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Magician Shaun
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I am in Atlanta. There are not many Buskers here, at least not in downtown. There are some strict solicitation rules. You cannot ask for a specific amount of money. You can tell them that you work for tips, and that you are not paid to be out there. If you mention amounts of money like Gazzo does, saying if you can afford a five, a five would be nice, anything is appreciated, it can get you into trouble. I figure after they get used to my presence down there, they may be a little easier on me. My first big crowd got dispersed because an Atlanta Police Lieutenant walked up when I had about a 30 person circle built up and interrupted me, asking "How much are you charging my people for the show?" I replied "I am not charging them anything, the show is free." The moment was destroyed and they began to wander off long before I got to the finale. As my crowd began to wander off, I pulled the officer aside and asked him about the ordinance and how to approach it. He said, "You can put out a tip receptacle, you can say you work for tips, you can't directly solicit people for money, and you can't sell anything without a vendor permit." He was very polite and told everyone they didn't have to leave on his account, nothing was wrong, he was just making sure they were not being scammed, and to continue, but the moment was broken, there was no flow from the ACR I was doing as he walked up to the next trick. He did wait until I completed the effect, the ACR, before he interrupted, so he wasn't totally rude, but it was just hard to recover from if that makes sense?

Now, what did I learn today on day ONE?

1. I learned overall my showmanship is decent, no-one said, "You suck", or tried to leave while I was performing.
2. I got over my performance anxiety and started to feed off of my crowd.
3. I learned that the order of my tricks needs to change, and I need a bit more material.
4. Magic that interacts with the spectators, especially interaction with the children. Sponge balls, rope, etc. Cards are great for teens to adults if they are under 15 though a different type of magic is required.
5. I thought the rings would be a good finale. In reality they are a better builder effect. Way better than a silk vanish. The rings are loud, they are big, they are flashy, I use a set of 10" rings. I also found that you need the full set for audience interaction, the Pop Hayden teaching act is good for kids.
6. A boundary to keep your personal space is essential. Without it, the crowd slowly inches closer and closer until you have no room to work. They just don't realize how much they are invading your space. I bought a rope, a big heavy thick brown one. I don't think the City of Atlanta would appreciate my drawing all over their sidewalk anyway.
7. A sign is also essential. I didn't have one today but I will next week when I get back out there.

Conclusion:

I need to rewrite my show to be more kid centered, with some parts that can be changed out if I have less kids to cater more to the adults. I have to work more on my build lines and put out a sign and create a boundary. I have a great pitch and with the general lack of Buskers here where I am at I don't have to fight for the pitch. There were only two other guys out there, one was playing the bongo drums and the other was playing a Sax and that was it. Finally, I need to carefully reword my hat lines to be in compliance with the city ordinances regarding such things. Overall, the day was a success because I got my feet wet, got over my "Oh, what if I suck, what if they don't like me" fears. I learned how important some parts of this were and what direction I need to move my show in to be more successful. I am capable of getting them to stop and getting them to stay, now if I can just get them to pay too, I will be in there. I feel like building a crowd and keeping them is the hard part, if I have made it that far, getting them to pay, within the limits of the law, should be the easy part right?

I would love some advice and opinions from anyone with experience. The research I have done indicates that Atlanta is considered a "tough town" by most buskers.


Please do not respond with:
"You should do the Cups and Balls" - I think I will eventually create a show that finale's with the Cups and Balls, I love the cups and balls, and always have. But first I need to make money with what I have though as my very nice set of aluminum cups and balls that included a chop cup were lost during a move, I cannot currently afford a Table, new set of cups, busker pouch, etc..for adding the cups.
troppobob
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G'day Gr8gorilla
Congratulations on your first day.
That was an insightful review and an intersting story about your interaction with the law and it's impact on the flow of your show.
I hope you let us know how you go with your modifications at your next show.
Opinion: It appears that the way you are approaching things will enable you to come up your own relevant advice. I would like to encourage you to continue.
Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Zombie Magic
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Thanks for the exciting day you had. I bet they loved you!
Magician Shaun
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Thanks, Bob, actually, the ACR was very interesting. I do this bit where I tell the audience that the deck is Sentient and that it finds the card for me. My ACR goes like this(short version): card chosen, returned, riffle pass to bring to top, as I tell specs that to get the deck to find the card they have to give it a little tickle, but it must be the person who chose the card. They riffle I turn over the card. I do a Marlo Tilt, have them tickle(riffle), DL show card, put indiff in middle, turn over top, show again. Then I say at this point most people just think I am good sleight hand artist, and the deck isn't really sentient. So to dissuade you from this line of thinking I will let you do the magic, at some point here, I Top change it, have a second spectator cut the deck and put the card in, then have them hold it while the original volunteer turns over the top card. The one kid who signed the card, was VICIOUS, all over me, all the adults, shocked looks of awe each time the card came back, the little girl : "You put a card on top, so you really didn't put my card in the middle, or you switched the cards, I knew it was on top." Adults: Looks of amazement and cheering. Strange how the misdirection and sleights blow the adults away and fail to fool the child.

I decided no more ACR for Kids. For them, its Sponge Balls, Ropes, and the like....
LeoH
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Sounds like you had a very profitable learning experience today! I like the way you are thinking about your show, material, and your impact on your audience and their impact on you. I would suggest keeping a journal on your shows. This reflection has really helped me. Keep it up!
Ekuth
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Yup. Nothing like a day on the street to learn more than you can in a month from a book.

You've got the right attitude and you're already changing things up: This shows you're thinking about your act, and actually CARE about being something more than a "move monkey". Good job!

And yes, children under the age of 15 are vicious, nasty, grabby little ***s that will not hesitate to catch you up, catch you out and do so at the WORST possible moments. Get used to it. They are also the best participants, wonderful entertainers in their own way, and can provide some of the best moments you can have. Remember, to children everything is Black/White: Is/Is Not. They don't think the way adults do, in shades of grey and subtleties. If you want to make certain your routines/effects are bulletproof, perform for kids.

I have two that vet all my tricks before I even leave the door... smart little buggers.

That said, be sure to structure your show to BOTH sets: Mixed crowds of kids and adults and just adults. There's a far different dynamic involved between the two sets that takes a bit of getting used to.

Oh, and you WILL hear "you suck" or "you're boring" at some point. I guarantee it, and it has NOTHING to do with ego. Leave your ego at the door. It may have nothing at all to do with your showmanship, either. People now DO NOT KNOW HOW TO REACT TO LIVE ENTERTAINMENT.

Think about it for a minute.

They're accustomed to having the world of information and entertainment at their fingertips. We live in an age of instant gratification and you need to take them OUT of that world to be effective. How do you do that? Teach them.

Lay out what you are, what you're going to be doing, and what you expect of your audience in your opening bally.

If you don't control your crowd, they WILL control you.

Keep at it, hone it down and above all:

HAVE FUN. If you're having fun, they are as well.

Good luck out there!
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
AlexB
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Quote:
On 2012-06-16 19:55, Gr8gorilla wrote:
...
The one kid who signed the card, was VICIOUS, all over me, all the adults, shocked looks of awe each time the card came back, the little girl : "You put a card on top, so you really didn't put my card in the middle, or you switched the cards, I knew it was on top." Adults: Looks of amazement and cheering. Strange how the misdirection and sleights blow the adults away and fail to fool the child.

I decided no more ACR for Kids. For them, its Sponge Balls, Ropes, and the like....


I have been caught out by 5 year olds on my card tricks. They didn't see the moves, but their minds can be so sharp! They immediately cut through to the only possible explanation. The way to stop their minds from automatically decoding your tricks is to make them laugh.

Specifically for the ACR, when I do it for kids, I ask the kid to draw an animal on the card, give it a name, and then I say that we will train it. We come up with a command that causes the animal to jump to the top. I also demonstrate that I cannot do it, the animal only listens to the kid. It becomes a fun game, and they stop thinking. The child is entertained, and the parents are still in awe. With this hook up, the ACR is the most child-friendly card trick that I know of (apart from Card Toon, which kids also love). I have read this idea somewhere on the café and it works great for me.
Police Magician
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I remember years ago visiting Underground Atlanta and seeing the buskers on the street. There were about three of them in different locations. I enjoyed them all.

I live in Brunswick, Georgia and have been to Atlanta many times. I am also a law enforcement officer, magician and ventriloquist who has done some busking. I was glad to hear the cop who approached you was decent to you. You should check the local laws and ordinances of that city to see what is allowed and what is not allowed, so you won't get stopped. If you do, you will have the knowledge. Best to print out the info so you can show it to local authority if needed.

As many, over the years, have asked me, some like doing some tricks that may be looked upon as scams. Cups and Balls, 3 Card Monte, Shell and Pea, and Fast and Loose, to name a few. If you decide to do this, let the people know, this is for demonstration and educational purposes only and make no transactions when they lose.

The tip jar or hat needs to be seen and mentioned a few times so people know that you are not charging for the show but asking for tips only.

I liked your post about the event that day. It was detailed and easy to follow. Keep up the good work and stay safe.

Glenn
Magician Shaun
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All,

I have noticed watching Gazzo and Cellini that they tend to not start with the money lines until right around the finale, or at least I didn't see them do it on the videos I watched. I suppose everyone does it differently though. The appearance to me is that they focus on entertaining first. The crowd is so entertained that when they explain the tip situation they [crowd] aren't put off by it all.

Ekuth,

I am certain that I will hear the "You Suck" line eventually. I was just saying that not hearing it on the first day out helps with the confidence boost.


Glenn,

I have done extensive research on the Atlanta City ordinances regarding public performing, solicitation, and panhandling. Underground Atlanta is basically a privately owned shopping mall. You cannot busk on their property without their permission. The buskers that have worked there in the past were often paid by Underground. The last time I was there it had changed a lot from what you describe.

The Atlanta City ordinances do not specifically address street performances. They used to require a permit for performing in public but were sued by the ACLU and the ACLU won, forcing them to strike most of the laws regarding public performance because they were violating the First Amendment. They do have ordinances regarding Solicitation. You cannot ask for a specific amount of money or try to sell something for more than it is worth, and there are a few other things in there basically regarding you scamming people by saying you are taking donations for a charity, etc. It states that you cannot use amplification devices. That is pretty much it.

As far as I can tell and from the research I have done, as long as you are on public property, not using amplification, not selling anything, or demanding a specific payment for your show, you can Busk. I am a bit concerned about the hat line situation. My original line was like this: "Ladies and Gentlemen, if you enjoyed the show, it is customary to tip what think it is worth but certainly not mandatory. If you didn't like the show I have a Sharpie marker you can use to write your comments and concerns on a 5 or 10 bill, drop them in the hat and I will give them my deepest consideration."

I am just not sure if a cop would construe that as "asking for a specific amount of money" even though it is a joke. ( I stole that joke form Jimmy Talksalot BTW )
Police Magician
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I like that line for the hat tip, but, as you said, you may get in trouble if you mention an amount.

It was back in the 1970's when I went to Underground Atlanta. I loved the wax museum as well.

Sounds like you have done your homework on this. Laws and Ordinances can be confusing in the way they are written. Remember, attorney's write that stuff for publication.

I used to have connections there years ago, but most of them are retired now. It is a new batch of cops today.

Keep us posted on this and let us know how it is going. I wish you the best with it.

Glenn
Bobert
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Congratulations!

I agree the Rings are a great way to build an audience.

Keep it up! And I hope to see you on the streets one day

-Bobert
solrak29
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Quote:
On 2012-06-17 22:10, Bobert wrote:
I agree the Rings are a great way to build an audience.


Ha ha! From the man, I've seen build an audience with
this time and time again...I agree also as I've not
only seen it with Bobert but on other pitches too...

Keep up posted on what you learn out there...
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"I intend to live forever, or die trying" - Groucho Marx
Magician Shaun
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I originally thought that the rings would be a great finale, I decided otherwise after my first performance. More people would stop to see what was going on while I was doing the rings than anything else. The thing is they don't carry the umph of even a silk vanish. I guess the problem is that once people realize that you can link the rings, un-link them, and show them all to be whole, they lose interest. Or maybe I should say the interest starts to wane. Anyway, I think doing a routine using 5 rings, key, single, single, two, where I can stop an audience member and do a Pop Hayden sort of piece where the spectator links two but can't get em apart or vice versa, will be best. It will get some audience participation and draw attention. I am currently preparing a rope segment for the finish and adding some phases to my sponge balls.

I also went the Jimmy route and bought a new stage at Home Depot, it only cost me about $5. I got a 13' Circumference barrier to keep little kids at a respectable distance....

I want a sign but don't want a piece of white poster board with "Magic Show" written on it by hand, ala Jimmy. I just don't feel it work very well for my persona. Does anyone have any good suggestions that won't cost much. I know I could go have one done at a print shop but I want to save some money...
Ekuth
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I made my sign by using two scrap pieces of plywood and two hinges. Felt straps keep the planks from separating too far. Stained the boards dark.

Went into Word and made a "Magic Show" sign(s) in large font, using white paper. Laminated it and glued it to both sides.

Very durable, very visible. Easy peasy.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
solrak29
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Quote:
On 2012-06-17 23:24, Gr8gorilla wrote:
I originally thought that the rings would be a great finale,


I think the rings could be a finale...since it's such an
interesting effect for the audience...something to keep them
waiting for. Like the C&B. C&B attracts an audience too. And
some folks use it as an opener, but it is used as a finale.
It's matter on how you play it really...as there are no rules...

Quote:
I want a sign but don't want a piece of white poster board with "Magic Show" written on it by hand, ala Jimmy.


I've seen pictures of guys using a small white board.
To Find Me On The Pitch, Follow me :On Twitter
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JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2012-06-16 16:59, Gr8gorilla wrote:
My first big crowd got dispersed because an Atlanta Police Lieutenant walked up when I had about a 30 person circle built up and interrupted me, asking "How much are you charging my people for the show?" I replied "I am not charging them anything, the show is free." The moment was destroyed and they began to wander off long before I got to the finale.


They'll quit bothering you once you become known on the pitch. Once they know your face, they won't look twice at you ... they have better things to do.



Quote:
5. I thought the rings would be a good finale. In reality they are a better builder effect. Way better than a silk vanish. The rings are loud, they are big, they are flashy, I use a set of 10" rings. I also found that you need the full set for audience interaction, the Pop Hayden teaching act is good for kids.


The silk vanish is actually a good "build", but what it is not is a good "grab". The rings make a good grab because when people hear and see them, you grab their attention ... once you have their attention, you can use the silk vanish to build it larger. People walking by will wonder what they are looking at. The key is be talking while doing it, establishing your control of the situation.



This is my latest sign if anyone wants to see ... painted it on the bottom of my briefcase, so I can carry everything around with one handle. The top has a close-up pad glued to it. Case costs $25 at Home Depot.

http://joejoeonline.com/pics/perform/case-sign.jpg



You're doing a great job - keep up the good work! Smile

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
JoeJoe
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I can also use the case as a stool and sit on it. Love the thing. Smile

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Magician Shaun
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JoeJoe, that case is pretty sweet. I was thinking some sort of printed laminated sign. Then maybe glue that to the case and laminate it again. I think one of the videos I saw of Gazzo he had a big professionally printed banner, of course I don't want something like that, not like I need it anyway. Does anyone know what kind of sign Kozmo uses? Does he use a sign?

Also, about the Fuzz trainwreckin' my show, I believe he was pretty polite overall, he didn't interrupt my trick, but it did make people start to go away. I am not mad he did his job, since he was finding out if I was soliciting the people or scamming them. I am sure when they see me regularly they will leave me alone. There has just been this big push recently by the mayor and city council having to do with Aggressive panhandlers and solicitation in the "Tourist Triangle". I pretty much expected it.
DoctorCognos
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I started out using the rings, a version of Chris Capeharts 3 ring routine as a closer.

It worked well enough, as it had plenty of crowd interaction, and while performing it I could deliver my final hat lines.

One hat line that might work for you, my favorite, is asking the crowd to "Applaud with your wallets!"

I also, at different points of my routine before that, after a good audience response, reinforce the moment, by saying "good magic" or "You liked that didn't you?" and I comment that a lot of people would open their wallets for magic that good.

The psychology behind these reinforcements is getting agreement. Get them to acknowledge that they enjoyed it, were amazed, etc, and that it is worth something, and you will start to see bigger hats.

I find this also helps cut out some of the loose change, that might otherwise be given.

Now, I use the rings as my opener for all of the same reasons that you identified, they are visual, audible, big enough, and offer good interaction.

I now close with cups and balls.

But if you have more than one strong ring routine, you could do one at the start as a tease. Then you can use that as a hook to hold them, as you keep telling them you have a world renown routine you are saving for the big finale.

Nothing wrong with switching ring sets here. Go from a 3 ring routine to a 4, etc. It doesn't need to be a continuation of the first routine, although it certainly could be. You could even start with something that looks like the closing of the first ring routine.

But you are starting out right, by analysing what worked, and why, and what didn't and why. Keep that up, and you cant do anything but get better. There is no better teacher than experience.

Good hats to you!

The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
Magician Shaun
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As far as hat lines to get rid of the change, I watched a lot of Video of the Greats, Gazzo, Cellini, etc..One thing stuck out in particular from Gazzo. He said, "Please no Pennies, I am not out here begging for your Pound, I am working hard for it.." He went on with other things as well.

I have also noticed that a strong rapport with the audience will take you far. If you ask people names and interact with them, share a story or two about yourself, etc...you make them feel closer to you and it makes them feel bad not to tip at the end.

My show for this weekend is as follows:

Pull trick: Linking rings, 4 rings.

Build: Silk Vanish and some good conversation

Show:
1.Sponge Balls
2.ACR
3.Invisible Deck
4.Professors Nightmare + audience interaction, Fiber Optics version.

I have some other ideas that I plan to work on over the next few weeks. One is a bill switch but instead of the old $100 bill switch, what I plan to work on is a bit from Ammar. I will fold some 1$ bills and maybe some $5s into Origami Rabbits. I load into the TT and perform the bill switch, but be left with a rabbit to return to the owner. That would likely take spot One, then everything else in order for now.
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