Friday, July 27, 2012

High School Course Ending Soon and TWO REVIEWS: The Real Deal & Professional Backdrop System

Howdy All!

I'm excited to say that once again, I have BEATEN my pre-release deadline for my latest product, "How To Make A Ton Of Money Performing In High Schools!" I have shipped all pre-orders to Hocus Pocus via Priority Mail, so I expect Hocus Pocus to receive them tomorrow or Monday and then they'll get shipped out to the pre-order customers. THANK YOU for ordering! I know in this day & age, pre-ordering sometimes gets a bad rap due to certain bumps in the road, so I always try to beat my own deadlines.

With that being said, even though the product is available NOW, I am going to extend the $50 savings deadline til NEXT FRIDAY, one week from today's (July 27, 2012) post, so if you want to save $50, place your order ASAP. High schools are a REALLY rewarding market from an artistic and financial standpoint IF you have the right programs, and I give you two COMPLETE programs with the course covering two red hot topics high school clients need and want for their events.

On to this week's reviews. I'm doing two reviews this week because both are going to be short as there are no magic secrets or techniques to dance around, so I can be pretty open & honest with both.

The first is..THE REAL DEAL by Paul Romhany. It retails for $49.95 (but you can save if you are an online member!)

MY THOUGHTS: I'm going to right to it because there are no angles, no physical techniques, etc to go over. In short, this book gives you a ton of practical, real-world advice for becoming and remaining      a working pro.

Here's just some of what is covered in this massive book:

- passports and visas
- contact lenses
- microphones
- sound systems
- packing for the cruise gig
- Apps you must have (and I agree!!)
- using mobile devices overseas
- general performing tips for beginners
- avoiding jet lag
- seat assignments
- air sickness
- air points
- avoiding air headaches
- fear of flying
- carry-on essentials
- how to become a better performer
- making more money from magic
- good posture
- travel mistakes to avoid
- voice tips for performing
- health on the road
- tips for touring your own show
- better business cards
- self-promotion
- using your website to get work
- social media tips for performers
- tips for radio interviews

And that's just a small section out of the table of contents...and that's just a speck of what Paul writes about...and there's a loooooong list of contributers who have all contributed their own road stories, pro tips, performing tips, money tips, marketing / advertising tips, and oh-so-much-more.

To read the ad copy suggests the book will include a bunch of amusing road stories and while there are really cool pro working stories, the fact is this book is so much more.

This book belongs in any working pro's library. It's what I consider to be foundational - if you aspire to be a pro, you NEED this book. I've been a full time pro for 9 years and I was horrified at all of the things I discovered I WASN'T doing after reading this book!

It's going to be real tough to top this book as far as "best releases of 2012" goes. I may have to create a new list, "best trick or prop or routine" list as this book is unreal.

10 out of 10. Buy this book!!

On to the second review - it's the Professional Backdrop System available from Hocus Pocus for $899 (unless you're an online member in which case you can save a ton!!) Three colors are available - red, blue and black. I chose the blue.

I've used backdrops in the past - usually a photographer's frame with the backdrop cloth threaded on it. It always looks good, but takes time to set up - often 5-10 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot but on those stressful multi-school days, time is important! So, I bought this with time-saving in mind.

QUALITY: The quality of the cloth material is out of this world - nice, neat stitching, good quality material, and the metal expanding frame is built very well, too. The engineering is very impressive. The provided carrying bag is nicely built too and - this is big - the bag is big enough that you can easily get the cloth and expanding frame back into the bag without a specific, hard-to-remember folding pattern for the cloth - just stuff in to the bag. This is good as with a camping tent, for example, the damn bag is so small you must fold the tent JUST SO to get it back into the bag. It's REALLY annoying! So, the builders of the backdrop really got that right.

SET-UP TIME: After some struggling (which I'll detail in a later paragraph) I can say that after some rehearsal, I can get the backdrop up in about 3-4 minutes and broken down and packed into the provided bag (also great quality) in about one minute. I expect my time getting the thing up & ready will go down, too, as I become more familiar with it.

INSTRUCTIONS: I'm glad this was a backdrop and not a trick, as the directions are horrendous. Check out Step 9's instructions:

"CAUTION" When does not fold or spread: Don't fold or spread. Stop folding or spread. PLEASE UNFOLD. And spread again or fold again, please."

And I thought Step 7 was pretty out there, too:

"FOLD: Hold the frame evenly with both hands. And down slant by same power."

Are you freakin' kidding me?? I read that to my wife and she said, "Hey, it's like that Star Trek episode where those aliens spoke in stories!"

It did take me a bit to figure out how to secure the cloth to the frame so it stays in place during the expansion of the frame (mind you, the sucker gets tall REALLY quick and I don't plan on carrying a ladder with me to gigs).

All in all, a really nice, professional addition to the visual appeal of your act...just don't expect a lot from the directions!

I'll give this a 9 out of 10 - REALLY high quality product but I am taking away a point for the horrendous instructions!

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