Archive for July, 2011
Let’s face it. Not every magician is fortunate enough to do magic full time. There just happens to be a very large group of us that have normal day jobs that we wake up in the morning and brave traffic in order to get there, punch a clock, do menial tasks for eight to twelve hours, punch out and go home. And not particularly in that order.
Perhaps this is the very reason that there is a sub-genre in magic dedicated to “Office Magic.” Where do you think rubber band magic came from? There is definitely some awesome magic to be seen in the work place. Can you say Karate Clip? My friend Kostya even has a book dedicated to magic done entirely with Post-it Notes! (Which I designed the packaging for.) This isn’t quite what I’m talking about though.
What I am referring to is when you find yourself unconsciously performing slights and magic-like actions throughout your day. Some of these particular actions might even help your work-flow.
Squaring stacks of paper. Yup, you have a huge pile of papers, so what do you do? You square them up, of course! Just like you would a pack of cards. There really is no other way to do it than to expertly pinch the corners.
Springing the index cards. Ha! I caught you! I know that you like to spring a freshly opened pack of index cards from hand to hand. Oh, and you don’t stop there either. No, you even try to get a nice pressure fan going on too. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Just the three people that read my blog.
Rubber Finger Thingies. Apparently, they’re called “finger tips.” Who thought!? They’re those rubber caps you put on your fingers that help you turn pages. A word of advice; these make terrible thumb tips. Don’t even try.
Of course, I can’t forget to mention the “Unconsciously Palming Things,” but that deserves a post all to it’s self!
Is there any thing you do at your place of employment that I missed here? Let’s hear it in the comments!
What you see above is the result of taking one of my own doodles and manipulating it in Photoshop for five minutes. Here’s a little offshoot of last week’s post:
Want to fire up your creativity? Try doodling! It’s a great way to really stretch yourself sometimes. It’s not just for artists and designers, either. Get out a pen and a piece of paper and go to town!
It’s sort of like when your English teacher in school told you to free-write about absolutely anything during class, only this is drawing. So for five minutes, do nothing but draw. You don’t even have to draw on a piece of paper. Try drawing on your napkin or cup from lunch. Make your drawing interact with whatever designs might already be on there. The point is, do it!
Now, don’t you feel more creative? I thought so.
One thing that it’s easy to do when you’re ready to design something is to jump right on the computer and start “designing.” While it may seem like the right thing to do, it’s the most common way to stifle creativity. Instead of turning to the computer immediately, try taking out your good old pen and paper. You’ll be surprised at how much creativity you’ll find when your unhindered by the restraints of your computer program. It’s much easier to brainstorm ideas for content, concept and layout on paper in this way. Trust me and try it. Sketch out some quick ideas. You’ll see.
I’m about ready to re-design all of my magic business collateral items including my business cards. In previous posts, I’ve already covered the basics of design and used the redesign of my friend’s business card to illustrate five basic principles of good design. What I’d like to discuss right now is, what information do you put on your card? It may seem like a no-brainer, but here’s a small list to help you out.
Yup, your parents gave it to you for a reason. Put it on your card! It adds a nice personal touch. Besides, people will want to know who to ask for when they call you.
The Name of Your Business or Organization
If you have a business name, for example Mystical, Magical Memories or something like that, you should include that as well.
Tell what you do. People need to do know this. Try to be specific, like Children’s Entertainer or Restaurant Magician.
People ask for your address all the time. Why not include it on your cards? You’ll be wishing you had after the fifth or sixth time you have to hand-write your address for someone when all you would have had to do is hand them your card if it was included.
The most common way people make contact is by phone. Be sure to include it. If you have a main line and a mobile number, be sure to specify which is which. Same thing with the fax. I don’t know how many times I’ve dialed a number and was greeted by the annoyingly cheerful sounds of the fax machine. It makes me feel like I’m on my way into the Matrix.
Email has become more and more accepted as a form of business contact. These days, some people prefer it over phone calls. It makes sense to include this as a possible avenue of contact on your card.
People will probably want to find out more about you before they call you, and your website is where they can. Be sure to include this on your card and have great content on your website to sell your services and answer any questions they might have.
People are hiring you. They want to know what you look like. Put your smiling mug on there! Include a professionally shot photo of yourself on your cards. This will help to build the familiarity that can make a big difference in their decision to hire you.
In his course The Real Secrets of a Successful Close-Up Magician, my friend Lou Serrano gives a couple more great tips to make your business cards more effective.
Blank Space is Wasted Space
The front of your card should have all of the content mentioned above. The back of your card should be selling your services. Put some testimonials there, or some benefits of hiring you. Don’t clutter it up though; instead use a…
If you really want your card to sell your services, consider using a tent card. This card gives you literally twice the space to use! You could have the front and back as described above and the whole inside will be available for more “selling” content. You could think of a tent card working twice as hard as a normal card to sell your services.
Note: I know that I enjoy performing magic with my cards using the back to write on as the trick dictates. You don’t have to give that up if you have a tent card. Just print two versions! In addition to the tent card, have a regular, blank-backed card (using just the design of the front of the tent card). That way you can self print cards and write predictions all you want! After you finish your trick, hand out a tent card as well. Bah-da-bing!
For more information about Lou Serrano’s The Real Secrets of a Successful Close-Up Magician, go to his website, www.sixfiguremagic.com. You’ll be glad you did. I just do design; he’s the real marketing master. Also, read his blog at www.louserranomarketing.com and follow him on Twitter.
I think that taggers and magicians are Sharpie’s two largest market demographics…and not necessarily in that order.
Sharpies are awesome! Aren’t they? There’s just so much you can do with them in a magical performance. Of course there is the obligatory having a card signed with the mandatory line of “This is the only card like this in the world, right? Unless you make it a habit to go around signing playing cards.” <SARCASM>We all know that a spectator will never be able to tell their card apart from all the others. That’s why we have them write their name on it!</SARCASM>
For the super-daring, you can always have the spectator sign their own money, inviting federal retribution. It’s a slippery slope though. I’d bet dollars to donuts that in a week that performer will be performing a Smash & Stab with the spectator’s hand in which it gets impaled on a, you guessed it, A SHARPIE!
We sure do love our Sharpies though. We buy them in bulk. We get the extra large ones for laughs. We get the extra small ones for laughs. We modify them for tricks and make them the butt of jokes! “Let me recap.” or “Careful! It’s a Sharpie!” We even buy nice decorative covers for them to make them look “sharp.” -groan-
It’s such a beautiful romance shared between a magician and a Sharpie. May they never part. (Cue romantic violin music.)