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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Trial by fire: First busking performance (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Yekrats
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Hi there, folks... I wanted to relate to you a personal note. Next Saturday I am doing my first street busking show.

About a month ago, I checked with my city clerk to find out if busking was legal in city limits. She said that it wasn't illegal, but gave me a couple of things to look out for. Neither will be a problem; I checked out our local "begging" and "solicitation" ordinances, and neither would apply.

My very helpful city clerk also mentioned a street festival where busking is not only allowed, but encouraged, Mosy Down Main Street. Basically, the city of Lafayette shuts down their Main Street one night a month during the summer, and open it up to street performers. Furthermore, according to scouting reports, it's mostly musicians and no magicians. Zing!

I would rate myself an experienced newbie. I've been doing magic at an amateur level for about 4 years now, and had my first paid gig in April, which went superbly. I've been looking for other opportunities, and this really seemed up my alley.

I'm going to "Keep it simple, stupid" and have assembled a 3- or 4-trick routine that I'm feeling pretty good about.
  • Quickie "waving a red scarf around and vanishing it, and reappear-izing it"! (Have you heard of this one? Part of it probably would involve the tip of a thumb.)
  • Bill Abbott's "Five Card Opener" (using his 'messy option' of tossing the cards)
  • Ropey interlude: Fiber Optics/Professor's Nightmare sequence
  • Craig Petty's Chop (One-cup chop cup routine ending with bill-in-lemon)

That's it. I think we're talking 15 minutes or so. The idea is, to run through and pass the hat at the end, take a short breather, and then try to do it again, until I get tired of it. Making money is secondary, but it would be nice... and I will try to mention tips between Fiber Optics and Chop, and then pass the hat at the end.

Any last-minute advice?
--
Corporate or event magic & mentalism: http://WizardoftheWabash.com
Ekuth
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Sounds like a plan. Hit the pavement and let us know how it goes.

If you want to double your milage on the first effect, use two silks and pull one from the other. I find it works better as an attention getter than just a single silk. Your milage may vary, of course. Be sure to use strong, contrasting colors.

Also, be sure to 'link' the various effects using patter. Personally, I'd swap the positions of two and three, but that's just me. Keep it as it is and see how it goes.

Good luck!
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
Eric the Excellent
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Definitely go for it, and good luck. Getting out there and actually doing it is this most difficult part, at least in my experience.

Let us know how it goes!
Zombie Magic
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Congratulations and HAVE FUN.
Yekrats
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I had a good time at Mosey Down Main Street last night. Did a lot of magic; earned a little more than minimum wage in tips, just passively setting out a tip jar. I say "passively", because I never really got the chance to use my hat lines, and I had problems organizing and keeping the crowd.

I learned a lot about street magic, however: There were situations where I gathered a crowd of 20+, more than I could count. Then, I was not quite prepared to flow that into the next trick, or passing the hat. Then end result: mass exodus between tricks. I'll be more prepared for that next time.

Some notes about the effects:

  • Bill Abbott's Five Card Opener was an amazingly strong opener, and Bill's "messy handling" is really great at multiplying a crowd. I had crowds of people saying "Whoop-pah!" and pumping their fist in the air, while I was telling my story and throwing cards about. It's a real attention-getter, and they were having a great time. Hell, maybe it's too strong, because my other tricks don't come close to that energy level! That being said, I needed to be prepared with the next trick right away, and was not, and lost my crowd. I prepped 4 sets of cards, and could have easily used double that.
  • Fiber Optics played really well. Playing probably equally as well: a one-rope "Bachelor's Needle" three-phase routine.
  • I did Petty's Chop a few times. On the good side, I believe I made a few extra bucks in tips, by people dropping the lime-juiced bills in the tip bucket. On the bad side, it is a bit hard to reset out in the open like that. Also, it's a little messy, cutting open limes like that. It's quite strong, however.
  • I did Sanders "Extreme Burn" a few dozen times while I tried to gather a crowd, and it is superb. However, I think I started to wear out my set, and I will need to see about getting some new bills. The set I had started to get folded sloppily, so I had problems separating the bills at the proper spot every time.


I had a blast, however, and I had a lot of compliments! If I can learn some more of the nuances of crowd control, I will be in business. There is another Mosey next month, so I think I will try then.

Thanks for your advice and good wishes!
--
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ROBERT BLAKE
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Well done and keep going. see what went wrong and can be better. look how you make a transistion from one effect to the next one. try to do an finale effect with multiple people 2 or 3 for a finale. cards across comes to mind. it makes the show much biggen and atleast 2 or 3 people are willing to pay or to start paying.

prepare your show with little remarks about money. know when to say it. this way you wont forget them.
explain the audience you are going to do a show with magic and comedy and after that you pass your hat.
do an effect and say in between "this is so mazing people will come up TO ME after the show and throw in my hat $5,00
move on and before the finale do a small pitch.

"ladies and gentlemen how you make your money is your case how I make my money is ALSO your case. in the past magicians performed for the kings and queens. they paid the magicians for thier show. now is your time to feel like a king".
solrak29
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Quote:
On 2012-06-10 08:49, Yekrats wrote:
On the bad side, it is a bit hard to reset out in the open like that. Also, it's a little messy, cutting open limes like that. It's quite strong, however.


I have been toying with same effect; yet, have not brought it out to the streets yet
due to the following:


  • The routine is simply not ready.
  • Thinking about the logistics of how many pieces of fruit I need to prepare.
  • Is the amount of extra work worth it.
  • On the street, what will cops feel/do if I have knife.
  • The mess, I have to handle the logistics of that also. Sticky is not fun.


One part though, is that I consciously know how many shows I kick out an hour
and I already have my established act to fall back on if I am no longer prepped
for this part of my act. So I know how much prep I have to do. But, it's
work on top of something that is already set....

The only thing I can justify at the moment is including this for festivals
and established pitches. But for raw street; I'm not sure....yet.

Just some thoughts on it....

Great job, and continue working at it....
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MagiCol
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Yekrats=Starkey:

Entertaining people on the street is lots of fun.
The more you do it the better you'll get at it. And the more you'll realize how many more challenges there are in performing your show, including crowd control. I'm glad for you you've got off to a good start.
The presentation makes the magic.
Yekrats
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Thanks for the kind words, folks. It's definitely a learning process.

@ Robert Blake - Excellent advice. I will try to work references to money & tips into my patter, so at least they know. That is one easy path that I completely ignored in getting more tips. I'm sure I could have easily doubled my tips, if I had just mentioned it occasionally.

@ Solrak - Yes, all of your issues about Chop are valid. How many pieces of fruit to prepare? How to deal with the mess? That being said, I subtracted one phase out of the routine, and it played quite strong. It does bring some nice reactions, and even had someone 'request' that I do it for them. Also, despite giving out napkins after the trick was over, each dropped their bill into the tip jar, which was nice. I haven't given up on it entirely, but it might be nice to find a cleaner trick.

A couple of other tricks I performed for small groups was Sankey's Holy Moley -> Holy Stretch, which small groups really seemed to like. Also I did my Ambitious Card Routine a couple of dozen times, giving away enough cards to whittle my deck down to a nub. :-D
--
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nanowarrior
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I'd advise you to check out kozmo's DVDs (they're called Tales from the streets if I'm not mistaken). There are great tips on how to stop, build, hold a crowd, and how to get the money. moreover, there's a chop cup with signed bill to lemon ending that doesn't need a lot of prep work, so you might find a few ideas there.

oh, and by the way. the only way to get better is actually go out. A lot. You need to know your show pat, you need to know what to say during each trick, and you need to know what to say between tricks. And no matter how good you know your script and your magic, the first ten times you'll screw up, fumble, forget your patter. That's okay. Just keep going until you get it.
Yekrats
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Thanks, nano. I'll check out Kozmo's stuff. That looks like a valuable DVD set.

I *will* hit the pavement again. We're all travelling along the road to improvement.
There's a similar street fair next month. And I'll have another opportunity in August, I believe. So, the best way to learn is the school of hard knocks.
--
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solrak29
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Quote:
On 2012-06-13 10:34, Yekrats wrote:
So, the best way to learn is the school of hard knocks.


This is something a lot of guys don't get...you got to get out there and do it.

Then, maybe, just maybe all these other things (books, dvds, etc) will make sense
or you might figure...that you don't need it...there is wealth of information in
this forum if you dig deep enough...
To Find Me On The Pitch, Follow me :On Twitter
Checkout my pseudo blog : The Sidewalk Performers Forum

"I intend to live forever, or die trying" - Groucho Marx
Yekrats
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Quote:
On 2012-06-14 10:30, solrak29 wrote:
there is wealth of information in this forum if you dig deep enough...

Ain't that the truth. In the days before my performance, I was trolling Magic Forum articles from 2003, 2004, 2005... I found all sorts of interesting nuggets. ;-)
--
Corporate or event magic & mentalism: http://WizardoftheWabash.com
DoctorCognos
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All of the advice in the world, pales to your own experience. What works for someone else, may, or may not fit your style adn skill level.

Think pack small, play big. Think instant reset. Minimize consumables, or plan accordingly. Engage your audience. Make eye contact, smile, even connect with a wink (not a flirt...) Nod you head yes, and before you know, so will they.

And mentally replay, or even better in this digital age, set up a camera, record the whole thing, and then look it over later. If you video, and can get someone to "man" the camera, great. If not, set up a tripod in a place where the crowd wont bump it, and don't worry about making the next great movie. Just worry about keeping you largely in frame. Set it, and forget it. Don;t break your momentum by fussing with it. And even if you go out of frame, you should be able to capture the audio on camera, and that will help with the review.

Good job in getting out there!

The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
Ekuth
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Good advice from the Doctor.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
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