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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Length of a Street Performance (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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I'm interested in Street Magic. I've been doing mostly strolling magic and I am excited about the Street Magic idea.

I know it's good to keep people interested, build your crowd, etc.

So how long does this go on before (I assume) you start over again with trick number 1.

20 minutes, 30 mintes, 4 days?

how long can you expect people to hang out and watch magic.

On one hand, the longer they stay, the better you probably are... but, the less money you make because "The Grand Finale" which is just around the corner is really 3 hours away.

Or do you try to get a large crowd, and as soon as you do, start teasing them with "The Grand Finale is coming right up," do a few more then finish?

I know I need to purchase Cellini's DVD but does anyone have any thoughts on this?

number of effects
type of effects
length of program
optimal crowd size


frank
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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Eric Evans
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Rio Grande
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"The Art of Street Performance" is also available in video formatt, just in case you've not upgraded to a DVD yet.

All of the answers to your questions are there and who better to hear them from than the Master himself.
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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I have a 10 to 12 minute act. It consumes over 15 minutes. The balance is drawing the tip (crowd) and then passing the hat. I try for as big an audience as possible, realizing that about half are not going to drop anything in my hat. On a poor day performing at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, I draw about 60 people. So 30 drop something in my hat (say a buck, that’s $30!). I turn three good tips an hour ($90). That’s a poor day! (OK, I work some streets where a 20-person crowd is more the average and a $15.00 hat is good. Still that is $30 to $45 for my hour of work.)

Once I have finished the act, collected my tip, had a drink of water and spent a short minute or two talking to a passerby, I start all over. I start right from the top as if it is the first show of the day and my rent depended on it!

How long can I expect people to stay and watch my show? From the time they arrive to the end of the show is what I expect and what I work (and work hard) for. I don’t let a person walk away easily. Banter and a connection with the audience help keep them in place.

The back edge of a crowd will melt a bit but the front and center usually stays. I will often have some people that were in the back during one show work to the front for the next (and leave a bit in my hat).

After I have gathered the tip (crowd), I tell them what the show will consist of. It lets them know what to expect and that they won’t be standing there all day.

Number of effects? Well that is going to depend largely on you. Largely on how long a show you want to put on. I think that you should think in terms of developing an act. A good, tight, well-rehearsed act. An act is more than doing some “tricks”. Usually three good, solid tricks make an act. Three tricks/effects PLUS an opener is the minimum you’ll need.

The opener is what gathers the crowd. The first thing a street performer/magician must ask him/herself is why would anyone want to pause and watch me (and give me a bit-o-money). Frankly, if you can’t answer that question with some trick/joke/novelty item then you are not ready for the streets!

Type of effects? Visual, interactive, not easily blown away by the elements, and easily re-set are the qualities of a good street effect. In general (there are exceptions) card tricks don’t work well on the street. Only the front few people can really see them. Plus, the elements (wind, rain, humidity) work havoc on cards! Three card Monte tricks look like gambling and the police in most major US cities will treat it as gambling and interrupt your show (and maybe even lock you up).

Crowd size? Cellini seems to specialize in smaller crowds and shorter shows. The linguistics of some venues dictates how big your crowd can be. If you are on a sidewalk, you may not safely gather more than 10 or 15 people. If you are in the Baltimore Inner Harbor performing corner (a sort of amphitheater) you can easily perform to over 200 people. I work a downtown area on a street that has been blocked off to auto traffic and is pedestrian only. I can gather a crowd of between 40 and 60 people without a problem. I try for about 25 as a workable tip.

The best way to learn this craft is to simply sit and watch some working street performers work. Not just magicians, but jugglers, mimes, musicians, and the like. Then, take a deep breath and jump in!

Have fun, love your audience, and give a good show!

I hope some of this helps answer your questions.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
BroDavid
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Inner circle
America’s North Coast, Ohio
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Yes, by all means get the Video!

The Art of Street Performing, Vol I

This video covers it all. Plenty of examples of different styles and lots of specifics that apply to all styles.

From gathering to keeping, from show length, to presentation, from passing the hat, to what to wear, what to carry.

It is wealth of knowledge on one Video. I have watched mine three times, and each time I get more out of it!

Definitely a MUST HAVE, if you are even thinking about the Street.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Pokie-Poke
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Crowd size is dependent on space, type of show, and pedestrian trafic.

length of show is dependent on your show and the size crowd it will play to. If they can't see what you are doing they won't pay. Likewise, if you have a big crowd (audience) and someone walks in and hears "Thank you very much here's my hat..." you have lost them.

Turnover is dependant on your reset time and crowd turnover, you don't want to start to soon or you will trap people who had watched your last show (or part of it) and go, "this is where I came in..." and they leave, this is counter productive while trying to get a new crowd.

I guess no one can answer this question fully without seeing you do your act in the space that you intend to do it.

Hone your act till it is a razer sharp tip gathering monster, move across the street and you can still bomb. Smile

And ok, after everyone raving about this Cellini tape I guess I'll have to get it now also.
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The Adventure cont...
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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Thank you all for taking the time to share your insights. I got a lot more feedback than I expected given that I didn't think it was that good a question to begin with.
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Kozmo
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The Cellini video is not available anymore in vhs through dealers.... most magic stores are now only doing dvd.... I have 50 vhs in stock... vhs of the art of street performing.... same day shipment on that product... I have been slow for some folks on all of this shipping stuff but all of those stock, inventory problems have been resolved.... hey Bro David.... look in your mailbox.. the Cellini Ring Video is on its way Smile sorry for the delay....

The Art of Street Performing, Part 2...?
....gonna be killer!!! ...tons of magic and a lot of questions talked about... breaking the circle, lots of stuff.... transitions from one effect to another..... important stuff if you want to make your living out there..... several of the very best street magicians in the world... shot in Boston and New Orleans... and still more to be shot.... tons of guys, including Cellinis entire street set... explained... plus interesting ideas on other effects and routines....

It is my belief that a guy could buy the 2 or 3 Art of Street Performing videos and go out and make a living..... but don't tell everyone.... it might get crowded out there.

kozmo
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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Cellini is doing a lecture in San Francisco next week. I wonder if his products will all be available. I'm counting on them being available. Maybe even at a discount? Who knows.

Does anyone know differently? Is anyone going to this lecture?
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Fredrick
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Seattle
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Kosmo,

I spotted your name in the credits in volume one. Hats off to you, Cellini and the rest of the production team on a first class job!

Cellini's lecture in Seattle was a wonderful afternoon. I am glad that he was able to spot enroute to Boise.

So, here is my question - when is volume two coming out?
"Try to find the humanity in the magic and maybe you'll come up with something of your own. It's the humanity that gets you there, not techniques." Michael Moschen on Creativity
Kozmo
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Frederick
Thanks for the kind words,
As you know jim is currently on tour in the north west....it looks like he may be out until end of november....so we likely wont finish it until january....we will get together and not leave until its done....then the post production...getting it ready for dvd....another 2 months...

Its likely we will be shooting some video in new orleans in the next month or 2....we have shot a ton already all over God's green acres...the video will be street perfoming...magic....a lot of new ideas for you all to ponder...more advanced theory on building , keeping and collecting...plus there will be magic.....

Then after that project we are working on something very, very special.....historic....

I'm glad you enjoyed his lecture....

Again, thanks for the kind words

koz
MagiUlysses
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Kansas City
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Greetings and Salutations Koz,

Does the upcoming video include a full performance of Jim's street act on the street?

I saw his lecture in KC recently, and he opens his lecture with his street act, and my only regret is not bringing a video and seeking permission to record it. It was the most beautiful bit of magic and showmanship I have ever witnessed.

If the upcoming video doesn't have his performance with an explanation of his ideas behind it's workings, I for one will preorder such a video, both to always have a record of an artist at work and the thinking behind his genius.

Good luck with the upcoming video project. I'll order one as soon as they are available. Does March sound about right?

Live a great adventure,
choose an extraordinary life!

Joe in KC
Kozmo
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Well, I dont know...we have Jim on the streets in new orleans...and we are currently planning a trip back there....but, there are a lot of things that we would like to put on the video....a bunch of stuff....so only time will tell....but eventually it will be on something...I just dont know yet....

I'm sure Jim will appreciate the kind words...I will read this to him

Hope all is well

koz
flooglestreet
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New York
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Harry Murphy says card effects don't work well on the street. He is right. However, I have a day every seven or eight when people specifically ask for card effects and really don't want to see anything else. Carry a deck or two.
If ya wanna be the Top Banana, Ya gotta start at the bottom of the Bunch (Johnny Mercer)
Harry Murphy
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Inner circle
Maryland
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I have never been asked by a crowd to do a card trick. Never ever! I am performing an act that is designed to flow from one bit to another. Hopefully I am taking the audience on the adventure with me. For me cards are just too fickle (for all the reasons I have already mentioned) to include in my act.

Now if after an act, I am talking with a spectator or two (usually a magician or a youngster who would like to become a magician) and the conservation turns to card tricks, I might share a pet routine with them. Yes I carry a deck or two with me to amuse myself with.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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