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Profile of Gilvado
Well, today I went out for the first time. Off downtown, tour around Whyte Ave. trying to find a spot. Eventually I found a spot near the 'continental Café' or somesuch place, where the manager said as long as I stay away from the door, he didn't mind if I worked. I set up, waited for a few minutes to get some of the jitters out, and low-and-behold, the very first thing I see is a newlywed couple with a bunch of best men and bridesmaids. Along with them is their photographer, who says that he doesn't think anyone has money to pay, but would I be willing to do a trick anyways? Well, a newlywed couple! Of course I say yes, I do a quick little trick, they applaud, the photographer takes a few photos, and they're off, one of the last people in their train giving me a 5. For one 20 second trick, I'm pretty happy. I do a few tricks for some other people, getting mostly loonies (one dollar coins) and change. There really aren't enough people for me to be able to build up a crowd (although I'm sure someone who knew what they were doing would be willing to). Later on, two older ladies (probably about 35 and 45) come and start watching. I do a few card tricks for them, and two macho guys join. I can't seem to get anyone else to watch. I go through my act - ambitious card, professors nightmare, Dai Vernon's cups and balls, but by the time I hit the cups all the nerves from before are hitting me, and I start shaking a little bit. Drop a ball a second before loading it once, and mess up the 3 gathering together phase completely. Really flustered now, I shakily say, "I'm sorry, it's my first time out". Now I feel really embarressed, but I stick it out and do the final loads, at which point they start clapping, obviously impressed. The one guy hands me a 10, saying that his friend doesn't have any cash on him, and the two ladies do a condescending "Is it really your first time out? Well, you just keep on going, you'll do fine." But I don't mind, 'cause one hands me a 5. I keep on going, doing tricks, but it's starting to get really overcast, and although I'm starting to really get my pace, even ad-libbing some of my patter, making it work, I can't get more than 2 people to stop, and few of them hand me even a dollar. Eventually, I decide to call it a day. Eventually being an hour. But even after this one hour I feel totally drained.
I think it was mostly the nervousness and nerves that made me quit in an hour, but tomorrow I'm going out again, hopefully for quite a bit longer. One hour of busking, 30 dollars, 73 cents and one American dollar later, I feel absolutely amazing. I can't believe I waited this long to start.
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Inner circle
America’s North Coast, Ohio
3177 Posts

Profile of BroDavid
Way to go friend! First time? Not bad.

It is very personal how you relate to your audience, but remember it is their first time watching you too. And they may never see you again, so they have no clue what is and isn't part of your routine.

Whenever I mess up (rare, but it happens Smile ) I make a joke and move past it. I never apologize or explain, I just move it past, and even people who know my act say that it ads, rather than detracts from the specs appreciation. Some guys might get by on sympathy, actually playing the bumbling magician, but unless that is the character that you want to play, I personally don't think it is a good long term strategy.

In your case, you got away clean on it, so I don't mean this as a criticism. I only offer it as a suggestion.

And you did the hardest thing. You got out and took the risk. And at the end of the day, you made a few bucks, and didn't die. And now you know what it feels like. And it does feel good, doesn't it?

If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
3400 Posts

Profile of JamesinLA
"Later on, two older ladies (probably about 35 and 45) come and start watching"

35 and 45 are "older ladies." You have no idea how depressed this makes me.

Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
Sounds like a great first time! Much better than mine! I didn't make anything at all, and got laughed at a lot. Don't worry about the small things like messing up, just learn to stay in character and go with the flow ... some of my best lines were thought up on the splur of the moment when something went wrong. That's when the pressure is on, and you must think of something to say - I seem to get pretty creative in those moments.

I'm curious as to what exactly you were saying/doing to get the tip? A sign? Or did they just volunteer them?

When you are just starting, you have what I call an "amateur edge" - people will pickup on the fact that your new at this, and they will be impressed that you have the guts to get out there an do it. They don't expect much from you, thus you can easily exceed their expections. This results in some great tips.

Once you no longer look like an amateur, they expect more out of you ... and then you fail to meet their expectations. It gets frustrating, because you are wondering why they no longer like you. The reason is because while you are now "good", you are not "pro" yet.

My advice, try to be an amateur as long as you can ... that will shorten the gap between "amateur" and "pro". There is no shame in getting caught - the audience actually likes it when you make a mistake.

An interesting note on that point, everytime my mom saw Lance Burton (three times total) she would come home and tell me what he messed up. The first time she said "I saw him bring a dove out of his jacket". The second time, "he made it look like he dropped a cigarette on the floor and stepped on it, but I saw it in his hand still". I noticed that she didn't see it as something he did wrong, but rather something she was able to catch! She took great pride in being able to catch him ... I find that a rather interesting observation. I question if she would have seen the show a second/third time if she wasn't so good at catching him.

I don't purposely mess up any tricks I do, but it does make me wonder what my audience goes home and tells their kids about my show.

James: I just turned 35 a few days ago, I think I've just been called an "old man" for the first time! You seem to be growing fast, I remember when you were a tiny magician, the smallest magican on the Café even! hehe Smile

Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=]
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New user
17 Posts

Profile of Gilvado
Sorry 'bout the age comments... heh, I'm 18, so everyone over 30 is old to me. As for the amateur edge thing, I really think you're right. I kinda feel that a few of them may have been because of that. Still, it felt really good to get out there.
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Inner circle
Milford OH
1571 Posts

Profile of Paddy
Gilvado, Like JoeJoe and Bro David both indicated; show me a magician that has not screwed up and I'll show you someone who has never worked. We all make boo-boos now and then, just act like it is part of the routine. A quick confession. I had a ball palmed and as I brought up my hand it slipped out bounced on my table and out into the audience where a little girl (about 10 yrs old) caught it. she just tossed it back to me and I kept on going with the effect like nothing happened. Well when the bal "apeared in my other hand someone yelled out "I saw how you did that!" All I could say was "if you did'nt you're blind" and kept going. Hey, it happens just remember our goal should be HAVE FUN and enjoy what we do.

Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own
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Profile of cstreet_1986
Paddy, I like that line you came up with then. Could be really funny if it was said whilst still performing - as if the joke is sort of rushed in there. I don't know if it was meant to be a joke or not, but I still liked it.

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