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imgic
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On 2011-04-28 22:31, Rotten wrote:
I put a zippered money bag in my case and I place 5 envelopes inside of it and numbered them 1-5. So as soon as the show is over I grab the dough and stuff it in the envelope for that show. I don't want to stand around straightening and counting. I stick it in and find out when I get home. Almost as exciting as christmas. I do watch as they put it in so if I get a big tipper I acknowledge them. The other reason I like having the envelopes is that sets my goal. To do 5 shows. Put something in every envelope before I can go home.


Ted:

Love the envelope idea! Sets a goal, gives you idea of what works with various shows, and doesn't make you look like a schmuck fumbling around with money.

Would also like to echo the others...this is great thread. Please keep it up. So informative and insightful. Thanks!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Rotten
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Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

Last night my first and my third were my biggest hat. So now I know to work those shows a little more and cut the other three down. Why do five when I can do four and make the same amount?

It has been a huge learning experience and I am glad to be able to share what I figured out. I still don't have it down but I'm getting there. Finding who I am has been the hugest development and that cracks me up. I have had some pretty prestigious gigs in the past that I didn't learn squat from, but the street, I learn something every night. Heck, every show.

I am more than happy to be an inspiration but I want to hear about your perspiration. I've told you all about mine, tell me all about yours. I want to learn too.

I write and write now. My comedy juices are flowing and I have missed them. The best thing about the street is I can experiment. Some lines just pop out of my mouth like I have said them for years but they are complete ad libs. The other night I had two young couples in their late twenties stand front and center and enjoy my whole show until I dropped the hat. Now I don't say any "mean" hat lines but these four people just turned and walked away. So I hollered out "THose guys are my hero's. They aren't scared to look cheap in front of their dates." Got a bunch of laughs and more tippers. Back handed compliments work very well in the street. Sounds like you are being nice until they hear what you said.

It must be the most organic experience I have ever had while performing. Not to sound hippy dippy but you grow with every show. Darn, there I go rhyming again.

Ted
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I told myself I was going to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I have been pretty darn honest about this experience so here is the ugly.

Drunk kid. Uhg. Ruined the party. I tried every trick I had. Eventually he quietened down a bit, to the point I could ignore him. Now I couldn't hear all the stuff he was saying but the next thing I know a nice father of a 13 year old boy that was enjoying the show is now in his face and they are yelling at each other. This happened in the blink of an eye. I swear, crazy stuff. I jump in between and the boy's three friends "hold" him back while I gently motion for the father to join his son and I can't remember what all I said but this made his entire half of the crowd leave, the whole right side. So I look at the remaining three quarter and keep them together, including father and son. The kid stays over there with his three buddies, as his girlfriend is now mad at him, as is the whole crowd, and she stormed off. I'm getting huge laughs at his expense now and he is still there. So I quickly wrapped the show with my finale and admitted I shouldn't pass the hat but I know some people enjoyed the show despite of the interruptions brought to us by adolescence. Some people were very kind. About three of the men stayed there as back up since it was four against me.

Then the kid wouldn't leave. He was waiting for my next show and texting on his phone mad at his girl. He was looking for a fight. So I just went over, chewed him out BIG time and he eventually walked off. By then I was so mad I packed it in. I had made my nut but not what I wanted. I shouldn't have gotten mad. I never lost my temper. I talked to him like I would have to my son if he had done something that dumb, which he never would. His buddies all agreed with me in a pansy way.

I'll put it behind me and be back next weekend. I now have security's phone number programmed in my phone. Those guys are amped up on Mountain Dew and just dying to tase somebody. Problem solved.

24 year old drunk boy put the FU in FUN tonight.
FunTimeAl
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Keep the pepper spray next to the thumb tip...both should be easily accesible and just barely out of sight!
Rotten
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FunTimeAl,

I bought some today. My mother said the same thing but she packs a pistol.

I have figured out what I think I did wrong and will be correcting it from now on. I have been kicking myself since it happened, that's how I learn.

If you look back to the second post I made, on page one, in my opening sentence I said I needed my street presence to be as strong as my stage presence. Or something like that. After replaying the game tapes in my head I have reworked the entire way I build my crowd. Maybe it's not as much as "entire" but it feels like it.

These are the lessons I have learned for me from that night and a few other of my favorites. Sorry if I repeat any ideas I may have already shared. They may not pertain to you and in another week I may change my mind.

Be Commanding from the start. You are the leader. They are the audience and you work together. They need to know that you are the bus driver and they can trust what you are doing. Sit down, shut up, and let me drive this bus. I have done this before. It's what I do. I got it all under control. If you are talking and I tell you to stop and you choose not to then I will pull the bus over and eject you from it.

Three pieces. Not a fluffy site gag as well. Just three tricks. Leading up to the kicker one that makes them want to throw money at me. I have two to choose from but if I do one I have to do the other finale as a middle. It works but I don't always feel like swallowing a sword.

Dumb it down. If I am doing "high brow" humor and they are staring at me don't expect them to change. They aren't going to suddenly get it. I must change, even jokes I have had forever that always work, will not work here.

MORE LAUGHS! They say in stand up, ah, now I'm gonna forget the numbers but it's like, "if your not getting a laugh every 7 seconds you are the opener. If you get laughs every three seconds you are the headliner. If you get a laugh a minute you are the house M.C." I may be off on my seconds but you get the general idea. Well the reason that is said is because the headliner is the guy who's show is so tight and he can keep peoples attention and the laughter rolling that when the tab is dropped the show still keeps rolling. It's the hardest move of the night. I feel you have to be a headliner out there all the time in the street. If I am talking and it's not funny I will shut up.

I will not do my first routine until my crowd is as large as I need them to be. If I can't get them large enough I will not do a show and that will not happen. Get the crowd, then do the show.

Stand my ground. This is my show. This is what I do for money. I have been performing my whole life. I am supporting a family, my son through college and paying a mortgage here. Don't mess with that!

Polished to perfection are the only routines that truly work. So keep polishing Ted.

Tie those strings, learn names. Talk to people. Involve them. Make them like me and care about what I am doing.

Get their money. A few jokes then I will shut up and start thanking each and every person.

When I am on the street I am alone. I can not rely on the courtesy of strangers. I must be prepared.

I have a new prop for an old routine that will require me to cary pliers so I dug out my Gerber tool from back when I was a Production Assistant. That could come in handy for many other things. If I keep adding things to my belt I'm going to look like Batman.

I also leaned a cool hiking trick. Take about two feet of duct tape and roll it over onto itself so that you have a small roll of duct tape. It could fit in your wallet. You never know when you might need a piece of duct tape.

You know I went into this a little prepared and then I learned and did it again, prepared, learned, did it again, repeat infinity I suppose. I like that. So if you are sitting around preparing go out and learn what you should prepare for.

A friend of mine has told me to post this stuff on a blog. I suppose I shouldn't be tying up the Café and he swears it will improve my SEO. What ever. I'll let you know if I do. Then I can also talk a little more freely about some of these experiences. You may not like the raw stuff. It's not for everyone.
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I like it.

What do you do to draw a big enough crowd if you won't start your set 'till you get a big enough crowd?

-Mary Mowder
Bobby Maverick
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Mary, worry about the small show first. Becoming good at a small show will make it so much easier later to graduate into a bigger show...as with anything, it takes time.
Rotten
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I do highly visual and loud things that are all very curious. Things that make people wonder "what is that guy doing." I don't tell them. Three of them. First one is all me ignoring the crowd but it's curios. Then one that requires a little kid so I have something to hand him to get him locked in and helps the audience to get to know me. If you hand someone something they can't walk away. My last pre-show is holding a fire torch above my head as I educate the audience about what is going to happen and I unite them. So my preshow is three things and my show is three things. That is what seems to work for me. Keep that in mind as you read my ramblings. I don't know if this will work for everyone and to be honest I am still trying to graduate from salad to meat. Smile

Bobby is right. Remember I started too big because that is what I did on stage. Then I went real small and then eventually started to get big again. Now I have widdled it down to very few and small props. 1/4 of a milk crate. The rest is just sound, tables, water, supplies. I started with WAY to much stuff. Keep It Simple
Rotten
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After more reviews of the game tape in my head I realize I didn't share probably the actual gist of what I did wrong.

My fatal error the other night is I got the drunk kid to quiet down and step back but he did not shut up. He kept talking but it was at a volume that I couldn't hear. The reason the father got into a fight with the drunk was for his fowl mouth. After I broke up the little fight the first thing I said was, "This is a family show. If I can make people laugh with out saying dirty words I'm sure you can offend them with out saying dirty words." Got a laugh and I kept getting laughs but I didn't fix the problem so it grew. I can't just ignore a problem and expect it to go away. It will only fester.

I have a "theme song" now. If you search itunes look for "Chasen Hampton" - Album title "Something to Believe" - Song title "Busdriver"

"Sit down, shut up, somebody's got to drive the bus!"

I'm having so much fun I have got to get out of here.

Ted
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Many thanks for your posts on this, Rotten, it's been great following your learning curve and how you've adapted to the circumstances you've found.

I'm finally heading out on the street with my new act this weekend, this thread, along with many others on this forum and elsewhere, has been a huge help in getting prepared.
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This is my first post here. I've been following this forum for a few days and this has been the most intriguing thread of them all. I just started to learn "serious" magic myself after managing and promoting magicians on two separate tours.

I am really impressed by you Rotten. I have always admired people who have the guts to do whatever they want, no matter what that might be. Your stories are truly captivating and I would definately be a regular visitor to your blog if you create one. On the other hand it would be great to keep following your adventures here at the Café. Smile

I haven't been able to browse through the entire forum yet but maybe it would be cool to have a section of blog/diares (regular threads, just like this one) where individuals could describe their day to day lives as amateurs or professionals...? Just a suggestion...

And again, thank you for all your efforts Rotten! Smile
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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Awe crap.... This thing has gotten out of control and I have no one to blame but myself.

Listen up folks. FACTS. FACTS, FACTS. THE SHOW IS ABOUT TO START.

I had no idea what I was doing. I was misinformed and dearly payed the consequences. If you do one darn thing, I'm starting to sound like Palin here, that I did as far as the broad strokes, STOP DOING IT.

I did so much wrong. If you were trying to do anything. Just imagine the one thing you really know. I mean inside and out. Something you hold dearly to your heart. Something you treasure. Admire. LOVE. It doesn't have to be magic. For me it would be Sideshow. I hate punk donkey kids e-mailing me asking how to swallow swords or Block Head or fire. The first thing I ask them is, what do you know about the history of the art? They never know crud. So I tell them to look it up. Learn who does what, who used to do what. Basic who's who.

I am so sorry to all the "buskers" out there and you know who I am talking to. I screwed with something you treasure.

IF YOU WANT TO BUSK FIND A TEACHER. I say the same thing to any would be sword swallower. I am not blowing smoke. I have tears rolling off my cheeks. I'm so sorry. Now never bring that up again, if you are cool. Ahem...

LEARN IT. Sure, you can prepare your little tricks all darn day. You can rehearse you show. Have you studied the art? I am ashamed I just thought I had.

Do you want to know the difference?













Me too! I have more books than I can count on the sideshow and I have read everyone. Don't give ME a pop quiz cause I wouldn't sound like I knew it all compared to the likes of Harley Newman, Todd Robbins, Ward Hall, and on and on and on so no one gets there noise bent out of shape. I'll only name the first three that popped in my head. Harley has helped me a lot. I'd ride a river with him.

The point is you can study this until the cows come home. Just study it much further than reading some green punks thread about how he is doing it. Uhg. I'm so embarrassed.

Give other artists the respect to learn the *** thing you are so hard up about wanting to try. It's respect.

It's about buying every single book or DVD that some guy is peddling. It's about networking, talking to people, getting know the art and understanding before attempting. You will fall on your face. Not want to get up. Or, and I am not making this up, get seriously injured.

YOU ARE MANAGING A LARGE CROWD OF STANGERS>

FFS. Do not do this unless you know how to manage a small crowd. And I mean MANAGE. The great thing about the crowd mentality is also the worst thing. They are a crowd. And you say you want to drive this bus? Well have you ever driven a buss? NO!?!?!?!? Then sit down, shut up and learn how to drive this bus. I didn't do that nearly enough.

And if you want to know why my dumb donkey went and did it is because I told myself, Oh you are used to audiences of over a thousand. YES. I am. With a sound engineer, Light Tech, Back Stage Manager, Security, Cruise Director, Captain, and on and on and on.

There are two kinds of dogs. Boy I hope this analogy doesn't get me into trouble. I'm not calling any person a dog. I am merely pointing out the way I see things and I like to train dogs. I speak doglish. Here it is. Two kinds.The inside dog and the outside dog. Nothing in between. They are both animals. They both serve their purpose.

God bless the outside dog for all they do and their short life span. They chase cars and cattle. Dig holes in your flower beds. But they do serve a higher purpose and that is to guard the property. (now don't be getting my analogy all twisted just follow me out it is harmless, at least meant to be) If you bring a outside dog in they will poo on the carpet. Every time. Then a friend might come over and step in it.

Then you have your inside dog. They are trained to live inside and suppress (almost spelled that word with an r) the animal in them. They must not bark, poo on the rug, bight strangers yet they are normally small and not much good for protection. Yet they serve their purpose. After they are trained they are life long friends. So happy to see you every time. You start to communicate with a inside dog so much more intimately. You build a bond that will be around for as long as you both live.

The entertainment business is a lot like that. I'm not suggesting that you either fit into one or the other. I have taken an inside dog out, although they don't last long, and I have taken an outside dog in and with a lot of patience they will adapt and learn. It just takes time.

So go out there and research. Stop practicing and preparing and go study the masters. This isn't for everyone.

Start small. It's much easier. Start in a safe place. Get a good teacher. Have I emphasized how important the word good is?

Just be safe with yourself and the art. It is an art. It may not look like it but that's because it is.

I'm having so much fun I got to get out of here!

WAIT: The most important thing for last. NOT TRYING TO START AN ARGUMENT and would be happier if they deleted this whole thread than this one point! Please do not create anything out of this but I owe Kozmo a deep apology. I put it last because it is the most important. I gave credit for a idea I had "picked up" to someone else and it is his. Not going into detail unless Kozmo would like as I am only saying this out of respect. Don't peddle someone else's goods as some else's goods unless the other some else is the someone else you are meaning to....I lost my thought. Seriously. I am sorry Kozmo. I do not know you but I respect the honor of creation and your fine work.

So go out there and learn. Then do it. Would you try to compete in the olympics with out the right training? Of course not.

Don't do what I did. I was arogant. See, I can't even spell that word, that is just how arogant I can be.

My friends call me Ted
Rotten
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I wanted a smoke somewhere in there and then my wife got to talking to me so I missed my darn point about dogs.

I was an inside dog. I went outside and got bit. I eventually learned how to be a inside dog again and now I am making friends. Licking butts. Getting bit in the but. Get to know the true artist's and don't listen to a green punk like me.

Ted
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Lousy proof reader I am. Admin, please feel free to fix. I am only trying to set something straight so no one gets hurt with my careless comments.

"It's about buying every single book or DVD that some guy is peddling."

I meant it's NOT about buying ever single blah blah blah. It's about getting to know the art how ever you can.

Help admin, you are my only choice. They won't let me edit anymore!
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And after several cups of coffee and smokes..

I am from the education that

You shouldn't ask for what ought to be offered. (TIPS/WAGE/COMMISSION/SALARY)

AND

You shouldn't take what isn't offered. (MATERIAL/ROUTINES/TRICKS/GAGS/BITS/WHAT EVER..)

And that comes from my back ground in stand up comedy and theater. There is no truth amongst thieves. Nothing truer than the truth.

I'm glad I finally saw the light, or is it seen?, and let it shine on me like the callous it has unjustly caused. (I know, don't give me an english lecture. My acting couch and cousin do that enough)

I'm having so much fun I have got to get out of here.

TC
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What happened?!
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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Rotten
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I have learned my history. I have learned about the art. I was careless. I was afraid someone would get hurt.

After sleeping on it I would like to add one more thing....

When someone tells me they want to learn stand up comedy they normally know a history of comedy. Being they know who they like. So I ask them about that and they tell me. Then I tell them to write 3 minutes and go do open mic. 3 minutes is all you need to start.

Same goes for the street. (not time frame) Start small. Just because you can do big things and just because you are used to large audiences in a theater it is much different in the street. It can be scary.

So learn your lessons and then start small.

What happened? I wised up.

Ted
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Ted...you hit it on the head.

Now, keep swinging that hammer. Sure you're gonna miss alot, and you're gonna get tired but keep going. There's nothing like the ring of hitting it right.
KerryJK
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Is this about people following you before you feel sufficiently experienced to lead them? I like this thread specifically because it isn't by a warhorse. I love and value everything the likes of Jimmy Talksalot, Kondini, Chance, Kozmo and all the greats have to say because they live this art and know it inside out, but what your writing has to offer is the experience of someone a little closer to my own level finding their way; someone who has studied the history and theory, has experience in performing professionally in another field and is now finding their way in the unfamiliar and challenging environment of busking seriously on the street.

Speaking for myself, I'm an amoeba in the scheme of things here, have been since I arrived, and yet in this community I find giants willing to not only give me advice but listen to and discuss what I have to say and treat me with respect (they're also quick enough to put me in my place when I do step too far out of my box, and quite right too). What I get from this is that everybody in this forum is able to bring something to the table, which you are then free as an individual to take, analyse and act upon or not the same as you would any other advice. Of course it's not a substitute for studying the art and getting out and doing it, but it's a fine complement.

Just continue to be honest about who you are and understand that what you have to say is valuable, especially the perspective you bring as a professional stand-up comedian tackling a new discipline. That's a journey worth documenting.
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KerryJK,

Man, you and Rotten have an extremely good take on this! It's refreshing to see, and I am glad to back here and a part of the Café now.

You're going to go far!
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