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Topic: Hats
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Oct 29, 2005 11:51PM)
I always judge a busker by the size of the hats they pull and little else. I can appreciate a good show and good skill but if they can't get a good hat I tend to think of them as a bad busker (but a good entertainer).

So now its bragging time, what is your average hat and what is the BEST hat you've made?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Oct 30, 2005 09:36AM)
My hat size is 7 3/8. Has been for years.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Oct 31, 2005 06:00AM)
I perfer to judge my worth by what benefits I bring to the area I am busking.

JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: BAH1313 (Oct 31, 2005 10:55AM)
Whats the best that you've made Nicholas? Or are you waiting to see what everyone else's is to see if you're worthy? The bottom line is sometimes the crowds are terrific, but the hats are bad, and then again again, I've had crowds that didn't seem that great and ended up with $100.00 plus hats. One can never tell. I think the best way to judge the Busker is the content of his act, and how much you would be willing to put in his hat.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 31, 2005 11:52AM)
A good busker is an entertainer first. If you are entertained then he/she is a good busker (to you). Every situation is different, as is every different crowd. You cannot judge by hats alone.

For example, I am not a great busker. But at one festival I was at, me and another busker were comparing notes. He was a great performer, world travellor...etc. I was doing short 10-15 min shows of no more than 30 people. He was doing large circle shows for 80 plus. It was a bad day with rain and such, but my average hat was $30.00. So was his. Who was better? I still say he was. I wasn't really trying that hard on that day. He was giving his all. That's a great performer/busker.
Message: Posted by: BAH1313 (Oct 31, 2005 01:08PM)
Nicely said Mr. Bill
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 2, 2005 05:36AM)
15,000 one hat, but I am bragging!

There is some truth to what Nicholas says, we can all talk about the noble art of busking but it is also business and I think it should be run like one.

Few pointers:

Like any business the first few years are normally the hardest as you develop your self. Lots of mistakes, low income as you learn the ropes of your industry.
You learn the harshest side of the business;
The few back stabbers in the industry;
No one is just going to give you a pitch you have to fight for it on all fronts at times.
Know when to take a booking, it is when they pay more than the day's hat + the extra effort + expenses well that is my fee. It not about busking today it is about busking in five years time.
A good busker in my mind is someone that is one with the street and can read them like a book.
He is not some kid that has put a show together and has landed himself a good tourist spot but falls apart if you went boo or if you started to pee over his props.

Like any business you don't tell the other guy what is in your hat especially on hear, if you do make it up.
Mario
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Nov 2, 2005 09:51AM)
For me personally, the size of the hat (based on the traffic) is the measurement of whether or not I got it done that day.

I give myself a little break on the expectations on the hat if the traffic is way down in a location that I know is usually ripe. So I don't go away depressed in that case. In fact, I never go a away depressed, regardless of the hat because I always learn and take away something other than the money, so it isn't all bad...

And for all the IRS agents reading this, I hardly ever make more than expense money ;)

BroDavid
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 2, 2005 10:54AM)
BroDavid
Again I agree only in part! It is more about the quality of that traffic.
Do they have money and will they part with it.

I must admit overall the quality of a crowd is better in Canada and I assume the US because half of my crowd was made up of them.

There is one place I work where I am guaranteed to pull large crowds by just coughing, REALLY. Huge crowds regularly 400+ but they are not a quality crowd.

Now if I just go around the corner the street scene changes. People are chilled out reading the paper drinking coffee. Now here I will pull crowds up to 200 but I will make twice as much money.
Mario
Message: Posted by: saheer (Nov 2, 2005 02:44PM)
Pee on the Props!!! Either that's at night or you're outside a nursing home! Seriously though, I think I remember Edini saying he'd had the experience - I'd like to hear what happened to you and how you dealt with it.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 2, 2005 04:13PM)
Have you got some kind of weird obsession about this kind of thing?
I mean nursing homes come on man, control yourself.
Mario
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Nov 2, 2005 04:41PM)
The most amazing hat I ever saw come together was in Boston in front of Fanual Hall (wipe that tear away Danny) when Blair had a huge tourist crowd and some other performer let him use his dog to walk the edge with a large hat on its back. People who didn't see the show had their kids put money in just because of the dog!
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Nov 4, 2005 04:12AM)
Here in Taiwan, busking for hats is quite difficult with the culture not really knowing about how to give to buskers. I used the trickle method. Did a 15 to 20 minutes semi-circle show out the front with my wife and kids making balloons behind me. When it came time to tip the hat, I used the balloons to get the people to part with their money. It worked a treat, as we would sell the balloons for a set amount of $$. When the crowd came forward to buy the balloons I ballyhood the passerbys to keep the crowd coming and many times could keep a crowd for an hour or more and then went at it again. Made over $50,000 on the street for a year and a bit. Maybe not too much, but it kept the wolf from the door.

All the best, JoJo
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Nov 4, 2005 05:23PM)
[quote]
On 2005-10-31 11:55, BAH1313 wrote:
Whats the best that you've made Nicholas? Or are you waiting to see what everyone else's is to see if you're worthy? The bottom line is sometimes the crowds are terrific, but the hats are bad, and then again again, I've had crowds that didn't seem that great and ended up with $100.00 plus hats. One can never tell. I think the best way to judge the Busker is the content of his act, and how much you would be willing to put in his hat.
[/quote]

Sorry - I should have said. My best hat is $267AUD and my average is about $100AUD. Most aussie buskers make more but I don't busk fulltime...only for fun.
Message: Posted by: Zack (Nov 4, 2005 09:12PM)
I think straw polls like this are pretty useless, since most won't answer, and those that do will lie. Buskers always lie. They either exaggerate to make themselves look good, or poormouth so that others will stay away.

Incidentally, I make next to nothing in Santa Monica...everybody stay away.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Nov 4, 2005 10:53PM)
:) Fair enough!
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Nov 5, 2005 09:31AM)
I give away $20 every show just so they'll stay and watch.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Nov 6, 2005 12:37AM)
I know a few guys who pay the kids who help them in the show.
Message: Posted by: Starry (Nov 8, 2005 02:30PM)
When I first started I felt lucky to make $10. After I really got to know what I was doing I used to get an average of around $30 a hat. Once in a while I'd get a large bill and this would make for a great hat. This was a good twenty years ago so you have to account for inflation.

I've got a few tips on getting the money on my web page. One suggestion is to always tell them in advance that you are going to be asking for a tip at the end.

http://www.starry.com/magic/street.htm

-Ace
Message: Posted by: Tom Frank (Nov 9, 2005 04:28AM)
[quote]Starry wrote: This was a good twenty years ago so you have to account for inflation. [/quote]

I'm not sure you do. I was making better money 20 years ago. Last summer I called Cellini after a tough day on the street and asked him if it was me, or had the world changed. He agreed the world had changed.

Just a thought

TF
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Nov 9, 2005 05:21AM)
I agree,,,take at outside shows is down a third compared to last year,this is common right through from Craft Fairs to Carnivals in the UK.
Everyone is a lot more careful with their cash.

BTW Your cups are very nice.

Ken.
Message: Posted by: BAH1313 (Nov 9, 2005 09:24AM)
Does anyone think that maybe it's due to all the plastic everyone's carrying? I have to admit, I rarely ever carry cash anymore, but when I see a Busker, I find an ATM, and get him/her some money.(karma?)
But, it's a fact these days. It costs more to travel, more to shop, more to live.
Our world has changed, and people are more guarded than ever before. Sad and scary.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Nov 9, 2005 09:34AM)
That is definately a factor for performers just performing on the street. However, at festivals, people bring cash since you can't buy cotton candy with a card.

One factor to lesser hats, I think, is because of the saturation of street performers. Whether it's on the streets for real or at festivals, they seem to be everywhere. They can tend to lose some novelty for some people. Too many busking festivals. Annual busking festivals are cool for a couple of years and then again, the novelty wears off for some people and they are looking for the next "thing".

The saturation is also due to David Blaine's shows creating way too many "street magicians".

There is also the point of that too many people do similar acts. You have to be really different and stop using those same lines and tricks/routines that everyone else does. Ask yourself how many two man juggling teams have done the knocking an object out of a spectator's mouth routine? I personally have only seen two teams not do this out of the hundred I have seen.

These are just my thoughts and opinions but I think they have some warrant.
Message: Posted by: BAH1313 (Nov 9, 2005 02:23PM)
I've always thought about just knocking the jugglers out of the routines. Maybe with a large swinging crane. Now that's entertainment!
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Nov 9, 2005 03:24PM)
Depends on where you go...in some cities you get told "get lost" asking for directions. Of course I reply..."I already am Einstein, that's why I'm asking for directions!"
Message: Posted by: Starry (Nov 9, 2005 05:32PM)
I think it (making less today than twenty years ago) has more to do with the fact that most people tend to think in "give the man a dollar." If street performers today are working with people who have that mentality, then it is difficult to make more than a dollar a person. Lets face it, 20 years ago you could buy something with that dollar. I think that clever patter would help to bring attention to the fact that giving a person one dollar now days won't even pay for the gas to get across the street.

-- Ace
Message: Posted by: kOnO (Nov 9, 2005 07:24PM)
[quote]
On 2005-11-09 18:32, Starry wrote:
I think it (making less today than twenty years ago) ...I think that clever patter would help to bring attention to the fact that giving a person one dollar now days won't even pay for the gas to get across the street.

-- Ace
[/quote]

I am new to busking but my spectators don't know that so I started using the following in my hat line....

Thank you it's been a pleasure working for you today, yes this is my job and I have been doing it for the past 30 years.... And yes, you are my boss'. 30 years ago my boss' use to put a dollar in my hat and yesterday my boss' also put a dollar in my hat..... I told my wife that I haven't had a raise in the past 30 years and she told me I better ask my boss for a cost of living raise, so here I am, if you have a 5 or a 10 please through it in, I know I would..... How long has it been since you had a raise?

kOnO

ps I have gotten a few $5's but still mostly $1's
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 9, 2005 07:43PM)
KONO I like your thinking

The only thing that has changed is the fact I have a morgage and mouths to feed.

When I was young free and single well my money went a long way.

INFLATION is around my belly.

I must say I think hats are better today than ten years ago say.

I get a lot more 2, 5, and 10 drops you got work your hat lines. If your hat is down then you probally got rusty over the years. It does not matter how good your show is you not going to make money with out your hat. If you work for $1 that is what you will get.

This clip of mine gave me a great fat hat and it was my third one of the day.

If you have not seen this clip before
http://www.streetcredmission.co.uk/MariosNewSite/Mariovidcanada.html

MARIO
Message: Posted by: Brian Proctor (Nov 9, 2005 10:05PM)
I think we need to factor in the surge of "homeless" people. And I put quotations around homeless because there are a lot of people trying to take your money and put you into a guilt trip everytime you walk down the street. It has become so bad here in Portland that even the newspapers reported that it has become a 2 million dollar industry. People stand on EVERY stinking corner with a sign saying the same crap all over again. People I think are mentally turned off to giving people money on the streets for this. I know I am. Before the surge of "homeless" people, I used to have no problem with giving out money to strangers I passed by. But now, I never ever carry cash.

I do understand that there are homeless people with real needs. And I do try to discern them from the fakers trying to make a buck. Just wanted to clarify incase you thought I was ignorant to the reality of homeless people.
Message: Posted by: BAH1313 (Nov 10, 2005 07:19AM)
Here's a story that kind of goes along with what you said Brian. This actually happened to me...
I once was rousted off the street by the police for not having an occupational liscense. I went to get this piece of paper from the courthouse; $185.00 total for the three different liscenses I needed.
I go back to my spot, get to work (needed to make that money back) and I notice a "homeless" guy standing on another corner, about ablock away "begging" for money. The EXACT same officer comes up to me and says "you had better have your paperwork together or I'm gonna run you in." I proudly show him my papers, he seems P@#!&d, tells me he's got his eye on me and starts to walk away. I then say "hey, does that guy have a liscense?" and I point to the bum. (I should have just kept my mouth shut) The cop says " yes, as a matter of fact, he does." So, I say "okay, but what's his occupation?" The cop looks confused and says "He's a vagrant, he doesn't have an occupation." So, I ask "Then how did he get an occupational liscense?" The cop says "He doesn't have one, he's got a PANHANDLING PERMIT. They're only $15.00" Smiles and walks away.
I almost fell over. This bum (who seemed healthy, and able bodied) was out there getting money for nothing, meanwhile I'm trying to earn an honest living and have to pay through the nose just to do it.
Any Comments?
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 10, 2005 11:17AM)
Bum all a street performer what is the difference?
Beggers cant be chosers.
Mario
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Nov 10, 2005 05:36PM)
My brother is homeless. He recently moved from the bushes into a warehouse where they use him as sort of a night guard for the colder months. I've mentioned to him the same thing Brian brought up, they, he and his cohorts, all use the same lines of bs when bumming off people. He thought it was pretty funny and said they all do tend to do the same spill. Because of my brother (note for those wondering, he has assulted my wife in years past and thus isn't allowed in my house) I know many of the homeless people at a level most folks wouldn't want to. Let me tell you the big problem isn't that they are fake, there are many of those, but for the legit ones they tend to fall into three groups. Mentally ill, major drunks, and major druggies. My brother is a drunk and would rather remain a drunk on the streets then be a sober person off the streets. There are many ways off the streets but a great many of the guys don't want to do what they have to do to get off the streets. He loves magic.
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Zack (Nov 10, 2005 07:15PM)
Getting fives is really simple: ASK for them. Whenever I talk about tips I say "Five dollar bill." NEVER say One Dollar, if you do, you'll get change.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 11, 2005 05:37AM)
Good point Zack, I make a point to tip a kid $5.00 in my show for helping me out and educating my audiance. I make a referance to this in my video clip "As you sore a perfromers is worth his fee."
Mario
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Nov 13, 2005 11:00PM)
Great clip Mario, nice to see you in action.

By the way...did you ever get the camera lady to buck up some bills? ;)
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (Nov 14, 2005 01:27PM)
[quote]
On 2005-11-10 08:19, BAH1313 wrote:
Here's a story that kind of goes along with what you said Brian. This actually happened to me...
I once was rousted off the street by the police for not having an occupational liscense. I went to get this piece of paper from the courthouse; $185.00 total for the three different liscenses I needed.
I go back to my spot, get to work (needed to make that money back) and I notice a "homeless" guy standing on another corner, about ablock away "begging" for money. The EXACT same officer comes up to me and says "you had better have your paperwork together or I'm gonna run you in." I proudly show him my papers, he seems P@#!&d, tells me he's got his eye on me and starts to walk away. I then say "hey, does that guy have a liscense?" and I point to the bum. (I should have just kept my mouth shut) The cop says " yes, as a matter of fact, he does." So, I say "okay, but what's his occupation?" The cop looks confused and says "He's a vagrant, he doesn't have an occupation." So, I ask "Then how did he get an occupational liscense?" The cop says "He doesn't have one, he's got a PANHANDLING PERMIT. They're only $15.00" Smiles and walks away.
I almost fell over. This bum (who seemed healthy, and able bodied) was out there getting money for nothing, meanwhile I'm trying to earn an honest living and have to pay through the nose just to do it.
Any Comments?
[/quote]

Comments? Yes, just one: Vote Libertarian ;o)

DD
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Nov 14, 2005 03:55PM)
Comments? Yes, just one: Vote Libertarian ;o)


Sounds political but I am forced to agree. :o)
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 15, 2005 01:12PM)
Lloyd McDonald
The camera lady is haveing my babys.
Mario
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 16, 2005 12:49PM)
I will add she "she is my wife Mandy"
We are expecting on the 27th Nov.
Mario