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Topic: Do you need a hat to pass the hat?
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Feb 14, 2009 09:45AM)
Do you need a hat to pass the hat? Can you use a can or a coin pail (if you do the miser's dream for instance).

Should you wear the hat throughout the performance or just bring it out for the finale and the hat pitch? I wonder if sweat and dirt are a turn off to folks in the audience during how summer days.

Just wondering.
Message: Posted by: SeaDawg (Feb 14, 2009 10:05AM)
I have seen everything from sacks, to hats, to treasure chests to you name it...
Find something that works with your act and your personality...

The street has very few absolutes. But humping a lot of useless gear is perhaps a truism.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Feb 14, 2009 12:14PM)
5 gallon buckets, suitcases, slurpee cups, funnel into the pocket, etc...

The hat is traditional old world so you can "warn" them in advance several times that you will be passing the hat...
People seem to really like putting money into expensive elevated hats...

Many methods, too...one busker throws his hat down on the ground and backs off while another proudly stands holding his hat out in front of him for all to fill

Experiment to see which works best for you
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Feb 14, 2009 12:34PM)
Nope...as mentioned, you can use anything you'd like that works for you. Hats are just something people are used to hearing about during a show and they are convenient to carry...ah...wear! As SeaDawg said, there's no use "humping a lot of useless gear."

Mark. :magician:
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Feb 14, 2009 04:05PM)
Forget the hat and do the trickle. The money can is available throughout the performance. They can give early and leave or wait till the entire performance is complete. My money can is secured to the front of my table for the entire performance.
Message: Posted by: Yellowcustard (Feb 14, 2009 05:29PM)
Yeah any thing can be used. When I trickle I find a small box which I replaced with a tray. My tips went down when I went with the tray and they went up when I went back to the box. I think people like filling something rather than just popping the money down. I think it needs to substantial.

I also prefer as a member of the audience to tip the performer when hes holding the hat or other thing.
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Feb 14, 2009 05:55PM)
Use a Big can/bucket when doing the trickle. The smaller the can/hat the smaller the tips. Bigger receptacles = bigger tips. This is s Chris Capehart tip!!!
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Feb 14, 2009 06:56PM)

If you use a bucket, don't kick it...

Message: Posted by: mmreed (Feb 14, 2009 09:51PM)
I disagree with the trickle - as Kozmo mentions, to make decent money you need to plant the hat thought a few times during the show - building the crowd, then hatting them all at the end... rinse and repeat.

If you are more into busking for "the art" and not to make a living or side income, then trickle hat is fine... but a trickle will not be as good as a solid hat build at the end. Its easier for them to just not tip when its trickle.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Feb 14, 2009 10:53PM)
Nothing wrong using a trickle then flush, either
the bigger receptacles = bigger tips sounds fishy not to mention a 5 gallon white bucket looks like crap...I wouldn't be surprised if people put trash in it
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 15, 2009 02:25AM)
I use a Change Bag for collection. When the collection is done, I pull out a 36" long silk $100 bill.
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Feb 15, 2009 09:51AM)
Flush vs. trickel is very dependent on you pitch.
A hat is not 100% nessasery but, like an open guitar case it sets the subconciuos stage for what is to come. My tips go up when I use a hat.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Feb 15, 2009 01:32PM)
I use the 5-gallon bucket from when I was working at the Snack Bar in Wal*Mart. It has "MAGIC" painted on one side. (I had "THANKS" painted on the other and intended to turn the bucket around at the end of the show. I now think that would constitute 'solicitation' in the eyes of the law, like they need a reason, so I don't do that.)
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 15, 2009 03:00PM)
Where I do busking I'm already paid to be there but my contract allows me to "pass the hat".

Sometimes I do a tip jar. Sometimes I pass the hat.

I think it's important to pass the hat to get good at "passing the hat".
The act of passing the hat is like a trick in istelf. you need to have something to say, you need to rehearse it, and you need to take notes on how to improve.

I use the jar when I feel lazy.
Message: Posted by: ttorres (Feb 15, 2009 04:32PM)
No you donít need a hat but that is what I prefer. Just so you know I have never used anything else so I have nothing to compare it to. But I think people just understand what they are supposed to do when you present your hat. As stated earlier you have to tell them that you expect them to tip you if they stay and watch your show. A statement you make a few times throughout. So when the time comes there are no surprises and a hat just fits most peopleís expectation of a collection device for this type of venue.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Feb 15, 2009 04:56PM)
I use two hats - fedora style. One I wear as part of my persona, with hat, vest, longs. shiny dress shoes. The other is on the ground for trickle and hat appeal.
I have a small rabbit stuffed animal toy in the hat. People comment on "the rabbit in the hat" {the hat is on the ground} - one of the most recognized symbols of a magician. Sometimes I joke around asking if people have seen a magician pull a rabbit from a hat. I then cover the hat with a silk, and from under it pull out the rabbit. There! Nothing secret to the joke, but a bit of fun.
I keep in persona [dress] for some time before and after I leave the pitch. People recognize me and greet me as the Magic Man, or the man they got a balloon model from. Good publicity, I reckon.
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Feb 17, 2009 11:25AM)
I guess I'm off to find a hat. Kozmo uses a hat, but he never actually puts it on, he uses it in his routine and to pass the hat at the end. I noticed that Joe Howard has started to not wear his hat even though he uses it in his Gazzo style cups and balls routine.

A problem that I have is that I have a big head (size 8) and it's hard to find hats that fit let along with those that might fit my personality (whatever that is). I also want a hat that I can use for a final hat load.

Thanks for the responses.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 17, 2009 01:08PM)
I don't busk, but a thought... why not have a HUGE LEATHER WALLET made... and you show it is EMPTY... and you hold it open s you go to the crowd for their donations? Thoughts?
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Feb 17, 2009 04:36PM)
I'm a fathead, too, but I found large sizes here at reasonable prices
Message: Posted by: misterian (Feb 19, 2009 04:30PM)
I have always used a special hat which folds up and springs out again. I found it at bargain store and have never gone out without it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 21, 2009 12:39AM)

Don't let these guys fool you. You MUST have a hat. It's in Section II Paragraph 37 of the International Busker's Handbook. It states:

"When passing a hat, an actual hat must be used. It must be ISO 9001 compliant. Buskers do not call it 'passing the pail' or 'passing the bag.' "

So there you have it. ;)
Message: Posted by: SeaDawg (Feb 21, 2009 07:23AM)
Pete, you have pointed out a key element to the whole "hat thingy",,, you have got to ask. I do not like the perfromers who are trying to belittle the crowd or shame them into donating. I personally feel that a good hat follows a good perfromance. That is not to say that you don't have to let the audience know how and why you do what you do.

One of the lines I hate the most...."Kids if your daddy doesn't give you 5 bucks to put in my hat, he doesn't love you". I have heard that line several times, and it makes my skin crawl.

If you have ever seen Andrew Elliot who performs as Jardu... he has some of the funniest stuff. He is an aussie who perfroms as an east indian fakir.. he sets up a hat line about specs getting run over by a taxi, driven by his brother , with his money still in their pocket,,, It is funny, funny stuff.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 21, 2009 11:06AM)
Whether you are working the street or anywhere else, the hat line is of paramount importance. I worked on my hat pass line for three years before I really got it honed to the point that I needed it to be. I watched other performers to see how they did it. Then I gathered bits of "hat business" and reworked them.

I finally had something that was highly personalized. And it worked very well for me.

Since the hat line can make a major difference in the amount of money that goes into your hat, it makes sense to work on it just as much as you would a routine.

It should be truthful.
Message: Posted by: Mysticman319 (Feb 21, 2009 09:25PM)
I have seen at various party stores, a very large felt top hat. It is red and black, the black are stripes and on the center are the four card suits. It is a very cool looking hat, though it would have to fit your persona.

This is the same hat you can find it Walmart for Saint Patricks, 4th of July, etc.

Should I be able to find a photo, I'll post the link.

Message: Posted by: gaddy (Feb 21, 2009 11:25PM)
Also, a hat will do what it is supposed to do -which is to keep the sun off your head...

Another nice feature, to be sure.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 22, 2009 04:05AM)
One major consideration is that whatever you pass, be it a hat, a bucket, a bag, a pillowcase, it must be strong. It's going to take a beating.