Last week I was having a roundtable brainstorm with some fellow entertainers about the fields of Corporate and Trade Show entertainment. For those who don’t know, this is a specialized branch of magic that is connected with business and commercial needs. Visualize a trade show at a convention center with hundreds of companies, each with a booth or display stage. How do you get people to stop at your area? Well, a lot of times a company will have a magician or variety act performing at their booth to pull in potential clients and get them interested to find out more about their product.
So in our discussion, the guys each put out what contributions we thought would make our presence be a stronger choice than choosing something different. Here’s what I had to offer:
• KNOWLEDGE: The first thing I do after (and sometimes before) I get hired for a trade show gig is to learn everything I can about the company and the product. What are the special features? What are the benefits of a client acquiring this product or service? What are they offering that is new and different? I try to cover all the angles, and by show day I am really immersed in it.
• CUSTOMIZATION: I must admit – this is something I’m really good at and enjoy doing. Using the actual product and/or concepts, I design and create magic and variety elements that not only bring out the uniqueness of the product, but are FUN! These are usually one-of-a–kind effects that can only really be used for that specific show. But they are made to accomplish a mission: connect with the client. When someone has a smile on their face, they are much more open to hearing about something.
• ORIGINALITY: This is the part that takes a bit of effort: what can I create magically that is really original and hasn’t been seen a million times before? (Yes, pulling the product out of a top hat – with rabbit ears on it – is not going to cut it!) Even better – what can I design that actually links to the product and makes the product itself seem extra-special? This is the basis for the creation of ideas I bring to clients… and I bring LOTS of them so they are happy with the wealth of cool effects they get to choose from!
I’m smiling now as I write this because I’m thinking back to a bit I did for a company that made lottery tickets. I remember saying to myself in the creation stages: “What do people dream about when it comes to the lottery?” Here’s one of the bits I ended up with on show day: I would just take the company’s basic lottery ticket (a thin piece of cardboard), and after getting everyone’s attention with a small speech about its creation, I threw it into the air – AND A SHOWER OF MONEY CAME RAINING DOWN! It was like I had made their lottery dream come true! So even though it was a simple visual, it really made people laugh, and I had little trouble getting clients to come into the booth to talk to the salesmen. So that bit, even though very basic, accomplished the goal.
Being a unique customized corporate entertainment act is not easy, but is a very rewarding and exciting market to pursue in variety entertainment. It’s an ever-changing challenge that keeps me on my toes… and I LOVE a challenge!