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Topic: How to approach people
Message: Posted by: acetucker (Nov 20, 2007 06:28PM)
I'm cool with doing "street magic" as soon as I learn some new tricks, but how would you go about approaching people. What do you say to them. Do you pick anybody or do you carefully pick who you are going to perform the trick for? What happens when things get a little awkward?
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Nov 20, 2007 07:02PM)
Why?
Message: Posted by: acetucker (Nov 20, 2007 07:53PM)
IDK. Hard to explain. You can't just walk up to some random person and say "Hey, wanna see a neat trick?" A lot of them would say no and walk off, or look at you like you have a second head. I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a little stupid.
Message: Posted by: jordanjohnson (Nov 20, 2007 08:22PM)
I dealt with this problem about five years ago when I got the guts up to do street magic. The thing I do is don't approach them with nothing in your hands because they usually I have found think that you are trying to sell them something or want to waste their time taking a survey or other kinds of stupid stuff that sales people try and do. So I always have my cards out when I ask them if they would like to see a magic trick. Also don't to up to people that are busy shopping or whatever they are doing because they don't have time to watch magic. Scout the place to try and find people who don't look like they are in a hurry or preoccupied doing other things. Also how to ask is just your personality. I usually just walk up to them and say, "hey would you like to see a trick" or "wanna see something a little crazy like some magic" don't ever ask if they can help you with a trick or magic because the word help automatically sets in there mind that they have to HELP you. Also the beat age group are teenagers and young adults below fifty. Most old people don't want to see it and will say no. Also if they say no don't hassle them about it just say okay and go to the next person.

Hope this helps
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Nov 20, 2007 10:02PM)
I like to approach people as they come up to a dark alley, this adds to the anticipation. I then look at them but not at them but through them with no expression on my face. I block their way and stare through them for a few seconds, then, and only then, once the fear has started to spread across their face I say "I want to show you something....". They agree and I have them select a card, still no expression on my face, and they pick it because I'm so mysterious and cool. I tell them "memorize it" and then "put it back". I then shift from looking through them to looking at them but still w/out any expression, I raise my hand slightly, and say "Wait wait...I see it, wait" Then I get a pained expression and grab my stomach, I look up "I...is it...the (name the card)?". I am always right and I turn around and walk away to the sounds of them screaming and yelling "How he do that? I can't believe it! That was so random!"

Note: the word 'random' is very popular among teens these days for some reason, I try to use it to seem young and hip
Message: Posted by: mysto59 (Nov 20, 2007 11:21PM)
I don't consider myself a street magician but every once in a while I like to do a trick in pubic just for the fun of it. I always have my ITR with me and sometimes when I'm standing in a line waiting (Grocery store, Quickie Mart, etc.) I'll have a dollar in my hands and just start playing around with it. Hold it to the light, snap it, etc. Then I wad it up and float it for a few seconds and then grab it like its going to float away from me.

Even though I don't ask anyone if they would like to see a trick, everytime at least one person saw what I had done and comments. I tell them that its too hard to earn money to let it just float away. Then I pay for whatever I was there for and walk out like nothing happened. It always seems to get a smile...
Message: Posted by: jordanjohnson (Nov 20, 2007 11:30PM)
Umm you do tricks in PUBIC lol!
Message: Posted by: mysto59 (Nov 21, 2007 08:13AM)
PUBLIC!!!! PUBLIC!!! PUBLIC!!! Can't wait to see the responses to this one. LOL
Message: Posted by: acetucker (Nov 21, 2007 06:49PM)
ROTFLOL. Thx. you guys have been particularly helpful, except for you magic santa, you've been particularly creepy.
Message: Posted by: J0HANNES (Nov 22, 2007 05:40AM)
You can begin like Jim Carey from Bill Marshall.....Let me show you something...
and very important to look like him like Bill Marshal after a serious explosion.
I think is a very interesting approach.
What you say?
Do not forget to screem Let me show you something and after that you could begin a freaky criss angel mad trick.
Message: Posted by: Owen Thomas (Nov 28, 2008 10:45AM)
Lol at MagicSanta post! man that cheered me up thanx
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Nov 28, 2008 11:05AM)
I've tried this a couple of times for people waiting for public transit (specifically, the Metro train in DC). It seems to work, because people are already bored and ****ed off waiting for the train, so they welcome the distraction of a little free entertainment. I usually do this when I'm getting off of work, so I'm wearing a suit and tie - that way they don't confuse me with a homeless person or a busker shaking them down for a few bucks.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Dec 9, 2008 01:34PM)
[quote]
On 2007-11-20 23:02, MagicSanta wrote:
I like to approach people as they come up to a dark alley, this adds to the anticipation. I then look at them but not at them but through them with no expression on my face. I block their way and stare through them for a few seconds, then, and only then, once the fear has started to spread across their face I say "I want to show you something....". They agree and I have them select a card, still no expression on my face, and they pick it because I'm so mysterious and cool. I tell them "memorize it" and then "put it back". I then shift from looking through them to looking at them but still w/out any expression, I raise my hand slightly, and say "Wait wait...I see it, wait" Then I get a pained expression and grab my stomach, I look up "I...is it...the (name the card)?". I am always right and I turn around and walk away to the sounds of them screaming and yelling "How he do that? I can't believe it! That was so random!"

Note: the word 'random' is very popular among teens these days for some reason, I try to use it to seem young and hip
[/quote]

I laughed out loud at this, especially the "random" part. In high school, I hear it at least once a day.
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Dec 9, 2008 03:23PM)
[quote]
that way they don't confuse me with a homeless person or a busker shaking them down for a few bucks.
[/quote]

good thing you didn't take that down a notch and get mistaken for a mugger or a contact juggler, now that would really hurt the crowd build.
Message: Posted by: Turk (Dec 9, 2008 04:37PM)
[quote]
On 2007-11-20 21:22, jordanjohnson wrote:
***

Also the best age group are teenagers and [b]young adults below fifty[/b].

***
[/quote]

Bless you, my son!! (grin) Made my day.

Mike
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Dec 9, 2008 06:05PM)
I believe there are just some people that are born naturals when it comes to people skills, and that magicians opposed to approaching random strangers are the ones that are shy and inhibited by strangers in general.

I also believe that you don't need to be a born natural to approach strangers, it is a skill you can learn - so don't let the nay-say'rs and the haters discourage you!

For the most part, I have always been an outgoing person - I could walk up and strike a conversation with a stranger without magic, that is just me. Hitchhike around the country for a couple of years and you just develop a knack for talking to people you don't know. Its all about being approachable and friendly and not scaring people.

The most important thing you will ever say during any show is "hi". See [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=220909&forum=92&post=5157735]this post[/url].

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 11, 2008 09:52AM)
1) Don't be afraid of rejection, it WILL happen, it does NOT make you a bad person/performer. It is a numbers game.

2) See #1 but when people DO want to walk away you let them wak away. It is less "creepy" this way. Do not be upset, do not follow them and beg.

3) Not everyone wants to see or likes magic. Know this from the start. You probably like magic far more than the person you are trying to make watch it.

4) Be brief and be gone. Long drawn out bothersome routines do not generally fly well.

5) Know when you cross that line into being a pest. once people DO STOP, don't make them stay because they feel bad leaving. In out, like a duck mating.

These simple guidelines are audience centered and should help some. I know most think they are "brightening up someones day" but many times you are viewed as a "pest" or worse. Use the above to avoid that look.

Keep in mind that while you are doing things for cashiers, clerks and workers keep in mind they have a job to do which you may very well be keeping them from. Also keep in mind that while you are doing your little trick for a server, cashier, others are waiting to have service. You are holding up the line while entertaining people like this. Be courtious to those behind you in line, or waiting for the server.

I in no way approve of "street magic" done like this, but if you are going to do it, it seems to me that following some simple guidelines will help everyone involved.

Oh and most important, A MAGIC TRICK IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A NICE TIP. Actually if you force a trick on them you should tip even bigger than usual, not smaller. A server/bartender can not spend your "trck" or the smile you put on their face.
Message: Posted by: Russell Scoggin (Dec 11, 2008 11:15PM)
One thing I've learned to do is go out with a friend and act like he is a random person on the street and start doing the trick for him. coach him beforehand in giving a big reaction and then getting people around him to come and see you. He can say such things as "Whoa, you ought to see what this guy just did, it was crazy!" Or "Man, this guy over there did this trick and it was wild. I can't understand it, come see what this guy's doing." Or you can use whatever you want. Without someone helping you like that, then it's really hard to approach random people unless you are doing something like the floating bill. Sometimes if I'm by myself, I will do the floating bill and I usually do it for a while when I notice people starting to look and point. Almost always they will come over and start asking you how you did that. Then that will open the door and you can start doing other tricks. Usually after that you will start getting a larger crowd because when people see a small crowd standing around looking at something, the curiosity gets the best of people and they want to see what they're watching so they will come over and start watching also. Kind of like the looking up into the sky for no reason, then other people look up to see what you're looking at. It's just curiousity. Anyway, then you have a chance to impress a larger crowd, so be sure and have some really good stuff to show them.
Message: Posted by: supercool (Dec 17, 2008 04:53AM)
[quote]
On 2008-12-12 00:15, Russell Scoggin wrote:
One thing I've learned to do is go out with a friend and act like he is a random person on the street and start doing the trick for him. coach him beforehand in giving a big reaction and then getting people around him to come and see you. He can say such things as "Whoa, you ought to see what this guy just did, it was crazy!" Or "Man, this guy over there did this trick and it was wild. I can't understand it, come see what this guy's doing." Or you can use whatever you want. Without someone helping you like that, then it's really hard to approach random people unless you are doing something like the floating bill. Sometimes if I'm by myself, I will do the floating bill and I usually do it for a while when I notice people starting to look and point. Almost always they will come over and start asking you how you did that. Then that will open the door and you can start doing other tricks. Usually after that you will start getting a larger crowd because when people see a small crowd standing around looking at something, the curiosity gets the best of people and they want to see what they're watching so they will come over and start watching also. Kind of like the looking up into the sky for no reason, then other people look up to see what you're looking at. It's just curiousity. Anyway, then you have a chance to impress a larger crowd, so be sure and have some really good stuff to show them.
[/quote]

If you are doing street magic to make money don't bring your friend. You don't need some one there to split your tips. You just ask strangers if they want to see something cool, then when you get some one to stop and watch then that will help draw a crowd just as well as having your buddy there.
Message: Posted by: sabretooth (Dec 24, 2008 06:19PM)
There is no "One size fits all" approach. If you are dressed in black with a mysterious look on your face, you have to expect some people to see you as a satan worshipper, even if you have things in your surroundings to indicate that you are not. It will happen!

Now that I have your attention, I will answer the question with more questions that you should ask of yourself when finding your answer.

Let's first separate the animals.

Will you you be taking the television "street" performer approach of walking down the street, showering the people with magic to quench their insatiable magic addiction? If so, you will soon realize that you don't have a team of editors following you..... OR will you be staking claim to your piece of the sidewalk with perhaps a performance table or other props that render you immobile?

About 20 years ago I sold magic at the flea market on the weekends. A raccoon tail coming out of a bag of chips that wiggled would get them to put the brakes on and break the ice. They laugh when they figure it out and I tell them it's not real, and than I would say
"But I do have something here that is really amazing! Check it out!"

When you stopped to read this, was it the animated avatar that caught your eye?

You're fishing, and after you caught the first one it's a lot easier to pull in another. Nobody wants to be the first if they think you're going to hustle them, but everybody wants to watch somebody else get hustled, so the next few are much less resistant to join. You just have to do an effect that has several layers to it so you can keep everyone interested as you are building your crowd. Then launch into a 10-12 minute routine in which you get your name out, get your card out, get your tips, inform them of your next show, sell your DVD, etc. When you have a stationary station with some props around you and a tip hat, you have already communicated that you are a performer, so the all-black dress would be less intimidating than someone dressed that way approaching you at your Café table saying, "Check this out!".

We all have a "personal space" around us and we don't like having it invaded without our permission. Getting that permission on the street is different than at a banquet that's booked you to do strolling magic. If you have intruded into my personal space and my free time, I don't care how good your magic is, you are not getting my tip and I want you out of my face! When I was a bum, I probably wouldn't have minded the intrusion of Mr. Blaine making a handful of coin rise up out of my coffee, but I certainly wouldn't have used it to book him!

What kind of audience do you want to attract?

Are you dressed for that audience? If you do birthday parties and corporate gigs, do you have a street routine ready for each?

If you are trying to generate leads for kid's parties you won't find many women with strollers on the street after the sun goes down.

Do you want to work for people who have been drinking? If it's too late and they're too drunk, they'll wonder how your card got in their pocket the next morning, but you may get the biggest tip of the night out of them!

Are you performing on the street to generate private work, or is your street work your primary income? Your hat-lines may vary dramatically!

If you stop them with a floating bill, will you have something to top it? If not, your performance will seem to be anti-climactic. Can you afford that at tip time?

In addition to the Raccoon in the bag, there is the dollar on the sidewalk attached to a bill snatcher, the firebook with a catchy line, you can hand them the end of a rope and literally pull them in, you can ask someone in a group, "Does anyone have the time? Do you have a minute for magic? (Do a fast card production or something visual and see if you can stop the whole crowd with one catch!) If you're good, you can. You can be bold without being offensive. (My personal space is much more open when I'm walking down the street than it is when I'm having a cup of coffee with a friend.) If they are on the way to catch a movie and don't have a minute, then I give them cards and say "Here, you can check it out later. Enjoy the show! (On the back of my card is the airtimes for my TV series.) Keep it positive!

Don't be afraid to try anything so long as you respect their boundaries. Grandpa always said, "A closed mouth don't get fed!" He's right!
Message: Posted by: sabretooth (Dec 24, 2008 10:16PM)
Sorry but the animated avatar referenced in the above post was disallowed. The editable post had timed-out by the time the avatar issue was resolved. The webmaster could inform us of "self-portrait only" requirement for avatars in the profile page and eliminate all this off-topic chatter.
Message: Posted by: DT3 (Dec 29, 2008 12:00AM)
Acetucker,

Perhaps you are misunderstanding the term "Street Magic."

In street magic, the people come to you, not the other way around.

Truer words, Sabretooth, truer words.

D
Message: Posted by: Adam1975 (Feb 28, 2009 09:37AM)
It beats me why anyone would want to approach total strangers on the street and force magic on them..I would run a mile if faced with this.....the classic amateur error is to presume everyone loves and wants to see magic...keep your dignity guys!! :lol:
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Feb 28, 2009 04:26PM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-28 10:37, Adam1975 wrote:
It beats me why anyone would want to approach total strangers on the street and force magic on them..I would run a mile if faced with this.....the classic amateur error is to presume everyone loves and wants to see magic...keep your dignity guys!! :lol:
[/quote]

More negative thinking. Using your logic, you could argue who would want a stranger to show up at a restaurant and force them to watch magic while waiting for food? Or to go to a Las Vegas musical and be forced to watch a comedy magic act before the main show. Or how about being forced to listen to music over the loud speaker while shopping at the mall?

The idea is never to force someone to watch magic, the idea is to make people interested in what you are doing. David Blaine never forced anyone to watch magic, in fact he put several clips in his specials where people walked away from him some without ever saying a word to him or so much as even looking at him. Rejection is part of the program.

Get over it guys, not everyone in the world is anti-social. Some people even like magic tricks.

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: Adam1975 (Mar 1, 2009 05:10AM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-28 17:26, JoeJoe wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-02-28 10:37, Adam1975 wrote:
It beats me why anyone would want to approach total strangers on the street and force magic on them..I would run a mile if faced with this.....the classic amateur error is to presume everyone loves and wants to see magic...keep your dignity guys!! :lol:
[/quote]

More negative thinking. Using your logic, you could argue who would want a stranger to show up at a restaurant and force them to watch magic while waiting for food? Or to go to a Las Vegas musical and be forced to watch a comedy magic act before the main show. Or how about being forced to listen to music over the loud speaker while shopping at the mall?

The idea is never to force someone to watch magic, the idea is to make people interested in what you are doing. David Blaine never forced anyone to watch magic, in fact he put several clips in his specials where people walked away from him some without ever saying a word to him or so much as even looking at him. Rejection is part of the program.

Get over it guys, not everyone in the world is anti-social. Some people even like magic tricks.

-JoeJoe
[/quote]

People are expecting some kind of entertainment in the examples you provide....................
Going for some food in your lunch hour,for example,perhaps not!!
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Mar 1, 2009 07:22PM)
I agree with Adam1975. Screams rookie. I would run too. Most of the advice here, comes from people who havent' really tried this out on the street themselves. It just seems/sounds good. Find a way to engage them. After while you can smell good assistants. If you can't, find another venue. If you walk up to me when I'm with my wife saying, "Want to see something cool?" I'll drop you and ask questions later. There are too many nuts out on the street.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Mar 1, 2009 08:48PM)
I've tried everything I've advised to do on the streets, I was approaching strangers on the Ocean City Boardwalk 15 years before anyone ever heard of David Blaine.

I am always baffled by this street magic debate ... go to the Table Hoppers forum and tell them not to approach strangers. Because there is absolutely no difference in technique. What I did on the Ocean City Boardwalk was exactly the same thing I did at 2001 Nightlife. No difference what-so-ever.

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Mar 2, 2009 12:42AM)
OK, I've got some free time ... so I want to give more info for those positive thinkers that want to give street magic a fair chance and I really hope it doesn't trigger a big fight because I don't have time to fight on the forums. If your not interested in doing street magic, I honestly don't know what you are doing on this particular forum anyway ... other than to argue maybe?? I'm not here to argue, I'm here to provide solid proven workable advice.



And my best advice: LOCATION! Location, location, location ... I can't stress that enough. If you are on a busy street where people are walking from point A to point B, you are in a bad location and will get a lot of rejection.

What you are looking for is a place where people "hang out". Little Five Points in Atlanta, DuPont Circle in DC, The Docks in Annapolis, or the Ocean City Boardwalk - these are all locations I have personally worked so I know they are good spots, or at least they were at one point in time (hopefully they still are). These places have benches where people go and hang out - usually younger people and usually on the weekends.

Be doing something ... even if just rolling a coin in your hand. Smile. Make eye contact. Greet people (see my post about saying "hi" referenced above). The important thing is to not look "scary". If you look like a mugger or a pervert people will want to avoid you.

Spend some time in the mirror without practicing the pass - perfect your smile, make sure you keep your eyes open wide, don't let your forehead wrinkle. These all seem like trivial points, but they are very very very important - more important than your pass even!

It is proven that people that have a "mirror image face" are considered "attractive". That means people whose right side of their face looks exactly like the left side of their face ... you may not be able to change your genetics, but you can make sure when you smile both sides of your lips are equally dispersed and both eyes are opened the same distance. In other words, don't be cock-eyed with a half smile! As you may have just now realized, I have spent a lot of time staring at myself in the mirror. If you want to take this seriously, you should too. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, how can you expect anyone else to??

I've had several people comment to me about my YouTube videos where the kids just run up to me when I offer a balloon - that is what you must strive for, to be "approachable". It starts long before you say anything to them - it starts when they first see you ... what you are wearing, how you style your hair, your facial expressions, what you are doing, your posture ... EVERYTHING. In a split second, people will form an opinion of you and that opinion will be stronger than any other opinion they form of you as time goes on. The truth of the matter is, street magic has very little to do with magic. It has to do with personality. You must search your soul and discover yours, polish it up, and make it shine bright.

Don't expect to make a lot of money, and never pressure people to tip. Soft hat lines can pay off, a few bucks here and there - but you won't make a living do this. To make money, borrow money. Always borrow a bill to do your final trick with - and always return it to them. A tip is earned, if they want to tip they will give it back to you. Guilt might earn you a dollar, but you will pay for it in the long run. You should be thinking along the lines of a "career", not a "job". This is an entry level position; the hours are long and the pay sucks. You want people telling their friends how great you are, and they won't do that if they feel hustled - instead, they will tell people to avoid you! So don't hustle people! Or at least have such a good hustle that people don't feel they were hustled.

Here is a line I used to use: I'd borrow a bill to do pen-through-anything, it was the real deal - John Cornelius' "designer" version (this was before the perfect pen and I had to do a switch). I would explain I want them to put a mark on the bill so we would know it was the same bill later ... as I hand them the pen to mark the bill, I would say "I'll give you a tip - push this button and the pen will write better". It plants the idea into their mind that they should tip me ... and it does so very gracefully without being rude or aggressive.

What you will do is earn valuable experience, which you can later put to good use and make money with it. I would have never nailed the gig at 2001 Nightlife if I had not earned the experience with street magic ... and even if I was able to land the gig, I would have never been prepared for it. It is better to be an amateur on the street. Don't take a paying gig until you are ready, you will know when you are ready. If you take a paying gig and don't have the chops to back it up, not only will they never re-hire you they will tell others not to hire you!

To this day, I still use some of the exact same "street magic" routines when street performing ... they are very useful for crowd building. Just about anything David Blaine has done can be used to start a circle show! You don't have to ring a cowbell to start a magic show, you can start by doing magic ... every single crowd I have ever drawn in my entire life has always started by getting one person - just one single person - to look me in the eye! Once they look you in the eye, you have their attention.

Ok, so I help that helps someone. Some of it I may have posted before, some of it I have never posted ... but every bit of it is something that has worked for me. That doesn't mean it will work for you, but hopefully it will put you on the right track to finding out what does work for you.

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: cyberdog (Mar 2, 2009 09:46AM)
I'm having the same problem except that people in my city seems like none of them like magic. almost everybody just say no and look at me like I was some kind of freak.
I need a style change..
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Mar 2, 2009 10:30AM)
If you ask someone a "yes" or "no" question, all things being equal, there is 50% chance they will say no. I know a lot of magicians will advise you not to ask such a question - I always, I mean ALWAYS ask ... and I'm going to tip the secret here. This is how you get them to say yes:

First, you must be doing something - anything! Fanning cards, a hummer card, coin rolls, something anything it doesn't matter what. You can stand there and bounce a ball as long as you are doing something. If you are doing something, it increases the odds that they will watch you - if you are not doing anything, there is nothing to watch so they don't look at you.

Second, ANSWER THE QUESTION FOR THEM! You can see me do it on my YouTube videos... "you want to see a magic trick? I'll do a magic trick for you, come on over". I don't give them the opportunity to say no. The reason I always do this is because it puts me in control - I am already telling them what to think before I even start showing them anything.



That is the secret in a nutshell, although it is extremely more complex then it sounds. If I had the time, I could write a book on the topic. But I don't think it would really help you that much, in that this is an acquired skill - it is something you must learn to do and you learn by doing it, not reading about it.

What you want to pay attention to is your timing - knowing when to look at them, knowing when to greet them, knowing when to ask them. It's like fishing - you have to jerk the line at just the right moment for it to work.

Hope that helps,
-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: BudTCB (Mar 3, 2009 08:51PM)
If you want to get more gigs.. I would encourage you to do it! walk up and just do some magic for someone. There is nothing to it at all. That oppurtunity rises for me all the time. when I see the oppurtunity, I take it. if I need to borrow a pen from someone for something,.. I usually do a version of Gregory Wilson's pen trick from on the spot with a few variations. or I'll do a flip vanish with it.
or when you pay for something,.. with one of your coins,.. just vanish it. It gets peoples attention. I honestly can't tell you how many times I Have did that and picked up a gig from it. If you want to make money at this,..You WANT people to know you are a magician. Just do it! They will have fun,.. you'll have fun.. they'll tell people. Soon you will be famous. well.. I might not go that far. One piece of advice that I would give you... is this.. first of all.. I LOVE Card magic! believe me, I do. but when I approach people to do magic.. I NEVER start with a card trick. most people either think,.. ugh.. not another card trick... Or, they will know a stupid card trick too.. and after your first trick they will say.... let me show you one I know. I always start with something like,.. coin across or sponge balls, and then do some cards... that will tell them that YOU are a magician without you having to tell them and they will be more apt to pay attention and just enjoy it. that's my 2 cents.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Mar 7, 2009 04:12AM)
JoeJoe: Thanks for the info you posted on making yourself attractant. It's a very important aspect for Street Magicians [the sidewalk show type] so I'm glad I found your posts here. Regards, Colin.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Mar 17, 2009 02:56PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-17 04:09, amazing_gordo wrote:
Joe Joe knows where of he speaks! He is a real street magician! Thanks for the sound advice, Joe!
[/quote]

Now don't go spreading that rumor around ... next thing ya'know, people will be bad mouthing my like I was David Blaine! Well ... the ones that don't already bad mouth me will be anyway. :P

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: Owen Thomas (Apr 7, 2009 08:48AM)
JoeJoe has some good advice here, thanks.
Message: Posted by: chronica (Apr 9, 2009 09:46AM)
-Start to find a place where people like to walk around. (It's easier during summer holidays near the sea or close to tourist places.)
- Then try to make noise with anything you want: bell, drum, jumbo coin on the ground, music on CD or whatever your imagination can make out.
- Some people will stop to watch why you're making these noises, and it's better, too, if there's something unusual in your way of dressing (could be anything, use you imagination once again).
- Then start your trick silently, and only start the patter after 1 or 2 min.

Just my 2 cents...
Message: Posted by: WDavis (Apr 26, 2009 10:13PM)
Just wanted to make a couple of really quick points.

JoeJoe your right on about the 50% failure rate on asking a yes or no question.

but there are also little things that a street performor can do to improve the odds. you breifly touched on the Socrate's method. get someone to repetively say yes to a couple of questions. another method to improve the YES from someone is to also take away the rejection before they give it to you. I.E. "you probably think I was gonna walk up to you and show you some lame magic trick, but before you say no, know that I wasn't going too, instead I was gonna show you a really really cool one." adding a little humour to the take away makes it more engaging. people don't like confrontation.

another thing is to know your mark. look at them from a wholistic level, walking upright showing confidence, or slouching looking bummed, are they appearing approachable or are they closed off. I would recommend reading the book "the definitive guide to body language" if your working on the street. it will help you pick people more receptive to you.

another thing in the approach is if you make eye contact with them hold your gaze for a few seconds and smile back to them AFTER they have smiled then walk straight up to them head high and don't walk around an object if its in your way (unless its a table you don't want to walk over it) you move it. it will show confidence in you before you even speak.

now when it comes to patter people usually do the lame introductions. I prefer I direct approach with a simple "heeyy" or "hi" slightly drawn out at an energy level just a bit over the other persons. you don't want to overwelm them like a cat on crack and you also don't want to bring down their energy levels. plus when your in front of your mark DON'T fidget. fidgeting shows insecurity. or hands in your pockets. your hands should appear open facing your mark at your sides (think Jesus paintings) this is an inviting non threatening pose. plus stand up straight and don't make unintentional movements. all of that will help maintain your body language of being confident and in control.

give a false time constraint if your approaching a group, they don't know you also they haven't accepted you into the group either. using a false time constraint shows your not gonna just hang around and show off your "mad skillz" appearing needy. people can sense a needy person and will deliberately dissassociate themselves from them.

if all else fails and you need material to chitchat but have none you can always use the FORE method. F-family O-occupation (what kind of work) R-recreation (what do they do for fun, E-expectation (show them something really cool)

don't forget to be aloof and fun, and funny, you want people to engage you.

hope this helps.
cheers,
isid0re
Message: Posted by: ferrari (Apr 27, 2009 04:28PM)
I usally walk up in a place like a mall and say you wanna see some magic
Message: Posted by: E.C. Valdemar (Jun 3, 2009 06:38AM)
You know I started a thread about my way ov approaching ppl some time ago. I'll use a simple lesson I learned from the PUA community. Just bring up the PUA world drew up turned noses and insults here.

Anyway, just know that "awkward" moments ARE going to happen. No matter what. But that's on the other ppl. DO you want to get good? Do you want to learn what is your strongest effect and what is your weakest? Do you want to be known? If it's a YES then don't EVER let a awkward moment or a 100 ov them stop you.

Go grab Magic for Dummies and memorize some the funny lines in there to use if I effect goes wrong or whatever. One ov my fav.s is "It's all part ov the show! It's the part I don't like .... but what are ya going to do?"

And I kool way ov coming up to ppl (other then the way I mentioned in another thread) is a technique I saw David Stone use. Have a coin palmed in your hand. Come up next to some ppl. Look down at the ground and as you bend down pretend to pick up the coin saw "Oh! Excuss me is this your coin?" Whatever they say just go right into a coin routine. They'll be interested right off the bat.

Laugh. Be light-hearted and friendly.

Hope this helped!

Robert EC
Message: Posted by: Mike Webb (Jun 18, 2009 01:51AM)
You might want to read up on the "Flight or Fight" philosophy to better answer your question.
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Jun 19, 2009 08:10PM)
You don't ask, you announce. . .something interesting. Show me something. Engage me. If you have to ask or beg. . . find another venue. You don't have it for the streets.
A lot of the previous posts were from people who havent done the deal. Free advice is what it is worth. Talk to someone who's spent some time out there.

Those who can't do teach, or give advice on websites.
Message: Posted by: CCPCris (Jun 28, 2009 11:13PM)
I agree with THEGIZ. don't ask their permission. Engage them. I remember when I was a youth minister, I wouldnt ask "CAN I GIVE YOU THIS FLYER". Everyone always said no. I said "HERE CHECK THIS OUT" they read it every time. I don't know why, but people tend not to reject a presntation if you comand thier attention from the begining. They take you more serious anyways when you do this, becuase tehy know your serious.
Message: Posted by: Pedro Haluch (Jul 2, 2009 01:21PM)
Well, I think aproaching people is just as casual as it should be.
But I want to say a few words about rejection: You WILL get rejected 79,68246% of the times you try to do a trick to someone. from the lasting 20,31754%, 79,68246% will probably want to walk away as soon as possible, either becuase they regreted their decision or have something to do, which leaves you with 4,12802432% of real interested people watching your magic. If you consider that you aproach at least 50 people each week, what would be none in bussiness days and 25 on saturdays and 25 on sundays, that would be aproaching 2600 people over the year, and that would get you 107,32863232 people watching you amazingly. Of course, if you consider that you may not like the personality of, let's say, 1,618033988749894820458683436564% of those previous 107,32863232 people, you may want to reject those, leaving you with 105,59201856940199522376317551686 interested and nice people watching you over a year, which in real life means 106.
Those were just aproximations.
Now, seriously, you will get rejected. Don't worry, even the pros do.

Kindly,

Pedro Haluch
Message: Posted by: base851 (Sep 25, 2009 07:33PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-02 01:42, JoeJoe wrote:
What you are looking for is a place where people "hang out". Little Five Points in Atlanta, DuPont Circle in DC, The Docks in Annapolis, or the Ocean City Boardwalk - these are all locations I have personally worked so I know they are good spots, or at least they were at one point in time (hopefully they still are). These places have benches where people go and hang out - usually younger people and usually on the weekends.
[/quote]

This seems like the best tidbit of the whole discussion. You want people already relaxed, in a good mood and maybe just a tad bored. You also want to be in a public and open environment where strangers intermingling would be somewhat normal. If you've lived in a big city for any length of time, if someone just walks up to you on the street the instinctual reaction is to pretend they don't exist.

Public parks, bars, places where people are just sitting or walking around killing time would probably have a higher likelihood of a good reception than a street corner.

Even better, fidget around, do some sort of mini trick or flourish by yourself in an open area that has moderate traffic. When someone gives that sort of "WTF?" look, beckon them over. Now they've come to you instead of vice versa.
Message: Posted by: Jason A (Sep 30, 2009 04:23PM)
I'll go up to anybody and do some magic.

I'll ask for the time and from that I'll kinda see what type of person they are or what mood there in. ( upset,mad,happy, etc...) it doesn't matter if they have the time. as long as they answer you something.
if I don't feel a good vibe from them I'll just say thanks and walk away.
but 90% of the time. a person or people who will answer you are good to do magic to.

I never ask them if they want to see a trick...i just do one.
ex. pull out a silk from nowhere (tt)
or I'll do the d'lite
Message: Posted by: weepinwil (Oct 18, 2009 04:07PM)
I just walk up to a few people and ask, "Hey, ya'll want to see a magic trick?" When they say, "Yeah!" I say, "Me too, show me one...." After they stop laughing you then introduce your trick. Probably works go well for me because they're now off the hook.
Message: Posted by: eddierush (Oct 24, 2009 06:43PM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-28 17:26, JoeJoe wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-02-28 10:37, Adam1975 wrote:
It beats me why anyone would want to approach total strangers on the street and force magic on them..I would run a mile if faced with this.....the classic amateur error is to presume everyone loves and wants to see magic...keep your dignity guys!! :lol:
[/quote]

More negative thinking. Using your logic, you could argue who would want a stranger to show up at a restaurant and force them to watch magic while waiting for food? Or to go to a Las Vegas musical and be forced to watch a comedy magic act before the main show. Or how about being forced to listen to music over the loud speaker while shopping at the mall?

The idea is never to force someone to watch magic, the idea is to make people interested in what you are doing. David Blaine never forced anyone to watch magic, in fact he put several clips in his specials where people walked away from him some without ever saying a word to him or so much as even looking at him. Rejection is part of the program.

Get over it guys, not everyone in the world is anti-social. Some people even like magic tricks.

-JoeJoe
[/quote]

Bravo, Bravo!
Message: Posted by: fyi2 (Mar 25, 2010 08:15PM)
I got over my fear by pitching a table, and starting! The table was my space, then I just started. Took me a while to get a hook. But guess what I was warming up. When I got my first spectator I kept them hook and other joined.

Cool fun. Nervy but fun.
Message: Posted by: insight (Mar 26, 2010 04:34PM)
As a magician, you are an actor. You can act as if you are taking a survey. Create a survey form for them to fill out at the end of your trick. You can even pay them $1 based on the survey results. For example, if you are using invisible deck, and the card they were thinking of is not the only one turned face down, you give them $1. This will spike up their interest in taking your survey, but in the end, you know that you will be successful and you will have gotten the spectator/s you wanted. And you won't be losing $1 everytime you administer the survey.

Regards,
Mike
Message: Posted by: webstercolby (Apr 18, 2010 08:47PM)
[quote]
On 2008-12-11 10:52, Dannydoyle wrote:
1) Don't be afraid of rejection, it WILL happen, it does NOT make you a bad person/performer. It is a numbers game.

2) See #1 but when people DO want to walk away you let them wak away. It is less "creepy" this way. Do not be upset, do not follow them and beg.

3) Not everyone wants to see or likes magic. Know this from the start. You probably like magic far more than the person you are trying to make watch it.

4) Be brief and be gone. Long drawn out bothersome routines do not generally fly well.

5) Know when you cross that line into being a pest. once people DO STOP, don't make them stay because they feel bad leaving. In out, like a duck mating.

These simple guidelines are audience centered and should help some. I know most think they are "brightening up someones day" but many times you are viewed as a "pest" or worse. Use the above to avoid that look.

Keep in mind that while you are doing things for cashiers, clerks and workers keep in mind they have a job to do which you may very well be keeping them from. Also keep in mind that while you are doing your little trick for a server, cashier, others are waiting to have service. You are holding up the line while entertaining people like this. Be courtious to those behind you in line, or waiting for the server.

I in no way approve of "street magic" done like this, but if you are going to do it, it seems to me that following some simple guidelines will help everyone involved.

Oh and most important, A MAGIC TRICK IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A NICE TIP. Actually if you force a trick on them you should tip even bigger than usual, not smaller. A server/bartender can not spend your "trck" or the smile you put on their face.
[/quote]

awsome tips. I've been trying to finds ways to approach people at my college. though it is slot easier then the streets, especially hen you have a Friedman to draw attention.
Message: Posted by: tehmagic1 (Apr 22, 2010 04:13PM)
What I do sometimes is just jump right next to them as exaggerated as possible! Then look up and act like I just fell from the sky. That gets their attention, then they think you are a crazy person, ask the "would you like to see a trick" Just be "random" lol
Message: Posted by: andrewwarner (May 12, 2010 08:48AM)
A lot of good posts here along with a lot of not-so-good ones. The best advice has already been posted. Deal well with rejection. Don't be afraid of it and your confidence will be attractive to people.

Pick your audiences wisely (people not in a hurry) and respect when people say no.

Maybe show some friends some magic so other people can see what you are doing and that what you are doing is enjoyable.

The most important is definitely not being afraid of rejection. Even if you get 9 rejections out of every ten people you approach, be confident in knowing that you will make a great memory for the 1 person that is interested in your magic. For years to come that person will tell people about the one time they were just sitting around at X and some person came up and did Y.
Message: Posted by: Bryan Smith (May 13, 2010 10:11AM)
It depends what your goals are, I suppose. I have never done street magic as in actually on the street. It is also never my intention to make money when I do magic for random people. It's more to gauge the reaction of certain effects I have been worked on and help develop patter around them as well.

With those aims in mind, I usually go to bars. If you're trying to get tips, you won't find them here, but if not, bars are the best places. people are there specifically to have fun. Almost no one is in a hurry to go somewhere else or has any other priorities other than having fun. Your success rate in getting people interested is much higher than on a street.

Don't just go in and start approaching random people to do magic tricks for them, though. That's just weird. Sit at the bar, order a drink, and start fanning a deck of cards, or doing interesting things with a coin or something. More often than not someone will approach YOU eventually and you have an in. If you do something amazing for that person, others will see it, and start telling their friends and you will get more and more people watching you. If you're good, you'll have a captive audience for a little while. Just don't go on too long and try to keep forcing magic tricks on them when people start losing interest. Then you turn back into a weirdo. But if you wait to be approached and stop while they still want more, you're suddenly the coolest guy in the bar.
Message: Posted by: wolfmaster (May 21, 2010 02:51PM)
Just say "do you like magic?" it's so simple, works all the time for me, and makes them wonder "hmmmm what is he gonna do?"
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 21, 2010 06:54PM)
I'm a bit of an introvert and also find it difficult to walk up to people. One reference I've found helpful is "The Fine Art of Small Talk", by Debra Fine, it is a short book on how to strike up conversations. Lots of good ideas there that you may can be applied to this situation.

Good luck!

Hudson
Message: Posted by: Bobert (May 31, 2010 06:05AM)
Ok,
As a street performer myself, I'll tell you what works for me and what doesn't work for me.

First of all I perform in Times Square NY. I chose the exact place I perform depending on each night, and I move around during the night. I get someone's attention by:
1. The way I dress. I dress in a 1920's kind of outfit. Nice Suit, or Slacks and a vest, and my Bowler hat.

2. I bring my presence to where I'm working. I do not ask if people want to see a trick. I announce to people that I'm doing magic and that they don't have to pay me unless they really want too...(that usually gets some laughs and I don't ask for money I just end up making some every nite )...and I tell people to stop and take a few minutes to feel like a kid again. Things like that usually get a couple of people together and when people see soemthing going on the crowd just grows.

3. As a close up performer I usually focus on Card and Coin Tricks, along with basic sleight of hand things like Cups and Balls. Just know your stuff and go perform the more you perfom the higher your confidence gets.

4. Street Magic is a great way to get people to know who you are. I spent every weekend for about a month working Times Square and I recieved countless free things like, Ice Cream, Hot dogs, and phone numbers. The other people out there making a living know who I am and they enjoy what I do and I appreciate what they do be it, a taxi driver, store owners, and everyone elese. Places like NYC being a street performer is actually entering a new community.

Currently I am in South Korea. I've used magic in bars and clubs, Home Plus(It's similar to a Wal-Mart or Targert in the USA). I know very little Korean and they know very little english but magic has a way of talking to people and you don't have to speak the same language to be amazed.

Best of Luck to all who enter this new realm
Bobert
Message: Posted by: TheGreatRaymondo (May 31, 2010 07:32AM)
To 'open' a session on the street my advice is aim for the ladies - the majority just can't resist a good magic trick! Then that will hopefully help you build an audience which then allows you to perfom more tricks. Have a 'set' of tricks lined up and ready to go. 5 tricks maximum - then stop and move on.

However, the approach described by Magic Santa is pretty cool too! LOL! ;-)

Magic Santa: my teenage daughter reliably informs me that the latest 'hip' word
on the streets is... 'rad!' (short for radical)- this will make you look super cool - trust me. I'm a magician!
TGR
Message: Posted by: insight (Jun 4, 2010 12:36PM)
Practice on phone too to build confidence.

Regards,
Mike
Message: Posted by: Mr.Crebar (Jun 18, 2010 02:35AM)
"Hello, my name is Magican, and I would like to make love to your imagination"
Message: Posted by: steez (Jun 30, 2010 03:44PM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-29 00:13, CCPCris wrote:
I agree with THEGIZ. don't ask their permission. Engage them. I remember when I was a youth minister, I wouldnt ask "CAN I GIVE YOU THIS FLYER". Everyone always said no. I said "HERE CHECK THIS OUT" they read it every time. I don't know why, but people tend not to reject a presntation if you comand thier attention from the begining. They take you more serious anyways when you do this, becuase tehy know your serious.
[/quote]

Well said
Message: Posted by: satellite23 (Jul 13, 2010 07:57PM)
What I do is pick out people. I pick out people who look like they are having a good time. Laughing, joking, and so on. If they look disgruntled, occupied, or sad, don't approach them. Also, hold your trick in your hand. That whets their senses and makes them want to know what you are going to do. Also say, "Do you want to see a MAGIC TRICK?" That whets them even more. Not to be offensive or anything, but I have found that young black males are usually the best to approach and will generally accept your offer. Older white males generally say no or don't give the best reaction to your trick.
Message: Posted by: MT (Sep 20, 2010 11:44PM)
You got to be wise about how you approach people. Make sure you're approachable.
Message: Posted by: djurmann (Oct 10, 2010 02:43AM)
A simple query - If I want to set up a table to get people to come to me, what kind of table would you recommend, and how many tricks to a set?

Thanks
Message: Posted by: PenEnpitsu (Oct 10, 2010 06:03PM)
I'm pretty sure you can use any kind of table you'd be comfortable lugging around in your car and you wouldn't mind getting banged up a bit. I'd bring a box that you can mix and match with to come up with 10-20 minute shows, depending on the size of your crowd.
Message: Posted by: DoctorCognos (Jan 28, 2011 01:27PM)
If you ask, "Do you want to see a magic trick".... You will get some yes, and some no.

That is about 50/50. Why take that risk?

First, I don't think you want to find a place where folks are just hanging out. That would work for one performance, and then they have seen it and you have to move on to the next "place". So, why not find a place where the foot traffic is moving? You stop some, do your thing, and they move on and a new set of folks are coming by.

I look at the passersby and pick out someone who looks like a leader. Smile, and look him in the eyes. "There he is," I loudly proclaim as I make a sweeping pointing motion towards him, continuing to maintain eye contact. "Here is the one we were waiting for. This is a guy who likes to have fun." Now I ask him, "Do you like to have fun?" (I have already labeled him as one who likes fun. And there is nothing negative or threatening about liking to have fun, so what will he say?) Of course he says YES! I look around, "What about you? Do you like to have fun, too?!" It is starting to happen. Now, others stop to see what is happening.
Then take out a deck of cards and ask, "Do you want to see a card trick?" Before they answer, I toss the deck back into my case and say, "Me neither. I told you this would be fun, so take a look at this..." And I do a street Linking Rings routine with crash links and other surprises.

This follows my earlier advice, somewhere in this forum, about engagement. If you don't engage them, you don't keep them.

BroDavid
aka The DOctor


I find someone who looks like a leader.
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Feb 1, 2011 12:27AM)
What a coincidence....I just got finished doing the rounds for the night, and I come upon this thread.

The 50%-ers are spot on. I keep a running tally every time, and occasionally I get close to 60%, but not often. You'll need to change your approach, depending on the age / dress of the marks. Over 40's can be a GREAT hit, because if you put on a gentlemanly charm they'll warm right up to you. If you're cruising the club streets after hours, use the duck-hunter's philosophy: Aim for flocks. Never waste your time on one or two people, go for groups of 3 or more. It increases the odds of tips, and it can act as a magnet to other passersby. (Not to mention, a group won't feel threatened by you.) If a child happens to be in the group or stops to watch, go for it!! AIM LOW....children aka 'akkys' (short for Achilles' heels) are the weak point of any crowd. Put a smile on the child's face, and you will SO win the people over....their money will practically come out by itself.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Feb 19, 2011 04:29PM)
[quote]
On 2011-01-28 14:27, DoctorCognos wrote:
If you ask, "Do you want to see a magic trick".... You will get some yes, and some no.

That is about 50/50. Why take that risk?
[/quote]

Asking someone if they want to see a magic trick is an art form in itself.

I get "yes" 100% of the time. The secret is to not let them answer the question, but rather answer it for them. "You wanna see a magic trick ... sure ... come on over. I'll show you a magic trick, I don't mind."

If you look over some of the summer shows on my YouTube channel, you'll see me do it. Study me doing it, and you might even notice it is a very powerful way to gain "control" ... What better way to control the thoughts of your audience than to answer the questions for them?

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: Ryan_B_Magic (Feb 21, 2011 05:46AM)
All you got to do is stand in front of them and levitate into the air. That's what I do. lol
Message: Posted by: Joiemagic (Apr 7, 2011 08:02PM)
On occasions where I have to take the Subway in NY, one of the things that I do, being I always have something in my pocket to perform is to start off not asking anyone. I will pull out my thumbtip and silk and just start to "Practice" my vanishes and appearances of the silk. I keep doing it over and over, allthe while peeking around to see who is looking. Eventually someone does catch what I am doing and smiles when I look in their direction. From there, I will pull out something else (Mismade Bill, Professor's Nightmare, Cards, etc) and go into a mini show. Eventually, others start to watch and get involved with the entertainment that is happening. I have booked one or two shows, just from doing that...

I have not mastered the approach to random people on the street yet, cause I do have a case of being shy. Just doing the magic sets me free though.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Apr 10, 2011 01:21AM)
[quote]
On 2011-04-07 21:02, Joiemagic wrote:
I will pull out my thumbtip and silk and just start to "Practice" my vanishes and appearances of the silk.
[/quote]

Something with sound will improve your results ... when crowds are really tough, I do a silk vanish using a magic wand ... tapping the wand on the ground before and after the vanishes. Now instead of relying on 1 sense (sight), you are utilizing two (sight and sound).

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (May 1, 2011 05:11PM)
I prefer the 'Harpo Marx' approach of 'spontaneously' doing something mundane in a miraculous manner when witnesses are present. A 'for-instance' example might be plucking an apple from a picture of a fruit basket, and walking away munching happily.
Message: Posted by: ThinkThurston (Aug 28, 2011 11:30PM)
Derren Brown has excellent advice about this in Absolute Magic. Get your hands on the book but for his thoughts about this but in general, make sure to project a willingness to adapt to the group's space as opposed to forcing them to adapt to your space.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Aug 30, 2011 10:55PM)
I find I have much better results if I just start doing my thing. Unexpected venues are great too- and never underestimate the power of a captive audience.

I have one effect I use that never fails to get a positive reaction- but not because of the effect but rather *where* I do it. It lasts all of maybe 3 seconds. I use my opener, perform the effect once the ice is broken and before their brains reset to "don't talk to strangers" mode, and then tip my hat and walk away leaving them with their jaws on the floor.

I've actually had people chase me down.
Message: Posted by: mpicard (Sep 7, 2011 01:56PM)
Hello
1)I go up to people and say hello, my na,me is Michael Picard, do you know me? Good that meansyou won't be calling America's most wanted! Just kidding really, I have done street and restaraunt magic for years and all it takes is an introduction and say "let's try something here!" which I guess that I picked up that phrase from when I was younger watching Kreskin on tv.
2) exude confidence, when I was 14 I would go door to door performing magic. Which in turn is why I ended up selling Fuller Brush products door to door when I was in high school.

actually a good start might be to get a restaraunt gig for table hopping which is a version of street magic. in my opinion btw.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Sep 8, 2011 03:08AM)
Miser's Dream out in an open area, then encourage them over to you where you will perform. Makes noise, fun to watch, there is no start or end point, so you can continually do the same movements over and over until such a time as you have a nice group to begin the performance with.

I have a few tips on the blog listed in my signature area. Have a wonderful day folks!
Message: Posted by: Synatics (Oct 21, 2011 12:41PM)
Usually I walk up to people and say "Hey guys, do you like magic" If they say yes, I ask if they want to see some. If they say no, I say "do me one favour very quickly, take a card" I then force a card that says 'liar!' on it. As soon as they have the liar card, I walk away and leave it with them. Don't give people that 'don't like magic' the privilege of seeing yours. :)
Message: Posted by: charliewerner (Dec 16, 2011 12:37AM)
Street magic help you figure out problem or weakness of your trick. It is better to fail on street than to fail on actual paid event where you fail to fool and entertain your guest.

Also, perform a visual trick like floating card ... then back to card trick
Message: Posted by: MerlinCrow (Sep 5, 2012 08:33AM)
Mostly I first approach people with a question after that a short moment of chit chat,
and about that time I have a good idea what kinda trick would be appropriate,
Or if there mind is open in the first place.

Merlin
Message: Posted by: Countage (Sep 5, 2012 05:51PM)
Just remember it is a numbers game sometimes.
Message: Posted by: MerlinCrow (Sep 6, 2012 02:28AM)
[quote]
On 2012-09-05 18:51, Countage wrote:
Just remember it is a numbers game sometimes.
[/quote]

My englisch is not that good mr. Countage,
Could you explain what you mean with that ?

Merlin
Message: Posted by: Nick W (Sep 7, 2012 05:11AM)
If your doing it right, people will ALWAYS approach you. read that over 1000000 or until it starts to happen.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Sep 7, 2012 11:50AM)
[quote]
On 2012-09-06 03:28, MerlinCrow wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-09-05 18:51, Countage wrote:
Just remember it is a numbers game sometimes.
[/quote]

My englisch is not that good mr. Countage,
Could you explain what you mean with that ?

Merlin
[/quote]

Numbers game is an expression to indicate that the more people you approach, the higher the odds of success ... much like playing the lottery; the more tickets you purchase the better your odds.

I do agree with Nicky that if you are doing it right, people will approach you ... as I said earlier in this thread, "Its all about being approachable and friendly and not scaring people".

But it's still a numbers game ... the more people in the area, the higher the odds that someone will approach you. Something else I said earlier in this thread ... "And my best advice: LOCATION! Location, location, location" ... I still can't stress that enough.

-JoeJoe
Message: Posted by: MerlinCrow (Sep 7, 2012 04:47PM)
Thank you very much for your explanation mr, Joe !

Merlin
Message: Posted by: chrishodder (Sep 21, 2012 04:06PM)
Hi, the way I approach people is using a technique Anthony Jacquin teaches on his hypnosis courses but it can be used in any performance really. It gets to say who you are what your doing and makes them feel relaxed around you. The method is this: C.I.Q it stands for Compliment-Introduction-Question. So for example I would say "Hi you look like you your an intelligent person, my names Chris Im a magician would you like to see something cool" in that sentence I have given them a compliment told them who I am and asked them a question. This has work every time with me and I'm glad he teaches this method of approach as its easy to remember and makes you feel and look more confident in what your doing. Hope this helps and hope you give it a try.
All the best.
Chris
Message: Posted by: akschulz (Oct 21, 2012 05:31AM)
Very enjoyable posts all; the ones about the similarity between table-hopping and street performing especially. The biggest difference between those two scenarios is the inability of the table to literally walk away in the middle of your set. :)

My only modest contribution here is to second all those who say that finding something that ATTRACTS people to you rather than approaching them directly is a great way to go. I think this basic rule will dictate the rest: where to perform, what do perform, when to perform, to whom...etc...

Personally I do shadow coins/ matrix on a low surface or the ground in an area where street performers are expected...this last part helps a lot of course. After a few moments of concentrating on my hands and coins I usually look up and am greeted by a small gathering, or at least one or two people, who want to see more. Then I build from there.
Message: Posted by: illusionistaxe (Oct 25, 2012 05:58AM)
I have been doing street magic for 7 years before I became professional. You need to observe the person before you approach. If you get the feeling they are the right people, then go for it. Here is my approach. IT MIGHT NOT SUITE YOU. It works a 100% for me
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=485848&forum=5&5

Hope it helped. Good luck. Cheers mate.
Message: Posted by: bigcheese (Oct 26, 2012 01:44AM)
[quote]
On 2007-11-20 23:02, MagicSanta wrote:
I like to approach people as they come up to a dark alley, this adds to the anticipation. I then look at them but not at them but through them with no expression on my face. I block their way and stare through them for a few seconds, then, and only then, once the fear has started to spread across their face I say "I want to show you something....". They agree and I have them select a card, still no expression on my face, and they pick it because I'm so mysterious and cool. I tell them "memorize it" and then "put it back". I then shift from looking through them to looking at them but still w/out any expression, I raise my hand slightly, and say "Wait wait...I see it, wait" Then I get a pained expression and grab my stomach, I look up "I...is it...the (name the card)?". I am always right and I turn around and walk away to the sounds of them screaming and yelling "How he do that? I can't believe it! That was so random!"

Note: the word 'random' is very popular among teens these days for some reason, I try to use it to seem young and hip
[/quote]

Hilarious! I would pay to see this go down, seriously! It just goes to show that no matter what your style of delivery there will be an audience for it!
Message: Posted by: illusionistaxe (Oct 26, 2012 01:50AM)
[quote]
On 2007-11-20 23:02, MagicSanta wrote:
I like to approach people as they come up to a dark alley, this adds to the anticipation. I then look at them but not at them but through them with no expression on my face. I block their way and stare through them for a few seconds, then, and only then, once the fear has started to spread across their face I say "I want to show you something....". They agree and I have them select a card, still no expression on my face, and they pick it because I'm so mysterious and cool. I tell them "memorize it" and then "put it back". I then shift from looking through them to looking at them but still w/out any expression, I raise my hand slightly, and say "Wait wait...I see it, wait" Then I get a pained expression and grab my stomach, I look up "I...is it...the (name the card)?". I am always right and I turn around and walk away to the sounds of them screaming and yelling "How he do that? I can't believe it! That was so random!"

Note: the word 'random' is very popular among teens these days for some reason, I try to use it to seem young and hip
[/quote]

You are my kinda guy! haha...awesome!
Message: Posted by: Gary T. (Oct 31, 2012 11:35PM)
The key is to first find somebody who doesn't look busy in the slightest, if their sitting down, perfect, they're probably just wasting time or waiting on somebody, if their walking fast, forget it they're in a hurry, if they're sort of drifting along, go for it, but not if they have a million things in their hands, nothing is more annoying than having to set your stuff down because somebody asked you to pick a card.

next you have to ignore any natural shyness or lack of confidence, seriously, unless you're an outgoing extrovert looking to meet new people and don't mind going up to them and confidently introducing yourself like it's just a normal thing to do, then you cannot be yourself, because that is what you need to be, be confident, like you already know they want to see it, introduce yourself and tell them what you do proudly, don't mumble or act shy, and that's it, once you're acting like an extrovert that's the end of it, because you can approach anyone confidently and do your magic.
Message: Posted by: Gary T. (Nov 1, 2012 12:10AM)
Ofc you don't NEED to tell them what you do, I generally say something along the lines of "can I show you something" just because I think I sound strange using the word magic haha, and that's always worked for me, but you get the idea
Message: Posted by: chappelly (Nov 17, 2012 11:29PM)
[quote]
On 2007-11-20 23:02, MagicSanta wrote:
I like to approach people as they come up to a dark alley, this adds to the anticipation. I then look at them but not at them but through them with no expression on my face. I block their way and stare through them for a few seconds, then, and only then, once the fear has started to spread across their face I say "I want to show you something....". They agree and I have them select a card, still no expression on my face, and they pick it because I'm so mysterious and cool. I tell them "memorize it" and then "put it back". I then shift from looking through them to looking at them but still w/out any expression, I raise my hand slightly, and say "Wait wait...I see it, wait" Then I get a pained expression and grab my stomach, I look up "I...is it...the (name the card)?". I am always right and I turn around and walk away to the sounds of them screaming and yelling "How he do that? I can't believe it! That was so random!"

Note: the word 'random' is very popular among teens these days for some reason, I try to use it to seem young and hip
[/quote]

Hilarious :lol:
Message: Posted by: hersheymagic (Nov 18, 2012 11:23AM)
Just go out and do it. If they say no, don't let it get to you. Find someone else. Be confident. If you act nervous and unsure they will see it, so just have fun like you're showing your best friend something new!
Message: Posted by: John C (Jan 4, 2014 09:09PM)
I used to walk up and say, "wanna see the only magic trick I know...." Then go on with my blank deck routine.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Jan 19, 2014 08:12PM)
Here are my two favorite ways:

1. While waiting someplace, just start playing around with IT as if you are practicing. Catch someone watching you and pretend to stop quickly like you don't want them to know your secret. Then, make eye contact with them and with your finger, signal them to come over and ask if they want to see something unusual. Make them promise they will won't speak of this to anyone. That is the more indirect way.

2. The more direct way: My favorite is Exact Change. Just walk up to someone and say "I have this feeling you can read my mind. I am thinking of a number between 10 and 100, what number am I thinking of?"

If you have a particular trick you want to try on total strangers, these are good ways to get into the trick you want to do. I find it awkward to go up to someone and say "Do you want to see a card trick?:"

KJ
Message: Posted by: hankinsk (Feb 10, 2014 09:24PM)
I opened up my street act by using a spider pen and float a dollar. I also like to have a busking table set up with a few props on them. When people see the floating dollar and the busking table it brings people around and I have the chance to hook them into another trick.

Regards
Trace Hankins
Message: Posted by: hankinsk (Feb 10, 2014 09:25PM)
I also think it is important to dress the part. I have some custom made shirts that and a magic bandana that makes it clear I am a magician.

Regards
Trace Hankins
Message: Posted by: hankinsk (Feb 12, 2014 07:52PM)
I have some custom tea shirts for my street magic performance. These shirts clearly identify me as a magician. I then have a appearing cain load and pop it out while I am at the mall or on the street and introduce my self the some unsuspecting by standers. Another good method is using fire loads to get people attention.

Regards
Trace Hankins
Message: Posted by: Nick W (Feb 16, 2014 11:02AM)
In response to the first question asked on this thread: "the people should be compelled to approach you"

character....
Message: Posted by: Dollarbill (Apr 13, 2014 01:27PM)
[quote]On Mar 2, 2009, JoeJoe wrote:
If you ask someone a "yes" or "no" question, all things being equal, there is 50% chance they will say no. I know a lot of magicians will advise you not to ask such a question - I always, I mean ALWAYS ask ... and I'm going to tip the secret here. This is how you get them to say yes:

First, you must be doing something - anything! Fanning cards, a hummer card, coin rolls, something anything it doesn't matter what. You can stand there and bounce a ball as long as you are doing something. If you are doing something, it increases the odds that they will watch you - if you are not doing anything, there is nothing to watch so they don't look at you.

Second, ANSWER THE QUESTION FOR THEM! You can see me do it on my YouTube videos... "you want to see a magic trick? I'll do a magic trick for you, come on over". I don't give them the opportunity to say no. The reason I always do this is because it puts me in control - I am already telling them what to think before I even start showing them anything.



That is the secret in a nutshell, although it is extremely more complex then it sounds. If I had the time, I could write a book on the topic. But I don't think it would really help you that much, in that this is an acquired skill - it is something you must learn to do and you learn by doing it, not reading about it.

What you want to pay attention to is your timing - knowing when to look at them, knowing when to greet them, knowing when to ask them. It's like fishing - you have to jerk the line at just the right moment for it to work.

Hope that helps,
-JoeJoe [/quote]

Exactly, Exactly, Exactly!
Message: Posted by: D.J. Ayur (Apr 25, 2014 01:04PM)
When attempting to have a conversation with anybody I meet, I like to poke out a random question or state a fun fact.
Message: Posted by: Ethan Lin (May 1, 2014 12:21PM)
[quote]On Apr 25, 2014, D.J. Ayur wrote:
When attempting to have a conversation with anybody I meet, I like to poke out a random question or state a fun fact. [/quote]

What fun facts would these be? I've sen people do stuff like say a random thing then follow with a one handed fan and the words "pick a card"

-EL
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jul 26, 2014 11:36PM)
I like to:

A: Busk in locations where busking is allowed and expected
B: Look like a magician
C: Approach the most likely candidates first; People with children, young and hip people, people who appear open and happy.
D: Avoid people with Retail Zombie Face. These are the people who seem to have been beaten up by their tourist experience.

I use several approaches, sometimes self effacing. Always non threatening and warm. Always polite if they choose to keep moving. If they have kids I don't ask "would you like to see a magic show" as this is a closed ended question that gives them the opportunity to just say no. Instead I will say "I bet your kid would love to see some magic. It will only take a few minutes and doesn't cost a thing." This is technically true as they are not required to tip.

Once I'm engaged and performing the audience builds itself, though I will still solicit early in the act if I need more bodies.

A simple fact I have discovered is that when more people are watching other people feel comfortable stopping and watching. You just have to get the ball rolling and retain their interest until the end.
Message: Posted by: Alex R. Weinberg (Jul 29, 2014 12:46PM)
I always just start off with, have you seen a magic trick today?
Message: Posted by: Alex R. Weinberg (Jul 29, 2014 12:48PM)
Another good one is, want me to blow your mind? Sometime however that gets a creeped out look if you are performing for a girl, until you pull out your cards.
Message: Posted by: lifeofwonder (Aug 10, 2014 11:41AM)
Any of you guys into the PUA scene? Plenty of great material out there to help with approaching and performing in bars / clubs.
Message: Posted by: Jade Ferrer (Aug 11, 2014 05:55AM)
I usually start and approach people who I think are not busy. Through experience I learned that the first words you say are the most important. I applied some principles of the PUA-Style Approach.

1.) Use a false-time constraint, I. E. ("This is going to be quick," "I won't take so much of your time," "Let me have a minute with you."

2.) Spark interest, I. E. ("I wanna show you something crazy, cool, or awesome, or fun. (Depending on what comes out naturally for you)"

3.) State your intent, I. E. ("Don't worry it's not going to cost you your soul. Hahaha. (Said in a humorous manner)," "Don't worry, I won't bite. (Again, said in a humorous manner.)," "Don't worry, it's for free. (As direct as it gets, it works for almost everyone)."

A sample introduction would be, "Hey guys. How are you doing? (This usually gets a dull moment due to their startled state nevertheless wait for them to respond. If they don't respond after 6 seconds move on) What are you guys up to? (Again wait for the response, genuinely listen to your spectator it helps in building rapport and make them accept you in the group)That's wonderful! (Say this or any other appropriate positive adjective you can say, no matter what they are doing. It conditions them to have a good time) By the way, I am [State your name], I recently learned something interesting and I wanna show it to all of you. Don't worry, it won't cost you your soul or anything! Hahahaha. (Notice how I don't hold any props or anything, I want to impart the feeling of spontaneity, but it usually works when you have something in your hand. Some or if not most people love magic and they realize it when you're holding out playing cards.) And then you proceed to bringing out your props and voila you're done for that set of people!
Message: Posted by: ZakKnapper UK (Aug 30, 2014 03:54AM)
You just have to fight those nerves, it's the only way you will get used to performing for strangers.

Zak
Message: Posted by: Magidoc (Nov 30, 2014 05:51PM)
Https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gX-7oSmIkOc

Compliment, Introduce, Question

Michael
Message: Posted by: Magidoc (Nov 30, 2014 05:53PM)
This is more of a gag but still works! Disturb reality https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoDyCQajyEgBV7Mb-4CaaJu8Rr-XZ3T1s

Michael