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curtgunz
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First let me say, I am not a busker.

My son and I decided to hit the streets to try to drum up some business for my birthday party business.

I figured, how hard can it be? I'm good at walk-arounds. I have a good bit of strolling magic and can entertain at festivals, fairs, and parades.

Well let me say two things.

First, you guys work too hard.

Second, I have always respected you pros. I personally think this is one of the most challenging and entertaining forms of magic. But after dipping one little toe into the water my respect for those of you who do it well has grown exponentially!

Just for your amusement let me tell you about our rookie outing. It may have some of you having a knowing smile remembering when you started out. But I think most of you will think, how dumb can one clown be and how many rookie mistakes can he make in one outing.

This happened in Tyler, Texas. We jump in the car and decide to "find a crowd" do magic and balloons and pass out business cards.

Note to self: Find a crowd is a lot harder that it sounds. We went to a city park, the only crowd was inside the fences of the swimming pool.

We went to the downtown square, everyone parked walked into their destination and came out, hopped in the car and were gone.

No of them were captivated by my witty banter or amazing showmanship.

Next we went to the mall (wait, I think I hear some of you groaning already).

We had not even made it inside and we had crowds of people. I broke into an inspired routine of the Invisible Deck. My son started twisting balloons. I thought, this is easy. I have a crowd. They love my magic. People are taking business cards like they are Five Dollar bills. I haven't even gotten into the mall and I'm a hit.

Well, we had not even been there fifteen minutes and...wait for it...Barney Fife the mall cop zooms up on is Segway scooter and tells us we have to leave because this is mall property and I would need the permission of the management.

I explained we weren't selling anything just...well you know how it ended.

We decided to call it a day.

Then we went by a park that had kids playing and parents. We decided to go for it.

We did okay but I learned several things.

First, it is HOT outside.

Second, the crowd loses interest instantly unless you keep making them laugh. Forget "what have you done for me lately?" It is more like what are you doing for me RIGHT NOW?

Third, it takes all of your skill, energy, and quick thinking.

Fourth, I was tired after about 45 min. I can't imagine how you guys do it all day and all night.

Finally, I learned that in spite of all of that it is fun, challenging, much harder than it looks, and that a busker is not what you do, it is who you are.

By the way, we passed out a lot of cards and it remains to be seen if we get any business out of it. But on the way home I found out my 13 year old son made tips. We were not even asking for tips.

Hmm, I wonder if we could polish it a little more, get good hat lines, and...WAIT!!! What am I saying.

To all you pros out there, here's hoping that you get heavy hats every time, you deserve it.
The pirate to the left is Professor Q.B.

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ed rhodes
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You get it. I also am not a pro, serious "weekend warrior" here but I've seen the things you have as well.
I do know that you can't "find" a crowd. You have to build one. It takes me a lot longer than it does the pros which is one of the reasons I get small hats at the end of the day.
As far as tiring, I don't know how the pros do it for 10 or 11 hours a day... I do about four and I've got the shakes!
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Rotten
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When you get good it gets easier. And more fun. Look at how much fun you had just goofing around. When you get good at it it's like a party and you're the host. Get Kozmo's DVD and Gazzo's books and DVD. Attend a lecture on busking. I went to busker boot camp. Educate yourself with people who have been doing it for years and who do it well and you can save yourself a lot of pain. I have been in show biz for 25 years and busking is the most fun a entertainer can have. It's work no matter where you are performing but when you are busking it's truly the most organic form I have ever felt.
ed rhodes
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I work at Wal*Mart. I live one paycheck to the next. There is very little for things like DVDs or books.
I'm just working on what I already know plus what I read here.
Maybe when I'm done paying for the dinette set and finish taking the kids somewhere I promised them (both in October) maybe then I can start looking toward DVDs and books.

Let me know when they hold a lecture in Providence, RI.
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Bobert
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Curtgunz: Yep first time busking is always interesting. I started busking without knowing really what it was or even that there were magicians that did it. My first time busking was on a weekend I had liberty. I was originally suppose to be going on a date but that fell through. So I traded my navy uniform for my suit and bowler. It was never actually my intention to busk per say. I went out to cheer myself up and practice my magic. As a complete newcomer to anything like this I decided to go do card tricks by Times Square. People started handing me money and I was like ummm...ok. A few hours later it started to rain and I went back to the Academy. I counted the money found out I made fifty bucks. And I decided to look into doing more of this. Looking back at it that is the best Cancelled date of my life.

Ed:I know the feeling. I want to go to a lecture so badly. I want to learn from the best. However I am not in control of my own schedule. But maybe once I get some spare time and the money, I can make it to a lecture.
ed rhodes
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Oh yes. I have spent the last 20+ years trying to get to the Cape Cod Cavalcade. Hopefully in 2013 (2012 is Disneyworld, family comes first.)
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Rotten
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There are always excuses to not do something but very little reason. Do you want to get good? If you are okay with doing it badly please stop doing it. Get good or get lost. That's what I told myself and I got good by surrounding myself with the best.

There is no try. Do or not do.

I don't work at Walmart. I have been laid off for 9 months. No work. Show biz can be a monster. I busk cause I didn't have a choice. Now I'm in love with it. It's what I do and I still have a right to complain about it. It's a job.

I have more to add but I want to give Stperformer some back up on his post.
ed rhodes
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I had a teacher like you once. Nothing was ever a reason, everything was an excuse.

I had a manager once who told me all I had to do was focus. As I liked him (and he liked me) I told him the truth; "That's like telling a color-blind person all he has to do is squint real hard and he'll be able to see red." He took it well, but didn't believe it.

I suppose if I were as dedicated to magic as Dai Vernon, small problems like having a family and having to provide for them wouldn't be important.

I'm glad you're doing well. I hope you continue to do well. Stop trying to project yourself on me and saying; "If you're not doing what I do, get out." I'm not leaving. I've gotten better, I may continue to get better. I'm never going to be you guys, I don't have the focus or the dedication for it. That doesn't mean I can't have fun and make a little money doing what I do here.
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Paddy
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Ed, you say that you put your family first. Sorry I don't believe you. Your good at magic and busking and as I said in my PM to you, invest in your family's future by investing in yourself. A good friend of mine who is also on the Café did exactly that. Then one day walked into his boss's office and quit a job as Executive Chef of a major hotel and started busking full time. He is happier, his family is happier and he makes more money doing what he loves.
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Stperformer
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Paddy, I always love your enthusiasm and gung-ho attitude. Very positive, 'you can do it'. And that's great.
But for Ed's sake, and other newbies out there I think it's important that they see the whole picture.

First of all, acolades to you Ed for putting your family first. Trust me, when it's all said and done, your family is far far more important then any pitch, busker, sidesteal, etc. Pitches come, go, and are forgotten. Nobody gives a pooh. Your family is forever and many of us aren't lucky enough to have one...which can make a very lonely life.

As for quitting your job and pack it in to be a full time busker....I cringe when I hear this.

First of all Ed, the reality is that 99% of the people on this place do not busk full time, regardless of what they claim. It's pretty well imperative that you make a large part of your income as a professional entertainer getting gigs where you can. And that's a competive business. Busking supplements this, but there is no way most of us can make a living do this for a long time. There's exceptions, but very few.

Performing's great, busking's great. But when people get the impression that they can make a decent living as a a busker....well, yes, maybe you can but there's a lot of people out there that will find out they can't or if they manage it's pretty bloody tough when it's your only income.

So, what I'm trying to say to Ed and others....Be smart. Don't get caught up in the hype and pack it in til you really know what your getting into.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a weekend warrior!!!!!!!!!

Cheers,

Nelson
nick nickolas
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"I don't know how the pros do it for 10 or 11 hours a day... I do about four and I've got the shakes!"

who the hell does that amount of time?

I do max 3/4 shows a day 40/45 mins each that's enough,

11 hours a day ??? I know no one who does that, may as well get a job at wallmart..
Rotten
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Hey Ed, settle down. I wasn't talking to you. I said "that's what I told myself."

I am certainly not a hater. I love you. Don't run from me.
Paddy
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I sent a PM to Ed which stressed make sure you're making more busking than at your day job before quitting. But I'll still say that when you make $40 in a short time and can't use hat lines, sounds like you have a good show, so spend a couple of $20's on some DVDs to learn more. That's what caused my comment.

Nick, sounds like you are doing circle shows. I am too old to put in 11 hours a day myself. I do sidewalk, some call them doorway, shows, 7 to 15 minutes long and try to turn out 3 to 4 an hour. I set a money goal for the day (as an example $150 on weekdays 500 a day on Fri & Sat) When I reach that goal I decide either to quit & go home or keep going depending on how I feel.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

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Stperformer
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"7 to 15 minutes long and try to turn out 3 to 4 an hour. I set a money goal for the day (as an example $150 on weekdays 500 a day on Fri & Sat) When I reach that goal I decide either to quit & go home or keep going"

Sooooo. Paddy, are you saying YOU (Paddy) can/do make well over a grand a week???????

Bitte, I'm all ears.
Bobert
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Some of us do have other responsibilities. Ed has a family. I am in the Military. I'm proud to be a "Weekend Warrior" when it comes to busking. And when I am free of my current commitment I plan on Busking full time to see how that works out. No matter what though I want to tour and do shows for fellow servicemen and women. Lord knows they need a break from reality.

I wonder if we should start a new thread about the family life of buskers. I know that being in the Merchant Marine/Navy has put a lot of stress on family issues for me. And I expect the life of a full time busker would have similar issues.
RiffRaff
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Quote:
On 2011-08-01 15:36, Stperformer wrote:
"7 to 15 minutes long and try to turn out 3 to 4 an hour. I set a money goal for the day (as an example $150 on weekdays 500 a day on Fri & Sat) When I reach that goal I decide either to quit & go home or keep going"

Sooooo. Paddy, are you saying YOU (Paddy) can/do make well over a grand a week???????

Bitte, I'm all ears.


Actually, if he works all week, that would amount to $1750/week.
Here's another bold post:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/searc......=7025537
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2011-08-01 07:34, Paddy wrote:
Ed, you say that you put your family first. Sorry I don't believe you. Your good at magic and busking and as I said in my PM to you, invest in your family's future by investing in yourself. A good friend of mine who is also on the Café did exactly that. Then one day walked into his boss's office and quit a job as Executive Chef of a major hotel and started busking full time. He is happier, his family is happier and he makes more money doing what he loves.


I invest in my family's future by paying the electric bill and putting food on the table. (For that matter, paying for the table.) I'm planning to start focusing on magic when certain debts are out of the way.

Quote:
On 2011-08-01 13:52, Rotten wrote:
Hey Ed, settle down. I wasn't talking to you. I said "that's what I told myself."

I am certainly not a hater. I love you. Don't run from me.


I dunno Rotten. It certainly looked like you were directly talking to me. I don't hate (except in a jealous sense) but I do overreact. Sorry.
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Bobby Maverick
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I'll chime in here...

It's tough at first, and it gets easier down the road but only if you're willing to put in the time and work in the beginning.

The whole "paying your dues" thing comes into play here.

It can be tough, but you would be amazed at what a person can get used too, and what you can learn from being in tough situations.
EVILDAN
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I have a full time job. It pays the bills and most important, provides health insurance. Health insurance is expensive. Over the past few years I noticed I've had to pay more and more for health insurance but it's still better than flipping the whole bill myself. My wife and I both have insurance from our individual jobs. If I put her on my insurance plan, I'd be working for the insurance company with almost no take home at all. That's why we stay on separate plans.

Ed has a family; wife and kids. He and his wife have to pay the bills and provide health insurance for the family. We can all give advice to go full time busking but unless you live in an area that can support full time busking all year round, or unless you're willing to move locations and stay away from your family for extended periods of time, it doesn't seem like a viable option.

I busk on the weekends. I do it for extra money but mostly because I love it. I love the thrill of seeing almost no foot traffic build into a crowd watching my wife and I perform. It also allows us to hone our stage routines, and allow more people to see us and know we exist so they can hire us for private events or town/city events. We're working towards a day when we can both quit our jobs, or maybe one of us and just make a living performing. But right now, with a mortgage, the need for health insurance and a weak economy, we're happy splitting our work time between a 9 to 5 job and doing what we love: performing.

You have to find your own way in life. People can show you the door but you'll walk thru only when you're ready. I guess is similar to the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

Ed, I wish you the best.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJhcoJtyOM
EVILDAN
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I have a full time job. It pays the bills and most important, provides health insurance. Health insurance is expensive. Over the past few years I noticed I've had to pay more and more for health insurance but it's still better than flipping the whole bill myself. My wife and I both have insurance from our individual jobs. If I put her on my insurance plan, I'd be working for the insurance company with almost no take home at all. That's why we stay on separate plans.

Ed has a family; wife and kids. He and his wife have to pay the bills and provide health insurance for the family. We can all give advice to go full time busking but unless you live in an area that can support full time busking all year round, or unless you're willing to move locations and stay away from your family for extended periods of time, it doesn't seem like a viable option.

I busk on the weekends. I do it for extra money but mostly because I love it. I love the thrill of seeing almost no foot traffic build into a crowd watching my wife and I perform. It also allows us to hone our stage routines, and allow more people to see us and know we exist so they can hire us for private events or town/city events. We're working towards a day when we can both quit our jobs, or maybe one of us and just make a living performing. But right now, with a mortgage, the need for health insurance and a weak economy, we're happy splitting our work time between a 9 to 5 job and doing what we love: performing.

You have to find your own way in life. People can show you the door but you'll walk thru only when you're ready. I guess is similar to the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

Ed, I wish you the best.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJhcoJtyOM
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