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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Discussion on..."Just go out & Do It" (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Stperformer
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It seems most new Street magicians I meet, last on the streets 2 weeks, 2 months or at the very most 2 years. I think about 90% start out with great aspirations....and then disappear/pack it in.

I've often wondered why....as the drop out rate is even higher than when I first started.

There's probably many reasons: moving on to other things, just wanting to give it a short go, etc...

But an awful lot I see fail miserably. And I think it largely because they weren't prepared for the reality of the street.

Which brings me to the point of this post. The adage/advise often given here of "Just go out & Do It...you'll learn more on the street in one week than etc.." makes me cringe at times. Only rings true if the person is mentally prepared & has the skill needed.

So in a nut shell:
1) if you don't have the physical skills/sleight of hand down pat, you are going to have a tough go of it. Pretty well every successful street performer I've met, while they may have started out with a really crappy show, they had the skills/sleights necessary. Spend time learning your art. (sorry to say this takes years).
2)Motivation. The mental preparation is just as important. This has been argued to death on this forum but I believe if one goes out on the streets solely to make money = they won't last. Magic has gotta be in your blood.

Enough rambling on my part. My observations only, could be totally off kilter.

Perhaps you lot have other insights?

Nelson
LeoH
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Stperformer:

While I agree about the drop-out rate, I think the best way to develop your skills/sleights is ON the street. You learn quickly if you need to work on that ring vanish or flash a load going into a cup because you WILL be called on it. Performing for family/friends is another animal - you do not get honest feed-back. You need REAL people to perform for in order to get better. If you only stay at home and practice moves in the mirror waiting "to get better", then you will always wonder "am I good enough now?". I can see the point if you can find a good mentor to apprentice to, but not all have that opportunity.

I do believe in your assessment of the motivation of money only, but the money can also be a barometer of your act's improvement. If you experience a consistent increase in your hats, that would signal an increase in the performance quality. At the beginning the street will really beat on your ego. I think most give up because they can't take the "heat" of the street. It is hard work, but you perform for more people in a day than most perform for in a month. Just my opinion, other's "2 cents" may be worth more.
JoeJoe
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You are over thinking things.

One could SPEND years studying online and figuring out what to do ... then go out there, and realize it is not for him.

Or ... one could SAVE years just by going out there and realizing it right now.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
magicalmilton
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Magic and the street are two different animals. I have seen brilliant street performers who are not magicians and I have seen brilliant magicians who are not "street". You need to learn both. Whether you learn them separately and then see how the two interact or whether you learn both together... that is merely personal preference.
MagiCol
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Some people, I think, just have not got, or develop, relationship skills that will see them enjoy working with the public.

I'm a street magician and balloon twister [part-time over the past five years] and the past few days I've been thinking about an important basic of working on the street. You've got to be able to relate well with people. You should be able to catch people's attention, politely greet anyone who walks towards you and give them a smile and a "Hi, it's a nice day today!" or some similar greeting. An important aspect of being successful on the street is being a liked person. In a matter of a few minutes you need to be able to engage people to capture their interest in what you are doing, being attractant. So, for those who are reading this and want help I say read some books, and put into practice, things to get on well with people.
Books such as How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, People Skills for Life Easy Peasey by Alland and Barebara Pease.
Learn how to improvise [acting skills - "Improv" book by Keith Johnstone, "The Improv Handbook" by Tom Salinksky and Deborah Frances_White].

So, along with "Go out and do it" be aware of ways of relating well with people. You can develop those relationship skills on the pitch.
I have some 40 years school teaching experience and that has helped me, for sure.

Street work isn't just about knowing some tricks. It's realizing "I AM MY SHOW" and relating to people in a good way is part of that.
The presentation makes the magic.
Stperformer
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Yes, All good points made in above posts.

The reason I made the post was.......once again the season has started and there's a new crop of budding magicians I'm sharing pitches with. I can pretty well guarantee by mid-summer this new crop will be gone, as happens almost every year. Which is good in a way as it is more shows for me lol.

But I often wonder why the high rate of quitting.....when I initially talk to them they usually have grand plans etc...

I often think perhaps they're not prepared mentally & skill-wise.

I'm sure most of you that have worked the streets have noticed the high Drop-out rate, too. Perhaps I'm missing something???????????

Nelson
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I'm guessing that the drop out rate is high because street performing is actually hard work and the hats aren't great at first. People likely get their show sharpened up a bit, start building their business, and opt for the 'bird-in-the-hand of a nice indoor birthday party booking. But enough about me...
David Pitts
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http://www.mrpitts.com
gman
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I cannot speak for anyone else who has gone on to the street and well, failed. I have to agree with Nelson, he basically is saying what Jimmy Talksalot said in his book, on his blog, and on this very board. Take 3 tricks that you know and can perform then go to the street. Am I wrong in the jist Nelson?

I screwed up bigtime going on the street to perform 3 weeks after shoulder surgery, heavily medicated and only 3 days of practice with the chop cup. To say I got caught every time is an understatement. Now, every time I think about going out to perform even after working on just one trick to see how it plays with people I get gun shy. so the moral of my story...don't go to the street if you just had surgery and are on oxycodone!

Just my 2 cents.
Yellowcustard
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One big thing I struggled with and I see other people struggle with is on the street you can get knocked down and it is relentless. And I did not always like it but going out there and sucking and begin striped down made me stop and build my self up. And I think a lot of people don't like this there is no one to hide behind and worse of all no one to blame. I am not saying this is not the case in other disciplines of magic but is is a little gentler then the streets can be.

Its you and you only you out there.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
KC Cameron
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One must love performing.
One need to have a decent show.
One must have a strong, positive self-image.
One must be willing to take criticism - often hard criticism, and be able to change.
One must be able to support oneself as you learn the ropes.
One must be willing to work!

If one has these traits, I think they will be fine, and "Just Do It!" advice is fine. Not "Just Do It and only it" but putting your toe in the water is the only way to learn.

To me, the hardest thing is the heat!
ROBERT BLAKE
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Most magicians do magic allready a few years. they get customed to the feel that they can entertain people and that the audience likes them. YEAH, DUH on a party where people go to and you are the entertainment. going on the street where people are NOT interested in you they get a negative feeling. when I do that I had great succes and now nobody is entertained. the mindset of the people on the street is different and it takes time to understand that and change yourself to that.

i did an egg bag routine very succesfully for children and adults. so I thought I do it on the street too. man did I die. but I saw the potential and started to fine tune the routine. it took me several months but it is now better then before. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6akKM5W1nc

this perserverance is important. people get afraid (so did i) but if you see the fun and pleasure it gives that gave me the strenght to keep going.

--------------------------------------------------------------

another important point: open yourself to the public. this is probarbly the hardest point to do. kids are honest but in our teens we are taught that certain things are not said. we learn to wear a mask. how often is it that somebody says;"how are you?' almost everybody says ok. most of the time it is not tru. and if you say I AM FEELING NOT OK people turn away because that is not what they want to hear. this be open to people is what we not do and what we have to learn on the street. just stand there and say hello to people ask them for the time and don't get afraid if people think you are strange.
writeall
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What I've always thought was missing was a kind of mentor/intern thing. How much smoother the transition would be if you could partner up with someone knowledgeable for even a couple of days. I know one has to love magic to be a good street magician, but I'd like to see more love for magicians as well. We don't always treat each other very well.
Mario Morris
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Mario Morris
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The ratio of performers has increased across the board of the entertainment world and with that an increase ratio of failure can be seen across the entertaiment industry. With that in mind little has changed - just more performers are trying.

I am not a great lover of estimates but for the record, I estimate out of every ten who want to become full time magicians or street performers , one may make it, the other nine will learn a great deal that they may carry into other feilds of life and work! It depends on so many factors. I think this estimate is roughly the same as when I started back in the 90s as it is today.

On the other hand an increase of success can be seen when performers find themselves a good mentor. Each year I see returning students to both the School of Busking in Cardiff UK and Las Vegas and these determined students are growing. For example this year in Cardiff we have four returning students - all of which are growing with sucess.
Arkadia
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People fail on the streets because they are crap, can't face that they are crap, not cut out for it, or simply lazy. I think that the advice: "Go out and do it" is the best advice given. If you can't do that, why spend time giving or taking advice? I am pretty sure that the ones that try it out and fail, and gives up, are the same that keep asking stupid questions about things that doesn't make a difference. The only person that can make a difference is you. Going out there, doing it, and after you've failed - ask questions that actually are based on experience. Just by thinking about the questions you would like to ask, will greatly improve your street act. Getting answers will give you some help - but not close to the answers that you find by yourself. Especially if you want to stand out and do something that the world has never seen before.

/Ark
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
SD Houston
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Thanks for this thread guys! With spring on our dourstep and the weather being warm enough soon here in Montana, I'm hoping to get about 3-4 tricks down enough that I can take them on the streets downtown and give them a go. I'm already jittery just thinking about it, but I'm determined to see what happens and try to learn from it. Maybe all will go well, or maybe I'll have my soul crushed irreparably. But I'll never know until I try, right?

Now, Any motivation words you foiks might have would be greatly appreciated lol!
The art of anything is taking the time to learn everything
Arkadia
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SD Houston: Great to hear! My advice. Smile Well, you got that part. But still. My advice for anyone actually going out there, doing it, is: Do one more show. Just when you think that you've had enough - do one more. Always do one more.
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
writeall
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The people we never hear from are the people who "just do it" and fail. They aren't here to talk about it.

The people who make it by following this recipe are here, and it's no surprise they endorse it. Whether through natural talents or plain stubborness, they've managed to figure it out for themselves. What I'd dispute is that it can't be learned. What makes busking so special that it can't be taught to a willing student? I know the various schools and camps would disagree, but I'm curious to know why others don't.

It's hard for me to imagine another career choice where I'd encourage someone to eschew tutoring and simply "jump right in." Maybe the nine out of ten who fail are just self-fulling the prophecy. As far as "just being crap" goes - that's just what I'd expect if someone came to the party with nothing but enthusiasm.

My experience as a mentor comes from freelance writing. And when the little birds flounder or have serious weaknesses, I can at least point out their missteps so they can either work to fix them or move on. The few who end up flying from the nest make it worthwhile. But honestly, if I told them to "just go for it," I'd be setting them up to fall on their little faces.
Mario Morris
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Mario Morris
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2014, writeall wrote:
The people we never hear from are the people who "just do it" and fail. They aren't here to talk about it.

The people who make it by following this recipe are here, and it's no surprise they endorse it. Whether through natural talents or plain stubborness, they've managed to figure it out for themselves. What I'd dispute is that it can't be learned. What makes busking so special that it can't be taught to a willing student? I know the various schools and camps would disagree, but I'm curious to know why others don't.....


First of they are hear and I think we often hear from them, sterotypying and using the words like fail or failer is unconstrutive so apologize!

Good point you made hear and I agree with you in part. This is a point that is often misunderstood. No mentor can make a busker, a busker will always make them selfs. On that road to becoming a busker some enviroments will shape them and help them alone faster than others. For one example is sharing pitches with other buskers. In short a good Mentor will create a green house effect for a willing student who is already on the path of becoming a busker.
Mario
KC Cameron
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SD Houston
As long as your self-image is not tied to your immediate success or failure, you'll be fine. Failure is just an opportunity to learn. Start doing it for the fun of it and don't feel pressured to make $$$. Look at it as a great adventure, a great experiment and have fun!


writeall,
As a member of the "Just do it" group, I'd say you can't learn to swim without getting wet. Studying will only get so far . . . I don't think anyone would disagree that a mentor would not be helpful - but it is rarely available. Classes like the one in England could be a great help - but for most they are far away. Regardless, you still have to get your feet wet to really learn.

I seriously doubt anyone is advocating to avoid learning from others - only that it will only take you part way. Just like your "little birds" can't learn to be writers without writing. Lots of magicians WANT to busk, but are afraid of getting wet, or in your terms, want to write, but don't ever try.

Writing and most other forms of art are different than busking, in that in busking you get immediate and accurate feedback - nothing is held back. The streets are your teacher - harsh but fair.

A problem with a mentor, is often it the "mentored" becomes a bit of a clone. There is something to be said about learning at least partially on your own and originality. Just look at those who try to copy Gazzo.
gman
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2014, Arkadia wrote:
People fail on the streets because they are crap, can't face that they are crap, not cut out for it, or simply lazy. I think that the advice: "Go out and do it" is the best advice given. If you can't do that, why spend time giving or taking advice? I am pretty sure that the ones that try it out and fail, and gives up, are the same that keep asking stupid questions about things that doesn't make a difference. The only person that can make a difference is you. Going out there, doing it, and after you've failed - ask questions that actually are based on experience. Just by thinking about the questions you would like to ask, will greatly improve your street act. Getting answers will give you some help - but not close to the answers that you find by yourself. Especially if you want to stand out and do something that the world has never seen before.

/Ark


Ark I take offense to the first part of your post. I am not crap, nor am I lazy. To say go out and do it when a person doesn't have an act is setting someone up to fail. Did you think that if the person who failed is asking for advice is someone trying to figure out what they did wrong and perhaps wants to go back out and do it the right way so they don't make the same mistakes they made in the first place?

Like I said in my earlier post I cannot speak for anyone but me, yeah I screwed up the last time out. I admitted I screwed up royally. At least this time I am working towards getting back out there and the only thing I have to realize is when I do feel ready to go out it is going to be different. For one thing I won't be heavily medicated and I will at least have practiced the tricks I want to do. I also, have to realize that in my town I should not count on making hundreds of dollars. Heck, I'll be lucky if I make fifteen bucks in three hours.

I think making generalized statements like you did in your post can do more harm than good.
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