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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » If you wanna learn how to street perform (16 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Paddy
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When I first started to busk, everyone I knew or met had the same response when I answer the question "What do you do for a livig?" I explained that I am a magician and they asked
where do you perform?" When I said "on the street, anyplace I can draw a crowd."

The response weas always; "you mean like the homeless guys down at the stadium?"
(I live in Cincinnati and we have stadiums for the Reds and the Bengals where the homeless panhandle before all the games.)

They could not believe that someone could actually entertain and make a living busking. Then when I bought a new car they couldn't figure out how a guy who "begs for a living" could get a new car. People are caught in the mindset of haveing to work for a company all your life until you retire. They can not grasp the freedom and excitement of our lifestyle.

Peter
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I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
bgh13mm
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Nice site and very good information. Thank you for making it available.It will me alot.
FunTimeAl
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Quote:
On 2009-01-26 07:32, mrsmiles wrote:
Quote:
On 2008-09-12 05:42, jimmy talksalot wrote:

...with this it is no wonder that the american public feels like a street performer is a con or another sales pitch.

Every single layman I have ever talked to has the same complaint about street performers, they say,
"I hate when a performer makes me wait and wait and wait before he does the trick and then it´s not that big of a deal, it feels like a scam."

Then what´s worse is all the "performer" does is nag for money all through his "show" while providing amateur skills and with little to no theater.

there are also many performers who do not do this and the people would never have these complaints about them...

your pal jimmy


I've joined this thread very late and have a question about this particular part (quoted above). I understand that Jimmy himself may not be able to post a reply immediately but until then can anyone respond to me? BTW, I find Jimmy's views helpful as well as heartfelt and I am a fan, not a critic.
How do you address and deal with what's quoted above? My specific query put another way is this: HOW does one square the views above with the street performers need to get the the audience to stay until the end so that they can make a contribution to the hat at the end? Do you not HAVE to ask them to hang on to the end of the show and also inform them DURING the show that they have the opportunity to pay? What alternative strategies do you/Jimmy have - how do you go about it?


I can pass the advice on to you that Kozmo gave to me: Keep your show very short while you are still new to the game. Bang out 10-15 minute shows for 5-20 people, do 8-10 shows (or more) a day. Make certain your show is ultra tight, and get to the finale quick.

Slow your show down once you learn how to manage a longer show with more play & audience participation.

That's all I know, and it's because I was given that advice. Kozmo's DVD is FULL of GREAT advice for the sidewalk worker.
jimmy talksalot
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Valid question.

the idea is to put out a show that is worth paying for.

a show where people forget how long they've been watching and want to see more even when your done.

talent. complete originality.

not hustling a con.

some of the WORST performers in the world ARE MAKING REALLY BIG BUCKS, but they are not improving our art form. great hustlers terrible entertainers, they fool themselves into thinking their good by their income.....like mcdonalds makes a better burger then anyone else cuz it sells so many.

show the audience that what you do is valuable by doing good work.

once they realize that what they are watching is good then ask for the money that's justifiable.

but to do a 30 min clap and cheer and then show the cups or a jacket and do it mediocre your killing all the other entertainers out there when you should be working a "real job" some where.

this is the worst problem in the busking world.

I've actually watched a guy get booed and have walk offs and at the end walked over to me and showed off his hat and told me how great of a performer he was because he made a decent hat.

remember you entertaining people not selling time share or running a pyramiad scam.

humility is the key.

don't try and hide the fact that you suck.....try and correct it.

your pal jimmy
jimmy talksalot
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Also I am not sure of the quality of this post because of what's goin on in my life right now.

so I would suggest you buy my book.
jimmy talksalot
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After reading chads plug there I just remembered a performer who epitimizes what I'm refering to here.

his methods of crowd building was to hound every single person to stop literally grabbing them and using loud and foul language. he wore trashy clothes that never gave you the feeling he was an entertainer.

people felt like they were doing him a favor watching, and they looked frightened and disinterested. while he did horrible slieght of hand.

in fact there is some footage of him on an instructional video where his audience is pointing out where he is hiding his palmed coins...painful to watch, any way, at the end of his shows he would literally ridicule people for not giving larger bills and threaten them to give him more under the guise that he may just be kidding. in reality he appeared threatning and baligerent and trashy.....and saddly not in a good way ;}

I remember just after he verbally bludgened and embarassed a man to give him a five instead of a one he turned to me and told me this is how I should be doing it.

he has I hope become the opposite of me my friends and the cellini school of thought.

any way I remember how this same guy would try and convince me that he was a great entertainer because of the money he was making.......but I knew better....i saw his show.

I avoided his instruction to my success, but have been careful not to hurt his instructional trade for busking out of respect for his rank amongst my peers.

just the same I would think it a good idea for everyone to keep thier eyes open for this sort of thing to avoid.



my point is not to cause bad feelings.


my point is to see the difference and choose good form.
jimmy talksalot
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One last thing.

get out and see different acts so that you can better judge whos good and whos not.

then you'll know how good you should be.

and

be able to advise others on who is credable and who is not.
Kozmo
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Who you talking about jimmy?
Smile

kz
manreb
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Jimmy


I just found this thread. I visited your site and can only say thank you.

It is interesting that the person you just described is usually the escape artist, magician. A good street magician is, as you say entertaining, enjoyable, personable etc.


Thanks for the site.
Mario Morris
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Hi Jimmy
I think your satements hear are very vague, I have been around for some time working the streets. I must addmit for the most part I have not seen what you are talking about. I have seen crap performers come and go but they don't survive long on the streets of UK all europe for that matter because their crap. As far as I can remember it has always been that way. Performer trys but dies, they may hang around for a while but aventually. Shame you did not make it to Spain I was hoping to meet you. Any way I am glad your safe you had us all worried. I even asked a few freands to look out for you in Holland.
Mario
Danny Hustle
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I agree with you Mario, I've never seen a crap act make 'real' money. I know when I had a crap act (and when I started out my act was total crap) I couldn't make money even though I was on one of the best pitches in the world. I've also never seen anyone get booed by an audience and then make money from them. I've seen acts get booed and people walk off shaking their heads, but I've never seen one make money while being booed.

The acts that I have seen make money are the ones who have their audience laughing and oohing and ahhing. They are also the ones who connect with their audiences and enjoy a shared experience. When they audience comes up to put money in the hat after the show they are all smiling and laughing and thank the performer. I've never seen anyone berate an audience into putting money in the hat and then get a substantial hat.

I have seen guys berate (or shame)an audience into putting money in the hat and these same performers get a much smaller hat that anyone else. To that performer, it may seem that the hat was big, and maybe that is what Jimmy is talking about. I dunno.

Anybody I've seen who makes what I would call 'real' money on the street always receives it from a happy audience, with a thank you as well.

I think that's a pretty fair gauge of how you are doing on the street. When the members of the audience begin to come up to you after a show and start thanking you, complimenting you, and telling you what they liked about your show, you know you are connecting with them .

I know one of the best tips I ever got was from a group of high school kids. In my show I used to do a joke about how much I loved the canoles from an Italian bakery called Mike's that was a couple of blocks from my pitch. One day after a show these four smiling high school kids come up to me proudly carrying a box tied with string and presented it to me. Two of the kids were girls and they were literally bouncing up an down with excitement. "What is this?" I asked. When I opened it there were four (still chilled) Canolies from Mikes. I looked at them and we all cracked up. We then sat on a bench in Marketplace center and split a couple of the canolies. People don't do stuff like that unless they really enjoyed your show. Smile

Best,

Dan-

P.S. Jimmy, glad you're back man!
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jimmy talksalot
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Mario.

sorry I was vague.

just because you know the method or system to make money does not mean that this system will also make you talented....just ask the back street boys.

I watched 8 identical clone shows {word for word} acts back to back in covent garden.

carbon copies of gazzos acts except not funny, vulgar and riddled with hostility.

all day they worked magic corner hogging the corner from other workers, every day except when gazzo showed up one day, then they all took the day off.

they are painful to watch, go see for your self, yet they still made good hats using the money methods they had learned from the teachers who focus on that.

besides gazzo being mad[for obvious reasons], when I was there paul and james james, pepe, kenny light foot and there is a slew of other performers who have worked there that can vouch for this were complaining, but yes for the most part euope sees less of it.

but here in the states where everyone is in the business business it's rampant.

in amsterdam I saw the worst case of this I've ever seen, ironically he even had a student.

he would clap and cheer the people for 30 mins and finally get a big crowd on the dam {square} and did a torn and restore managing to even mess that up then he did a jacket that was boring, long, and almost complete exposed the method.

he was a guy who also got booed and people were complaining he was taking to long. he was always on drugs.

he has been working for 7 years, he felt obligated to tell my friend taffy that he was performing wrong......taffy from london as everyone knows is a world class act.

this is not necessarily critisizing clap and cheer and or the money method this is criticizing a lack of quality.

the mentality that large hats means your talented has created this justification.

by the way these hacks are not goin to show up at your school or read my book because they think think they are already doing it right.

on the point of not being able to tell the difference.

a student of one of the covent garden clones saw me and some friends performing in barcelona and said we were the best he'd ever seen and asked to be a student. he always made good money but he couldn't compete with talent until we showed him.

by the time he learned how to really perform he was angry that he had wasted his time back ion london witht hose guys.

if a person starting out has never seen talent and only some one using the money method they will assume that is talent.

the leader of the clones told me money was the most important thing and he couldn't focus on being more talented that's why he copied gazzo's show.

he has been doing this for 5 years now.


if your head is caught up with, "making a big hat means you did everything right", please disregard this post I'm tired of trying to explain.

it doesn't matter any way a person who strives to be an artist will strive regardless.
jimmy talksalot
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I am not saying that acts that make money are bad.

I'm saying that, acts that are bad, are bad, even if they have figured out how to get payed.

as far as "real money".....everyone judges what that is differently.
jimmy talksalot
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By the way on the flip side I have personally in my experiments on the streets done a bad show on purpuse to see if I could still get payed.....funny enough I made more.

I felt horrible afterwards, and was critisized by my peers. at no point did I feel like I was an entertainer, I felt like I was back as a salesman using high pressure tactics and sales tricks to make money.

I have tryed this experiment a number of times to make my point to other entertainers.

it is difficult to make that point on a forum. I truly believe if me you and danny were on the pitch together the blatant naked realitity would show itself.

another thing is that these clones at covent garden claim they are better then gazzo because they make more money....even if this was true, which it ain't! would that make them better?
Danny Hustle
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I agree that bad acts are bad and that's why I even took money out of the equation. I believe that an even better indicator than money (because money is after all relative) is when you have a large part of your audience coming up to you after the show and thanking you and complimenting you regardless of how much they put in the hat. I think we all agree that if your audience likes you you are doing something right. They do not do that with bad acts. they might stick a buck in their hat out of pity but they are not smiling or talking to the guy.

I also agree with the statement about clones. In magic as well as juggling shows it seems that a lot of guys are just doing a variation of the same show. I know in magic I see a lot of Gazzo and Sonny Holiday/Cellini wannabees. Tough to call yourself good when more than half of your act belongs to somebody else.

Some of these guys are calling themselves "original" too and it cracks me up. I've worked a lot with both Gazzo and Sonny and to me the clones stand out like a sore thumb. I saw one guy on youtube even doing Sonny's poses during his show! This guy also always brags on the internet about what an artist he is and how anybody that makes money is a commercial hack. It's all pretty funny stuff.

Instead of focusing on that, I think it makes more sense to focus on what I can do to make my act better and more original. A guy wants to do somebody elses act and call himself an artist that's his business, I don't approve but they usually burn themselves out pretty quick when they get around acts that really are good. Sitting here talking about the other guy and how bad he is and how great somebody else is in my opinion is just as non productive.

I still don't think there are all that many "bad" acts that are making what I would call 'real' money, but I've never been to covent garden.

Best,

Dan-
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Kondini
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Jimmy you hit it on the head,,,Covent garden clones 100% correct, been there, worn the T shirt (Crazy when there are far better pitches, Leytonstone, Middlesex Street and Kempton Park)All within the London area. Just like in Bath and Salisbury,,everyone seems to want to fight over the same pitch,,when both Cities are open and places to work are everywhere.

To put the record straight,,,it wasn`t me you saw on Dam square (I moved up nearer the Station and did far better without any hassel).

Keep on telling it as it is.

Ken.
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Hey Jimmy, nice that you're back. It's enjoyible reading and sharing your perspectives.

What I've learned, that might be helpful here; is that we "street artist/performers" are an extremely independent,.. extremely self-, hmmmmm,... self-centered performer. We have to be. It's part of our survival nature. When it comes to `the moment'; we're out there alone. With a "cloned show",.. an original bit,..Art,.. Trash,.. whatever. No mattered what we're doing, we're standing alone.

Because of this, it's very difficult for most of us to hear, "It should be done like this, or like this,.. or like this." It's difficult to hear. It's even more difficult to swallow, "You're doing that wrong." ,.. no matter how true it may be!

Because of this hyper-sensitivity (justifyible!); crititique, I believe, could be shared thru different means. Stories, and experiences. They're easier to eat. Easier the agree with. Easier to annalize. Less stress.

I think You, as a teacher, has a lot to say; a lot of thoughts, a lot of experience,... wisdom. Maybe your methods, our methods (!) of sharing it could change a bit, making it easier for the fragile egos,... that we all have.

I think what Danny said, "focusing on our own act", is also very, very important. What are WE doing?,.. Why? (At the same time, this is an advanced stage. Who starts on the streets, with these thoughts in there mind?!? How many come so far!??!! But,.. it's where we ALL end up,.... on the road of `becoming'.)

The road can be a lonely one,.. but those are always the best ones to play on, aren't they!

Take care Jimmy.
gallagher
TheAmbitiousCard
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It took my years to start focusing on my own show, my own way. It takes a while before you realize that's the right way to do things.

There may be a lot of clones, and maybe a lot of clones that get money, but you won't find a real satisfaction until a crowd is laughing and clapping for YOUR act, and not someone else.

If someone is doing their own act, they are heading in the right direction. Until then, they're just treading water.
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deadcatbounce
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Jimmy,

Sadly, I have to agree with you about the Covent Garden clones - I've mentioned it on here before, but not perhaps quite as brutally as you put it.

They inspired me. Their derivative and completely un-original performances went down pretty well with the crowds, which is why they're still there.

One of them came within about 2 seconds of being punched out for his hostile manner. (by me). He saw the look on my face and backed RIGHT off.. I was talking to one of the other better guys later on, (his own show, his own style) and he agreed. He said he usually pulled that sort of stuff with women because he knew he was safe .. He overstepped the mark with me. Can't remember his name, red jeans and a red hat and obnoxious. Humiliates the (female) punters. He'll know who he is. He's a disgrace to street performers.
When I say they inspired me - I KNOW I can do better than that. With my OWN banter. "Is that your wife sir, or are you on a business trip?" may be funny the first time around, but, like you say.. over and over and over and over and over.. "You can take your parachute off now, Sir, you've landed..." blah bloody blah..on and on and on and on.. clone after clone...I mean... get your OWN F*****g act, you lazy, unimaginative toss pots!

They need to be taken to one side and have their a***s severely kicked, one after the other. Then, they need to be horse whipped.

Then, if they still insist on stealing lines, they need to be keel-hauled.

After that, if they insist on not behaving properly, they need to be stuck in the stocks and have rotten fruit thrown at them for periods of not less than 16 hours a day.
This may SEEM harsh - but it's better than letting them loose to breed.

In the animal world, their parents would eat them. And that would be that.

Just my thoughts...

DCB
"With every mistake - we must surely be learning..." George Harrison.
FunTimeAl
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Great post DCB! I couldn't agree more with ya.

I do think it's funny though...that you ended it with a worn out, borrowed quote!
ROFLMAO!!!!

ahhh...snicker...that was funny though...(sniff)...wheeze
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