The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Balloon Busking (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
JeffWampler
View Profile
Regular user
Bristol, TN
191 Posts

Profile of JeffWampler
Hey guys,

Does anyone do this? While purchasing my monthly supply of balloons from T Myers, I saw he had some books on balloon busking...being the curious guy I am and being ever so watchful for venues to increase my income, I bought them.

So, what do you guys do, if anything? Any comments is appreciated!
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5396 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
We are currently working on a project about busking with balloons ...should be a very good project..will psot here when its done..

koz
Whiterabbit
View Profile
Loyal user
Kevin Mc Lean
278 Posts

Profile of Whiterabbit
I guess what I do is technically balloon busking. I come from a non tipping society (generally speaking) so I pitch balloons and support it with magic. Works a treat: I work in shopping centres, malls, markets, school fetes, charity events and festivals. I generally make more per hour than I do in my real job, so depending on how you do it you can do okay. I also get to give out a lot of business cards and get heaps of children's bookings from it. I consider it more pitching than busking though.

I'm happy to say a bit more if people are interested. I suspect you'd have a few people on the list who work this way (Pokie Poke, for example) and they'd have something interesting to add.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
Popo
View Profile
Loyal user
Valparaiso, IN
219 Posts

Profile of Popo
My daughter and I busk with balloons. We usually set up in a mall or a busy place and begin making some balloons. Then we pop one to get attention. People begin coming over and we begin to sell. Often, when working a mall, security may run you out. It depends on the security. The mall will let you do it for a significant cut so we are often renegades. We are currently working on a balloon show to take to the streets. This would include some audience participation through some improv and doing fairy tales using balloons as costumes.
Whiterabbit
View Profile
Loyal user
Kevin Mc Lean
278 Posts

Profile of Whiterabbit
Concerning how I work, I carry insurance and sometimes casual lease in places like malls. I am always invited where I go and people often want me there to add to the atmosphere. As I entertain a fair bit, I usually get a good deal (70% off the normal price in my case and often free days in return for an hour of performance) for casual leases.

Shopping centres and malls often want you there if you add to the appeal for children to go there. When I chat with them I always mention that angle.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
Zack
View Profile
Special user
551 Posts

Profile of Zack
Good for you Popo!

Someday somebody will challenge the private property status of malls and win. (Probably not in my lifetime)
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13411 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
So far, I've seen 2 great things with balloons. And one non-repeatable ok thing.

I've bought some balloons and am practicing.

The eccentricks #1 DVD has a fantastic bit with a balloon.

Plus I can make a dog and a giraffe now.

By the way, where I live, there is a guy that can make a "gun" out of a balloon
and he can, no kidding, shoot balloon balls out of the gun with it.

All done with one balloon.

I kid you not.
Anyone seen this before?

I should trade him the balloon gun trick for the balloon swallowing trick.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
If you have to give the mall a cut, you are DEFIDENTLY doing it wrong! They should be paying you, or at the very least letting you have the space at no cost.

You should NEVER perform at a mall without permission - it is private property and you could get arrested for it. Plus, the mall most likely already has someone they use when they want balloon animals - which means you are stepping on someone's toes, and that is a good way to get on the **** list.

As for busking balloon, focus on quick simple 1 balloon creations. I perfer to give them away with a sign "balloons are free, tips are welcome". If you can make them laugh, you will get a tip the vast overall majority of the time. Most days, I do better giving them away then if I were to sell them at a dollar a balloon - sure some people won't tip, others will overtip. I get quiet a few five dollar bills for a single balloon, if I gave them a price I wouldn't get that.

The upside to balloons is you don't need a lot of people to make money, I do balloons on the slow days when drawing a crowd would be time consuming. If it looks like it is going to rain, I'll leave the magic in the van and just do balloons.

The downside is you are limited to how much you can make by how many balloons you can blow up, thus if the people are there I perfer to do a show and pass the hat. If you can push a lot of swords out (only one twist), you can make $40-$60 an hour.

I have never used balloons to draw a crowd on the street, I don't think you could switch from balloons to a magic show - the people are there for a balloon, not to see magic. But I do use balloons to form a crowd at the flea market, I have a nice technique ... I stand at the edge of my space, and offer a kid a free balloon as they pass by. I blow the balloon up into the isle ... what happens is, as people come walking by, there is this wild balloon spinning and twirling in the isle that they want to walk down. Needless to say, they end up stopping and waiting for me to get the balloon out of the isle before continuing. As I keep doing this, I create a bottleneck of people traffic.

JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Mark Rough
View Profile
Inner circle
Ivy, Virginia
2110 Posts

Profile of Mark Rough
I make one balloon animal.
(throw down popped black balloon)
Road kill.


Mark
What would Wavy do?
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5396 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
I can see paying for a permit but I would NEVER pay to work....ever....
festivals and those kind of things pay bands and most of the time no one watches them...but I *** well assure you they watch me so why should't I and we get paid
koz
Whiterabbit
View Profile
Loyal user
Kevin Mc Lean
278 Posts

Profile of Whiterabbit
Well I pay very rarely and, fetes, festivals etc. book me, but for a good mall at Christmas time, given that I don't get donations (I sell), I occasionally lease.

As I said, I pitch, not busk. Consequently, for me, there is that "you're a business argument" that I have to contend with when I go for a space.

Ninety percent of what I do, I don't lease, but some I do. I couldn't legally access those places any other way and I make good money there.

Anyway, that's my method of approaching things, and I can accept that it's certainly not for everyone.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
I don't even like paying for permits ... I often get the fee waived.

I once had a manager at a bar/resturant combo tell me I could work the tables for tips. Talk about insulting, did he really think I would work for less than a waitress?? I told him I could do that on the street outside his resturant - lol. I'm getting too old to showcase my talents, there are more than enough places to work to worry about a hard sale like that.

JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
JeffWampler
View Profile
Regular user
Bristol, TN
191 Posts

Profile of JeffWampler
Wow...thanks for the posts guys...you've been ever so much helpful (<--- btw, I don't talk like that in real life)

There is a flea market in my town that stays SUPER-BUSY all weekend long...Since I'm show-less this weekend I may go up there and do a few balloons...

Quick question:

Would you:

A. Pay for a space

B. Just show up and do it

C. Try to convince the flea market powers that be that your bringing entertainment into their arena in hopes of them letting you do it w/o paying for a space

Comments...??
Whiterabbit
View Profile
Loyal user
Kevin Mc Lean
278 Posts

Profile of Whiterabbit
I think it's great if you can swing them and you've got nothing to lose by trying as long as you're polite and professional: I get this deal a fair bit of the time.

If you still want the space for free then if you're busking that's probably fine with the management (that's what I've always encountered). If you're pitching and people know you're in there for free, in my opinion, you could have trouble from the other stall holders and markets are notorious for these sorts of hassles (and I think Gazzo mentions it in his book). Getting in free one time may actually cause a situation that'll stop you getting in free later (I might point out that regarding tipping, fairs etc., where I am is probably culturally different from the States).

But if you can swing the management on a deal, it's great. A fair proportion of the time you can. By the way, most people purchase balloons near exits or near free children's attractions or bands in my experience. I've found those places good to set up. Also, I've found a place with few exits and a reasonable of people better than a place with lots of exits and more people. You need that stream going by you.

Best of Luck.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
If all you are going to do is balloon animals, then you do not want to pay for a space. You don't want a space at all, you want to be in the food court/snack bar area. Wear an apron with your balloons, keep a hand pump at your side (in case you get tired of blowing them up which can happen), and wear a button "balloons are free - tips are welcome". The management may tell you to check with the snack bar people, and if it's ok with them.

Give the balloons away - "ya'all need a balloon animal?" ... if they don't bite, "they are free, courtsey of <venue name>". You want balloons in the hands of kids, you want kids walking around the market with balloons. All the kids that see the balloons will also want a balloon, and when they see you they will just assume the other kids paid for them. Giving balloons away creates a demand for more balloons! Don't worry if they don't tip, the tips will come once the free balloons are out there.

After you've been there a few times, you can usually push for a street performance type magic show where you pass the hat. A good approach to this is to do the show, collect the tip and then drop a bunch of balloons on the ground at the end of the show - "now all the kids here, grab yourself a balloon and bring it to me and I'll blow it up into an animal for you! My way of saying thank you for filling my hat!". This will build a line, and lines are what sell balloons. Re-read that last sentence, it's the important part. When there is a line, you get a tip everytime - without a line, people will take advantage of the "free balloons" part of the deal. Learn to speed up and slow down to keep your line. As you are twisting the free balloons for the kids at the show, other kids will join the line - they will tip.

After you been there a while, you can also add to your space - I like a 5 galloon clear water bottle to collect the tips. You can slowly work in signs and other things as well - but be there a few times first, you don't want to shock them with a massive hand cart full of junk. Ease into the space gently, let them get comfortable with you being there. That will prevent complaints from other vendors and what not. And when you do talk to other vendors, your having a bad day - you are always having a bad day. I don't care if you have pocketed ten thousand dollars, your still having a bad day - get used to the fact that everyday is going to be a bad day. There are no good days in a flea market ever!!!

If I didn't already have such a great pitch spot, this is exactly what I would be doing. I've done it before and there is money in it. It's easier than selling, you don't need to get there at the crack of dawn like you would if you had a space - if your not setup at my local market by 9:00, they rerent your space to someone else and your out of the rent money. Big plus, you got nothing to carry, except a bag of balloons. It is an easy way to make easy money - unlike busking which is a hard way to make an easy living.



If they won't let you do it, and they insist on paying for a space ... then I suggest you get Don Driver's Svengali pitch tape and some cheap Svengali decks. That is my approach, I make more from selling decks then I do giving away balloons. I don't try to get the space free, I want a good spot not one of the "un-rentable" spaces in the back of the market. In this situation, put out a tip jar of some sort.

I can't imagine they wouldn't let you do it ... if you feel resistance when talking with them, maybe point out that normally you get paid to do this - but you realize they probroly don't have an entertainment budget so you'd be willing to do it for free if they allow you to collect tips.

JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Zack
View Profile
Special user
551 Posts

Profile of Zack
You go, JoJo! That was a GREAT post!!
JeffWampler
View Profile
Regular user
Bristol, TN
191 Posts

Profile of JeffWampler
Wow...

Awesome...

I was on my way to the telephone to make the call and I decided to check back for some more info...I'm pumped now...

After I make the call, I'll let ya know how it worked out.
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
Glad to know my post is apprechiated. Smile

JoeJoe

Quote:
On 2005-06-03 13:30, JeffWampler wrote:
After I make the call, I'll let ya know how it worked out.


WOW! That's one heck of a long phone call there Jeff! Smile


JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
JeffWampler
View Profile
Regular user
Bristol, TN
191 Posts

Profile of JeffWampler
Hahahaha...

Well...Here's the story...

I didn't post b/c I didn't have any information to share. When I called, some old lady answered. She didn't know what the heck was going on with anything. I finally get her to tell me the name of the decision maker at the flea market and was told to call back later.

I call back later and get the answering machine. According to the message, they are only there to anwer calls and return messages from 2-4 PM on Fridays! Whew...

Should have some good news by next week...
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
Just show up this weekend, most markets have a "must be setup by time" - ie: 9:00 AM at my market. So at 9:00, someone will walk around the entire flea market to make sure people are setup. If someone is not setup, they re-rent to space to any vendors waiting in line for one.

So by say 10:00, the management is pretty much done their job for the day. That would be a good time to show up and talk to them. I've yet to find a flea market that handles telephone calls well, just show up and talk to them in person.

And don't fret it if they arn't interested, someone else is ... check with your local malls. Malls are differnt, you don't want to just show up there - best bet for a mall is to send them a letter explaining what you want to do. Do you have a "downtown" area? You may be able to do it downtown, that's a whole nother thread - you'd need to check your local street performing ordancences.

JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Balloon Busking (5 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.15 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL