Murder By Magic!
I’ll let you in on a
secret: magicians LOVE the corporate market.
Okay, maybe it’s not much of a secret after all, but it’s
easy to see why the corporate market is so appealing to magicians.
Here are just a few reasons:
- The fees can be really good
- Because you’re performing for adults, your themes,
plots and scripting can be much more sophisticated than for
kids’ shows, meaning a more rewarding experience for
you, the performer!
- Many corporate banquet / convention events are large affairs,
enabling aspiring stage magicians to haul out their really
- Unlike some markets, corporate groups have events all year
- The fees can be REALLY good
- Corporate magic shows offer performers a great deal of
opportunity for creativity
Let’s talk about that last point for an instant: creativity.
I’ve been performing corporate magic programs for audiences
all across North America for the last 15 years and I can assure
you that many corporate groups have seen it all. I’ve heard
audiences say, “Oh, the magician we had last year did
that” far too many times in recent years. True, classics
in magic and mentalism are classics for a reason, but presentation
is key… more on this later.
There are a couple of solutions to this.
the enterprising magician can create completely new effects with
totally original scripting. In an ideal world, this is a great
solution, but creating an entire show from scratch with
effects that NO ONE has ever seen before is quite a challenge!
The second solution is to take great effects that are
proven audience-pleasers and structure them into the framework
of an incredibly unique script that alters the audiences’
perceptions of what they are seeing from a simple ‘magic
show’ to live theater!
I’m Cris Johnson, writer of the Cause
& Effects weekly blog, and while I’ve made
it clear that school programs are my favorite shows for the last
decade, I’ve been doing corporate shows consistently even
longer. Also, in the USA, I can count on roughly 7-8
months of solid work from the school market (with summer months,
spring break, holidays and especially weekends all eating into
my potential booking calendar)… leaving roughly 4 months
out of the year that I need to fill. Happily, many corporate events
take place on weekends, when school is not in session!
The Power Of Themed Programs
If you’ve followed the teachings of Max Maven, Eugene
Burger and other wonderful magic philosophers, you already know
the power of framing your effects, that is, giving an individual
effect a ‘hook’ or reason for being, something other
than mere exposition: “Now I’m going to cut the
rope…Now I will hold the ends of the rope…”
Framing individual effects is highly effective in terms
of increasing the involvement of your audience. Taking
this idea to the next level, the professional performer can appreciate
the value of adding a thematic element to the entire show (in
the corporate world, most clients expect a 30, 45 or 60 minute
performance for a typical “after dinner” event.)
In his “Nothing” DVDs, Max Maven talked
extensively about a unifying theme to a series of effects that
built upon each other. Max’s theme for the “Nothing”
show was more subtle. In my case, I’ve structured
my banquet corporate show around an incredibly commercial theme…
Introducing… Murder By
you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a ‘murder mystery,’
I’ll give you the thumbnail description: Typically, a group
of 3 to 6 improvisational actors assume certain roles in an after-dinner
event and they incorporate the audience in ways to help move the
plot along, discover clues, and eventually find out, literally,
‘whodunit!’ Hotels and resorts often turn the concept
into an entire weekend of interactive entertainment.
I LOVED the idea and eventually set about crafting a
one-man murder mystery combined with magic, mentalism, comedy
In “Murder By Magic,” there is a murder,
an investigation, the revelation of the murderer and most surprisingly,
a fantastic ‘plot twist’ that NO ONE will see coming!
The show is very funny, interactive and unique. The way
volunteers are selected is different, and even the show introduction
itself sets the mood instantly and gets big laughs.
Attendees at the show wind up assuming different rols, such
as a chief of police, the coroner, and even the murderer!
Critical KEY points:
- No “acting” is required
of ANY of the guests
- There is NO “pre-show”
of ANY kind in my version of the show
- You will NOT need to “set anything
up” with ANYBODY before the show
starts. (In other words, there’s no “Okay,
I want you to play along…” NONE
- You can walk in ‘cold’
and do this for any audience, even
if the audience has NO idea of what kind of
performance they are going to see
- There is no “blood” or
ANYTHING offensive in the show. (Corporate
event planners DEMAND clean, appropriate shows!!)
- There are no “costumes”
for anyone to wear in my version of the show
- When you start the show, even YOU
do not know who the murderer will be!
(This is FUN!!!!)
- By the way, there is NO pre-show or
“meeting with anyone to set up the plot
or characters of the show” beforehand.
(Just in case I was unclear!) There IS physically
setting up the show equipment for the performance
of course, but no setting anything up with your
client, attendees, nothing!
Why This Show ROCKS
The advantage of this is that unlike a traditional magic or
mentalism show, there is an actual STORY going on, one the audience
can easily follow. Event planners who hire me INSTANTLY
see the value of such a program and many of them hire me even
after saying, “We had a magician last year and we don’t
want to see another magic show.”
I’ll even let you in on a BIG secret: For several years,
I’ve done Stage Hypnosis Shows (VERY popular with HR directors
and meeting planners) for corporate clients and quite frankly,
I don’t enjoy them because most of my corporate clients’
attendees at the shows are filled with people who do NOT want
to be hypnotized, making my job difficult… so when talking
with a prospective client, I then explain why “Murder
By Magic” is such a better idea… and
over 90% of clients inquiring about a hypnosis show make
the switch to booking “Murder By Magic” instead…
even if they already hired a magician last year!
Challenges of a One-Man Murder Mystery
Since the concept of a one-man murder
mystery was so unique, there were several challenges
I had to solve to make the concept work in a corporate
environment. The challenges included:
- How could I convey the plot
while keeping ‘plot exposition’
to a minimum (in many instances, corporate event
attendees have the same short attention span
- Who was going to be the murderer?
- Who was going to be the victim?
- How would magic and mentalism
help propel the plot?
- How interactive could it
- What ‘roles’
could audience members fill…WITHOUT acting
on their part?
- What would MY role or ‘character’
- How would I sell this to
- How could I incorporate music
into the show?
- What will the ‘look’
of the show be in terms of staging?
- How could I incorporate humor
into the program?
- What effects would work the
best in terms of the show structure?
- How could I make this work
for groups of 20 or groups of 500?
Truthfully, there were a LOT of other considerations, but those
were the ‘biggies!’ After almost three years
of tweaking, scripting, hand-wringing and more, I’m proud
to say that “Murder By Magic” truly is THE
Ultimate Corporate Show!
All The Hard Work Is Done For You.
I’ve taken all of my hard work, experimentation
and more and put everything into several easy-to-use components
to get you up and running in no time. Also, once
you understand the workings of the show, it can be easily adapted
to colleges and other venues. It was designed specifically for
the corporate market and since that market is so challenging (venues,
audience sizes, demographics and much more) means the show HAS
to be flexible to accommodate all the weird conditions you’ll
#1: THE SCRIPT BOOK
I’ve transcribed every word of the script
into the script manual. You get every joke,
music suggestion and more to understand how the
plot moves along. I will reveal my thoughts
behind why I included certain lines of scripting,
why I selected the effects that I did and much more.
I will also break down the structure of the script,
why I went into certain directions, why the structure
works, and just how easily you can alter
the effects selection to fit into the framework
of the show.
Additionally, I will include alternate effects
that I initially used along with notes about why
they are no longer in the show, and more. In some
cases, effects were pulled because they did not
fit into the framework of the script, fit my character
or fit the overall ‘look’ of the show
and other times, I pulled an effect out simply because
I found something else I liked better!
This means I will include ALL the effects
I considered and/or tried for “Murder
By Magic.” In most cases, these
are marketed effects (meaning I cannot reveal the
secrets) but once you understand what the “tie
in” is to a certain effect, I will also give
you alternate effects that you can slip into that
spot in the show.
Quite frankly, I wound up developing different
versions of “Murder By Magic”
for small groups in people’s
homes, larger versions for banquets of several hundred
people and even a simple version that I can easily
carry on a plane. There’s a “Murder
By Magic” that uses LARGE effects, all
the way down to a version that fits in a briefcase!
I will also tip the workings of a CUSTOM
electronic prop I had built for me by magic
builder/genius Nick Wenger, giving you the option
of contacting Nick for one of your own!! It ain’t
cheap, but it’s REALLY cool. (Of course, I
also include the source for an alternate effect
that you can slip in your pocket, which costs pennies,
#2: THE SECRETS BOOK
As I mentioned earlier, most of the effects in
“Murder By Magic”
are either marketed effects or taught in respected
books and/or DVDs. However, in two of the cases,
I developed my own effects for the show, including
my version of a mentalism classic that I adapted
specifically for this program and serves as the
CLIMAX of the entire show as I frame it as an unforeseen
major ‘plot twist’ in the narrative
of the story!
Both of these effects together account
for a total running time of 15 minutes…meaning
a full 25% of the show is INSTANTLY yours.
I’ll tip the workings of BOTH here in this
component. I’ll include copies of the artwork,
why each works so well, and of course suggestions
for alternate effects/handlings if you don’t
like mine. (By the way, both pack flat and fit
comfortably in a briefcase.)
Of course, none of this is worth much
if you don’t know how to sell it. In this
third manual, I tip several marketing tools. You’ll
receive the following:
- A copy of my own full-color flier
you can include in a physical promotional
package when you pitch your services to prospective
buyers. Obviously, MY name won’t work
for you, but you can benefit from my design!
- Phone sales secrets! What
I say, how I phrase things, my overall approach
and more. I’ll tip some sneaky Neuro-Linguistic
Programming kinds of strategies to increase
- A sneaky, incredibly EASY ‘add-on’
you can include in your proposal that
essentially DOUBLES the perceived value of the
show…best of all, I GUARANTEE you already
have this ‘secret weapon’ right
now…and it fits in your pocket!
- A handy ‘cut-n-paste’
email you can send to clients who request
info via email. This email is L-O-O-N-N-G and
very descriptive and sells the show very well.
Many times, after reading this email, a client
will call me and simply say, “How do we
make out the check?” (I’m DEAD serious!)
- An advertising flier you can model
and send to clients. (In some cases,
a corporate client may be hosting an event in
which they invite their own clients and they’ll
be using the entertainment as a ‘draw’
to increase attendance. You’ll receive
my full-color flier…along with my analysis
of why it works so well.
- Detailed analysis of why
all this stuff rocks!
#4: UNLIMITED SUPPORT
I know that over the years when I’ve bought
a trick, prop or show-in-a-box such as this, I always
have questions. In this case, because this product
is so complex (a complete 50-60 minute show with
marketing components), I fully expect you
to have some questions. Additionally, this
is truly “my baby” in terms of themed
shows. Over the last 15 years, I’ve completely
scripted and created 16 other theme shows for various
markets and age groups and I feel this is the BEST
script I’ve ever written.
All of this means that if anyone other than me
is going to perform it, I want it done well! After
purchasing the package, feel free to email
me as many times as you like – no limits.
Questions about how to incorporate a pet effect
of yours? Just ask. Questions about marketing?
“Okay, Cris, This Sounds GREAT!
I’ve wrestled for years whether or not to ever release
this. It’s such a unique concept for a one-man magic
show that I really wanted to keep it for myself. Unfortunately,
with the popularity of Youtube, the Internet in general and the
less-than-honest- tendencies of some performers (I’ve had
theme shows ripped off before. I know who did it and I’m
still fighting some people on it), I decided that at least I want
credit for this, so I’ve decided to let my baby go.
But what to charge…
On average, I earn about
$1850 for a one hour performance of “Murder
By Magic.” I’ve occasionally done
shows in the $800 range, 30 minutes or so away from my house
for small groups of people. Quite often, I book
the show for the healthy fee of $2495.
In fact, I recently booked the “Murder
By Magic” show for the fee of $2495…
and then a week later, someone from another company in the
same city called me to tell me they had heard about the
show from the first company… he then also booked it
for the same fee!
Now, I know that there are corporate magicians and mentalists
out there who command a LOT more than that for a one hour show
in the corporate market, but despite performing 250 shows per
year (many of them in the corporate market), I have not fully
immersed myself into the corporate market.
What this means is any corporate specialists out there
can certainly use their skills to make a helluva lot more for
one show than I currently do!
Because I don’t want everyone doing this show, I was going
to charge a fee of $4995 and not include any marketing materials
or support. I then decided to cut that in half, to $2495, because
then in the advertising I could realistically say that the
fee of the package could be recovered in ONE performance, as I
have done several times.
But You’re Not Going To Pay
After talking about it for a while with a few people in the
business whom I trust, I finally settled upon a fee of $995, which
is a steal when you see the reactions this program gets.
Let’s face it – many of us pay a LOT more than $995
for a single effect, and that single effect may run 30 seconds
to 5 minutes in actual live performance time. For the
same fee, I’m handing you a complete 50-60 show along with
actual performance effects (with a total running time
of 15 minutes or more), marketing materials and support
to maximize the value of your investment.
Imagine yourself, making a ton of money in the corporate market…
people smiling, laughing and applauding… and never having
to worry about hearing, “Oh, we saw a magician just
like you last year.”
For this investment, you will be forever perceived
on a higher level by your clients because you won’t just
be presenting a ‘magic show’…you’ll be
delivered a comedic, interactive theatrical experience…the
Ultimate Corporate Show!
Your Investment: $995.00