Personally Speaking – Nov04

November 2004

Whew…we finally put this catalog to bed and it was fun preparing it for you! You will see many special and selective items that Mark and I searched the world for and they are excellent as well as being professional. We are proud to bring you unique, magical effects for all phases of magic! Now to my column…

Magic Conventions – Are They What They Should Be?

The below are my “personal comments” compiled from 30 years of attending, promoting, organizing and participating in these fun-filled events.

There seems to be, oh so many, magic conventions, magic weekends, magic 2-day seminars, events for close-up, events for mentalists and on and on. This is not bad, as there is some type of an event almost every weekend in America -somewhere, someplace!

Anymore, we “magi” can get our “magic fix” quite easily and with the advent of so many magic functions-one has to pick and choose which event will suit his taste and budget!

How have they gotten out of whack?

For one, since there are so many events, the smaller events had better be darn good to draw attendees and not loose the sponsor’s money or the club’s treasury fund! Even the large national events have to be concerned with the same type of things-as organizing a national event can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Second, the costs of attending events has gone up as well. What with air fares, travel costs and hotel costs that are over $100+ per night in many places-makes it quite difficult for many to attend events. Also nationals usually run from five to six days in the week! Figure up hotel costs at $100+ per day, food costs, travel costs and just one “magi”. This can run over $1,000 (easily) for the event.

I ponder a question: Why don’t the nationals cut one day off their agenda and shorten the convention week and save the attendees money and themselves as well, by not having to book talent, pay stage rentals, union help, talent travel costs, etc…?

I cannot imagine that cutting one day would affect one’s reason for not attending! Isn’t it time for a change? Everything else has changed in our world and as well as in the magic world.

A magic convention has to support and consider the three things that make their event successful, (if it’s a general convention):

1. Good Stage Acts

2. Good Close-Up Acts & Lectures

3. A Good Dealer Room With A Variety Of Dealers

Try to run an event without considering these three and you will get many complaints from attendees!

Good stage acts are not easy to book and cost money. Good close-up acts are also not easy to book and cost money. A good dealer selection with a variety of dealers and slotted hours for dealers to be open without any other activities is most important. The number of dealers is important as well, as too many dealers dilute the sales and profits of attending dealers and far too long, most events only consider dealers as a “revenue source” and do not consider them as a major attraction for the event! Dealers have to pay registrations, costs for their booth, their own travel expenses, costs of shipping their goods (in most cases) and the long hours of work!

This year, there was one major convention that had over 40 dealers at their event and NO dealer did well! The one in charge of this event did not consider the health of the dealers and early on, decided that as many dealers that wanted to attend and display, would be allowed! This was not too well reported to the nation of dealers, so over 40 dealers signed up and were very disappointed when they got there and realized what was going to happen-and it did! This left a very bad taste in the mouth of the dealers, so much that some said they’d never attend the event in the future.

I know this sounds “self serving”, but I speak from fairness and experience for my “brother and sister” dealers! Your invited dealers must be successful for your event to be totally successful! All three of the above issues have to be carefully planned! Good stage acts, close-up shows and lectures and the dealers must be happy for the event to be 100% successful! (This means good “allowed” selling time for dealers with “no” scheduled events to compete with most of their open hours!) You should not just consider that the dealers are a money-making “cash cow” for the event! Not fair at all! Careful consideration of these things guarantees success and happiness and that’s what everyone wants!

Case In Point: I call your attention to the “Best Little Convention” in the USA ! The “Magic In The Rockies” for two years in a row produced the best event that Martha, Mark & I have attended! (See program.) Held in Ft. Collins , Colorado , each year the committee continues to pay attention to details, feed the attendees, bring in top professional acts for stage and close-up, limit the number of dealers, set regular dealer hours with NO scheduled competition during that time! It’s a win-win situation for the attendees, performers, dealers and the sponsors. It will be worth your time and money to consider attending this event next year-always held the second weekend of September. You will not be disappointed, I assure you and other organizers of magic events would do well to attend to watch this professional fun event unfold!

Remember, the name of this column is “Personally Speaking”.

See you somewhere out there,

Joe Stevens

PS: Next time we’ll talk about honorable dealers versus the dishonorable dealers that are out there.