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Tablehopping experiences

Jun 13, 2013
237
1
Germany
Hello my dear magicians,

today I'd like to resume my first 5 performances in a restaurant (each evening 4 hours).

So in the beginning I didn't have a program for the first 2 times. As you can imagine it didn't work out so well. It was awkward and I tried to show as much tricks as I could. That was the time I realized I had to change something. So I sat down and watched some magicians like Eugene Burger, Tom Ogden (!), Gregory Wilson and Jon Allen. I didn't take any tricks of them but rather some advice on presentation, opening lines and I adopted Tom Ogden presentation of the Invisible Deck and some of his jokes. At some point I also realized that I had to try out a program like 20 times before I can tell if me and the audience feels comfortable with it.
My program is basically constructed by 3 tricks:
1. Manhattan Opener
2. Standup Monte
3. Invisible Deck

I start off with the line:
"Is this a fun table." by Jon Allen. If they say yes I proceed, if they say no (usually the women are laughing) I say: "If one woman is laughing, this should be a fun table."
Then I ask them: "Which person ist the most trustworthy?" also by Jon Allen. That person receives an Invisible Deck to guard and it receives some giggles. I tell them that I am color-blind and I can't distinguish between red and blue. I am wearing blue glasses so I ask them if the glasses are really red as my seller said. That receives some giggles too. Then I tell them I need their help with the deck where I lost a red card. Then standard presentation of Manhattan Opener under the plot of being color-blind. Then I just go on with a simple presentation of StandUP Monte by Garrett Thomas which gets so huge reactions I don't need to be funny. I close the gap by saying: I'm not only color-blind but I also like to play scam games. "Btw Do you know the Cups and Balls game?" "Never play this game with a stranger, that's what I'm here for now ;). But not to scam you but to show you the moves..." The spectators will laugh in awe anyway. So after I did that I let them pick a card from another deck and I read their minds. Then I reveal that the deck is a One Way Force Deck. This gets a huge huge laugh. Finally I present the Invisible Deck as you can see here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFn5W86usl4

All in all I can say that after I sat down and made this program (by far not perferct) I'm really starting to feel comfortable in my role as a magician and also I can be relaxed while performing because all sleight I need in the program is a DL, a Hindu Force and a Flustration Count. I am sorry for copying the presentation of Tom Odgen, but I tried to make it my own with the One Way Force Deck and some jokes I added to the presentation and the opening line by Jon Allen is just too great to not use. Also this program might be a little bit unlogical

Through this program I learned that no spectator wants to bite me, I learned smalltalk, I feel more relaxed in my role as a magician and I learned to pull off a DL smoothly in front of any audience cuz nothing can make me nervous any more because I have a red line to follow.

Some downsides I learned is that the worst thing that can happen is that the waiter brings the food. But this problem is solvable by simply asking: "Did you already order the food?".
Also my problem might lack a logical structure. I try to make a logical ending with the Invisible Deck I gave a spectator. That makes them curious and makes them care.

If you have any improvement suggestions please let me know but please consider that I am only a card guy. I am learning other material but I don't feel comfortable enough to perform it and I never had a spectator that got bored.

Cheers
Philipp
EDIT: I am able to perform ruber band magic but for me I feel that the rubber band magic gets nowhere near my card effects. One downside is that I have to reset the decks for Manhattan Opener after 2 tables (I set 2 decks up).
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
First of all, you have way too much card magic and why are you using a routine that needs to be reset?(Specially one that requires an entire reset of a deck.)

Here is what you should be doing. 1. Have something that get's reset the moment you finish performing it. IE: Sponge balls/Rabbits/Copper Silver/Coins across. 2. If I were you I would end with a card routine that is quick and to the point. David Williamson has a routine where you just use four cards. I believe it's called Memory Test. It's not too hard to learn and only has like 2-3 moves at the most. (When you are performing you don't want to be doing anything that requires you to have to THINK about the moves. Specially when doing restaurant magic. You just want to do simple, easy to remember stuff.). 3. I would suggest learning the Chop Cup or some decent Rubber band magic. Both of those are good for table hopping magic.
 
Jun 13, 2013
237
1
Germany
Hey Randy,

first of all I totally agree with you that I have way too much card magic. But its the only thing I am capable of performing smoothly.
I would really like to learn a chop cup routine but I doubt that my audience managment skills are good enough for that.
So Manhattan Opener doesn't reset (just 2 cards btw) so I could leave it out. StandUP Monte and the Invisible Deck resets itself.
I could leave the Invisible Deck out when I am able to perform some other effects because it lasts too long.
I have just one problem with myself:
Out of all the things you mentioned the chop cup routine seems to be the only thing that fits my style but I am too unsecure about that.
Do you have a great source for starting off with a Chop Cup Routine?
Assuming I would reduce the amount of card magic effects and add some other magic stuff. How does that impact on the audience?
I mean are they more entertained?

I will look up some ressources on a chop cup routine and maybe a Banknight routine too. I heard that that is good in restaurants. Thanks so much for that tip. But I have one final question: Are the other effects necesserily stronger and/or simpler than the Invisible Deck?
Cheers
Philipp
 
Apr 17, 2013
885
4
When I table hop I have nine to twelve effects on me so by the time I get to the third or fourth table I have yet to repeat an effect. This way i'm far enough from the first table that they can't see what i'm doing and this new table hasn't them. I really try to stay away from anything that you have to go someplace reset. It kinda doesn't look good to keep ducking out every couple of tables.

I would love to know which rubber band effects you are doing. I have a few that I do that just kills.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Another idea is to make up a set that has no card magic, and just have one "Bonus" card routine that you very rarely do. Thus creating the idea that it's something "special" for them or that they'd have to book you if they wanted to see your card magic. You should really treat you restaurant magic like the teaser trailer to a movie. If people have already seen everything you can do at the restaurant, then they have no reason to book you later on.
 
Apr 17, 2013
885
4
I do Melting point CMHC and a couple other things from the second Dan Harlan Lecture I just started doing ID again after picked up loaded from Marcus Eddie. One I would really sujjest you pick up and learn is Salt and Silver. It is a strollers dream. I used common objects and you don't have to carry anything extra if you do any other coin magic.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Saltine Solution by David Williamson is actually a really good routine that uses common things found at ALL restaurants. It's also really easy.
 
Apr 17, 2013
885
4
To build on what Randy was saying I would keep some effects that Is just impractical to really do while strolling. Something that takes forever to set up. I keep it for regular customers or a VIP that the manager points out. Something like signed card to sealed deck, my version of fate datebook silk to egg ect ect. Something special and hard hitting. Also i would learn something just for kids that you can pull out at a moment notice. I would suggest getting the Lonnie Chevrie Lecutre from Penguin. Some really great stuff in there as well as some real world advice.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
One of the things with card magic is that have you noticed that people tend to get this really cynical look on their face when you try to do too much card magic? The way to beat that is pretty much to just either not do card magic at restaurants or to treat it like a closer/pipe and slippers moment at gigs. IE: during the gigs you're going around doing sponge balls, rubber band magic, pencil through coin, chop cup, etc. So card magic is the farthest thing from their minds. Now you've gotten rid of the idea of them saying "My uncle/cousin/nephew/etc used to that for me." Plus, this makes it harder for them to "burn" you and by the end of the evening they're all sitting down having a glass of wine and now you can pull out a deck of cards and do whatever card routine you want.

I would suggest you do sponge rabbits for kids. They don't roll around like sponge balls, thus making them easier to pick up on the table and not have to chase them all over the place.
 
Jun 13, 2013
237
1
Germany
@Randy
I have never noticed the look.They never get bored and we laugh a lot and we have a fun time.

Thanks for everyones advice. I will try to learn some new stuff:
eg. Melting Point
A Coin Routine
Banknight Routine
Rope Routine
Ring Leader by Gregory Wilson
and a Chop Cup Routine

or at least 2 of those tricks.

I will write again when I have experience with those tricks.
Until then I will use my old program but I will try to restructurize it.
 
Sep 1, 2007
723
2
I like lists. Here's some advice that I feel helped me the most.

1) Our advice is not gospel. It's important to remember that we can only give you advice from our experiences. What works for us may not work for you, and it's important to lend credibility to your own observations. If something we suggest really doesn't seem to be working for you, stop for the night and go with what works. It's better to back off and ensure you'll be asked back. Try to ensure at least a few people will be telling the manager/owner how much they enjoyed you.

2) Organization starts at the top Something I found incredibly helpful was to write down all the effects I know well enough to perform without too much hesitation between phases. Then I listed out all the effects I knew the basic idea, but were in that middle ground of "I could probably remember it if I started walking through it..." I also listed out all the effects I had wanted to learn over the years, but never got around to buying/learning.

Second, I went through my list and highlighted only the ones I felt were really magical. Some effects are really cool, but they just don't hit the "THAT. WAS. MAGIC." spot for me.

Finally, I looked through my new list and found what were the commonalities? What made that effect magical to me vs. the others? How do I see what is and isn't magical?

This left me with a general scope of the types of effects I enjoyed, as well as types of effects to research or create. It's easy for me to see how I can make an effect "mine", or decide if an effect is something I could see myself doing.
(I actually do this process about every 6-10 months because my view of magic is evolving. These are running lists, and they're always fun to refer back to a few years later.)

3) Combining like terms Routines structure is unique, while also following unwritten guidelines. This is really the science of magic, the equivalent of guessing and testing variables to produce a desired outcome. The only commonality is that routines are never static, always "building" (I hesitate to use that word). Sometimes they're getting more impossible, sometimes they're getting more absurd, sometimes they're using less items, some have common threads that are tied together at the end. If it's starting to sound like the way books and plays are written, it should. This is the area where you should be taking notes at the end of every night; what worked, what didn't, and why?

4) Bonus: Will it blend?! Something I've tried to implement is matching the atmosphere of the restaurant with the types of effects I'm doing. It's difficult to do early on but it's something to keep in mind. Some restaurants would clash to perform some routines, or just not "fit" the restaurant.

For example, I perform in a restaurant where it's calm throughout the week, the people are there to relax and not have anything asked of them. I make the effort to compliment their attitude by performing routines that are smooth, visual, and less interactive.


Hopefully this is helpful to all those who spend their time reading it. Good Luck!
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Another idea is to get away from doing "pick a card" routines too much. I would suggest having only ONE set with a pick a card effect/routine and then if you have another set, make that card routine have something like 6 card repeat or something where they don't have to remember a card. Dai Vernon's color changing deck is really good, because their card is face up on the table. So they'd have to be blind and pretty dumb to "forget" their card.
 
Jun 13, 2013
237
1
Germany
Okay.
@Austin Fields
Thanks for your advice.
I tried the second one already and I came down to 5 effects I would show. Of course its not that much but I think these are the effects I enjoy showing, which get great reactions and which are simple.
I will do a list what a magic trick should look like to me. Tip 3: I think my program blends well but I will overthink that.
I will stick to my old progam for a while because it blends so good together, at least for me and the audiences I perform for, never had a problem with that, until I learned a Banknight Routine and a Rope Routine because I think those tricks have the most potential to be funny. As much as I adore a Chop Cup Routine. My costume pants don't have pockets so its kinda hard to perform that.
 
Apr 17, 2013
885
4
Okay.
. My costume pants don't have pockets so its kinda hard to perform that.

Well there's your problem. You can never have too many pockets.]

On a side note you have come a long way in a short time about listening to people
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Bank night is a parlor/stage routine. It's not meant for restaurant magic at all. Yes it can be funny, but there is too much by play with it and when you are doing strolling magic you often won't have the same amount of time as you think you're going to have. Sometimes you might have 2 min at a table, and other times you may only have 3 min here and so on. You need to have routines that can end at literally any moment for that very reason. Which is why Rubber band magic works great, 5 card repeat works great, sponge balls works great and coins across works great.
 
Jun 13, 2013
237
1
Germany
so maybe I could try some spongeball routines in order to prepare for the chop cup routine? Maybe I will start with jay noblezadas dvd on spongeballs.
 
Apr 17, 2013
885
4
so maybe I could try some spongeball routines in order to prepare for the chop cup routine? Maybe I will start with jay noblezadas dvd on spongeballs.

The lonnie chevrie lecture on penguin covers a chopcup and sponge ball act. I would skip the dvd and get the Frank Garcia sponge ball book. It is hard to find in English I spent $200 to get my copy but I understand it is still cheap for the German edition. But really spend the $30 on the lonnie chevrie lecutre. It is mostly on table hopping effects. Some cards some coins some sponge. All really good working effects.
 
Apr 17, 2013
885
4
I took to sponges pretty quickly. The biggest thing is getting good sponge balls. I like the goshmen stuff.
 
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