Newsletter December 2012
Made to Measure Magic
Email Newsletter No 11 - December 2012.
News and Gossip
The last newsletter I sent out in September was just an advert for the new products I had released for Kidology. I did not have time for any news or gossip so I am sending out this one to bridge the gap. I have had a number of people (admittedly a small number) who have said they like the newsy bits so here we go.
I have only sent out two newsletters this year – one before Blackpool and the one before Kidology so what has happened in between…..
Blackpool Convention this year was almost as big as ever although I think attendance was down a bit on recent years. It was certainly quieter from a Dealer point of view and my takings were down a bit – a sign of the times I guess. There were a number of Koreans over and they put on the show on the Friday night. I didn’t get to see it but my son saw the first half and was impressed with a number of the performers so it was no surprise when they went on to do so well at FISM.
The next Convention I attended was the AWS in Southampton. I was getting ready all day Saturday, up at 5.00 on the Sunday to get there in time to set up and back late very tired. This would be fine if takings were good but I would guess there was only about 30 paying customers through the door. I sold a couple of smaller tables and some other bits so I just about covered my expenses (Cost of stand, petrol, loss of two days work) but was it worthwhile? I’ll be honest I have cut back on these one day Conventions for this reason. I feel guilty sometimes if I don’t attend because when I first started and could not get a stand at the bigger Conventions (Blackpool, IBM, Bristol) I relied on these smaller Conventions. It is interesting to note that many of the ‘mainstream’ Dealers are also reluctant to attend too many of these one day events.
I pondered long and hard over whether to take a stand at FISM and decided, in the end, not to bother. My logic was based on the fact that most of my items are wood and with most of the delegates flying in I felt that I would not do so well. Near the date of the convention it was announced that there would be day tickets available, presumably to attract more UK magicians. I went along on the Wednesday to have a look around and was impressed with the layout of the Dealer rooms. Each Dealer had their own partitioned off area. I thought it looked good but most Dealers didn’t seem to like it as much as the traditional Blackpool layout. I must say it seemed quiet in the Dealer rooms while I was there. I also attended a lecture and that was nowhere near as full as a Blackpool lecture. So where was everyone – they were all in the competitions. It seems that the majority of FISM registrants like to spend the day in the theatre watching the competitions. Bearing in mind that the best acts all get to appear in an evening show I am not sure I would be interested - but each to their own.
At the end of August Sue and I were in Blackpool again for a couple of days with our grandchildren. While there we went to see the Hi Jinx show at the Pleasure Beach and I was very impressed. Some great illusions interspersed with some smaller stuff. My grandchildren (age 3 and 6) were captivated by the show and watched it intently which, bearing in mind, there was not one ‘childrens’ trick, was very impressive.
Kidology in September had a good atmosphere which seems to have been missing the last couple of years. Having a competition the night before meant more people stayed over although judging by the number of sluggish looking people on the Tuesday morning some of them stayed up late and imbibed a little too much. But well done Alec (Albion Magic) and here’s to an even better convention next year on Tuesday 10 September 2013.
Sales of my new releases at Kidology were good. The Pet Shop rabbit production sold out and I only brought one of the Rabbit from Hat tricks home. The ‘one off’ items I had made all sold. The Pirate Treasure Chest Production Box would have sold several times over so I will definitely be making this up as a stock item. My only disappointment was the Balloon Game. I only took 3 sets and did not sell one (I have sold 2 since). This is a game (well four games in fact) that Chris Cullen plays at his parties and there was lots of interest with people returning and bringing others over to see it but no one bought it. Why? I assume that people thought it was overpriced but we had made it from best quality, brightly coloured American cotton which retails at about £12 a metre. I assume that those who were interested thought it would be cheaper for them to get the wife to make one up from an old sheet for minimal cost. When we make some more they will be from cheaper fabric to keep the price down.
I didn’t attend the IBM Convention this year and the list of Dealers was pretty short. I understand from those that attended (non Dealers) that it was a good Convention.
The reason that I did not attend was that it clashed (because it was later than usual this year) with The Innovention that Paul Stone was organising in Las Vegas. I had already committed to going to Las Vegas before I realised there was a clash. I attended the Innovention because I had gone to the last one that Paul organised two years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This one was more low key - attendance was lower and I think pretty much all of the acts were local so Paul’s expenses were low. Most of the highlights were of novelty value rather than learning experience. Lance Burton spent one day with us and it was Roy’s (of Siegfried and Roy) birthday during the convention and they came along. So I suppose I can say I went to Roy’s birthday party, drank his wine and ate his cake. I enjoyed it because it was part of a bigger holiday (we went on to San Francisco and the Napa valley) and there was a bunch of mates from Manchester that I have known for years and who are always good fun.
Sales during the year have been steady with many special ‘one-offs- being built. In the last few months I have built a set of Elusive Dragons, an item from J C Sum’s book ‘Pack Flat Illusions for Childrens and Family Shows’. Tables have been particularly popular and I have a couple of modified designs that I may offer as standard items in the New Year. There are some pictures below.
Three Tables awaiting Delivery at the end of November Pirate Table
A variation on a table I have made before. There are two boxes containing your props that stack when you get to the venue. The problem with these in the past is that you have a handle on the top. These were made with a surface to slide in when the tables are set up.
Illusion from J C Sum’s book
One off table with felt working surface to customer’s design.
Well that’s it for now. I’ll be back late January with my new releases for Blackpool.
Until then can I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Best Wishes till next time.
Web Site Copyright © 2004 David Baxter