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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Which is easier ? Party /strolling or Restaurant magic? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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paymerich
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Norwalk, CT
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I want to start getting real world experience performing . So I pose the question which is easier for an advanced beginner to do: Strolling magic at a party or
a restaurant gig? Kid shows ? I know all have pros and cons . Looking for peoples real world experience and opinions.


Thanks in advance
Have a Magical Day!
<BR>
<BR>The Maniacal Mage
<BR>
<BR>Pablo Aymerich
<BR>Norwalk, CT 06851
pikacrd
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Paymerich,
I think that it all depends on you. You will need a lot of the skill sets that you will learn across the various types of performing all of the time. In other words you will find that you use a lot of the same skills that you will learn performing in a restaurant while you are working a strolling gig. A lot of the same things that you will learn strolling will apply to Kid and parlor shows. Personally I find kid shows to be very hard because I do not think that I connect well with kids but on the other hand I find doing strolling magic very appealing and fun. In the real world it will boil down to you and how you feel in the different situations and environments that you work in. Once you have a few of the different types of show under your belt you will be able to make a decision on what direction you want to take your magic in.

Good luck let us know how it goes for you.
Kris
“Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics”. William S. Burroughs 1914-1997 American Writer
steve j
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It depends what kind of magic you do, I think if your a card guy, or do most of your effects with sleights, you should start in restaurants, come up with one or two good five ten minute sets and do that, kids are always hard even for the seasoned performer, you never know what you'll get, adults are easier to deal with however wont give you a good gauge as to how well you did. in the end it comes down to what you fell comfortable with, as you said everything has pros and cons but I think to start adults may be more forgiving.
Alan Munro
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In a restaurant you always have the pressure to show your worth to the establishment, i.e. helping the restaurant to make more money. There seems to be less pressure in most strolling gigs. Kids are the toughest audience, on the otherhand. It depends on the performer.
bnadworn
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I agree with Alan. Strolling around there is usually more chance to choose your audience and have more flexibility on timing of the performance. In a restaurant you can't (shouldn't) perform while people are in the middle of trying to eat. You have to work out when to approach a table and work the room so that you get to the most amount of tables. In a strolling gig you walk around and depending on the place it is easy to do short or long routines depending on the other activities.
I did a large strolling gig this summer and there were about 2000 people at various times in a large outdoor area. People were waiting on long lines for different activities and that allowed me to have a very captive audience. Smile It also helped them pass the time while waiting. While walking around I can also spot small groups of people just relaxing and was able to do some different effects for them as well.
And personally... I love to do kid shows and perform for them (all ages).

Bottom line: Go with what you feel most comfortable.

- Brian Nadworny
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Countage
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I have found if you can hold young children’s attention for the better part of an hour you will be a very successful birthday party and school assembly magician. It is very important to relate to the children. I recommend watching the Wiggles TV program and other shows like it to learn what holds their attention.

The secret to restaurant magic is getting people back. Then when corporate tells the restaurant management to lose the magician. The managers will say "No Way" He brings people in. I know from experience.

I think the big secret in birthday parties, restaurants, and strolling work is getting your business card and identifying potential clients.
Suzanne
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If you're an advanced beginner who really wants to get real world experience, restaurant magic is the better bet. Your question however was more about which is easier, restaurant or corporate walk around. That I think is really only something you can say which would be easier for you. For me, restaurant magic was the easier place to start.

In a restaurant you get to work on a regular basis, giving you the opportunity to work on the same act over and over again, one right after the other. If you screw up with one group, the next group doesn't know. You can work out your kinks that way. Corporate events are fewer and farther between than a regular restaurant gig would be so you wouldn't be working as much. Work equals experience. If you're working a restaurant on a regular basis you will make more contacts which will help you work more events which in turn gain you more experience. At the restaurant each table is a brand new audience. They won't talk to the other people who had you at their table unless you do a great job and then they tell the whole restaurant by their cheers. At a corporate walk around show, everyone will eventually talk to each other. If you were great, everyone will know, if you sucked... well they'll know that too.

Someone mentioned that when working restaurants you're under pressure. Well, I think if you don't have enough experience you would be under more pressure to do a good job at a corporate gig because you won't have enough experience to really do that job justice. Trying to do corporate magic when you're not really ready to do it (like having some experience working with the real public and not just your friends and family) would be very bad for your business and actually bad for all the magicians in your area. If you do a bad job, that corporate client won't hire you again, and probably won't hire another magician again for that matter. If you do a bad job and you got it through an agent, that agent probably won't hire you again, and that company probably won't call that agent again (and agents hate that).

You can't get experience without doing the jobs. Do as many jobs as you can, where ever you can. Granted there are things to overcome in restaurant work but that just adds to the experience. I wouldn't see them as obstacles, I would see them as opportunities.

Hope this helps.

Suzanne
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gandalf
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I think working for Kids is the hardest/most demanding situation. Try some private parties first, see what reaction(s) you get, then move onto the restuaruants with the confidence and testimonials from the party organisers, which should hopefully secure you a place at a restaurant
Lee Darrow
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A party magician needa a 30 to 60 minute act that plays well on a reliable basis.

A restaurant or strolling magician needs 4 sets of 3 to 4 tricks that can be done without a surface and wows the crowd reliably. Switch from one "set" to another as you move around the room. Always keep in mind that the restaurant wants to serve and clear and re-populate the tables as quickly as possible (called turning the table). In a strolling situation at a party, you don't have to worry about turns.

A bar magician works essentially behind the bar only and often is also a bartender. Balancing the bar service with the magic can be really challenging. You have to be a superb magician, with a vast array of effects under your belt (you have to keep the seats filled and keep them coming back) and a fast bartender as well as a people person, host, pseudo manager, part time bouncer and identity document expert.

Guess which one's the easiest from a performance standpoint...?

NONE of them! They all have their specific challenges, limitations and pluses. Check out The Magic Menu (a 2 volume set and a follow up softcover book) for details. great stuf, written by some of the busiest performers in the field.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
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Paul
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I would say the restaurant gigs are the easiest.

However kid shows and private parties under your belt initially would be the best option as you learn to put a complete act together rather than string a couple of tricks together.

You would also learn/know how to deal with children effectively in the restaurant when you come across them, and be able to do these kind of shows when asked about then in a restaurant situation.

Paul.
John C
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Try it all. Work the restaurants, put together a kid's show, maybe a school show and you'll also be able to perform birthdays and family shows. If you feel good around people and can control and manage folks and you're entertaining you'll make it.

Play it for the folks not for yourself. Restaurants are nice because you have an immediate chance to right your wrongs by moving to the next table. Stage shows you have one chance to do it right. If you don't feel good about the performance you'll have to wait until the next performance to give it another shot.

It's fun and lucrative. There's nothing like walking up to folks in a restaurant, folks that you would never walk up to in "your" world and start talking to them and performing magic. Sometimes I look at a group of people at a table and they just look down and out and my challenge is to get them feeling good again. I mean, sometimes it looks like they are going to just turn me away, but, I gotta do it I say, "Hey you wanna see the only magic trick I know?" and low and behold their faces light up, smiles throughout, a few chuckles I realize then that they were only bored! Then the fun starts.

I love it!

John
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chichi711
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I personally enjoy performing corp parties. 60 percent of my work is School assemblies and birthday parties. The magic is really easy, but it is by far the most mentally draining. You can't let your guard down when you are working with children.

I personally would try starting with a strolling party. You really don't have much pressure. Nobody will be rushing you like a restaurant does. You will also be able to work on your routine over and over and over again.
evanthx
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I usually do most of the same stuff strolling at a party or at restaurants - it's just that at restaurants I have the table surface to put a few things on and strolling I don't. But then at restaurants I also spend a lot of time with the folks waiting, and I don't have a table surface there - but still, it's mostly the same material.
paymerich
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Thanks All for the truly excellent advice . I think my first gig will be doing strolling magic at a co-worker's wedding cocktail hour. I am going to give that a try asnd see what unfolds..


Thanks again for all the great advice it was exactly what I was looking for..
Have a Magical Day!
<BR>
<BR>The Maniacal Mage
<BR>
<BR>Pablo Aymerich
<BR>Norwalk, CT 06851
Bob Johnston
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Paymerich:

I think the straight-up answer to your question is Party Strolling.

Skill lever aside, at a strolling gig you are really in control. No dancing around the wait staff, watching management (watching you), no table turning to work around.

It is very tempting to tell you my favorite or best performance situation and other advantages. But to your basic question, it would have to be party strolling for me.

Bob
nique
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Paymerich, what's an "advanced beginner"?!

I'd choose strolling over table hopping... at tables there're many other things to handle, especially if you get tables that are big (12 people or so). If there's loud music, the people further away can't hear and you lose half the table already. The waiters come in at bad times. If it's a buffet style setting you need to wait for the right moment for them to be ready to watch magic. When they just get their food they want to eat, when they're almost done you have to strike. The problem is while you're waiting for the moment you can be seen not working and the client won't like that.

As for strolling, you're in control of how big a group to do. There're always groups talking and you can select which ones to handle first. There're many other things to discuss, but those are a few things to take into consideration.

cheers all... Smile
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Suzanne
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Quote:
On 2005-02-14 14:18, paymerich wrote:
I want to start getting real world experience performing . So I pose the question which is easier for an advanced beginner to do: Strolling magic at a party or
a restaurant gig? Kid shows ? I know all have pros and cons . Looking for peoples real world experience and opinions.


Thanks in advance


I know I posted on this already but reading the other posts here I think we're all missing the most important part of your question which is the fact that you want "real world experience", which I will from this point lovingly call RWE. Smile

First Pablo, I'll pose these questions to you: Do you want the RWE only once or do you want it a lot of times? If you're going to try to get your RWE through corporate work, how many times do you think you can get it in one week? How many times do you think you can get it in one week if you're performing at a restaurant? (<-- very important question.... don't over look it!!!)

The answers to those questions are more important than which is easier. Look at it this way: the more you work the better you get, the better you get the easier it is. With that information, only you can answer your own question. Smile *OM*

I've been doing both restaurant and corporate magic for a living for the past 20 years. In my experience, both settings are essentially the same with very small differences. Sure as others have said, you do have to work around the wait staff in a restaurant but hey, that's just part of the RWE, isn't it? Sure you have to stop when they get their food. So what, not that tough?? RWE Baby! With corporate magic you have to be worth the big bucks! If you haven't had RWE are you even worth the big bucks? Either way, restaurant or corporate, you have to worry about the client watching to see if you're doing a good job. And if you stink, (BTW Pablo, I'm not saying you stink, these are just possible RWE scenarios) the corporate guy will be more mad than the restaurant guy because he's paying you more. Then RWE can be dealing with someone who thinks you stink! hehe Hey, let's take it one step farther, shall we? You can get RWE with public relations because you ****ed off the corporate guy! You said you were good and he said you're not and he's putting a stop payment on your check! OUCH! How 'bout that for RWE? All of it, ever bit of it is RWE. I don't know if it's good idea to have "easy" as part of the equation. Life ain't easy my friend, and when people try to make it easy they usually end up making it harder. Smile
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Bob Johnston
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Paymerich:

Reading “Suzanne’s” great post reminded me of one more thing nice about strolling.

You can wonder without apologies to the next group that looks receptive. In restaurant work you must keep track and develop a pattern so as not to miss a group before they leave. It is also very hard to skip a table that you know is going to be a problem.

O ya, there is also often someone strolling around with finger food you can partake of without looking to greedy.

Bob
Suzanne
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Quote:
On 2005-03-03 19:47, Wellington wrote:
Reading “Suzanne’s” great post


Thanks for the vote of confidence Bob.

Quote:
In restaurant work you must keep track and develop a pattern so as not to miss a group before they leave. It is also very hard to skip a table that you know is going to be a problem.


Wow. I don't have to do that in the restaurant where I work. That sounds too hard. I've been at this restaurant for almost 10 years so I'm assuming the management thinks I'm doing a pretty good job, even if I skip tables. In restaurant work I think you really just need to go to the people who request you and to other people at your discretion when you don't have a line up of requests. I wouldn't worry about it if you want to skip table or three as long as you keep busy. If you think they're going to be a problem, don't go to them. Why would you want to perform for people you think are going to be a problem anyway? Sounds like people who wouldn't want to see magic in the first place. I certainly wouldn't want to waste my precious time on people like that.

Quote:
O ya, there is also often someone strolling around with finger food you can partake of without looking to greedy.


I'm assuming you're joking about the finger food but I'll address it just in case you're not. If you eat finger food as it's going around at a corporate function and you are NOT a guest of that corporate function, IMProfessionalO it makes you look very unprofessional. I would never eat at a strolling gig, EVER. I have no idea how you can perform magic and eat at the same time. Not to mention the fact that it would give you garlic breath and/or cause you to have spinach stuck in your teeth.

Yah, ya godda little sompthin' in yer teeth dar, Bob. *grin* (that's my Minnesooda accent dar, ya shur hehe)

Suzanne
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Bob Johnston
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Well, Suzanne, I don’t do corporate strolls. However, I still do small dinner parties and luncheons. The host of the last one I did repeatedly asked me to try some “finger food” as is often the case. Perhaps things are more formal in Minnesota.

Perhaps it is because of my age, but I am often asked to join the guests if there are snacks around. I am surprised if (in Minnesota) spinach is considered “finger food”. I have also never seen garlic as “finger food”, but I don’t know much about Minnesota.

Actually, I think it would be very unprofessional to be so rude as to say “no” if the host asked me to try a cookie or some other (non-messy) food between routines. Most of the walk-around I do, I am considered a guest, albeit paid. I am treated that way, and I behave that way. Of course I could say “I’m sorry, but I am professional, and do not eat when working, but why would I do that.

I did a large birthday party last year where I was asked to join the adults in the kitchen for a snack, I said yes, even though I was not really interested in eating. I did some close-up at the table, but that was not really asked for. Perhaps that too was “unprofessional.”

Acting and being “professional” has to do with, far more, than accepting “finger food” occasionally at a lunch or dinner party gig.

Last year I did a walk-around at a Halloween Party. I wore (to some degree) a costume. I suppose this too would have been considered (by some) to be “unprofessional”. Even though I was paid to be there, I was also asked to be one of the judges in the costume contest.
Perhaps we (Suzanne and I) just move around in different circles.

A friend of mine is doing Bar Magic for a major distiller in NY. I will ask him, but I am willing to bet, that he is “finger fooding” now and then as he works.

Bob
Quote:
being “professional” has to do with, far more, than excepting “finger food” occasionally at a lunch or dinner party gig.
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