Maximize Your Reach

I have just returned home from Chicago where I was working with magician Bill Cook, filming some performances and other segments for a new video project.

It’s no secret that video is a powerful tool for promotion and marketing. Prospective clients want to see who they are hiring and what they are getting. One of the most important aspects of video marketing is to know what image you want to convey, and for which market.  Once you have established that, it becomes easier to create the story you want to tell.  Since most businesses reach out to different markets, it becomes necessary to have multiple videos that “speak the language” of each specific market.

This month I would like to feature 2 videos we created for Comedy Magician Tim Gabrielson.

The first is a Sizzle Video. Short and sweet, this style of video helps establish credibility and give people a tease of the excitement and energy of the performer’s show.

When you want to reach a specific market, it is ideal to have a solid Demo Video. This style of video is a bit longer and more involved and should convey the benefit of your service to the desired market.

Jordan’s creativity, talent, communication skills, and patience,
combined with his entertainment background sets Red Spade
Entertainment far above industry standards.

After years of dealing with several different video production companies and
experiencing the difficulty of trying to explain the vision in which I
wanted my video to be portrayed, and not knowing what of my stock
footage I was to use…led me down a road of costly and unprofitable
demo reels that did not show “ME” on stage. With the footage that was
given to Jordan to choose from, I could not be happier.  Jordan…you
have a wonderful gift, thanks for sharing it with me…I only wish I
would have found you years ago.

Tim Gabrielson
The Magic of Comedy



Expect the Unexpected

On Saturday, March 22 I was part of the 30th annual “Evening of Magic” at the High Street Arts Center in Moorpark, CA. The show, an annual fundraiser for student scholarships, also featured performances by Jonathan Levit, Paul Dwork, Ron Saylor, and juggler Michael Rayner.  Unexpectedly, this is the photo that happened to make the front page of the Ventura County Star:






While in LA I also began shooting the first round of interviews for my new documentary film project. In one day I managed to interview Christopher Hart, magic creator Don Wayne, Rudy Coby, and Max Maven.

It was a wonderful experience having conversations with some of my magic idols.

Suffice it to say that I am very excited to have begun production on this project! The topic, you ask? In short, it’s a discussion about performers who have had their acts or material copied, or “ripped off” by other people. This is a problem that we are seeing more and more frequently these days. Back in December, as I was putting together a side-by-side video of Turkish magicians performing (on television) signature routines of other performers I was struck with the urge to raise awareness of this issue. And, hopefully, resolve the distinction of copying someone versus being inspired by them. I still have many more interviews to get with fellow performers so I will have more information to share with you about this project in the coming months.

Finally, my last couple of days in LA were spent with my friend Rick Gerber.  We began shooting some videos for a secret project. I have worked with Rick on a few different projects now and one of the things I always enjoy is seeing what creative things we come up with while shooting. This particular project took me back to my experimental film days.
At one point during the shoot, this happened…

Worth the Wait

Getting to work on a new project, be it a live show or video, always fills me with anticipation. Anticipation of what it will become, how it will evolve.  Since one of the things I do is work with clients on creating a concept and developing their media image, each video is its own unique endeavor. Jordan - at work behind the cameraTransforming a collection of video footage and show clips into a concise, high energy marketing tool does take careful planning and attention. And I never quite know what each video will become until I start working on it. But as they say, good things are worth waiting for.

We have just completed a new promo video for Fire Performer & Illusionist Antonio Restivo. Antonio had accumulated a lot of footage over the past few years and was ready for a new promo video.  If you have seen Antonio you know he has an iconic look, a fitting character for a fire performer. I knew I wanted the video to capture that look as well as highlight many of his accolades. In addition, being able to use the element of fire for this video opened up a lot of possibilities visually.  To be consistent with Antonio’s branding, I animated the graphic files from his logo and website in the promo video and the DVD menu.

Take a look at our latest creation:

On another note, as some of you may know one of my earliest creative endeavors with film making was making conceptual video art. For those interested in seeing some of my video art, you can now view them on my website. Here is a direct link to the portfolio:

Pushing the Comfort Zone

“I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, which is about an inch and a half wide.”
Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm

Reading this quote reminds me of myself at times. Perhaps we all have a tendency to get comfortable with the way things are.  I have just returned home from a week of shows at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

This year I performed a new show in the Close Up Gallery, a theater I had never performed in. It presented a new challenge for me. Having now returned from the week in the Close Up room I realize what that (seemingly) little leap outside my comfort zone did for me creatively.  We can only grow if we are willing to feel a bit awkward by trying something new.

Earlier in the month I spoke to the faculty of the College of Marin here in Northern California.

To kick off the new year they brought me out to speak about transforming reality through Surrealism. It is always a great feeling to be a catalyst for transformation and change.

I try to push my comfort zone with each new video I make as well. I do this by experimenting with new techniques, trying to create different styles and moods. This month I would like to share with you a recent promo video we did for The Moogician. This video was to promote the Moogician to fairs and festivals. Using his existing footage, we animated his logo and edited the video into its final form.

It’SURREAL Fine Time – Episode 7

For the past year I have been creating a monthly web series with the intention of opening up the world of Surrealism and filmmaking to everyone. The goal of this half-hour web series is to increase the appreciation and understanding of these powerful art forms.

In this episode I share highlights from Mr. Right and Bizzaro’s two-man show at the Magic Castle. Plus a Surreal activity you can do!

Online Video Sharing

I have written in the past about the importance of having a video embedded in the homepage of your website, not only for search engine optimization (SEO) but also to engage potential clients immediately. One of the questions I am often asked once clients receive their final video is whether they should upload to YouTube or Vimeo.  With many different video hosting sites out there it can be hard to determine which site is best for your business. Therefore let me summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each.

In the last few years as YouTube has risen in popularity, and been acquired by Google, it seems that YouTube will give you the best search engine results.  That means if you type in a phrase on Google, the first videos to come up in the search results will more than likely be related YouTube videos. Additionally, YouTube now offers many advertising opportunities so you can generate revenue from your videos. And with an estimated 800 million monthly viewers worldwide, showcasing your videos on YouTube can provide you a very wide reach.

With that said, because of the popularity of YouTube, the types of videos you come across will range from professional masterpieces to amateur fluff. A potential customer or client trying to find your video, or watching your video, will be bombarded with other video recommendations all of which will draw focus away from you. Think of how easily we can go from watching a beautiful time lapse video to a zany cat video. Also when you upload a video to YouTube, because of their compression, you may notice a significant loss in quality.

Known for their more simplistic site with many advanced customizable features, you can upload a video to Vimeo with very little loss in quality. Furthermore, with a Vimeo Plus account you can customize everything in the player features and settings, allowing you to adjust the colors and text in the player and even embed your logo into the player itself.  You can also control which sites are able to embed the video.

So, what’s the drawback with Vimeo? The major difference is that Vimeo does not generate nearly as large of a viewership as YouTube. And while you can upload with a free account, you will find many of the advanced features require upgrading to a Vimeo Plus or Pro account.

The best thing is to first decide what type of video you are going to post. Is this a promo video to be embedded on your website? Or, is this a fun, short video you want to be passed around? Given that both sites allow you to create a free account, my answer would be to post your video to both YouTube and Vimeo. Use YouTube as a platform to get maximum exposure for your video and use Vimeo when embedding your video on your website, blog, etc.