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  • Printable Magic Posters

    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.

    Window Poster
    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.

    Magic Poster

    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.

    magic Business card poster

    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.

    Pull tab magic poster

    Vaudeville Poster
    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.

    vaudeville magic poster

    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.


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  • 10 Ways to Promote Your Magic

    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.)

    Miranda Sings Magic
    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.

    #9: Posters
    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.

    Magic Poster
    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.

    Magic Party Planner
    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?

    magic on youtube
    A youtube commercial can be a great resource.

    #6: Facebook
    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.

    Advertising on a Mommy Website
    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.

    Chris Ballinger Performing
    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.

    Restaurant magic
    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.

    Street Magic
    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.

    Magic business card
    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.


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  • 1000 Videos on Youtube

    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:

    Paul Harris Interview
    Mark Mason Interview
    Geek Report
    wow 2.0 Dance


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  • "Normal" for Magicians

    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

    Rocky the Raccoon

    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

    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

    Thumb Tip

    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

    criss angel

    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:

    mind geek shirt


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  • How We Fool Ya

    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!


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  • And the Winners Are...

    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.

    Compressed Deck
    Edward R Bohlman

    Truth
    Duston H Sieglaff

    Wide Card
    Barry Andrews

    Double Take
    Chris Bolles

    Paul Richards "Deuce" Lecture Notes
    David Saucedo

    Paul Richards "I'd Gladly Pay $12" Lecture Notes
    Tyler B Robinson

    David Blaine Poster
    Adam Noel

    Signed David Blaine Poster
    Stephen Hayward

    Year Subscription to the Geeky Times
    Seth A Goodmiller

    Ballinger DVD Set
    Caleb Kennedy

    Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
    Joseph McCorkle

    Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
    Bruce Harlan

    Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
    Brian Ramski

    Magic Geek $25 Gift Certificate
    JD Shanahan

    Magic Geek $100 Gift Certificate
    Apollo Sangalang

    The Flexfit Cap
    Andrew Bunner

    Signed Mindgeek T-Shirt
    Robert M Busching

    Wow 2.0 Director’s Cut Set
    Jay Purvis

    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!


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  • Geeky Times

    Posted on November 4, 2011 by Chris Ballinger

    Magic Geek is proud to announce our super-awesome way-too-fun gotta-have-it news letter, the Geeky Times. This is something that started mid-October and we are very excited about including it in all of your orders.

    Our goal with the Geeky Times is to make it as fun and informative as possible. That's why it's packed with games, coupon codes, product reviews, activities, advice, and secret messages. Basically, if we think something is cool or funny, we're going to figure out some way of jamming it into the newsletter.

    Geeky Times Newsletter

    Along with it's informative (albeit, slightly silly) journalism, you&'ll find hand-drawn artwork and QR codes that you can scan with your mobile devices to take you to cool tricks and videos.

    On the back page of the Geeky Times you'll find "Magic Vision" where we go through an in-depth review of today's hottest magic tricks, each one with a rating between one and five whoopee cushions.

    Geeky Times Newsletter

    November's issue is particularly exciting because we are including a link to a free instructional video that will teach you a new handling for my top-selling trick Redemption. I've found a way to perform Redemption and finish totally clean! No Palming or sleight of hand. It's super-easy and I'm teaching it to anyone who gets their hands on this month's copy of the Geeky Times!

    Geeky Times Newsletter

    That plus a my review on the trick Ink, I talk about a trick that has become my new show opener with great success, a cross word puzzle and lots more.

    So how do you get one of these magically fantastic newsletters? It's easy! Just place an order right now and it will come with your package.


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  • Hungry Cards

    Posted on July 28, 2011 by Chris Ballinger

    There was a theme running through some of the products that we uploaded this week… Cards that eat other cards. This trend happened on accident, but I’m rolling with it, so here we go.

    The first trick is new from Kevin Reylek and it’s called Cannibal. This is his take on the Cannibal Card Plot and it’s really good. Basically, a card is selected and signed, then lost in the deck. A “Cannibal Card” vanishes only to be found in the middle of the deck next to a card with a bite out of it’s corner. The card is turned over to show that it is the signed selection. Everyone thinks the trick is over until you rip open the Cannibal Card to find the missing corner embedded within the fibers of the card. It actually ate part of the card!

    Cannibal

    This is a great trick because by following the standard card revelation plot, the trick is over after the Cannibal finds the card. But then you unexpectedly tear the card open and the corner is right in there. Double-whammy!

    The second monster card is called The Vampire. This is a packet effect where a court card sucks all of the ink off of the other cards in the pack before turning blank itself.

    Vampire Card Trick

    This trick is easy to carry around, only costs a couple of bucks and there are a lot of people interested in vampires these days. Recently there has been an explosion of books, movies and television shows all about vampires so by giving the cards that sort of personality, you instantly get the audiences attention.

    Both of these effects are perfect for Halloween which is right around the corner.

    If you are interested in these types of effects, you also might want to look into the Easy to Master Card Miracles Volume 1, which includes Lin Searles fantastic version of the Cannibal Cards. The Web, Gypsy Curse, Off with His Head, and Bigfoot also have wonderful ways of giving playing cards their own spooky character.


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  • Redemption Follow-Up

    Posted on July 21, 2011 by Chris Ballinger

    Redemption is such a versatile and epic trick, that I had to spread out all the information on it into about forty-three blog posts. Not really that many, but a lot non the less.

    Over the past week, people have been receiving their Redemption orders and we have heard nothing but praise for the gimmick, the effects and the instructional DVD. This makes me very happy.

    While I absolutely love the original video demo for this trick, it occurred to me that it only showed the super-visual aspects of the gimmick. So, in an effort to showcase the more subtle side to Redemption, we put together this little video. Enjoy:

    When a new trick gets shipped out it is really the moment of truth for a magic creator. Here are a few of the responses that we have gotten:

    Dave says:
    “Hey Chris, I watched the WHOLE video! I got Redemption today and…. AWESOME.”

    Joshua says:
    “Chris, just got Redemption today. This thing is amazing!! It’s awesome how it’s a simple gimmick, but it can do some awesome things. That’s the way magic should be anyway.”

    Gregory says:
    “I just got redemption today. Its amazing!”

    Youtube user, Pokerfan says
    “I got mine today and it’s epic? and he’s right it does look better in person I even trick myself sometimes that’s how clever this is.”


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  • The Hawk Swoops In

    Posted on July 9, 2010 by Chris Ballinger

    We are very happy to officially have stock of the Hawk 2.0. If you have pre-ordered it, you’ll be receiving it in the mail shortly and if you haven’t there is a very limited quantity available for you to order.

    the hawk

    This trick has been taking the magic community by storm because it is visual, versatile and a great ender to your ambitious routine. Don’t miss your chance to own one. Order now, before they are sold out.

    Last time we got a shipment of these, they were in our warehouse for about three seconds before being packed up and shipped out to those with pre-orders. The gimmick is complex and hand-made, so it might be out of stock for a while after these are gone.


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