I understand that many who frequent these forums become a bit upset when they see these kinds of reoccuring questions popping up. However, after 2 hours searching through the forums for the questions i have, i have grown sick of reading through pages and pages of bickering over grammar and who-said-what-to-whom arguements. So if this post upsets you in any way, i am very sorry, and i implore you to READ NO FURTHER.
I am a magician in the Madison, Wisconsin area and I have been perfecting my hobby for 5 years. My initial interest was caused from basic card tricks and other such things I found online. As I grew older, I attempted more challenging illusions and added them to my arsenal of tricks. After introducing my magic to my classmates at my highschool, I quickly gained a reputation as "the magic man." And now, with my success in this setting (which i completely understand is in no way similar to the situation in which you are paid for your magic), I am looking to expand my art and perform in restaurants. From other posts, I have gathered that i should purchase "Live at the Jailhouse." My questions are...
1. How do I know when I am "ready" to perform restaurant magic? As i mentioned above, the vast majority of my performances have been in group lunchroom settings of 5 to 50+ students, normally surrounded. The restaurant magic setting is far different than this street-esque feel.
2. Do you recommend that I secure employment in multiple restaurants? Is one good enough? How do I go about gathering a "following" and getting my name out into the public?
3. What are good hours to work? What is an acceptable starting salary?
4. How do you get people to tip? I understand that it is in poor taste to request tips, and to "broadcast" your desire for tips through buttons or other comprable ideas.
5. What "style" of restaurant is suited for magic? I wouldnt even know which one to choose!
6. How many tricks are good for a table/routine? How many routines should I prepare? How does one prepare a solid restaurant routine? Does it differ from a strong street routine?
7. How does one dress for a restaurant gig? Is it a suit and tie ordeal, or are street clothes acceptable?
8. How does one decide if a trick is "restaurant compatible"?
9. Is it truly bad to use a gimmick in restaurant magic? I have seen both sides to this arguement, and im wondering what to do...
10. What are some great ways to show a manager that you are going to be beneficial to the business in his/her establishment? Are methods such as a "two-card-monte with a wager involving purchasing a round of drinks" in poor taste?
Thanks for all of your help, and once again, if this repetitive post has upset you in any way, i sincerely apologize.
1. You know you are ready when you are ready to handle anything...and anybody. You must come across professional with your speach, mannerisms, dress, and tricks.
2. Do only what you can handle...if more than one is too much...then stick with one. "Followings" will eventually and come about...and you will hate them.
3. The evenings on busier scheduled days such as the weekend are the best. Pay is up to you...what are you worth?
4. Tip getting is a trick in itself. A lot of times, it is great to end with a money trick...this puts the money in hand and often establishes a subliminal message. Many times, you will be told to just keep the money and that you did a great job. Don't broadcast tips...it is unprofessional! If you must...do not wear the button that says "I work for tips"...instead go with the other that says "Tips Accepted". Most people don't like to give tips when people ask for them. A tip is earned and should not be asked for.
5. Usually Larger chain "sit down" restaraunts are great such as TGIF, Ruby Tuesdays, Longhorns, Texas Road House, etc.
6. About 3 tricks...tops. In your complete arsenal, you will only need about 7-8 actual effects...since you will be table hopping, you will have a new crowd every few minutes.
7. Dress appropriately and professionally. Suit and tie would be wonderful...if not at least a Button up shirt, dress pants/shoes, and a nice sports coat or blazer. People will only take you as serious as you look. If you approach a table and you look like a kid, you will be treated as one.
8. Just make sure it doesn't have anything in it that could fly into someones drink or food...and that it can be done in your hands or on the table, and can fit in your pockets.
9. It is not bad to use a gimmick in a restaraunt. I just prefer not to. You feel so much more comfortable and confident in and with yourself if you don't have to resort to gimmicks or rigged decks.
10. Offer them a free nights work. Tell them to take notice of what you do and the reactions of the customers, and if they like what you do, then maybe the two of you can work out something. Nobody in a business to make money is going to turn down free labor. It could be really worth it to you in the long run.
Maybe this information will be helpfull to you...it is just some of the stuff I have learned over the years.