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Topic: Finally took the first step!
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jun 21, 2010 11:10AM)
Yesterday I took the first step to starting my street performing. First off I have to say that I am not looking to live a Buskers lifestyle. I do love reading and following some buskers, but that is not my intention. My main goal is to be able to draw a crowd anytime and anywhere. Performing my magic for anybody who wants to see it and putting a smile on their face is what drives me.
So I woke up yesterday and the wind and rain had finally stopped. It was almost like the day was meant for me...it was my turn to go out and do my thing. All winter long I had been waiting for this moment.It was my time!!!

Although I didn't technically hit the street, I did go to a park full of strangers and gathered a crowd. There was about 20 people that came over.
My outfit consisted of my black vest,white shirt with stars on the short sleeves,white cargo shorts and my jester hat. Yes I do wear a jester hat with bells on the ends. It goes with my goofy personality.
My table was setup with my banner displayed on the front. I don't use a pouch but do have a small bag that hangs from the back. It works great for loading in my Cups and Balls routine.

So I opened up with Rocky Raccoon(Chewy)and it was an instant hit. This is a routine I have worked on a lot. I am very anal about the movements, its important to me to make him come to life. A lot of the moves and jokes are my own. However, the mouth2mouth and hypnotize moves are included. He does not do the impressions set.

Next I did my sponge ball routine. 1Hand/1Pocket opener,and a transpo move invovling a volunteer. It then ends with a vanish of the balls leaving a mouth coil reveal.

The third trick is one I thought of incorporating in that same morning. It is a very easy card trick, basically the HereThenThere just using volunteers. I had one little boy step on his card, and a cute little girl step on hers. I said a magic word, they do a high five and the cards switch places. Wow, it got great reactions, people couldn't believe how the cards changed places. This is going to be a keeper in my show!

I ended with the Cups and Balls. This is another routine that I have devoted countless hours to. Towards the end the 3 little red balls(my mexican jumping balls,LOL, yes I am mexican in case you are wondering) change color. I tell everybody that they now have their supersuits on ready for a super trick. I next change them into 3 big loads(supertrick), and then another set of 3 big loads(super duper trick) for the grand finale. Again, I have to play this up and create suspence because I don't use a hat load final. This is the routine I use at birthday parties though, and it does get the reactions.
I even got to display some of my juggling moves(with the final loads)at the end. Just picked up juggling in January and I am glad I did. By the way I don't consider my self a juggler yet, but I do know a lot of 3 ball tricks. I juggle for about 30 seconds(6-8 tricks) at the end of the cups and balls.
People are amazed that you can do magic and also juggle. So for you magicians that are thinking of incorporating some juggling in you act, I highly recommend it!

All in all it was a great experience going out and performing for people that you have to reel in. I didn't' use any hats lines(so not tips), that will be my next step. Some of the parents did ask me for my business card and info. Maybe I'll get some bookings out of it.

Anyway, I wanted to let you guys know how my day went. You all have been so influential and inspiring. My magic has shot to new levels because of this forum and its great people. Thanks a million guys!!!
Message: Posted by: okamis (Jun 21, 2010 12:33PM)
Wow, sounds like you had a great time, this thursday will hopefully be my first step out too, reading all the posts about first time out would you agree its fun?
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jun 21, 2010 01:10PM)
Yeah it was a great time. Some of the adults even thanked me for calling them to watch. The kids got to volunteer and had some good laughs.

If you go out on Thursday just remember to slow it down. This is really important and it makes it so much easier for you to perform at your potential. Just relax and have a good time!

Let us know how it goes.
Message: Posted by: ray raymond (Jun 21, 2010 01:37PM)
Don't be afraid to hat'em either. and believe that you are worth it.
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jun 21, 2010 01:48PM)
Ray I know what you mean. I'm going to start working on hatting them. My wife always tells me that we magicians have a rare skill. I don't think people would care to part with a few dollars in exchange for the entertainment.
Message: Posted by: ray raymond (Jun 21, 2010 03:04PM)
Make sure you let them know before you get in to the finale of the show. Make reference to it a few times before you turnover your hat. Don't be afraid just do it. My first few times I was to afraid to hat'em. A lot of people will say they were nervous and forgot, that is just B.S. There is a risk involved. the risk is, if your hat is empty or just some change, even if it is only a few bucks. Then you are at the realization that you are not as good as you thought you were. I had to face that my self before, and at times I still do. Just keep your head up and keep at it. Go back out again the next day, that is the hardest part.

Go get 'em
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jun 21, 2010 03:39PM)
Thanks for the advice Ray!
Everybody had a great time, I don't think they would have walked off if I would had asked for a donation. This has given me the confidence to ask next time out.
Message: Posted by: ray raymond (Jun 21, 2010 09:47PM)
The thing is if you wait until the very end to ask the audience WILL feel shafted.
I have done it before the out come is not good. Let them know "this is what I am doing for you and in return I want this" Its an education a lot of people out there have not seen a street performer.
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jun 22, 2010 09:13AM)
I've watched and studied many pros and know what you are saying. I'll let them know from the start what the deal is. I appreciate the advice,thanks Ray!
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jun 24, 2010 04:45AM)
Hi, Carlos. You wrote: "I juggle for about 30 seconds(6-8 tricks) at the end of the cups and balls." I suggest you have a think about which way is going to be best to get your final appeal for money into the hat, and to get that hat held out. If your C and B has a hat as part of it? then picking it up and holding it out then seems to be a better end to the Show than doing a short juggling act.
What Im thinking is the the C and B should astonish them and bring lots of admiration and so be a good time to do the hatting.
The juggling at the end, seems to me, to be a change in tempo - less need for the spectators to concentrate or follow what you are doing - that might see your spectators deciding that it's time to walk off, and do that during your juggling.
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jun 24, 2010 08:25AM)
MagiCol: I don't use a hat at the end of my c&b. My routine starts with 3 little red balls, they change color all at once(they are know wearing there supersuits ready to do a supertrick), next they change into 3 big colorful balls.

At this point everyone assumes it's the end, but I tap the cups one more time and poom another 3 big colorful balls appear. This is my orginal routine(ending) and it has been tweaked many many times to get the applause I am now getting.

There is no hat, I was thinking that maybe people could come up and put the money in the cups while I juggle(hope nobody rips them off). I'll have to see how it works out. You bring up a good point about the change in tempo.

The juggling has worked great in my other shows, but on the street I'll have to see how it goes. I am a street newbie, and maybe the juggling won't work out.

Thanks for pointing these things out for me.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jun 24, 2010 05:43PM)
Carlos, think big. All the money you want want them to give you
won't fit in the cups!! Use a bigger container.
Big hats to you!
Message: Posted by: superpixel (Jun 30, 2010 12:05AM)
Carlos your story and performance have been an inspiration! I'm in the same frame of mind (not going to go live as a busker but I want to be able to draw a crowd) and am still working on my set for the Fall. Thanks for sharing!
Message: Posted by: augiemagic (Jun 30, 2010 12:49AM)
Congrats SilvaAce! One thing that might help (It helped me, I can't really say about others) is if you're shy about Hatting the audience (I still am a bit), leave a clearly labeled tip jar or hat out where people can see it, instead of just waiting until the show is over.

Of course, my advice isn't really worth much... Yet!

Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jul 1, 2010 10:07AM)
On 2010-06-24 18:43, MagiCol wrote:
Carlos, think big. All the money you want want them to give you
won't fit in the cups!! Use a bigger container.
Big hats to you!

If the money I get doesn't fit in my cups, my wife is going to be real happy!LOL
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jul 1, 2010 10:14AM)
Thanks for your comments! I have always loved reading about other peoples experiences. This time it was my turn to get the experience, and it was a fun time! Good luck to you, and have a great time performing.

Thanks for the tip jar tip! I probably will try this along with hat lines.
Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 1, 2010 11:51PM)
Go buy a big flower pot that looks similar to your cups and paint it to match. It's out of sight when you tell the people to show their appreciation by filling the cup on the table -- then reach under the table and pull out the giant cup and slam it down on the table.

Jay Jennings
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jul 6, 2010 12:26PM)
Ha,Hah,Ha,that a great idea Jay!
Message: Posted by: eddierush (Jul 15, 2010 09:26AM)
Great work SilvaAce! Any pictures? I can't come to Fargo (love the snow, love the movie) but I can virtually experience your outings through pictures.

Re: "... if you're shy about Hatting the audience (I still am a bit), leave a clearly labeled tip jar or hat out where people can see it ..."

I do both. My hat is set out in front of me during the show AND I give my hat pitch at times during my act.

Here is something that may help ... I use to work as a waiter for almost a decade. I have never waited a table that didn't leave me a tip. At the same time, I have never asked for a tip. The general public knows that they *should* leave a tip (not mandatory - unless you are with a large group) and most know about how much (15 to 20 percent .. give or take). So, when I busk I tell myself that I am performing a service for all those that stop to watch. Their tip determines the the value of my service to them. I know that I provide good service to most (can't please everyone) of the people watching but there is no "tip chart" when it comes to tipping buskers. So I must educate them in a clear and respectful way and make sure that I deliver (how many times have you reduced your tip because the waitron did not bring the drink you asked ... or the wrong one ... or one that was badly made).

So, I try to imagine that in every spectator's pocket is a tip waiting for a reason to enter my hat. I want to give them that reason.

"There's my two cents ... don't spend it all in one place"
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Jul 15, 2010 12:47PM)
Thanks Eddie for the advice!
I haven't uploaded any pics yet but here is a link to a short video. I originally posted it in the Little Darlings section. Enjoy!

Message: Posted by: augiemagic (Jul 15, 2010 01:06PM)
Sounds like a good philosophy, Eddie.

Side note: I had my best day yet yesterday. Made more in an hour than I've made in 5 hours on some days. Location, location, location...

Does it take anyone else a show or two to really warm up, and be playful and fun with the audience?
Message: Posted by: ray raymond (Jul 15, 2010 10:22PM)
Yes it does me sometimes. Some times I get to the pitch and do not feel like working. I will have to force myself to get a show off. After I get in to the swing of it thought not a problem. Some times even one good show can totally change your mentality .
Message: Posted by: augiemagic (Jul 16, 2010 12:21AM)
Of course, then there are days like today: Five hours, two bucks in the hole (after public transpo). See also: threatened with a baseball bat. By a guitar player. In a wheelchair.

But I made new friends, and had some fun.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jul 16, 2010 01:43AM)
August, I've got to watch you work some time...
Message: Posted by: augiemagic (Jul 16, 2010 03:09PM)
I could use the protection. I am a magnet for crazies.

Ask me about Santa Cruz sometime. (I'm so excited: ten days out and I already have good stories!)
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jul 16, 2010 06:33PM)
OK, I'll ask- How was Santa Cruz? I've thought of busking there in the past, myself.

Beautiful town, great weather, liberal authorities who actually seem to appreciate the 1st Amendment (as much as any of those fascists do...)

What's not to love?
Message: Posted by: fireperformer911 (Jul 16, 2010 07:46PM)

Don't hold out on good stories
Message: Posted by: augiemagic (Jul 16, 2010 09:48PM)
Well, Santa Cruz was on a Tuesday, so I didn't expect much in the way of traffic/crowds, and I was right. I was just out on a whim, didn't feel like going to the beach with my family.

Anyway, I set up and got started on Pacific, near one of the movie theaters. I got going for about an hour, and had actually managed to gather a crowd, when a homeless guy/guy that just happened to look homeless came up and asked for a cigarette. I don't smoke, so the answer was a no.

He stuck around anyway, and watched the show. Afterward he wanted to stay and chat, but kept going on about all the improvised weapons he knew how to make: "Just take, like, one of those switchblade combs and some gum and..." and more in that same vein.

He seemed to have all the volume control of Billy Mays (too soon?) so it came out: "...and you stick ONE OF THOSE REPLACEABLE BLADES FOR A BOXCUTTER on it, you can get MAYBE ONE SHOT, TWO IF YOU'RE LUCKY!"

While this succeeded in attracting attention, I found that the passers-by were not compelled to stop and watch a magic trick. Further experimentation is required. Perhaps combining this approach with a TT silk will yield better results.

He also happened to be a know-it-all: "Yeah, I've seen a lot more magic than most people. I see things they don't (two fingers pointing at the eyes gesture) and those squishy little balls? It's not a very good trick. I know how it works. I know the balls come apart. They like fit inside each other. I caught you man, I CAUGHT YOU!!!! But it's okay man, I won't tell anyone."

Then it was twenty minutes of trying to get my money with bar bets.

Keep in mind, this whole time I was all "Well, I'll see you later" and "Well, peace." which gradually escalated to "Hey, you know I'm trying to do a show here, right?." He answered all of this with some variation of "Yeah, that's cool and all. Five bucks says I can..."

I gave him a buck to leave. He seemed to take it as encouragement.

So anyway, after an excruciating 45 minutes, I finally let him in on my status as a member of "The Escondido Organization" and asked if he'd seen anything suspicious today. He hadn't. I tried to get him to join, but he just wasn't comfortable with the whole thing. So he left.


So I get back to it, and build up a small crowd of kids (I seem to be a magnet for kids and crazies) and get almost to the end of the show, when a guy who had been watching says "Oh hey, I got one!" and grabs my cards. He proceeds to do a combination of the 21 card trick and the vanishing audience. Followed by a Backp*** vanish.

Which he then explained to the entire remaining crowd.

Guess who I used for the Flight of the Paper Balls?! (I let my ego get the better of me. Oh well. One of those days.)

I finished the show to running commentary, which ended up playing to my advantage for my chop cup routine: "He's got two balls!"

"Well, obviously. They're just really big balls." (first load reveal) "That's right: balls. Plural." (second load reveal). "And if you liked the balls, you'll love the nut. Coconut, that is." (Hat load reveal)

Note that there was no tone of innuendo, and I played it straight. Kids were present.

After that, the crowd dispersed, after giving me some pocket change. The kids who had initially stopped wanted to stick around, so I showed them some more card stuff to build up another crowd, and went back at it.

I went on for a couple more hours, during which time the homeless guy reappeared. He set up a good thirty yards away from me. Finally, I got tired, and decided it was going to be my last show. It went off fine, no trouble, etc. At the very end, a lady came up to me and said "That was very good. I liked the show, but I don't carry cash."

"Well, I'm never one to turn down a compliment. Glad you enjoyed it!"

So she leaves, and I start packing up, and count the daily total. (It rhymes with "Enough to take a family of 4 out and have a nice dinner at McDonalds.")

As I'm doing this, the homeless guy comes up to me and says "Hey, what did you say to that lady?"

"Nothing really, why?"

"Because she just gave me five bucks."
Message: Posted by: dcjames (Jul 17, 2010 07:15AM)
Great story Augie!

You have quite an engaging writing style.

Best wishes for your continued success,

Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 18, 2010 04:50AM)
Augie, I love your story! Life on the streets, eh? don'tcha just love it? :)