(Close Window)
Topic: My first minutes...dipping my foot
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jun 26, 2008 10:49AM)
Hello everybody. Just wanted to share a little of my first experience. A small, small step for magic, but a big step for me...

Reading Mr Talksalots simple but oh so true advice "It´s better to go out and do something, than to stay home and plan something" I decided to give it a try, to go out there. I decided which of my favourite tricks to use, and practiced them for weeks to get a routine that "flows". I have watched my Cellini, Shoot Ogawa and Jeff McBride videos over and over, and read Jimmy Talksalots excellent book many times. I had a date set when to go out - that was tuesday 24th, and I searched and found a good spot(in my not-so-expert-eyes that is), a place with LOTS of tourists and bypassers.

So, on tuesday I went there. I didn´t bring my stuff from my car first, thinking I should have a little walk in the area first, to...like...get a feel for the place or whatever stupid reason. Naturally I got the shakes, and instead of getting my bag out of the car, I put myself in the car and went home. Chicken.
I decided to go back next day. Early. And to start the routine even if there was not a soul there. Then keep on doing it and doing it and doing it.

The next day came, I drove off to the place again. Taught by the mistake I made earlier I now brought my bag... There was a couple of people there, waiting for something. I froze. What the ####?? I just couldn´t bring myself to start. Illogical, but I couldn´t do anything about it. So I decided to wait there, hoping to be able to pull myself together. Never happened. After 2 1/2 hours I left. Again. What is the matter with me? Chicken Royale.

On the way home I called a friend who also is a magician. I told him about what had happened and asked for advice. He said: "Tomorrow, at 11 in the morning, come to XXX (not the real name, but it´s a mall, kind of). I´ll be there, bringing my daughter. I decide where you should stand, and when to start. We will be your audience." I came up with some lame excuses, but soon gave in to his brilliant idea. I couldn´t allow my defense mechanisms win once more. I didn´t sleep too well last night.

Today, driving to the mall, I almost turned back home several times. But I kept reasonably calm using "combat breathing". My friend and his daughter was there, and without any small-talking he pointed out a place for me to be, and told me to begin.

I did three shows in two hours. And how much fun it was. I used the techniques mentioned by Cellini and Talksalot to stop people and it really worked. Sure, I messed up badly once or twice, but nobody cared. My ego didn´t get bruised at all when doing things wrong, I could handle it better than I ever imagined. We all had a good time, and I will be out there again tomorrow!!

I had the utmost respect for street magicians before, and it grew even bigger after today. Hey, I´m just a hobbyist. I don´t have to make money on this. I didn´t even bring a hat, and I won´t until I get MUCH better. I´ve only done a small part of the REAL job. But for me, it was a big thing, and I hope all of you thinking about trying it - just go out and do it.

Thank you Jimmy Talksalot for the best advice I have had in a long time, it bears repeating "It´s better to go out and do something, than to stay home and plan something".

Best regards
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Jun 26, 2008 11:39AM)
I found that I HAD to get out and perform. It was like a compulsion. I don't get out as often as I used to, but occasionally I still need to get out on the street and perform. I need to know that I still have the chops. . .If you find it torture to get out there, save your energy for paid shows. The audience is already an audience and you don't have to waste energy drumming up a crowd. They are there to see YOU. Either that or be more prepared for the street show. They are not there to see you. You just happenned to show up on that day. Now you know the dynamics, tighten up what you have and do. If it's still gut wrenching maybe you need to forget busking and work other venues. I, for one, don't think it's for everyone.
I, for example, need my table. I couldn't perform without my table. I know others that CAN'T perform behind a table. We all have these blocks. I can't work sitting down. I can only do stand up. I have forfeited a lot of David Roth type effects because of this. I don't do lapping. I have a stage show that I do, but I can't seem to do stage effects on the street. I am MUCH more comfortable doing close-up. Recognize your strengths and play to them. If busking isn't there look for another venue.

Good luck,
Professor Gizmo
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jun 26, 2008 11:48AM)
Thanks Giz,
The thing is, I thought it was the thing for me. But somehow my nerves let me down badly twice. Thanks to my friend, my block is now gone. I loved every minute of performing. Even the minutes that I sucked. I have planned to go on doing this without hatting, for the pure pleasure and for the learning experience. Maybe I´ll one day be good enough to feel comfortable hatting.

Message: Posted by: trentk123 (Jun 26, 2008 01:16PM)
Hey Hawkan,

I can relate to a lot of what you said, I just did my first street show recently. and I did the same thing you did at first I left my gear in the car to walk around and scope out a good spot and while walking around got pretty nervous. but I brought my girlfriend with me, who has had to watch my hours and hours of practice, and she was a constant voice of encouragement and insisted I was ready. and she was right once I started performing everything was great.

I even dropped one of my cups during my cups and balls that was loaded with an orange, but the audience forgave me because even though I dropped one they still never saw the other five or the final load.

so I guess to add to Jimmys advice "It´s better to go out and do something, than to stay home and plan something" when you go out for the first time take a friend
they will help calm your nerves and offer your needed encouragement.

Message: Posted by: john scot (Jun 26, 2008 08:25PM)
Bruce lee also said it beautifully;

"If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you."

I wonder if Mr Talksalot is a fan..?

Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jun 27, 2008 05:22AM)
All good advice by previous posters. Yes, I reckon Jimmy Talksalot has got it right; I'm a fan of his: "It´s better to go out and do something, than to stay home and plan something". I'm still in the early stage of being out in public with a mix of tricks and balloon modelling. I also had the jitters the first time. It helped me, too, the first time to have someone nearby giving me encouragement. That first day after about 1 1/2 hours at the Artisan's Fair I wandered down into a park with my suitcase and did a bit of practice by myself, and it didn't take long for a few children to turn up, along with their caregivers, showing interest. Håkan, how about putting a hat on the ground in front of you without appealing, and just see if you get given some money, anyway? It will be a step towards active hatting.
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jun 27, 2008 12:11PM)
Dipped my other foot today. This time I went alone, and had just the right amount of the jitters. I tried a totally different venue, the narrow main street of a very old town. I now understand a little bit more about the doorway act and what works under those circumstances. I think I learned a LOT from those 3 hours under the burning sun. But I also understand how many hours I have to do this to become "reasonably" good, and to feel right about the hat thing.

I´ll have to take the weekend off, but on Monday...the fun begins again.

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jun 28, 2008 10:17AM)
Must be nice to be able to go out during the week. I have to work the next three Sundays, and THIS Saturday is a family thing in the park. (Going to go watch people in costumes) but the next two Saturdays, I'm gonna be out there! *shake*
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jun 29, 2008 05:43AM)
Last Saturday I went over the nearby New Zealand city called Whangarei - 3/4 hour drive away - and took a good look at several possible busking sites. The downtown street mall area is just one short block long so not much room for buskers due to their noise carrying/conflicting. I met and talked to a three guitar buskers. I found a suitable spot at one end of the street mall that is open space and not against shop frontages. So I reckon that is where I will set up when I get busking there. I asked 3 shop bosses [two locations involved] re performing near them, all agreed. Ha, I went to the music shop where the first guitar busker had been near and got the permission from the boss, only to emerge to find another guitarist stepping into the spot the first one had been. Anyway, that isn't the best spot for me. My location won't block shoppers moving past shop fronts. While the city bylaws require getting Council permission, it seems the other buskers havent done it, and with using no amplifier etc I reckon I will just go ahead anyway.
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jul 1, 2008 07:44AM)
Nose-dip today. A couple of hours on the narrow main street in my hometown again. Great weather, great but small audiences. A truly great thing happened. I was beginning my little show when a young woman called out (in english) "Look, it´s magic! Come on!" And she brought a couple of people. A guy that was with her said "Great move!" in the middle my little flipstick routine. I started chatting with them and they said they came from Australia. After I was done the guy asked if I knew of any magic dealers here in Sweden, and if I could e-mail him their websites. Of course I could, so he gave me his business card. Hey! It was Tony Laffan! He is working on the cruiseship "Crown Princess" which is visiting Sweden right now, and now he lead a group of tourists coming to visit the town. That was so great, he was really nice and enthusiastic. Or a very good actor:)

Da#¤ this is so much fun...

Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jul 2, 2008 10:17AM)
I won´t torture you writing about every day I go out. Promise. But today me and my friend went into Stockholm city, and did our best on the main promenade street. My nerves were just fine, starting my routine. Then I looked up... It was like when you climb a mountain, and everything is going just fine. Getting higher and higher. Then you look down! Sooo many people were watching. Suddenly I forgot almost all of my rehearsed patter... Well, well. I kept going, but stopped the routine earlier than planned. I forced myself to do it for two more hours, and every time there was a really big audience. It didn´t go too good, but now I´ve done it, the busiest street in Stockholm. One more wall torn down.

Message: Posted by: cenafreak0709 (Jul 2, 2008 12:26PM)
No Hat Lines?
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jul 2, 2008 01:30PM)
:blush: No hatlines today :blush:

I´ll try tomorrow, when I´m going to a little bit calmer place.

Message: Posted by: C.Jakobsson (Jul 11, 2008 03:48AM)
Sounds cool Håkan!

May I ask where you performed? I myself have done some shows on Drottninggatan in Stockholm. Would be cool to see you perfrom!

Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jul 11, 2008 05:33AM)
PM´d you.

Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 14, 2008 05:38AM)
Two weeks ago I went over to the nearby city and looked at the prospects for busking in a street mall and wrote about that earlier in this thread. Then this last Saturday I went and did my first street busking. That was for about 2 hours - a combination of Magic Show, ballooning, and diabolo [kind of yoyo but not fastened to string]. Following examples of other buskers who use the area I bypassed official approval for being there [Jimmy Talksalot would be proud of me, I think!]. I gained practice and lots of practical knowledge. I had my hat down on the ground and got some income. I didn't hat anyone - still learning the ropes. My worse mistake was when I was doing Cut and Restored Rope and near the end I tied a knot the wrong way and had to untie it and dropped the knot rope on the ground. I had about 20 people looking on - the largest crowd of the day. It definitely pays to know - and use - ways to "get out of", or finish off, a routine when things go wrong. One thing I realized is that the ballooning and diabolo display give a trickle income between Magic Shows. I expect to be out in the mall a couple of days later in the week, so long as the weather allows it.
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jul 15, 2008 09:07AM)
Another couple of hours on THE street in Stockholm today. Christian Jakobsson (se above post) was there as well. Sunny, funny...AND some money! I took another big leap today, following J. Talksalot´s advice to really use my voice. That was very, very funny for a guy who´s otherwise soft spoken (?). The bad thing is, I don´t know any voice technique, so sure - I was loud, but my voice broke down after only four shows:) Maybe I should use the fortune I made, 36.23$, for some voice lessons...

I was so glad after my first show, getting appr. 12 $. Then Christian showed me how to hat the audience, and got....well...MORE! I want to think that it´s only because he´s younger and the girls find him cuter than old me. Seriously, I saw how he worked much more with hat-lines, without being pushy, and got a good result. But I am quite pleased with what I got, I learn so much from every performance.

One thing I learned today was that yes, stopping a child is a great way to stop more people. What seemed to make people stop even more was when I was kneeling down, performing very close to the child, like I did it just for him/her.

Christian and I took some pictures with his cellphone of us performing, and he will add them tomorrow for your entertainment pleasure.

Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 15, 2008 10:26PM)
The first time I hatted the crowd was the hardest thing I'd ever done out there.
It just seemed weird to me.
Now it's just part of the patter.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 15, 2008 10:53PM)
Go for it,Håkan! All the best.
Message: Posted by: C.Jakobsson (Jul 16, 2008 01:09AM)
I had a great time performing yesterday. Håkan and I alternated, sharing the pitch. I was impressed by Håkans ability to gain huge crowds in notime. I myself had quite a struggle getting people to stop and hook.

Unfortunately two out of my four shows were interrupted in a way or another just beofore my big finale. In my second show a car had to drive right through the pitch and in my third show the city guards stopped me telling me I my show made it hard for people too pass. Anything can happen in the streets!

I shot some pictures during Håkans last show and he shot some during mine. Here is a link to the album, enjoy!


Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 16, 2008 04:23AM)
Hi,Christian. Must be encouraging having another magi with you. I take it the first group of pictures are of Håkan; correct me if I'm wrong. I see the edge rope in the first two photos. Yet the crowd are standing back from it. Must be pyschological: "Do not stand right up to the rope!" and, "Don't stand out by being closer than the rest of the line." Except the young girl in the red dress who is probably unfamiliar with the behaviour of conforming with the crowd there. The further back the edge stands, the more people get to be in the front line to see better.
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Jul 16, 2008 07:07AM)
Thanks for the encouragement, MagiCol. And yes, psychological thing that distance from the rope. I haven´t given it much thought, really. And I can´t recall any sort of pattern in the spectator´s behaviour regarding the distance to the rope. Looking at the pics, we all seem so serious... I remember us all having fun! Maybe I´ll edit the pictures.

Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 16, 2008 04:32PM)
Kudos to all you guys for having the guts to go out and put yourself on the line.
A round of applause please. For these fine gentlemen and their guts.