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Kozmo
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Well, I'm off to work in the morning...travelling for just a few days.


Before I leave I thought I might offer this up for discussion.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with as a full-time street performer/magi. is rejection. Walkers, they watch, laugh and go what the *---! but they don't give. Why?And they walk away. Somtimes they wave at me as I bust then in front of everyone...cheap man!...cheap man!.


Why do they walk? no money? Was it me? My ego is broken and after a long day of working it gets harder to deal with this, harder and harder and harder. I have solved this in my mind, the rejection, lack of money. I just killed 25 people and I got $4, what the hell is that!!! Trying to resolve this in my mind that it was me or wasn't me that caused this, not connecting with this audience while the show just prior I did $50 with he same size crowd! What the heck.

I beleive that you can't let it get to you. And I also believe that we are responsible. So if you got a *** hat from 50 people it was likely you, or me, and it happens. What did I do wrong? Why did we not connect? Offer some stuff up here fellas.

koz
m@t
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Koz- in reply to the money situation. The only piece of advice is not to walk around with the hat at the end because then once you have done one side of the crowd the other half will have vanished. Stand in the middle with your hat out and let them come to you.

M@t Smile
Patrick McKeever
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Hi Koz,
Putting myself in the spectator's position: First, do I like this guy? was the magic good? Does the laughter that he generates come spontaneously or is it an uneasy reaction? Did I really enjoy the show?

Assuming all these elements are positive, each and every one of them owes you.

Do they like you? You have said that your act is somewhere between Gazzo and Cellini. How much Gazzo? Gazzo does stuff that I could never get away with. But a little Pommy with a funny accent and big cajones gets away with murder. If I did the things that he does, I would be offensive, yet when I watch him, I laugh like crazy. Yet, there are moments in Gazzo's act that create an uneasy laughter, not because of the humor but because of its shear brashness. The audience is asked to believe that it all is done for the comic moment, but many are saying to themselves: "I can't believe the little ***** did that." It works for Gazzo and they pay. If I did the same thing that Gazzo does out there they would chuck rocks at me. The point is, Koz, do you honestly think your character is likeable?

I am sure you have analized your act over and over so it still comes down to the deadbeats who don't pay. This is the time to get a little pushy. In my limited experience, I have said things to people who began to walk away after watching to the end of the show like:" Sir, did you enjoy the show?" if they say "yes", "Then how about telling my chapeau." Or "hey come back, I can change a hundred." Anything to give them a second chance to do the right thing. Always in a friendly manner, but incredulous that they would even think of not paying. It's a fine line.

Koz, this is really a tough question. What I have written here is just an analysis of years of watching other magicians and my reaction to their acts and their personalities. In Street Magic, if you have held up your end, I feel they owe you. There are always deadbeats but a little cajoling will bring some of them back.

I'll bet there are a lot of folks who would drop a one or a five but all they have is a twenty. So, instead of dropping in a $20, they walk. Hence, the offer to make change.

Since it is usually me asking advice from you, I hope something here is of value to you.

Good luck out there, Patrick
BroDavid
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As usual, Patrick has some great ideas.

I see it like a salesman who goes to door after door and gets nothing, and a baseball player who strikes out - time, and time again, you just have to have a short memory.

After you have analyzed the performance, and made appropriate adjustments, then you have to let it go. If you don't if will flat out wear you down.

I had an experience when I was a young 23 year old salesman: My boss and I went on a sales call on a big company. An we ended up getting thrown out! I mean escorted to the door by security, and told to never come back!

When we got outside, I was mortified. But my boss was laughing! I said what are you laughing about? He said, I am laughing because we got that out of the way. He said; I only sell to about 50% of the companies I call on. And now I can't wait to get to the next one, because since this one said no, we are due for a win. The lesson I learned was, there is always another door to knock on, and all you have to do; is to keep on knocking. The numbers are with you.

Some will give. And some won't won't. Forget that some won't! And hold on to the knowledge that SOME WILL! Keep pitching!

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Kozmo
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First of all, I wasn't really talking about me, I was more talking about new guys and some of the things that are going to bother them, watching people walk.

I get most of the people so it's ok for me. It's how I learned to deal with this,the walkers, and trying to not take it personally which I no longer do. Realizing all the while how important it is to analyze your show over and over, forever. Ever evolving. Some people just don't have any money, some people just don't want to give because they think everything should be free!. Hey, if you are out on the streets then it should be free...at least in their eyes.

One of the most difficult things for me to learn to deal with is the walkers. I used to take it personal,. I don't anymore, I just think its the way it is and if you can live with that then you, the new guy, will survive out there. So many street performers have become bitter...very bitter....because of this. Don't let it get to you.

As far as my cross between Gazzo and Cellini, well I have mellowed over the years...softer...I don't attack anymore although I used to a lot. No one can deliver Gazzo's lines, no one. And I don't care to try.

I get a high percentage of the hat thanksfully, and its improving.

What I'm trying to do here is get one of those great conversations going that we often have.

But for those who gave advice I appreciate it. You touch on a lot of good points.

koz
kasper777
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Koz, having just started my career as a full time street performer I know the feeling. It used to be when I hit the bricks on the weekends, if someone didn't pay, so what, I have a day job still. Now, I don't, it's just the street.

Today, after doing a show for about 10-15 people, and having this lady (about 43) laugh her butt off, she came up and proudly put in $1. She did it in a manner which she thought she was putting in a $10.

The sober parents today were worse than the drunks and little kids I've dealt with. e.g. "You're magic is good but work on your comedy." "You are so funny, but keep practicing you magic and it will come to you." "you need to get some shade"(then leaves).

a mother to a group of kids ages 2-7 she was with, "He's not good enough to keep you interested, is he?"

Just a !#$%*!& &#$%y day. I don't take it personal, but my "act" takes it personal. Was I in the wrong place, should I move locations, rethink my tricks, did I rush, did I appear tired, was I not focused enough with my audience, was I looking around too much trying to get a crowd, hhhmmmmm.. but...the guy from the show before dropped a $10...

Oh well, I didn't make enough that I wanted to today, but I made it through. I lived to tell about it and will hopefully be better tomorrow, I am hopeful.

Koz, thanks for bringing up this topic

Nolan
Danny Hustle
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You know I think Pat hit the nail on the head.

Do they like me?

This was the biggest shock to me when Gazzo went over my show a few months ago. I grew up slinging slum and calling at the gyp joints at Salisbury Beach here in MA.

That kid/guy had been dead for years but when I went to the street he came back to life. Because of the rapid pace kept in Harvard Square I thought I needed to go 500 miles an hour to pull them in and GTFM.

I was making the same hats as everyone else and people were telling me I was great.

I had never seen my show. It turns out that the character was a jerk. I wasn’t saying anything bad or anything like that it was just that you took one look at the guy and didn’t like him. I was too wide, wild, and arrogant in my delivery.

I needed to slow it down, greatly.

I have another character based on my dad who was a club singer in the 40’s and 50’s. Kind of slow talking maybe even tipsy. Always amazed, “well, will you take a look at that.” He’s kind of like Dean Martin with a Boston accent.

I threw this at Gazzo in desperation and he said that was the guy. He even had me slow that down to the point of discomfort. It feels all wrong doing the act this way but when I tried it out, blammo, Fat hats.

To me the act seems worse. To my audience it is a 1000 times better than what I was doing. My first time out I did three 20-minute shows and made $240.00. it used to take me several hours of 10 minute shows to make that much cash.

The funny thing is the magic has been halved. I am doing much less magic but because the character has slowed way, way, down the show takes longer.

It has made a difference in the hats. The stuff I am doing is simple, simple, stuff. I close with a two in the hand one in the pocket routine for crying out loud. I look at it from my perspective and it seems bad. I can’t see it from the audience’s perspective but they seem to love it and reward me for it. It is weird.

Killing your darlings is a hard thing to do. Knowing which ones to kill makes it harder.

I was so lucky to have a guy so good I didn’t dare question his advice tell me what to do. He ripped me down to nothing then built me back up.

So, If you are getting a lot of walk-a-ways, I guess my advice would be to anyone starting out is to get somebody good to look at your act and give them the freedom to be brutally honest with you about what is bad. Then be brutally honest with yourself in admitting they are right and fix it no matter how uncomfortable or wrong it may feel.

We should be in this to give the audience what they think is good not what we think is good.

Oh yeah, and SLOW DOWN! Gazzo says this is the biggest problem with most buskers. They go too fast and step on everything.

If the show and you is something they like they will pay.

I still get walk-a-ways but even when I do the others are now giving more because none of them think I am a jerk. All of them didn’t think I was a jerk before, but enough of them did that it made a big difference.

It is a humbling process we go through in order to be good at anything. Admitting weakness is an awful thing but when done and done well, it can also be the most rewarding step forward toward your ultimate goal. This goes for anything in life me thinks. I’m still under the impression that humility and self honesty are virtues.

Okay, I’m off the soapbox. I need to go earn a buck or two. 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
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Ignore me...
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I hate to be a me-too, but I think that Dan raises an excellent point.

It took me a while to slow things down. Even now, I consciously go to the bottom of my comfort zone, and then I have to slow things down to the point of discomfort.

Great posts, guys. I used to work the streets, and was planning on doing so this summer while in Europe (which will allow me to play the part of the foreigner with a bad accent, and give me more latitude in terms of how outrageous I can be).

T.
Rover
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In Dan's post you'll notice he took some constructive criticism and came up with a more "likeable" character. Some performers would refuse to do that and continue doing routines that just don't seem to improve.
Patrick McKeever
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Dan, good to hear from you. I think it is interesting that Gazzo honed in on this Dean Martin character. Nothing could be further from Gazzo's style. Nobody was ever cooler than Dino, so if this charactor suits you, man, you've probably got a winner. It must have been a though revelation for you to realize that your previous character lacked appeal. One of the few advantages that comes with years is that we tend to BS ourselves a little less.

Koz has brought up a very valuable topic here, one that certainly is not new to this board but he made such a compelling appeal and I think it should be given serious thought. Maybe even some fresh ideas.

As I mentioned in my earlier post: give them a second chance to give. By gently coaxing. (i.e.), "Sir, I'll be glad to change that $20, $100 or whatever." "I know you enjoyed the show, I saw you laughing." Make eye contact. Bullying and insults will only turn people away and their money with them.

Most street performers tend to look a little run down at the heels and that's o.k. After all, it's a bit grubby out there. That doesn't mean you can't show a little class.

There some good lines on getting the money in last year's archives. I wuld like to expand on them in this thread.

Patrick
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2003-06-06 11:26, Patrick McKeever wrote:
One of the few advantages that comes with years is that we tend to BS ourselves a little less.

Patrick




We-Wowee. truer words were never spoken.

I also agree that gentler is better with the cash call backs. I used to be tough on them and lost money.

Gazzo does it and wins but he's well...Gazzo.

Gazzo is a very good teacher and he understands how important it is that the "voice" fit the individual.

He also says that people who steal his lines are usually shooting themselves in the foot because the voice doesn't fit their persona.

He wrote new material for me and re-wrote some of his stuff. For me he spent a lot of time taking the edge off my delivery and changing the cadence and timing.

Really subtle stuff but it changed the same joke from his brash style to my laid back (darn near asleep) style.

He really is a brilliant guy and understands performance in a much greater way than anyone would expect.

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.
Pete Biro
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Great stuff... I still remember Dai Vernon's most important advice...

"They have to like you. An audience knows within 30 seconds if they are going to like you."

I know when I work as a judge in competitions, for example, I can tell almost immediately if the act is going to be good or not. I don't have to see the entire act... just the first few impressions and I know what the whole will be like. Smile
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
kid iowa
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Quote:
On 2003-06-06 08:55, Danny Hustle wrote:

So, If you are getting a lot of walk a ways, I guess my advice would be to anyone starting out is to get somebody good to look at your act and give them the freedom to be brutally honest with you about what is bad. Then be brutally honest with yourself in admitting they are right and fix it no matter how uncomfortable or wrong it may feel.





I totally agree (as usual) with Danny. As for a lot of us who don't have access to the greats (Gazzo, Cellini, Danny, Kozmo etc) what do you all think of doing a compilation video of your act and send it to others to critique? We could have a video of 10-15 people, depending on the length of the act, and whoever sends in a vid gets a vid of everyone in return. Personally I would love to see you guys in action, it would be nice to see the act with everyones personality. If anyone is seriously interested lets work something out. I could do the editing (far from professional, just a double deck vcr) and compile the acts together. Just a thought. Jim
Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile...can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served in the United States Navy." J.F.K.
cfrye
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Quote:
On 2003-06-06 13:56, Pete Biro wrote:

I know when I work as a judge in competitions, for example, I can tell almost immediately if the act is going to be good or not. I don't have to see the entire act... just the first few impressions and I know what the whole will be like. Smile

I do a lot of work for Microsoft Press, so I picked up a copy of How Would You Move Mount Fuji?, a book about puzzle interviews, which have been taken to a new height at Microsoft. Why did Microsoft and other companies go to puzzle interviews? Because first impressions skew the results of interviews drastically.

Starting on page 14, the author cites a study by two Harvard psychologists (Ambady and Rosenthal), who found that "complete strangers' opinions of a teacher, based on a silent two-second video, were nearly the same as those of students who had sat through a semester of classes."
BroDavid
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You only get one chance to make a first impression.

And if you are asking people to respond to you in a good way. They must like you enough to do it.

All excellent advice here. And Koz, I really didn't think you the one who was "down" about the walk-a-ways... You skin is probably as thick as a Rhino from all the rocks thrown at you over the years. I agree with the others here. Man you really did bring up a great topic for discussion here.

Danny, you continue to make the sharing of your experience, one of the most practical and useful contributions in this forum! Thanks friend.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
kasper777
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This topic has started to make me look at me and my performing style. Do I slow down or stay the same? What character could I most likely pull off? Robin Williams, Jerry Lewis are very fast paced comedians. They didn't slow down, if they did, people would think something wrong happened. Bill Cosby is a slow performer, telling his jokes with exactness. Where do I fit in. I believe I could pull off both. I believe I have the charm and carisma to pull of a carney type persona as well as a more laid back character. Who am I really?

You might just say go out and be yourself. In that case, I see myself going out there doing physical comedy skits and goofing off as I go along, but then would it be too fast? Do we have to go slow? I'll admit my speech needs to slow down, but do the movements? Do I need to walk almost with a drunks pace?

Sunny Holiday goes at a pretty steady fast paced and is done in about 15 mins, as well as Cellini. Should we forget what we saw in the Cellini DVD and go slow and go for a longer show? Sunny and Cellini never made the hats the Gazzo does. If our goal is to make the fat hats, do we then dismiss the Cellini material and study Gazzo? Even in my few conversations with Gazzo he has said not to do what is on the Cellini DVD.

Which way do I go, who do I perform as, now what? All this thinking is making me drink. One day I'll figure it all out.

Nolan
Peter Marucci
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Why on earth would you ever notice who pays and who doesn't?
Only if you are TOTALLY insecure!
I don't and it doesn't bother me in the slightest!
Do your show.
Do it to the best of your ability.
If you don't make enough money to live on, after many jobs, GET ANOTHER JOB!
It's that simple!
Smile
Shorty
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Hi Dudes, I think the important point on the story is to be natural. If they like you, they pay. If they believe, you like what you do, they like it too. Another point that I don`t like is: Talk too much about the money during the show. I mean the People are not stupid (most) they know you like their money. So say something in the middle of your show, you are a pro bla bla and a good Hatline and that's fine. If you are good, that's all you need. And the lines for walk- away should not be Bad, just funny. People don`t like agressive Dudes. That how I am thinking, but I never performed in U.S, always Europe, and Europe is great!!! I think is the same in the USA.

Greetings from Switzerland
Shorty
Kozmo
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I'm back and so glad you guys noticed this topic. Strangely enough I was just at a place that I had never had so many walk- aways. Now understand,I do pretty well when it comes to hat,as well as Cellini.

I'm changing my show a lot right now...making it better, I hope, and so I left some stuff out that I used to do. Mainly Cellini's rope routine. When I added it back in my hats got better. Not because its a great rope routine, which it is, but because it softens my personality...makes me more likeable. Cellini has told me a ton of times, make them like you. period.It's the only thing that's important. You can be the worst magi on the planet...but if they like you they will give...well most of them anyways. Listen to me now, they are going to walk away, and most of the time, it has nothing to do with you. They have lives. They may have things they need to do. They likely didn't plan to see some guy on the streets doing magic. They might not like magic, they may hate magic. Be nice, be good, do the best you can, and you will be ok. And Pete, he's right. Who gives a **** about who pays and who doesn't?...who cares? As long as you can make what you need its ok. Always look at your show, make it better and make it friendly. Have fun with them and they mght stay.

I'm glad I started this one...its good stuff...keep it coming.

koz
kasper777
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Pete, you said "Do your show.
Do it to the best of your ability.
If you don't make enough money to live on, after many jobs, GET ANOTHER JOB!
It's that simple!" But, herein lies the problem, this job chose me. I didn't choose it. There is no other choice for me in my short existence on this earth. This is not a choice for me, it is something I have to do. I constantly sit and think about magic, performing, my character, etc. This hobby of ours has me so passionately obsessed that my fiance has to remind me that she is here.

Oh well..
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