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Making History: A Magical Career
Posted Jan 31, 2007 Print Version     Page 1of 1

That's it, I quit.
     After 26 years of videotaping weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and other milestone occasions I will no longer continue my career as a videographer. I have decided to stop promoting my career as a "camera guy." If you are tired of being just a videographer, you should quit as well.
     Just think of it: No longer will clients ask you if you are going to use bright lights. No longer will the band leader apologize when he forgot to tell you that the 93-year old grandmother gave a toast while you were changing batteries. No more wondering if the client thought you did a good job. No more annoying nights as you drive home, completely tired, after a 12-hour wedding that went into overtime. No more career as a videographer.

As of today, February 1, 2007, I will no longer book any more jobs as a videographer. I have decided on a new career—that of a magician. Yes, a magician, an illusionist. As a young boy I enjoyed taking the bus into New York City on a Saturday afternoon to watch various magicians perform their acts in front of an audience. I loved it when, after the show, the magician would come out and talk to the crowd. Everyone wanted to know how he did a certain trick and the magician would tell them he never revealed the secrets of his trade while at the same time passing out his business card, looking for his next gig. Changing careers can be very stressful. Yet, undaunted, I am already booked into some of the finest hotels in Boston to perform my acts of magical illusion.

In fact, my old video clients are the same people who have booked me for the 2007 season. I am going to perform my illusions in front of the very clientele that booked me as a videographer to capture their weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and birthday parties. I will perform my favorite magic trick of showing a "legacy biography" of the guest(s) of honor—such as a bride and groom—and then performing the illusion of making their wedding, which just took place, reappear through the use of my same-day edit magic. This year, my goal is to book a same-day edit for every one of my video productions. Many of my jobs are weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, and now I have added a new revenue stream of producing birthday histories for people in their forties, fifties, and sixties. And who wouldn't like to have a magician at their birthday party?

My potential clientele in the Boston marketplace is comprised of many wealthy people who have done well with their careers. They enjoy the good life and delight in sharing their good fortune with their friends and families, especially when celebrating a birthday party.

What I sell a client for a birthday party is four products:

  1. Videotaping the birthday celebration
  2. Producing a legacy biography video
  3. Audio-visual support to show the legacy biography video
  4. A magical same-day edit.

What is great about producing birthday videos is that the legacy biography you show is the highlight of the evening. There are no other special highlights of the evening—no ceremony, no first dance, no father-daughter dance. Your legacy biography is the main event and if you include a same-day edit, you are the hero (or heroine) of the main event.

My favorite part of the legacy biography video at a birthday party is when the audience watches, on the big screen, the mate of the honored guest say, "I have been planning your surprise birthday party for three months and I can't wait to see the look on your face when you come into the room, surrounded by friends and family." As these words are spoken, the visual on the screen is the birthday person coming into the room with that surprised look on his face. The audience then claps with enthusiastic approval as they witness the magic on the screen.

There are two different ways to produce a birthday video. The first is the traditional method as a videographer and documenting the evening. You'll edit the footage a few weeks or months after the event, then deliver a finished product to the client, and pick up a check and a thank you.

The more exciting way is as a video magician or illusionist. In this role you'll videotape that evening, showcase the same-day edited footage in a legacy biography video, shown that night, and then pass out copies of your production on DVDs to all the guests. As a video illusionist, the guests will surround you much as they would circle a magician after his performance and ask you how you did your same-day edit. When you demur, insisting with showman-like coyness that a magician never reveals his secrets, they'll ask if you can do the same trick for them at their next party. And like the magicians I saw as a child, you'll pass out your business cards and watch your legend grow.

Yes, this is the year I will give up my career as a videographer and enter my new profession as a video illusionist with my same-day edit trickery. I know this new career will add much magic to my bottom-line profits.

Hal Slifer is known to his clients as a Video Historian and has produced thousands of family histories for clients throughout New England for more than 25 years.

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