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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » But, do you like it (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

billguinee
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This question is addressed specifically to magicians who have or are currently performing in restaurants. If you haven't and insist on answering, please let me know that you are just speculating.
Many, many years ago, I worked as a bartender magician. Then I left magic for a long time, pursuing another career. I retired a year and a half ago and rediscovered my passion for magic. I have been working diligently on it for about a year now, with the goal of getting a gig in a restaurant one or two nights a week.
I am now at the point that I really need to start scouting venues and pitching my act to managers. However, in all honesty, I am feeling some trepidation and anxiety about that. I don't really need the money (not rich but have enough to get by), but my passion for magic seems pointless without many audiences.
So, finally, here is my question. Do you like it? What do you like and what do you hate about your work doing magic in restaurants? Please tell me about your overall experience with this work, both good and bad. Thanks for the help.
davidpaul$
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Starting my 18th year performing weekly in restaurants. Currently performing in 4.
I love it. I've met so many nice people and have developed quality relationships over the years.
I've had young adults in their 20's tell me that they fondly remembered me from when when they were just in grade school and even earlier.

I've learned that this business is MOSTLY about relationships. Sure, the magic is the catalyst, but
how we deal with the patrons in a caring and positive manner is what counts. There is nothing that I dislike about it other than the few and far between rude people and there are days when I don't feel like going to a gig. But once I get there and start interacting, I'm always glad I'm there.

Monetarily it has been a blessing. The exposure in restaurants has led to countless opportunities.
I don't plan on quitting any time soon, Good Lord willing.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Dannydoyle
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If you have to ask others to validate your passion I question if it is a passion at all.

If it is the money driving you then you will end up hating the job for sure. I don't perform because I want to. It is not a choice. I need to because this is what drives me. There IS no alternative.

Sure parts of the business aspect suck and pitching to restaurants is definatly one of the more sucky parts. But overall you just do it if this is what you want.

Sounds to me more like you just want to skip to the part where you are working and everything is on auto pilot. Good luck.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
billguinee
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On Oct 18, 2019, davidpaul$ wrote:
Starting my 18th year performing weekly in restaurants. Currently performing in 4.
I love it. I've met so many nice people and have developed quality relationships over the years.
I've had young adults in their 20's tell me that they fondly remembered me from when when they were just in grade school and even earlier.

I've learned that this business is MOSTLY about relationships. Sure, the magic is the catalyst, but
how we deal with the patrons in a caring and positive manner is what counts. There is nothing that I dislike about it other than the few and far between rude people and there are days when I don't feel like going to a gig. But once I get there and start interacting, I'm always glad I'm there.

Monetarily it has been a blessing. The exposure in restaurants has led to countless opportunities.
I don't plan on quitting any time soon, Good Lord willing.


Thanks David for your very helpful response.
billguinee
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On Oct 19, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
If you have to ask others to validate your passion I question if it is a passion at all.

If it is the money driving you then you will end up hating the job for sure. I don't perform because I want to. It is not a choice. I need to because this is what drives me. There IS no alternative.

Sure parts of the business aspect suck and pitching to restaurants is definatly one of the more sucky parts. But overall you just do it if this is what you want.

Sounds to me more like you just want to skip to the part where you are working and everything is on auto pilot. Good luck.


Danny, I wasn't asking you or anyone else to validate my passion. In fact, I would suggest that everything you have surmised about me after reading a single post of mine is incorrect. Of course, it is easy to make this mistake. For example, if I was to judge you based solely on your response, I would "know" that you were arrogant and that you liked to find vulnerabilities in a stranger and then bully them on the basis of that. I would decide that you definitely needed some way to validate your ego (perhaps because of deep-seated feelings of inferiority). And I would decide that if you act this way towards your audiences, I would rather not see you perform. Of course, I would almost certainly be completely wrong about you. How could I possibly judge your character or motivations from a single post? If I was more charitable, I could assume that you were actually trying to help.

Let me explain what I actually intended for this topic. Daniel Gilbert, the prominent psychologist, has convincingly argued that humans (including me) are terrible at judging how they are going to feel about things in the future. He claims that, when making a major life decision, one does better by asking others who have done the thing how they feel about it now. He says that this works much better than speculating about how you think something will feel in the future. In other words, reading a review is more reliable than watching a preview of a movie. So, that is all I'm doing - seeing how other, more experienced, restaurant magicians feel about it after having done it for a while.

I am sorry to hear that you feel compelled to do this work, that you feel there is no choice. I love the fact that, in my life, I have choices about almost everything. This is true even though I feel passionate about magic.
Dannydoyle
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There is nothing else in life that moves me like performance. It is a shame you don't know this feeling.

You can surmise anything you like and your back handed attempt at clever insulting aside changes nothing.

I wish you the best.

I will tell you that performance is the easy part. Getting a place to perform is what takes the time and the part that sucks badly. If you can't muscle through that it will be tough.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
billguinee
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On Oct 19, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
There is nothing else in life that moves me like performance. It is a shame you don't know this feeling.

You can surmise anything you like and your back handed attempt at clever insulting aside changes nothing.

I wish you the best.

I will tell you that performance is the easy part. Getting a place to perform is what takes the time and the part that sucks badly. If you can't muscle through that it will be tough.


Danny, again if you mean that I have not experienced performing and what that means, you are incorrect. If, on the other hand, you mean that I have not experienced the precise emotional reaction to performing that you have, you are probably correct. But, please do not pity me for not having your experiences - I am good with my own. I would be interested to hear, if possible, your description of what that experience is for you.

Thank you for wishing me the best and for the message that the part that sucks and is particularly hard and the part that has to be muscled through is the process of getting the gig. That is exactly the place that I am at right now.
Dannydoyle
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You do not know the feeling of NEEDING to do it. I did not make this up, you said it.

Oh then don't feel sorry for me as you for in your post. See how that works?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Take everything thing I say with a grain of salt. Ive worked 3.5 years as a waiter that performed magic to greatly increase his tips. When I was doing that I would take the occasional gigs. Then I moved to teaching and had only performed for friends, family, students, and acquaintances. Recently I have started trying to perform again and have been working walk around when I have free time. Right now I am working Fridays and Saturdays at a local corn maze.
I treat magic like an art. For me, it is my kung fu. I refer to what I do as my magic because it is my magic. It allows me to express myself and gives me a strong sense of enjoyment and satisfaction.
One thing I have noticed as I perform more is the trepidation I sometimes feel. Not about performing for others but "having" to perform for others. As I move along in my journey I have realized that if I took my magic from hobby/amateur to professional, I may lose my passion. I don't know if I am willing to risk such a loss when I don't need to. I can simply keep being an amateur that gets the occasional gig and shares his love with the world.
I wouldnt feel that magic is pointless without an audience. I have mastered many difficult techniques not to use them but to have the satisfaction. Find what you need for your kung fu and be happy. I don't know if that helps. It is simply my perspective
peppermeat2000
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I'll throw in my perspective and experience re. performing in restaurants...


it can be a love hate relationship. I love the performance part. Nothing better than entertaining people and making the connections David mentions. Sometimes the conversations I have with customers can be just as rewarding as entertaining them.

Restaurants put a magician in the mode of, "thinking on your feet" more so than most venues. The things that sometimes aren't thought about during practice sessions at home will ALWAYS present themselves during a restaurant gig. These can range from Limited to no table space to put down a chop cup, a spilled glass of water on your Invisible Deck, or a customer going into cardiac arrest( didn't happen at a table where I was performing, but the one next to me!). There is also the hustle and bustle of a busy night where waitstaff, busboys, and managers are zig-zagging amongst the tables making sure that orders are taken, tables are cleared, and customers are happy. Keeping out of their way can be an exercise in speed and coordination, especially in venues where the space between tables is limited.

Depending on your physical stamina, a 2 hour night of strolling can feel like 4. A 4 hour night can feel like 10! Clothing can also be an issue in that you may be the fellow who likes to keep a suit jacket on in order to utilize a topit,or other snazzy gimmicks...maybe just the extra pocket space is the only reason. Whatever...sometimes a busy restaurant can get very warm...especially in the winter when the heat is on. Nothing worse than approaching a table with a drip of sweat clinging to the tip of your nose.


Bottom line...I'm not one to pursue a restaurant gig. I respect those who do and am always impressed when someone can juggle several restaurants along with the gigs that may come from an impressed customer who needs entertainment at a holiday party or related event. I will cover for friends who do this type of performing and occasionally will seek out a restaurant or two if I'm feeling the need to perform for the public due to a dry spell for gig opportunities in other venues. As I mentioned, a restaurant really gives one a chance to think on their feet...this can lead to streamlining effects to audience management to knowing when enough is enough and put down the *** magic and let people enjoy their meals!
davidpaul$
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Well said peppermeat2000. The challenges performing in a restaurant setting are many but with any job it is what it is. The waitstaff is top priority so I am ALWAYS aware and considerate of the job they have to do to service the patron. The patron/s came into eat as well as to have meaningful conversations, conduct some sort of business or have an undisturbed time except by the waitress/waiter. (and some come into see me) Sensitivity is key here.

Travel lanes and blind spots are critical. The other scenarios you mention WILL raise their heads without fail. Not too long ago a young boy rushing to the restroom barfed big time in the aisle in the middle of people dining and next to where I was performing.

Despite the challenges I love it. BUT the challenges are what make you grow and help you become a more seasoned performer. They also help you get and keep restaurant gigs as well as other gigs outside the restaurant setting.

The last 3 sentences of your post or GOLDEN.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
imgic
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Also consider other venues...retirement homes, hospitals, and such. They may not have much (or any) budget to pay, but if money's not driver right now, it'll give you chance to get performing again.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Ken Northridge
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I just want to stress to you that restaurants are WORK!

Of course, if it is your passion it seems like less work. But comparing it to other gigs I do I think its more like a job than any other. Not having a ‘job’ is what motivated me to become a professional magician in the first place.

Securing a restaurant? Yes, that’s work also. This is perhaps the only time in my life when I actually did cold calls, which is against my nature. But its all about the passion.

25 years later I still have a couple of restaurants. One is a weekly summer gig only, and one is once a month gig. Both of them I’ve convinced management to hire my wife to do face painting also. So, double the pay and tips, I have company during the drive, and sometimes dinner and drinks afterward. Smile

I don’t know if I would ever accept an every week gig again. In fact, I just turned one down, which is shocking to me knowing how hard I tried to secure them for many years.

Restaurants are a great place to break into the business and can be very rewarding. I wish you the best!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
Dannydoyle
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I guess the problem you will run into is that you take something you love, and turn it into a job. A job you HAVE to do. The thing that gives you a break from a job is the things you love. So even the thing you love has sort of been turned into work. Even if it is "easy" work, it is still work.

Once you take on a job you obviously do it to the best of your ability. But any place you HAVE to be or a way you must conduct yourself is a job and with jobs come hassles.

So you are PASSIONATE about doing magic and love it and so forth! Great. It turns into a business and specifically in restaurants it is a tough one at times. The scouting, pitching and landing process particularly is a difficult one to go through. If it is something you do not have experience with (I don't know your background in these things.) then it is a learning curve.

I do have a suggestion though that may or may not help. Are there other magicians in your area that work this type of venue? If so then maybe working in slowly as their replacement may be an option? Get your feet wet, get used to the routine of how performance at the type of venue works and then you only have to do the "fun" part. Then you can work up and do the difficult parts at your own pace. This way you start up with the "fun" part and don't have to start with the drudgery of the business parts.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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