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Profile of CCPCris
I agree with THEGIZ. don't ask their permission. Engage them. I remember when I was a youth minister, I wouldnt ask "CAN I GIVE YOU THIS FLYER". Everyone always said no. I said "HERE CHECK THIS OUT" they read it every time. I don't know why, but people tend not to reject a presntation if you comand thier attention from the begining. They take you more serious anyways when you do this, becuase tehy know your serious.
making the unreal, real...really!
Pedro Haluch
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Profile of Pedro Haluch
Well, I think aproaching people is just as casual as it should be.
But I want to say a few words about rejection: You WILL get rejected 79,68246% of the times you try to do a trick to someone. from the lasting 20,31754%, 79,68246% will probably want to walk away as soon as possible, either becuase they regreted their decision or have something to do, which leaves you with 4,12802432% of real interested people watching your magic. If you consider that you aproach at least 50 people each week, what would be none in bussiness days and 25 on saturdays and 25 on sundays, that would be aproaching 2600 people over the year, and that would get you 107,32863232 people watching you amazingly. Of course, if you consider that you may not like the personality of, let's say, 1,618033988749894820458683436564% of those previous 107,32863232 people, you may want to reject those, leaving you with 105,59201856940199522376317551686 interested and nice people watching you over a year, which in real life means 106.
Those were just aproximations.
Now, seriously, you will get rejected. Don't worry, even the pros do.


Pedro Haluch
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Profile of base851
On 2009-03-02 01:42, JoeJoe wrote:
What you are looking for is a place where people "hang out". Little Five Points in Atlanta, DuPont Circle in DC, The Docks in Annapolis, or the Ocean City Boardwalk - these are all locations I have personally worked so I know they are good spots, or at least they were at one point in time (hopefully they still are). These places have benches where people go and hang out - usually younger people and usually on the weekends.

This seems like the best tidbit of the whole discussion. You want people already relaxed, in a good mood and maybe just a tad bored. You also want to be in a public and open environment where strangers intermingling would be somewhat normal. If you've lived in a big city for any length of time, if someone just walks up to you on the street the instinctual reaction is to pretend they don't exist.

Public parks, bars, places where people are just sitting or walking around killing time would probably have a higher likelihood of a good reception than a street corner.

Even better, fidget around, do some sort of mini trick or flourish by yourself in an open area that has moderate traffic. When someone gives that sort of "WTF?" look, beckon them over. Now they've come to you instead of vice versa.
Jason A
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Profile of Jason A
I'll go up to anybody and do some magic.

I'll ask for the time and from that I'll kinda see what type of person they are or what mood there in. ( upset,mad,happy, etc...) it doesn't matter if they have the time. as long as they answer you something.
if I don't feel a good vibe from them I'll just say thanks and walk away.
but 90% of the time. a person or people who will answer you are good to do magic to.

I never ask them if they want to see a trick...i just do one.
ex. pull out a silk from nowhere (tt)
or I'll do the d'lite
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Profile of weepinwil
I just walk up to a few people and ask, "Hey, ya'll want to see a magic trick?" When they say, "Yeah!" I say, "Me too, show me one...." After they stop laughing you then introduce your trick. Probably works go well for me because they're now off the hook.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
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Profile of eddierush
On 2009-02-28 17:26, JoeJoe wrote:
On 2009-02-28 10:37, Adam1975 wrote:
It beats me why anyone would want to approach total strangers on the street and force magic on them..I would run a mile if faced with this.....the classic amateur error is to presume everyone loves and wants to see magic...keep your dignity guys!! Smile

More negative thinking. Using your logic, you could argue who would want a stranger to show up at a restaurant and force them to watch magic while waiting for food? Or to go to a Las Vegas musical and be forced to watch a comedy magic act before the main show. Or how about being forced to listen to music over the loud speaker while shopping at the mall?

The idea is never to force someone to watch magic, the idea is to make people interested in what you are doing. David Blaine never forced anyone to watch magic, in fact he put several clips in his specials where people walked away from him some without ever saying a word to him or so much as even looking at him. Rejection is part of the program.

Get over it guys, not everyone in the world is anti-social. Some people even like magic tricks.


Bravo, Bravo!
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
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Profile of fyi2
I got over my fear by pitching a table, and starting! The table was my space, then I just started. Took me a while to get a hook. But guess what I was warming up. When I got my first spectator I kept them hook and other joined.

Cool fun. Nervy but fun.
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Profile of insight
As a magician, you are an actor. You can act as if you are taking a survey. Create a survey form for them to fill out at the end of your trick. You can even pay them $1 based on the survey results. For example, if you are using invisible deck, and the card they were thinking of is not the only one turned face down, you give them $1. This will spike up their interest in taking your survey, but in the end, you know that you will be successful and you will have gotten the spectator/s you wanted. And you won't be losing $1 everytime you administer the survey.

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Profile of webstercolby
On 2008-12-11 10:52, Dannydoyle wrote:
1) Don't be afraid of rejection, it WILL happen, it does NOT make you a bad person/performer. It is a numbers game.

2) See #1 but when people DO want to walk away you let them wak away. It is less "creepy" this way. Do not be upset, do not follow them and beg.

3) Not everyone wants to see or likes magic. Know this from the start. You probably like magic far more than the person you are trying to make watch it.

4) Be brief and be gone. Long drawn out bothersome routines do not generally fly well.

5) Know when you cross that line into being a pest. once people DO STOP, don't make them stay because they feel bad leaving. In out, like a duck mating.

These simple guidelines are audience centered and should help some. I know most think they are "brightening up someones day" but many times you are viewed as a "pest" or worse. Use the above to avoid that look.

Keep in mind that while you are doing things for cashiers, clerks and workers keep in mind they have a job to do which you may very well be keeping them from. Also keep in mind that while you are doing your little trick for a server, cashier, others are waiting to have service. You are holding up the line while entertaining people like this. Be courtious to those behind you in line, or waiting for the server.

I in no way approve of "street magic" done like this, but if you are going to do it, it seems to me that following some simple guidelines will help everyone involved.

Oh and most important, A MAGIC TRICK IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A NICE TIP. Actually if you force a trick on them you should tip even bigger than usual, not smaller. A server/bartender can not spend your "trck" or the smile you put on their face.

awsome tips. I've been trying to finds ways to approach people at my college. though it is slot easier then the streets, especially hen you have a Friedman to draw attention.
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Profile of tehmagic1
What I do sometimes is just jump right next to them as exaggerated as possible! Then look up and act like I just fell from the sky. That gets their attention, then they think you are a crazy person, ask the "would you like to see a trick" Just be "random" lol
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Profile of andrewwarner
A lot of good posts here along with a lot of not-so-good ones. The best advice has already been posted. Deal well with rejection. Don't be afraid of it and your confidence will be attractive to people.

Pick your audiences wisely (people not in a hurry) and respect when people say no.

Maybe show some friends some magic so other people can see what you are doing and that what you are doing is enjoyable.

The most important is definitely not being afraid of rejection. Even if you get 9 rejections out of every ten people you approach, be confident in knowing that you will make a great memory for the 1 person that is interested in your magic. For years to come that person will tell people about the one time they were just sitting around at X and some person came up and did Y.
Bryan Smith
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Profile of Bryan Smith
It depends what your goals are, I suppose. I have never done street magic as in actually on the street. It is also never my intention to make money when I do magic for random people. It's more to gauge the reaction of certain effects I have been worked on and help develop patter around them as well.

With those aims in mind, I usually go to bars. If you're trying to get tips, you won't find them here, but if not, bars are the best places. people are there specifically to have fun. Almost no one is in a hurry to go somewhere else or has any other priorities other than having fun. Your success rate in getting people interested is much higher than on a street.

Don't just go in and start approaching random people to do magic tricks for them, though. That's just weird. Sit at the bar, order a drink, and start fanning a deck of cards, or doing interesting things with a coin or something. More often than not someone will approach YOU eventually and you have an in. If you do something amazing for that person, others will see it, and start telling their friends and you will get more and more people watching you. If you're good, you'll have a captive audience for a little while. Just don't go on too long and try to keep forcing magic tricks on them when people start losing interest. Then you turn back into a weirdo. But if you wait to be approached and stop while they still want more, you're suddenly the coolest guy in the bar.
"I'm half drunk most the time
and I'm all drunk the rest"
--Tom Waits
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Profile of wolfmaster
Just say "do you like magic?" it's so simple, works all the time for me, and makes them wonder "hmmmm what is he gonna do?"
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Profile of 55Hudson
I'm a bit of an introvert and also find it difficult to walk up to people. One reference I've found helpful is "The Fine Art of Small Talk", by Debra Fine, it is a short book on how to strike up conversations. Lots of good ideas there that you may can be applied to this situation.

Good luck!

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Profile of Bobert
As a street performer myself, I'll tell you what works for me and what doesn't work for me.

First of all I perform in Times Square NY. I chose the exact place I perform depending on each night, and I move around during the night. I get someone's attention by:
1. The way I dress. I dress in a 1920's kind of outfit. Nice Suit, or Slacks and a vest, and my Bowler hat.

2. I bring my presence to where I'm working. I do not ask if people want to see a trick. I announce to people that I'm doing magic and that they don't have to pay me unless they really want too...(that usually gets some laughs and I don't ask for money I just end up making some every nite )...and I tell people to stop and take a few minutes to feel like a kid again. Things like that usually get a couple of people together and when people see soemthing going on the crowd just grows.

3. As a close up performer I usually focus on Card and Coin Tricks, along with basic sleight of hand things like Cups and Balls. Just know your stuff and go perform the more you perfom the higher your confidence gets.

4. Street Magic is a great way to get people to know who you are. I spent every weekend for about a month working Times Square and I recieved countless free things like, Ice Cream, Hot dogs, and phone numbers. The other people out there making a living know who I am and they enjoy what I do and I appreciate what they do be it, a taxi driver, store owners, and everyone elese. Places like NYC being a street performer is actually entering a new community.

Currently I am in South Korea. I've used magic in bars and clubs, Home Plus(It's similar to a Wal-Mart or Targert in the USA). I know very little Korean and they know very little english but magic has a way of talking to people and you don't have to speak the same language to be amazed.

Best of Luck to all who enter this new realm
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Profile of TheGreatRaymondo
To 'open' a session on the street my advice is aim for the ladies - the majority just can't resist a good magic trick! Then that will hopefully help you build an audience which then allows you to perfom more tricks. Have a 'set' of tricks lined up and ready to go. 5 tricks maximum - then stop and move on.

However, the approach described by Magic Santa is pretty cool too! LOL! ;-)

Magic Santa: my teenage daughter reliably informs me that the latest 'hip' word
on the streets is... 'rad!' (short for radical)- this will make you look super cool - trust me. I'm a magician!
We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have not yet deceived us...
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Profile of insight
Practice on phone too to build confidence.

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Profile of Mr.Crebar
"Hello, my name is Magican, and I would like to make love to your imagination"
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Profile of steez
On 2009-06-29 00:13, CCPCris wrote:
I agree with THEGIZ. don't ask their permission. Engage them. I remember when I was a youth minister, I wouldnt ask "CAN I GIVE YOU THIS FLYER". Everyone always said no. I said "HERE CHECK THIS OUT" they read it every time. I don't know why, but people tend not to reject a presntation if you comand thier attention from the begining. They take you more serious anyways when you do this, becuase tehy know your serious.

Well said
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Profile of satellite23
What I do is pick out people. I pick out people who look like they are having a good time. Laughing, joking, and so on. If they look disgruntled, occupied, or sad, don't approach them. Also, hold your trick in your hand. That whets their senses and makes them want to know what you are going to do. Also say, "Do you want to see a MAGIC TRICK?" That whets them even more. Not to be offensive or anything, but I have found that young black males are usually the best to approach and will generally accept your offer. Older white males generally say no or don't give the best reaction to your trick.
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