Behind the Counter is a chance for us to go behind the counter with the online magic shops and find out who, what, when, where and of course Why! Paper Crane Magic is our featured magic shop kicking off what we hope to be an on going series. Come and see what Shaun Dunn of Paper Crane Magic and I talked about when we went Behind the Counter.
Chad Rees: When was Paper Crane Magic Established and Who Created it?
Shaun Dunn: Paper Crane was formed in 2007 and was created by myself, Mandy Hartley and Ian Martin
CR: What was the decision to create Paper Crane Magic?
SD: We felt at the time that there was not a lot well produced magic DVDs on the market and we wanted to offer something that was cool but also tasteful.
CR: Why the name Paper Crane?
SD: Mandy came up with that name. She likes origami and it just seemed to fit both artistically and also with the philosophy of the company.
CR: What was the first product you guys released?
SD: It was a beginner magic DVD called declassified. It was a flop commercially and artistically however the content is very good.
CR: How many employees where apart of the company the first year and how large is the company now?
SD: We started off with 3 employees, Right now Mandy and Shaun share the management responsibility. Jamie works as a gimmick builder, order shipper and tech person. Greg works as a staff editor and films for shoots and our online lectures. Nate also works in gimmick construction and Chris Oberle and Brandon Wolfe sometimes fill in when we need extra help.
CR: How many products have you released to-date and what is your best selling product?
SD: We have released 20 to 30 products to-date. Our best selling product is probably Psypher but there are several that have sold close to the amount of Psypher.
CR: What makes Paper Crane Magic different from all the other magic companies out there?
SD: Paper Crane really is different. We tried really hard to not become another ellusionist copy. While we have tons of respect for E we just felt that they did a good enough job doing so we wanted to do something completely different. If you look at our product line you can see that we are not afraid to take chances on unknowns and that we also take major risks with our comedy marketing.
We try to find a balance between what we like and what our customers will like. I like to think of our company as the punk rock alternative to other more corporate magic companies. Not saying we’re better, just saying we’re different.
CR: Any sneak peeks for the TDD readers?
SD: We have several things coming out now. Quadrant is a great gimmick that allows for visual transformations of playing card cases to other things. The Money Card is a really commercial 3 card monte routine and we got a bunch of fun toys coming out that remind me of Tenyo stuff but aimed at performers.
CR: I noticed on your site you have a submit a trick link. Can you tell us how that works and what could a creator expect when working with Paper Crane?
SD: If you choose to submit a trick we will review it and tell you what we think. I think this video best describes the experience of working with Paper Crane.
CR: With so much social media out there how can our readers get in contact with Paper Crane?
SD: The best way to contact us to chat is through twitter or our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/
Well Thank you Shaun Dunn and Paper Crane Magic for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions with me. I love getting to know the companies I shop at and I hope this helps our reader and your fans get to know you that much more. Make sure to follow Paper Crane Magic on twitter at @papercranemagic and also subscribe to their YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/papercraneproduction. Don’t forget to also head over www.papercranemagic.com
Note from Editor: I wrote this article several months ago and I am really proud of it. But I was recently reminded of a video interview with a man who knows way more than I do about business cards. Check it out and if you have not already seen my article, please check it out.
Make your business card a statement of yourself. Now if Magic Luke only does kid show, then he hit the nail on the head. I went over to his website and saw that he performs magic for all occasions. Apparently this guy is great for adult parties, weddings, close up and other occasions. Where does this card say adult party? Maybe if you look at those balloons in a perverted way?
Magic is not my only hobby. I also do graphic design. Over the years I have made dozens of websites, business cards, flyers, and posters for magicians. Here are a few magicians business cards with examples of things I always avoid when creating a design.
Look at the two outside business cards. They both have top hats and wands. Because that’s what people think of when you say magician. I am willing to bet these are stock image cards that are preset where you fill in your information and you get 100 of these for a very cheap price. Especially the far right, since the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avoid stock image and preset business cards. Unless you are the magician who goes to the magic shop buys a trick and does not even change the patter that the trick is sold with. You change magic to fit your personality and your business card should do the same thing.
The middle card is a great example of too much. He is trying to list all the events we will perform at. At a point it is just easier to list what you wouldn’t do. Your business card is not meant to sell them the idea of hiring you. Remember when you handout your business card out, You Will Be There. You can tell them all the gigs you will do. Don’t make your business card speak for you. Even if you just leave a stack of business cards around for people to take, put your website address on it, that’s all. All the information you want to tell them will be there, not on a tiny 2 inch by 3 inch card.
The other thing that all three of these business cards do is say the words magician. Do not limit your customer base by calling yourself a magician. Just face it there are people out there who have a preset image in their mind of what a magician is. Top hat, cane, and cape. Avoid that word and just call yourself an entertainer, because that’s what you are. Entertainers will be hired by corporations, foundations, schools, and private parties. Magicians get hired for a 5 year olds birthday party.
This is part one of a two-part article on making business cards.
Read Part 2 Here
In the last article we spoke on a few business card design flaws that most magicians end up using. We will continue right on with more examples of what not to do when creating a business card design. If you missed the first part of this article make sure you check back here.
The first thing you should notice about all these business cards is that they all have a card fan. What is up with magicians needing to having a fanned deck of cards in their hands. This is just the same as saying you are a magician on your business card. While you are a magicians you don’t need to point that out. Remember you are an entertainer and should sell yourself as that.
These second group of business cards is a step above the first group showed. They all have their own aspects of them that make them good business cards, but they each have some things I would have not done. Like the top left business card. It is nice simple and attractive. Other then the card fan he has, he calls himself an award-winning magician. This is more of a personal opinion I, rather than a design issue. Just because you won an award at your local IBM ring against one other performer who was not even entered in the correct competition, does not mean you can put award-winning on your card. If you won an award and you are going to list that award, be honest and tell everyone where and what you won.
The Middle business card has a front and back. While it is simple that background he used is just a bit too busy and makes it look cluttered. He also has a funny joke on the back, someone pinned a Hire Me paper to his back, but that really looks bad. He is coming off as desperate.
The final thing about these business card and almost every other business card is the need to put your photo on it. I usually will never put a magicians photo on their business card unless they are extremely attractive. Just don’t do it. Instead of a photo of yourself place your logo. If you don’t have a logo then you need to get one.
I Will wrap this up with an example of a business card I agree with. It is simple, clean, attractive, and gets the point across. The front is the logo, with url and contact in the bottom corners. The back is again simple tells a bit of what he does with out limiting his client base or listing every type of gig in the world.
Please share your experience with designing a business card below in the comment section, disagree, agree, have questions. Share them with us. We would love to hear them.
Yesterday I received a call from my good friend Mike Kirschner. He said to me that he had just gotten off the phone with a prospective client and had a long discussion about certain things. I suppose he was using the client as a impromptu survey. He said that he had some things he would like to share on my blog. Let me say this. I know that this man is a worker for sure. He gets a great number of bookings. So who am I to tell him no. Second he’s an honest guy who likes to help his art. So with that I humbly submit our FIRST Submitted post.
My name is Mike Kirschner and I hope all of you reading this can get some insight to an area of magic I don’t hear too much about. Booking the show and the steps that follow. I just got off the phone with a new client. She is booking me for a strolling gig at her son’s Bar Mitzvah. I asked her how she got my name. She replied that she saw me at a corporate event. We had this great conversation. I had asked her if she has ever hired a magician before. She said that she has and she was not satisfied. In fact the only time she saw the magician was at the end of the evening to collect his fee. She never heard anything about the magician from their guests which she found weird.
This sparked me into writing this.
The information that I am about to provide you are some things that I do before, during and after the party. This is what works for me, it might not work for you. You may also say after reading this, that this is logical and that you know this already. Just remember knowing and doing are 2 separate things.
I do not need to go into my “sales presentation”, but here are some things to keep in mid:
Be polite, leave your ego behind. There is a difference between being arrogant and being confident.
Get all the contact information immediately incase the phone disconnects.
If there is a Guest of Honor, then ask questions about that person. Make it personal. If the event is for a Company then, find out information about the organization. Ask about the CEO and special VIP’s. If it is a fund raiser or charity then show compassion. Take interest in their cause. Remember it is always not about the money.
Send an agreement. Write an agreement that has all the contact information, date, time, venue, guest of honor, amount of people, etc… (consult an attorney about terms to write on an agreement) I use a service called www.managersal.com which is an internet based company that generates the agreement for me.
Make sure you get a signed agreement back and yes I recommend a deposit.
If you are doing a stand up show then make sure you work out logisitics such as, space, lighting sound and set up
Get insurance. You want to be a professional then protect yourself. I use HMK insurance which you can find in the IBM ring magazine.
Have a brief intro that a person can read before you start your stand up show (email it to them and have back up with you at the event)
At The Event-
BE EARLY, I am not talking 5 minutes early, I am talking 40minutes to an hour early. I like to get paid at the beginning at the event so that you do not have to drag the people away from the party at the end of the event.
Dress accordingly. My philosophy is to look the best. Clean suit, and shiny shoes. Put on a nice watch and make sure your breath and body do not smell. If you use perfume, cologne then only use a little because the smell might offend someone.
Introduce yourself to the Host/Hostess and the guest of honor. They are going to be very busy during the event and the might not see you work, so this is a great time to show them why they hired you. Do quick and strong magic.
Introduce yourself to the banquet manager and the captain of the venue. You want them to remember you for future gigs.
Make sure to set up your sound and lights if you’re doing a stand-up show.
Perform for as many people as possible. Try to be as visible as possible. Socialize with the people. Show them that you are not just magical, but that you are a person.
Pick sections of the room where there is good traffic. Make sure that you are not in the way of the staff (they can get grumpy).
Be Polite, and friendly. A smile goes a long way.
Make sure that you work the Host table, even if they are not sitting, they could be dancing the whole night. Do your best stuff at this table. You want the people who are the closest to them to say how amazing you were.
Leave something at every table, something that people can take home with them.
Have your business cards ready to go. Always keep them in the same pocket so that you always know where they are.
Self promote as much as you can without it being obnoxious
Clean up your stuff. Treat the venue you like its your home (unless you keep your home messy)
Say goodbye to the Host, guest of honor and banquet manager at the end of the night
Leave business cards with the Host and banquet manager.
After the event
Call them a couple of days later and thank them for having you at their party. Ask if you can use them as a referral.
Send them a thank you card. If this is an annual event I send them a card every year a couple of months before the event.
Ask if they can send you any photos and video that were taken of you.
This is a general outline of things I find important. It has worked for me and my team of magicians that I work with. The gig starts at the initial phone call and ends, well that depends on you. I hope you can take some of this information and implement it to suit your style. Goodluck!
Thank you very much Mike. And please leave your comments below. If you have something you’d like to see posted send me an email…Xavior@xaviorspade.com or leave a comment below.
So the show is over, and it’s time for you to mingle with the crowd. How do you hold your self? What do you do? How do you talk to the people at the event? It’s been a long practice of mine, when the show is over, to handle myself as my own agent.
It’s important to keep a professional attitude about things, just because the show is over doesn’t mean people aren’t still impressionable. You have to be careful not to say or do things that will turn off potential clients. Many performers choose not to stay and mingle after the show and I understand that, however there are times where doing just that can land you a great gig. Be sure to be engaging and likable not stuck up and unable to talk to the people who are interested in you enough to ask you questions. Learn to incorporate, based on the conversation, what you can offer them. For instance if they’re saying that they have holiday trade shows at their job, which is a fortune 500 company, don’t tell them that you do a lot of children shows. They want to know, with out asking you, if you can handle what they’re telling you about. Make sure to give examples or have story to tell about a related topic. If you got the booking of the show you finished from someone one else, it’s bad form to hand out your own personal business cards. So make sure to let them know who to contact and to ask for you. If you booked it yourself then by all means hand out your business card and promote yourself. Be sure when your leaving to thank the host of the party or event for having you and tell them what a wonderful time you had. Make small compliments on things that are seemingly unimportant. This shows that you took interest in the event. These tips have worked for me, and I hope they work for you. Thanks for reading, and leave your comments on the things you do after a show and why.