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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Show length? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Luke Sherratt
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Loyal user
The Isle Of Wight, England
246 Posts

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Hi Everyone,

So what would you sau is the max you can busk for? Some people have said 15 mins others say half an hour. What would be a good time to aim for?

Take care,

Luke
We're 106 miles from Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses
Steve V
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Inner circle
Northern California
1878 Posts

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Bad answer time: Make it no longer than you can keep their attention and keep them entertained, if that is five minutes the six is too long.
Steve V
Jerrine
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Busking is work.
629 Posts

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What he said, in spades.
circuskevin
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Birmingham, UK
60 Posts

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Hey Luke,

The summer is nearly over. Just get out there and do something... anything!

All the best.

Kevin
Paddy
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Inner circle
Milford OH
1571 Posts

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I have seen Gazzo put on a 45 minute show. The longest show I have done is 7 minutes. Just as Steve V said make it no longer than you can hold their attention.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

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Cory Gallupe
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Inner circle
Nova Scotia, Canada
1273 Posts

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Well, during September, I will be BOOKED SOLID on the 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19th.
Multiple shows throughout the day, each of those days. I am doing a busker festival in Eastern Passage, and I will also be busking at another event near me on the 16, 17, 18, and 19th. I will be driving back and forth, from one to the other all day, everyday. The only problem is I have school on the 15, 18, and 19th. So, I will have to finish school, rush home, get ready, drive to the venue, and drive to the other venue, and so forth.
I am going to have to keep a tight schedule on my showtimes at the busker festival, so I know when to be there from the other event.
I will also have the privilage of performing for our Prime Minister. Should be fun! (And hecktic...)
But I am doing 45 minute shows at the festival, and will TRY to do the same act for the other event, but people will be walking by, and there is no specific showtimes, and there will be other stuff going on. So, I will try to gather a croud at the other event, and perfrom for 45 min.
If I see that is not working, I will have a backup 10 min. routine.
Does this sound good?
How long do you guys normally hold a crowd at an event where people will just be passing by?
Can you gather, and hold a crowd for 45 min? Or do you just do 10 min for a small amount of people, and let them go?
pdrake99
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Halifax NS Canada
12 Posts

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Remember that people are there to see a show...not you showing off for five minutes with the new box of stuff you just got from Penguin Magic...would you pay $5 to go to a ten minute movie? I wouldn't. In my opinion (after hundreds and hundreds of outdoor performances) 20 minutes should be the absolute minimum...the audience needs to be introduced, drawn in, captured and then let go in spectacular fashion with a whopping finish...it has to be something great in order for them to feel like they WANT to pay...notice I didn't say HAVE to pay...if they ever feel that way, you have done a terrible service to them and to yourself...make them WANT to pay because they enjoyed your polished and entertaining performance (it IS polished and entertaining right???)...most of all, make sure you do a SHOW...not just a bunch of tricks strung together with little thought to the actual sequence of the show...if you are looking down at your "stuff" all of the time, doing the magicians shuffle (constantly distracting your audience by repeatedly swaying back and forth on your feet)and find yourself repeating the age old magic diarrhea "and now I will...and then I'm going to...and with a snap I will,,,and with just a wave I will..."...remember, there are people watching, they don't give a rats ass about the magic, they want to be having fun WITH YOU!!!...the enjoyment of the magic will only follow as a natural progression of you connecting with them...I know that sounds harsh...but there are too many people out there now who buy the latest DVD, and all of a sudden are a "magician"...completely not understanding that there is more to being a magician then just buying the latest trick or DVD...if magic were an iceberg, your tricks would be the tip sticking out of the water..

patrickdrake.com
Cory Gallupe
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Nova Scotia, Canada
1273 Posts

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Very well said Patrick! And nice to see you here. Welcome!
This is actually a new act I will be breaking in. I have given it a lot of thought, and I think it should work well.
Although I will admit it has not yet been tested on a live audience. that's what I am doing here. Like Mark Wilson said, (I think it was him anyway) Get your act perfectly polished before you start charging money.
And that's what I hope to accomplish here. It is a very nice act, and goes together quite smoothly. But I want to perfect it in front of a live audience.

And I also agree 100% with what you said about "Magicians" buying the latest levitation, and they are automaticly a pro.
A lot of people do not realize that it is not all about the tricks, the slieghts, the moves. It's about the connection you have with the audience, and the entertainment value of the show.
I am certainly no pro at this, and I have a lot to learn before I become a polished performer. But that is something I find with a lot of "Magicians"
It is almost like "Hey, watch this, I can do something you cant!"
It's not about that, it's about ENTERTAINING your audience.
Just some food for thought guys.

And Luke, good luck with the busking.
It's a lot of fun!
mikevandecarr
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Chicago area
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Show length can depend on your location.

EX. My street show is usually 7-10 minutes in the city of Chicago but as long as 20 or 25 minutes in Boulder and 25 to 30 at fairs.

The thing is its always the same show with a different pace.


Best,
Mike
SeaDawg
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The Lunatic Fringe
718 Posts

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T'Har Mateys...
This is my first post here in the Café and hopefully I don't re-invent fire or the wheel. By a weird twist of fate I found my self performing as a "busker" doing sidewalk magic. Yes the great cosmic divine truly has a sense of humour....
I got my act ready working a small fishing village tourist destination and made just about every mistake one could humanly possibly make.... But I didn't kill myself or any of the Specs so it wasnt too bad. After getting a coach/mentor who has worked street for many many years I graduated to a bigger waterfront setting.I do my gig as a "Magic" Pirate outside a Maritime Museum. IN my limited months of experience I would have to say that the ideal show length is the one that builds, entertains and lets me hat the crowd. sometimes the show is longer... sometimes shorter depending on the activity on the street. If half your audience needs to catch the cruise ship in 35 minutes and it is a 10 minute walk...show better be 15 mins start to finish. If not, they leave no matter if you have pitched or not. JUst my 2 cents worth...
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
Cory Gallupe
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Inner circle
Nova Scotia, Canada
1273 Posts

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Hey Medric, nice to see you here!
So, instead of performing for five min for a small crowd, you gather a crowd, and keep performing til it gets bigger, then finish the show, and do the hat line?

Because I have seen buskers down in Florida that have a table, and just get 1 family, and do a few tricks. But I have also seen a small crowd, get bigger.
So down at the other event, where there will be other entertainment around, and certain activities planned, should I try to gather a crowd, or work with a small one?
I was thinking of starting the show, and get an audience to come around. Then do a full length show. But I don't know if that will work.
What do you guys think?
Thanks.
-Cory.
ROBERT BLAKE
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First learn the art of getting a crowd. start with smaller shows. then if you can do this over and over again go and watch the bigger shows and look how they do things.
Cory Gallupe
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Nova Scotia, Canada
1273 Posts

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Yes, I know what you mean.
I believe that I could gather a crowd in normal circumstances. As a matter of fact, I was busking with Medric a little while ago, and a crowd was gathering around within minutes.
But the problem here is that this is not a normal circumstance.
There will be other entertainment SCHEDULED, and other activities. I am not scheduled or anything. I am a sideline to what they are doing. So I don't know if I would be able to gather, and keep a crowd for that long, while there is other stuff to do.
Does anyone have experince with this?
I think I will try to start my show, and if a crowd doesn't gather by the time I finish my ACR, then I will finish up, and do the hat line. That will give that group a 10 min performance.
And if a crowd DOES gather, then GREAT!
I am ready for just about any circumstance.
I have 10, 20, and 45 min routines made up, and will also bring some walkaround stuff with me. So if one doesn't work, I can try the other.
It should be a great learning experience.
pdrake99
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Halifax NS Canada
12 Posts

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In an actual busking setting (where you are not previously paid to be there), the formula is simple...do some small close-up magic(not your show routines) for two or three people walking near your pitch...as a few more people gather, arrange them in a row so more people can watch...as the row grows...back up, allowing more people to come in to watch, and raise your voice...get some applause for a trick well done...this will tell others that something is happening that they should watch...when you've got 20 people or so, announce that you "are about to start the show"...the word "about" will give more people a chance to make the decision as to whether or not they will stay to watch, without thinking they've missed anything(If they missed something, or think they did, that is reason enough for them to think it is ok not to pay)...your only job now is to give them a performance they are not soon to forget...the hat pitch is up to you...hope this helps Corey.

Patrickdrake.com
SeaDawg
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The Lunatic Fringe
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Cory, As you have experienced and as Patrick hs stated, get the first few and watch the excitement build....

If you build it they will come..... I have often started with a small throw away and started to build, and before you know it you have a nice crowd, hopefully well captured and thorooughly entertained... then pitch it for all it is worth.

Remember you are in the entertainment business and magic is the delivery mechanism. Give something they wont forget...

Cory look forward to our next joint work...

Seadawg.
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
Cory Gallupe
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Inner circle
Nova Scotia, Canada
1273 Posts

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Thanks guys, this helps alot!
That's exactly what I will do.
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