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Gareth

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Hi all

Firstly I realise this post is very similar in theme to Ian's recent post and if a moderator feels it's best conjoined to that one that's fine. although this thread may evolve into a video diary of sorts so might be best kept separate....anyway.

Australia is holding it's first magic convention in almost a decade this year in Sydney between June 8-11th 2018 and Chi Han and I are going to be roomies!![biggrin]

https://www.geniicon18.com/ 

This will be my first Convention, as most of you know I live in rural Australia with no magicians nearby so I'm really looking forward to connecting with the Australian magic community and learning a lot.

So you guys who've been to a million conventions, what is you advice to a Convention virgin? Pitfalls to look out for, opportunities not to miss?

Appearing are Levent, Joseph Barry, David 'Silly Billy' Kaye, Paul Richards, Nick Kay, Joel Howlett, Brendan Montanner.

Chi Han and I have agreed to keep a journal here on the forum chronicalling our experiences.

So come on you veterans of the convention circuit (I note from Ian Crawfords thread that Harrisgagnon is also planning on attending his first convention later this year in the US so this will be interesting for him too) what's the inside story on getting the most out of a convention?

Gareth and Chi Han 
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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #2 
Wow. I find it really hard to believe this is Australia's first magic convention in nearly a decade! 

Tips?

Avoid the temptation of buying tricks you'll never use simply because they fooled you.
 
Take a small notepad pad and make notes during lectures of things you like so you don't forget.

Be prepared to show a few things yourself that you do well. 

If you session with a few people don't ask them how they do stuff, if they want to share they will. 

Bear in mind, there are conventions and there are conventions 😉 The best will give you moments you'll remember a lifetime. Others  will simply be forgotten. However, a FIRST convention is ALWAYS memorable.

I first saw Levent at the first New York Magic Symposium in New York in 1982 (my favorite convention), Paul Richards and Silly Billy I've seen, not heard of the other gentlemen. But I'm a bit out of the loop these days. 

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arthur stead

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Great advice from Paul.  I also advise setting yourself a spending budget and STICKING TO IT.  

Definitely avoid any impulsive buying, otherwise you'll end up with a drawer full of stuff that never gets used.

Other than that, soak it all in, attend all the lectures you can, get involved in the late night impromptu sessions, and have a great time!

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Harrisgagnon

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth


So come on you veterans of the convention circuit (I note from Ian Crawfords thread that Harrisgagnon is also planning on attending his first convention later this year in the US so this will be interesting for him too) what's the inside story on getting the most out of a convention?

Gareth and Chi Han 


I'm glad you made this post! Definitely will keep the responses in mind. 
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MagicTK

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Session as much as possible.  Talk, share things you are working on, seek advice from others.  Quite often, many will openly share things, but don't be too pushy and keep asking them to share.  Sometimes, they just want to perform and say they are keeping some stuff for themselves.  Take great notes whenever possible.  Sleep when you get home after the 4 days.
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Gareth

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Paul, Arthur and MagicTK. Thanks so much for the advice guys. I’ve heard so many stories of late night sessions and these are the things I’m looking forward to. Making genuine connections key I guess and I note your advice about sharing. Arthur and Paul my wife fully supports your budget setting advice. The convention ticket includes all shows and lectures so I’ll try to get to as many as possible. Chi han and I might need to be strategic to make the most of time. Notebook will be smoking.

We’ll try to post photos probably on here as much as we can.

Gareth
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Robin Dawes

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Regarding buying tricks, PH is 100% correct.  A good magic demonstrator will amaze and amuse you and entice you and if you aren't careful your money will fly out of your pocket!   But remember that the situation is very specific: a magic dealer performing a trick for an audience of magicians, with the goal of selling it to them.  Often the dealer is behind a table or counter which they may have been able to "augment" in clever ways.  The circumstances in which you perform (and audiences for whom you perform) are likely to be very different!  The demo patter has been designed and refined for one purpose - to get you to buy the trick.  The demonstrator will do all he or she can to get the audience engaged and laughing - so that you can imagine yourself getting the same great reactions.  He or she will throw in inside jokes that go over really well with magicians - remember that these bits of hilarity will be lead balloons for lay audiences.  It's not because dealers are evil, or because they want to rip you off.  But selling you magic tricks is how they make their living.  Before you buy, think long and hard about how much use you will get from what you buy.

Something that nobody else seems to have mentioned ... eat your meals with interesting people.  Lots of great magic and knowledge gets shared across the breakfast table.
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alicauchy

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Reply with quote  #8 
Lots of interesting and useful suggestions in this thread, some of which are useful also when attending scientific conferences 
  1. Schedule your time so that you can attend most of the announced events [confused]
  2. Beware of evil dealers [nono] and stick to your budget  (just a bit of joking, but stick to the budget).
  3. The most impressive magic [eek] happens at the night impromptu sessions  
  4. Why not trying to join interesting people during meals?[thumb]
  5. Do not forget to use your notepad  [comp]
  6. Sleep fast [sleep], otherwise you will not be able to comply the previous commandments.
By the way, I enjoyed a lot the talk that Joe Barry gave in my magic circle (card magic and gambling).

PS: Yes, I just discovered the emoticon's icon in the toolbar. Hereafter, I will use it not abuse.

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Tom G

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Definitely agree with most the advice.  My first few conventions from years ago I would come home with tons of crap I never used.  Now, I have to force myself to buy something (which is good).  Notes, always a good idea, just on the things that interest you though. Sometimes the performers don't have notes, or they show something not in the notes.  One word of caution, make sure you can make sense of your notes.  I never understand mine, so I haven't taken notes in a very long time. 
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StevePR104

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Along these same lines, I'd ask that you figure out who your performing persona is, and the kinds of effects that persona does that gets the best/most reaction.

If you can do that, then you'll realize that most of the stuff you see for sale at conventions does not fit your persona, regardless of how much you were amazed by it.

And if you you amazed by something, and if you can see how it fits your performing persona, and if you see yourself honestly using it to share the amazement with others, then get it.

Using those criteria, I bought one book at my last magic convention.

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Robin Dawes

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And that one book was ... ?   Can you tell us?

I went to my last convention with the intention of purchasing 2 specific books.   I got those, plus 2 more that fit Steve's excellent criteria.

Planned purchases :   Alan Zola Kronzek's  "Artful Deceptions"
                              Pit Hartling's "In Order to Amaze"

Unplanned purchases : David Solomon's  "The Wisdom of Solomon"
                               Robert Bengel's "Back-to-Basics II"

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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
And that one book was ... ?   Can you tell us?

I went to my last convention with the intention of purchasing 2 specific books.   I got those, plus 2 more that fit Steve's excellent criteria.

Planned purchases :   Alan Zola Kronzek's  "Artful Deceptions"
                              Pit Hartling's "In Order to Amaze"

Unplanned purchases : David Solomon's  "The Wisdom of Solomon"
                               Robert Bengel's "Back-to-Basics II"



Hi Robin, My plan is to spend my budget on books and/or a set of cups and take advantage of not having to pay postage which is more often than not the deal breaker when it comes to me buying books due to geography. Although the fact I’m spending four figures to post myself to the convention to bring the books back is not lost on me! But I’m certain it is going to be money well spent. I just have to be strong in front of those dealers and demonstrators!
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luigimar

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Reply with quote  #13 
Gareth, 

You have been given lots of good advice already and I cannot offer much. 

You say you want to get books. Just plan on getting books you already know are good or have things that are interesting for you. Do you want magic theory? Card magic? Close up magic? General magic? Scripting? 

About 21 years ago I went to the TAOM COnvention in Forth Worth and I had about $1000 budget for magic, food/drinks and the hotel room). Transportation was paid in advance so I didn't have to worry about that. Like you, I also wanted to get books so when I got to the dealers room, I went straight to the book dealers (I resisted the temptation to stop to watch the tricks with other dealers). I wanted to buy the Art of Astonishment 3 book set (Paul Harris) and The Vernon Chronicles set. I got the 7 Vernon books, the 3 Harris books, Expert at the Card Table, and a Peter Kane book (a great find). Ok, my goal was fulfilled and I hade some more money to get tricks. And that's what I did. I got Color Monte directly from one of the authors (Emerson), some Okito boxes, Samurai (great effect from Collector's Workshop) Here it is if you want to watch it



There were lots of things I wanted to buy but they were getting out of my price range and some weren't really practical. One of them was a really great effect but what you got for like $60 was a trick deck that was only good for 20 performances. Then you had to get a new one. I didn't get it. What I ended up doing was getting some Milton Bradley effects that look like toys but in reality they are copies of some Tenyo effects. 

What I am trying to say is that if you plan ahead, you can get everything you want plus some other unplanned things. 

Also sleep as much as you can before because while in the convention you will sleep just 2 or 3 hours. And yet do not skip those 2 or 3 hours. And take an alarm clock with you. You don't want to be sleeping while the best lecture of the convention is going on.

Make sure your notes are not too cryptic or you may not understand what you want to remind yourself of with those notes. Write as much detail as possible if you can. Write the complete formulas or steps for those tricks that need them. Rehearse those effects and complete their notes while on a break (if any). 

Take pictures! Lots of pictures! You don't want to regret not having a picture with some of your favorite performers. Take 2 or 3 pictures with each performer And get their autographs. Get a deck or two or a special notebook just for autographs. If you are planning to use your mobile phone for pictures, get an extra micro SD card or two (64GB or more). You never know, you can get lucky and someone will let you take video and you may run out of space sooner than expected. Same thing if you take a camera with you. Also get a small, portable tripod for the phone/camera. You may not wish to do this thinking you have some cloud space but what if you cannot access your said cloud space (no internet access)? Better safe than sorry. And don't forget your phone charger or an extra battery if you can access the battery easily. 

Someone already said have your meals with interesting people. And if possible, pay for their meal/buy them a drink if they share their magic with you. Also get their contact information (e-mail/facebook/twitter/phone number) and keep in touch with them. 

There is more good advice above, so follow that as well. If I remember something else, I'll edit this post...

And last but not least, HAVE FUN AND ENJOY IT!! Conventions are fun and a great source for memories. Make them nice memories! 

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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #14 
Luigimar thank you so much. Man this is such a great community.

The only book I have as a definite is Mnemonica as I have had one of the dealers put one aside for me. I’m really not into gimmicky little tricks. I may look at wallets. The rest I’ll wait and see. I feel like maybe a nice wand as a first convention souvenir?! Who knows?

We’ll post some pics here I’m sure. Looking forward to seeing Levent and Joe Barry and Paul Richards.

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David

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Reply with quote  #15 
I went to my first convention a few months ago. I had $100 to spend on vendors. That is tiny compared to what I saw people people spending. It’s already been said but man you got to sleep when it’s time to sleep. I missed a couple of early morning lectures because I was dragging. It’s a lot of fun. Can’t wait till next year to do it again.
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alicauchy

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth

The only book I have as a definite is Mnemonica as I have had one of the dealers put one aside for me. I’m really not into gimmicky little tricks. I may look at wallets. The rest I’ll wait and see. I feel like maybe a nice wand as a first convention souvenir?! Who knows?


If you are interested in Mnemonica, consider also In order to amaze (if you can find it with discount). Just received it at home, and contains great stuff mostly related to memorized card magic.

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #17 
Get yourself a good Notebook and some pens. Mingle and schmooze. The best stuff happens in these small encounters. Someone will show you something that you'll remember for a lifetime. But just in case, write it down in your Notebook. That Notebook is good for collecting autographs, emails and other contact info of your new friends. Oh, and don't look at the attendees as strangers, rather see them as old friends you haven't met yet.

Save your money. Don't get into a feeding frenzy of needing to buy something. If you really want it, it'll be available later. If they sell out at the convention, it'll be available online. Unless they have a really good convention price AND you know you'll use it; then go for it.

Limit your alcohol intake. You'll crash early, lose your notebook, forget your bag of new magic somewhere, and you'll wake up with a hangover. Plan on staying sober and up until at least 2-3am.

Morning: COFFEE!!!!

Be a sponge. Soak it all in. Make lots of new friends. Have a great time.

Also, if you have something quick to show the hotel staff, the appreciate it. Just don't make it long because management gets on workers who are watching and not working.
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #18 
Thanks Dan, gold, every word. (even the ‘limit your alcohol bit!!)
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #19 
Yes, my limit is a 4 drink minimum.  It's is a good place to start.

Be sure to let us know about your whole experience like what cool things you see, who you meet, sessions experience, etc.
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #20 
Will do Magic TK [smile]
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