Part One Introduction

This Step does not deal so much with tricks and technique as do the predecessors, it confines itself to Publicity, a subject which is of equal importance to the trickery side of Mentalism, and one that cannot be ignored by any who propose to make a living by professional or semi-professional entertainment.

The world of entertainment is Showbusiness—and as the latter half of that word indicates—it is indeed, a business. Like any other business, what you have for sale, has to be advertised, displayed, marketed, whether it be the sale of broom handles or a mental act. So it is that in the Twelfth Step we come right down to the mercenary side of Mentalism and consider a few wavs that can be used to sell your act.

Publicity is a very important thing to the showman, and it is by no means an understatement to say that the average semi-professional man does not pay enough attention to the subject. He is inclined to go so far towards designing an act and then seems reasonably happy to sit back and wait for bookers to come along and purchase his talent. The real professional knows better. He cannot afford to sit back and wait, he gets out and goes to the right places and right people and sells his act so that next week, like last week, he may continue to eat. Moreover, contrary to common belief, eating is at times a luxury even unto the professional! The only man who knows for sure where his next meal is coming from, is the magician who has a rabbit in the act. So let's blast the wind out of "magical stardom and money galore". The chances of being a star at anything in showbusiness—are pretty rough; the chances of being a star as a magician or mindreader are ten times worse. It's no good hanging on the history of magic and kidding yourself that your chances are good. They are not. Your chances of professional success are, to put it mildly, lousy. I might add to that by saying that without some knowledge about Publicity—you have no chance at all.

I do not sit back and grind forth these bold statements without reasonable support to what I say. First, let it be clearly understood that I have no axe to grind. To put it mildly, I do very well earning my living out of magic and mentalism and 1 don't care how many stars there are or there will be. I hope there will remain a good demand for magical entertainers and I aim, in the writing of this Step, to help some people along the road to success. But I confess I am one of those odd people who like to see things as they really are, and I have no time for dreamers who wish to imagine that today magic is the easiest thing on earth. I have no time for bad performers who should either improve or get out of magic and leave it to somebody who can do better. I have no time for magicians and mentalists who try and kid me that magic is getting more and more popular every day. It is not. In fact, the way it's going magic could die completely—and if this happened, nine people out of ten would blame "Television", Lack of Theatres—Cabaret Conditions, etc., and the odd one would admit that nothing harmed magic more than bad magicians.

Publicity concerns the professional class of entertainer and so we have to consider the truth because it's no good trying to sell something if people don't want to buy it. It has been my good fortune to know quite intimately a large number of professional magicians and mentalists. Of all those I know, very few would tell you that their job was an easy one—all of them have to be on their toes all the time and it's a constant battle to keep going. Only dreamers sit back and think top line magicians drive around in a chauffeur-driven cadillac, sit in front of roaring log fires at their country mansions and guzzle champagne by the gallon. The average "pro" sits at home staying up late at night working on everyday problems. He has to scheme out new tricks, try and improve on something he has already done for ten years, think up new and topical patter, consider new Publicity angles that will bring him in more work and keep up a constant demand for his talent. With his cup of tea he works on two major problems; getting an act that can be done under present day conditions and then finding a way to sell the act to bring him work. In previous Steps we have given material that can be the foundation of many an act, in this Step we go into the selling side.

This is not a Step for the timid and it is not intended for the strict amateur who does his magic for personal amusement (and has every right to do so). Amateurs who do not presume to ask for payment for their performance, have an unquestionable right to be good or appalling. It is their hobby and their delight and who are we to interfere with the enjoyment of others? But up the ladder a bit we find the chap who grades himself between amateur and professional—the "semi-pro" {i.e. Alistair Crockleforth—who runs a fish and chip shop, and can do Troublewit, The Asrha Illusion and Seven Keys to Baldpate—with or without chips—as a sideline!). The "semi-pro" is a man on dangerous ground. He is the man who can do so much good and so much harm to magic. A full professional has got to be good—and be good all the time or he is out of work. The semi-professional is on a safer footing. He usually has another source of income and magic is simply that which supplements his pocket money. As this is so, there is no imperative need for quality; should he perform badly and get paid little, he still has his regular income and it doesn't matter so much. Yet out of this comes much trouble.

We find that people who pay to be entertained by a magician expect to be well entertained. Why shouldn't they—they are paying for it? Then we find that some who don't have to be good, step into the breach and do their half-rehearsed, unprofessional tricks and ruin the market for good. Such a thing affects the field of magic as a whole, it reflects badly on professional men, it causes disinterest in magic and it causes bitterness within the fraternity. Yet none of this need be if only those who accepted payment—gave value for money. There are very many semi-professional magicians and very few of them will admit they are poor performers. Quite a lot of them are very good and some of them should pay the audience for the ordeal of twenty minutes of boredom.

Not in the habit of doing many things without reason. I will now explain why I write all this before getting down to Publicity Stunts. What I have said has been put in the introduction because you now know that if you do not have a good act to perform—you have no right to try and sell it in the first place. Don't try and put a shoddy product on the market—this book will tell you how to sell what you've got, but get something worth selling before you start.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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