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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » [NEED ADVICE] I just found out I have a lot of Busking Experience - Sort Of! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Magician Shaun
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I plan to start busking in Atlanta soon. The summer tourist season is starting and there is a push to increase busking in Atlanta in general. There is some organization that is working on this, trying to prove it will increase the general income of the city. While planning my beginning busking routine, I was trying to think of what experience I had that would help. As I read things by jimmytalksalot, and threads in the Café on the subject, I suddenly realized that I had a decent amount of both training and experience busking. You see I used to be “Pitch Man” (read Salesman) for Magic Masters, an overpriced magic shop that is based out of Atlanta. I worked primarily out of their Underground Atlanta location. The store was situated on the sidewalk right next to the food court in Underground Atlanta. A near perfect Pitch, as the people in that area were in no hurry and looking for entertainment.

We were trained for 6 weeks before going to the floor. We practiced a 20 minute show until it was second nature. We performed this show at least 2x per hour, all day long. We would start by drawing a crowd performing either the Silk Vanish, Lite Flight, or Rocky the Raccoon out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Once a suitable crowd built, say 40+ spectators, we started the show. On magician performed behind the counter on his “stage”, while the other waited for the finale where he would perform a Lite Flight, ending by landing a borrowed quarter in a spectators hand. Our patter was littered with sales pitches for the tricks we were doing and at the end we threw out a final sales pitch for the tricks we demonstrated. It turns out, I have been a busker in disguise all along. The major difference was instead of soliciting for money, I offered to trade mostly self-working miracles for the spectators hard earned cash, thus getting them to part with a lot of it.

Magic Masters is no longer in Underground or Downtown Atlanta at all. They may have a Mall of Georgia location if it didn't close, I am not sure. I hope to transition this newly realized experience and training into my own busking show.

My plan is to start small with a sidewalk show on Saturdays and maybe Sundays. I will do a silk vanish to build a small crowd, then an ACR, followed by a short “packet” trick, and finish with a short 4 ring, linking ring routine, hopefully building a few extra spectators with the “flash” of the rings right at the end. There are some things I am not sure how to approach though that I need some input on.

1. How do you fit the mention of money into your patter? Some examples would be great.
2. Do you use an actual hat? If so do you wear it prior to handing it out? If so, is taping some seed money to the bottom with double sided tape a good idea, you know a fiver and some ones?
3. How do you solicit the donations at the finale, obviously most people understand the passing of the hat, but do you say “Thank you, I hope you enjoyed the show, donations are not mandatory but are appreciated”, or something along those lines?
4. Any other advice anyone can give I would greatly appreciate and certainly take to heart.

Thanks everyone in advance, I am really loving the inspiration here at the Magic Café!
Paddy
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Well first off you do NOT "How do you fit the mention of money into your patter?" You build your patter around hat lines. All thru my act I tell them (remember to never underestimate the power of human stupidity) all thru that at the end I am passing my hat. The Marines taught me to travel light so remember that bills are lighter than coins. I know my comment about human stupidity sounds mean & nasty, but if you keep telling them that this is how you make your living, that the venue does NOT pay you and their tips are the only payment you get, then they won't be upset when you hat at the end.

For GREAT hat lines look at "Crowdpuller" by Peter Wardell. He has good ones. But remember that your lines have to be natural to your character. Gazzo makes more in one show than I make in all day but there is no way I could use his lines. I'd get my face slapped and my butt kicked if I tried them.
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Stperformer
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I'm going to go a against the grain a bit here, of what most of you say but......
if you are really, really good, you do NOT need to push the hat lines. As a matter of fact it can becme counter-productive if you push too hard, too often.
Charm, skill, and talent with a simple bow while placing the hat on the table will go a long way.

Honestly Smile
Magician Shaun
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Everything I have read keeps telling me to remind them about money. Right now, my basic premise is like this. I build a crowd with silk vanish a Magic Show sign and casual patter about a magic show. I will do a quick packet trick, I will either do the sliding pips or the poker to blackjack trick. Then I will do the Ambitious trying to use a child as the spec. My character has a familiar named Bob, who incidentally is a woman, although I don't reveal Bob's gender right away. The opening lines are as follows:
"I would like to introduce you to Bob. Bob is not a trick deck, Bob is a SENTIENT deck. Do you know what SENTIENT means? NO? Well then, you guys are going to get a vocabulary lesson today along with, a magic show. Heck, that's gonna make this really worth your money in the end, isn't it." That is my first mention of money and it is said in an off the cuff manner. My next money line comes at the middle of the Ambitious and is like this:
" (Look at the deck, speak to it as if it is talking to you) Huh? Ok, Ok, Bob wants me to mention that I am a college student, (glance at deck again) OK, a POOR College Student."

I don't plan to mention money again until before the linking ring finale and I have not worked the patter out for that totally yet. I know when I did the aforementioned professional Busking for magic masters, most weeks I was the top salesman in Atlanta, of course I was using their pre-made one liners and terrible patter, I think my stuff is way better...I guess we will see.

As I mentioned before I am going to start this as a sidewalk show, only doing the aforementioned 4 tricks. Silk Vanish, packet, Bob(my ambitious), Rings, HAT. So, the actual performance is really 2 Tricks. The packet to draw them closer, the Ambitious to make em stay, the rings to hopefully draw the next crowd. The noise of the rings and the flashing shiny metal in the sun should help (I hope).

Am I on the right track or am I totally off?
D. Yoder
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I have two hats - a black bowler that I wear and a red top hat to collect the money in. Glued to the bottom of the tip hat is a scanned copy of a five dollar bill on top of a couple of scanned ones. Glued on top of that is a real one dollar bill. I empty my tip hat of the tips after every group.

I think how much you talk about money in the show depends on your personality and character, the type of show that you are doing, and how conditioned people are to tip a performer where you are.

When I work a trickle at the same spot each week near our Central Market, many of the people in my audience have seen me before and they know what to expect. Even the tourists who come through here also seem comfortable in dropping in money without being told. Because of the personal connection that we've made during the time we spent playing with magic together, people almost always thank me for performing and seem glad to share what they have with me (money) as another way to thank me. My guess is that repeated comments about money would turn them off.

However, when I'm doing a half circle show on the street at our First Friday celebrations, many people have not seen me before and I do include hat lines throughout the show. Because I haven't learned to build that same connection between myself and the audience members as I have when doing a trickle, more people seem to feel like it is okay to walk away without contributing so I don't mind being more up front about them supporting something that they've enjoyed seeing. At the same time, I'm in competition with lots of buskers who are also "collecting" money on First Friday so I know that people may have just dropped money in a musician's hat before stopping to see me and don't feel like they can do that for every performer.
Stperformer
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I'm gonna guess that you'll find the Linking Rings will be your bread & butter trick.
Magician Shaun
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Quote:
On 2012-06-04 22:33, Stperformer wrote:
I'm gonna guess that you'll find the Linking Rings will be your bread & butter trick.


I really feel that the rings are gonna "shine" for me too. I have never done ropes before but I have done the rings plenty, I just have to plan a short routine for the street. I think a routine similar to the Magic Masters short routine will be perfect. It is just hard for me separate my plans from my strongest performing influence.
Magician Shaun
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I watched some jimmy talksalot videos on YouTube and it appears that he uses the hat he is wearing for the hatting part of his show. I just keep thinking about Atlanta summer heat and humidity and the buckets of sweat that will pour forth while working the street during the day and don't know how I feel about that. I think a nasty, sweaty hat could turn off some spectators. I don't typically wear a hat anyway. would it be acceptable to use a hat as my magic show sign stand, and pass it about at the end? I assume something like this is common place in the Busking world. I think some people use a bucket? I know there is a certain psychology to the whole thing though and I don't want to screw with it, if you know what I mean.
Kozmo
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I don't wear a hat but I own one.....
Magician Shaun
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Quote:
On 2012-06-05 13:55, Kozmo wrote:
I don't wear a hat but I own one.....


Understood...do you tape some real seed money into the hat? Drop some in loosely? Do you mind sharing your opinion on this part? I know NO CHANGE, the people will put what they see into the hat. I figure a five and a few ones, at least in America, different story in Europe I think.
Kozmo
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No I don't....why would you? You have to talk to them, educate them....there should be no gimmicks...just be an honest performer...they will get that eventually
ed rhodes
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I've mentioned this before, I'll stop if it's getting annoying. Rhode Island's license does not allow "direct solicitation of funds." Which I'm pretty certain a string of "hat lines" would be perceived as by the local police.

My answer (for what it's worth) is to hold off the "hat line" (actually it's a bucket) until the actual end of the show. I got the crowd (granted, not an easy task for me) and they seem to be enjoying themselves. I usually end with Shang hi Shackle and with the ropes around my wrist, I look out into the audience and say; "The City of Providence allows me to perform magic for tips so long as I do not 'directly solicit funds' - Therefore, I will not 'direct solicit funds.' I will not tell you that you HAVE to give me money, that would be rude. I will not beg you to PLEASE give me money, that would be pathetic. I merely point out in the City of Providence, tipping is not something done with cows!"

I think I do pretty well for a "weekend warrior" who wimps out after a few hours. (It is my dream to be out there all day and see what happens.)
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Magician Shaun
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In Atlanta you cannot directly solicit funds either, the ordinance actually specifically states that you cannot mention amounts of money but saying that you work for tips and that no one pays you except spectators that enjoyed your show is fine.
Zombie Magic
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I went out for a beer and now have
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Gr8gorilla, the dvd set ( 2 disks ) Tales From the Street by Kozmo is a source for how to make this happen for you.

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S11030
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