Part 3: Standing out in the crowded market of school shows

Doug Scheer: 

You’re not lumped together with every other magician. Kind of a turning point when I started school shows is I had my brochure, and it said, “Scheer Magic Productions.” My name is Scheer, and I can do Scheer Magic Productions. That sounds so cool. That was my name. I did my Uncle Sam, my American history show, for this particular elementary school, and the PTA mom was gushing over it and says, “I want you to meet the principal. We want to book more of your school shows.”

So, she marches me into the principal’s office. We sit down, and she says, “This is Doug Scheer, and this is his brochure.” And he grabs the brochure, and he looks at it and goes, “Oh, it’s a magic show. We don’t book magic shows.” Because it said, “Scheer Magic Productions,” on top. And she says, “No, no, no. He just did one of the school shows for us, and it was great. It was one of the best we’ve ever had. There was some magic in it, but it wasn’t a magic show.” The principal responded, ”Nope. Nope. We don’t want a magic show. We don’t want a magic show.”

So, I walked out of there thinking, “What? This man didn’t understand. What was he thinking?” Well, he was picturing maybe a magic show that wasn’t educational or a magic show he saw that wasn’t very entertaining. And he figured every magician was the same. And so, from then on I changed my name from Scheer Magic Productions to Scheer Genius Assembly Shows just to kind of get away from that and fit closer to what maybe a client was looking for. Because you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself, and if you don’t call yourself a magician, you don’t have to compete with all the magicians.

I have to tell you, there’s some great magicians here in Detroit. There are guys that I just really admire. They’re so funny and so witty and so talented and so skilled that I don’t want to go up against them in terms of a job, so don’t even include me ’cause you’re going to blow me away. I don’t want to feel bad. (laughs) It’s your own world, when you’re the school show guy, you can do anything you want to do. If you want to do a song or a dance or tap 

John Abrams:

Right. And it’s smart to do all those things because it’s easier to sell the show. 

Doug Scheer:

Yeah. I have no skills outside of pretending to be a magician sometimes, maybe you do, there are guys that do. There are some guys out there that do school shows with a variety of acts. They do ventriloquism and puppetry and they sing. But I bring illusions, comedy, role-playing situations, improv and some great lessons that fit a school’s needs. Guys thinking about getting in the school show market, if they are magicians they may want to rephrase it and name themselves. It’s funny, I did do a show once, I remember a PTA mom or a teacher came up to me and said, “Hey, we like your show a lot.”

You know what’s funny? She said, “Your magic tricks in your show are even better than the magician’s that we had.” It’s so funny ’cause it’s like, “I really am a magician, lady.” So, it’s like, “Hey, success. You don’t think I’m a magician now. I’m a happy guy.”