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Nick W
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First thing is to be clear what we are talking about. are you performing shows on the streets or just doing a one off magic trick for a stranger? When I say street magic I'm talking about busting out a show for the masses. Now that that's out of the way:

so many posts on how to do street magic, people asking suggestions on tricks and what not. Let me just say that all of your questions have been answered one way or another. lots of master classes on how to street perform. Im sure they are good, and I'm sure folks attending will learn lots. but nobody speaks the truth, few have, but nobody listens, and their hard earned wisdom is lost to time. So if you are a beginning busker, or want to have a hand at it, read on:

1. you are going to suck. you will suck for about ten years before you begin to see results. whats real results? its knowing yourself and your show and know that when you begin your set, your going to get a huge crowd. its going to take you about 10 years to build confidence on that level. at the very least, 5 years.

2. your wife/girlfriend might approve your new and cute hobby, but it wont last. if you want to be a busker, stay single. MGTOW all the way. not to say it cant work with some females, but guys, the odds are forever not in your favour. keep single or enter the corporate sector.

3. take acting classes or clown classes. definitely take clown classes. read that 100 more times before moving on.

4. everyone has the right to perform. but if you step on a busy pitch with other veteran performers and you cant keep a crowd prime time Friday night, you arent ready for that spot.

5. humble yourself and find a teacher. I know your confidence and ego must be high to survive this game, but when you see someone better than you, respect the time they put into the game long before you ever thought it was possible.

6. character development doesn't mean reading the Fritzke Trilogy. Seriously, take clown/acting/buffoon/improv/writing, whatever you can find in your area

7. a juggler drops a ball and the audience wants him to try again and catch it. a magician drops and they laugh and agree that you and all other magicians suck. remember that ratio. when you mess it up for yourself your actually messing it up for everyone else. every time I do a gig I hear someone say "you know, the last magician I saw was really bad......

8. Never bring birthday show props to the streets. no mouth coils, no linking rings (yeah I said it, the trick sucks), no Silly Billy routines on the streets. when doing street shows you need to pull a crowd of all ages, not just the kids while the parents go have a drink. captivate and "lure with spectacle" Smile

9. if you have alcohol or drug issues, you will only become more of an addict if you street perform.

10. if you live in a small market, you will never get good until you travel. if you cant travel, than you will suck and perpetuate bad street magic, killing it for us all.

11. street show needs to be done from your pockets or from a small bag/box. think cups and balls is cool? sure, now pack all that up and carry it for 50 miles. not so cool now is it?

12. america sucks for busking. americans have a !@#$** perception of art and of people performing it, especially after the AGT crap on tv. get your butt to europe, if you have a silent show, asia. see #3

13. theres more than enough material for magical entertainment on the street, don't copy others style. I get that we have to start somewhere and jump off from some point. but if you saw a great street magician do a bit, and you grab that idea, your taking the years experience along with it, and you will miss the timing of the moment. timing comes from experience. remember my #1?

14. the streets does not belong to you. you do not own public property. if theres only one pitch in town and you think that just because you arrived early that the whole thing is yours, your gonna get knocked out. literally. share the pitch. the more the better (to an extent)

15. street magic should NOT be PG/PC. it needs to be gritty. not dirty, but gritty. you know you are doing it wrong when your audience is mostly teens and children. you gotta get the parents involved. this is my personal rule, but I never begin a show if it starts with a crowd of teenagers or asians (unless I'm in asia) guaranteed peel off. don't know what peel is? you will at year 5.

16. this is not fun and games, its sad, depressing, backbreaking painful work. the joy from street performing is being your own man and controlling your life. if you need a woman in your life to dictate what colour your socks will be, stick with the birthday shows.

17. taking a busking class wherever in this world does not make you a busker. success is not determined by hat size. read that again.

success is after a show you have your audience coming up to you asking for your card, kids wanting hugs, women dangling their hotel keys in front of you, and you have consistently solid shows that make people laugh and smile. its hard, but even patients die under their doctors knife.

I hope my post niggles you, makes you upset and makes you rethink wanting to busk. don't let it stop you from going out there and learning. the double edged sword is that you work hard before you stop sucking. but you have to blow shows first, and hard, before that ever happens.

people have glorified busking as this poetic thing, which it is. but its incredibly hard and the lifestyle does not end with many options. you have to love doing it and love the lifestyle you get from it.
gallagher
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Nick(!),
it's Lent,
I've been 'fasting' from
"the Computer" & my wife....
but,
YOUR POST NIGGLED ME!

What a great Post!

Honestly,
I can say,
"I don't agree with it all."
,but it doesn't matter.(!)

S much Truth.
S much Passion.
S much Experience.
,...s many words(!)
i love it.

The only thing, I WOULD add,
as a "p.s.":
"Read other Buskers',
other Performers',
stories.
They're inspirering, motivating, and helpfull."

Nick, thanks for going to the effort,
taking the time.
,...i've got to go now,..
my wife's in need.
gallagher
Nick W
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Maybe a little too much passion on my part...lol
cbguy
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Nick, this reads like a copy and paste from Jimmy's book. Where can we see some video of you performing so we know were listening to someone other than an easy chair magician?
Nick W
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I assure you its not a copy and paste. and I am far from an easy chair magician.
jimmy talksalot
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WOW! BRAVO! spot on.

i haven't posted in a long long time, but this post just hit me.

wow brilliant.

i know nick's career as a world traveler and know these are all facts, not opinions. hey nick good luck posting facts on an open forum ha ha.

but any way, if any beginners are reading nick's post here, it is my "opinion" that you should save this text because it is true. and you should take everything else you hear with a grain of salt, but again just my opinion.

also I would urge you to look him up online or better yet, ask the pros out on the street who have been out there more than a 5 or 10 years and have worked more than 10 countries, what they think of nick.

the reason nick is one of the greatest masters is because he is one of the most humble.

humble people see all their flaws and correct them, arrogant people don't think they have any, so they keep their flaws or at best try and hide them...but audiences can SEE.

Nick is an artist, be one or get a real job.
jimmy talksalot
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Well as I was writing this someone posted the copy and paste thing...and it begins...see you in another couple of years.
cbguy
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So the man himself agrees with everything Nick posted and I am correct that it is all agreed with by most and also straight from Jimmy's book.

However, I do not agree with the majority of it and I will tell you why.

#1: You will not suck for 5 - 10 years. If you do, then find some other way to make a living. I started busking full-time in '98 and I sucked for about 3 months. I have a formula that works for anyone and I've shared it with a handful of people who never busked before and they too were doing really great within a few months.

#2: I've been married to the same woman since '99 she never left or threatened to leave. In fact, she and my youngest daughter often travel with me. They do their own fun stuff, while I'm working. I have successfully raised a family of 6 kids without ANY of the issues mentioned in Nick's post. Don't believe this lie. Find a soul-mate and you will be happy.

#3: I took mime classes and Clown classes and found them very helpful (I agree with this part of Nick's post)

#4: I partially agree with Nick here, if you are on a busy pitch and you can't hold an audience, share the pitch with people who know what they're doing and learn from watching.

#5: Finding a teacher is a good idea, unfortunately "most" who can be teachers are egotistical and difficult to get in touch with. I started without a teacher. After a few years I read Gazzo's book and Cellinis book. Never had a formal teacher because the best teacher is experience,

#6: Character development is very important. I agree with this and having performed as myself I did okay, once I began developing a character, things got a whole lot better. The key is knowing how to develop a character. I highly recommend getting in touch with Pop Hayden on this one because he is, in my opinion, the best at teaching it.

#7: If you mess up a trick in any performance, you should have an out, if you don't you're foolish. I have made mistakes in the past that actually ended up making the routine better because of the character I play. Some accidental mistakes have actually become permanent and intended mistakes in my act. Think about that!

#8: Birthday props? No Linking Rings? I've seen Jimmy do the rings in Seaport Village. Chris Capehart & Pop Hayden both developed Ring routines for the streets. Are they wrong for doing that?

#9: An addict is an addict. I agree with this part whole heartedly.

#10: If you're in a small market, YES, traveling is a good idea and encouraged, but if you choose not to travel you can dominate your market. Common sense here.

#11: Working from your pockets is a good idea, yes...but not required. Cups are way over done, but they still work. I do not do the cups, but there are plenty of people out there who do, and they travel.

#12: America does NOT suck for busking. I guess perception is everything. I haven't left America for the last 6 years and I am doing better than when I traveled outside of the country and with less expenses. If you know how to busk, this would be a non-issue.

#13: I agree with this one Do Not Copy others material however, if you paid for it legally, then you are free to perform it as an exact replica if you desire. Ever see Sergio do Gazzo's routine word for word? If you obtain the material in a legal and ethical way, it's fair game.

#14: I agree 100% with sharing the pitch.

#15: Agreed

#16: The streets are not sad, depressing or anything like that. The streets are full of excitement. Every show is a fresh start. You get to meet so many different people from so many different walks of life. If you think it's sad and depressing, you need to find a new line of work, period!

#17: A busking class may not make you a busker, but it is very helpful just like a clown class is helpful. If you want to learn to busk, I highly recommend you visit my friend MARIO MORRIS website https://www.schoolofbusking.com Not only does he teach you the ins and outs of being a successful busker he gives you the opportunity to learn from either online classes or live teaching.

Nick said that success is NOT determined by hat size...wait, what? Is this a job or a hobby? If you work at a regular job and they start you at $7.75 per hour and a few years later, if you are still making only $7.75 per hour, but your boss tells you that you're doing a good job and your co-workers give you hugs, you'd be an idiot to stay at that job.

Now, I do not believe in harassing people for money either. I feel they should fall in love with you and be glad to drop 10's and 20's in your hat at the end of a show and YES, Success IS determined by hat size. This is another area I have developed a solid formula for that works extremely well. I have shared my formula with a handful of other buskers and they have stated that after using just about 60% of what I teach about increasing hat size, they now have bigger hats and more people putting money in.

The problem most buskers have is they are not smart enough to take the time to develop the little things that make a HUGE difference. I look outside of magic to get this info and I'm overjoyed that most people don't. You know what they say, hater's are going to hate.

I am very selective about who I reveal myself to here on the Caf, but those that know me, have seen me and who are my friends know that I am speaking from experience here as well. I am not interested in fame or being well known. I love the fact that I stay invisible to MOST people in the business because it allows me to not get caught up in a lot of stuff and I don't get bothered or bombarded. I do not want magicians looking for me to take parts of my act or lines, BUT occasionally I will notice people who just give me a certain feeling that they are good people and I freely give them everything.

With all of that, I hope my response to a relatively negative post, finds a way to encourage a few people to go out and give it a try.

Best,
cbguy
Nick W
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Hi Jimmy, I don't know about the master part, or the humble part. Every few months I get a woman telling me I'm not humble. usually they are asian, oh well;)
cbguy
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Does anyone, besides me find it more than a coincedence that neither Nick W. or Jimmy has posted ANYTHING on this forum in a very, very long time. But somehow, they both happen to show up at the same exact time, on the same exact day to support each others claims?

Also, does anyone else wonder WHY Jimmy would suggest that Nick W. is one of the Masters and that we should "look him up online" considering the fact that Nick W. is an alias in which you would never be able to find anything about "online" because it is NOT his real or performing name?

How do I know this? Because Nick W. has been sending me PM's since I replied to his negative and discouraging post and he told me that Nick W. is NOT a name that he would be found under.

In fact, here is my last response to Nick W's PM:

For the record, I have received several PMs from Nick W. and he has informed me that Nick W. is NOT his real name.

This brings up several red flags for me, personally since Nick Ws post was generally negative and discouraging to anyone who would consider busking.

It also troubles me that Jimmy, who is respected and considered an authority on the subject would suggest for readers of this post to Look up Nick W. on the internet knowing that he would never be found. This is intentionally misleading and should be a clear signal that the person making such a suggestion can not honestly be trusted, for obvious reasons.

It further boggles my mind that Jimmy would say that his and Nick Ws perspective is the ONLY perspective that should be considered as accurate and everyone elses perspective should be taken with a grain of salt. There is more than one way to skin a cat. To suggest there is only one way is egotistical and wrong.

Of course, Im also a bit skeptical that Nick W hasnt had any recent posts here on the Caf nor has Jimmy, yet all of a sudden they both decide to get on here at the same time, on the same day drop some stuff and then remain silent, publicly. This just screams something more than coincidence.

Now, cbguy is obviously a handle I use here on the Caf and since I am not the original person to post the negative outlook on the profession of busking, I am not at liberty to disclose any further information about myself.

However, to have someone come on here and post such negativity and then to have someone who is respected in the field, to blatantly mislead anyone who reads the thread, is in my opinion a good reason to no longer trust such a person.

Just thought Id share my feelings with you, since you took the time to PM me and if people start looking at the thread and are being mislead, I may share these thoughts publicly as well.

WHY AM I SHARING THIS?

Because I absolutely hate that people would post such negative things in a place that should be used to encourage and help.


LATESTEST UPDATE: Nick W. just sent me another PM stating that he has changed his Stage Name and that Jimmy wasn't aware of it. Are you serious? A working professional who talks about giving out his business cards as a measure of his success is going to regularly change his working stage name? This is just too much.

Sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade!
Nick W
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Haaaaaahaaaaaaa. Nice one. Clearly, this post was too much of a truth bomb for ya. you are in the palm of my hand, like an audience. my post tickled you didn't it? it roused your feathers, we all can see. you are such a detective super sleuth, cant wait for you to reveal the truth!
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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If your interested in taking the time you could compare both people's posts from the past on here and Jim my blog and see if the writing style is the same. Shouldn't be to hard to do. Just type their name in the search bar
gallagher
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I know I am experiencing great Art,
when I feel:
'Wow,...ANYTHING is possible.'

I know I am experiencing a great Artist,
when I hear:
"THIS. This, is 'IT'! "

Both contain thought, work, passion,
and a deep belief in itself.
Both.

Appreciating something, anything,
I have to let myself go,...
myself.
I have to let 'IT' take me.
It's a risk.
It's hard to look down another's path,
when 'mine' is so important.

"Will I lose 'mine'? "
"Will I fall into confusion? "
"Will I see I'm 'wrong'? "
"Will I seem 'foolish'? "

I've found,
mainly through my 'failings',
it's worth the risks.

Nick's thoughts make me think,
..push me.
,...question me.
,.make me feel good.
,.....make me feel bad.
,.make me smile.
,...make me crynge. (No mouth-coils?,..!,..?)

This is a good thing.
I appreciate it.

That last thing, I believe about Art:
"There are no definates."

{For an Artist, struggling to find 'truth',
this can be a painfull insight.}

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ..

I really encourage more such Posts.
I love the 'thought'.
,.the 'push'.
I need it.

, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

cb,,...as well.
I enjoy your Passion,
in your Posts and in your thoughts.
But,..there's also Com-passion.

I recognize your firm stands,
but there is also Under-standing.
(,...it's NOT the same as 'agreement',
but,
it's nice.
'Discussion' continue,..we all come farther.)

I prefer the 'en-courage' virsus the 'dis-courage'.
Our gardens reep more fruit.
I've got a deep appetite!
And you know,
a garden needs sunshine
AND fertilizer(!) 🤔
,...a lot of work.
,....and a couple of good neighbors,
to talk over the fence with. 🙂
gallagher
RiffRaff
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Both Nick and Jimmy are legit.
Cbguy, you sound like Paddy's ghost coming back to haunt me.
Stperformer
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Riff, I laughed so hard about Paddy's ghost, I spit my coffee out while reading it. Bless poor paddy, but so true :-D

Cbguy....Agree or disagree, Nick wrote an excellent post with a lot of excellent points. To question his motives or abilities is absurb if you know anything about Nick.
Nick W
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I actually like cbguy objecting (and agreeing) to some of my points. Its cool because it shows opposite findings to my experiences, which in itself shows a larger scope to the game. Street magic performing is not easy. It should not be painted as an easy to do. Magic in general is bloody hard lol. I really truly feel you must want to eat dirt for several years before you get favourable results in street shows.
TheRealMagicMike
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Of the 17+ points laid out in the initial post, After reading and re-reading, I'd say I agree with the vast majority of them... maybe not all of them as "facts", but at least guidelines that would be wise to take to heart.

I initially rejected the post as elitist, authoritative and seen as somewhat negative and/or discouraging to people who might be getting started in street performing. I had the picture in my mind of a "boss" pointing his finger and yelling... Smile A vision that generally doesn't set well with me as a life-long "magi-prenuer".

The only 2 points that I have a significantly different opinion on is:

1. "its sad, depressing, backbreaking painful work." I've never found that... in fact... I enjoy it. I think it's fairly easy work. We've all seen people who have "backbreaking" jobs and to my way of thinking, doing magic tricks ain't it. I know there is more to it then just "magic tricks", but, again... not that difficult.

2. "you are going to suck. you will suck for about ten years before you begin to see results." Part of this disagreement might be the definition of what constitutes "sucking". But, if it takes you 5-10 years to be good at street performing/magic, you probably should have recognized it at the end of the first year and spent the other 9 years going to school and becoming a brain surgeon.

To me, a successful street performer is one who enjoys what they are doing, puts on a well thought out show that people enjoy and who can make enough money to make them happy (for some people that's a lot of money, for some it's a little... but, I think the key is that it's enough to make them happy).

Anyway, I've seen people who have had previous magic/entertainment experience be doing great almost "out of the box"... certainly, after 500 shows (which if you're full time doesn't take all that long) you should have had plenty of opportunity to hone enough skills to be pretty darn competent and entertaining.

Of course, there is always improvement to be made, always a way to expand and change your act, and we all continue to learn, tweak and improve our shows and skills over time... but, I simply don't think you have to "suck" for 5-10 years... In fact, doing street magic for 5 years and still "sucking" would be sad, depressing and painful...

In any event, I thought the list was good, the post was interesting and I got to feel and integrate a new word into my vocabulary... "niggle"... Smile
RiffRaff
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According to my calculus, this thread contains posts from
4 real buskers
2 posers,
And one old guy who drags a piano across Europe.
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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I hope your including The Real Magic Mike as a real busker. His knowedge and ability is amazing
gallagher
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"And one old guy who drags a pian...."

Now wait a minute here!

https://flic.kr/p/SrCzBY

Just because Monika is 62,
doesn't mean....

"OUCHH!,...!"

did I say, "62"?,..?
42.
FOURTY-two.

Just because Monika is 42,
doesn't mean she can't hold her own!

The bottom line:
this post has people thinking.
A lot of different folks,
sharing different thoughts and experiences and expectations, hopes, dreams(?),....
'buskers'. 'posers'. 'wanta-be's'. 'drag-queens'
(,...hey, I used to call her "my hooker", but she didn't like that!)

The 'thought' is good.
Let's not thrash each other.
Let's just keep thinking, trying,...
and sharing our 'mis-haps' and 'happy-s'.

A film for fun,..
take a minute,...
https://youtu.be/jD8tjhVO1Tc

gallagher,
'the guy on top'
https://flic.kr/p/SrCzBh
The Magic Cafe Forum Index The side walk shuffle The real scoop on busking (16 Likes)
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