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Topic: How do you approach someone?
Message: Posted by: Amir (May 11, 2005 04:22PM)
So let's say I have a table set up and everything, how do I get people to stop and see the magic? and how do I get them to give some $?
Message: Posted by: Roland Henning (May 11, 2005 04:26PM)
To you last question. They give you money, if they think you are worth it. So being good is just one of the issues.
Message: Posted by: Zack (May 11, 2005 05:02PM)
One of the things that I learned working as a pitchman: There are three parts to the pitch: The bally, the B.S., and the turn. As artists we spend all our time and energy working on the B.S. (the show) and very little time working on the bally (getting the crowd) and the turn (getting the money). Most magi are in for a rude awakening when they hit the streets.

Getting the crowd:

This can be the hardest part. When I lived in Portland, it was unbelievably easy to get a crowd: I shook a cistron (Like a rattle) and yelled my head off what I yelled sounded something like this:
Ladies and gentlemen, madames and monsieurs, madamen und herren! Kommensie, allex-vous STEP right up! Roll on up for the greatest show on this planet or any other! The only show certified by the Oregon state department of mental health! So amazing I got a letter back from Ripley saying "I don't believe it!" Delights deleusions and doppelgangers! Thaumaturgy and thunderstorms! Edifying Electrified bonafide certifed, DOCTOR Zack's medicine Show! "[/i]

I then pulled a mouth coil out of my mouth, and by the time I was done, I had a crowd.

Well, then I moved to LA. And my bally no longer worked. Angelinos are suspicious as hell, and they run AWAY from a screaming maniac, not towards him.

Some things I've tried that have worked in LA:
[*] Waving a silk up and down until you get somebody's attention. Then vanish it.
[*] Standing there idly flourishing my cards until somebody asks to see a trick.
[*] Reapeatedly back palming a single card until I get somebody's attention.
All of those work, but you're working pretty hard.

Then Don Driver taught me his hankerchief bally. Now I can pull a crowd pretty much whenever I want, as long as I have reasonable foot traffic.

Don's got a video coming out. See [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=109585&forum=6&39] the thread [/url]for details.

Getting the money:

1) Mention the hat at least THREE times. work it into your patter.
2) Ask for fives, not ones. If you ask for ones, you'll get change.
3) Have a lot of funny hat lines. Get Gazzo's joke book for this. Here's a few of my own:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am neither a beggar nor a thief, I am an honest craftsman seeking an honest days wage"

"Please give generously, or I'll have to go back to my day job, selling plutonium to Al Qaeda!"

"What you are about to see has taken a great deal of practice. So far it has made me neither rich nor famous, but if it brings a smile to your face, its all been worth it. And if it brings a few bucks to the hat, so much the better!"

"Remember, if you tip a street performer, you'll have good luck and long life. If you don't tip a street performer, you will die, unloved, and unmourned, with a false hope in your heart, and a false kiss on your lips."

4) Consider passing the hat in the MIDDLE, not the end. Do this after you have shown them some good quality magic, but before your big closer!
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 11, 2005 05:37PM)
Great stuff.

One of my effects in particular I work the notion of
"The Hat" directly into the patter for my show.

It's a fun, easy, money-centered, impossible effect.
Great for the street.

It's 5 minutes of fun with a few lines specifically meant to remind the audience that 'The Hat' is coming.
Message: Posted by: cstreet_1986 (May 11, 2005 06:16PM)
Zack, I can honestly say that your post is the most comprehensive and insightful post ever made on this site that I have read!! fantastic, some real pearls there.

Also, I love your old bally, seems great. It's a *** shame we don't get that sort of attitude around here (unfortunately people run from buskers around here too, thinking that we are either begging or selling some sort of charity appeal).

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2005 06:39PM)
On 2005-05-11 17:22, Amir wrote:
{Topic -- How do you approach someone?}

So let's say I have a table set up and everything, how do I get people to stop and see the magic? and how do I get them to give some $?

I have added the title of the topic into the quote, because it gives us some information.

First of all, you don't approach them. This isn't "David Blaine" street magic. This is "real" street magic.

Your question as you posted it, though shows a bit of insight. You do need to get them to stop. This means you need to get their attention. Zack's post shows that some things will work in some places, but not in others. So follow that thread over to Don Driver's section and read it.

I would recommend two books to you.
1) Krowd Kontrol by Gazzo et.al. This tells you what you need to know.
2) Street Magic and the Art of War by Nowlin Craver and Eric Evans. This tells you much of the rest of it.

Read these diligently. They will help you more than I can begin to say.

Then get the Cellini DVD's.

And may you have fat hats!
Message: Posted by: cstreet_1986 (May 11, 2005 06:59PM)
Don't mean to have a go at you here Mr. Palmer, but in case anyone is searching for that second book, it's title is "The Secret Art of Magic"

Message: Posted by: BroDavid (May 11, 2005 09:04PM)
Don't be afraid to look them in the eyes, and to smile and engage them.

There are two kinds of people out there. The ones who have stopped, and the ones who havent stopped yet.

The first kind is the hardest. Once you get a couple of them, you have teh herd mentality working for you, and others will stop just to see what the herd has found good enough to graze on.

I target the first ones. I look over teh passerbys and I talk to them, like we are old friends while I am doing card flouishes, or banging my rings around. "You look like a guy who likes to laugh and knows how to have a good time. Come ere, You are going to love this! Have you ever seen really good magic? You are going to be talking about this for a week man. You will aboslutely love it. This is so good... yada yada. And then once I have one or two, I keep working for a few more, by talking loud to the ones I have stopped, "don't tell those other people about his now!" This is just between us, OK?" But everybody get ready! The show is about to start now. In a couple of minutes I will do some magic that never been seen before on this continent. And I am really looking forward to seeing it...."

And then after I have a solid core group, I go into an opener or two that is highly visual and intended to lock in the early ones, and draw more. I said tehere are two types, and now I have them both. I had the ones who stopped. And these are the ones who hadn't stopped yet. Until now!

Some would argue that there are also those who will not stop. Maybe so. But if you give them a good enough reason, there are very few of those. And if you try to decide which are which, you will lose some that you shouldnt, while trying too hard to stop some who wont. Ignore them. To me they don't exist.

I don't do big circle shows, but I regularly draw 20-50 and depending on the traffic, when I get to about 15-20, I start into the whole routine, and then close it out by passing the hat. I curently lay down hat lines all through the show, and pass the hat at the end. I am seriously thinking about taking Zack's advice and moving the hat up right before the finale. It just makes sense, and although I have heard it before, this is the first time it sounded so sensible.

Message: Posted by: cstreet_1986 (May 11, 2005 09:56PM)
Of course this varies from region to region, but I am giving a south-wales perspective on Brother David's line, "You look like a guy who likes to laugh and..."

In Cardiff you will find people using a line like "you seem like a guy who" or "you appear to be the kinda of woman who knows...", you get the idea. People using those lines in Cardiff are more often than not looking to get money out of you. Although this may be ultimately what we do, we do it in a more indirect way.

As I said, this is probably a regional variation, but something to think about.

Just a thought, maybe I am being a bit mad because its late here and I am tired.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2005 10:37PM)
On 2005-05-11 19:59, cstreet_1986 wrote:
Don't mean to have a go at you here Mr. Palmer, but in case anyone is searching for that second book, it's title is "The Secret Art of Magic"


Chase, you are absolutely right. It is based on Sun Tzu's [i]Art of War[/i].

The book is titled [i]The Secret Art of Magic[/i] and it is divided into two sub-books, which are called [i]Street Magic and the Art of War[/i] by Eric Evans and [i]The Secret Art of Dispersion[/i] by Nowlin Craver.

Just to check, I did a Google search on Street Magic and the Art of War, and got six correct hits on the first page.

But thanks for posting the correct title.
Message: Posted by: Zack (May 11, 2005 11:11PM)
I'm curious, does Eric mention the "36 strategems?" I've been working on applying that book to magic for some time, and I'll be cross if someones beat me to it.
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (May 12, 2005 07:22AM)
On 2005-05-11 22:04, BroDavid wrote:
I don't do big circle shows, but I regularly draw 20-50 and depending on the traffic, when I get to about 15-20, I start into the whole routine, and then close it out by passing the hat.

Where is your pitch?
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (May 12, 2005 08:00AM)
Cstreet_1986 - although some areas may be more sensitive to it than others, you do have to be careful that it doesn't sound or look like a scam or a hustle.

I pick my mark carefully (ooops that sounds like a hustle..) but I really do choose somebody to whom I can relate, and who is responding to me, for that particular line. And I have a friend who would never use that line becuase he is sure that people would think it is a hustle. But after 40+ years of reading people in sales, and public speaking I have a pretty good rate of return on that line, and I honestly cant think of the last time that it didn't work for me.

As for Jim's question; where is my pitch? Anywhere there is enough traffic to support it. I work (usually by invitation) a lot of local festivals. And I work the street in a nearby college town in conjunction with a coffe shop there. They have a wide sidewalk in a high traffic area, and give me a base of operations, So I can do my pitch and pass the hat. Then when it is over, some of the folks that stopped for my pitch peel off and go in for snack. So we both win.

I also do a large flea market that gets good traffic, and although there is another magician there, a young friend of mine who uses it to practice magic, I set up far away from him, and I never fail to get a good crowd and a decent hat there.

But if I have my table with me, (I don't carry as much with me in winter time, but am about ready to load my table and a bag or two, to get ready now) I might set up just about anywhere there are people.

Message: Posted by: Arkadia (May 12, 2005 12:55PM)
I do a classic street performance thing. I have all my bags on a small cart and I roll to the place I feel works the best at the moment. Natural pitches are found everywhere if you look for them. I try to perform during happenings in the town - such as festivals, markets, carnivals etc. When I find a pitch I unpack all my stuff and make a cicle - or stage - with my chain. I then throw my straitjacket up in the air and start hyping my finale. (Straitjacket escape with the chain...) Soon people tend to stop and I keep telling them about my wonderfull show that is about to start in any second. I then go inte my juggling routine which is quite long and full of gags and jokes. That helps me building a crowd. When I feel happy with the size of the crowd I start my real juggling routine and then go into the magic-bit.

I suppose this isn't doable if you work with smaller magic tricks, but what do I know? I have no experience from that kind of busking. Which - by the way - are about to change in two weeks.

A good technique is to grab a person in a group who happens to walk by. If you manage to get one from the group to stop and participate in your trick the rest will more or less have to stay. That way you have an anchor. A group attracts people. That way it is much easier to get more people to stop and watch your show.

Hope that gives you some ideas - or perhaps I have just said the obvious...

Message: Posted by: BroDavid (May 12, 2005 03:21PM)
Oh yes, I forgot to say previously, that when I set up my pitch, my table is right there, and it has a full drape around it and on three sides in big letters it says:
[b]Brother David
Family Safe Magic[/b]

It is quite prominent, as the drape makes it look far more substantial than it really is. And having a visual sign that tells them that I will do magic, probably removes a bit of the hustler suspicion.

Just remember, you cant stop a crowd until you have a crowd. But you can stop a person. Stop one, and then you can stop another. And pretty soon you have a crowd. And then they will help you draw even more.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 12, 2005 05:17PM)
On 2005-05-12 00:11, Zack wrote:
I'm curious, does Eric mention the "36 strategems?" I've been working on applying that book to magic for some time, and I'll be cross if someones beat me to it.

Yes, he does. So he beat you by at least 2 years. Get his book and see if you have better examples.
Message: Posted by: Zack (May 12, 2005 11:34PM)
Trying to decide if I should, or ignore his book completely until I'm done with the 36...who knows, we might come to completely different conclusions.

--Zack "Tossing a brick to capture jade."
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 13, 2005 10:03AM)
That's a difficult call. If I were seriously thinking of writing a book like this, I would write my own version, then purchase the present one and see what needed to be edited out as being redundant. Then issue a supplement.

You would have a ready market. Also contact Nowlin to get his opinion. He is a good fellow. He would probably be impressed that you were on the same track with him.