Wow, this has been a crazy week. Huge changes at Magic Geek, a holiday/sale, and a packed schedule made for an interesting Live Chat.
Posted on September 5, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
One of the main tricks I talked about this week was Catch That Tiger: As always, thanks for watching and I look forward to answering your questions again next week.
Posted on August 29, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
Welcome to the Live Chat:
This week I performed and reviewed Captain and Coke:
I talked a bit about the customer-requested Slide by De'Mon and Titanas and presented by Paul Harris:
And I talked about the way-cool new Magic Geek "Represent" T-Shirts.
Watch the video above to learn how you can get a free t-shirt today only (8-30-12)!
Posted on June 29, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
We look at the Geeky Times as a way to interact with you, give you the news and be creative. Every month we try to give you the best product reviews and information and to spice things up we usually include games, contests, coupons and puzzles.
This month we did something a little different and included a Chris Ballinger Do-It-Yourself Action Figure. It's a puzzle that you can photocopy, cut out, color and construct into a little Chris. What more could you want?
The original artwork for the action figure can be seen in this week's Live Chat.
The Geeky Times is our monthly newsletter that comes in every package you buy at Magic Geek. So if you want to try putting together the Chris Action figure, all you have to do is place an order in the month of July and the Geeky Times will get sent to you for "Freezies".
Posted on June 18, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
Congrats to the five winners of the first five signed copies of Killer Bee.
These are going out to the first five to correctly complete the Word Search Puzzle in this month's issue of the Geeky Times. If you complete the Word Search too, send us a picture of it and we'll send you a coupon code good through the end of July.
Killer Bee is now available for purchase at Magic Geek and we are very excited about it. If you haven't got yours yet, you need to see what all the "buzz" is about.
Posted on May 9, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
In my blog entry 10 Ways to Promote Your Magic I mentioned the use of Posters to promote yourself as a magician. I received a few questions on how to design and produce a good poster. So I thought I'd roll up my sleeves and design a few options for you.
What follows are some basic posters that you can either print out or get ideas from to produce your own posters. To use the posters simply click on the image and a high resolution pdf file will pop up for you to print out.
This poster is designed to advertise your appearance at a venue. It would probably work best hanging up in a window of a restaurant where you are going to perform in the evening, but it could also work as a poster for an evening event that is open to the public. It is recommended that you use a color printer on some nice white paper.
Business Card Poster
This is a poster that is best used with your business cards. You can use photo corners to attach business cards to the blank area or set the poster up on a counter with a business card holder set in front of it. This is a great poster to use if you don't have a color printer, but we recommend that you use to bright colored paper to print it on.
Pull Tab Poster
This type of poster is very common and it’s a great way to get your name and number out there. Customize this poster by printing it out on bright paper, pasting your photo in the middle of it, writing your contact info out on the tabs and then cutting along the dotted lines. People can then pull off the tabs and have your info on hand when they need a magician.
This is another poster that you’ll need a color printer to produce, but it's a very attractive and eye-catching poster that you can customize. Print it out and use a silver sharpie, White-Out or Paint pen to write in the location and time of your next public performance. Then hang it up all over town. The Vaudevillian style and chalkboard-like middle section help that hand-writing fit right in.
By printing up these posters and strategically placing them in the area you are performing, you should see a rise in interest in your community. Have fun and let us know how it goes.
Posted on April 30, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
Many of our customers ask how to make money as a performing magician. The "Three P's" is a good place to start: Practice, Performance, Persistence. But beyond that, there's not much info out there on what is going to take you to the next level.
Let's say you've developed an act, practiced the dickens out of it and want to start getting known locally as a professional magician. Where do you start? Here are ten easy things you can do to get your name out there and start booking yourself as a performer.
#10: Free Shows
Free shows can be tricky. Often when you mention to someone that you are looking for gigs, they offer to let you perform for free at a party or business just to "Get your name out there." The problem with this is that you can get a reputation as someone who performs for free or does charity work (you’ll look like a nice guy but this blog is about getting paid so let's figure out how to get around that.)
I don't do many free shows,
but when Miranda Sings asks you to get up in front
of a bunch of people and wow them, you do it.
If you just need for people to see you perform so that you get the word-of-mouth going, I suggest you talk to the organizer of the party or event and let them know your regular rates. Tell them that if someone asks how much they paid you for them to answer with your current rates. They don't need to lie, the conversation just needs to go like this, "How much did you pay to get this awesome magician" "He told me that he charges $50 for a party like this one." Or however much you would want to get paid for that type of party.
A nice poster can help promote yourself in the area. They don't have to be super-fancy. Try to keep the design very simple, the more info you try to cram onto a poster, the worse it looks. A simple black and white poster printed on colored paper will do the same job that a glossy four-color poster will do.
A simple poster can be a great way to promote yourself.
Be strategic with where you place these posters. Ask to post them in places that sell party supplies or where families frequent.
#8: Event Coordinators/Party Planners
Contacting local event and party planners is another great idea. Whether you leave a stack of business cards with them or put your name on their list of performers, event planners can get you performing right away.
Finding a party planner and making them your
biggest fan can give you a huge advantage.
A word of caution with event planners, they do take a cut of your profits and I have worked with a few that try to overcharge the customer and under-pay the performer. Be on the lookout for this and if you see it, just politely stop accepting gigs from them.
#7: Youtube Commercial
Thanks to youtube, you can now cheaply put together a promotional video and post it somewhere that people can see it. There are two very nice aspects to posting a promotional video on youtube. The first is that potential clients can easily see bits of your show and performance style. And secondly, youtube videos are searchable. By inputting the correct tag-words into your video description (like the name of your town, the area-code, the zip-code and the type of show you do) your video will show up in basic google searches. How cool is that?
A youtube commercial can be a great resource.
Creating a fan page or "Like Page" on Facebook, you can post events that you will be performing at as well as have past customers write nice things about your show on your timeline. Like youtube, Facebook is searchable and area specific, so that when someone that lives in your area searches "Party Magician" your page might show up in the listing.
Facebook is a great way to let people know where you are performing next.
#5: Mommy Websites
If you are planning on performing at birthday parties or local fundraisers, it's the moms that your really need to impress. I didn't realize until I had kids how organized these awesome ladies are. In most towns there are multiple websites devoted to supporting a network of moms. Some quick searches online will show you a few. Often it costs money to advertise on these sites, but they are usually run by a local mom and trading a free magic show for some free advertising is not a bad way to go.
Moms often organize parties and school functions. Get on their good side.
#4 Local Events
Whether it's a fundraiser or a local celebration of the 4th of July, the organizers of these events want to provide entertainment in the easiest and most-inexpensive way possible. As a rule of thumb, I always ask for my regular rate first and then barter down if I think that the exposure is going to be worth donating or discounting my time.
I've been performing at my local Elk's Lodge
4th of July family fair since I was 12 years old.
A great way to help out an event planner and ensure that a lot of people come to your part of the event is to notify local news sources. Let the newspapers and websites in the area know that there is going to be a big event and there is going to be a great magician there.
#3 Restaurant Gig
These are hard to get. You have to find a restaurant that fits your personality and caters to your type of audience. A weekly restaurant gig typically does not pay that well, so don't expect to get your full rate right away. It can also be hard to get a restaurant manager to give you a chance.
A weekly restaurant engagement can help you get paid, get gigs and get fed.
That being said, I think that I have gotten more gigs and opportunities by doing restaurant work than any other performance scenario. By performing at a place where people are out to have a good time, but not expecting something like a magician gives you a huge advantage and when they plan their next party, they'll remember the fun they had while you showed them magic and want to offer the same experience to their guests.
#2: Street Performances
If you read this blog a lot, you already know that I am a huge proponent of street performances. I think that it builds the tough skin that a magician needs as well as offers a free performance space for a magician to work on new material.
Click the picture above to learn more about street magic.
In the right setting with the right foot-traffic, you can advertise yourself, get performance experience and make money in tips without a restaurant manager or party planner breathing down your neck the whole time.
#1: Business Cards
This is the number one place where I see problems with young performing magicians. By printing poorly designed business cards on bad-quality paper and cutting them out with hand scissors, you are severely degrading the physical manifestation of the magical memories you've created.
Get yourself a stack of professionally printed business cards.
It might cost a little bit more money to order nice business cards, but think of it as an investment in your magic career. If it looks like trash and feels like trash, chances are that it will end up in the trash. And you didn’t spend all that time printing and cutting out each one just for it to end up there.
If you perform good magic and hand them something sturdy that feels like it should go into a wallet or a purse, that’s where it’s going to end up.
There are a ton of websites out there with easy-to-use templates and inexpensive promotional offers that will print you a box of business cards for next to nothing.
I know it may sound like I'm fixating on something trivial that you could save some money on, but consider this. In every single scenario listed above (aside from Facebook and Youtube) a business card is needed to transfer your contact information. Without this little tool, there is no way that they are going to remember how to contact you. Even a poster benefits from a stack of business cards sitting next to it attached in some sort of dispenser.
I hope this list serves you well and if anybody has anything they'd like to add, please do so in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.
Posted on April 27, 2012 by Chris Ballinger
We just uploaded our 1,000th video on youtube. To celebrate, we put together an 80s style rap.
This rap features clips from our many, many video demos, interviews, competitions, the Geek Report and videos that we uploaded just for fun.
There has actually been some dispute on whether or not this is actually our 1,000th video and here's the deal: Youtube is saying that we have (at this time) 1,000 videos in one view and 1,001 videos in another view. Since we uploaded "Sands of the Desert" at the same time this could either be our 1,000th video or our 999th video. I haven't gone through and counted all of our videos to see which is correct. The point is we definitely have at least 1,000 videos uploaded to youtube at this time and I think that calls for a celebration, don't you?
If you missed or are interested in any of the videos featured in the rap video here are a few links that might interest you:
Posted on December 29, 2011 by Chris Ballinger
Below you are going to find a series of photographs. If you've been doing magic for a while, they won't seem like much, but I encourage you to take a second look through the eyes of a layman. These images are strange and we, as magicians, have been desensitized to them.
Dead Animal in a Bag
Even out of the bag, Rocky the Raccoon can cause laymen to squirm. Whether he's in your close-up case, lying on the floor, or under a pile of books in your closet; until you pick him up, he looks like dead vermin.
In all honesty, Rocky is pretty disturbing until you realize what he really is: Dead animal flesh wrapped around a steel spring. Oh wait: still gross. But that's not going to stop us from using him because people love a good Rocky routine.
Individually Wrapped Million Dollar Bills
When a normal person is confronted with a Million Dollar Bill they ask themselves any number of questions: "Wait, how much is that worth" "Do those really exist?" "How many Quarter-Pounders with Cheese could I get with one of those?" But when a magician sees this, they're like, "Meh."
The truth is, whether you need it for a bill switch or just a sight gag, it"s good to know that they"re readily available and sealed for optimal freshness.
Severed Finger in Ziploc Bag
To a normal person this looks like something out of a crime scene, but to us, this is as common as cards or sponge balls.
Think about this for a moment, if you saw a human thumb in a little baggy on the street you would flip out. But I would wager that every one of you has at least one of these somewhere in your pile of magic stuff.
Criss Angel Not Wearing a Shirt
Why are we all so okay with this? This is the ultimate example of magician desensitization. Criss Angel so frequently forgets to put on his shirt that we don't even notice anymore. For example: If you met Criss Angel and I asked you afterward if he was wearing a shirt at the time, you'd probably answer, "Um... I don't really remember."
Maybe his stylist just doesn't let him wear shirts and if that's the case: Criss, I'm sorry. I'm sure you're half-cold. And if you ever truly need a shirt, you can always borrow one of mine:
Posted on December 18, 2011 by Chris Ballinger
It has been a very intense holiday season here at Magic Geek. Lucky, I found a little time to make a silly video. I hope you enjoy and pass it on to all your other magician friends.
As 2011 comes to a close, I just want to say thank you to all of the loyal "Magic Geeks" out there who have been following us throughout the year. Thanks for checking out the new magic, our youtube videos, messaging us on Facebook and Twitter as well as right here on the Magic Geek Blog. It really means a lot to us and we look forward to tons of great things in 2012!
Posted on December 3, 2011 by Chris Ballinger
Below find a list of the prizes and winners for the Elmwood October Drawing. Winners will receive a phone call or e-mail to verify their current address before the prizes are shipped out.
Edward R Bohlman
Duston H Sieglaff
Paul Richards "Deuce" Lecture Notes
Paul Richards "I'd Gladly Pay $12" Lecture Notes
Tyler B Robinson
David Blaine Poster
Signed David Blaine Poster
Year Subscription to the Geeky Times
Seth A Goodmiller
Ballinger DVD Set
Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
Magic Geek $100 Gift Certificate
The Flexfit Cap
Signed Mindgeek T-Shirt
Robert M Busching
Wow 2.0 Director’s Cut Set
Signed Set of Angry Sponges
Gregory C Day
Thanks to everyone who participated. Please accept my personal apologies for how long it took to post this list. I really wanted to do a fun video drawing, but due to our unusually hectic schedule and the loss of a family member, this is how we're announcing this one.
Please check back for more fun drawing, contests, games and shenanigans right here at the official Magic Geek Blog!