(Close Window)
Topic: "Passing" the Hat
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Nov 17, 2003 05:06AM)
Does everyone let the people come to the hat to drop the money in? Does anyone take the hat out into the crowd to get the tips? Or some combination?

Thanks for your thoughts/experience.

Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Nov 17, 2003 10:01AM)
When I am done, I remind them of what I told them at the beginning...that I would entertain, amaze and enlighten them with my magic so much that they would all have to applaud with their wallets.

Then I step forward and holding the hat out to the "crowd," I begin thanking them for staying for the show and allowing me to entertain and enlighten them.

As people come forward, and a few start to drop money in the hat, I work my way by my table, put the hat on top of it, and step behind the table, smiling and making eye contact with everyone I can, as I nod my head in affirmation and motion towards the hat.

I personally like holding the hat just long enough to "prime the pump". But once they start coming forward, I put the hat down because I want to keep broader eye contact with the crowd than I could if I was still holding the hat. And if you continue to hold the hat, you will quickly get a "surround crowd"; people arround around you trying to get your attention and put money in the hat. That isolates the rest of the crowd from you and I don't like that. Also, some will make their drop, and then want to talk to you. So stepping behind the table with the hat on it, isolates you and lets you pick who you will talk to, and it may be the guy in back of the crowd who didn't drop anything, and is about to leave...

And since you aren't holding the hat, it also then gives you two hands to use; one to encourage them come forward, and the other to point to the hat.

Then when you have the hat, you can take time to talk and socialize, and I do a lot of that. But not until I have the hat!

Message: Posted by: RandomEffects (Nov 17, 2003 10:06AM)
I always have them come to me. I use a table in my performance and after you lose two wands you learn not to let anything leave your sight. Plus if I am doing good they are going to want to come up and pay me.

Mat Random
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 22, 2003 11:21PM)
I always have someone with me who does the announcement about placing tips in the hat.
Message: Posted by: shanester (Nov 23, 2003 07:13AM)
I think an announcement is good, people need a subtle hint now and again.
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Nov 23, 2003 10:06AM)
Although none said it directly, and this has nothing to do with who says it, even if, in Dynamike's case, it might be one of the lovely ladies with him, the end of the act should not be the first time an announcement is made that folks should drop something into the hat.

If you wait and try to surprise them, they won't be ready. And if they aren't ready to give, they will start to leave, or fumble for pocket change and drop that. To help avoid this I use the line, "Applaud with your wallets" to get them thinking "[i]folding money[/i]"...

You need to establish it up front and reinforce with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) hat lines. To reinforce this, at an appropriate time after an effect during the act, I say, "Now was that worth some applause?" And so they applaud (maybe they already were, but this get everyone on the same page) and then I say, "Thank you for your applause; now with your hands, later with your wallets!"

Then at the end of the act, no matter who announces it, the audience already knows what to do, and it the announcement is just a cue that now is the time to do it.

Message: Posted by: RandomEffects (Nov 23, 2003 10:57PM)
Brodavid makes a good point. One that took me a while to realize. If you don't mention that you make your money from their genrosity, then you will be losing money at the end.

The reason it takes so many people, like me, a while to learn this is that as soon as you mention money there is usually someone who will leave your crowd. It takes a while to realize that this person(s) was not gonna tip me anyways, so let 'em go and make way for people who will.

Mat Random
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Nov 24, 2003 12:36AM)
Great hat lines, BroDavid. Great insight, Mat, about letting, and in fact, inducing those who are not going to pay, to leave.

Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Nov 24, 2003 08:03AM)
Brother David has said it well and given some good examples of his hat lines. I follow his formula: at the onset of the act I tell the gathered spectators what I am going to do (magic tricks) and “warn” them that I’m going to pass the hat at the end (I have several “warm-up” hat lines)!

During the act, I remind them I’m going to pass the hat much in the way that Brother David has suggested.

And just before the last effect, I let them know that the last trick is coming and I’m going to pass the hat.

When I finish I go into my hat spiel and ask for their donations.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Nov 24, 2003 05:13PM)
I have someone to bottle for me. (They start at the back of the crowd, so no one escapes!!) On occassion I have had a member of the crowd whom I have used during the show to bottle for me as well. (This has worked great but I have often wondered if they could make it off with the hat, so now I warn them that if they should try to do a runner I will set the wife on them). :rotf:
Message: Posted by: nick nickolas (Nov 25, 2003 07:14AM)
ALWAYS let them come to you, that way you won't lose any of them...and good hat lines before your finale...Give away some money to a kid for helping you, that will boost your take as will asking for what you want, i.e. ask for silver coins and that is what you will get...Nick
Message: Posted by: Tantrik (Dec 1, 2003 03:31PM)
What works for me is not waiting to the end. I make jokes about it throughout ("You don't want my rabbit to go to sleep hungry tonight. I've got to get some rabbit chow."). Then, I thank them for donations BEFORE I finish the final trick.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Dec 6, 2003 05:45AM)
I do it this way.

Before I reach my finale (the climax) I tell the audience this, "After the finale I will ask them for money because what I do here is my job. This is my way of making a living so if you have enjoyed my show please drop something in my hat...around $5, is OK."

Because the audience wants to see the finale they are going to listen to what I have to say. I tell them even what I want. If I ask $5 I will get $2, if I ask $2 I will get $1, so ask more. Tell them what you want and where you want it (your hat).

Proceed with the finale. After the finale tell them again and let them kom to you. STAY IN THE MIDDLE. Don't walk around because when you start on the left side, the right side sees an oportunity to leave and when you look them in the eye they will give.
Message: Posted by: whitelephant (Dec 7, 2003 03:03PM)
Give away some money to a kid for helping you, that will boost your take as will asking for what you want, i.e. ask for silver coins and that is what you will get...Nick
That is absolutely brilliant!

"...if you learn one good trick from the book..." I think you just paid my internet bill, thanks.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Dec 8, 2003 05:42PM)
Yeah, I include a gag to give money to kids. Once in a blue moon they walk with it.

Does anyone have an tip container that's out in case someone has to leave? My partner was thinking of doing that. Of course, if anyone leaves, I almost always talk them up—even if they do go.

Message: Posted by: RiffRaff (Dec 11, 2003 09:14AM)
Do any of you pass the hat before the finale?
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Dec 11, 2003 04:58PM)
I don't but I am thinking of doing that. I've roughly worked out where it would happen and also a really funny line to go with it. I'll let you know if I try it. I saw a dancer triple dip last weekend. He collected twice during the show and then again at the end. He said Charlie Bernett was his inspiration.

Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Feb 14, 2004 07:45PM)
I find hat lines need to come hard, clear, strong but funny - just before you're finished and again as you're finishing and when you have finished. And if you just turn up you can still give. Plugging your hat throughout your show has got to be done, tipping a kid for his hard work is a great way to do just that (As Nick mentioned earlier). You can also add at that point, what is your expected amount from each person. If you don't I find I just get loose change.
I also make it clear what I don't want. If you can't afford a £/$ well I hope you enjoyed the show and have a coffee on me. Coppers breed coppers.
If we've done our job right, even those who slip away at the end of our shows will do so with a twinged mind. This is all part of educating the public of what to tip a busker. In the point of education, excuse my spelling.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 15, 2004 11:55AM)
I always liked the line "Remember, I prefer the soft rustle of paper money to the harsh jangle of coins."
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Feb 15, 2004 12:28PM)
I've been thinking about the business of handing a dollar to a kid that helped you. On the one hand, I can see how this would work, because you are asking people to loosen up about money and leading by example.

On the other hand, who knows what kind of family dynamic you are getting involved in. Some families have their kids on a strict allowance, then you hand a kid a dollar. It could be a big deal.

Has anyone thought about handing out slum to kid helpers? A Fortune Telling Fish, a Two-Card Monte set, a Chinese Finger Trap, anything that doesn't cost much and is easy to carry.

What do you think?


Message: Posted by: The Wonder Company (Feb 15, 2004 02:43PM)
Paul, Kids love magic tricks, But everyone loves money. This idea is so good I'm beside myself. Two things are accomplished by rewarding a child with money. One, you let the audience know that it' okay to reward people that have done a good job[ ie you @ the end of your act ]. Two, you have made a child smile and laugh with joy. And people are very generous when you can make their children laugh.
Judging by your picture, which I love by the way, I have a feeling you already know that though.

P.S. I'm going to start giving away money in my kids show. I make great tips, but it can't hurt to remind the bookers that a little something extra can't hurt! Right?!
Message: Posted by: DanielGreenWolf (Feb 17, 2004 06:16PM)
An excellent hat passing line came from Renaissance Performer Thomas Wood who said, "Please put a dollar or two in the hat. You think of nothing to pay a waiter for serving you your meal. I lit my NIPPLE on FIRE for you. So please show your gratitude."

Okay, not everyone can use this one, but the basis is a nice one. :-D And he really did light his nipple on fire in the show as part of his fire eating act. I don't have much of a tan to show my nipples without feeling self-consious so I'm working on something else.

-Daniel GreenWolf
Message: Posted by: Michael Lee (Feb 19, 2004 04:23PM)
Hello All, Just thought I would set the record straight, Long before some one called Blain.... There was an "ARTIST" performing on the streets of New York City named " Jeff Sheridan" . Not only is Jeff a very good Friend but he has been my Teacher for many years.
Many years ago he wrote a book called "Street Magic" (The Title of which was also RIPPED OFF by DB for a tv. special) Written in Collarbation with Willian Bigart.
The book has become in many ways a Bible to Todays street performer I feel confedent in saying it is up there w/ the likes of Tarball & Bobo It was republished a few years ago by Kaufman & Greenberg, Which is a History of the Wandering Street Performer.

The amazing thing about watching Jeff Sheridan was that Jeff perfered to let his work speak for it's self , as he worked SILENT!

When you are performing something an audiance perceves as ART, there is no need to scream.

But again this is but one of MANY styles & approaches . As a performer myself I would have to agree w/ what the others have written .

As a performer hopefully? have done a decient job in Entertaining the crowd..So the very least they can do is come to you when passing the hat.

Remember though...It's their chioce weather they give you something or walk away,There is no excuse for being a Rude jerk as I have seen Gazzo (Funny & talented as he is) & other be on various occations.

But again EVERY performer is different you must FIND YOURSELF! and that happens ONLY by WORKING!!!

,Regretably as it is becoming more difficult to "Busk" these days let alone make a living from it , Due to the various laws...I would wholeheartedly reccomend the Ren faires, Audition at Seaports., St fairs ..Etc.

An added note to Anyone interested in the Cups & balle Effect , The Michael Lee Millennium Cups aer still available. & can be seen at the worlds foremost C&B website http://www.jamesriser.com, under "Selecting a set of cups"

Also if any of you have questions, please don't hesitate to write

Good Luck All &
Keep passing the Hat!

Michael Lee