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Iron Butterfly
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First I need to say what a great community we have here. I am grateful for such a wealth of experience and information from fellow buskers and magic professionals.

For me my trial by fire was busking on the subway platform at 59th and Columbus circle. Talk about humble pie. People ignore you, watch their I pads/phones or have to hop on a train halfway thorough a bit. If anything it toughened me for the rejection as I HATE being ignored LOL.

Today I went above ground into Central Park right inside the Columbus Circle exit, which had good walk by traffic. I used to be a performer at Victorian Gardens Amusement Park at Wollman Rink. I have been a children's performer for several years, which is how I discovered magic. Doing a childeren's show is a different thing altogether then busking. The experience certianly helps however.

I had a ton of fun today compared to the subway platform. My magic tricks were sponge balls, Benson Bowl routine, Professors Nightmare with some simple rope manipulation and misers dream.

Here is where I believe my big problem was for the day. What do I do to get people in to watch?? I wanted my benson Bowl routine to be last as I melded simple sponge balls in the hand into the Benson Bowl Routine, into 1 in the hand 1 in the pocket with an orange revealed as the final load under my bowl.

The only thing I felt comfortable using to pull people in was my sponge balls, which worked but then I would go into my whole BB routine, which folks loved I would then do professors night mare and then Misers Dream. The problem I had was that I did not feel Misers Dream was as strong a closer as my whole sponge balls routine and my hat lines were weak.

My question is what do you guys use to pull people in? I was able to grab couples and pull them to my table for my benson ball routine which would draw crowds BUT when it came to hatting them it felt awkward most of the time. I only made 40 dollars in two hours all singles.

I have to give myself credit as this was my FIRST Busk in Central Park.

Things I learned....1 I need better flow with my magic from one bit to the next, which I guess comes with experience.
2 My table needs to be closer to the sidewalk as I put my table back off the pathway to prepare for an audience. It was like I was fishing and I had to reel folks to my table. Bring my table closer to the fish is what I mean.
3 Better use of hat lines.

I had a great time and I know I am doing it right in some ways because when I was packing up to leave this attractive woman came up to me and said, "Here take this It was so much fun watching you make those kids and family smile" She dropped a dollar in my Box.
NYCTwister
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Hi

I busk Central Park also. (Don't worry, it's a BIG park.)

My suggestions would be-

1. Be funny if you can. If not, at least be loud and demonstrative. Laughter loosens the wallet more than anything else. Also, it draws a bigger crowd since everyone wants to get in on the good time.
2. Keep your routine short, 3 tricks the most. It's 5x easier to keep a NY'er around for 10 mins than for 20 mins. Even if the love you they will resent you keeping them there. (Esp. if your closer doesn't blow them away.)
3. Your most aggressive hat line should be before your closer. It should contain a reference to the denomination you expect. Something like " I can't tell you what to put in the hat but five or ten (short Pause) BILLION would be great." If you wait until after your close you'll lose the outside edge of the crowd.
4. Get over your awkwardness when it comes to hatting them. Fast.

As far as CP in general-

1. Make friends with the park personnel. All of them. **** off one and your life will soon be hell. Show them respect and they will have your back.
2. Do NOT **** off the food vendors for the same reasons.

BTW $40 in 2 hours is still $20 an hour. Net. Not so easy to find a job that pays that.

Good Luck
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
Mario Morris
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Why not routine you show in a diffrent order.

Perhaps you can Open with the miser dream overlap with your ropes then close with benson bowls.

Just a thought.

After thought.
Patter and comedy helps to build, it is better to build before you start your magic. A big mistake performers often make is that we start our show to early. Takes time to learn, build and only when your happy with the number watching you do you start the show.
Mario
Iron Butterfly
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Thanks guys.

Twister are you the guy by the entrance to the children's park section?

I need to work on build up. It dawned on me I have been doing it wrong. When I had a show in Victorian Gardens I did a music/magic show. I had a pa system, which helped. They would announce my show and 5 to 10 minutes before my showtime I would draw kids and family in to the audience.

Yesterday I would engage people with my sponge balls pull them to the table, usually it would be a couple, family or group of two to 4, and start performing for them hoping that would draw in more crowd. the fact my table was back from the path did not help.

Lesson learned in that respect.

the other problem I need to get over quickly is second guessing how people react. I love performing for the kids because ...they have the child mentality of "Ohhhhh magic". Engaging adults on cell phones or who are in conversation, who look to old to want to be involved, who don't want to be bothered. This led me to focus on families with kids, which was what my comfort level was. I really really hate being ignored or blown off.

I am good once I get a crowd and get into the show...I could make improvements of course.

I have never had the chance to watch someone build, do their act and then hat.

You hit the nail on the head Mario. My goal was to do the routine order you just suggested but I was lost on pulling an audience without doing my sponge balls, which screwed my order up. Could anyone point me in the right direction on building techniques or folks on video building?

thanks again
Magician Shaun
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Iron Butterfly,

I have never worked NY but my brother lives in Albany and I plan to get up there next year. I will share my thoughts on the build. Do a visual, repeatable, trick. These requirements are why so many vanish a silk. Get a bright yellow one and as big as you can get into your TT. Get attention with this. Don't go into another trick until you have 4 or 5 people. Then have another trick as part of your build that takes about 3-5 minutes and have some interaction with the first group. Get them to yell or make some noise as part of the trick. When this is over, go into your show. You may want to have up to 3 tricks that are part of the build not including the silk vanish. The longer you can draw out the build the bigger your crowd will be and thus the bigger the hats.

Make sure you keep them entertained as well. Don't just drag it out for nothing.
Iron Butterfly
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Beautiful. A perfect description.

I saw you 3 fly gr8gorilla. It looks good. It something I have been working on as well.

So much to learn so little time Smile
thomasR
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Misers Dream is an ideal builder because it makes noise, involves money, involves everyone in the audience, and can be repeated as many or few times as necessary. With that being said if you feel most comfortable and most succesful with sponge balls how about you pull in the initial crowd with sponge balls, then misers dream, ropes, and then do sponge balls AGAIN (just making sure not to completely repeat.. make the sure the people that were at the start understand you are going to do something different as well.. that it's your big finale that they can't possibly miss!) and then go into the Bowl routine from Sponge Balls.

I think as time goes by you can probably get comfortable using Misers Dream as your builder.. but until then, use the sponge balls just as a builder.

The great thing about busking is you can try all these different approaches until you find what works best..
Iron Butterfly
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Thanks.

I recently got an invisible deck, which I think I will use in the show. I also got nest of wallets wich is also a nice quicke routine or it can be drawn out a bit.

I have plenty to work with so no excuses.

TT with silk
Sponge Balls
Nest of wallets
Invisible Deck
Professors Nightmare
Misers dream
Benson Bowl.

Great idea with Misers Dream. I just have to see what works best.
Dick Oslund
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About 30 years ago, I was managing a GIRL TO GORILLA (illusion) side show. We booked on to various carnivals in the eastern US. We worked county fairs, still dates, and state fairs. (Some of those county fairs were as big or bigger than some state fairs!)

We did a bally to build a tip so we would have a hundred or more going in. The old side shows that I had worked when I was a teenager, were usually 'ten in ones', but we were a 'single O'. The show ran about ten minutes, but we weren't interested in doing the whole show for just a few walk ins. We did all the old sideshow bally "stalls" to build a tip.

It was a lot like a busker building a tip, only instead of hatting them, we sold a $1.00 ticket. It was a very profitable season, --and my last one under canvas!

The only thing "wrong" was there was no way to get any "inside money"!

See you "down the road"!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
gallagher
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Hey iron Butterfly,
man playing Central Park, why don´t you just start off with,
..."In a Gadda da Vita"?,..

cmm, sorry,..
could resist,..
god, that song still takes me,..

hey, Gr8gorilla hit it pretty good.
Start with a visual, repeatable Trick.
Work to one,. hook two,.. the snow ball rolls.

Just a thought,.. about `the Comedy´ question.
yes, you can combine Comedy, Magic,.. Music,.. it all becomes Entertainment;
but,..
but,.. Magic CAN carry itself,..
be Entertaining,..
on its own feet.
Be carefull with Comedy.

Are you familiar with Kudzu?
Comedy shares the roots.
,be carefull.

,..but,.. be.

partner in time,
gallagher.

p.s.: I just read this to my baby,
she smiled, laughed,.. then kicked me.
We start OUR Show differently.
We open with our Strongest, Hottest, Fastest,... Highest Energy ,..
most `Confident´ number.

We set up.
Ignore onlookers.
Talk with ourselves.
Sit down,.. and lay it down.
Three minutes,.. "BAM!"
Then, turn to the Audience,..
and see what we have to work with.
9 out of 10 times,
.. we continue.

,..that´s our thing.


"...In-a-gadda-da-vida honey,
don'tcha know that I love you?
In-a-gadda-da-vida baby,
don'tcha know that I'll always be true?
...."
RiffRaff
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"In the Garden of Eden".
Mark_Chandaue
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Bill in lemon is a great closer, borrow the bill from a guy in a suit and make sure it comes out of the lemon covered in lemon juice, 99 times out of 100 they will let you keep the bill, that's $10 before you even start with your hat and the fact that the first guy put $10 in sets the bar for everyone else. Not that everyone else will put 10's in but It encourages people to put notes in rather than coins and you will probably see more 5's than you were going to before someone put 10 in. (assuming 5's are as common in the US as they are in the UK)

Mark
Mark Chandaue A.I.M.C.
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gallagher
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Boooo!
never listen to "don´t",..
,,but,.. DON´T plan your Show ,.. or an Effect around money,..
`the GETTING of money´.

gosh, you could simply head a few blocks north
and get a job on Wall Street,..
live, work, and hang out with a bunch of Sad, Depressive,..
rat-race-runners,..
all who go to Central Park,..
to catch a good Show,.
and ease their weiry minds.

Nö.
Develope yourself.
Offer yourself.
,..don´t Sell yourself
,.. you´re worth more then a lemon-juice-soggy-fiver,..
Pound or Dollar.

give it easy,
gallagher.
Iron Butterfly
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@Dick....lol you brought memories. I remember the woman to gorilla sideshow illusion. Saw it a few times. Sideshows were no different in concept then the internet today. You pay for something and then learn there is something better to be had if you pay just a little more.

@gallagher yup THAT song.
Mark_Chandaue
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I was making an average of $150 - $200 per day in Covent Garden for 4 x 15 minute pitches during the peak summer periods and about $50 in the off season or poor weather 30 years ago with those soggy fivers, far more than I would make doing the same hours in a regular job.

I wonder what that would translate to in today's money. Certainly a lot better than $20 per hour today. Don't knock it till you tried it. When I added the bill in lemon routine my take went up considerably and stayed consistently higher for the 10 years I was busking. Bottom line though is that whatever routines you do if they don't entertain you won't get much in the hat.

Incidentally that bill in lemon routine is still the closer to my act although I no longer busk so the bill no longer goes in the hat, it's still a very entertaining routine and a strong closer.

Mark
Mark Chandaue A.I.M.C.
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Magician Shaun
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I think that there is a psychological reason for the Bill in Lemon effect increasing your hat. If you get a big bill from the spectator he has effectively given it to you when you borrow it. He/She voluntarily handed you their hard earned cash. There is a part of them that knows they aren't getting it back when they give it to you. By the time you go to offer it back you are hatting the crowd and have their bill in hand. Because they tell you to keep it, everyone else sees how much the first person gave you and they then feel that is the correct amount to give. I can't tell you how many times a spectator looks into the hat, sees big bills, and puts the few ones he/she was pulling back in their wallet and reaches for a bigger bill.

Now, with the Bill in Lemon effect, your whole crowd sees a big bill go into the hat as the first tip. This sets the standard for every spectator watching. Each one sees the large denomination bill you are given and it will be very hard for them to give a small amount. They don't want to look cheap so they try to match what others are putting in.
Mark_Chandaue
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That's exactly my point. However when I started doing it I was careful to keep the bill fairly dry and they always took it back. The first time it came out covered in juice was an accident because the lemon got bashed up in transit making it fairly juicy. When I went to hand back the bill the guy took one look at the state of it covered in juice and said "you keep it". Next show I purposely gave the lemon a bit of a squash to get the juice running and the same thing happened. From that point on I got to keep pretty much every bill that went in the lemon and as a result more people put notes in instead of coins. When you are making your sole income busking, every little thing that improves your take should be taken advantage of.

Mark
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Dick Oslund
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AMEN~ MARK~!!!

Heba Haba Al was the magic bartender at the Pickle Barrel in Chicago. He did a strong card routine (ultra simple), and the ancient bit with a lump of sugar and a pencil. (a pencil mark, made by the spectator on the lump would appear on the hands of MANY spectators after the lump dissolved in a glass of water.

The magic merely kept "the party going". Al never forgot the meaning of the "inscription" on a small sign atop the cash register: G T F M$$$$$
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
MagiCol
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"the woman to gorilla sideshow illusion"
Was there an Egress to look at, too?
Just a couple of weeks back I came across a notice in a parking building that used that word:
..."egress to ground via stairs". Sounds a little like "mothership to earth..." building up expectation.
The presentation makes the magic.
Zombie Magic
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I went out for a beer and now have
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Quote:
On 2013-08-14 18:23, Iron Butterfly wrote:
I only made 40 dollars in two hours all singles.


:appluase: :appluase: Smile

I think you did GREAT! 2 hrs. a day for a month is $1200.

And you'll get better at it!
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