - Korea,
Danny Cole - USA,
Andost - USA,
Jason Latimer - USA,
Aaron Crow - Belgium,
Marc Metral - France,
Amethyst - UK,
Terry Herbert - UK,
Axel Hecklau - Germany,
David Roth - USA.



And at FISM, for over 400 pounds, they advertised 36 acts:

Boris Wild - France,
Marc Oberon - England,
Shoot Ogawa - U.S.A.,
Mark Mason - U.S.A.,
Jay Scott Berry - U.S.A.,
Kozmo -U.S.A.,
Rocco - U.S.A.,
Michael Weber - U.S.A.,
Henry Evans - Argentina,
David Williamson - U.S.A.,
Cameron Frances - U.S.A.,
Joshua Jay - U.S.A.,
Jon Archer - England,
Eberhard Reise - Germany,
David Stone - France,
Axel Hecklau - Germany,
Michael Ammar - U.S.A.,
Sos and Victoria Petrosyan - Germany
Tony Chapek - U.S.A.,
Soma - Hungary,
Frank Wilson - Holland,
Dolphin Dancers,
Clive Webb and Danny - England,
Victor Michaels - England,
Ernesto Planas - Brazil,
Han Seol Hui - Korea,
Greg Frewin - Canada,
Stan Allen - U.S.A.,
Topas - Germany,
Sabrina Fackelli and Gennady Kil - Germany,
Amethyst - England,
Jupiter - Hungary,
Rafael - Belgium,
Paolo Giua - Italy,
Mike Caveney - USA,
Tina Lenert - USA


"Since FISM had a ticket price 4-5 times that of "Blackpool" yet the product delivered could only have cost (at most) double what the normal convention cost i'd hazard that financially it's been very successful and has made BMC lots of money. Making people lots of money isn't grounds for resignation."

I'm not sure that the BMC would have claimed all the profit. They had to pay for the 150 pound book everyone received. Plus they had to cover the costs of the agency that books all the artists.

Though they did save a lot of money on staging a Gala Show at the banquet night by just sending the registrants on a stroll down the road to visit the local circus. It hardly cost the BMC anything and, as it turned out, was the best Gala Show of FISM.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 11:56 am
by mrgoat
Tim Ellis wrote:I'm not sure that the BMC would have claimed all the profit. They had to pay for the 150 pound book everyone received. Plus they had to cover the costs of the agency that books all the artists.


1) Doesn't Mr Lever's 'agency' book most of the acts, further lining his pocket. Certainly is the case for his regular convention

2) I imagine the book has a cost price of around 10-15. It's clearly a remaindered book, that Derek got FISM to buy, further lining his pocket and shifting unsellable inventory at the same time.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 17th, 2012, 12:16 pm
by CraigMitchell
FISM Grand Prix Show report now posted

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... 116&page=1

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 4:19 am
by wizzard
As I understand it, all acts for the convention and those who lecture for the Blackpool Club are booked through Mr Levers agency. Also, it makes me chuckle how every Blackpool Convention is organised by Derek Lever on BEHALF of Blackpool Magicians Club, no no no, surely it is Blackpool Magicians Club Convention???

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 4:56 am
by Matthew Field
It will be interesting to see how many attendees are at Blackpool for the February convention.

The brands which got damaged the most were British magic (the Dave Allen fiasco -- is this the best Britain has to offer?), British tourism ("Gee this is what all of England is like??") and the FISM brand ("Gee, this is what all FISMs are like??").

Repairing damaged brands is both difficult and expensive. It is too bad that there was no one from the FISM organization overseeing what was going on during the FISM planning.

Matt Field

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six ...fism 2015 goes to italy

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 6:43 am
by Tiggz
First of all, this was not only my first FISM but my first magic convention. I had absolutely no ideas of what to expect so I feel I can be very objective as regards to what happened.

First of all, the reviews written by Craig Mitchell are absolutely true and not exagerrated. But it should be mentioned that the poor quality of the shows really stands out because the level of the competitions was so high.

I really enjoyed the convention and I made a lot of new friends, and saw a lot of amazing magic. However, I would have expected the average level of the shows to be at the top of the competition if they would have entered. That was not the case at all, in fact, one of the stage judges told me that several of the acts in the shows would have been disqualified from the competition because of the poor quality.

For me the introductory message in the programme made no sense at all. I knew nothing of the background or the politics. I simply showed up to be entertained, inspired, meet some amazing people and learn more about magic. I did not expect to have the internal politics of magic pushed down my throat. It just made no sense.

As regards the book I think the criticism is a bit of a red herring. People hone in on it because it was the only visible thing any money had been spent on. Money was certainly not spent on food, the venue or shows. That said, I found the fact that the prize of the book was inlaid on the cover very tacky. The book is very nicely bound so it makes no sense to have such poor taste. But perhaps the organizers simply have really poor taste overall, it certainly seems so from the outside, judging by the acts that were in the shows.

I definately had a great time. But I certainly think that FISM should have some kind of quality control in place or FISM runs the risk of detoriating into something that will be very open to bribes and fraud. I have no doubt that the organizers made a lot of money on this, and it leaves me a bad taste in my mouth that someone would steal so blatantly from his brother magicians. But since we are talking about quite a lot of money, there certainly has to be oversight or future organizers will budget bribes into their overall application for the event.

I will definately go to FISM again, and also go to other conventions. Blackpool however, I doubt I will ever go to that because that would be FISM without all it's good parts: namely the great competitions.

So a big thanks to all great competitors who made FISM such a wonderful experience despite it all!

/Fredrik S

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six ...fism 2015 goes to italy

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 9:16 am
by Richard Kaufman
Fredrik: come to the Genii convention in October and I promise you won't be disappointed!
www.geniiconvention.com

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 11:16 am
by Noel Britten
Matthew Field wrote:The brands which got damaged the most were British magic (the Dave Allen fiasco -- is this the best Britain has to offer?), British tourism ("Gee this is what all of England is like??") and the FISM brand ("Gee, this is what all FISMs are like??").

Repairing damaged brands is both difficult and expensive.

Matt Field



Certainly as co-organiser of another British Convention the first two also went through my mind, in terms of trying to attract new overseas registrants to our event in the future. Like future FISMs, I hope we are not tarred with the same brush. It is difficult and expensive enough to organise a Convention without having to worry about repairing damaged outside perceptions as well.

And whilst I understand why, I also think it's a pity that this furore is overshadowing the fact that, to my mind, the standard of the Competition (which had nothing to do with the organisers) has created at least four of the strongest winners we have had in various categories for many, many years. Their undoubted talents, artistry and preparation should be remembered and heralded much more than it currently is.

Hope to see you in November, Noel

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 11:18 am
by CraigMitchell
Awards show & closing gala show report now posted

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... 116&page=1

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 11:53 am
by Matthew Field
Noel Britten runs the International Magic Convention in London (Ron's Day), a stellar example of how a convention should be run, and one I wouldn't miss attending for the world. (http://www.internationalmagic.co.uk).

That and the Genii Bash are sure to be the highlights of my (magic) year.

Matt Field

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 12:03 pm
by mrgoat
International magic is great I always go. They could learn a thing or two from The Convention though in terms of apps with the scheduling and info on, huge use of twitter etc.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 1:32 pm
by CraigMitchell
All the scores are now available http://www.fism.org/web/scores.pdf

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 1:55 pm
by ForgetRich
I'd still like to see that day 5 review of the competition acts......Crrrrrrrrrraig? :-))

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 3:13 pm
by BenS
The prices printed on the books were to merely dodge tax. As the book and programme are 'free gifts ' ,by writing 150 on the book and 10 on the programme they do not have to pay tax on those, therefore saving 160 for each attendee.

160x3500= 560,000!

Therefore they made a saving of over half a million pounds by writing the made up prices on the books!

You would have though with the money saved they could have afforded a proper convention

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 3:53 pm
by Richard Kaufman
BenS: are you accusing Derek Lever or The Blackpool Magician's Club of committing a crime? If so, then you need to back up what you say with a qualified legal opinion and be prepared to defend that in court or be sued for libel.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 4:35 pm
by Tom Moore
BenS also doesn't seem to understand the basics of how the tax system works....

It doesn't matter what value is printed on an item, the only value that can be offset against tax is the invoiced/actual value paid (otherwise supermarkets would print 150 on every plastic bag they give away and make billions) plus if the Inland Revenue consider you've deliberately over-valued something to avoid paying tax they can simply ignore it and make you pay the tax anyway.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 4:39 pm
by mrgoat
Tom Moore wrote:BenS also doesn't seem to understand the basics of how the tax system works....

It doesn't matter what value is printed on an item, the only value that can be offset against tax is the invoiced/actual value paid (otherwise supermarkets would print 150 on every plastic bag they give away and make billions) plus if the Inland Revenue consider you've deliberately over-valued something to avoid paying tax they can simply ignore it and make you pay the tax anyway.


So if he'd made Fism buy the 10 quid books for, say, 100 then he'd be laughing...

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 6:11 pm
by Tim Ellis
CraigMitchell wrote:All the scores are now available http://www.fism.org/web/scores.pdf


Only one page of scores is showing so far... just Manipulation. More to come?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 9:52 pm
by Ted M
Look again. It's a 4-page PDF.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 10:22 pm
by Jeff Eline
Woody Aragon's from the USA. That's quite a southern accent he has.

Also, what's Micro Magic and how's it different from Close-up?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 18th, 2012, 11:36 pm
by Mark Weidhaas
Woody is an S.A.M. Member and qualified at the SAM-NACM in Pittsburgh.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 12:19 am
by Richard Kaufman
Mirco Magic is what FISM has always called "Close-Up" magic.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 2:14 am
by Pete Biro
MICRO magic also mean NO CARDS

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 4:12 am
by Max Maven
Craig Mitchell writes:

"A dress code in Blackpool is obviously pushing the limits ... Guy Hollingworth arrives on stage in jeans clearly having no idea he would be asked to present, Topas is sporting a peak-cap and Lu Chen in casual gear. And will someone please request the competitors to look the part ... t-shirt & jeans whilst collecting your World Championship Award just looks tacky."

Lu Chen, Guy Hollingworth and Topas were all asked (in advance) by me to be presenters for the FISM Special Awards. If you were unhappy with their wardrobes, the blame goes to me. As I knew that the rest of the awards event would have no particular dress code, I told each of them that they could dress however they liked.

There are hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of things about the 2012 FISM for which Derek Lever deserves condemnation. This wasn't one of them.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 4:23 am
by GayLjungberg
Pete Biro wrote:MICRO magic also mean NO CARDS


Sorry you are wrong:
"Micro Magic: although playing cards are not to be excluded, the act is of a more general nature."
from the FISM contest rules.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 4:26 am
by CraigMitchell
Hi Max

That better explains things ... the lack of formal dress code undoubtedly cheapens everything. And from the audience's perspective does make it look like ( although not necessarily the case ) they were only approached on the day of to present ... which is unfortunate, as the FISM Special Awards category does indeed have meaning.

Considering the wonderful success surrounding the AMA awards show - hopefully you would be willing ( assuming the organisers are open to feedback ) to help guide the 2015 team regarding this element. As all the recipients truly deserve the best for the effort & work they put in to making the FISM contests what they are.

Regards

Craig

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 11:01 am
by Richard Kaufman
Craig Mitchell wrote: "the lack of formal dress code undoubtedly cheapens everything."

Baloney.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 11:46 am
by Q. Kumber
I agree with Craig. If you are receiving a prestigous award or you are presenting one, it should be given a sense of occasion.

Looking like you had just come back from putting graffiti on the sides of trains does cheapen.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 12:11 pm
by CraigMitchell
Richard - please could you explain further. Look at the Oscars. Everyone dresses up for the occasion.

Do you really believe that wearing jeans & tshirt is befitting a championship awards ceremony ?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 12:12 pm
by CraigMitchell
For those interested -

FISM 2012 - Farewell speech - Eric Eswin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGXsR-xX2Ts&feature=plcp

FISM 2012 - Inaugural speech - Domenico Dante
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XdhhjWH4GU&feature=plcp

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 12:13 pm
by David Rie
Who sets the standard? I once went to a club lecture where a dress code was imposed IE no Jeans or Trainers.
Some club members where turned away because they wore Jeans and or trainers
The performer was wearing Jeans and Trainers!!!
Oh Well!

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six ...fism 2015 goes to italy

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 1:12 pm
by Q. Kumber
To me it is not about having standards imposed, it is about common sense. While Lu Chen, Guy Hollingworth and Topas obviously have no dress sense between them :) , surely every competitor must realise there will be an awards presentation and they might be on it and prepare accordingly.

You either are in showbusiness or you aren't.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six ...fism 2015 goes to italy

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 1:49 pm
by Kevin Connolly
[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwCYBJe0o2M[/video]

Re: FISM 2012 - Day Six

Posted: July 19th, 2012, 2:14 pm
by Ted M
CraigMitchell wrote:Richard - please could you explain further. Look at the Oscars. Everyone dresses up for the occasion.

Do you really believe that wearing jeans & tshirt is befitting a championship awards ceremony ?

The Oscars are a promotional event for their industry, aimed at the public and widely broadcast.

FISM is quite internal and private.