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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » How do I approach people? (16 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Daston
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I walk up, introduce myself, and offer a business card. It helps to have a regular gig like a restaurant and invite them to see you perform. I like to offer a quick demo of what I do and play it by ear when to quit. I usually don't show more than three effects. You know you have done well when they show up with friends at your gig.
Vitas White
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Boston
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This might sound trivial but depending on the area, you might want to emphasize that you don't expect any money after your performance (unless of course, you do!). I find that often times people will avoid me on the streets of New York or Boston for fear of me panhandling. I find when I approach people and say "excuse me, are you guys interested in seeing some magic? I'm not looking for any tips, just a chance to show off some of my skills..." I get a lot more positive responses!
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it now. Boldness has genius, power, and magic at its core.
Doctor Zolar
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El Paso TX
132 Posts

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Without offending or bothering the people on the street, the idea is to:
Just START your act. Pick a spot where people are passing by and can SEE YOU and you'll have enough room, IF a group gathers.
Then, just start doing your thing.
You can even pretend to talk to "an invisible audience." (when no one is there yet.)
or play music on a small boombox or portable battery powered amp.
Just get into it.
People will stop to watch if they are not in a hurry.
Start with tricks that do NOT require any audience participation.
ONCE you have a small group watching . . . THEN . . . you can do any Audience participant tricks.

I would NEVER just walk up to strangers and ask to DO a trick.
There are all kinds of people out there. (Do you want to get beat up or stabbed ???)
Some are in the middle of a drug transaction or making plans. . . or talking to a girlfriend.
Some people that APPEAR to be doing nothing . . are Just Thinking. Contemplating.
Writing notes in their head. Going over lines they have to memorize for a play.

Once you have a small group gathered, (on their own accord)
then you can Go with the flow and do things they might be interested in or your pre-planned act.
Doctor Zolar
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El Paso TX
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IF . . . you want to do DOZENS of shows - demonstrations of your magical skill per day
you can get a couple hundred dollars worth of magic (at wholesale) that is easy to show-demonstrate and include some of your skills that are NOT sold with the product and get a booth, kiosk, in a well traveled place: Flea market, mall, airport lobby, balloon festival, state fair, etc.
And. . . have 3 or 4 COMMON and under $20. type magic tricks you can demo and sell all day long.
Like . . D'lites, misers dream cups/glasses (adding in your own special coin skills), Half dollar stuff, shrinking half dollar to miniature coin IN THEIR OWN HANDS, etc. (Miniature coins cost wholesale about 30 cents each . .)
And Show and sell these pre-packaged tricks with instructions all day long for dozens and dozens of people.
Making double or 3 times what you paid for these tricks at wholesale.
Generally, common stuff . .coins, miser's dream glasses-cups, (makes noise too), flash paper, Flipper coins, shell coin tricks, stripper decks-cards, STUFF that plays big but is for common person (not regular magicians) .
Any way, you'll get LOTS of practice performing to hundreds of strangers.
And you get paid a little as the day goes by.
To buy wholesale, usually minimum dollar amount is $100. per order. Plus shipping.
Try: . . . EZ Magic D. Robbins to buy wholesale.

For instance: When doing miser's dream you can add your own slights and coin catches (to make it SUPER Spectacular . .) . . but sell them the basic product.

Excellent practice . . . all day long.

Some time back, when D'lites were new. . . . .Even Rocco has been seen selling his d'lites in a kiosk at an airport for some extra "change."

You can put your Special Spin on whatever you are selling to make it GREAT !
FasciN8
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Get a custom-made shirt with bright colors that says something like, "Want to see a magic trick?" or "Free magic! Ask me." across the front. or make a sign that says something of that sort. There is always the cliche wizard hat to go along with your shirt or hoodie. I am assuming there is a reason wizard hats are outrageous Lol perhaps attention along with enough space to hide away a bunch of stuff to produce
gong
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San Francisco, CA
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Recently, I've been approaching strangers almost everyday. On the train, at the grocery store, etc.

I walk around with a deck of cards that I'm shuffling, and I just ask, "Hey wanna see a magic trick?"

About 4 out of 5 will usually say yes.

If you look like you're having fun, instead of overly serious, people will assume this is just for fun.

If someone says "no", I just say in a friendly way, "No worries. Thanks for considering.", and walk to someone else.

I usually start off with a simple card trick, to gauge interest. Then I move on to more involved tricks (coins, dice, sharpies, wallets, phones start coming out).
ValeCavaliero
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"Hello! I'm a wizard, do you want to see something really incredible?"
Served me very well over the years Smile

I think the key is to have a friendly approach and really feel that you have something positive to give to other people
HeronsHorse
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Scotland
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I've gotten better responses by simply doing some effects with coins or cards and subtly watching the reactions people are giving me, you can spot those that are watching you intently. Then I'll catch their eye whilst vanishing a coin, they smile, I smile then I just walk over and the intro has already been done with no awkwardness at all. I'll go over and say something like, how about this.. and that's it, I'm into some good stuff. They love it and there's always a great reaction.
The thing about this approach is that it avoids any awkwardness, because you could've just been sitting passing the time doing the cards for yourself, they can't tell. So if people don't give the desired reaction you can carry on practicing, until some other person gives it, or walk to another spot.
I don't think that you should walk up and ask to perform for them. Sometimes people say yes because of psychological pressure and they don't want to or aren't interested.
This way you only play to those that have essentially, asked for it. You don't ask them.
And ... I don't even know what I'm talking about.
But I've practiced magic for two years.
Smile
Doctor Zolar
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El Paso TX
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Yeah . . . I don't think people in public . . . WANT . . . to be asked. Or bothered.
Most are thinking about something: Work, school, travel, etc.

They've got to come to YOU !

1-2 tricks at an Open Mic Night at a bar, coffee house, tea room would be good. (3-5 minutes, in between other acts or musicians.)
Volunteer to do some Walk-around at a friends wedding reception.

Join Toastmasters Club in your own town. Tell "stories" and follow up with a trick that demonstrates the "Story",
or tell a "Story" . . . WHILE doing a trick.

Recite a poem . . . while performing.
Toastmasters LISTEN to each other speak, so they have to STAY there and listen and watch.
This lets you get used to Others Watching You.

They'll let you know. . .if you sound wimpy or weak or too obnoxious.
They will offer hints and tips to help you face an audience.
They will tell you when you use too many "Ah's and stammer and such.
They will talk to you AFTER the meeting also and give advice or tell you how wonderful you are.
HeronsHorse
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Absolutely agree with you there Doctor!
Let them come, and they do come.
Open Mic is a different animal though.. likely more scary when you're starting out.
I've sung and played guitar on open nights, so I'm not as scared of an audience as I might be ... though saying that, it's easier to jump full throttle into a song, which feels like it's almost something you can hide behind, than standing up there and breaking the silence with your lone voice piercing the judgemental silence. Heh. Melodramatic, I know.
So yeah, I just changed my mind. I would find it a bit scary Smile
And ... I don't even know what I'm talking about.
But I've practiced magic for two years.
Smile
Dick Oslund
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Here's something else to think about:

A professional magician (I was for 50 years.)is a SALESMAN. He sells ENTERTAINMENT. (Not just "tricks!)

A successful salesman (I was. --Never at liberty in 50 years) never asks a "closed question". i.e., he would never ask a potential customer, a question that could be answered with a "No"!

People who tell you to ask: "Would you like to see a trick?
mean well, but, I would never follow their advice.

I suggest that you quit trying to "buy tricks". I've written about THAT, before!

Instead, it you are serious about becoming a magician, READ!!! (Books like TARBELL, etc.)Learn THE PRINCIPLES OF MAGIC!

I did, when I was a teen. Most of the tricks that I used to make a living, came from books like Tarbell.

If you get good enough to charge money for a show, people will ASK YOU! You wont need to ask them, if they would like to see a trick.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
HeronsHorse
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Words of wisdom, Dick. I love it mate. That part about the closed question is great. Smile
Paul
And ... I don't even know what I'm talking about.
But I've practiced magic for two years.
Smile
Wx4usa
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15 years ago I was in LAX after visiting clients waiting for the dreaded 12AM redeye back to Atlanta. I had 4 hours to walk around like a zombie. I ate the horrible $12 sandwich and strolled around and thought I'll practice the old silk vanish and bill switch 500 times tonight if it kills me. I just found a seat and sat there and repeated the TT moves over and over and over and over. I didn't even realize it but I had a little following gazing at me and it was kinda cool. I told them I was a world famous magician out here in Hollywood filming a TV special. Really? Nope. Just kidding. We all laughed. People like magic and are attracted to it. I'm with Dick, don't ask a question that can get a yes or no answer.... Just walk up and tell em you're trying a new magic trick and you want a guinea pig and let er rip.
Dick Oslund
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Hi Hal & Paul!

Glad that you liked the comment.

People do like their personal space!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Senor Fabuloso
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One way I would get attention was to take a Fortune Telling Fish our of a bag and let in flop and move in my hand . If I caught someone looking, I'd say "here you give it a try" and of course it worked for them to. Once the ice was broken, they were mine.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
magicianbrady
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Just learn some visual flourishes like card springing and the people will come to you Smile
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