49 entries from March 2008
A little update...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Yesterday, the screen of my HTC Touch phone cracked. It was in my pocket as usual, I don't recall bumping into anything, but it cracked anywhere rendering the phone totally useless. I took it to a dealer who explained "These screens are pretty delicate" and the repair would cost $180. I'm still deciding whether or not to repair such a "delicate" phone.
Also, for the past few days I've been trying to buy a pull down projector screen for the Razorblade show. I need a 7ft screen (214cm x 214cm) and no-one who advertises them on the internet seems to have any in stock. I called TasmanAV, who advertise a 'Price Guarantee' and I hit them with a good price I got on the internet from one supplier (also based in Collingwood right near Tasman). At first they matched the price (which was a lot less than Tasman's catalogue price) but when I told them it was GST inclusive, they baulked. Eventually, after I pressed them about the whole concept of a "Guarantee" they agreed to match the price... but discovered, much to their dismay, they didn't have any in stock.
Later I tried Harvey Norman. The guy there was very helpful. Yes, they were in stock. Yes, they could give me a good price. Would I be willing to buy a screen that's a little bigger? Yes! I'd prefer it! Everything seemed too good to be true, so as I couldn't actually look at the screen before I bought it, I pressed him until he brought out a brochure. That's when reality came crashing down. The screen was 16:9 not 4:3 and it's size was something like 240cm x 112cm. So it wasn't bigger at all, but actually almost half the size of what I wanted. He didn't seem phased. His lack of product knowledge almost got him a sale!
The last two days we've been bumping our shows in to the Northcote Town Hall. Tomorrow is our last day plus we're doing a radio interview on 89.9 LIGHTFM in the afternoon, then it's off to see Frank Woodley's solo show at The Comedy Theatre. Big day, busy weekend coming up, then a really, really busy two weeks of shows for us!
Please spread the word and get all your friends and family to come along and see the shows too! We'd love to catch up and see you there!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Interesting discussion here on THE MAGIC CAFE. It started of by a magician being outraged by Dave J Castle's exposure website but ends up with several magicians pointing the finger at those magicians who sell their secrets in the form of books, DVDs, or packaged tricks.
In other words, to quote:
However - and here comes the interesting part - knowing that the book/DVD/prop will be sold in hundreds or even thousands of units - there is no illusion at the buyer's side that this is an exclusive deal. They see the secret as widely available for every Dick and Jane, as long as they are ready to shell out the money. That might be (only my guess) one reason that some of them freely share it around. Because the secret is no longer a secret but a commodity up for grabs.
IMHO if you are selling on an open market - you are exposing.
So what's their solution?
Ideally, I guess, they don't want magicians selling tricks to just anyone. Tricks could be passed on from one master to their apprentice, or perhaps sold one-on-one to people considered worthy, or people who'll sign some sort of legally binding secrecy agreement.
This, of course, puts magic shops, manufacturers and distributors out of business. Is this a bad thing?
It also means that those clever creators, who are not neccessarily performers, will be selling fewer units of their creations, at higher prices I assume.
It's funny how the adherents to this theory consider I'm living in a fantasy world because I suggest "re-educating" magicians to the rule of keeping secrets, because their ideal world is much more far-fetched a fantasy.
It would only take one Rob Stiff or Dave J Castle to figure out how a few top-secrets are done, and they'll bring out their own versions for the general public. Over a third of the stuff on Dave J Castle's website are tricks that have never been released already (eg: Criss Angel, David Copperfield & David Blaine effects).
So what is the solution?
We all agree that exposure is bad business for magic.
I blame the people who can't keep the secrets and promote exposure as "teaching" and I think we need to re-educate them.
The blame every magician who's released a trick for the general public and say we need to stop selling tricks.
What do you think?
SIX BRAVE VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED - EVERY NIGHT
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Tim Ellis is offering FREE TICKETS to his new Comedy Festival show 'Something About Needles & Razorblades'. Six free tickets will be given away for every performance.
But there is a catch.
The lucky six will have to participate in an effect called 'Insanity'.
Six paper bags - numbered one to six - will be placed on a table. Each volunteer will stand behind a bag and, when their number comes up as a dice is thrown, that volunteer must step forward and slam their hand down on the table, crushing the paper bag.
Five of the bags will be empty.
One will contain a shattered bottle.
These six people will need to be willing to place their fate in the roll of the dice.
If you think you have what it takes to participate in this infamous effect, then email Tim@MagicUnlimited.com now with your name and preferred performance date, and your free ticket will be waiting for you at the door.
'SOMETHING ABOUT NEEDLES & RAZORBLADES' opens Tuesday March 25 and runs nightly at 9pm (except Monday) until Sunday April 6 at the Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Well this blog is worth reading.
It certainly cheered me up!
Feel my pain...
Monday, March 17, 2008
I should have known it would be a difficult show when I arrived at the Casino tonight to be told that the client was not a travel agent as I'd been told by the agent, but a telephone provider.
Annoying, as I'd made up a special travel themed trick featuring the client's name - that had to be ditched.
Then I saw the room. Very long and rectangular with a stage down one end - and a 20' dance floor between the stage and the audience.
I was scheduled to go on at 8.30pm, but people were still getting food from the buffet. I assumed that we were running late but the contact assured me they were on time. A guy from the band gave me a voice over intro and I ran up onto the stage.
Now, the staging people had said they would "try" to get some white light on the stage for me. They did try, though I'm not sure how successful they were. The production of a black bowling ball on a darkened stage with a black background didn't seem to have the usual impact.
Then I took a long hike into the audience for the next effect, and when I asked a lady her name I discovered another reason the audience reaction was subdued. They were all eating. Not just finishing off, but everyone I could see was tucking into a big plate full of the many selections from the buffet.
I brought a volunteer up onto stage for the rope routine and, judging from the reactions, I assume they could all see the white rope quite easily.
Changing a $5 bill into a $20 bill while standing on a chair in the audience went down very well, but once I headed back onto stage with a volunteer (we had to take the long way around as the stairs were in the dark at the side of the stage not the front) and did the bill to banana trick it was a struggle as people found it hard to follow what they couldn't see clearly.
Because of the change in routine, I now finished off with the Toast Routine featuring 'Healed & Sealed'. The Pepsi Can from my shoe got a moderate response (dark can, hard to see if it really came out of my shoe) but even the giant straw only got a so-so reaction.
Weirdly, the gag where I pretend to vanish the Coke bottle in the paper bag by tipping the bag upside down and holding on to the bottle got the biggest applause of the night!? Genuine applause too. They sounded genuinely baffled. They even reacted when I made the bottle "reappear".
Then I did 'Healed & Sealed' and either they couldn't see the uncrushing or resealing because it was a dark can in a dark room, or they've already seen another magician do it and now know how it's done.
I opened the can, poured the drink out and got absolute silence. You could hear a pin drop. Astonishing.
Finished up with the comedy toast which got some good laughs and that was that.
Why people think you can put a visual act like a magician on while people are eating is beyond me.
Why they think you should light a stage like a disco when you have not only a sight act scheduled, but awards to give out later in the night, is beyond me.
And dance floors.. grrrr! Hate'em!
Yes, I do have a rider but there's always surprises in store when you actually turn up... you either bite the bullet and do the show or "chuck a diva" and walk out.
Perhaps next time I'll just stand on a chair and do the show in the audience.
And yes, I'm off to get a coloured bowling ball tomorrow... my other one split in two during rehearsals a few weeks ago.
Pamela Anderson aiming for husband number... is anyone keeping count?
Monday, March 17, 2008
Reports all over the internet are saying the same thing:
"She is currently going through a divorce from her husband Rick Salomon, but that isnt stopping Pamela Anderson from finding love again.
The former Baywatch Babe has a new man in her life, Dutch magician Hans Klok, with whom she flew to Berlin to assist him with one of his television performances Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel.
At a press conference in Berlin, Anderson was not only cuddling Klok but they even locked lips, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The couple got further intimate, with Klok picking the 40-year-old actress up with a red rose in his mouth and spinning her around.
Anderson, who married Salomon last October in a quick ceremony in Las Vegas, filed for divorce nearly four months later."
The more cynical might suggest it's a publicity stunt. As for me, after looking at the "lip locks" in these pictures, I think they still need a little more rehearsal... as Maxwell Smart might say "Missed it by that much!"
Sunday, March 16, 2008
An entire TV channel, by magicians, for magicians...
That's what TVMagicians.com is being heralded as, but to be honest, at this stage it's a nice collection of demos of tricks available from Marvin's Magic and Penguin Magic.
More channels are about to open including: Comedy Magic, FISM Information, Vent & Puppets, Secret Magicians, Magic on TV, Beginner's Magic and Magic News.
However, the initial channel is up an running now and you can check it out and let us know what you think here.
Go Speed Racer
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
We've discussed ethics for magicians before. Here's aquestion I'd like you all to consider, and post a comment telling us what YOU would do in this situation?
It's March, and you get a client calling to book you for a Saturday night in December. You know December is always busy. This client wants an hour of close up magic from 8.30-9.30pm, the time is not flexible and they really want you because they've heard how good you are.
You know that, closer to the date, you may well get a booking to do a full show - which pays 5 times what you charge for close up, but by taking the close up show it will prevent you from taking another booking that evening.
What would you do?
- Take the booking? (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?)
- Take the booking with conditions they must agree on? (If I get a better paying gig, I'll send someone else in my stead).
- Take the booking with conditions, but don't tell them about the conditions? (If a better gig comes up, send someone else and tell the client you hurt your back).
- Take the booking but charge a higher price? (Seasonal adjustment).
- Something else entirely?