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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Table hoppers & party strollers Ľ Ľ General Question (s) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicalChris
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Oregon
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Hi, I am really wanting to get a job table hopping.. I am not ready yet, but am putting in way more work now because that is my goal.. Anyways, when you table hop, do you just stay out and do table after table or do you do one table then go back in to re-set a trick or prepare for a different act?



Also, I enjoy cards the most out of the magic I do and have heard it is not good to put the cards on the table.. is this true? I am working on mainly all visual card magic now (colorchanges, card warp etc.) is this better for table hopping?



And lastly are there any major tips you would give someone (like me) who is just starting to venture out into public performances and resturaunt magic?



thank you all,





_________________

-cHw
Peter Marucci
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Magical Chris,

One of the big problems with table hopping is the problem of resetting.

Thatís why most of us who do it full-time donít use anything that requires resetting.

Remember, the management is paying you to work the tables, not hide in the washroom, restacking a deck of cards, or trying to separate your Scotch and Soda gimmick!

As for cards on the table, personally I think NOTHING should be on the customerís table.

Nor should you touch or move anything on that table.

That space is the customerís and you shouldnít invade it unless invited to do so.

(Yes, again, there will be those who will disagree!)

Finally, the major tips I can offer are:

1: Have a viable act. You would be amazed at the number of people who try to break into this field and donít really have an act.

2: Pay as much attention to routining a short, table act as you would to a full eveningís stage show. Any act, to be decent theatre, MUST have an opening, a middle, and an end.

3: Keep the individual tricks short and simple; no place here for long, involved plots and detailed counting.

And you never know when the food will arrive, so be prepared to cut your act off at a momentís notice.

Remember: The customers are probably not there to see you; they are there to eat, have a conversation, fall in love, end a marriage, seal a deal -- just about anything else except watch a guy do magic.

Your table work is simply an added feature to the several that the restaurant should be boasting already.

(In short, donít believe your own press releases!)

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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I agree with just about everything that Peter said, but I would add (or elaborate on) a few things.

You can have longer routines, but they need to be modular. For example, my ring and rope routine has 8 phases, but I can end after any one of them.

I try to construct most of my routines so that they are reset automatically as part of the routine itself. Some examples of this would be my R&R routine, mentioned above, my sponge ball and three ball routines, my finger ring and string routine, my primary coin effects, etc.

I also combine effects into separate "sets" or "acts." I have 5 sets for tables with adults and kids and 5 sets for tables with just adults. Each of these sets has 3-5 routines in it, and again, each can end at just about any time, should the food arrive, etc. Just starting out, I would recommend you have at least three sets for both groups, with at least three tricks in each set. This allows you to perform for repeat customers up to 6 times without ever repeating an effect, and you only need to know 18 effects instead of hundreds. Plus, when the routines are arranged in sets, you donít have to stop and try to decide what to do next. Just go through your set, thank them, and move on to the next table!

An example of one of my sets would be:

My routines for
1) Sponge balls
2) Coins across
3) Red Hot Mama (card effect).

A couple of points here. Youíll notice only one of the three is a card effect. I think you should have at least twice as many routines without cards as with. Many people have a "thing" about cards. I rarely begin a set with a card trick. I show them that I am skilled and entertaining before moving to the boards, as most people have only seen BAD card tricks. Once theyíve seen that you are NOT going to bore them or blow the trick, and once youíve established a rappore (theyíve laughed and they like you), they are much more willing to see a card effect.

I try not to start a set with something that requires the patrons to do something right away. For example, I never walk up and ask them to pick a card right off the bat. Rather, as in my sponge ball routine, I start with magic that happens in my hands, and then gradually begin to include them and involve them in the action, after theyíve had a chance to size me up, decide that they like me, and see that I am very good at what I do.

Peter said that they didnít come to see you. Thatís true at first, but if you do your job properly, that will change--folks will come back and bring their friends, SPECIFICALLY to see you! Thatís when you know you have some job security! One restaurant where I used to perform had me come in on Thursdays, which had been their second slowest night, next to Mondays. One year later, the only night that was busier was Saturday (which I also worked)! People were constantly telling me and the boss that they came to see Great Scott, or that they told the kids they could go to any restaurant they wanted, and the kids chose Locoís so they could see me perform. Shortly after I left (I moved and got another restaurant gig) the owner sold the place. Two years later, it went out of business.

You can create an astouding amount of good will and help the establishment be successful, but you need to do your homework. And that means more than just learning the tricks. Make sure that you have excellent people skills. You should have impeccable grammar and grooming habits. You should learn the table numbers and the names of the employees and the "regulars." Figure out ways to incorporate the name or slogan of the restaurant into your routines. Always arrive BEFORE your scheduled start time.

As the old saying goes, the biggest word in
"show business" is "business!"

_________________

Scott F. Guinn

Great Scott! Itís Magic!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
Andy Charlton
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Palma Nova Mallorca Spain
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I have opinions on everything, and can Talk for England, But I don't think I can add anything to the above posts.



Great Job



Andy
"Keep that smile on your face, that excitement in your eyes." - Don Driver

Check out www.andyandjeansbigadventure.com
or
www.andysmagic.com
flourish dude
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Do you think that, Sam The Bellhop would be a good table hopping routine?



I can do all the shuffles and cuts in my hands, but I do need to put the card down as the story is told.

What do you think?



Flourish.
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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It's a good routine for a small table of 2-4 people. Visibility becomes a factor with groups larger than that.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
MagicalChris
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I really enjoy Sam The Bellhop and would think it would be great, but it does take a little while to perform.



Is the time of STB too long for a table hopping trick, and in that kind of case is it acceptable to put cards on the table?



thanks,

cHw
Paul
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Sam The Bellhop is faaaaaar too long for table hopping. Forget it.

First good advice I can give you, is buy a few books on restaurant magic/table hopping to study.

Second bit, suggest to the management the best time to entertain is AFTER they have finished eating and are on coffee. Everyone is more relaxed and receptive, and you will not be interrupted.

But say, if there will be a long wait for a meal to be served, to let you know and you will do a bit before; if the restaurant is really busy you could be entertaining people waiting for a table.

At the end of the day, if a restaurant is really busy all the time they donít need a close up entertainer. One of your selling points is to draw people into the restaurant.


Paul Hallas

(author of The Table Hopperís Source Book)
Peter Marucci
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Paul is right; Sam the Bellhop is 'way too long for a table hopper.

But there's another problem with it:

No matter who does it (and I've seen some of the best!), the trick doesn't so much end as stop!

There is just no logical conclusion to it.

So, in my lecture notes, Bar Magic, I came up with Some Lucky Joker, that has a real ending to the routine (no longer Sam; it's my mythical Uncle Linguini in Las Vegas).

cheers,

Peter Marucci

showtimecol@aol.com
Eric Grossman
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St. Louis, MO
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I have nothing to add, other than WOW, great posts on this subject. I'm sure learning. Thanks!
family/magic/music/life
MagicalChris
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Oregon
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Yes, thank you all for the good responses.. I would like as much help on the subject of tablehoping that you are willing to give.

Thanks,

cHw
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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I would have to disagree with Paul as to the best time to perform - at least in the States. (he may be correct for the UK)
In my opinion, the best time to perform is after they have ordered and have their drinks and are wiating for their meals.

In most restaurants in the States, they want the "turn-around" on the table as soon as possible, and if you are approaching the table after the check has arrived, you will likely receive a severe reprimand by the owner.

I also disagree with Paul and Peter (a rare occasion, indeed!) that you canít do longer routines at tables. Provided something interesting and entertaining is happening,
I donít think the patrons care if you do one six minute routine (particularly if itís modular) or three two minute routines. I donít do "Sam" myself for two reasons - I could never do it as well as Malone, and so would be doing it a disservice, and, as Peter says, it doesnít really have a finish.

As regards putting things on the table: I agree that you should never ask the diners to move things around to accomodate you. But, very often, you will find two people at a table that can very comfortably seat four or more, and there is plenty of space. My opinion is, if the space is there, use it, if it will enhance your routine, If it isnít, do something where a table is not needed!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Hi,

Restaurants over here in the UK tend not to try and turn people over quickly.

Normally a restaurant meal would take several hours. Although, some entertainers will do it.

The last thing you want when you are tucking into your meal is some guy doing Paddle and elastic band tricks. So as Paul says, after the meal, is better over here.

Also we might perform in a bar area before the meal, (paricularly at parties, this is where people tend to get their drinks and socialize prior to the meal).

Over here, we would refer to entertaining in this bar area as strolling magic rather than table hopping, because you would be expected to work to groups of people that are standing up as opposed to sitting.

phillip
flourish dude
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I have read a few books on the subject.
The only common effect that I have seen is sponge balls. What other effects can you guys truly count on as being a time tested, always will work effect. You know one that you have used time and time again and never had a problem with and always got a good response.
p.b.jones
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Paul Gertner's, "Unshuffled" plays well! Quick reset, and lay audiences love it!

phillip Smile
VernonOnCoins
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The key to the whole thing is audience involvement!!! Get 'em active in your work; selecting cards, holding coins, whatever...just get them involved.
Jared
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I agree with most of the points made from Greatscott. For myself, I like to begin with something short and visual and very rarely ask the audience person to participate.

My immediate goal is to gain eye-contact and trust while exhibiting enough skill to establish my credentials. The second effect in my sets always involves audience participation on some level.

Like Greatscott, I work in sets (3-4 effects) but am always ready to make substitutions if I feel an effect might not work as well as planned.

In table-hopping, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. For example, I remember one instance where a person had a hearing disability so I changed my set in accordance to more visual magic like 'coins across' for example.

After you perform in restuarants for a couple of years you'll begin to anticipate nearly everything ahead of time, and will learn how to work through such issues.

Don't feel discouraged if things don't always go as planned (they seldom do). Table-hopping is difficult but rewarding work. The challange of entertaining 'strangers' is always exciting and fufilling.

You'll feel like Superman when you walk away from a table and overhear comments like, "How the heck did that guy make my card to appear in his wallet- that was unbelievable!"

- Jared
brainman
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..keep it short but sweet!!
A good attention getter is better than talking your teeth out! ..I use a "flashy intro".. it helps!!! Wuuussschh!

If magic happens - nothing is to be explained... the only thing is: they have to feel and to see the magic.

Effects with money and visual effects are liked very much in my opinion.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Table hoppers & party strollers Ľ Ľ General Question (s) (0 Likes)
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