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Rotten
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Was at it again tonight. 4 shows. I had never done a Thursday so it was an experiment. I made enough to make it worth while but mostly I learned more so I'll be better tomorrow night, when it counts.

Wore a different costume and it was better. I had been wearing a "show" suit. Tonight I wore black slacks, white t-shirt and a black vest. Much better but I have to get used to having less pockets to work out of. I took an extra t shirt in case I got mine dirty or sweated it out. Didn't need it but I like to be prepared.

The fire being back in helped. I used it as my second crowd gathering routine and then started the show.

I really organized my rig so there is no more trying to find something. Everything has a place. I also put a little flash light in my case since the lighting is so poor. I never want to have to be searching for something.

I built large crowds once again. Brought them in close with a coin trick then I would do my best juggling trick and they would back away. It's not dangerous. Devil sticks. Not fire. I am a humble man but I have seen very few stick routines I wouldn't put mine against. So I cut it. I want to stop tinkering and start cranking them out but every night I learn what works and what doesn't.

I found out that 15 years ago this place was solid busking 7 nights a week. Two guys could hat 100 bucks each. Now there is so much competition in town the crowds aren't as big. And in the financial climate we live in most aren't being very giving. But I will not blame them or that and will take the credit.

Tonight my weak point was my finale. It can't just be a good, amazing, strong effect. It must be scripted and timed to get the hat. Still ironing that out. More hat lines!

Fez, I will be happy to upload a video once I know what I'm doing. Right now I'm learning so much I haven't even video taped it for my own review. I would cringe too much watching it. I messed up two times tonight on routines I have been performing regularly for over 20 years. No one knew and I covered but I knew. There is just so much going on in my head. My juggling partner of the past 10 years came out to watch and he noticed the hick ups. We laughed about it later. He was shocked I took the sticks out of the show. "That's your golden routine" he said. "Not in this show" was my reply.

Ed, are you being facetious? I can take it.

I'll take pictures of my rig and set up and post them for now. Video will have to be later after I'm happy. That might take a while.

The thing I love is as much as I can rehearse or perform in other venues there is nothing like busking. Each crowd teaches so much. From the hecklers, to the smiles, backing off of crowds, people watching from the side so they don't feel like they need to tip.

Hecklers, I learned that if you zing them good their friends turn against them and on your side. 4 or 5 teens boys walked up and one starts mouthing off. I addressed it but didn't zing him. He did it again and I did the same again. The third time I zinged him and one of his buddies said "BURN" and he shut up. He, and his pals, walked away minutes later but that was for the best. I held back. I didn't expect his buddies to turn on him but of course they would. Doh!

Thank you for all the wonderful words of encouragement. It is hard to learn something new. Challenging and scary. I haven't been nervous before walking on stage in over 20 years but every night I busk, right before my first show, I feel like I'm in queue to ride a roller coaster.

Wheeeee

Rotten
solrak29
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Quote:
On 2011-04-03 15:53, ekins wrote:
Hi Rotten,

Keep the reports coming. I admire someone like you who actually has the guts to go out and make it happen.

-Brian


I second this....keep the reports coming and I can't wait for some shots and video....
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Rotten
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Last night a good friend of mine went with me and performed as well. He started as a busker and is now what I call a three C guy. Corporate, College, Cruise. Boy did he have it down. He hadn't done it in many years but it came right back to him. I learned so much from watching from a different angle, the audience. Great hat lines and a tight show. Three juggling tricks is all he did but that was all he needed. The people at this venue really don't want to spend more than 12 minutes watching.

Now that I have a set show I'm finding my groove. Not that I'm making much more money but it is consistent and much less work. I cut the card trick cause it made the show a hair too long and it took too much talking. Killing my voice. Here the more visual the better.

Going back tonight a little later than normal and staying latter. It's starting get more fun and less scary. I'll take pics of the set up tonight.
travisb
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Interesting about the twelve minute thing. I've not busked in a lot of different places, but I would need to see that before I believed it. Are you sure that only short shows will work in this spot? What factors go into making it that way?

Not saying it's not true--I can imagine a theoretical situation where it would be like that--just wondering...

-Travis
Paddy
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Sidewalk (short) shows will work anywhere. I think that 12 min. is pushing it, I go for 5 to 7 min shows. Gazzo can pull off circle shows, I have seen him hold a crowd for 45 mins and pull in a $300 hat, but he is an exception. For everyone else I know we all make just as much as Gazzo, it just takes us more shows and a little more work to get the $300. He does it in 45 mins and we do it in 3 hours.
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Pokie-Poke
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If you watch the pace that people walk, after a while you will get a feal as to how long you will hold them. as a juggler I hate short/small shows, but if that's what the pitch will allow, that's what you do.
Last year I had a pitch that 5 min. was the best you were going to get.
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travisb
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Interesting. Like I said, I've not traveled widely to busk, so I don't have a very good perspective on how places differ. I can certainly imagine a situation where shorter shows would be good, but I can also imagine some of the stronger buskers I've seen pulling off long shows anywhere. Whether that would be the best way to go in a small pitch is the question, I suppose.

If the pitch is large enough to support a circle show, though, I have trouble imagining why one would want to keep it so short. It'll take some of the bigger acts (much) longer than twelve minutes just to fill out their crowd, let alone do a trick.

-Travis
Magic1
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Rotten, I am LOVING your posts. Keep it up man!
Rotten
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Imagine busking at a Six Flags and that is what this spot is like. A ton of things to do. Families, teens, couples. All wandering around. I tried one short show, shorter than 12 min, tonight and it didn't work. I have a high turn over due to nagging parents and wives, the boys and men love the show, so I didn't get the time to build up a large enough audience to make what I normally do.

Still tightening my transitions to keep them interested. Building up the finale along the way.

Boy do I wish this spot was good enough to make $300 in 3 hours.

My friend, that is an experienced busker and performed last night, said that if I could make a hundred bucks there I could make$300 anywhere else. Tonight I made 80 in five shows so I still have some work to do. So why am I busting my hump and doing it? It's 15 minutes from my front door and they are allowing me to do it. Then perhaps I'll drive an hour away and do it in a place where it is more expected. It's a great training ground. And my confidence needed it. I have had a few bumps lately. I feel it's like the sky diving of the entertainment industry. Much less scary now but it's still a thrill.

They do have cash by the way. I'm sure some have plastic strapped folks but few. Snow cones, go karts, laser tag, electric bull, these are just a few of my competitions.

I don't know if losing your voice is part of learning but I lost mine. Not all the way, just where I couldn't perform. My last show I couldn't get them to stay in. They kept backing off after every trick. It was weird. So I was hollering how they had to get off the side walk or else the shop keepers would get mad. I have never said that before. Probably won't again cause they didn't move. But after that I was packing up and wouldn't you know the shopkeeper comes up and very nice and sweetly, darling gal, complained about them blocking the door. She went on and on about how much she enjoyed my show and what I was doing and welcomed me to the place. Then apologized for complaining but it was against fire code. I thanked her and said that was the best line and I will tell them that from now on.

So now I'm making friends.

Oh, and there are so many regulars. Once again think of Six Flags season pass holders. "Do you get bored of doing the same thing all the time?" whew..

I'll be back at it in a few days. Going to rest the voice.

I am a juggler but I'm not doing any juggling now. It's a highly visual show and pretty shocking but this is a bunch of hot rod biker guys as well so they love it. I'm going to get one magic and sideshow stunt shows down pat then work on the juggling show. Why? The challenge. I know I can do a juggling show. I have been out of magic for a long time so it's fun getting back in. The sideshow stunts are a passion of mine and I have a ton of lines.
travisb
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Ah, yes, I thought it might be a fairground sort of atmosphere, with lots of competition for the attention of the people--that was definitely one of the scenarios where I could imagine it being wise to work shorter shows.

The thing I love about these reports is that I see in them my own failures/successes and my own growth. I've been through experiences much like you're describing, and it's fun to see that process described through your eyes. The exact details may differ, but the broad strokes and the emotions are familiar.

-Travis
sir real
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There are herbal teas called "Throat Comfort" and other variations of that made by Yogi Tea, Traditional Medicinals and others.Mostly comprised of licorice root,slippery elm,honey and a few other herbs.A hot cup before hitting the pitch will help you keep your voice going in this situation.Also helps to drink a lot of spring water between shows.
Brent McLeod
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Welcome to the streets

Keep at it -sounds good so far-Your doing well!!!
Jimmys material is first rate!!

As A Professional Pitchman -working the streets is a mixture of a crash course in your act
to people interaction...

From great crowds to Police, Emos, Winos,Street Kids & Religious groups annoying you-
-What a great experience when a crowd enjoys your act...

Have Fun, as menioned -working the streets is unlike any other....

Brent
Rotten
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Herbal tea? I'll have to try that. Probably better than the whiskey and cigarettes I have been having... jk

I want to thank you all again for your support. I don't know if I would have lasted long enough to get over the major learning curve with out having this place to report to and receive encouragement.

I went to a brain storming session yesterday with a bunch of magicians. I don't normally hang out with groups of people unless I'm working but I had fun. Lots of great ideas and thoughts to help me improve what I'm doing.

My first thread, before I had done it, was all about working up new material. In a way I have. I took old material and changed it around to work on the street and then formulated it into a show. So I didn't really work on new routines but I have a new show. A street show.

A few more times out and I think I'll be willing to drive and hour or so away from home and try it where it counts.
NexusMagicShop
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Great Job Rotten it seems like you have come along ways in a relatively short time. The hardest part in the beginning is giving it a go. You have crashed through the personal barriers, and are now seemingly diving right into the addiction. And inspiring so many on the Café with your updates and experiences. Thumbs up! Way to give back!

We are all enjoying this thread... Keep it going were with ya! So to speak...

- My thoughts
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Rotten
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Right now I'm hitting an obstacle. Exhaustion. Fatigue. Not from performing on the street, but I have been working on my house and am very banged up. Plumbing job requiring me to lay under a sink for hours cutting pipe with a tiny saw. I pretend I'm a prisoner trying to escape to keep it entertaining. I say I was cutting pipe but if you looked at my hands you would think I was trying to cut my fingers off.

The long and short of it is I wonder how a full time street guy gets through the pain, and bad moods. If I am being payed my normal fee I have performed sick, thrown out back, and jet lag. I feel that if I'm not in my best form I shouldn't even bother with busking as I just won't be able to pull it off. I hope with more time under my belt I will learn how to push through this barrier I'm hitting. I assume being even more financially stressed will motivate me.

I am working less. By that I mean, my show is getting easier and in a groove so I can focus more on the crowd and tying strings to audience members (with eyes contact, not literally) but it's still a very taxing job.

I just don't know if I can make it out tonight.
travisb
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It's the hardest thing, and there is no simple answer. Sometimes you just have to take some time off. Sometimes you have to power through it. It's not easy, but in my experience it does always change for the better eventually if I apply myself.

-Travis
NexusMagicShop
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Quote:
On 2011-04-15 13:15, Rotten wrote:
Right now I'm hitting an obstacle. Exhaustion. Fatigue. Not from performing on the street, but I have been working on my house and am very banged up. Plumbing job requiring me to lay under a sink for hours cutting pipe with a tiny saw.


Cutting pipe is never as fun as laying it... - ha ha Bad joke!! Bad Jason! Bad!
My inner demon couldn't resist. -Sorry
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Rotten
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Thank you guys for the laugh. I didn't make it out tonight but am going to power through it tomorrow. I feel like I should go wait in the truck till I can cowboy up. I'm ready to get out of the truck now.

"Step right up, watch my hands folks cause that's where the magic and apparently the bloody wounds happen."

Need to put some paper in the pocket so I have no choice to go. Motivation! With out that I wouldn't get anything done.
Rotten
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Well I cowboyed up and went out tonight. Did one BIG show at the spot that I chose the very first time I went out. Much better hat. My band aids kept falling off and my hands started to bleed again so I called it a night. "Here kid, look at this coin, just ignore the open wounds..." One really good show. They were also starting to crank the music so I couldn't be heard well so I stuck to the visual stuff and turned em fast.

As I was packing up a "security guard", which by the way have all been very nice to me, came up and said they had been getting complaints about me from shop keepers because people were blocking the door to their store. I told him I had been asking them to get off the sidewalk but they weren't listening. He was funny, "Yeah, tell me about it. These knuckle heads don't listen, as long as you say it you'll be fine. It's just cause you are new people are going to complain but we love having you out here." That was nice to hear.

It's not scary at all now. I am getting the show down, the hat lines, the heckler lines. The ebb and flow. Looking forward to my hands healing and getting back at it this week.

And I took a picture of my set up just for you fellas. I got a quarter of my crowd by setting up and taking a picture of it. That was easy. Now the hard part, getting the picture off my phone and on here somehow? Don't know how to do that yet.
Rotten
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My set up.
Image


I hope this works.
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