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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Breaking the Ice (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
4893 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
After 40 years of performing, I was asked to do my first walk around gig awhile back. To say I was scared was an understatement. I knew the effects I wanted to use and have no problem with close-up magic but just felt uneasy walking up to someone and saying "wanna see a trick?" I wasn't that rude but really had a hard time approaching people. It was a cocktail type of setting with everyone just milling around. I guess I'm looking for suggestions on how to break into someones's area and perform. Things went well by the way, and I got a few other shows booked but still feel I could have done a better job.

Dave Smile
Where the magic begins
Stuart Hooper
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Special user
Mithrandir
759 Posts

Profile of Stuart Hooper
Dave, I am a much newer magician than forty years, but I can relate totally. I have always felt that the spectator should see something that makes him say, am I hallucinating???? Then he walks over and your in. Sun Tzu says "supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy resistance without fighting." Thats exactly what happens to the spectator when you do an "ice-breaker" trick, they no longer have any ability to resist! So what do I use? I use levitations, at the moment fearsons floating cigarette, (I use a pen or candy), and a fire wallet for buisness cards. Just open the wallet, close the wallet, wait 30 secs, hand your buisness card to the spectator to arrive and say, care to see something else? Smile
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
4893 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
Thanks for the ideas. I did use a flash fire wallet for business cards and that worked. The whole idea of walkaround is like close-up stage fright. After a few shots at it, It'll come natural I guess.

Dave Smile
Where the magic begins
S2000magician
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Inner circle
Yorba Linda, CA
3465 Posts

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I generally look for a lull in the conversation, or for someone to look over and acknowledge me, then I say "Hi! I'm Bill," and extend my hand. At this point they usually figure I'm just a guest--albeit a very well-dressed one. Once the introductions are made I ask, "does anyone here like . . . magic?" The pause is important, as it helps build their expectation. There will usually be someone in the group who answers, "Yes," so I address my next question to him: "What sort of magic do you like? Playing cards? Money? Rubberbands?" Once you get them talking to you, the rest is cake.
variable75
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New user
66 Posts

Profile of variable75
Since I am not speaking from experience I will keep my words short. I wouldn't approach a group and start off with a yes or no question. i.e. Do you like magic? What if they say no? There are tons of reason they might say no, when in fact under different circumstances they might love your work. How about saying something casual like..how are you doing, what is your name(s), where are you from and then explain that the host of the party (whatever) has hired you to add a little magic to tonight's activities...something along those lines. I haven't been there or done that so take it for what it is worth. Good luck!!
Jon Allen
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V.I.P.
England
1746 Posts

Profile of Jon Allen
I think magicians in the world are divided into those that want to do a 'quick trick' to announce their arrival over those that want to talk first. Personally, I am in the school that says you should talk first.

If you do a trick before they know anything about you, they will group you with any other magician they have seen before, good or bad. If they do not like magic for whatever reason, you have lost them before you have even started. Magicians assume that people always want to see magic. They don't.

Timing is as important as anything. If you burst in with a flashy trick only to find you have burst in just before the punchline to a joke everyone was enraptured with, you are deadmeat. Sometimes, you can't help having to interrupt due to time constraints at a job. If I can hear there is a story or somethign that the whoel table is listening to, I hold back until the end. If it's going to be a while, I'll come back later.

For me, my introduction shifts the focus onto the people I am entertaining. I want to find out about them before I do anything. I don't want to do any magic before I have found out whether this particular group wants to see any. I also find out who are the shy people, who are the prominent ones and who could be trouble. I find this out in the first sentence.

I talk about how to approach a group of people, how to interract with them and get them to interract with you on my new video "Spectator's Don't Exist". The performance segments are done with real people in the real world, not friends in a studio. It is how it owuld have been if there were no cameras present.

Cheers,

Jon
Creator of iconic magic that you will want to perform.
The Silent Treatment, The Pain Game, Paragon 3D, Double Back, Destination Box and more.
Available at www.onlinemagicshop.co.uk
Scott
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Special user
UK
724 Posts

Profile of Scott
Hi all,

This is a subject that has been covered a million times in a million different places but still I am afraid there is no real one size fits all answer.

It is down to the individual and what you are comfortable with.

I have been table hopping in resturants and cocktail parties for approximately 15 years now and until I get going I am still worried about approacing the first couple of tables.

My approach is to get them talking first and then show them the magic, however, I was given a bit of advice by a pro of 40 years some time ago at a large corporate gig. I turned up in my best suit, shirt and tie with props loaded ready to go. For about the first 30 mins I had real trouble breaking into the small groups of people standing around. Whilst having a break the other pro magician approached me and after explaining how I felt he said it was because I looked like everyone else in the room. I was wearing my modern but not out of the ordinary business suit. He advised me to hang a piece of magicains rope round my neck and try again.

Voila a miracle.... everytime I walked past somebody they would ask me what the rope was for and I was in.

Now I am not saying you should wear a top hat and tails or a tux at every gig. But I find if they spot me across the room and know that I am not just one of the crowd then when I finally get to them my job is that much easier.

Of once you are in get them talking, get them laughing and amaze them, that way the table or group next to them can't wait to find out what is going on.

Scott
Scott Creasey - Mind Reader

Original Routines With A Mental Flavour

http://www.mentalmagicism.com/
S2000magician
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Inner circle
Yorba Linda, CA
3465 Posts

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This last reply echoes a bit of advice I've read a couple of times and always practice: dress just a bit better than the clientele. Put another way, dress as if, when you leave this party, you have a better party to attend.

I agree, too, with the comment that you shouldn't begin with a yes-or-no question, which is why I don't. I begin with introductions, finding out about my audience first. After we've chatted a bit I ask my question, fully prepared should they say that they don't like magic to ask "Why not?" Some of best moments in table-hopping have come during routines for people who said that they didn't like magic.
berseus
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New user
Sweden (live in London)
49 Posts

Profile of berseus
I am also of the "talk to them first" sentiment.

If after an introduction you ask someone what they work with, they will almost always ask you what you work with back.
"How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else." - R. Buckminster Fuller
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