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Topic: Restore your faith in humanity go out and busk.
Message: Posted by: Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyryov (Nov 21, 2010 11:55AM)
I went out for the first time on Friday afternoon. I thought I would start somewhere easy so I choose the Southbank in London without amplification. :-|

I stopped a family on holiday from Egypt I think. Performed for the youngest kid who seemed most interested.

Some more people appeared.

Kept an eye out for passers by and built my crowd up to about 10 or 12 at one point. I tried to actually involve everyone since it was a small show even if that meant just looking at them and making a comment or giving a nod at a particular moment.

A magician appeared who I later discovered was meant to be performing somewhere. A really nice guy but I didn't see him perform.

Magicians and fellow performers, if your watching someone else perform try not to telegraph the fact that you are a magician too, start talking shop in what you think is a subtle code or even worse start flourishing. Act like a supportive spectator and not a distraction, performers have enough things to keep an eye on. Deliberate or not, if you could potentially drain my crowd's energy or attention I will shut you down, block you out and I will do it ruthlessly.

Anyway I stuck to a three trick rule with some banter (banter= the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks)

I had hoped to build a bigger crowd but that will come with more experience I hope. I didn't hope for a massive hat but it was pretty good from what other performers have said. I did some smaller shows for passersby who all tipped, but I have learnt you need something louder than a wand to build a crowd on the Southbank.

HIGHLIGHT: Performing Crazy Man's Handcuffs for a a young girl and her Mum and Auntie(?) Her expression would have been perfect for a Disneyland Ad.

What I enjoyed most was having my faith in people grow. People can be very kind. I am sure there are many horror stories out there but I highly recommend anyone with the right mentality getting out there. Restore your faith in humanity go out and busk but make sure you have prepared adequately.


Matt.

http://www.astonisher.net

MY TIP FOR FIRST TIME PERFORMERS.
Make sure you have a prop in your hand or visible so it is obvious you are a performer. Get it out before you approach the pitch area- before your heart starts beating and your head starts thinking- and then walk over and start setting up as soon as possible. Don't wait for the perfect moment. Get that first show out of the way.
Message: Posted by: Shinigami (Nov 21, 2010 12:03PM)
Thanks for the inspiring post! I'll remember this when I go out for the first time on Thanksgiving weekend.
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Nov 21, 2010 05:18PM)
G'day Matt

Thanks for reflecting on your busking experience. Your highlight with the rubber bands effect reinforces my belief that the inexpensive and simple things should not be underestimated.

I checked out your blog and really enjoyed the video of Rune with the props from the delicatessen.

Thanks for sharing.

Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Message: Posted by: Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyryov (Nov 21, 2010 06:03PM)
Thanks for your kind words Bob I'm glad you like the blog.

I hope you enjoy the street Shingami. Good luck.

Matt
Message: Posted by: Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyryov (Nov 25, 2010 03:34PM)
THIS MAY NOT BE USEFUL TO YOU BUT IT WILL HOPEFULLY ALLOW ME AND ANYONE WHO IS INTERESTED TO SEE THE PROGRESSION FROM BEGINNER TO NOT SO BEGINNER. WE MIGHT EVEN LEARN SOMETHING!?!

Second Time.

Location: Plymouth, UK Late night Christmas Shopping.

Time: 5:30-7-30 with a few breaks.

Total Full Sidewalk Shows: 3

Take/Hat: Good.

Thoughts:

Positives: People are very generous, especially if your performing small intimate shows.

I was on a roll with the comedy and spontaneous one liners, I wish I could remember them. Need more one liners for when people try and chat you up or make a power play.

Made friends with some photographers and lots of other useful contacts; free promo shots! Fingers crossed.

Bumped into some friends I had not seen for a long while!


Negatives
,
The show lost pace and rhythm; too much banter made a three card trick routine hard to follow, even for me!

I spent far too much time looking for the right pitch. Pick a spot and begin.

I can get the first five but I can't get the crowd much bigger except through people randomly stopping.

Started the show too early because I was afraid the punters I had would leave.

Need to tighten up my routines and stick to a set run through. Script Script Script.

More eye contact!

DON'T GIVE THEM THE OPTION OF LEAVING WITHOUT PAYING. This sounds stupid but on occassion I felt guilty and said something like, "Donations gratefully excepted, or you can get back to your Christmas shopping. Guilt and nerves do funny things to your common sense!

Next Steps:

Tighten up the routining and flow of the show. Make space for ad lib but don't go overboard.

Dare to make people wait for the magic; you are not their magical play thing.

More eye contact-bring the tricks up to the face!