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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Street Vent - Tough Shows (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

tacrowl
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Inner circle
Maryland
1633 Posts

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This past weekend I was at a Michigan Festival. Usually, festivals and fairs put me on a stage - this one set me on the edge of an asphalt parking lot. Behind me was the playground and just beyond that, the carnival midway. In front of me was a parking lot full of tables (in the direct sun) and around the edges were food concessions. There was no place to store equipment or sound - it had to be kept in the open area, compact enough so people wouldn't trip over things between sets. Due to the location, people would wander through the performance area on their way to get food - or kids would race through going to and from the playground.

Show times were not printed on any material or signs - it was up to me to draw a crowd (from the far side of the playground) and keep them entertained for 30 minutes while baking in the sun. If you have ever worked with an audience sitting in direct sunlight and high temperatures, you know they don't always respond, which can kill a comedy act.

It was perfect for the juggler, who was visual and could use that to draw the crowd. When I was doing magic, I had street experience, but again, it was more visible and mobile which also helped to keep the performance area boundaries. I'm used to doing vent in a formal setting - corporate, banquet, stage.

It was a challenge adapting my vent show to this type of performing conditions. The first show was nothing to be proud of, but by the end of the three day event - I was drawing huge crowds and getting strong laughs the whole show. It involved a change of opening and a restructure of the comedy material to really engage the crowd. I'd have to say this was probably the toughest vent gig I've done but I feel like I aced the test. (They already booked for 2009!)

Has anyone else worked street vent? Not walk around but a show. If so, how did you adapt - lets share some ideas. And lets not limit this to street, but any tough show conditions - and how you adapted to make your act a success.
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
3058 Posts

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I think it's an interesting concept but I can imagine how tough street vent could be...at least for me Smile

But I don't think that would be a problem for you Tom Smile

I should try it soon and just wing it Smile
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Ken Dumm
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Inner circle
1195 Posts

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Hi Tom,

I worked a festival this weekend as well, and while it wasn't the same working conditions you had, it posed similar challenges. I was in a beer tent, separated from the view of most fair goers. Even though my show times were listed in the program, it was difficult to find me. Out of sight, out of mind.

Years ago, I started printing out small flyers, with show times, to hand out while I walked around the fair grounds . It really seemed to help the attendance of the shows.

BTW, where was the festival in Michigan? If my dates don't conflict, maybe we meet next year...

Ken
tacrowl
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Maryland
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The flyers are a great idea!
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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Ken Dumm
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Inner circle
1195 Posts

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Instead of sitting around for the next show, I walk around for exercise and hand them out. 4 fliers fit on one 8 x 11 sheet of paper, cut to make 4 fliers, so it's really not that much paper. People are pretty receptive when receiving the flier. I always carry a small close up trick with me, so if they can't make the shows, I can show them something quick. Sometimes those folks change their plans and show up. It's a great way meet people, and get those folks in front of you...

Ken
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