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Inner circle
2120 Posts

Profile of Devious
Some notes from the sidewalk.

Please note, I perform close-up magic, work with a table, to half circle crowds.

These are my experiences, yours will vary.
I'm approachable, because I don't look needy or destitute
I've heard the term, "Hobo Magic", thrown about in some circles.

I've also had some folks say, "At Least You're Trying". No I'm
not just trying and I don't need your change. I don't welcome
tips, because they think I'm panhandling.

Be as presentable as possible. Clean your nails, brush your teeth
and hair. Use hand lotion and a little smell good can't hurt either.

Don't forget your water bottle and a few snacks.

In addition to these, I carry a Black Umbrella
as part of my look. I will hand this out to the family with
the small child or the couple standing in the sun. I try and
make my audiences as comfortable as humanly possible.

Your spot should be one where folks can see you from a distance instead of at the last second. You don't want to impede traffic flow, but you should be near enough that they won't have to wander far from the path.

If they see your pitch from afar, this gives them time to convince one another
that They Want Magic[b]! You want the groups talking about stopping to enjoy your show versus bickering at the last minute that we don't have time for a magic show right now! Play to the children from near or afar. The parents want to keep
little Billy smiling and not crying. It's cheaper for them in the long run if they
stop versus buying him a toy or something else nearby. They don't want him crying
because they didn't stop to watch a show.

Limit the amount of personal effects in your area.
You don't wish to appear Homeless. Often times folks will enjoy your performances, but may choose a lower tip, because you may be percieved as
someone who will be happy with just any tip.

Don't necessarily rule out slower areas of town. You may get tipped better, because you are the only game in town sort of speak. I enjoy performing with at least one other busker. This makes it seem as though your little spot is an entertainment zone. I prefer the statues or musicians.

Sometimes smaller towns are better than larger metropolitan areas. The townfolk are certainly more welcoming to new entertainment in small cities. It seems that folks in smaller towns are more upbeat as well. Perhaps less jaded by the barrage of visual/audio input from the Hustle of[b]Large

Whilst it's not cool when other magicians show up to work on or near your pitch without permission. Be tolerant and patient of those working large circle pitches who show up making lots of noise. Before you know it, all of the noise will die down and they will move on to another area.

Use this time as an opprtunity to take a break to either learn something(good/bad),
or to reset your show as you take a latrine and smoke break. No Beer Breaks yet.

One of the keys to a successful day, is to persevere on the pitch. Try and make your spot as comfortable as possible. You may have to choose a spot in the shade near a tree/porch, versus standing in a better area, in the full sun.

Move around and make it work best for you, but conserve as much energy as possible. If you don't, you will feel it the next day, when it's time to decide if you are going out again.

Once you have decided on a spot,Claim It With Confidence. This past Saturday, a craft fair set up on our regular pitch. A portly gentlemen asked me,
if I was a part of the group. I said, "Sure I am" and left me alone.
They had a permit for the day from the port authority, but they didn't pay for the permit. I simply looked like I belonged in the area. Your body language and demeanor should reflect the same command as your magia.

The adage',"It's better to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission" while true in my experience, should be tempered with consideration of both the public and fellow buskers. Oft times the peace officers will leave you alone rather than enforce local codes if they see that you are adding to the ambiance and not creating
any extra work for them.

You can also keep an eye out for the police and choose to take a break if you see them headed your way. If you have a crowd and it's not possible, make mention of how hard they are working and engage them in some magic.

The crowds will respond and this puts the police on the spot. Believe it or not, some of them can be quite shy. They may decide, that they don't like being in the limelight, and just move on.

Don't listen too much to other buskers. Remember we are all unique and we all have our own approaches and no one does your show like YOU do. They may come and talk to you about how slim their hats are. Stay on task and keep working your show.

Don't let anyone intimidate you into shutting down early. If you choose to listen and be discouraged by small crowds, you may often find them waiting for you to leave, only to return and find them working your former spot.

If you have an entertaining show, you will be asked for your business card.
Be sure to have them ready in one of your pockets, so you aren't fumbling about
and you will miss a large wave of traffic.

If you don't do private shows, work out a deal with a working pro to get some monetary conideration for your own consideration. Be sure that the person you
are recommending, has both a good show and integrity.

Salt your hats with various forms of currency, but no coins! Folks will look into your hats to see what others are placing in your hat. Peer pressure can be a strong ally in the streets. Don't limit yourself by asking for ones. Claim your rightful place amongst the $5's,$20's $50's and $100's. If you see them walking away
and only when they are walking away utter, "Remember Any Tip is A Good Tip".


Many of us already know, but for those that don't, some people will not tip at all!

Sometimes they are only carrying a debit/credit card. If you have entertained and engaged them, don't be surprised when they return your way and drop you a few bills on their way to the automobile.

I always like it when folks tip me during a new show. This is a great feeling and certainly makes the point known to this new group, that you will be expecting some "Applause with their wallets".

Let's set this bird down on the runway Watch out for thieves. This can be a well dressed but suddenly broke tourist/local, vagrants, children, teenagers.
The most dangerous are a small gang of organized youths during evening sets in downtown.

I thank you for letting me share my experiences. I welcome your additions.
Here's to your Chappeau!
Devious Deceptions
"Gadol Elohai!"
Zombie Magic
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Inner circle
I went out for a beer and now have
8737 Posts

Profile of Zombie Magic
I enjoyed that very much. The "Watch out for thieves" sort of surprised me. Large cities have police cameras posted about. I wonder if it makes sense to work under/near one? Kind of hide in plain site thinking.
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Inner circle
Floating above my
1539 Posts

Profile of Ekuth
All excellent advice and hard learned from experience.

I will now be removing the coins from my tip bucket and sticking with bills, I hadn't thought of that aspect... thank you!

Thieves, while I have not had problems with any, are a concern. This is why my tip bucket has cement in the bottom of it and weighs about 10 pounds on its own... rather a rough awakening to any hit and run tactic if your arm gets jerked from your socket.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
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