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swingjunkie
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Hey guys,
So I was kinda inspired by Cellini and was wondering...if I took a few years to perfect my busking, what are the odds that I could make enough during busking season (and I can move to warmer climates in the winter) to sustain myself and/or my wife and keep this going for a few years? I just thought it might be cool to work on the streets and travel the country for, like, 3 years or so. Possible? Could I sustain 1 or 2 people? Could I afford apartments, or would it be all cheap motels? Based on your average hats, how difficult might this be? I'm just fully looking into the idea at the moment. Thanks for any advice.
TheAmbitiousCard
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If you want to be a full-time busker, you'll probably fail.
If you NEED to be a full-time busker, you'll find a way to make it work.

Perhaps adding magic shows of various types to fill your wallet.

Seems to me this is what Danny Hustle, Kozmo, Gazzo, and other do, and it seems to work for them.
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Paddy
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You must remember that Kosmo, Danny Hustle, Cellini, and Gazzo are the VERY BEST in the field. To expect to make the hats they do is unrealistic when you are just starting out.

OK, required warning just said. Yes, you can make it as a busker. I live in Cincinnati, OH, not the wellspring of money for buskers. In fact, some of the people who know me have made comments like, "Isn't that what the bums on the street do? Beg for money?" But I make a living busking and restaurant entertaining full time. I don't live in the richest part of town, but I also don't live in a poor part of town. We live very comfortably.

Try it on weekends close to home. Set a goal for the weekend, i.e. "when I make $600 a weekend on a consistent basis." Then when you do start to make that money almost every weekend, take a month or two off of your job for "family emergency" reasons (it is an emergency; if you don't get away, you'll go nuts) and hit the road for a short while. That way, you have both the "security" and the chance to prove that you can do it.

Good Luck.
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swingjunkie
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Yeah, I was thinking $500 a weekend. But yeah, I am probably going to go work down in Savannah, GA, over the next 2 summers getting practice in, shining my act, and seeing what my hats are like. I was just wondering if it was possible to do without being at, like, Gazzo or Cellini level because I know they are, like, gods, or has anyone else tried it? Thanks, btw.
Pokie-Poke
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There are no gods at this, just people who have worked hard at their craft. You can join this list if:
1. you have some talent;
2. you work hard at the skills you need to make up for any lack of talent;
3. and don't EVER say "I can't" or "I give up".
Also, if your thinking of traveling, grab your stuff and do it; not too far at first, but different cities have different paces and flows. Your show may kill at home, and then you get to the next town, you fall flat.
The first time I worked in VA, I found this out. My N.Y.C. pace was too fast. As soon as I got this, things worked out OK, but the first 2 or so shows were a bit rough.
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The Adventure cont...
Mario Morris
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Swingjunkie, the main thing is that your family is behind the idea. If they are, then you have a good chance of making it...if you're single-minded and hard working. If they are not, then it will back-fire whether you make it as a busker or not.
Mario
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2007-01-05 11:53, Paddy wrote:
You must remember that Kosmo, Danny Hustle, Cellini, and Gazzo are the VERY BEST in the field. To expect to make the hats they do is unrealistic when you are just starting out.

OK, required warning just said. Yes, you can make it as a busker. I live in Cincinnati, OH, not the wellspring of money for buskers. In fact, some of the people who know me have made comments like, "Isn't that what the bums on the street do? Beg for money?" But I make a living busking and restaurant entertaining full time. I don't live in the richest part of town, but I also don't live in a poor part of town. We live very comfortably.

Try it on weekends close to home. Set a goal for the weekend, i.e. "when I make $600 a weekend on a consistent basis." Then when you do start to make that money almost every weekend, take a month or two off of your job for "family emergency" reasons (it is an emergency; if you don't get away, you'll go nuts) and hit the road for a short while. That way, you have both the "security" and the chance to prove that you can do it.

Good Luck.


Very well thought out post. I hope he does well.

I assume, from your comment of "we", that you are married. I'm seriously impressed that you can support a family (at any level, much less "comfortably") in this fashion.

Out of curiosity, does any one know if the "top" buskers have to support families with the income from their act? My hat's off to all of you who do. I know I couldn't!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2007-01-05 11:53, Paddy wrote:
You must remember that Kosmo, Danny Hustle, Cellini, and Gazzo are the VERY BEST in the field.


Thank you, Paddy, but I am more than a little embarrassed to be included in that group. Mario, Kondini, Ark, SuspectActs, Jimmy Talksalot, Tom Frank, and I'm forgetting a few others, should be on that list long before me. Smile

I'm a seasonal busker and only work the summers in my home town. It just happens to be Boston. I got lucky that way.

Speaking of that list above, we are incredibly fortunate to have so many top shelf, full time workers sharing here.

I am a full time entertainer, but in the winters I get in out of the cold and work other shows. Some of the guys on the list above have moved on to cruise ships, corporate gigs, and other work, but most of them have traveled far and wide and, in some cases, the world over to pursue that thing they do.

Frank S. summed it up nicely: If you NEED to do it, you will ultimately succeed; if it is something you only want, I would stay home.

The money is there, but you'll work for it. If you're good, you work harder for it! Smile

I will say this - after one season on the street, your show will be better and more polished than if you had done 10 years of inside work.

Best,

Dan-
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Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2007-01-06 11:11, mandrake01 wrote:
Out of curiosity, does any one know if the "top" buskers have to support families with the income from their act? My hat's off to all of you who do. I know I couldn't!


I own a home, have a car payment, have an 8 year old son, a wife, and an ex-wife. Smile My wife was not working when we bought the home, though she does have a job now. And as I said, I don't deserve to be included on that list. Smile

You can make a hard-earned, honest living as an entertainer, as long as your dream is of making a living and not sitting on the couch next to Jay Leno. Smile

Best,

Dan-
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"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.
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2007-01-05 15:29, swingjunkie wrote:
Yeah, I was thinking $500 a weekend...


You should be able to hit that number, no problem, if you work for it. When you get better, the numbers will only increase; and you only get better by working. Smile

Kind of a win-win. Smile

Best,

Dan-
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"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.
swingjunkie
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Actually, I believe Cellini has a wife that travels with him.
MagicSanta
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Cellini does have a lovely wife who travels with him and supports his gig.
Kozmo
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I have supported my family for years JUST street performing...the video thing is new. It's not easy, and you will get your butt kicked a lot...that's just the way it goes...but the freedom is worth way more than the pain it causes.
ed rhodes
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Cool. I only did one show last summer and made a grand total of $2! But as I've said in other posts, Providence isn't really a "busking" town like Boston, NY, or LA. I will keep trying, though.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
CJRichard
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Mandrake01, I don't see that Providence should be any less of a busking town than Boston. It is a state capital after all, has a number of colleges, Trinity Rep, PPAC, a rather active downtown, and that big mall thing, whatever it's called. . .

What about at Roger Williams Park, while people are waiting in line for the paddle boats across from the carousel? Is busking allowed there?
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

"I know of no other art that proclaims itself 'easy to do.'" -Master Payne

Ezekiel the Green
ed rhodes
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Don't know. Technically, my permit says I can busk anywhere in Providence with the caveat that police have the right to ask me to move without hesitation. Thayer St. area is where the colleges are, which is why I chose it to go to first. Other than that, I'm at a loss. I hadn't thought of the Park. I know the park in Kennedy Plaza would be no good, as there are too many transits and too much chance of being ripped off. I'll have to consider WM Park. Thanks for the idea.

My comment on Providence as a "busking" town is that generally you don't see any of it. An occasional guitar player, and that's about it! So the crowds really don't know how to handle it.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
CJRichard
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Mandrake, there are such lines waiting to get into the zoo sometimes that it might be a benefit for them to actually hire you to entertain right there near the zoo entrance. . .
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

"I know of no other art that proclaims itself 'easy to do.'" -Master Payne

Ezekiel the Green
BAH1313
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Just thought I would add my two cents. (Not that my opinion matters. Who am I?)

Ya gotta WORK your ^%$ off for a while, but then things start to get a little easier.
One word of advice that I learned from Kozmo, and I'll try to say it like he did: Lookit, put together a really tight sidewalk show, and THEN move onto the circle show stuff, because all the big pitches are disappearing and there's no room to work in a lot of places. So ya go off to the side and do short sidewalk shows, 15-20 bucks a pop, and do 'em ALL DAY LONG! This way, you are prepared to work ANYWHERE! Get together a good, tight sidewalk show, and the circle show will come.
That's how you'll make a living.

At least, that's how I remember him sayin' it. Oh yeah, he said one more thing too:

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!!! Don't blow your money. You may not always be able to work where you are, or how you are.



That's it. I'm nobody, but I just thought I would share that with ya.
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
ed rhodes
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Those are good thoughts!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Joshua Barrett
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Where do you work, Paddy? I live in Cincy. I know some people around here that busk full-time, as well.
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