One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Mike Rubinstein » March 1st, 2009, 11:51 am

I've bought one trick DVD's (signed coin in soda can - GREAT trick, and worth the price), and sold one trick DVD's (Coins though the table - $10) - it depends on the quality of the trick, and the price. I prefer this over a DVD with several effects, that contains filler (too many to mention). Have you noticed that a DVD can contain up to 2 hours of quality data, yet many DVDs contain LESS than one and a half hours of stuff? Whats wrong with that picture? When I produce DVD's with the New York Coin Magic Seminar group, we try to give the buyer value, with about 2 hours or more per DVD, and no filler, for the usual DVD price of $35. We have needed a double layer DVD for a few of the volumes, and it costs a few cents more, but heck, magicians should get good value for their money!

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Jeff.Prace » May 2nd, 2009, 6:58 pm

People are buying "one trick DVDs" because they are always looking for the one trick that will make them famous. Too bad that trick will never come, but they don't know that. So when they see something they like, they'll buy it.
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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby bluesparx1902 » May 3rd, 2009, 6:13 am

Jeff.Prace wrote:People are buying "one trick DVDs" because they are always looking for the one trick that will make them famous.


Not really. Buyers of one-trick DVDs are, by and large, hobbyists whose ambitions are likely no loftier than the satisfaction of curiosity. It's a natural urge and not always a bad thing.

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Scott M. » May 3rd, 2009, 2:28 pm

I'm a hobbyist but I'm not a big fan of one-trick DVDs and actually buy very few of them. However, I think the reason they are successful is because they are easily marketed. Because they just contain one trick it's easy to be very clear and focused about what's being promoted. I think when creators have clear and distinct personas multi-trick DVDs can work well, but too often the buyer is faced with a magician he/she doesn't know so well and a bunch of effect descriptions that read like too many other sets of effect descriptions.

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Matt Sedlak » May 18th, 2009, 8:23 pm

On the one hand I never really enjoyed DVDs other than watching the performances. I prefer to read but that is mainly a preference and I will admit that DVDs have many benefits. The one thing I enjoy about all these one-trick DVDs and instant downloads also runs me into a slightly ethical dilemma. Often these one-trick ponies are advertised with a demo showing a performance of the effect. 9 out of 10 times it is easy enough to figure out the method anyway. Now what? Should I purchase the thing because I figured it out? Not really. But should I be able to perform it because I figured it out? My personal feelings tell me that I should not. If I want to perform it I should pay for it. But it could be a grey area for some.

My biggest problem with these things is how often they are just rediscovered material being offered for sale again. I don't think the intentions of the re-creator's are necessarily bad but they just fail to do their homework. Some of the stuff that is in print is pretty buried and even knowledgable people would miss it. But in the rush of trying to get things out I don't think people even check.

One of the newer online magic shops has been putting out some downloads recently of essentially rediscovered items from older periodicals/manuscripts. In the process of putting out a book, which takes much more time than an download, it seems more likely the producers would have done more fact checking.

Technology will continue to change the way we get information and while some of us may hate the newer methods there really is little we can do about it. But hopefully producers will start to spend more time researching proper credits even though they may feel their customers won't really care.

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 18th, 2009, 9:39 pm

Someone brought up the original Stars of Magic earlier in this thread. I think the original pamphlets, when issued singly, sold for $3 each. That would be about the equivalent of the price of a one-trick DVD today.

If I could have the original magicians teaching their tricks from Stars of Magic on DVDS, I would buy an entire set one trick at a time. No question, no problem. And it would be a good deal.

However, how many books (and groups of tricks) can we point to of such high quality? Few.

Because of the proliferation of one-trick DVDs, books are selling so poorly at the moment that all of my publishing projects are on hold. I'll keep writing and working on them, but at the moment there's no point in putting out a book because of the small numbers in which it will sell. And since most of the books I'm writing are about dead guys anyway, they're not around to make one-trick DVDs of their material.
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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Terry » May 20th, 2009, 6:59 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:...And since most of the books I'm writing are about dead guys anyway, they're not around to make one-trick DVDs of their material.


Leave that up to the clowns who'll hold their nose another way, claim the change as an improvement and release a DVD of their "new groundbreaking" work.

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Randy Naviaux » May 20th, 2009, 10:07 pm

"Because of the proliferation of one-trick DVDs, books are selling so poorly at the moment that all of my publishing projects are on hold."

Augh!!! Say it ain't so! I've been waiting for the next two Jennings books for years. This will force me to keep practicing effects in the 50 or so books I already own.

The injustice of it all.

(Maybe you need a trick tester for the galleys?)

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 20th, 2009, 10:11 pm

Maybe I need some more customers who would rather buy a book than a one-trick DVD!

Perhaps I should put out one-trick BOOKS.

Oh ... that's called a pamphlet.

Maybe I should put out $25 pamphlets. Isn't that what Docc Hilford is doing?
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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby erdnasephile » May 20th, 2009, 10:15 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Because of the proliferation of one-trick DVDs, books are selling so poorly at the moment that all of my publishing projects are on hold.


And that encapsulates the real tragedy of the "satisfaction now" attitude of the magiclumpen.

After all, why read (or write) a book when you can slap something together that'll sell and be consumed and forgotten like so many potato chips.

I'm no Luddite, but the thought of so much of Mr. Jenning's material possibly never seeing the light of day makes me sick to my stomach.

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 21st, 2009, 5:59 am

It'll come out. The business model has to settle down a bit first.
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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Darryl Harris » May 21st, 2009, 9:28 am

It really breaks my heart that magicians would rather spend $29.95 for one lousy trick on DVD than $40.00 on a book that will teach them 25 or 30 effects. I would venture to say that most of the people putting out videos today learned their craft from books.
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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Joe Mckay » May 21st, 2009, 7:21 pm

Richard,

I think many book-lovers would be happy to pay a premium to support the publication of new magic books. With so few magic books being published, alot of magicians are looking for places to spend their magic bucks. As such, I am sure many would be happy to pay 2/3 (put me in at 4/5) times the amount that used to be charged for magic books. I mean - it seems we won't be able to go back to the days when you could pick up 4 brand new magic books for $120 (partly because so few magic books are being green-lighted) - But I would be delighted to pay $120 for even just one magic book (that wouldn't otherwise be published). If magicians baulk at paying such prices, they should remember they can re-sell their books on Ebay. As such - more magic gets published, more information is contributed to the community and everybody is a winner.

These are difficult times. I have recently started to purchase magic DVDs. I feel I have being forced into this since the glory days of the late nineties have faded (remember how many great magic books were published, every single month?). I would love to support the magic book industry - but, if none are published then the opportunity to do so is not there. It seems also that alot of projects that would make nice books are now being put out as DVD projects instead. This puts a book-lover like me in a difficult situation. I really don't like magic DVDs, but I really do like learning cool new stuff. What is a guy to do? I just hope that the magic producers realise that alot of magicians feel forced into buying magic DVDs and would be far happier buying magic books...

Perhaps, Richard, you could consider funding some of your projects via subscriptions? There must be some novel way of funding these things to make it more economical. For instance - You could have 100 people agree to pay $150 to buy a new book (after the first 100 books are sold - it can then go on sale at magic shops for the usual price). To some magicians $150 is worth it for a new book, and they wouldn't mind if other magicians are then able to buy it at much cheaper prices. Perhaps, you should try (as an experiment) this sort of thing for just one book and then see how it goes? The marketplace seems to be in flux and ideas such as this (that may have failed in the past) would be more successful today. I believe many magicians are concerned with the state of the magic book industry and would be willing to explore novel solutions...

Imagine if you fell into a coma and woke up in three years time and found the two new Larry Jennings books had being published and were now out of print. Wouldn't you be prepared to pay over the odds on Ebay to buy a copy? Well - why not bring forward the moment of 'paying over the odds' in order to support a book's very existence in the first place?

Another idea would be to just print a very small number of magic books and then charge magicians to lend them from you for a set period of time. Man - I must be getting desperate, since that sounds like a pretty terrible idea...

Perhaps the rampant piracy of magic dvds will make magic books (relatively) more attractive as commercial propositions for the magic manufacturers? Also - most magicians I know (who like books) are really only interested in the information. As such, I would be perfectly happy to see important magic books released as plain old comb-binded books (is that the right term? You know, the books that lie flat on the table). This could reduce costs and it actually makes learning sleights easier. Some of the most wonderful books I own have being like this. My 'Collected Tricks of Bob Hummer' (like all of Karl Fulves' wonderful stuff) is no less valuble to me because it isn't in some fancy schmanzy binded glossy book with a three-colour dustjacket. Indeed - most book guys don't even need illustrations or photos to learn from a book (I have enjoyed hundreds of card tricks from IBIDEM, THE JOHN HILLIARD NOTEBOOKS, THE CASTLE NOTEBOOKS, THE DALEY NOTEBOOKS, THE CRIMP, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CARD TRICKS and THE COMPLETE WALTON without the aid of illustrations or photos). It is the information that counts...

I would be happy supporting an e-book release if that was (sadly) the only option available. At least they can be printed off from a local print-shop...

It is amazing to think back to a time (about twelve years ago) when people complained that too many magic books were being published. Well - better feast than famine...

Joe

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Re: Genii Speaks (July, 08)

Postby Terry » May 22nd, 2009, 3:49 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Maybe I need some more customers who would rather buy a book than a one-trick DVD!

Perhaps I should put out one-trick BOOKS.


You're still in the same boat either way. Here in KY, there are a lot of younger people who have to take remedial reading courses just to begin college classes. I am NOT joking here.

Since hitting my 40's, I have become selective on what books I am willing to purchase. The remaining Jennings books are two that I am interested in.

One suggestion would be to only offer a pre-order of any book. That way you could judge interest and sales numbers to prevent over-stocking.

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Philippe Noël » January 4th, 2010, 1:59 pm

Have you noticed that Harry Lorayne and Richard Kaufman have something in common? They like that their customers get their money worth from what they buy from them. I imagine that is why Richard is so upset with those worthless one trick DVD's.
So Richard, how about creating a money's worth score and applying this money's worth score to each product reviewed in Genii?

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 4th, 2010, 2:45 pm

I don't care for any type of rating in product reviews, such as thumbs up or down, star ratings, dollar value, and so on.

I may well do the DeLand book by subscription. Once we see how many pages it's going to be, and how we can fit the color sections in, I can figure out the retail price and see how many books I need to sell to pay for the printing (which is what I am most concerned about, because it's a minimum of $20,000 due to the color). That's probably why I won't be able to wholesale the book--the only way to pay for the printing is to sell retail only and take in enough money to pay the printer within 30 days of publication.
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Paul Gordon » January 4th, 2010, 2:58 pm

I think the one-trick DVDs are a total con. What irks me (at my dealer stand at conventions) is when folks sometimes gripe about the price of a 20 book of mine (200 pages/50 items etc) and then go and happily buy a 20-minute 20 one-trick DVD.

I'd LOVE to see more (good) magic books being published. But, as a publisher - I guess I'm a tad biased!

As I'm sure folks know, publishing, writing, marketing (etc) books is both expensive and time consuming. As long as folks keep buying them, I for one will continue.

I'd HATE to see magic book publication decline. Perish the thought!

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 4th, 2010, 3:02 pm

It takes months to write a book (even a bad one), and an hour to make a one trick DVD (even a good one).

The people who write and publish magic books aren't doing it to try and make a lot of money. These days you're greatest goal is to break even.

The people who manufacture magic DVDs are doing it only to try and make money. It takes so little time and effort to spit these things out, that the only real goal is money.
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Philippe Noël » January 4th, 2010, 3:13 pm

Hi Richard,
I do not understand why you don't like the idea of money's worth score.As a reader of Genii Magazine (I have just renewed my subscription), I would be happy to get such information.
About the Deland Book, i must admit my lack of knowledge?
Can you tell me more about this future book?

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 4th, 2010, 6:44 pm

DeLand revolutionized card magic. He created almost 100 items about 100 years ago and invented the genre of easy ways to do card magic using gimmicked cards. In other words, he created new gimmicked cards and utilized existing gimmicked cards in new combinations which allowed him to recreate tricks that before had required difficult sleight of hand. His tricks require NO sleight of hand of any kind.

DeLand invented the Two-Card Monte, and to do it he independently invented the double-backed card, which had never been seen in the United States before.

DeLand invented the Three-Card Monte, which is the so-called Skinner Monte that has been sold so widely.

DeLand was a genius and you'll like my book. :)
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Terry » January 4th, 2010, 10:42 pm

Paul Gordon wrote:I think the one-trick DVDs are a total con. What irks me (at my dealer stand at conventions) is when folks sometimes gripe about the price of a 20 book of mine (200 pages/50 items etc) and then go and happily buy a 20-minute 20 one-trick DVD.


Books require time to read and comprehend, effects take time and practice to work out and it takes talent to develop an entertaining presentation.

The "microwave" generation wants everything given to them so they can copy and use it that night/club meeting.

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby The Magic Apple » January 5th, 2010, 1:18 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:
The people who manufacture magic DVDs are doing it only to try and make money. It takes so little time and effort to spit these things out, that the only real goal is money.

you are 99% correct!! there are a FEW occasions that a 'one trick' DVD is better than a book...a very few. Some of the self-working DVDs are a joke, if it is self-working, why put it on a DVD. There are a few 'magicians' that put out 'one-trick' DVDs that are an embarassment to magic (most things by Kevin Parker, the Arise DVD by WhoIs Magic, Absolute Coin Bender by Action Magic and a few others...trust me, I see them ALL), and are doing it to make a quick buck! Some of the DVDs that are Slight-heavy effects or those that require a lot of 'arts and crafts' (I.E Extreme Burn or Static) are much more helpful in DVD form than a book. And some of the effects that come out, should simply be in the 'trick' section in Genii
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Marco Pusterla » January 5th, 2010, 11:34 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:I may well do the DeLand book by subscription. Once we see how many pages it's going to be, and how we can fit the color sections in, I can figure out the retail price and see how many books I need to sell to pay for the printing


If you do the book by subscription, count me in...

All the best!
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Scott M. » January 5th, 2010, 12:53 pm

The Magic Apple wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:
The people who manufacture magic DVDs are doing it only to try and make money. It takes so little time and effort to spit these things out, that the only real goal is money.
ome of the DVDs that are Slight-heavy effects or those that require a lot of 'arts and crafts' (I.E Extreme Burn or Static) are much more helpful in DVD form than a book. And some of the effects that come out, should simply be in the 'trick' section in Genii


I am actually mixed on this. I think a lot of effects that are arts-and-crafts heavy would be better served by written instructions. Having to pause, start, stop, rewind, fast forward, go back to the menu, start again while one's fingers are covered in rubber cement or are frozen in a certain position is a real pain. I think there are relatively few people out there who really understand the timing and pacing of what the viewer is going through when instructing on the build of a trick.

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby DrDanny » January 5th, 2010, 1:08 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:...I won't be able to wholesale the book--the only way to pay for the printing is to sell retail only and take in enough money to pay the printer within 30 days of publication.


I think you should consider the pre-publication ordering gambit. There are several authors I will buy new stuff from, sight unseen, and you're right up near the top of that list.
At the very least, accepting such orders would be a good gauge of interest. For example, I would happily order and pay for a copy of the Jennings book today in return for a semi-firm promise of a 2010 delivery, and I suspect I'm not the only one. How many such pre-orders would it take to cover the up-front cost of printing/binding? And if it turns out you misjudged the interest, refunding those investors would be preferable to ending up with warehouse full of doorstops, yes?

One of the few DVD projects I can think of that were worth the $ was done that way, I suspect: I would have pre-ordered Carney's Master Sessions even without the price break that was given. Volume 2? Sign me up!

Think about it. Or maybe Kaufman & Greenberg could go public.
I'd invest, most likely.

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 5th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Kaufman and Greenberg ceased to exist years ago. It has been Kaufman and Company for quite some time.
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Jim Riser » January 5th, 2010, 8:54 pm

I do hope that when we are discussing "one trick DVDs" that we are not referring to Levent's Billiard Balls or Miser's Dream DVDs. They are technically "one trick" but the amount of research, practice, money, and time spent in making these is certainly not insignificant. Hell, Levent rolls a billiard ball faster than I can move my fingers! He shows/explains how to do it but that does not speed up my fingers. These "one trick DVDs" are worth every cent to a person developing an act.

There are a number of items in which a DVD might be the most efficient way to demonstrate a complicated hook up or technique but this should be included in with the item - and I am not talking lousy packet tricks. I have made quite a selection of custom effects for magicians over the years and many required personal instruction on how to use, set up, and take care of the equipment. In these instances a "one trick DVD" would be very helpful. Again, I am not talking stupid packet tricks.

I feel that there is a place for good DVDs but most of what the magic dealers offer is crap. I'm still a book fan as I like the tactile sensation, smell, and convenience of books.
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 5th, 2010, 9:43 pm

When we refer to one trick DVDs, we refer to a DVD that teaches a single method for one trick (or possibly another method or two that are just slightly different to pad the running time).

Levent's DVDs are definitely not what we have in mind, nor are Bob White's.
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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby JordanB » January 5th, 2010, 9:49 pm

One time, I watched a recent one trick DVD. It was 6 minutes long, had one trick (2 different variations). It was some teenaged kid who should have been listening instead of talking.
Worst piece of garbage I have ever seen.

Like RK said, some are great. The Levent's, Bob White's, the School for Scoundrel stuff, Sol Stone's Radical Die, etc, etc.......it is just getting to be a chore to separate the chaff from the wheat. I do not envy beginners in magic. They have the massive task of sorting through all that garbage.

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Re: One Trick DVD Article by Richard Kaufman

Postby The Magic Apple » January 6th, 2010, 12:55 am

ha ha ha...I know exactly what you are talking about Jordan. I thought it was a joke when I watched it. It was by WhoIsMagic and called Arise. Shot on a comptuer camera. The ad copy was written so that is sounded like a miracle. I bought a dozen of them and sold about 5 until I realized the garbage. I took back all 5 of them and sent the entire dozen back to the distributor and now have dedicated www.Shi**yMagic.com to them
(you can figure out the missing letters)
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