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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » Lines to Get People to Allow You to Do Street Magic for Them? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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vootrage
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I recently went and shot a video of myself doing street magic but I noticed something. Half of the people you ask to watch you just blow you off! What "lines" do you recommend?

I usually just say:
  • "Hey, how's it going? Would you like to see a quick magic trick?"

  • "Hey, can you help me with something?"
Any other ideas on what to say so people won't reject the gift you are trying to give them? (The gift being magic... duh...) Smile
RobertBloor
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Er? What?

Are you just walking up to people?

Or are you trying to do street magic?

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
Reis O'Brien
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Many people just don't want to be bothered. I'd say about half the people shoot me down. And of the other half that let me do a trick, need some convincing. I think that some are expecting you to ask for money. Or maybe you're a weirdo or something. I had this one girl snarl at me and say, "I don't believe in magic."

I think that this is just part of street magic. Don't sweat it. My favorite line is, "Hey, you look like you could use a magic trick!" But I wouldn't say something like, "Wanna see something strange?" They might think you're going to show them a nasty rash or something.

Just move on from those people. There will be plenty that will come to you!
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Tspall
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I think it's a matter of playing the odds. The more people you approach, the more you're going to find ones that will want to see it. After a while, you'll also be able to get a sense of who would be more cooperative.

I'd say something along the lines of wanting to see a magic trick. Nowadays, if you say something about wanting to see something interesting, etc. people will think you're trying to sponge money off of them.

Don't let it get you down. Enjoy the ones who want to see it and let the others go on their way.

Smile
Tony
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My magic blog:
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Dynamike
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Try going to areas like a park. Out on the streets people are in more of a hurry to get somewhere. At a park they are more relaxed with nothing to do. There will be more kids at the park too, making it more spectators for your promo video.
boblinds
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(Not that I really know anything about this because I don't do street magic but...)

I would also encourage you not to let refusals get you down. Just move on to another prospect.

And here's another reason why:

In 1992 in a parking structure, I was accosted, tied up, and robbed at riflepoint. To this day, when strangers approach me in the street, I can't handle it. If it's during the day, I'll move away. If it's at night (when the conditions are more potentially threatening,) I've been known to go ballistic and yell at them to get away from me, often with some rapidly chosen profanity. In short, following my experience, I can't handle any invasion on my privacy by a stranger.

I tell this only to point out that you have no idea who you're going up to or what their background situation might be. As a result, you shouldn't necessarily assume you're doing things incorrectly. Smile Just go to the next potential audience member.

You might also use some caution in the effects you choose to present. I wouldn't recommend approaching someone with a color-changing knife or readied to do a bullet catch. Smile Smile Smile
Anabelle
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I perform out all the time (not necessarily on the street) usually at bars or restaurants while I'm out with friends having a good time. I never use a line, I usually find someone in my group who wants to see something or when someone asks me to do something, and pretty soon I have a few complete strangers wondering what I'm up to. It works for me. Honestly, I've never had a hard time performing out.

Anabelle Smile
Dynamike
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Quote:
Honestly, I've never had a hard time performing out.

Anabelle Smile

What's the secret?, I would like to use it too. I will sing for you all day and night until you tell me. Smile
El_Lamo
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El Lamo tosses his two cents in...

Hi vootrage,

I love doing impromptu magic. And in a moment of brotherly sharing, I am going to pass on a special magician's count to you. Gather close...

  1. First, be very selective in who you approach. Size people up, study them.

  2. Don't approach people hurrying.

  3. Don't approach people talking to themselves.

  4. Don't approach people dressed stranger than you are.

  5. It is harder to stop singles. Try to approach groups. But not throngs. Avoid mobs.

  6. If you approach a couple, make sure the fellow immediately sizes you up as harmless, i.e. not about to steal his girl.

  7. Approach women with care, calm and friendly, but don't approach like you want their phone number. Desperation doesn't encourage audiences.
Now, if you follow the above seven points (and I'm sure others will add a few more) then it means you are selective in your approach.

So using this approach method, count your yesses. Now your success rate will dramatically improve. Ta da, a new magician's count—grin.

P.S. I try to avoid using the word "trick." I usually don't even say magic.

I usually say something similar to, "Hi, may I entertain you for a minute? Don't worry. I won't take any clothes off."

or

"Hi, have you ever noticed that...voice trails off...Well let me show you. I need a volunteer. No worries. Who should hold this card?"

(When I do this, they often forget to dissent and are busy volunteering each other)

* * *

I never overstay my welcome...one or two effects. I always thank them for their time and consideration and wish them well.

* * *

Also, your hit rate may have been lower because people noticed that you were videotaping and did not want to participate.

Good luck. Don't give up!

cheers - El Lamo
Life is a system of circumstance presented coincidently in an illusory way.
Reis O'Brien
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El Lamo is throwing out some seriously sound advice! Try to avoid the weirdos.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

http://www.myspace.com/liar_4_hire
CardChick
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You guys are right...relaxed places like parks or bars are perfect because people tend to be a bit more inviting. I usually start performing for my friends (if I'm lucky, my date), and people just gravitate towards me—then, the fun begins!! Smile
GlenD
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Quote:
On 2003-10-12 03:59, CardChick69 wrote:
(if I'm lucky, my date)

Smile
I would think, from the looks of things, it would be more like... "when they are lucky"!
Smile
GlenD
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"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
marko
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I'm afraid I still do not see the lure of walking up to total strangers and performing magic. I know Blaine got his name from doing this, but he had a camera crew with him and was filming a TV special for ABC. The people had to sign release forms to appear on TV and it was all showbiz.

But just a guy walking up to me alone and asking to "show me something" while I'm minding my own business would be more than a little creepy. Now if you're doing street magic I can see the difference. You're performing for large crowds and passing the hat and it feels like a stage performance brought outside. But to just go up to strangers outside and try to perform for them (which is actually more akin to walk-around magic than street magic) is not, IMO, the best way to bring magic into people's lives.

Perform street magic and let the crowds come to you or get a job at a restaurant or hire yourself out for corporate gigs. But don't try to copy an artificial character like the one Blaine invented. Remember, that's showbiz. You're in reality.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

Ditto to what Marko said.

"Street" magic, before Blaine adulterated the term to sell a TV special, meant busking—working people in streets/plazas/parks/etc. to build a crowd, keep them, entertain them and do so in a manner that will convince them to give you money.

Blaine's "street" magic is strolling magic, suitable for bars, restaurants, parties, etc. Blaine's is hit-and-run style magic where people are trapped and out of small talk.

I love street magic. I have done street-style magic at renfests. I enjoy a limited bit of close-up. I'll carry an effect or two when I go to a bar or party. And the only time I use them is when someone knows I do magic and wants to "see a trick."

Please, unless you have a TV crew with you and an armload of release forms, do not subject innocent strangers, i.e. the public, to random bits of poorly executed Blaine effects. If you insist on this type of behavior, read El_Lamo's excellent advice. Then reread it. Then read it again. Then let it stir around in your brain for a bit. And finally, read it several more times.

Before you actually put his well-reasoned crowd-reading advice to use, find a likely spot and study the crowd for a few days—better still, a few weeks (he did not come up with his list overnight, and if he did, he's more insightful than he realizes). Then start working the crowds, and be prepared for a lot of rejection.

Have fun playing in the streets.

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
Steve Hart
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Hey Gang, listen to what MagiUlysses and Marko are saying to you.

I think many of you are confused about what "street magic" is. It is not what you saw David Blaine doing.

Go seek out a true street performer. Watch them and learn how they work the streets and how they make their money. The idea is to draw a crowd, the more people you have the money you make.

When I was working the streets, I would start by just talking to people as they would pass by until someone would stop long enough to ask what I was doing?

After I explained that I was about to start a show, I would invite them to stay and help me start the show. Then I would begin my "ballyhoo". If you don't know what that is, go look it up in the dictionary. Most people commonly connect that with the sideshow pitch, "Hurry Hurry, step right up..."

I wrote my own. I will share it with you here in this post if I see others willing to share theirs.

Even when I was hired to perform for fairs, festivals and amusement parks, if I was working as a street performer (some call it "atmosphere entertainer") I still would pick my stop and do my "ballyhoo" to draw the people in to watch my show.

How do you do it?

Steve Hart
Cape Canaveral, FL USA
www.SteveHartSpeaks.com
www.magic2motivate.com
"Motivational Magicians are some of the highest paid magicians, find out why?"
El_Lamo
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El Lamo jumps back in...

Is it street magic or strolling? The explanation for this section of chat is "Street Magic: performing random acts of magic for complete strangers".

I responded to this thread on how to approach people more successfully.

By the definitions here, I don't do street magic. I must be strolling.

My "strolling" is a random act of kindness, a refreshing jolt of amazement, a moment of magic. It is entertainment, fun and practice.

It is not meant to be intrusive or frightening.

I respect that there are many professionals here and people who expect to get paid for their craft. It is your livelihood. I also respect that bad magic distracts from good.

But I think that the public also understands that there are different layers of ability, presentation, skill and entertainment. Everyone has an Uncle Barry with his "amazing found your nose" show. When they pay for magic, they expect more than Uncle Barry.

And I'm sure it seems very scary, when us Uncle Barrys jump on this board with our just purchased brand new gimmicked card trick and extoll the virtues of harrassing the general public for our own ego strokes.

The advice about how to do it right is greatly appreciated. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge here. Thank you for being patient.

I had not seen David Blaine's "street magic" until last week when it was repeated on television and I happened to catch part of it.

But if the public has seen it, then they would assume that strolling magic is street magic. If so, then maybe they are more accepting of the concept of being randomly approached.

Although, I do understand that for many professionals the concept does seem very amateurish. People on the street would be really startled if someone came up to them and said, "Hi, I have been having a lot of fun with this. Let me show you," and started singing Rhinestone Cowboy.

But if it is done right... smiles.

Have a great day! I loved MagiUlysses's comment "Have fun playing in the streets."

Magic Café » » Food for thought » » How to tell a magician that he sucks?
Quote:
On 2003-07-08 09:02, Scott F. Guinn wrote:

A lot of people are talking about this guy "working a paying gig." The thing about street magic is that it is not necessarily a paying gig! There's an old saying: "Everyone needs to have somewhere to be bad." Nobody is a polished professional right off the bat. Anyone who has read my Visions column or my old column in Smoke & Mirrors knows how much I detest bad magicians who book themselves for paying engagements. But the street is different. This is a place where you go set up and nobody is paying you a set fee. You are not necessarily claiming to be a pro.

I posted this from a different thread because I thought it made sense. I know Scott is referring to street magic and not strolling.

cheers - El Lamo
Life is a system of circumstance presented coincidently in an illusory way.
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations El_Lamo,

Right you are. I forgot my place and what forum I was in. The question was/is "lines" to use to approach strangers to make some magic in their lives.

OK ...

Dress differently than my expected audience, either better/classier or in a character. At least a different hat and/or vest. Something that says, "Hey, look at me!"

Once you're established eye-contact, and following El-Lamo's excellent advice on sizing up your intended audience, engage them in a conversation. Learn the fine art of small talk.

This eliminates the "lines." Ask any women what she thinks about "lines." You'll get an earful! Whether you're trying to pick a woman up in a bar, or showing someone a magic trick in the street, the intent is the same, to get them interested in you, so you have to be interested in them.

"What" you say, then, is not nearly as important as "why" and "how" you say it. And the "lines" that work for me will not work for you because we are two different people.

Be prepared for rejection, and a lot of it. This type of magic is akin to cold calling, and the best cold caller gets rejected something like 90 percent of the time. But do not quit. Keep practicing. Keep working a line until you have no more options for delivery, timing, inflection and wording, then drop the line and try a new one.

Keep in mind that Blaine made it look easy because he didn't start doing this the first time a TV camera was turned on him. He has been performing magic for a long time, and the TV cameras merely made it easier for him to attract and keep the attention of his intended audience.

That's my $.02 (USD) worth for today.

Hey, Steve Hart, I'll take you up on the bally challenge. I don't have time today, or this week, **** these day jobs and night meetings, Smile, to write up the bally I used for the medicine/magic show I did at a renfest a couple of years ago. I remember most of it. I'll work it up next week and toss it over into the busker forum with a header of its own. It will be interesting to see how much I remember and what type of thoughts it will generate.

Have fun playing in the streets.

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
BroDavid
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I walk around with a 10 inch set of rings (3) and as I walk, I am knocking the rings together making them "ring".

People always look at the rings. And I make eye contact with them, and ask - "ever seen these things before?" "No, too bad, because these are really amazing!"

I hand them a ring to examine, and if they take it, we are off! I go right into the routine and before I am done (if there is any traffic at all - And I go for high traffic areas!) I will have 10-15 people minimum!

This routine which is the same one I use for Busking, runs 6-8 minutes, (the difference is that I am not set up and doing a whole set, and passing the hat) but the point I am making by describing this routine, is that you need to attract them, and when you sense them being attracted, connect with them! And if what you are doing is interesting, you will draw more onlookers.

People will always stop for a car wreck, or a lost helpless puppy. Getting them to stop for you, is all about being interesting.

And NEVER start with cards, (unless that is all you have) I just did a walk around last Saturday, where I started doing rings, and it wall went well, but the crowd was still hungry to be entertained, so I said "Wait a minute!, you guys are really making me work, aren't you!" and I quickly put the rings away grabbed a deck of cards and started doing flourishes and said "wasn't that enough? (pointing to the rings sticking out of my pouch) and the next question I got was "What can you do with those cards?" So I did a card to impossible location – “on his wife's back!” card effect, and kept a nice crowd fro quite a while.

How many times have YOU been asked to do a card trick?

Most people will run from you if you approach them with a deck a cards, and that “take a card” look in your eyes. So try opening with sponge balls, or rings, or something else!

Don't get me wrong; I love cards! I have all of the McBride videos and practice cards more than anything else, but I let the audience invite me to show them a card trick. I do this the same way I get them to initially "invite me" (stop long enough to connect) by acting as though I don't care. I am just there, amusing myself, until I get them to stop. And then, I begin entertaining them!

Do you do the "banana move" with sponge balls? Try leaning up against a wall in a reasonable traffic area, and start the endless cycle of a ball appearing in your hand, and putting it away, only to have another immediately appear, and amuse yourself with this for a few minutes, and you will soon have an audience to amuse.

First get them to notice you acting like you don't notice them. You are actually ignoring them, until they pay attention to you.

Then "connect with them", are you are on your way.

It may not work for you, but when I am just walking and doing magic - which I do for the practice, it works for me.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
El_Lamo
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MagiUlysses

If I am ever in Kansas City, I will definitely look you up. I appreciate your good humour and great advice.

cheers - El Lamo

(Now I've got some dang tune in my head)
Life is a system of circumstance presented coincidently in an illusory way.
joculari
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I think the best venues are university campuses. That is of course if you're not expecting any money. I as a student along with several whom I've done tricks for would much rather watch a magic trick instead of heading to another class.

It's also easier to find small groups to entertain at a time there.

Just me two cents.
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