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Topic: Busking Newbie
Message: Posted by: Nemic386 (Apr 26, 2005 11:44AM)
Okay, I'll try to post this one more time. I am very new to magic in general, I've only been doing this for a couple of months. A close friend and fellow Magi wants to go busking in a couple of weeks. First off let me clarify the usage of the word busking,The definition is usually associated with street performers doing their routines for money. We most likely will not be doing this, as it is more geared towards personal satisfaction and first handed experience rather than finacial gain.

Seeing as I have never done this before I have a few concerns that I am hoping one of you may be able to help me with. the first is my routine in general. I have three different tricks that I can perform with no hesitation. they are :Card transposition, coin through spectator's hand and Barrie Richardson's Spooky Key.

I am hoping you will all agree with me that the key should be an excellent opener, however it is (in my opinion) my "Best" trick, my intention is to entertain. am I being too critical of my own routine??

The second concern I have deals in the patter of my routine. the coin through hand and transpo cards I have no problem with the performance or pattering. However the classic and often repeated question is how do I open up my routine is the case. Especially in the instance of the key. Richardson's patter is great for him but I have found in my experiences at school that people get bored easily long, drawn out pattering.

My last concern is dealing with hecklers. I live in a Navy base town and although alcohol may aid and abet in our antics, I am worried that it may open the door for heckling. Can anyone help me in this area. the rude one liners are okay but I'd rather not be put into the hospital. thank you in advance for your input.-Nemic
Message: Posted by: cstreet_1986 (Apr 26, 2005 12:25PM)
First off, you will find that even though this is a hobby, for many it is a means of making money, and financial gain can be just as important, if not more, than the enjoyment.

Also, the majority of people close with Cups and Balls (See http://www.magicpitch.com for Gazzo's Cups and Balls Routine (this guy is almost a god in the busking world)).

Humour always goes down well, so if your routine is getting a bit tedious, use a line (you will find plenty of them on this site and in Gazzo's Read Between the One Lines, again probably on Magic Pitch).

For Heckling, I was recommended to Evans & Craver, 'The Secret of Art of Magic', obviously refering to Sun Tsu's Art of War. In the book there are four types of heckler and ways of dealing with each.

Hope this helps (I'm not really an expert in this field either, but there are others on here that can give better detail than me),

Message: Posted by: Nemic386 (Apr 26, 2005 01:56PM)
Thanks I hope I can do this without many problems involved
Message: Posted by: Whiterabbit (Apr 28, 2005 10:46PM)
Good luck out on the street, Nemic. Gazzo's books are a good intro. My only advice is that time goes quickly on the street, so slow down (also mentioned in Gazzo's book), have fun and talk to people.

Depending on where you are, you may find hecklers a problem, but you don't always strike them. I was heckled the other day by a couple of (how do I say this politically correctly) mentally disabled adults: as they were disabled there was nothing I could do but handle it with grace, and really that's the solution generally. I think that once you get into contests with hecklers, you destroy your reputation and create an unpleasant situation that could escalate.

Keep your cool and if necessary set up somewhere else.

Once more, good luck on the street.
Message: Posted by: Nemic386 (Apr 29, 2005 01:02PM)
Thanks rabbit, what about the routine question I had?
Message: Posted by: Paul D (Apr 30, 2005 04:44PM)
With the key effect walk up to someone and say I just found this..is it yours?..are you sure because Im having this feeling this key is attracted to you in some strange way don't you feel it?here lets try this...Im not familiar with the spooky key either way try that or as someone walks by and looks like a good target drop the key as they walk by don't let them see you dropped it and say excuse me miss you dropped this..shell say no...I just seen it drop outa your bag ...no I don't think so..this is so weird I just seen that fall outa your bag..thats just spooky..aint it..here you know what lets try something with the key..and go into it. Or you could just say excuse me me and my friend here we're magicians working on our act so we're out here today to see if people will let us perform for them..it doesn't cost anything so could I just show you one thing itll only take a minute..You should have no problems man just be nice.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (May 1, 2005 09:20AM)
Unless of course they say; "Oh yeah, thanks!" and walk off with your prop that cost $$!
Message: Posted by: Whiterabbit (May 1, 2005 07:36PM)
On 2005-04-29 14:02, Nemic386 wrote:
Thanks rabbit, what about the routine question I had?

I'm little unsure of what you're aiming for as I don't know the effects. If you're doing a doorway set (I tend to pitch and do a bit of magic to get the crowds) of say ten minutes, Kosmo wrote a great little bit about getting started, which was more of less, get them talking to you, tell them what you are going to do, ask them to help you get a few people and go for it. I often put a piece of rope on the ground as a 'perimeter". Gazzo has some great advice and I would encourage you to check out 'The Art of Krowd Keeping'.

The stuff I tend to do is visual, so for three effects, I'd start with your most visual (and quick to be obviously magical)stuff, cue the audience to applaud (this gathers more of a crowd), if you think you're good at choosing a volunteer (bit of an acquired art although Gazzo has advice on that too)get some interaction going, get some more applause, do a spiel about how rare/difficult/dangerous or whatever you last trick is (you have to build them up in my opinion) and put in a hat line (often set up earlier), do the effect, get the applause and hopefully collect a reasonable hat (usually involving lines to keep them there). I tend to do more than three effects, but I'm not great at witty repartee, which is an extremely useful skill.

At this point, I should mention again, I pitch so for me I get rushed after the show for products (balloons in my case) rather than a hat. I tend to go with ten minutes, but that suits what I do and, if you're are doing a show rather than a spontaneous bit of magic, I'd plan on having ten minutes. The effects I tend to do are rope, ring on rope, some visual card stuff, a manipulation act (varies) and sponges. I find that these work fairly well.

There's a fair bit of stuff out on dvd about street magic, but I have to say that for the why and how, Gazzo's book is a great introduction. It's full of little snippets that are quite useful and saves you many painful mistakes.

Once more, the very best of luck and don't give up.
Message: Posted by: Nemic386 (May 2, 2005 11:01AM)
First off I'd like to thank you all who posted on this topic- I don't see a lot of thank you's on this board so I just want you all to know thati am VERY grateful for your input on this subject. I have a couple more questions on thie street magic subject. I have recently been promoted at work and I will have more money to fund this hobby. any ways I have shopped at penguin and I want some input on things like needle through arm, the bare handed productions that Pearlman uses and the raven. would this be the more visual effects I am wanting?
Message: Posted by: Whiterabbit (May 2, 2005 06:13PM)
Hello Nemic,

I'd check out a few of the posts as many talk about what plays well. Also, I would politely PM some of the more experienced performers for their opinion. I've only done streetwork a day a week consistently for the last three years and even then that's only been about six performances a day, so I'm not super-experienced.

Personally, if you've got money to spend, I would look at books or dvds. There are two reasons in my opinion: the first reason is that gimmicks are great, but if you screw up and have to rescue your effect - sooner or later you come down to sleight of hand; the second reason is that a well chosen book or dvd is worth its weight in gold. Also, with a dvd you get to see someone's performance style and, while I do not suggest you copy it, it can give you a lot of ideas as magic is very much about communication (you look excited when something happens, so does the audience usually).

What I meant by visual stuff can be very simple and inexpensive (I'd hate to see you spend a lot of money and a lot of street stuff uses very inexpensive props). In my case, as a starter, I produce a ball (an ordinary rubber ball) and vanish it, make it reappear, change the colour etc. I tend to find that there's no use producing something if you don't do something with it or make a gag out of it. Sometimes, (when I'm prepared) on a hot day, I mime being hot, make a scarf appear, wipe my brow with it, use it to polish a ball and go from there. People can see it clearly, and enough mystifying things happen that a few people stop.

To me, C&R rope works well (the rope adds up after a while though), sponge is a great interactive audience effect and children and women (generally) scream their heads off at a heap of balls or rabbits emerging from their hands and sponge balls are cheap and there are introductory dvds on them. I might add that I work from a table, by the sounds of it all of your effects would be in the hands as you would not be doing this. Additionally, mouth coils can be cool if you work them in well. To me, all of these effects are visual and play well. Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic covers sponge and rope very well and is a great introductory book. It will give you a taste of everything and you can decide on what works for you and what (if anything) you want to specialise in.

There are a lot of dvd's out there and I don't have the latest ones (they're on my birthday list). One I really liked was Jeff Mc Bride's Commando Act, he talks about street magic, and with a couple of weeks of extreme practice and few props (rope, scissors, mouth coils, and I would get a large metal ring from a macrame shop) most of what he does would be within reach (the linking rings would take ages and a good set costs, but you could cut that down to a shorter routine if you want as it is in phases). I might add that Jeff's approach is very theatrical and I would probably tone it down myself, but the effects are very good and so is the advice and Jeff's style is very visual.

Anyway, that's really all that I could advise you on knowledgably. Feel free to PM me if you need to, and don't forget to check out what others have said.

Best Wishes.
Message: Posted by: Nemic386 (May 3, 2005 07:30AM)
Thanks again for the advice rabbit- I already own wilson's complete course and I just got Pearlman's bprn to perform in the mail yesterday, I watched most of it last night and although I am way beyond mastering the material- I have noticed a tremendous improvement.
Message: Posted by: Whiterabbit (May 3, 2005 05:23PM)
Hi Nemic,

I'm really happy about the improvement. One thing to remember is that going out and doing the work after a few months of study may not be super-successful, but that depends more than anything else on doing stuff within your capabilities and how you present it. The first show I did was after studying for a year and I got through it successfully, but continued to study and practise for two more years before I did my second show because I realised how lucky I was to have gotten through the first. Still I had to do that first show, otherwise I felt that I wouldn't have known where I was.

I hope you like the street, I see young people doing this stuff all the time, some well, some not so well, but just having a blast. Whatever you do, have a blast.

I don't do a single effect now that I could not do ten times in a row without problems (that's literally the test, if I can perform it ten times in a row with no problems then it's fine). I always run through my material before I go out even though I am very familiar with it. I'm aware that conditions like a windy day can cancel some effects and I have a spare trick ready in case(it's also great for afterwards, if someone says "Can you do another trick"). In addition, always practise doing sleights without looking at the hands,and have friends make critiques - it's all important. I also script and plan my shows. This is the hidden part of magic and it is well discussed on the list and somewhere here will be the solutions to future issues that will arise.

I think it's wonderful that you're going out and chasing up some experience - relax and have a good time, but practise like a maniac for it. By the way, the more complex stuff will come. To put it into perspective, you spend the first three years trying everything, the next few doing what you like and getting reasonable at it. Most pro's (and I stress that I'm a part timer) say that it's ten years before you get 'good' (and the term more or less means 'quite professional' when they say it in my experience). It's a long term goal, but a great pastime: do it at your own pace and have a blast. In three years time, you'll say "Hey, some of this stuff's quite achievable."

The stuff I've emailed you about, C&R rope and sponge balls is not super-difficult to do and plays well. Laypeople love it.

Once more, good luck, don't give up and keep in touch.
Message: Posted by: Nemic386 (May 4, 2005 07:27AM)
Thanks rabbit- again good and well needed advice- I've been studying up on Pearlman's born to perform DVD I like his ACR and 2 Card Monte. both are wonderful and very fun to use. Anyways. Also the 2 Card Monte is very fun I've got some good patter except the very end can you pm me some advice on ending the trick? I know this is a public forum so standard revelation rules apply- thanks as always, Nemic
Message: Posted by: cardandcoin (May 11, 2005 11:14AM)
I tried busking once.Its difficult but a lot of fun.people kept walking off
Message: Posted by: blueboy7948 (May 12, 2005 07:57PM)
Although not exactly busking I used to regularly perform magic in my college bar, It's a big vollege and I got used to performing for a lot of different types of audiences. IMHO it's a great way to learn and I wished that I head read books about the art of performing before I went and did it. Saying that there is no substitution for actually getting out there and doing it.
Nemic386 let us know how it went
Message: Posted by: dougscar56 (May 22, 2005 12:09PM)
Yes, and good luck with your efforts!