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Josh Peters
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Minneapolis, MN
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Hi everyone. I haven’t posted much, but I do a lot of listening, spending a lot of time on this board researching and learning. I have always had a great interest in circus, sideshow, magic, escape…basically the odd, unusual things people do or watch to be entertained. I’ve been learning and practicing several sideshow acts over the past year and have had several chances to perform. I’ve put together community events and shows, and am putting together a somewhat aggressive agenda to show one of Doug’s Zibits this summer. All the while I’m working a full time job and supporting a family of 5.

Are any of you making a living doing these acts? Do you mix performing with some kind of grind show/single-o? Is there room out there for a traditional single-o illusion (girl to gorilla, etc.) and will it bring in the $? Are you able to support more than yourself or do you work outside of the “show”?

Josh
Doug Higley
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Hi Josh. Doug here. I just got this eMail yesterday from a fellow who showed his 'Higley' at a fair that featured some other grindshows...here's a piece of it in answer to my question if there were other shows there...

"I was not near any of the other shows. But I think the other sideshows hurt mine. I kept hearing complaints about the Headless Woman and The Spider Girl. They felt ripped off. But I would say 95% of my customers were very satisfied. Several said "I would have paid $5.00 to see that"

I get a lot of that kind of stuff as feedback...though 95% is pretty low if accurate...so based on what I here from the field, I wouldn't mix one of my shows...BUT Girl To Gorilla will ALWAYS make the money...it's a big set up though which is against the grain for my 'back'.

There are those who show one of my shows AND do some sideshow performing out front to gather interest and turn the tip. I can only speak for my show idea though as I know what makes that tick..back to the other Xpurts... Smile

(Also just a small caution not to confuse what some are doing in comparison to what I teach. I teach a rather ridgid specific...with specific guidlines and causations and results that work as is because of the specific marketing angles. If you have the How-To you know what I mean so I don't advise about other show material because it is not always compatable and out of my arena of knowledge.)
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Josh Peters
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Minneapolis, MN
64 Posts

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Thanks Doug. I'm not surprised that people feel ripped off by the spider girl. Pretty rediculous illusion if you ask me. I plan to show the Zibit the way you lay it out in your instructions. I've been scouring for large flea markets in my area and have found a couple ~ 200 miles away (I live near no large cities). I'm thinking towards the future and how I can make something like this (zibit, performing, grindshow, etc) work as an only income, which may mean trying to get into fairs and festivals with something, be it the zibit or another idea entirely.
Doug Higley
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Be sure and work a few of the smaller Fleas just for the heck of it. Get your feet wet a bit and have some fun. Always good to practice those sideshow skils in front of live bodies when ever you can and this way make a few bucks in between the big Fleas. Smile The thing about this show I taught you is that I hear back ALL THE TIME about how much fun it is to do...even on a crappy day or venue there's fun to be had.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Kondini
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I make a meager living doing the shows and between performances I show zibbits, push svens, lucky dip, swag stall etc etc whatever makes a bob or two.

This is my only income and I have been doing it for twiddly dee years,,,brought up a family, paid off a mortgage, seen the world etc etc,,,paid me *** taxes as well.

Its a hard life and you will proberly starve,,, If I were you I would turn to something simple like kids shows,,,keep your 9 to 5 job,,,and your sanity,,,and your wife !!!!!

Sell your zibbit for a couple of $$ (Ill buy it off you!!).

My thoughts,,,don`t do it.

Ken.
Doug Higley
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Hey Kondodoodledini...you miss the point...

If he sold his Zibit (I see you've kept yours!) then his Escape Clause would be out of hand. With the Zibit and the Plan he can do just weekends and stuff the jar when he feels like it.

So full time yeah is a bear and a half BUT keep the darn Zibit! That's money in the pocket part time and at will! (as you well know Turkey. Don't worry Ken, he wont compete.)
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
erichall
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South Carolina
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I've got my full time job. I'm working on some magic shows on the side (fun and cash). I've got my Zibit outfit, and can take it anywhere anytime I want. It is fun, even if you are just joking around for 6 hours with the guy who sells the amazing sneaker cleaner across from you. You can learn a lot listening to the other people pitching things, and you meet some great people. You do need to get out there 5 or 6 times to "get the feet wet" and work out your set up, etc. I'm still figuring out how to weigh that ez-up down. Keep at it until you don't have time for a day job, and you are making enough to quit it anyway- Until then, enjoy the security, and enjoy the fact that you have a profitable pastime!
mota
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S. David Walker makes his living with his zbit. He does not do Svengali's anymore. He changed when he saw me work my zbit. I know of several other people who have made their living off of zbits.

I have also done very well with my zbits. My wife and I ran two places side-by-side for a couple years, a zbit and pitching the worm. We did good. She is back in science now (some silly idea about science being more stable). I will be out with my zbit again this year when the weather breaks.

You can make a living at this but you may have to follow the seasons. The outdoor show business starts in late Feb/early March in Florida and along the Mexican border. It goes north with the season, than back south in the fall.

The winter months are in Florida, the Rio Grande valley, and southern California for the most part. I heard of one fair that goes year-round in southern California only, just playing parking lots. You could grind out a living with this one outfit.

I also know a guy who used to run plush at a crossroads in Vegas...very low rent. A zbit would work well there. If you find a niche spot you can sit there and let tourists come to you. Such a spot is more problematic in Wisconsin because of winter.

Start part-time and see if the outdoor show business is where you want to be. I would also like to recommend a book about a couple who take a food joint (grab joint) on the carnival trail in 1975. It matches with my experiences. The main changes since 1975 are the rents are higher, the gas is more expensive, and there are less politically-incorrect sideshows.

The book is "WITH IT: A year on the Carnival Trail" by Barbara Bamberger Scott.
Josh Peters
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Thanks everyone.
Mota, I'll look for that book.
Ken, aren't you across the pond? You really that worried? Wait, you just want a good deal on a used zbit don't you!
I've done a couple shows with the zibit before the weather hit and I'm itchin to get out again.
Kondini
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When you get with it,,,,you will learn the Showmans Bible,,,at the top of the list is >>> Never tell anyone what you make,,,never tell anyone where you made it ,,,,and never tell anyone how you made it.

ie:- since pushing the zibbs over the last three years or so,,,I coined it in cos I was the only one,,,now here in the UK I know of 8 people trying it and 3 more sitting on the fence !!!

We are only a small Island !!! Which meens I may have to come over there and play in your backyard !!!
God elp ya.

Ken
Doug Higley
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That Higley IS prolific me thinks. Plenty of room for all though unless you start to bump heads at the same Flea. So far not hearing of that challenge.

Every Zibit here and those being mentioned does my 'show idea' to varying degrees of success. The plan works. Period, far and above anything else on the road past or present (Ken proved that!!!!) BUT it still takes a magic ingredient that must be kept in mind...Attitude. Your Attitude and adherence to the guidlines...some have gotten a bit too experienced for their own britches...one or two get worn out...but for the most part everybody is having a good time and paying for the hot dogs.

You folks have no idea how this makes me feel when I hear it all being discussed. At this stage of my game I have nothing much as a future EXCEPT building a bit of a legasy in the books...why that matters to me, I have no idea but it does feel good to know that I did something right along the way that became tried and true. Thank you all.

(Ken you need a new Zibit!)

For those new here or not aware...Kondini (and my How-To and Zibits) holds the world record for the most successful and outrageously toured Grind Show ever...in History folks.
See http://www.grindshow.com/GrindShow/Historical.html for part of the story. We cant't tell it all yet. An awesome tale to be sure.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Rappel
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"I was not near any of the other shows. But I think the other sideshows hurt mine. I kept hearing complaints about the Headless Woman and The Spider Girl. They felt ripped off. But I would say 95% of my customers were very satisfied. Several said "I would have paid $5.00 to see that"

This quote is from me in a note to Doug. I knew I should have capitlized "very satisfied". Doug, I meant VERY satisfied as in "way more than satisfied" After seeing the illusion "Headless Woman" and "Spider Girl" knowing that they were illusions, the customers were more than happy to see something that they either believed could be real or were amazed at the craftmanship.Without ever lying to them, most believe that it is real, but just not sure what it is. Out of several thousand people, only 5 or 6 said they thought it was fake. But when I explained to them about the process of the preservation of IT, they would usually say something like "Oh,....ok,I see now" It was always because they did not read the signs in the tent telling about the history of the THING. If you did have the real thing, some would still say FAKE. But it's not about making them believe, it's about the dollars worth. And no one complained about being ripped off like the other single-o's they had been to.

Rappel
Doug Higley
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Usually in my experience and hearing from others...there are a few who might use the word 'fake' BUT it's usually in the context of "That's fake right?" They are unsure which is a good thing! haha. They are 'hoping' it is, especially those that swim. I had more than a few say they were never going in the water again. haha.
Anyway...the dialog is always fun no matter what they ask or postulate.

Ang yeah...my bit about the 'preservation' is a real kick...usually works every time. Smile

Thanks Tim.
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Rappel
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While Zibiting at the Mid-South Fair, what really amazed me was that EVERY SINGLE police officer, deputy, and carny came out of the tent after the "viewing" with remarks like "Man, that's the weirdest thing I've EVER seen!" or "That WAS strange!" "What the hell is that" " That's some crazy sh*t" A couple of guys pulled out a small flash light and would inspect it for several minutes. I thought they would be the very ones to suspect fakery. Though a couple of the carnys new it was a gaff, they really enjoyed seeing it.
But real big suprise was that most of the customers were female. Is this the case with other Zibitors?
Rappel
Doug Higley
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Lately yes. The female contingent has been out numbering the males at a bunch of shows I get reports on. BUT you have implimented that SECRET I told you about. We wont give it away here please. It is too powerful and yes gets the females in droves. You also was in an area which ethinically is not as strong show goers as you experienced where you were. We wont talk about that either here but you had a decent run...now it's on to the next one. Go Tim! Smile

BTW: I usually don't use countless testimonials or reports I get on the forum or even my site...but Tim's was relevant to the original post, so thanks Tim for allowing that.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Rappel
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You bet. Anytime Doug.
abigkahuna/1
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Having been out on the road with Doug's zibits the past few years, I can say that it can be lucrative. I won't reveal numbers here, but there have been fairs where I did out gross our product booth.
Rappel
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Hi Jeff,
I'll be hitting the fleas soon. Thanks for the tips a few months back.

Rappel
abigkahuna/1
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Good Luck To yah and make lotsa money Rappel!
mota
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This weekend it is raining so nothing going on.

Last weekend was nice and one friend with his zbit grossed over $800 just on Sunday at a flea where his booth rental was $24.
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