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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Another one of those "First Gig" questions. (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RyanWhiteside
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Okay so, some context.
I have been doing magic for around ten years and am now at the point where I am totally happy with my classic pass, my one handed top palm and my DL, however I never really bothered to perform for anyone except family. Recently a family friend came over who is the MD of a very large company. The company hold an annual award show in a mariot hotel in the UK and they had a magician booked. Anyway, the magician they had booked pulled out and she got a call as I was showing a simple trick, the Dunbury Delusion from ECT. Anyway she then and there hired me for the event, I thought id accept as I need to start performing. It is on the 27th January 2018, so I have until then to prepare.
If experienced table hoppers could help thatd be great. Some info on the gig: I will be table hopping inbetween courses and then again later on in the evening. There are around 40 tables and I am expected to perform for every single one. (i know, I'm an idiot for taking the job).
I need tips on;
Routines.
Dress Code.
Patter.

And anything else you see fit! thanks Café members,

R
puggo
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Quote:
On Oct 20, 2017, RyanWhiteside wrote:
Okay so, some context.
....... Some info on the gig: I will be table hopping inbetween courses and then again later on in the evening. There are around 40 tables and I am expected to perform for every single one. (i know, I'm an idiot for taking the job).
I need tips on;
Routines.
Dress Code.
Patter.
And anything else you see fit! thanks Café members,
R


Just my opinion:
Dress code - to fit in with the event (likely to be formal/lounge suit)

40 tables - wow, seems almost impossible. Consider 1 effect per table (see another thread by Warren on 'just one effect').
Routines around the table - short, punchy off the table/chest high effects, ideally visual due to background noise. I've worked for a local Marriott for years and the order of service is normally very quick, tables are normally round 8-12 tops, so you won't have much time when there aren't plates on tables etc. Fire/flash paper effects may not be allowed (and check your insurance covers it, from memory, Equity normally separate fire performers, but I may be wrong).
>Productions (David Stone bottle production)
>Rope
>Card to impossible location
>Effects you know inside out, that 'play big'.

Mix and mingle - again, consider the background noise.

Patter - What you normally do, but consider engaging opening lines ("who is the most trustworthy person here..? etc.).

In summary, if this is your first gig of this type, I think you will have a challenge. 40 tables seems an impossible ask.
Consider managing your client's expectations so you don't set yourself up to fail.

Charlie

PS - 'moves' and sleights have very little to do with succeeding at such a gig IMHO>
RyanWhiteside
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Puggo,

Much appreciated advice, I have around an hour in the food serving part, and then 3 hours later on in the evening inbetween awards. I Was thinking of doing around ten tables during the food, making a note of which I had done then doing the other 30 later on.

Cheers

R
Mary Mowder
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Ask the Servers in what order the tables will be served.

Hit the first to be served before they get their food and run ahead of the wave as long as you can.

At some point you will be overtaken by the Servers . At that point remember where you got to in the room and either skip ahead by several tables in your order or go to the end of the serving order and perform backward in the room till you get to food on tables (remembering where you've already gone). Don't perform for people with dinner on the table. Dessert and coffee time is OK but no-one wants to eat and watch Close-Up Magic. Be sure and go back to the tables you missed. Do mention that you'll be performing later in the evening if anyone does ask to see Magic while their fellows at a table are eating.

Since you don't have a lot of time during the first part and you'll probably only do one trick (figure a minute per table because there are introductory and ending comments that take time). Do other tricks later in the gig so you won't have to remember who's seen what.

Find out if they will stay in their seat after Dinner. Crowds change shape when they are free to mingle. Don't work during speeches.

-Mary Mowder
Mary Mowder
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And smile.

-Mary
simplymagicweb
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Puggo is correct here Ryan, Moves and Sleights matter little here. What does matter is your people skills and how you make people feel.

It's tough when you have so many tables - if you have 40 tables, @ 2 mins per table that equals some 80 mins or 3 mins = 120 mins so plan accordingly. If you have been instructed to see all the tables then you need to confirm what time frame you are performing for and then calculate how long you can spend at each table. This will then help you decide what you will perform at each table. It's usual that most magic is performed inbetween the courses and not during the awards so please check. The clients won't appreciate magic during the awards ceremony. Also, when the awards finish, most people then will move about and dance etc with the music making patter difficult so not ideal for performing. The key here is to explain to the client these challenges beforehand.

If cards is your thing, then stick with what you are comfortable with. You'll need something short sharp and punchy, maybe signed card to wallet or ambitious card etc. Forget complex finger-flicking, and think simple.... You are now dealing with real people and not magicians! Think also about how you will introduce yourself at the table - this also takes time and needs to be included in your calculations. Oh yeah, take lots of business cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome to the professional arena! Good luck.
Magically,

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Mary Mowder
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I was just talking about the hour in the food serving part.

Often people will be up mingling (if there is no dancing) after dinner so you can just do strolling Magic at a more leisurely pace.

Sometimes at an Awards event people will say in their seats more than other types of events. But Awards will mean you can't perform during that time. It isn't fun but sometimes you just have to sit down and relax to be polite. Ask what the hosts expect.

Ask about their timetable of events so you know if there will be Music, Drawings, Speeches etc... It is a long event so I imagine they have things planned.

Best of Luck,

-Mary Mowder
RyanWhiteside
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Thankyou all for the advice it is much appreciated, I will try and take in to consideration what each of you have said, now, I am expecting a call this week from the organiser and need help on pricing, I know they planned on paying the other guy £300 for the night, should I charge less or more? Or the same?
Ada-X-
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If the organiser is unaware this is your very first gig then I would just keep it the same but as long as your confident enough in your own performance make it seem like you are doing them a favour at that price, this way any future bookings from them you can price up as you see fit. £300 is good for your first gig in my opinion. and invest the £300 wisely (advertising materials, etc) if you plan on becoming a working magician more often
warren
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My advice is to keep it simple and above all else entertaining, when practicing think about things like projecting your voice as there will be more background noise than your used to, making eye contact, interacting with your spectators etc.

With regards to what routines as this is your first gig stick with what you know or what is within your skill set.
puggo
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Pricing varies due to experience, market rates, regional variations etc. and is the subject of many other threads/conversations.
There are also other aspects such as travel distance, invoicing and deposits, the costs of public liability, tax, clothing etc...

£300 for a job like this is in London/South East is fairly cheap (although it sounds more like a job for 2+ magicians!). However, I would respectfully suggest that the important thing is that you are giving the client value. By that, I mean that once you have made clear what is possible in the time and in these conditions, you deliver a professional service and leave the majority of those you see, entertained.

If this is a first job, I would not be too concerned about the fee, beyond the need to not damage the market by being ridiculously cheap.

Sean (above) suggests if you are mainly a card person, be short and punchy. This is a point worth reiterating, this is definitely the sort of job where people will be distracted and won't remember all the phases of an effect or 'set' of effects you performed, but they will remember if you amazed them (card to impossible location, exploding sponge balls, impossible rope etc..) and made them laugh/gasp.

All of this is just my opinion, as someone who has tried to deliver a professional but 'part time' service for about 10+ years (so your mileage may vary).

PS - I Have had a few Christmas residencies over the years with up to 20-25 tables to service in an evening, which were hard work. This is a job I would think of as challenging and much less likely to be personally rewarding (and fun) than a strolling gig or a wedding. As others have said, be confident, do what you are comfortable with and good luck.
Charlie
AndreJ
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Congrats on your gig!

1. I would be crystal clear with the organiser that you will not be able to perform magic at every table. Tell him/her that you will do your best to show as many as possible, but 40 tables is just too many for a single magicians. It´s better to over-deliver than to promise too much.

2. Make sure you have at least ONE trick that you can do silent. People talk, music is playing, and more people talk. You don´t want to scream at your audience, so bring som silent tricks with you.

3. Be there on time. I try to be at the venue at least 90 minutes before my "start time". Then I have time to say hello to the waiters and staff, change clothes, put on make-up (yup...translucent powder is the way to go), gear up and take some time to relax.

3.5. Become friend with the staff. Be sure to introduce yourself to the waiters. Tell them that you´re there for them as well. If they need you to entertain at a certain table because the food is late, you are there to help. If they think you´re in the way, you need to know so that you can adjust your behaviour. In short, make friends with everyone.

4. Have a big smile on your face and enjoy the moment. If you´re happy, the audience will be happy. If they like you, they won´t care if you drop a card or blow a trick. It happends. Just relax, laugh at it and move on.

5. Be sure to follow up with the organiser after the gig. Was there anything you could have done differently? Are they happy with you? Can they perhaps give you a testimonial for your website/business card?

I think you will do great, and after your gig you will probarbly realize that 1. people like magic(!) and 2. it´s great fun to perform.

Good luck!
Harry Patter
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If I was in your position. I'd buy Kieron's Stickman Bob from Saturn magic.

Just perform that at each table, it has everything and you'll be remembered. Even with that one effect you will find yourself rushing.

You will be tired, so keeping your energy going is probably the hardest thing, 40 tables is a heck of a lot.

Good experience. Let your friend know the circumstances in advance. Maybe ask a magic friend to come and help?

H
ROBERT BLAKE
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What I always do is MISERS DREAM.
Just go around and produce coins. Noise in the pale will get preople interested in what you do. No need to go to a table. Just pass by.

Produce some coins. Wipe them of the table and move on. You can do easy 40 tables in 15 min. People get to know. Later go to the tables. They know you then.no need to make big contact yet.

Alternative produce sponge balls and throw them in the bag.

This way everyone has seen mr. Magic man.if you later skip a table, they have seen you.
Brent McLeod
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Some very good advice above. Myself as a Professional in the corporate market I regularly get asked to do strolling for 20-30 tables or 300 guests.
2 quick effects is all you will need,ensure they are effects you know well & audience interaction & comedy always helps 3-4 mins tops.As mentioned also-D-Lites or coins silently while walking around before you actually stop & perform at the tables works well,

You may not get to all tables,guests swap tables etc and you may perform for people already seeing you earlier. Ensure your grooming is paramount.
Clean suit,shirt,fingers,breath & deodorant. Be happy,be chatty,some people will want to see magic some wont,be aware if people are in heavy conversation & as mentioned do not perform when food is on table.

I always keep 1-2 special effects,Bill in Lemon etc for tables that are so much having a good time for later after youve done most of the room and they ask you back. Good Luck and enjoy but 40 tables is a lot,as mentioned by others keep your host informed as to expectations etc..cheers
warren
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Quote:
On Nov 15, 2017, Harry Patter wrote:
If I was in your position. I'd buy Kieron's Stickman Bob from Saturn magic.

Just perform that at each table, it has everything and you'll be remembered. Even with that one effect you will find yourself rushing.

You will be tired, so keeping your energy going is probably the hardest thing, 40 tables is a heck of a lot.

Good experience. Let your friend know the circumstances in advance. Maybe ask a magic friend to come and help?

H



Nothing against Kieron and I think his stickman routine is excellent but I definitely wouldn't recommend this for your gig as it's not really practical for table hopping its more of a parlour effect in my opinion.
RyanWhiteside
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Right, so the gig was last Friday, and it went perfectly. I followed all your advice, which I am very thankful for. I ended up getting around all of the tables, and I even performed for some millionaires! Ended up charging £300, which I think is a fair price for 4 hours work. Again, thanks for all the help.
Mary Mowder
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Glad to hear it went well.

Be sure and write notes on your show sheet or where ever you have your booking info. on what when best and worst and how you would change it if you did it again, (including what you said in the first contact to the last thank you note).

-Mary Mowder
puggo
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Quote:
On Jan 10, 2018, warren wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 15, 2017, Harry Patter wrote:
If I was in your position. I'd buy Kieron's Stickman Bob from Saturn magic.
Just perform that at each table, it has everything and you'll be remembered. Even with that one effect you will find yourself rushing.
You will be tired, so keeping your energy going is probably the hardest thing, 40 tables is a heck of a lot.
Good experience. Let your friend know the circumstances in advance. Maybe ask a magic friend to come and help?
H


Nothing against Kieron and I think his stickman routine is excellent but I definitely wouldn't recommend this for your gig as it's not really practical for table hopping its more of a parlour effect in my opinion.


..And you may want to consider having appropriate public liability insurance, as you're at a professional gig at a nice venue, firing flash paper pellets around! Smile
S.V.C
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What did you finaly perform ?
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