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The Mighty Fool
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I feel like a big-top tent having
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Profile of The Mighty Fool you talk the same way you post?

Your act sounds just a bit too highbrow and deep for the reveling / drunk passerby on the Vegas street. But congrats on working up the nerve to get out there & try it. But youre right about your first mistake: setting up in an intentionaly non-busy / low-traffic area. One reason I've seen even some really good busker-acts fall flat is that there simply wasn't any ENERGY flowing between the crowd & the performer. (On hot days, I've seen buskers DUMP edges if they werent enthusiastic enough!) If youre brave enough to go for the large crowds, their energy will sustain and boost your performance. I know when youre starting out it sounds easier to go for smaller edges, but if you play easy, busking is hard...if you play hard, busking is easy.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
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Profile of Dave V
I'm with Mighty Fool on this one. It's like the joke about the clown complaining "Nobody takes me seriously!"

Vegas streets are full of people looking for fun. You may want to try making friends with some the artists in the "Art District" and try again on the next First Friday. There are a lot of partyers and drinkers there too, but if you pick your spot (away from the bands and noise but with traffic (you MUST have traffic. Don't cut yourself short by trying to control your audience size by intentionally hiding from them) and focus on the art patrons you might do better.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
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Floating above my
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Profile of Ekuth
First, as has been said, YOU GOT OUT THERE. That alone is a huge hurdle to overcome.

You will ALWAYS be your own worst enemy.

Second... man, you had it all in one on your first night! Shot yourself in the foot, my friend.
But you picked up about every lesson you need to learn in one shot.



Ditch the balloon for outdoor work. Ditto anything dependent on calm weather conditions, because you aren't gonna get them.

Find something flashy and simple to crowd build. Already said, but bears repeating.
Your magician friend with the floating cig has the right idea- I use that myself, but not as an attractor. That's a mid/finale piece. See the first thought as well. IT work is an art and chancy at the best of times.

Either pick a persona/character or be yourself. Be more of yourself. Be that person you keep locked up because you're afraid what other people will think!


But most important:

Have fun.

Forget the hats, the crowds, the hecklers, the drunks, (actually I love the drunks... show a guy with a six pack in him the floating cig and watch their brains ooze from thier ears.) the obnoxious kids, everything but enjoying what you do.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
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Las Vegas , NV
359 Posts

Profile of unilogo
I am kind-off pretentious when I write artistic ideas on a notebook or forum. And costantly reading pessimistic or academic literture, as a hobby does not help: Dostoevsky, Schopenhauer, etc....

When the abstract philosophy or poetry crosses over to my idea of magic. I understand how doomed, I will be on the streets of Las Vegas; You are correct.

But, I only speak like this on rare occasions. I am pretty collected and try to be humble or nice most of the time; In simple english. Smile

Since my goal is to do this part-time, to supplement my income, I have to make it work.

Even if it is a harder road being an original. I believe that compromising enough, I can eventually appeal to a specific crowd in Las Vegas.

All I can do is try and apply lessons, from you guys.
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Dargaville, New Zealand
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Profile of MagiCol
Unilogo, I'm a bit late reading your thread. Thanks for sharing your first experience. I suggest you keep a log of some of your street experiences - they make good reading later on, and will bring back memories of fun, anxiety, and whatever that otherwise get lost or so accustomed to as time goes by that would otherwise become hazy in your memories.

My first time on the street was one of aprehension, uncertainty, etc. Now you're on your way to getting accustomed to being on the street, and you'll have your ups and downs for the rest of your experiences there. It's interesting once you are accustomed to being on the street, walking up to your pitch with the sense of "This is my place. This is where I perform." It's also rather disconcering to find that someone has beaten you to your spot for the day and you're displaced. But having to find an alternative place to stand is good for you - it's yet another learning experience. A couple of weeks back I got to my usual spot to find that both my first and 2nd best places were already taken. I ended up working at the edge of my best spot. What that showed me is that I had, over a period of trial and error, found the best spot in the mall, all right. It's in as busy spot as there is, it has shelter from the summer sun... The earlier occupants left after an hour or so of my being there and things picked up for me then.
The presentation makes the magic.
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Profile of Devious
How are you faring these days Unilogo?
Have things smoothed out, or is it still a rollercoaster ride, there in Vegas?
Devious Deceptions
"Gadol Elohai!"
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Profile of unilogo
I modified my show drastically, since the Jimmy Talksalot lecture. When he said a sidewalk perforformer has to literally "Suddenly... Stop traffic completely." I realized drawing an edge with visual magic, is neccessary. I worked a unique 'zombie' routine, that is not too wind sensitive, to gather the crowd.

I also decided to build a 'subtle' character to incorporate, cute or black comedy throughout the show. So, I will be a parody of myself. An elegant magician, who was forced to become a clown and prop comic on the streets. Instead of insulting the audience 'vulgarly' like Gazzo. I will rely on self-deprecating humor. Unless the joke is really good... Smile

I noticed that my audience was receptive to some poetry in my first performance; So I will sugarcoat my 'artistic' and intelligent finale... Via making the rest of my show fun.
The poetry for the finale is romatic any way; And love is universal... So I hope it works out.

I restructured my show so much; It is only by this weekend that I will start busking seriously.
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Profile of Pasquale
All the rehearsing/practice at home is worthless. What really matters is that you went out and did it. Don't stop - keep dong your show...keep working on building the crowd, keep working on dumb jokes. Its hard and frustrating but you can only get better.....
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Profile of WilliamMckeehan
I have been to this forum for a little while but have not posted anything let. I find telling you GREAT JOB on getting out there and doing it Is a great first post!
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Profile of DoctorCognos
Visual = Intersting = Entertaining = Memorable.

You cant capture their bodies, if you don't get their eyes first.

So that is one of the first lessons well learned.

Developing your character is important, as your character frames your magic. It is hard to have a show that flows if you are constantly changing character.

When I say a show that flows, I mean one that doesn't drop the spectator's interest. I have seen guys starting out, do one effect, and by the time they get that one out of the way, and get the next one ready, they have already lost half their edge.

Anything that interferes with the flow, costs you money.

The show should grow, from simple visual to something that raises the bar a little, and then finally wham! In stride you hit the finale that shocks, surprises and amazes, astounds, and above all entertains.

The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
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Profile of magician102
Thanks so much for being brave enough to share this with us, it's something that people like me will find invaluable when we begin busking ourselves.

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Profile of presto77
You are a Brave Guy ...We have all been there but try again and again keep going you have done the hard bit ,the street is a hard one you must be BIG AND BOLD HIT THEM BIG

good luck
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Kansas City
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Profile of DanielMooncalf
Hi. I know this was a long time ago, but I have some feedback for you. It'll be interspersed within the quote.

On 2011-10-12 14:28, unilogo wrote:
Yesterday, was my debut; And, it was a fiasco... Smile **Almost everyone can say this. It's what lets us know if we have the guts to press on.

You: Read, rehearse and theorize an original show... For, months. With, lessons from this forum and busker blogs. And, the masters are correct... Street magic, for money, is not easy. **You mean develop your own show from scratch? Eh. I don't think this is the best idea, especially if you don't know what will/won't work. Honestly, I'd repeat someone's show, and work my own stuff in, until it becomes unique. Go with what works. Don't reinvent the wheel, until you know how the wheel operates.

I, set-up, in the most solitary area of 'Fremont Street.' Here, in Las Vegas; A, bad location, intentionally. Because, I was afraid, of "creating" a big crowd. Why? I, remember, reading that a beginner should work a small (10) person, audience for $10. ** This is part of your problem. If a beginner can work 100 people, then he should work 100 people.

Were, people afraid, of the trickle hat... I, placed, on the floor? I, only, did that; Because, I, do not wear a hat. Is, there an alternative? ** Eh. You really need a hat. It gets attention. A box on the ground is an okay alternative, but... you really need a hat. It makes it more personal. Hats make a character. Busking is about theatre, and without a hat, we might wonder(or not care) who this person is.

I, was extremely nervous / terrified! Asking, people for money, psychologically, killed me... The, responsibility, to put on a good show. ** Yea. This'll come with experience. Close your eyes and repeat a very simple hat line. You must do this to not only get tips, but to become a better performer.

A, panhandeler approached, me; Asking, "If, I could make a dollar appear for him..." And an unattractive lady, from the red light district; Saying, when I had money, I should, set-up a "date" with her, to put it kindly; It is, Las Vegas... ** Yea. The more this **** happens, the better you'll understand everything around you.

So, tourists would ask me, what I was doing; Shouting, light-heckler, remarks. But, since, I did not have the courage to start... I, would lie, that the show would start in 5, minutes. In, reality; I, was scared to build a crowd. ** Yep. This is normal. If you have to, just do your show without acknowledging the audience at all. George Carlin did this quite often (this isn't necessarily a bad thing).


THIS, WAS MY BIGGEST PROBLEM; I, did not practice how to build an edge..."To, Lure with Spectacle" In, my ignorance, I thought my props; Being, displayed and music from my amplifier, by saying "magic show" would be enough. My, props just received a fleeting glance... The, music in my amplifier, could not be heard over 'DJ' and 'Live band' sound levels... And, I was too scared, to even say "magic show" because, I felt it would not be enough...Eventually, I would be, correct. Ha... ** Stop with a start. Tell people to stop. Just start doing stuff, and acknowledge people (this is hard. Try it once. Maybe go get a little beer in you to calm yourself).

So, I stood there, doing nothing for an hour and a half; Thinking, of quitting... Since, "I will, re-work, an approach, to attract a crowd... Beside, my finale is impractical." (You, will read, about, the magic soon...) ** Sounds familiar. Even if it's just one trick, do it over and over, asking for money when you're done.

When, a magician, named "Adam Flowers" you can see him on Youtube; Was, infront of me. Asking, what, I would do... I, reluctantly said... "A, magic show." He said, he just finished his 'shift' on Fremont... And, after some small talk. I, went for it...

I, started screaming and he did too... But, nothing. Until, a group of 'mid-life' gentlemen, asked him what was the fuzz... And, they decided to stay and see, me. Then, a young couple, was standing, there. And... That, was it. First, show for five pedestrians and a magician / busker. Since, calling, people was yielding no results... With, my monotone "Magic, show... I, will also, recite some poetry... Bring, your kids this is a show for the whole family {There, were hardly any kids.. Ha} ... If, you do not like the show it is free." ** If you're going to say anything about a free show, say just that. FREE MAGIC SHOW, and at the end; if anyone questions your hat pass, tell them you lied.

Failure, time... Smile

My, show was scripted so, that it would flow with my music. And, I knew my show would primarily appeal to ladies / women. And, it was more of a serious than comedic, theme... BAM! Very few, of my lines would work; So, I automatically, had lost half my script... 4, men and a couple would not work. I, required atleast a single girl or group of girls. So, I need to attract, that by force, next time. Loose scripts are best. People will **** up your show, and you'll be off your music.

I, started, with Bizarro's color changing, spongeball; The, men were, like... "Cool" and the couple were kissing. So, they did not see it. Since, I place it as a clown nose, when the girl saw me again, she pointed and started laughing... So, I did a poetic clown gag, with a balloon (You may, re-read, that; It, is written correctly...) It, went, ok. Then, did an origami animation by Robert, Neal... Not, that, magical... But, the couple liked it. The, group of men, were surprisingly focused. This, had all been rushed and compressed badly into 2-3, minutes... By, the way. I, felt awkward. And, I announced, my finale... They, were all surprised... Haha. "Already?" They, kind of chuckled. **sounds promising

Eugene Burger, is my biggest influence; Imagine, a student, of him... Street, performing, somewhat nervous and romantic. This, 'wreck' by my standards; Earned, me 4 dollars *2$? By, the magician*

With, a dumb, hat line I made on the spot. "This, is my first show ever... And, you are the best audience, I ever had." *That's not dumb, that's funny as hell!

I, thanked and asked "For a dollar or two" Which, may be, what I deserved... Or, not. Ha... *At least you asked. That's important. IF you have the will, go do it again!

Called, it a day. Knowing, I need to learn: How to build a crowd, script so I do not require my music, get girls to watch the show too and change my finale. ** You only learn by doing. Other than the occasional new trick, study time is over! It's time for practicum.
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Profile of epoptika
@unilogo; Any updates on your progress?
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