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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » First Time Busker (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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SugarRayRick
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, JoeJoe wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, MagiCol wrote:
You've mentioned low flows of folk. I asked Nick Nickolas, an experienced street performer, what to do if there is low foot traffic, hoping to find out how to get a bigger group around me. He said 'Move to a better place' Duh! You can't make more people appear on the paths. So moving to somewhere better is what needs to be done.


Sometimes there is no better spot ... that doesn't mean you can't get paid. I've always preferred to practice on the boardwalk where I might get someone to stop and watch than to practice at home in the mirror where I know for sure nobody will stop.

I find the same thing Chris found - that the few people that do stop usually tip rather well compared to what a person would tip in a larger group. I will guesstimate that in an hours time on a slow day, I will spend maybe ten or fifteen minutes actually performing for people ... and can still make ten to twenty dollars an hour (which is more than Wal-mart would pay me, so I'm good with that. Of course there are days when I make zero, so I've learned to to take the good with the bad.

In this particular clip, I went out on a slow day with the sole mindset of filming my cup loads from all sides so I could go home and see them from every angle. I fully expected to make no money what-so-ever, it was way earlier than I usually work and very hot ... my pace is rather fast because people didn't want to stay long (you can even hear a little girl want to stop and dad tell her no) ... yet ... I still pulled a tip, I consider that "found money".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIMbYm_ez1Q

At some point you just have to ask yourself ... is this a "real job"?? I consider myself a "worker" and workers work.

-JoeJoe


Fantastic post Joe Joe.

I'm guilty of practicing in front of the mirror. Great to hear your thoughts.
SugarRayRick
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Hey there Chris,
Sounds like a success.
You were out only an hour, performed on 3 separate occasions. $20 from one guy. Doing something alright!! 😀
Good practice for Melbourne - you'll kill it here.
SleightlyChris
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Thanks for the encouragement! I'm really looking forward to this! I arrive on the 5th! But I need to 1. Find a more permanent place to live, 2. Find a job with consistent hours. Unfortunately I need to set my priorities before I venture to the busking world there.
SleightlyChris
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Went out again today.. weather was an unseasonal 69F, tomorrow 72F.

I've been toying with other things lately and so far my Go-To tricks (just because I've been doing quick trickle shows) have been:

Opener: Omni Deck

I used this to get a signature on a card for later.

Middle: Ring and Rope OR if it's one person, I'm doing Las Vegas Leaper.

Ring and Rope I use for a group of people. I like being able to engage all of them and say my stock lines.
If it's one person, I'll go into Las Vegas Leaper

Closer: Toi Box (only the first revelation, haven't practiced the 2nd revelation or the kicker).


It's been working well and reactions have been high on all 3 effects. This also lasts about 6-9 Minutes.


I'm going to get out tomorrow and try this set again. It's been a blast.
strat1227
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I'll precede this post by saying that I busk presenting myself as a sleight of hand enthusiast and an entertainer, not as someone with any sort of mystical power. Many traditional magicians will happily list all the reasons that's wrong and deranged, but I'll simply say it works very well for me.


With that out of the way, I'll share an angle I like to use. If you find yourself chatting with one individual, especially one genuinely interested in magic, KEEP YOUR EYES ON PASSERBYS. Passers-by will ALWAYS be more keen to stop if someone's already there, and it can be an opportunity to play with a type of dual reality.

For example, if the chatter has mentioned that he knows the French drop, do an effect for the new people that includes a French drop, and make sure you flash it for the chatter (but obviously not the passers-by). That allows the chatter to feel "in", and give him an opportunity to see the sleight used to impress.

That will generally elicit a better tip from the chatter when you part ways.


And remember, chatting with people is nice, but you're out there for money. If the opportunity for a crowd presents itself, politely excuse yourself from the conversation and put on a show!

Best luck out there
Dynamike
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Chris, if you have a camcorder or video phone, have a friend or associate record you. Take it home and study what areas you need improvements in.
SleightlyChris
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Hey everyone!

So I'd like to say thanks to everyone's advice. I've just come home from living overseas in Australia and let me tell you, the busking scene is huge there. There were a few magicians, of all skills. The common pull they all seemed to use was levitation. Whether it was just loops or "The Thing" that was the pull. (Actually quite a few of them used "The Thing").

I've learned a lot about myself as a performer and busking:


Reiterated the fact that if people like YOU, they will tip.

Finding the right pull is VERY important.

Sometimes the tricks we think would have the best affect, isn't which we thought.

Learned which tricks I should keep, which I would toss.

Weather has a huge impact on the mood of the spectators.

Busking is FUN!

Rocky as an OPENER is not a good idea (unless you want people to scream as they walk by HAHAHAHA I had a lot of fun with that).

I mainly work from my pockets and realized that my table is just for "stage presence".

A rope is a great idea so people know where to stand.

Lastly, you must know your chops. People have the potential to eat you alive if you, as a performer, don't win them over quickly.


Melbourne was a wonderful experience and now I hope to bring this experience here to Virginia Beach and HOPEFULLY kill it here.
TheRealMagicMike
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Hi Chris, glad to hear of your positive experience in Australia... I've been thinking of buying "The Thing" to use here in Vegas with my street show... how effective was it to draw an edge or a crowd? Seems like a natural for a street show, but haven't actually seen anyone using it live.
SleightlyChris
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The Thing did exactly what it did in Bill Abbot's promo. Essentially everyone stops and is curious and mystified. Then you go from there. One the magician(s) felt they had enough people he would begin talking to draw them closer, finished, then went on with his set.

Honestly, the pull is probably the most important part of getting people to stop. for myself, yelling and screaming at passerbys don't seem to work for me so I need to lean towards a visual pull. But once you stop 1 or a couple, more people stop.
jakeg
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Hey Chris .... interesting posts, interesting thread. Thanx
I'm curious which pieces didn't work out for you, and generally why . Is it mainly your personality that doesn't fit? Too long to set up? Props flying in the wind? All of the above? How about what you look for When adding a routine to your set.
Really enjoying it here. Keep the posts coming.
SleightlyChris
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Hey jakeg,

glad I can help!

So what didn't work from me from the original 4 tricks I posted was they just weren't practical. Practical for the type of show I was doing. I was mainly doing trickle shows where I was on a sidewalk and people that were passerbys would come and watch. The crowd really never got more than 20. The 4 tricks I posted in my first post I feel are really meant for the circle acts where you'll see a performer surrounded by hundreds of people, with the exception of bill to lemon/lime.

The tricks also required a reset. Five card opener was only about 1 min or less. PB&E about a min or less. But I didn't want to be seen resetting in front of the crowd. Not that I don't think I can sneakily I just think it takes away from the magic a little if the next group is starting to stop to see what's going on.

Bill to lime, I didn't do because I don't want to borrow other people's money, and damage (in this case, make it wet) the money. Also, to keep having to buy lemon's and limes and pre set them at home before going out was tidious. Don't get me wrong, depending on your approach, bill to lime could be a really strong asset to your arsenal, just not mine.


Wind was interesting because I would place cards on my table after they were used, signed cards (i normally gave them away anyway), I would have my chop cup out and my rope out. The wind gusts were annoying and if you are not miked up (I wasn't), your voice could get lost in the breeze.

I've realized instead of adapting my personality to the type of tricks I want to perform, I've decided to perform tricks that adapted to my personality. The tricks that come natural for you and your patter. That's how I've chosen the following tricks to do when I busk. and I'll add tricks I want to add in the future when I buy the props.

I still don't have/haven't found an applicable pull but I'm eyeing one right now. And I have an idea about another.

My current set (one that I consistently do)

Omni Deck (not prefaced with ambitious card) (I do a different variation that I believe adds to the magic. If you want to know, PM me and I'll share it).
-I do the omni deck because it's quick, essentially angle proof even during the switch, it's in the hands, and it establishes that I am a serious performer not some bloke

Chop Cup Mini (Dennis Loomis's routine)
-I chose this because it's completely in the hands and it's something that I can 'teach'. essentially you're being friendly saying you'll teach them how it's done but gobsmack them when you reveal in deed you have two balls (the large loads). And this is angle proof. and it gives time for spectators to forget where the glass block from the omni deck came from.

Torn and Restored Transpo a la david williamson
-I chose this as my closed because it takes a little longer, there's a lot of magic that happens, not difficult at all (if you can do a top change and MCF you're golden, it can be done completely in the hands, angle proof, and leaves time from the middle to end to do your hat line.


all three have a reset. however, it takes less than like a minute. omni deck can be reset as you're getting out the cards from your pocket for TnR. The chop cup is simple, you place the balls in the pocket and take out the non magnetized one. and the TnR, it really doesn't matter if you choose to let the spectator shuffle the cards or not. I don't believe it adds or takes away from it but if you really want to, just keep the two duplicate cards in your pocket and palm them out while they shuffle and add when they hand it back. doesn't need to be fancy. I just visually spread the deck and omit the top two cards (the dupes).

My back up tricks are:

Ring and Rope
Invisible Deck
Purse Swindle

these have minimal to no reset as well. really only the invisible deck has a reset or can be handled to not have a reset at all.


The two things I've been thinking to use as my pull were:

Clonk3. Visual, Huge curiosity factor, Loud and can use a spectator.
Electric deck or some sort of deck where it looks like you can card spring a rainbow. It gives the audience something to look and and wonder.

Will these work? Who knows. Time will tell!


Hopefully this has shed some light on the way I work and maybe give you an idea on how you'd like to choose your tricks.
jakeg
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Thanks for the post, Chris
I've been playing around with two routines using the deck as a kicker. One is the invisible deck, and the other is the Chicago opener. I found a nice routine on Mark James super Charhed DVD using his take on the opener, but thought it a bit drawn out for me. However, I like the idea of using the Omni deck as an ending because it gave a flash finish. The problem I have is prop management, with as much flexibility as possible with my props.I'm not working the streets as I did in the past, primarily busking balloons.. Got too darned old for it. I do some walk around and some stationary close up at my own table. I spent over 40'years earning my living primarily doing a mental act, and filling in between with straight magic.
About a year ago, I decided to start learning the magic that always fascinated me, but which I never had time or desire to learn well enough to perform. Right now, I'm particularly fascinated with the cups & balls. It keeps me out of my wife's hair.
SleightlyChris
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I recently did a 30 person stand up about 30 minutes the other night for my aunt's 70th birthday. I did 30 minutes with just cards and a chop cup. It was fantastic. The more I worked the streets the less I learned I needed. The only reason I bring a table with me is for a stage reference.. like "This is where the stage is, stay away" type of thing.

I would love to learn the C&B but I'm having too much fun with a chop cup at the moment lol.

The omni deck as long as you can switch it at a point where it makes sense to go to your pockets then you're golden. If not, maybe consider The Cooler or Cold Case for an in the open type of switch. Just some ideas.

Chris
jakeg
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What the heck are you doing up so early?
It was the chop cup that led me to the C&B. I have about 6 chop cups that I acquired at different moments of weakness. When I saw the James version on YouTube, I bought the DVD. (Wasn't that it was difficult material to figure out, I just fthink that if I'm going to use someone's routine, I owe to him to buy his DVD. It has some other good material on it as well.)
Busking has always fascinated me. Love the acts beside magic as well. I'm very old school. I like the idea of a table to help set boundaries, and dress in a fashion that shows respect for my audience. I don't get to see many street acts. When I look for them in NYC, they all seem to be hiding, but in all fairness, I don't go there in the summer if I can help.
Don't know what you're going to do, but I'm going back to sleep.
SleightlyChris
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Lol I just arrived from Australia a couple days ago so my body clock is all out of whack still. I think I'm going to try and look for a medium to full size chop cup at some point. Especially for stand up acts. I would love to busk NYC but not in the summer. I think I'd struggle in Virgini Beach in the summer as well but it's when most people are out and about.
helder
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Really nice read you adventures. Thanks and keep them coming.

Helder
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Chris, I read your initial post.

As a response to your initial post...
I don't care what your tricks are. All I care about is... "am I being entertained?"


As a new busker, do what works and don't worry about falling into doing what others do as their set.
If you need to do something different to draw a crowd or when there's no crowd, such as performing close-up tricks, etc., then do it.
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SleightlyChris
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The being entertained isn't a problem. M biggest problem so far is a draw.. And lack of foot traffic. I'm back on the cruise ships until March then back on in April so hopefully I'll catch the spring break crowds.
jakeg
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I would think that if you're having a problem drawing, you might be working in the wrong place. I have seen buskers work in the NY subway, and no matter how good they are, no one would stop to watch them, not even when a world class violinist tried it. If there are other buskers around you who are drawing, when you're not, I'd look inward.
SleightlyChris
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I'm typically the only one out there. It's not a big thing around my area. I'll give it a couple more weeks when I'm home. I won't be home until March. How are things going around your area? Cold?
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