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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Am I too young for busking? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Batty
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I am thirteen, a member of my local SAM, and have a nice routine put together (Chop Cup, Sponge Balls, Color Monte, a rope trick or two, and some rubberbands and coins if they would be visible enough at the time. I'm working on the Cups and balls as a finale, but I don't want to show it until it is completely perfected. It runs about 10-15 minutes). However, the problem is I'm only thirteen. Can I be seen as a performer, or just as a "little kid doing a cute little show" no matter how good my effects or routines are? I want to get as much experience busking as possible, since it is a great way to practice and handle the real world. Do you believe that as long as I perform a nice show, people will watch and tip me? If not, when did you start busking?

Also, on a different note, does anybody know the policies of street performing in Atlantic City on the Boardwalk? Is it legal without a permit, not legal but nobody really cares, or just illegal? Thanks.
walid ahumada
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I would take an adult with me, just to be on the safe side.
“Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.” BEN OKRI quote
Cory Gallupe
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There is no age to be a good performer, just good performing! It may be harder at times to get gigs, but if you are really worth it, and they see that, then you will have no problem. Now I don't know you, and I don't know your abilities, so my best bet would be to go to your local SAM club, show them your stuff, and ask them.
To answer the question, "Am I too young?", the answer is no. Any good entertainer can busk. However, notice how I say "good". Now I'm certainly no pro, especially in this field, but it is a fairly tough venue. You really have to WORK for your money. If the audience likes you, they pay you. If they don't, then they don't pay. A good friend and mentor of mine, who started me out busking, once told me, "The great thing about busking is that there is no maximum to how much money you can make. The bad thing is that there is also no minimum..."
But don't go and try to practice with an audience. It probably won't go too well. Get a good and entertaining act, and give it a try. The main thing to remember is: they want to be entertained, not fooled. Don't show them a bunch of little tricks. Show them a polished and highly entertaining act.
Otherwise, the public WILL see you as a "little kid doing a cute little show".
But if it's good, they will see that you're not playing around.
SeaDawg
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And as Cory can attest to....watch the wind and your sponge balls....

Also having an adult as backup/roadie/guardian is very good advice. The last thing you want is to get rolled after a good hat day...
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
Batty
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OK. I'll take your advice and ask at my next SAM meeting. And I'm not really that interested in making money. What I really want is experience in performing in a real-world situation. My only goal would be not just "the little kid doing a cute little show" (although money is still a hope). I realized that even greats like Gazzo needed to have their first show, and maybe fail miserably, before becoming great. So I reasoned, "Why not now?"

And to be honest, my only knowledge of busking has come from this forum. So is there any must-reads? I heard that anything by Gazzo is good, but his style is, well, Gazzo. I can't get away with most, if any, of the things he does.

And I'll take the advice about the sponge balls. However, that situation seems inevitable at at least one point.

And just one more thing... Since I have never performed on the streets before, is it ethical to take the one-liners or other things from people with a lot of experience, and develop my own later?
CJRichard
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Try to start by acting as though it is not ethical to take things from other people's acts without either buying them or getting permission.

Also, though you might not want to hear it, "a little kid doing a cute show" can be a hook to get folks to drop money in the hat. In entertainment, there are lots of young people who get paid lots of money only because they're cute little kids. Being really talented is even more fantastic. Why not try for both?
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Whit Haydn

"I know of no other art that proclaims itself 'easy to do.'" -Master Payne
DocDixon
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 20:07, Batty wrote:
And I'm not really that interested in making money. What I really want is experience in performing in a real-world situation.


If that's the case, may I offer an alternative venue? Offer a show to a few senior citizen centers. Real world, indoors, for an audience that will be very appreciative.

Just my 2 cents.

Respectfully,

DD
Magicpitch
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Do yourself a favor and buy the DVD called "Street Theatre", and you'll see a kid your age at a Busker Festival. He did very well. He wasn't doing magic, but he still used the hat lines, etc. to work the crowd. Plus, it's a killer DVD just to watch. No tricks on it, just performances.

Steve
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Danny Hustle
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Batty,

Go out there and do it, buddy! Bring your mom or dad, and just get out for a couple of hours and have fun. There are jugglers that are your age that do 45 minute circle shows, so you are not too young at all. The streets are for anybody, anytime, and anywhere, that has a desire to entertain.

There is some kind of a system in Atlantic City. Ask the local authorities, and they will set you straight. Because you are a kid, you will make a TON of money. People love to tip a kid. Sock some of it away, and you will be able to go to Harvard with your earnings when you are ready. Smile

Just have fun, don't worry about being good, just strive for improvement. Progress, not perfection.

HAVE FUN!

Best,

Dan-
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Eddie Torres
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The being a "kid" thing is the perfect angle for filling up your hat, and you'll also be able to get away with a lot more than some thirty-something performer, especially if you have an innocent look to you. If you're not going to bring a parent or someone older along, then make sure you're carrying around some form of ID with you. You never know when you'll need it, and I find lots of 13 year olds don't often have any ID with them.
I met a magician who performed in Atlantic City on the boardwalk a few months back. He put his rope down and did a 15 minute silent act to music before passing out the hat. He told me that he would just show up and perform whenever he wanted, and the police walking around didn't seem to care as there were quite a few other performers, including one of those robot guys and a group of dancers. I'd still find out what the exact rules are, though.

Eddie
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Scott Xavier
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The only thing that makes us better at our jobs is more practice.
Cory Gallupe
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 19:30, SeaDawg wrote:
And as Cory can attest to....watch the wind and your sponge balls....

Also having an adult as backup/roadie/guardian is very good advice. The last thing you want is to get rolled after a good hat day...


Yes, when you do sponge balls, I find it helps to bring a clear plastic Tupperware container to put them in when you not holding onto them. They will blow away in seconds! Just put it on the table, and when you need to put them down, make sure they are in the container. I didn't think the wind would be too much of a problem. But boy, oh boy, even a little wind will take sponges a LONG way!
Batty
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I was actually thinking that the "kid" angle would earn more tips. And thanks for all of the advice. I'll look into the DVD, and will just go out there and try it!
Cory Gallupe
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The Street Theatre DVD has a good friend of mine on it, Jeff Collins. He is a great entertainer. Listen very carefully to the DVD. Some very valuable advice on it.
Anyway, check out what the guys at your SAM club say, have fun, and good luck!
okito25
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Nice Words For Batty, Danny...I agree.
Here is a quick thing... We just had one of our little buskers jumped at Christmas. Her mom had gone into the coffee shop just for a moment to get her a hot chocolate, and Wham, the creepy bag lady grabbed the kids take. She was just waiting for the opportunity. However the busker stuck to her guns and caused such a kerfuffle, two other musicians made excellent witnesses to the doin's, the kid got her stuff back, and it has not hindered her in the least.
If I was to, perhaps, add to Danny's kind words of encouragement...be respectful of, and make friends with, the other buskers. They, too, will come full circle for you on the streets.
But have your mom or dad close by, as well.
Good luck,
Keet
sBosma
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Hello Batty,

I'm also thirteen and I've been busking every weekend ( as long as the weathers good )for about 3 months now. I go with my friend who is also a magician. Some people take us seriously, some say it's just 'Two little kids doing a cute show'. Either way works, aslong as you have good tricks and you've practiced them. You'll get a full hat everytime. The only problem is getting the audience. Most people think your annoying little kids that are screwing around. Proove them wrong by doing a 'slap in the face' kind-of trick while they're looking at you.

Hope this helps and good luck,

Spencer.
'Pick a card, any card'
MagicSanta
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I like the senior center approach. The fact is you will be seen a a kid doing a cut little show because you are, and I know this may hurt, are a kid. There is only one cure for that and that is to grow older but that takes time.
Batty
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Thanks for all of the tips. I have auditioned for a play, and seeing that I had "Magic" on my list of previouis performing experience, the directors asked me to perform something. I did Color Monte and the Sponge Balls, which blew them away. Today, I was asked by one of them to perform at a street fair in their town in May and I'll definitely have an act by then. This brings me to my next question, am I allowed to ask for tips when I am hired to perform?

Note that they won't pay much, if any. It will probably be enough to buy a lunch and a Hot Dog.

And thank you for your inspiring words and tips. SBosma, that does help knowing I'm not the only one. Also, where are you and did you need a permit? Just wondering. Also, at my SAM, someone was telling me how their son got a restaraunt gig at 13, so that supported my case even more. Although that "Bag lady" case definitely tells me to have a guardian (possible stooge?).

I was thinking of doing "Design for Laughter" from RRTCM as a starter, which will start with me being a cute little kid and ending with the audience being amazed. However, this doesn't seem to catch the eye of people as much as things like linking rings or sponge balls. And just as an update, I can now do the Vernon cups and balls routine. I have a finaly.
MagicSanta
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Open with something big and flashy, not cards. Cards are good to draw a crowd and may be effective in concert with a larger routine.
Eddie Torres
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Just ask, they'll tell you if you can pass the hat or not.
Eddie Torres
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Magnus Eisengrim
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As for hat lines, a local yoyo busker--aged 10--used to get a good laugh by telling the crowd that he had a wife and growing family to feed. I don't mind passing on his line as he's 19 now and now longer uses it.

John
I do not wish my name or image to be associated with the arbitrary and capricious abuse of power.
sBosma
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I do not need a permit in my town. In some places you do need a permit, so I would ask around to see if you need one.

About the tips, just ask the people who hired you and they'll tell you if you can or can't.
'Pick a card, any card'
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