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magicman491
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Okay so I am 14 years old and I am new to busking... I have only done It twice but I have done magic for 4 years. the biggest problem I am having is getting the first group to stop and watch magic. Once I get the first group, then people feed off each other and a crowd forms no problem. But getting the first group is hard because everyone says no maybe because of my age? I use a mic, dress up have a table and sign but people still say no when I say 'do you want to see some magic?' Or 'can I show you some magic?'
Do you think because of my age people think I am a joke... What can I do about it?
Any advice is greatly appreciated
Thanks
Sam
Paddy
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That's the problem with busking. Stopping the first group. That's why Cellini summed busking up with; "make them stop, make them stay, make them pay."
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Motley Mage
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Sam, my suggestion--and this is based only on observation, not personal experience--is DON'T ASK! Most buskers I see succeeding in drawing a crowd do so by having a bit--TT silk, the Thing, egg bag, rope routine--that is very visible and easily repeatable (no reset, no easy discovery). Then they just DO the magic until a fair edge begins to form. As you have observed, once a handful stop, a crowd begins to form. THAT's when the full show begins.

The David Blaine (tv) version of grabbing a random passerby and asking if they want to see some magic is NOT busking. It's a one-on-one personal performance and not meant to build an edge.

Best of luck!
JoeJoe
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Answer the question for them ... "you wanna see a magic trick, sure I've got one you'll like". Then start doing a trick.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Dick Oslund
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Hi Sam! When a magician 'does' a show, he is SELLING. Of course, before he got to 'do' the show, he had to SELL himself and his show, to a client (the customer) Once he has SOLD the show, he has to 'do' the show. In 'doing' the show, he must SELL H I M S E L F to the 'new clients' (the audience). If he can sell himself,so that the audience likes him, they will like what he does, and buy it.

If the magician doesn't 'package' himself well, it will be difficult to SELL himself. 'Packaging' is everything from how he is dressed, how his props look, how he speaks, how he performs, ETC.!

So, take an objective look at all those things that I've just mentioned. Be honest!!! Oh! I just looked back at your post. You said that you do dress up. Good! That's a good start!

In general, magicians 'suffer' from a lack of production and direction. (The man who has 'himself' for a judge, has a poor judge! (In Latin, that is: NEMO JUDEX IN CAUSA SUA. You are in high school, right? Get involved in plays, if your school has a dramatics department. You'll learn things that you can't learn in most magic shops. (and there are few shops, besides!). Maybe there is a local 'stock company' (a group of people who produce plays because they enjoy doing that) Get involved!

No magician (that I know) has ever 'made it' the easy way. It takes a lot of study, work, and practice!--a bit of talent, helps too!

Busking is a hard, tough, demanding area of show business! Not everyone is cut out for that area. Just because you want to be a busker, doesn't mean that you can or will be a success in that area.

When I was 13 going on 14,in 1945, I had produced (!)a 30 minute stand up show. Most of the tricks came from library books. I tried it out at my dad's lodge, and the lodge gave me $3.00. I tried it out again at a church men's club. Again, I made 3 bucks. --But, I also got EXPERIENCE! These two shows happened in May of 1945. I practiced and rehearsed that summer, to polish what I could do. That fall, I sold myself to the Junior High School principal. We agreed to a percentage deal! We sold tickets to an all school assembly (500 kids)at $.10. I did the show, the students (and the principal) were pleased. After the $.02 Fed. Amusement Tax was deducted, I made $26.! In 1945, some adults were working all week for that!

I don't know if you live in NYC or PODUNK. Wherever you live: A book 'isn't a book' until it's being read! From an old Broadway show, "A song is no song, 'til you sing it! A show is no show until you perform it.

If I may offer you a bit of advice (I did magic --for $$$ --all my life, and I'm now an Octogenarian) Put together a little half hour show that you can do ANYWHERE FOR ANYBODY. Then go out and sell it! (But, I would not recommend busking until you've had some 'show biz' EXPERIENCE!!!

The resulting publicity helped me sell shows to all kinds of local groups for the next several years. My buddies were bagging groceries for $.50 an hour. I was getting $10 to 15 an hour for my little 30 minute suitcase show.

A good salesman NEVER asks a 'closed question'! That is, he tries never to ask a question that can be answered: "NO"!!!

"Do you want to see a trick?" IS A CLOSED QUESTION

Go to the library and find a book on SELLING!

btw.. Ken Weber's fairly recent book, "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT" is well worth your buying and reading. (It's a $40. INVESTMENT! and it 'aint got no tricks in it"!
But, you'll learn some things that are very worth while. SHOW BUSINESS SHOULD BE SPELLED>>> $HOW BU$INE$$!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
puggo
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Another very interesting post Mr Oslund!
Charlie
Dick Oslund
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Thanks Puggo! I remember (even though it was eons ago)growing up in a small town in Northern Michigan. The opportunity index for seeing a magician was quite low. There wasn't anything like a magic café! I saw every circus and carnival side show magician that I could. Ditto, School Assembly magicians. (That's about all there was to see! (I did get to go to Milwaukee to see Harry Blackstone (pere) --thrill of a lifetime!

So, when a youngster asks an 'honest question', I try to help! Depending on time available, and what his attitude appears to be, I may do a little mentoring.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Yellowcustard
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Here somthing I hope will help. Also if you could give us a list of effects you use. Some effects are better on the streets than others.

If you have a mic I am guessing you have the ability to play music. I would pick something instrumentle and a bit unusaul. Play it for a bit. As this plays layout a rope so your edge know were to stand. My rope is only 4 meters. Lay out a few props. The important point is talk and pull pepoel in sell you and your show. Give this a go and see if it helps.

I have a small case open with the sign magic on the floor. I then do multiplying bananas till I catch some one eye. I invite them over and start with sponge balls from a purse frame. The other thing I do is a s people walk by I say hi to people. I normly say hi how are you? here have you seen one of these before< and pass them the purse frame. As they satnd there I anouce my show. by now I have my starting edge of 5-10.

Also just keep going out ther and doing it show after show.

Hope this helps take care have fun. Also have a look at this http://jimmytalksalot.blogspot.co.nz/
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
ROBERT BLAKE
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The classic problem for the magician; I have a mic a table a sign how do I get an audience?

not with a mic - sign - table. they help but that is not the most important part. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART IS ..... YOU!!!!!!!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART IS ..... YOU!!!!!!!

go to youtube and look for streetperfomers _ NOT MAGICIANS - and see what they do at the start of the show. how they make the people curious - how they make the peole come and in the show.

one thing for the start is NOISE. just a whistle is enough. whistle a few times and anounce that the show will start in a minute - then set up you mic. test the mic. thell a joke ask the people if they can hear you.put the mic in a mikestand walk a way and look if it is standing ringht. ask people if ir is ok. set up your table - announce show will start in 20 seconds. take some street chalk and make a circle around your working area and ask people to come in.

the important part is that you get into a conversation with them. yes you can show a small trick but not a big routine yet. most magicians use thier magic to attract acrowd when the finale comes people have seen just 5 minutes. first get a crowd and then start the show. amic is not getting you a crowd only YOU get an crowd.

get to the bassics and learn the trade. MAKE THEM CURIUOS ABOUT YOU!

p.s. NEVER - NEVER - NEVER ASK: CAN I SHOW YOU A TRICK?

why? if people come to you are of interest to them. so you are important. if you go to them they are important and they can say NO!
The Great Zoobini
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You could also pay the audience to watch... Smile

Like Robert and Dick mentioned, I watched in amazement as a woman was trying to get people to sign a petition. For 2 hours, she repeated, "Do you have a few minutes?" Over 200 people told her "No" without a single taker. People in direct sales stress not ask a question that can be answered with a "No".
Meet you in Busker Alley Smile
Nick W
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Just stand there with the sincere belief that you will get a crowd. and know there will be no other outcome.
DoctorCognos
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Engage the passerbys, and they will stop.

Never ask a closed end questions. Make an inclusive statement!

You look like you know how to have a good time! While doing card flourishes with flag back deck.

And look! Pointing to you table space..

Here is a good time right here. Making a sweeping exaggerated gesture towards a spot at your rope marker.

Step up. Get a good spot.

Visually engage them!

Audibly engage them!

Emotionally engage them!

Intellectually engage them!

SMILE and look them in the eyes. Talk to them as a friend, with expectations and authority. Tell them what you expect them to do. And then, deliver the magic!


The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
Dick Oslund
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>>>SAM<<<!>>>MAGIC MAN 491<<< Achtung bitte!, Faites attention s'il vous plait! HEY!

You have never responded with a question or a comment to the posts that we, as a group of experienced performers (many professionals) have taken our time to GIVE you.

I have charged young magician "wannabees" up to $500.00 for a 'session' covering the information that I and Bob Blake, Motley, Paddy, Zoobini, Joe Joe, Doc Cognos and others in the above posts GAVE you!

I begin to wonder if you are just 'talking to hear yourself talk' or if you really want to learn!

On April 6, you stated a problem, asked two questions, and (at least) offered thanks in advsnce for 'any advice'.

Communication is a 'two way street', SAM!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Atte
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Old topic but I have to say thank you to everyone who gave their advice here! I'm just starting busking and I think these tips, as Dick said, are worth a lot of money and hours I don't have to spend learning it the hard way (still have to but maybe it's a bit easier...).

Thanks!

~Atte
Human being, magician, student and squash player. Order may vary depending on the situation, but usually first in the list is "human being".
Nick W
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The hard way is the only way...
Dick Oslund
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PAIVAA ATTE!!!

Good to note that you are still "around"!

How is your first summer--busking--going?

Kiitos

Dick (your Norwegian friend~!)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Markymark
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Thank's for the advice Dick.Where will I look out for your book? H&R magic books perhaps?
''In memory of a once fluid man,crammed and distorted by the classical mess'' -Bruce Lee
Atte
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Hi Dick! (and the others)

I have done busking only for two days (yesterday and today and only few hours thanks to the heat) because I got more "real" work but let's say that I have a show but it's not a perfect show... I have used electric deck and sponges with a purse frame to make people stop and it works ok. I think the biggest problem was that I wasn't loud and flashy enough, and I was getting "bigger" audiences only just before my finale (I did ~15min sets). I think I will tomorrow try to concentrate more on audience building and I was thinking of using an rope to make a stage.

So if you have more tips on how to make people stop and stay I'm more than happy to hear them! After that making them pay is not that hard because today even with my not-so-great show people were tipping fine.

I'm taking little steps every day...

~Atte
Human being, magician, student and squash player. Order may vary depending on the situation, but usually first in the list is "human being".
ROBERT BLAKE
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Atte, what will you do with the rope? just lay it on the ground? using a rope and just lay ot on the ground is not enough. try to use people to help and hold. take time and explain what will be happening. this alone can be a great start. another thing you can use is street chalk. with the chalk and drawing a line yu can do all kinds of jokes. parking space for a bike. little footsteps for the children etc. think what you can do with it. try to stop people before doing anything. use the elcetrickdeck and sponges as an opener. getting ready is the build. elect. deck can be a warm up.

MAKE THEM CURIOUS TO SEE YOU AND HAVE FUN.
Atte
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Thanks Robert!

Yesterday I just laid the rope down and even that was a big improvement and people were stoping more often but I will definitely try your tips when I next time go out.

I have a lot what I can still learn...

~Atte
Human being, magician, student and squash player. Order may vary depending on the situation, but usually first in the list is "human being".
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