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infernal6
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I wasn't sure whether to put this in sidewalk shuffle or here. Hopefully this is okay.

I have toyed with magic on and off since elementary school, though have never done any serious gigs or shows. My interest as a kid was always street magic (yes, Blaine style) though this style of magic has become tiresome as it gives one no real rewardother than spectator reactions. As a college student, I need as much extra cash as I can get, and I thought that because of my experience and interest in magic, I may have finally found a way to get a part time job. I plan on spending the next month and a half buying a few tricks and developing some decent busking routines so that I can head downtown and entertain. However, I have several questions:

1. What tricks are ideal for busking? I just ordered a nice aluminum cups and balls set, but what else have you found works well for the crowds that is not too expensive or can be built easily? I would like to get a routine of four or five tricks going.

2. What is an ideal show's time limit? Is twenty minutes too much or too little?

3. What days do you find the best to work on? I plan on scoping out the city here for the best areas, but I am unsure which day will have the most crowds.

4. Any other advice, recommendations (books, dvds, etc), personal stories, and so on that you think may be helpful for someone trying to get into this art.

I don't expect this to be easy, and am willing to put in some hard work to develop a sound routine. Thanks in advance for the help.
/infernal
mrunge
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Inner circle
Charleston, SC
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You might want to work up a good Linking Ring routine. It plays big and can make use of a spectator depending on the routine used.

You also might want to check out any of DVDs or books by Cellini (the king of the streets) or the new DVD set by Kozmo, a Café member, called "Tales From The Streets." You'll find tons of great advice and answers to many of your questions.

Good luck out there!

Mark.
Motor City
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Metro Detroit Area
565 Posts

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Infernal,

I would highly recommend "Tales From The Streets." This dvd set should answer all your questions. It is the best dvd set on the subject I have ever seen. The advice on this dvd set should really jump start your busking career.

Before you spend money on the effects you will use in your routine check out the dvd. It will help you with some sound advice on what to consider for the effects you plan on doing. In the long run, the advice on this dvd will save you money and increase your earnings.
mmreed
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Inner circle
Harrisburg, PA
1432 Posts

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A few resources for buskers:

Anything by Cellini - especially the Royal Touch book.
Anything by Slydini - especially the Zurich DVD
To Lure with Spectacle by Jimmytalksalot - book
Kozmo's new DVD mentioned above is a great resource
The Secret Art of Street Magic by Eric Evans
Some of the works of Gazzo

those are the main resources we decided to offer both online and offline to magicians looking for busking material.

Also - become active in the busking section here. Lots of good people.
Mark Reed
Wedding and Event Entertainment
infernal6
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Thanks for all the responses. I will definitely check out the Cellini dvds when I get the money, and perhaps some others after that. In the mean time, I have been reading through Jimmy talksalot's blog and it has been tremendously helpful. I look forward to practicing this art-form, and will try to become involved online.
Jaz
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NJ, U.S.
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Besides C&Bs you want something visible to people at the back of the crowd as well.
Rope magic and Misers Dream are a couple of inexpensive suggestions.

Anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes should be fine.

Whenever and wherever the most people congregate, are idly waiting or moving about would be good prospects if you can find such a spot in your city.
The best days would be nicer days and when people are not in a big rush.
Dynamike
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Eternal Order
FullTimer
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You will find the answers to your questions if you stroll through Sidewalk Shuffle.
The Burnaby Kid
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Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
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Quote:
On 2008-12-01 12:20, infernal6 wrote:
1. What tricks are ideal for busking? I just ordered a nice aluminum cups and balls set, but what else have you found works well for the crowds that is not too expensive or can be built easily? I would like to get a routine of four or five tricks going.


I'm of the opinion that most good magic works for busking. Just keep in mind visibility, the ability to keep the audience engaged at every moment (that's not just a magic thing, but a personality thing), an audience-appropriate tone (some humour might not fly if there are kids about), and a kick-butt closer. The closer ought to be some sort of event or spectacle when compared to the rest of the show -- although something like the final loads for the Cups and Balls can fulfill that adequately.

Quote:
2. What is an ideal show's time limit? Is twenty minutes too much or too little?


Twenty minutes seems fine. I've seen longer and shorter. Another thing to keep in mind is how much of the time is going to be spent building a crowd and how much is going to be actual magic.

Quote:
3. What days do you find the best to work on? I plan on scoping out the city here for the best areas, but I am unsure which day will have the most crowds.


You'll have to do your own research on this one. Things to keep in mind -- Once you've found the legal spots, you want lots of foot traffic where people aren't in a rush and they've got cash.

Quote:
4. Any other advice, recommendations (books, dvds, etc), personal stories, and so on that you think may be helpful for someone trying to get into this art.


Make sure you LOVE your tricks. You don't need as many as you think, but you do need to put your heart into the ones you do. Read and watch as much as you can on the subject (Evans, Gazzo, Cellini, etc.). Buy a nice hat. Go to the Busker's subforum here and start reading everything.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
travisb
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Vancouver, BC
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Lots of good advice here. I'll add that the main thing is to do whatever it takes to actually get out and try it. Going with a friend can help. For one, it's harder to back out at the last minute if you've made a plan with someone, and they can stand there and be your first crowd member.

It's easy to compile a list of excuses why something can't work. Your table isn't ready (go without a table!), you don't have a hat (bring a bucket!), your cups and balls routine isn't ready (then just do the three tricks that you can do!), etc.

If you know three good tricks, you're ready RIGHT NOW. They could even be card tricks (card tricks have their limits, but don't worry about that, yet). Heck, you could get by with one trick, if you had to.

As for the questions:

1. Ideal tricks are hard to determine without being you. Some tricks will simply be easier for you to relate to than others, and you'll be able to connect better with your audience with those tricks. There are no real rules here, although guidelines like visual and easy to follow make sense to me. This is a process of work and discovery.

2. Don't worry about time limit. You'll feel that out as you go. Watch your crowd, pay attention to their energy and attention level. If you have to, I'd say err on the side of faster paced and higher energy, despite what you'll see when you watch the the big circle show pros go at it (they can be S-L-O-W, but there's good slow and bad slow, and they have their reasons).

3. Hard to say without knowing your area, but probably Saturday. Test it out, though. Don't take anybody's word it.

4. What I said above, plus:

Your priority is to have fun.

Eat well (bring food) and drink water.

Take care of your voice (if you know any vocal warm-up/technique, use it, if not, learn some).

Don't get paralyzed by advice overload. Smile Keep it simple and go for it!

-Travis
T. Sebastian
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Ozark Mountains, USA
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Learn some good rope stuff.
It's cheap. It can be used to build a crowd and/or a phase in your show.
And people like it.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
Wayne Kawamoto
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Here are some reviews of street-related DVDs:
http://magic.about.com/od/professionalma......sources/

-Wayne
www.Magic.About.com - Magic News and Reviews
Author: "Picture Yourself As a Magician"
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