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NYCTwister
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Yesterday was the Puerto Rican Pride parade in NYC. It is one of those strange days when there is no business for balloon twisters even though there are hundreds of thousands of people around. Knowing this I decided to scout locations for the magic show I've been working on. (I found a few places that should be great)

The reason for this thread is that while planning my show I've done a TON of reading on the various aspects of building a show, and today I saw a magician who made me think about being specific when hatting the crowd.

The gentleman was technically very proficient. He did a lot of typical tricks, TT stuff, signed card etc, finishing with C&B, Gazzo style.
( I stood on his direct left, 5 feet away and, even knowing exactly what he was doing I barely caught any of the loads, including the big one in the hat at the end.)

What struck me was even though he was smooth, able to gather a large crowd and keep them, at the end his hats were anemic, lot's of loose change and singles, not counting the five I threw in. I saw a few people pull the bills out of their pockets, dig to the bottom for whatever change was there and throw that in. I caught the end of his show a couple more times as I wandered around and observed the same result each time.

It really solidified something I've been thinking about for a while, and that was how aggressive one should be when hatting. He announced his grand finale, but didn't say that at the end they would be expected to show their appreciation, nor in what way. He just finished the show and then said something like " I've given you magical experience, now drop something in the hat" and they did drop "SOMETHING".

I compared his approach to a friend of mine who is a mediocre juggler, but a very funny guy. He does a comedy juggling routine, filled with bits of business, and also gathers large crowds.

The difference is that my friend is much more aggressive. Before his "grand finale" he stops for a moment and tells the crowd in a funny way that, basically, he expects to be paid and alludes to specific amount. ( He flashes five fingers on both hands repeatedly, says the amount he wants in funny ways etc. )
He continues this AS he's hatting them, in between thanking them in various corny ways. When the first $10 goes in he makes a big deal of it.

The result is that his hats are fat, filled with fives, tens and, not uncommonly, twenties but very few singles. The other gentleman, FAR more skilled at what he does, hats a fraction of what my friend does.

From what I've read, here and elsewhere I know that some consider it in bad taste, almost like begging. Others feel, as I've come to while planning my show, that they are giving people an enjoyable experience and deserve to be paid well for it, as well as for the work required to get to that level.

I was wondering what all you fine folks think about being specific, as the terrifying day approaches when I leave my balloons home and take a chance.
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
silvercup
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Politicians know if you want the vote, you have to directly ask for it.
gallagher
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I thought you've written this up quite well,.. took a bit of time, thought,.. formulated yourself really well,.
You're right, the Thema has been talked about, discussed,.. and fought over,. here, quite often.
What I've gotten out of it all,..
it comes down to being specific with yourself.
What do YOU want?
No shame.
No sham.
This IS it.
Are you after, a lot of buckos?,...
use lots of comedy,.. loosen 'em up,.. make 'em laugh about giving.
Are you after, advertisment for your 'Kid's Birthday Party Show'?
,...
Are you after, time in front of an audience to whone your sleight of hand skills?
,...
Are you wanting to make a political statement?
,..
I believe, it comes down to being specific with yourself.
"Know your ass for it bears you."
(that probably got censured,.. but the blurred word rhymed with "class".)

The more focused you become with yourself,..
the more your audiences will feel focused with you.
You will be more comforatable.
They will be more comforatable.
Very good for eberybody.
It took me a long time to understand this,..
when I did,...
life became much easier.

i wish you,.. and your audiences well,
gallagher hayes

p.s.: there is a great article written by Eric Evans, intitiled, "Motivations".
It's very good,.
I think you'll find it over at the "Sidewalk Performer's" website.
Nick W
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You HAVE to be specific. if not people will give you as little as they can. They need to know you are there for the 5's 10's and 20's. but your show has to be good enough to be asking for 20's....
NYCTwister
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Thank you for your response Mr Hayes, it gave me a lot to think about.

As for myself I won't lie, and say that the money isn't important, as I have bills to pay and NYC is a ridiculously expensive place to live.

Having said that, my main motivation is my love of entertaining, especially children. Nothing gives me the feeling I get from making them laugh and have a good time. I don't know if anyone else has experienced the zone, that state of mind where your completely absorbed by what your doing and time ceases to have meaning.

I would have done this ten years ago but I have a child and so I worked at a job I disliked, for practical reasons. Ironically I make more now, in three five hour days, then I made in five eleven hour days on my job.
When the store I managed closed due to the lease ending, I decided to take a chance. My son was a teenager by then and I was tired of spending so much time being frustrated and unfulfilled.

So I took to the streets and began studying to awaken my dormant skills and to expand them.

I had the idea to switch to busking magic over balloons when I realized that I could be entertaining more children in the same amount of time. I make a mini-show out of each balloon I do so I came to the conclusion that, although my stuff is of the more complicated type, the real value of what I was doing was the experience they got so why not expand the entertainment part of what I do?
Besides, to be honest, once the kid gets the balloon the poor thing doesn't have long to live. Smile

Anyway, as to my original post, I've decided to take a moderate approach and only make a vague reference to money once during an appropriate opening that comes up during the show, then one short monologue before my finale, Chinese handcuffs, alluding to specific amounts in a way that, hopefully will be as funny to them as I think it will.
In my particular situation, working in Central Park which is filled with tourists, many of who come from countries where tipping is not commonplace, it seems like the best approach.

Btw sir, I read "Motivations".
I was stuck by the part where he spoke of performers who seem to take the audience by the throat practically demanding money.
Bills or no bills I never want to be that person.

Again thanks for your reply.
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
writeall
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I never understood the controversy. Money is not the enemy of art.
gallagher
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NYCTwister. I think you are going to do really well.
You're putting a lot of thought, not only in what you're doing,..
but in yourself.
,takes a bit of Courage(!).!
Thinking, thinking,.. trying,.. trrying,.. trying,..
thinking,.. RE-thinking,.. trying,.. trying....
sharing your thoughts/experiences....
It's a nice way to Live.

In Germany, folks don't cross their fingers for Luck;
they press their thumbs.
I'm pressing my thumbs for you!
Gallagher
ed rhodes
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Except, once again, the deal here is "no direct solicitation"
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
NYCTwister
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Gallagher thanks for the kind words. They are appreciated.

I HAVE been thinking a lot about this, also practicing. A lot.

This weekend I stop thinking and do it.
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
Paddy
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Ed, you can use hat lines thru your act and it would not be "direct solicitation." Lines like "I'm not paid to be here so if I have entertained you..." and point to your hat. Smile
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Dave V
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In Europe, it seems tourists don't know the currency and don't know how much to tip. I've seen performers suggest a specific amount and they usually get it.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On Jun 17, 2014, Paddy wrote:
Ed, you can use hat lines thru your act and it would not be "direct solicitation." Lines like "I'm not paid to be here so if I have entertained you..." and point to your hat. Smile


bucket.

While I don't mention the bucket throughout the show, I HAVE found a "hat line" for the end of the show which I believe is NOT a "direct solicitation." I've posted it before, so I'm sorry if this is repetitive but;

I'm standing with my hands tied up in the Shanghi Shackle;

"My agreement with the city of Providence is that I can perform for tips so long as there is no 'direct solitiction.' And so, I will not tell you have have to tip me, that would be rude. And I will not beg you to please tip me, that would be pathetic, I simply point out that in the city of Providence... tipping is not something done with cows!"

Then I escape.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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