The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking skills (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
naturalturn
View Profile
Regular user
150 Posts

Profile of naturalturn
Specifically, what type of skills do I need ("to change") in order to try out my hand at busking. Most of my shows are paid family/corporate gigs. What is the main difference? I always like challenges.

Of course, crowd-building skills and a good pitch at the end is absolutely crucial.

Is a slightly meaner/more-hard-hitting "less-nice-guy" type of image what is required?

Thanks for any suggestions.
www.facebook.com/RayWongMagic
When Magic Went WONG!
Dave V
View Profile
Inner circle
Las Vegas, NV
4825 Posts

Profile of Dave V
I'm not exactly the one to hand out advice, but I can ask a few questions...

Can you tell us your repertoire? What do you do now? What's your opener/middle/closer?

You're right about the crowd-building and good pitch, but you might have to restructure what you know to better fit the street.

You don't have to be mean (but it helps! I hear break dancers and jugglers can be pretty vicious about their "spot")

I'm naturally a "nice guy" and it's just not in me to be anything different. In my (admittedly) limited street experience, that plays just as well.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
JamesinLA
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles
3397 Posts

Profile of JamesinLA
Hi, Ray, welcome to the thread. I would recommend Gazzo's book, "The Art of Krowd Keeping" to start with. And also Cellini's first The Art of Street Performing dvd. That's a great place to start. Then you could also get Gazzo's dvds and his cups and balls book. The books might come in a package. That's a great place to start. It will tell you everything you need to get started. It's easier to get started with a busking partner you can switch off shows with. The thing that busking is gaurenteed to give you is IT WILL MAKE YOU A MUCH MUCH BETTER PERFORMER than you already are for various reasons.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
naturalturn
View Profile
Regular user
150 Posts

Profile of naturalturn
Thanks Dave & James.

A busking partner is a good idea. I'm going to watch some more buskers to see what kind of character works for them. Perhaps my character has to have a bit more edge.

Some of the effects in my repetoire include:
Jumping Knots of Pakistan
Codology
Miser's Dream
Disecto
Linking Rings
T&R Newspaper
Bill in Orange/Lemon
Technicolor Prediction
Silk to Egg
Passing Water
www.facebook.com/RayWongMagic
When Magic Went WONG!
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Quote:
On 2005-07-23 17:24, naturalturn wrote:
Specifically, what type of skills do I need ("to change") in order to try out my hand at busking.


Nerve, and lots of it. You will also need a pretty thick skin.

Outside of that I would say to go out and try it, immediately. Researching it is good to a point but all the academia in the world means nothing if you do not have a personal experience to apply it too. A lot of the things taught in a book can only make sense after you have experienced the situation described.

Watching the buskers in your area is great, getting to know them is even better. Buy them coffee, get to know them. When they see you working they will take notice and if they know you a bit they will give you a lot of advice about specific things they noticed.

But, getting out there and doing it is 90% of the battle. If you do it enough you will become proficient at it.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
chrisrkline
View Profile
Special user
Little Rock
965 Posts

Profile of chrisrkline
As someone who is trying to learn to busk in an area with no buskers, you can also see a lot of different ones on the Street Theater DVD. It gives a great feel for how to retool a routine for the streets.

I don't know how much of an edge you need, but you definately have to have fun with the audience. I have, unfortunately, seen few buskers live. I saw one in St. Louis who did a juggling show. He looked like a gypsy, hat and all. But his show was a very friendly family show, and I don't know that he had any edginess, other than looking gypsy like. He was funny, though. One thing I noticed is that he did his show for 40 minutes, and I swear he actually juggled only about 8 minutes of that time. The rest was fun interactions and talking with the crowd. But he wasn't just talking between the routines, he was a whirlwind of motion, constantly talking to and interacting with people in the crowd, picking up and putting down props, starting and stopping his routines, getting the crowd to cheer, and then re-cheer if they were too quiet.
Chris
Dave V
View Profile
Inner circle
Las Vegas, NV
4825 Posts

Profile of Dave V
I'd consider cutting out anything that is messy or needs a reset.
T&R paper- OUT
Silk to egg- OUT
Bill in orange- Maybe, if you don't mind the setup

I'd also cut out most prop magic, unless you intend to lug this stuff around all day.
Disecto- OUT
Codology- OUT

For some of the others,
Miser's Dream- If you can "make" money, why do you need money
Jumping Knot of Pakistan- YES
Linking Rings- YES

Like Chris' example, you don't need a lot of tricks to entertain. Gazzo does basically three tricks, but he can run for 30-45 minutes.

You need something small, but flashy or colorful for the first few to stop. Then play to them until you get ten. Then start your "real show" and keep building from there. Then go into your signature piece. It's all about the big finish. Something that they'll really enjoy. Without it, your hats will be empty. The rest is just a pleasant journey along the way.

Take Jim's, and Chris' advice and buy the books and DVDs they mentioned. They outline all of the above much better than I could. Just don't wait as long as I did. Study them, absorb the theories of how it works, and then take Danny's advice and go out and DO IT!
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
martysh
View Profile
Elite user
Greenville,SC
451 Posts

Profile of martysh
The classics win out all the time -
egg bag the staple of my act in the beginning plays to all ages the most fun
rings (only 3 and 2minutes or so)
rope
silk dye tube or thumb tip ( I am now using two finger tips to great advantage
one with a hole for a change)
cards maybe (the rat trap to get a crowd ... kundalini (though I did this
before that was ever out to start making a crowd ..plays big)
cups and balls (the reason to be)

not much space here... can be all interactive...has modern touches to fool those in the "know" ... can be seen over and over... plays almost in the round... requires some sleight of hand (the distinction we all need to have if on the street)...most without a table but that's where cups fit in to focus on the close)...


ok I admit it I do the balloon swallow (have for more than 10 years I think that's a bit "new"

(though I am planning to bring in misers dream for a lot of reasons) it's how you play it of course.."if I really could make money why would I be here?!?..so please if you can ...")


where would we be without the classics?


Marty
BroDavid
View Profile
Inner circle
America’s North Coast, Ohio
3178 Posts

Profile of BroDavid
Be ready to to interact and involve your audience.

It is not a stand up and perform for a seated, paid audience kind of mentality at all.

It is about stopping them, then keeping them, then picking them.

The books and vids mentioned so far are great, but even better is the suggestion to get out and do it. And Danny, is as usual, right on. You cant take any of it personally. Be prepared to be humbled. My first time out, I made a $4 hat, and that is after performing closeup, stage and parlor paid gigs for nearly 20 years. I though I knew what it was all about, and found out that when it came to busking, I didn't have a clue.

Figure out what works for you, and then work hard to develop your character, and shape your act to maximize your chracter, the venue, and the personality of your audience. And then keep doing it until your chracter shines, your effects are second nature, and you light up the audience.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
naturalturn
View Profile
Regular user
150 Posts

Profile of naturalturn
Great advice! Nerves, "just doing it", be humble not expecting large hats from the start... and have fun interacting with the audience, too.

Thanks Dave and Marty for suggesting what effects work on the street and what doesn't. As well, BroDavid and everyone for your thoughtful suggestions.

Ray
www.facebook.com/RayWongMagic
When Magic Went WONG!
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Ray,

Daring to be bad is the real clincher. My first show was pretty much as Bro. David described his. My first MONTH out this year after a two or three year lay off was so hideous that I almost quit.

If you stick with it you will get it. Sticking with it is the hardest part.

Bill in lemon is a great closer for the street. Kozmo kills with it last I heard and I did it myself for a time this year. Make sure you get a five though. Don't do it with a dollar or it will fall flat. If you do it with a five it is almost 100% that you will get it as a tip. Doing it with a ten or a twenty I tried to avoid as well because most people won't give you the tip and it sets a psychological precedent to the audience that they won't have to tip.

I have also seen guys do very well with misers dream on the street. One guy that works here in Boston does it so well that in my opinion he is on par with Flosso (hi Peter!). I wouldn't close with it but it is super strong opener if you have a good routine. It will also stop a crowd like nobodies business if you use a kid.

I have also seen guys do very well with disecto.

Marty's post is loaded with solid material. The finger tip dye tube is really a winner! I did it for a short time using the jumbo thumb tip and cutting the nail off of the tip so that I could use it as a dye tube. I think I got the idea from Steve Dusheck.

The most important thing about the material you chose to do on the street is to be comfortable with it. If you are comfortable with it, can work the angles, it will work on the street.

I know a guy right now who is doing $100 hats with a show that flies in the face of every street "rule". He is doing airborne coke and a card sword with a jumbo card fountain. He kills with it because it works for him. If somebody had told me about it I wouldn't have believed it but I've seen it with my own eyes.

But the most important thing, is just have fun with it. If you are having fun, the audience will want to be part of it no matter what you do.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13348 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
It seems to me that getting a crowd, building a crowd, and doing a show are relatively easy.

It's the subtlties that take years to learn and there is no other way than to do it for years.

Danny has had some great posts recently about busking that should be read and re-read.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5306 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
No frank, stopping and building is not easy ...at least in certain places....new orleans! I don't think so...they think you are a criminal ...which most are....

in most places its not that hard though....take all the advice abpve...

kozzie
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Stopping is not that easy but the building is probably the hardest thing to learn. I know it was the hardest thing for me to learn. The tricks are easy, getting the crowd to become an audience, getting them on your side, and getting them to feel good about giving you a couple of bucks is the hardest thing about the street. At some point they have to become invested and committed in what you are doing.

This is 1000% more difficult to learn than any tricks you will do. It is also the thing that can only really be learned by doing.

Hi Koz!

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Tom Frank
View Profile
V.I.P.
industrial Strength Magic
493 Posts

Profile of Tom Frank
Stopping and building painful last couple of daze. Monday and Tuesday. . . . but still. . . we are in "Peak Season" aren't we?
aaron martini
View Profile
New user
Vancouver
31 Posts

Profile of aaron martini
Ray,
your Disecto and Silk to Egg are great routines! For a larger show,
I think you should try these out. They are already polished, but may
only need a few adjustments for the street.

Aaron Martini
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Hi Tom,

Last week was a bear for me, 100 degree heat, no attention span, and long, slow, hard, builds. I am dark Monday Tuesday but I have been hearing it is a slow year for everybody in my neck of the woods too, peak season or no.

For me anyway it seems that right at 7:15 p.m. things turn golden till about 9:00 p.m. Seems like that is the best time to get them if the pitch has traffic. The mood is better, it is cooler so the attention span is longer, and the energy is much more positive.

Have you been working the dusk hours out your way?

Fat hats brother!

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
bropaul
View Profile
Loyal user
Florida
220 Posts

Profile of bropaul
Ray...

Pick your best 3 tricks and go do it. Have a throw away in the front to help build the crowd, but just go for a solid 10 to 15 minutes and do it over and over and over. After a couple of days you will have a lot of information to digest. You will go home and write and re-write. Then get back out there.

Also pay attention to your work ethic. Do as many shows as you can and make 'em good. Have fun. Your new experience on the streets will translate will to any corporate, trade show or stage work that you do from now on.

And don't forget the fun factor. It really is fun. I mean the whole thing from getting there early to snag a good pitch and pis**** on your tree. Having a coldy with your buds buskin' the restaurant or bar at the same time, and counting down at night. Enjoy the experience.

Danny... It's been 95 here in Colorado! It must be summer everywhere.

Tom... Thanks again.
Bro. Paul West

www.BrotherPaulMagic.com
Eric Evans
View Profile
Special user
Rio Grande
645 Posts

Profile of Eric Evans
Who are you?

(I don't really care, it just makes me look like a nice guy)

Really. Who are you? Talk about character and technique is all fine and good, but what it really comes down to is: Who do you want to show them you are?

Who made you leader? Or perhaps more accurately...why do you think you could possibly lead people to an enjoyable time? Show them. Screw the advice, that's just a lead in to "buy this".

This, as with many other things, will come if you endure. You'll find out a great deal about what it takes, should you endure.

And if not, at least I looked like a nice guy. Ha!
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Quote:
On 2005-07-27 01:06, bropaul wrote:
Danny... It's been 95 here in Colorado! It must be summer everywhere.



Hi Bro Paul,

95 degrees, and NO SHADE on my pitch here. I guess that is the thing that kills it. When my pitch has no shade but the juggler/musician/mass murderer 100 yards away is doing shows in what is comparatively an Oasis I am kind of sunk. That pitch has shade and benches.

My God, I am turning into my father, "I used to have to walk 50 miles to school, in 10 feet of snow, uphill, both ways!" Smile

Anyway, the evenings have been working out a lot better for me these days.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking skills (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.18 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL