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Topic: SEEDING The Hat -- Yea or Nay?
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 24, 2012 12:45PM)
I have not been actively Busking long. I have been out twice so far. However, I asked Kozmo about this in another thread and his response was "I don't, Why would you? Just be honest with your audience and educate them."

I wear my hat during the show. I don't put any seed money in. My wife helped me to make a nice sign. I have found that in most cases the hat line isn't necessary and by announcing the Grand Finale most people get ready to tip then if they are going to. I throw my line out as the show ends, but the sign with "Tips Appreciated" along the bottom goes a long way.

I like the Kozmo approach, why seed the hat, its risking your money and is deceitful.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jun 24, 2012 04:46PM)
I categorically disagree.

I use a bucket, it's out all the time and I get better tips and more tips by leaving it out.
Yes I seed it. Otherwise it's just a bucket.

It's also no more 'deceitful' than placing a Ronald McDonald house donation box on the counter at McDonald's. The principle is the same: You're soliciting donations, you need someplace to put it.

If you're calling the act of seeding 'deceitful'... how? By letting people think that someone tipped you before they got there? Or would you rather have an empty bucket/hat indicating that you're NOT worth tipping?

Bringing morals into hatting is counter-intuitive.

With repect to Kozmo, the one thing I've found is that each busker has TO FIND HIS OWN WAY. Take all advice for exactly what it is; advice. YOU need to find out what works for YOU. The only way to do that is trial and error.

Don't make the assumption that there's only *one* right way to busk, perform, or hat.

The beauty of busking is the diversity between performers.

By following rote advice from someone else without trying it out and seeing if it works for YOU, then you're one short step away from becoming a Kozmo clone, or a Gazzo clone, or a Jimmy clone... all fine artists in their own right because they found what worked for THEM.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 24, 2012 05:14PM)
I think that your performance tells people that you are good enough to tip. Personally, if I have a waitress that gives me ****ty service but she she shows a big wad of tips she made that night, I am not going to tip her simply because someone else did. You are saying that if if you perform badly but have some money in your bucket they will tip simply because of it? I don't buy it. I also don't think that people will tip less if they enjoy your show but see no money in your bucket.

I am not saying you are wrong or are lying, or anything of the sort. However, the tone of my post is directly following yours. I am not a clone. I am just saying that if Tiger Woods said, "Ekuth, let me give you some pointers on your golf swing." Would you say, "No thanks Tiger, I know you are one of the greatest golfers that ever lived, but I don't think you can teach me anything." If you would, I respect your confidence in yourself. I just think that maybe you got bigger hats because you improved as a performer, not because you put a few dollars in the hat (bucket) for people to see. Maybe I am wrong. I believe that experience performing probably made your hats WAY bigger than a few bills in the bucket.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jun 24, 2012 05:32PM)
LOL. No harm, no foul. Was just expressing *my* opinion.

I have found that people will more readily tip a bucket with something already in it than an empty one. I'm not saying that people will tip solely because you have money in the bucket. If you stink, you stink and people won't tip. All I'm saying is that people are more likely to tip if they see money in there already.

Also, having a bucket out rather than hatting once allows an "out" for those folks who may not want or have the time to see your entire show, but still desire to tip. Me, I'd rather have something for them to put that money in rather than back in their pockets.

I'm also not saying that you shouldn't study 'the greats' or ask or take advice from them. I'm simply saying that busking is a highly individual thing and that all advice regarding it should be taken with a grain of salt; what works for Kozmo may not work for you. The only way to find out is to try it both ways and see what *consistently* gives better results.

For me, it's leaving out the bucket.
For Kozmo and others, it's hatting at the end of a show.

Tomatoe, tomato. The goal is still to get cash at the end of the show (if that's your main goal).

I guess my main concern is new performers taking everything the hard-core guys say as chapter and verse. This is where the 'clone' problem comes in... if Gazzo does C&B *this* way, well... I should too! After all, he's one of 'the greats', right? So what works for him will work for me, right?

Not always... heck, there's so many variables to our craft that really the only way to find your 'zone' and what works for you is to get out and do it- which you ARE, so you're already head and shoulders above lots of performers who never take that step.

You get my respect for that, as does anyone who hits the streets.

(Also, to clarify, I'm not nor did I say you were a clone, more warning you against an easy trap to fall into. Sorry if I didn't get that across.)

It's easy to drown in information and conflicting viewpoints when you first start out; just think of everything you run across or hear as 'reference material' for you to use or discard as you see fit... because there are no hard and fast answers except the ones you find/make for yourself.

Or, as the famous forum meme goes:

"My 2c, your milage may vary."

Best of luck out there, and may your hats be fat, whether they be out all the time or at the end of a line.
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (Jun 24, 2012 06:01PM)
I don't think having a receptacle ( bucket, hat ) out that has 'seed' money is deceitful. If you said "the people before you left tips as you can see" then that is questionable.

You'd be surprised the people that will watch performers and as hard is this is to believe, they THINK that they are out there for fun. I've seen it. Having a bucket, whatever, in view with some cash is a good idea.

I've seen street performs doing their thing and before they do a final hat line, people dropped money in their bucket and left. They enjoyed what they saw, but were moving along and left some "thanks".
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 24, 2012 07:45PM)
After reading your posts I think the most important part of what Kozmo said was, "Educate them." Whether you educate them with a bucket that says tips, through patter in your show, with a sign that says "Tips Appreciated" (my case - no pun intended...) etc. I think that maybe Ekuth educates them with a bucket, does it have a sign on it? Interesting thing I noticed though while performing in my particular spot. Like I said, there are two other street performers there, a drummer and Sax player. I did notice that they have a bucket out and people were as likely to throw change in it as a bill. I don't know if it is the way they dress, the way they engage the crowd (non existent as far as I can tell) or what. No one tried to give me any change and very few single bills, most gave at least $2. I was doing a levitating ball, Fearson Hookup, lite flight style, except it is a plastic disco ball they sell as a party favor at the dollar store, and two different people randomly handed me a dollar as they walked by saying "I don't have time to watch more but that is COOL!" I really think it is the sign. Thing is, Atlanta is much different than a lot of the cities you guys are in. The busiest tourist spot in Downtown Atlanta has myself, and the two musicians I have previously mentioned. Otherwise there are basically NO Buskers. Maybe any kind of entertainment warrants a few bucks, who knows.


I appreciate your comments, and LOVE that cane you made for Devious. If I performed at night or even dusk, I would order a matched pair! Maybe in the future. It seems that my best Busking time in Atlanta is Family time. We used to have 3 24 night clubs. They have all since been shut down for various reasons. Now all night clubs close at 2:00 am in Atlanta and the late night weekend street crowds just aren't what they were in the late 90's....C'est la vie!
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jun 24, 2012 09:17PM)
Bucket does have a sign, yup. And I agree wholeheartedly; we all educate the audience in different ways. I give a 'bally' at the beginning of my show laying out what I'm going to do and how I expect the audience to behave. Others are more subtle.

Thanks for the compliment on the cane; I enjoy making them and performing with them.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 26, 2012 02:10PM)
Having been in developement for a major state university, I will tell you that "seeding" is a time honored method of getting others into action. It ofter helps in separating people from their money.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 26, 2012 02:25PM)
I don't disagree with the successful use of seeding. I don't disagree that it works either. I was more trying to get a feel for how many do and how many don't. I am sure that it is effective. The thing is I think it lends itself better to a trickle style show than what I am working for. It's like a musician or a mime doing his bit, seeding makes sense because they have a hat out all the time. I am aiming high (maybe too high) and I don't whip the hat out until after the finale and the delivery of the hat line. I just think it's weird to pull your hat off your head to collect the tips and have money in it already. I know the arguments for having the hat out all the time, but there are arguments against it as well. Like the spare change argument.

I mean that some think you will get bigger hats with bigger bills using the latter method from what I have read. Some think that having the hat out lets people just throw anything in. Plus you have to keep track of it all the time to make sure no one steals it or from it. I believe each method has pros and cons.
Message: Posted by: jbays (Jun 27, 2012 10:03AM)
One thing I learned early on was to make TIPPING fun. Some people do that with funny signs on buckets, others put the passing of the hat in their routines, still others have more creative ideas. Have you been to Wal-Mart or some place and seen the Tornado vortex wheels. You place a quarter on the top and it spins round and round, faster and faster until it drops in a hole. This is an example of making giving fun (sure they don't get bills, but this is just an example). Recently I was at Wal-mart and there were about 50 up-turned umbrellas hanging from the ceiling. They were collecting money by having people THROW coins and bills into the umbrella. Great idea to make giving fun. I was at Taco Bell and say a little game set on the counter. It was a fish tank with a spin platform. You put a quarter at the top and tried to catch it as it fell through the water with the spinning platform. Another idea of making it fun.

Look for ways to make tipping (or giving) fun for people and they will give more and be down right excited about it.
Jeremy Bays
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jun 27, 2012 11:19AM)
I always start out with a $5 and a couple of $1's in the hat. NO COINS
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jun 27, 2012 08:12PM)
Interesting ideas, Jeremy... I like it.

@Paddy: Yup, yup, yup.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jun 29, 2012 11:03AM)
A famous restaurant magician never uses the work "TIPS", all his table topper signs use the works "Gratuities Accepted", means the same thing but sounds a little more intellectual.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jun 29, 2012 02:35PM)
I use the word "Donations".
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jun 29, 2012 03:27PM)
I know the cops around here would see any sign as a "direct solicitation of funds" and shut me down.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 29, 2012 07:09PM)
In Atlanta it is actually legal to use a sign. It is stated specifically in the ordinance and is preferred it seems. You can't ask for Donations, because donation implies that the money is going to charity or some such. In Atlanta you would have to be part of an organization like the Boy Scouts or Salvation Army or something to ask for donations. I am sure that isn't the case everywhere. I think gratuity is good for restaurant workers but there are different schools of thought on that as well, especially if you are getting paid by the restaurant. I like the Tips appreciated. My hat line is now like this: "And now we have come to my favorite part of the show. If you guys had a good time and enjoyed it, it is customary to tip (and the decent thing to do, if I built a good rapport) but it is certainly not required. You can also put complaints into the hat, however the complaint hat only accepts complaints written on $5 or larger bills, I have a sharpie you can borrow to jot them down. Thank you very much."
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jun 29, 2012 07:33PM)
Hahaha! I like that!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jun 29, 2012 11:01PM)
I never seed my hat. I don't even use a hat. I use a Change Bag.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 29, 2012 11:15PM)
Do you use a change bag, as in an egg bag, or a change bag as in a Coinstar Bag? I think I saw Jimmytalksalot use a very similar line in a video. Something about Complaints really get his attention if you put them on a large Bill....
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jun 30, 2012 12:19AM)
The link show photos of me passing the bag after my act: http://s38.photobucket.com/albums/e150/Dynamikex/Passing%20the%20hat/
Message: Posted by: FunTimeAl (Jun 30, 2012 08:28AM)
No tip buckets!! They give people permission to walk away mid show. Tip bucket are for balloon twisters and bucket drummers. Not jugglers and magi. Our shows have a beginning and an end. We have class! Don't be a trickle worker unless you are hard pressed because of your lack of experience or in a foriegn land and can't communicate. Work your show proper and hat at the end!!!

You will make more money in the long run. Way, way, way more money.

No tip buckets...and no seeding the hat. Booooooooooooo
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jun 30, 2012 12:36PM)
Gotta agree with you but disagree too Fun Time. Yes don't even THINK of useing a tip bucket. But, when I take my hat off to "pass around" there is a $5 and two $1 bills casually scotch taped in there. People put in what the THINK they see so no coins.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 1, 2012 02:47AM)
Paddy, I've never thought of the spectators looking in a hat to see what was in there before they put the money in. I reckon people just figure out for themselves how much they'll give the performer [who could well tell them what kind of amount he expects] and that they act on that.
An interesting approach to advising/telling people about donation amount was one I heard along the lines, "Folk, don't give me your coins/change that are not enough for you to buy anything with. If you can't buy anything with it, I can't either..."
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jul 1, 2012 07:07PM)
A video of Gazzo in England showed him telling people "no pennies, I'm not a beggar. I am working for your pounds."