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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2004 entrée: Paul Cummins » » Table hopping » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tom James
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Cincinnati, Ohio
139 Posts

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Hi Paul,

It is Tom from Cincinnati. I just wanted to say that it was great having you here in Cinci for a lecture and I enjoyed it a lot and learned a lot as well I would love to send you the picture of us via email if you can give me the email address. The question I have is there are a lot of people on the Café that do table hopping and I wondering if you can give any advise on this subject that may help anyone doing this or getting ready to do this. With your experiance I think it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

Keep the Magic ALIVE

Tom James
pcummins
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Hey Tom,

I'm no expert, but I'd be happy to help with any advice I can regarding table-hopping. Do you have any specific question?

Paul
Ron Crumley
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1950 - 2012
448 Posts

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Hello Paul -

First, thank you for being with us. It's always great to hear from performers of your caliber who work in real-world settings.

In connection to what Tom was asking about table hopping; While you noted that you don't really know at times exactly what you're going to perform, what effects would you list as your "favorites" within an evening of table hopping?
pcummins
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Hi Ron,

I guess I do a lot of things that I wouldn't recommend! While table-hopping I perform almost exclusively card magic - which I don't recommend. I think folks should mix it up.

That said, most of the routines that I do are the ones in the lecture notes: "A La Annemann," "Old Faithful," "The Invisible Card," "Personal Triumph," "Commerecial Universal," and "Punken Droker" are favorites. And, I ALWAYS do the Multiple Selection Routine and I ALWAYS do "Top Billing" to close. That is, when table-hopping at a restaurant. Table hopping at a corporate gig is different because I find I have much less time at each table. An ambitous card routine and the Multiple Selection routine might be it at a corporate event.

Strolling, I'll do the ambitiuos card, "The Invisible Card," "A La Annemann," the Multiple Selection routine, and maybe some of the coin stuff from Up In Smoke.

Oh yes, and when table-hopping I would also carry sponge balls with me in case I found that perfect spectator...

Paul
alekei
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Dubai/Lisboa/Barcelona
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Mr Cummins:

What do you do when you must approach a table with 4 or 5 people, and they are all drinking, laughing Out Loud, etc.? I get very intimidated and I'd prefer to pass to another table.

Regards,

Alejandro.
pcummins
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Hello Alejandro,

Well let's see, I always perform at the table AFTER dinner, so I am able to introduce myself and ask, "How was your dinner?" At this point, I think many people assumed I was a manager at the restaurant - who else in a suit would ask such a question. 99% of the time the response to my question was positive, that dinner was great. So now I have their attention and a positive vibe (dinner was good). Then the "The management has asked me to come around and try to dazzle you for a few minutes, would you like to see some magic?" Usually I'd be in easily. Sometimes, though rarely, people would say that they didn't want to magic to which I simply replied, "Okay, perhaps another time. Have a nice evening!" And I'd be off to the next table.

Paul
mike gallo
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Paul, several small questions pertaining to table hopping. Do you feel you should take a close-up matt to the table, should you sit or stand...you already answered when you approach the table...how long a set do think is appropriate...should you do a set routine at each table...or should you vary...do you feel it is proper to keep asking the audience for things to borrow...should you work for tips, or airfare to buffalo for b.o.w. ...do you feel you need a really really strong closer as you would do in a formal type situation...and most important...what do you feel is a great icebreaker to approach a table?

Mike
pcummins
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Mike:

No other questions? Smile

I always use a mat when table-hopping, always. If you are pleasant and nice and professional, then I've found that people cannot move their stuff out of the way quick enough to make room for what I call "my stage." I use a flexible mat so that if need be I can give it a quarter-turn and allow half of it to hang off the table, saving a little table space.

I always stand while table-hopping, always. To sit down with the patrons usually causes poorer visiblity and assumes a familiarity with them that doesn't yet exist. Perhaps only if I had a regular group that comes in to see me often I might sit with them because now that familiarity exists.

The set should be short in most instances, imho. No less than three routines, no more than five - about 5 minutes. This is, of course, situational. On a day like Mother's Day, the busiest day in the restaurant business, it might just be two quick tricks and blast to the next table. On a busy night, take the shorter show route because the restaurant wants to turn the tables over. If it's near closing and you have a particularly receptive group that's spent a lot of money at the restaurant - stay longer. But never, ever, ever put yourself in a position where the patrons are rolling their eyes because you've gone on too long. Horrors...

On a given night I generally do a similar set at each table. The set may vary according to how many people are at the table - a two-top is a different performing situation than a 12-top. I am always prepared, however, to change the set based on the actions and reactions of the patrons. And, the next night my semi-set (I'll call it) might change - to keep it fresh for me.

Since I mostly perform card magic I am rarely in the position to borrow items from the dining patrons. In general, I am not comfortable borrowing anything from them (except money for the final effect). I don't want their rings for a ring-on-rope or for Ring Flight, don't want their pen or watch or whatever. That's just me, though...

The work-for-tips issue is a big one and universally debated. I do not hawk tips, I just try to educate the patrons in as classy a way as possible. If there's BOW on the line, I don't even borrow bills at the end of my set, I just beat the money out of them or steal it (JUST KIDDING!).

I think a killer routine near or at the end of the set is very wise. Though, I think EVERY routine should be a killer, either from a presentational or magical angle.

Imho, the greatest icebreaker is one's personality.

Mike: thanks for asking the questions.

Paul
keeper
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Kissimmee, FL
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Paul,

Thanks for the great info. When addressing the taking of tips, how important is your relationship with the wait staff? How do you handle what could be a very delicate situation??
Make every day a magicial adventure

Al
pcummins
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Hi Al,

When I worked at the Magic Moment Restaurant in Sarasota, this wasn't an issue because the place was magic-themed and it was clear to the waitstaff that the magicians would be getting tips.

However, everywhere else I worked (and they were only high-check places), I'd tell the waitstaff that I wold do magic at the tables at two times. I'd do magic before dinner at the waitstaff (or management's) request if there was a problem in the kitchen and they needed me to burn some time for them. Or, I would do magic after dinner during dessert and coffee - making the table as happy as they've been all night long *right before they pay the check.* In either case my presence only helped the waitstaff. It was very clear very quickly to them that whatever tip I might have gotten did not alter the tip that they got for serving the table through dinner.

Worked great, honesty always does!

Paul
dominik
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Germany
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Hi Paul,

I bought your "Up in Smoke" video tape and I enjoyed it very much. I think your back-clipped coin routines are great, because they all happen in the spectators hands, and you only have to carry a few coins with you. At first I thought they might be suitable for walk-around situations. However, I am anxious and hesitant to perform them, because after a short and quick consultancy with my favorite mirror, I am sure someone who is more than 2 feet away would spot the back-clipped coin.
Would you still perform those tricks in such a situation???
Actually, my favorite effect was the bonus "Another Sequestered Collectors" effect, because like almost all card effects, it's fairly easy and angle-proof, and this one also happens very quick and involves the spectators as well.

Could you suggest some effects that can be done anywere, surrounded, without a table, and do not require someone to pick a card?
pcummins
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Hello Dominick,

There are two simple solutions to performing a routine like "The Invisible Hand" in such a way that nearby people won't see the backclipped coins. First, move in close the the person or people for whom you are performing and use their bodies to shield your hands from nearby onlookers. If those onlookers want to see the trick, then they'll get closer to you, causing them to look down at your hands, which is what you want. Secondly, if you lower your hands just a few INCHES, then the line of sight angle to the backclipped coin(s) available to the onlookers is greatly reduced.

All that said, there are some times when it just won't be possible to use a backclip, just as there are times when it is just not possible to do lapping. Most magic is situational like this, I find, and the backclipping routines are a bit more restrictive in this sense, but usually doable.

Effects that can be done anywhere, surrounded, without a table and non-card? Sponge balls, cut and restored rope, ring on string, anything with a thumbtip (horrors! I have thumb tip phobia), and that list can go on and on!

Paul
MoonBeam
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Quote:
On 2004-07-09 11:09, pcummins wrote:
Oh yes, and when table-hopping I would also carry sponge balls with me in case I found that perfect spectator...

Paul


Hello Mr. Cummins,

Could you please elaborate on what you look for in a person to be considered “the perfect spectator”?

Thank you very much for your time.

MoonBeam
pcummins
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Hello Moonbeam (what is your name?),

In the context of what you quoted, above, that perfect spectator is one who is outgoing, not afraid to have the attention on him or her, jolly, quick to laugh - a person whom I judge to be cooperative and reactive.

Paul
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