As a kid growing up amongst the clean air and foothills of Newport Beach, I was haunted by the notion that everyone else knew things I would never be privy to. Then one day I watched MTV at my friend Rich’s house and I was suddenly offered proof there was this “party” going on that I wasn’t invited to.  This seems to be a recurring topic in my long running conversations with Lorenzo Clark, who also performs on Princess Cruises.  We both came up through The Magic Castle’s Junior Magician’s Program.  As young men we were mesmerized by rock stars like David Lee Roth, actors like Jack Nicholson, and magicians like David Copperfield.  The lyrics to the song “Rock Star” by Nickelback sum up our angst nicely. Also Fight Club Here.  “How in the heck,” we wondered obsessively, do you go about getting invited to “that party”?  In a very significant way, this frustration formed the paths that our careers took.

Anyway by the time that invite to the “Party” was within reach, I had already worked for people like Don Wayne, behind the David Copperfield machine and seen that it was all an illusion…quite literally.  What I mean is that Don didn’t sit in a cushy office on Sunset Blvd., pontificating about illusionary concepts.  No!  It was blood, sweat and tears, Baby.  I began to see that we were in the business of “furnishing glamour” not “experiencing glamour.”  Hence, being so well-connected in Hollywood that you could get a table at Spago’s with an hour’s notice, really doesn’t count!  Only hard work combined with talent and creativity counts. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the deal with procrastination? Remember your college days, where everyone would practically brag about how they were able to pull off a miracle all-nighter?  Waiting till the last moment like this will kill your Event Planning business and make you look unprofessional.  Although cramming is far from optimal in terms of the quality of work that is produced, it is quite useful in getting you into a state that I call “Ice Brain.”  Basically it just means being highly focused to do the essentials of a project; the essentials you should have been working on a week ago.

According to a study on procrastination, this last minute “push” is inspired by the fact that there is simply no way out. But you can control this feeling without the worry and paranoia by simply making an iron-clad contract with yourself from the beginning.  Fully commit to a task before it’s begun and “burn the ships.”  Leave no way out for yourself.

The time is rapidly approaching.  Can you feel it?  That corporate event, award dinner, sales kick-off, or party is coming, and you haven’t even started planning it yet.  What kind of entertainment will there be?  After all, you don’t want everyone to wind up just sitting there sampling the onion dip. The event is just around the corner and you’re in charge of it.  You know that your decision will make the difference between an enjoyable gathering and one that leaves people staring at their watches the whole time.  So what will you do? Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve probably heard (or noticed) that magic is a great conversation piece.  Well it’s true.  Whether you are in business or a trade, readers of my blogs, take a moment now to think of all the valuable ways magic may be used to warm people up, or “break the ice.” Whether you are in lower, middle, or upper management, various trades, professional careers, or other forms of business, you will gain tremendous benefits by incorporating magic into your business life.  Today we’ll examine a few of my favorite examples.

A salesman can use it making calls on his customers. I once watched a car salesman remove a card from his wallet and ask the prospect a series of questions:  He asked them “black or red,” “face or number,” “high or low,” and finally when the person said the card he turned his card over and guess what?  It was his card!  The salesman then explained that that’s how sure he was they were going to find the right car for them today!  That’s what I’m talking about. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve never been much of a “techie.”  I prefer the “hi touch” to the “high tech.”  You’ll find legal pads and 3×5 cards all over my office.  That’s why I’m literally floored by all the apps there are for planning events! It used to be that good event planning tools were very hard to come by.  When I started performing magic at private parties 30 years ago, there weren’t any software solutions.  Mobile apps didn’t exist.  People made due with spreadsheets and later with PowerPoint, but mostly Word Perfect! Today, event planners have incredible tools available to them.  You can certainly simplify your hectic workflow with these apps.  I’ve had fun with some of these and you will too.

Most of just use Dropbox to store large files.  I use it to share files with my assistant.  But let’s say you already have all your guest lists, photos, notes and other important documents synced. You just need a storage space to keep everything organized and accessible to your team. Store all your paperless media with Dropbox to access it from any device and even edit on the spot.  Managing real life and event life can be sometimes be unbearable. An app like 24me can help you manage your day-to-day responsibilities outside of the workplace with a smart calendar and automated to-do list.  I use it for magic shows that I do with Elena.  There are always massive checklists involved with these shows and 24me makes sure no detail gets left out. Also reminders to pay your bills and pick up an anniversary card can be real lifesavers, especially when you’re at capacity with that event coming up this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m often inspired by things I see here in Las Vegas.  This blog finds me at home in Las Vegas for a rare long stint.  As I write this it’s 7:00 pm on a Saturday and I’m looking at what has to be the most gorgeous Las Vegas sunset I’ve ever seen.  There’s an amazing tranquility about it.  I can look toward West and see the mountains of Red Rock and this majestic bright orange disc start to disappear from this magical town.  I think of Cherokee Natives riding horses and worshiping sun gods.  There is a power here.

On stage, where we live, nothing is more powerful than the personal magnetism an audience feels.  People just love those who are alive and magnetic and stand out from the rest of the crowd.  The truly great artist has to radiate and hold an audience by his or her magnetic attraction.  To stand on our own, poised and controlled, without fear or favor, is a powerful asset indeed.  We do our work efficiently without worrying about what someone is trying to think, say or do.  We love our work and are happy in it.  Negative thinking, being irritable and gossip are not conducive to magnetism.  These things are non-magnetic. I’ll even go so far as to say that anything that lowers vitality lowers magnetism. Read the rest of this entry »

I really think every event could use a little magic. I don’t necessarily mean hire me to do magic for your next event, but rather that most produced events have one problem. They lack the element of “magic”; something out of the ordinary.  In a word, “outrageousness.”

I have a great deal of respect for both magic and marketing, and I think they both share common attributes.  When they’re done right they are extraordinary.  They are outrageousness personified.  Good magic and good marketing has drama and an element of shock to it.  I embrace shock value and use it in the proper places in my stage show.

Of course outrageousness loses its effect through overuse.  The purpose of marketing is to get the attention of consumers, pulling them away from the competition and converting this into sales for your event business.  You want your client to experience a shift in the way he or she thinks about you; a wow! This will not only make you stand out from the competition, but will add huge amounts of bottom-line profits to your event business.  Read the rest of this entry »

“What strange things are brought to pass by natural magic”  The Discoverie Of Witchcraft,  Reginald Scot

I write this from the 3rd annual Genii Magic Convention at The Florida Hotel in Orlando.  It was my first time attending it, but it continues to feature the best performers, creators, and lecturers in the world. David Blaine, Max Maven Paul Harris and John Bannon are just a few of the lecturers to be taken in here.  Magicians who attend claim that Genni is a “recharging of the batteries,” and I would be the first to agree.  Watching all these shows and spending time deep in conversation with these greats not only gave me a charge, but caused me to think back to the very essence of the magician and what the magic was, is and can be for all time.

In fact many of the magicians I talked with at Genni seem to feel that I’m guilty of loving magic too much!  I guess I not only behave like a laymen when I watch magic, but I think like one too!  But I feel that’s a good thing.  Actually, I’m quite easily fooled by a good magic trick. When it comes to books, I would regard something like Supernature by Lyall Watson, as being worth at least a dozen publications of the Fun With Faro Shuffles kind.  Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone is still, in my opinion, vastly superior to any piece of TV drama so far written, which features magic-as-illusion. Read the rest of this entry »

Two years ago I attended The Red Diamond Congress in Orlando, Florida.  It was very informative and I met many interesting people.  One of them was Jim Wurm.  He puts this whole event together every year. This is obviously a monstrous task to take on along with his other duties, and it started me thinking: How do event planners do what they do and why do they do it?  And how did this whole event planning industry get so big, anyway?  I mean, event planners seem to pull off the impossible and create something out of nothing, and, as with many things, “it ain’t all glamour” – in fact it seldom is.  Event planners furnish the glamour – they don’t experience it.  But plenty of people out there think it’s still worth it to be in this “glamour-less” industry.  So, in honor of The Red Diamond Congress, pull up a comfortable chair and read on to learn a little bit more about the who and why of event planning.

The American roots of the event planning industry reach back as far as the Civil War, but you don’t have to go back that far in our history to see growth and change in the in it.  According to the staff of Entrepreneur Media, who wrote the fantastic Event Planning Business: Step-by-Step Startup Guide, “the special events industry has grown enormously in the last few decades.”  They cite Joe Goldblatt, a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP),who claims that $500 billion is spent every year on special events around the globe.  Indeed, the book notes that U.S. government census information indicates that job growth in the event planning field is “on the uptick.”  Why?   Well, for one, globalization.  Multinational businesses have staff members who hop jets every day to meet clients and colleagues all over the world.  These successful global organizations “recognize that only so much work can be conducted via phone and email.”  They also recognize that if they are going to foot the bill for a face-to-face meeting, it better be well-executed to make it worth everyone’s while.  Enter the event planner. Read the rest of this entry »

This week’s column is a bit of a departure from my usual themes.  I thought I would take a break from magic theory and discuss the topic that accounts for about 25 percent of the emails I get, and that’s – How To Get Press.  I do appreciate your emails, especially during my long stints on cruises, darting off here and there. It’s amazing how long you save these blogs and comment on my drivel, or at least how late you read my blogs! I’ll always answer your questions, but it may take me awhile.

In Las Vegas where I live, acts that work the strip live here and want to keep their names in the press daily.  The Great Houdini once said, “If you can’t get your name in the newspaper every day, you’ll never be famous.”  Anywhere else in the country it works a little differently. You can always tell when one of the big timers is in town.  If his press people have done their job, the press are often tripping over each other to interview him, shoot some pictures of him doing a trick, etc.  In spite of what you may think, you don’t have to be a Criss Angel, Penn & Teller or a Copperfield to get press coverage of your magical activities. Read the rest of this entry »

I met a lady who was a professional event planner.  She invited me to her house, which was huge. I then realized you could make a lot of money as a professional event planner.  These people know a lot of things and they have more leeway than you might realize.  From the years of the dot-com boom ’til the housing bust, Americans went on a huge party spree. From 1999 to 2007, the average cost of an event climbed from $18,900 to nearly $30,000, according to research firm The Wedding Report. But it wasn’t just about nuptials—more people hired planners for sweet 16s, bar mitzvahs, reunions, and anniversaries. But in the wake of the recession, with many folks still struggling to right their finances, the party may be over. In 2009, the cost of the average wedding cratered at $19,500; in early 2010, it rose to $23,867—still far off its high. “The last 24 months have been very challenging,” says David M. Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants.  Today’s world is one of compounding complexity and digital speed.  Markets and technology are becoming globalized.  A new kind of terrorism, one with potentially worldwide devastating consequences, is creating fear in most every heart.  Think this might affect how people spend on events?  Just walk into any florist and ask, “Do you do weddings” and watch him salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs.  Communities are experiencing confusion and vertigo in values.  Families are being stressed as never before.  As a result, many event planners have had to adapt by bending over backward for today’s cost-conscious customer. Meredith Park, director of sales and event management at Central Park Events in Portland, OR, offers a range of services and prices, from coordinating on just the day of an event for $750 to full wedding planning, starting at $1,500. In fact, today’s clients can ask for just about any level of service they want. “Everything is negotiable,” Park says. Read the rest of this entry »

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