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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » The Ugly truth about pitching..! (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Frosty
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Yep! You can make lots o money in this business.. I know cuz I've seen the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow..  but there is also Darkside that many don't see or tell you unless you've worked this grind..

Can you work on your feet for about 16 hours a day or more? Can you speak non stop all day without loosing your voice and repeating yourself over and over again without going insane? Are you willing to travel and deal with all types of people including drunks, gangs, con men, hecklers, and of course regular people etc. etc.? Can you defend yourself when danger presents itself and are you willing to sleep on the road either in your car or in a low line motel? Etc etc..

I'm just trying to picture a taste of this life for you to think about!

Just this past Saturday at a Christmas event I easily sold in one day more than my wife used to make in an entire month on her previous well paid job... I wont say how much as Uncle Sam might be looking over my shoulder.. but think about it.. your walking dark unknown streets with pockets full of money.. being that most events end late night you really need to be aware of your surroundings and play it smart as others see you too!

I started this Saturday at 6 in the morning as I drove a few hours to be there early on the lot to set up of my joint.. got there and was given my assigned location by the fair organizers.. then I assembled my tent, pitch table, lighting, PA system and laid down my merchandise then hanged up my banners and weighted down my tent etc... the festival started at 12pm and pitched all day non stop till 9pm.. seemed like there wasn't much attendance this year but still called them in and then rolled them tips over and over as best as I could.. I blanked a few times but was able to turn most my pitches.. then after 9pm it was tear down of the joint and loaded it all back in my vehicle.. then I drove back home for a couple hours more and made it back home at around 12pm.. forgot to mention a cop pulled me over cuz a light was out from my license plate.. (this happens often as they are always looking for any excuse to pull you over as at night time your their target)

Now this was a short festival as other events start in the morning and don't end till Midnight or past but just do the math on this Saturday event!

From 6am to 12 Midnight, that's about 18 hours worked.. I was so tired I was driving worse than a drunk at night trying to keep my eyes open and on the road.. and hoping I don't run over a deer or get off the road..

But wait there is more.. bet you've heard that one!

I didn't mention of the prep work to get this festival months ahead as I searched for this event then applied online and responded  with the organizers by email and phone and sent payment..

I also didn't mention of the extra work to place orders from wholesalers, prepare merchandise or make my Svengali decks etc.. to get it all ready for the event!

Now that's just a small part of the fun..

Now let's talk Money...

I made easily over a G but what I didn't mention was that I must deduct the nut, dings and slum cost from my gross sales.. that's all the cost of merchandise sold to be replaced.. and also the price of privilege (the assigned cost of booth space).. and don't forget fuel and wear and tear of ypur vehicle, the meals on the road and at times the motel if needed etc etc.. Ohhh and TAXES..!

After all expenses are deducted you might be better off working 4 birthday magic shows that Saturday at $200 bucks a pop... as you don't have merchandise to purchase or booth rent or sales tax etc etc... you'll work less hours and be home before dark and not have to go through the grind..

I ain't complaining  as I really love working the pitch or else I would of quit long time ago..!

The next day on Sunday I did much less at a Fleamarket but also only paid $20 bucks for space rent.. and since it was close I got home before it was dark and worked way less hours..

But all in all I wouldn't trade it for the world...!

It's already a long post and its getting kinda late now so I'll stop typing..!

I'll type some more once I get a chance..
Frosty
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Here's a little more to think about...

In this business you have no health benefits like you have in a secure job, and also no overtime and of course no paid holiday etc..

You also need to remember to pay your sales tax on time cuz if you don't, uncle Sam will really want you.. I once went almost 2 quarters without filing my sales tax and because of that awoke one morning with my surprise that my bank account went to negative zero... yep! They garnished all the money I had on both my bank accounts.. geesh!
I was really in a world of hurt!

My front neighbor vendor took 2 pictures of my joint to show me how I was the only booth with people in front at this past Saturday event... so I asked him to text them pics to me which he did.. Here they are:

Click here to view attached image.
Frosty
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You can only see the shadows of the tip and hardly anyone walking by..

Here's the other pic which he walked up and took from the side of my joint..

Click here to view attached image.
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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That's an interesting insight into your life Frosty. Its sounds both amazing and frustrating. However, it also seems to be your passion in life. Could you you be happy doing anything else?
Docc Hilford
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Thanks for keeping this room in the Green Café open.
Since my ol pal Don went on the pitch to the angels, seems slow.
Frosty
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2020, Docc Hilford wrote:
Thanks for keeping this room in the Green Café open.
Since my ol pal Don went on the pitch to the angels, seems slow.


Yep!

It hasn't been the same since Don passed away.. I still feel were very fortunate for all the info and advice Don Driver left us here on all those previous posts in this Café.. As we can always still search'em

Good to see you here Docc!
Docc Hilford
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Thanks Frosty.
I just put up my Buddha Papers routine if you’re interested.
I miss Don D and pitching.
I’m also happy to see this community seems to be helpful to each other, while magi and mindies seem to treat each other like marks!

Peace
Docc
Docc Hilford
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Ya know Frosty, that math is what changed me from pitching magic to doing kid shows.
Same money... 1/10th the work!

Still, nothing feels the same as those days when you’re fiolding up the joint, counting the line and the world seems right because your pockets are full.
Like chopping wood.
Grafter Zen.
That’s how I ended up coming back and pitching horoscopes!

Peace
Docc
monkeycat
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It is a very, very tough business and people don't realise how hard it is. After a couple of weeks or so they soon find out.
Frosty
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Quote:
On Jan 10, 2020, Docc Hilford wrote:
Ya know Frosty, that math is what changed me from pitching magic to doing kid shows.
Same money... 1/10th the work!


Welp Docc, you just convinced me to try kid shows once again!

I just booked a magic show for this weekend.. and I haven't performed a real kid show in a couple of decades.. I've been saying no to all magic performances offered.. I'd just say no or pass them onto other magi's..

I guess now I gotta dust off all my old magic props and practice them again!

But I'll still be pitching this weekend even though as this show will be in the evening..!

Gotta give it a try once again! We'll see how it goes...
Docc Hilford
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I’m teaching my 24 year old daughter my Twenty Minutes with a Balloon Routine.
She can make $400 a Saturday, $1600 a month besides her day job and school.
I’ve been sending her all my old props.
Fun times man.

Peace
0wen
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On Dec 19, 2019, Frosty wrote:
Yep! You can make lots o money in this business.. I know cuz I've seen the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow..  but there is also Darkside that many don't see or tell you unless you've worked this grind..

Can you work on your feet for about 16 hours a day or more? Can you speak non stop all day without loosing your voice and repeating yourself over and over again without going insane? Are you willing to travel and deal with all types of people including drunks, gangs, con men, hecklers, and of course regular people etc. etc.? Can you defend yourself when danger presents itself and are you willing to sleep on the road either in your car or in a low line motel? Etc etc..

I'm just trying to picture a taste of this life for you to think about!


From 6am to 12 Midnight, that's about 18 hours worked.. I was so tired I was driving worse than a drunk at night trying to keep my eyes open and on the road.. and hoping I don't run over a deer or get off the road..

But wait there is more.. bet you've heard that one!

I didn't mention of the prep work to get this festival months ahead as I searched for this event then applied online and responded  with the organizers by email and phone and sent payment..

I also didn't mention of the extra work to place orders from wholesalers, prepare merchandise or make my Svengali decks etc.. to get it all ready for the event!

Now that's just a small part of the fun..

Now let's talk Money...



I pitch mice off the back of my flea circus because the guy (Jim "Alberti" Hobbs) who got me started with flea circus work did the same (much better in both regards, circus-ing and pitching). I had the fleeting thoughts to go all out pitching, but posts like this, common sense, and a refusal to work 18 hours in a day (aka laziness) brought me to my senses!

For curiosity and conversation sake - your thoughts on why pitching full time has became more difficult? Shopping at .com's the primary culprit? One of the largest flea markets in the country happens here (they claim hundreds of thousands attend - no real data to suggest otherwise - it makes the normally lazy town of a few thousand, a nightmare to navigate however) and I'll pop up a 'Zibit' tent this year likely - no ambition to pitch more than the occasional case of mice; just curious of the life I guess. Smile
Docc Hilford
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Owen,
First, Jim Hobbs and Co. have been family friends since the days of Flora and Co. in the early 1990s.
I still have an original Alberti flea!
He’s too old to perform now, but he’s still doing well.

Next, I merely added to Frosty’s observation because as pitchmen we love that painful reminder.
However, once you make a $2000 line for an afternoon of playing around, the bug will bite and it will get in your blood.
One will be a much better performer after one relies solely on the take to eat and get a flip.
One’s timing and movements MUST be precise to convince a tip they can do the trick too.
Unless one has another stream of income, as in a flea circus or medicine show, one doesn’t get paid unless the audience is so pleased they’re will to “take out a dollar”.

I wouldn’t trade my pitch times for all the tea in China, and as a matter of fact, I still occasionally pitch Dutch Loopers or Buddha Papers.
Just for fun.

Peace,
Docc

PS PM me about Jim.
We haven’t chatted in a long while.
0wen
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PM Sent..

My view of pitching probably isn't a realistic one. When I was a kid, right out of high school, I had a similar sort of envy of a counterculture notion. Attending Hobo Conventions and the like. That was one of my inspirations of magic, oddly enough. I'd put together a stage routine - old cardboard "victory illusions" mixed with some newspaper magic and other odds and ends that fit with a Hobo character and went all out in full 'Tramp Clown' regalia. A fun bit for a while that I used occasionally in following years - mostly at hippie style festivals where the 'green' magic props would win over. I eventually got too lazy to go through the hassle of getting into greasepaint and all. Smile

Likely looking at pitching the same way in a nostalgic/romantic light of counterculture. I'm sure there's a lot of work involved - I'm on the fence about doing a single weekend of a zibit here, where we have a local flea market that happens to be one of the biggest in the country (or at least on the east coast? - ~500k people over a weekend; I don't know enough about them to compare) because it would require a few days of 16 hours; and it likely involves less work than a genuine pitch. Probably content pitching mice and/or cards after the flea; but some admiration and/or occasional envy of pitching. Maybe in another life Smile
Wesley5n1p35
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Sad to hear about Don... I’ve been out of the loop for a while. He was an inspiration and a hard worker. Pitching is amazing but you got to be built for it.
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Frosty
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Quote:
On Feb 11, 2020, 0wen wrote:

I pitch mice off the back of my flea circus because the guy (Jim "Alberti" Hobbs) who got me started with flea circus work did the same (much better in both regards, circus-ing and pitching). I had the fleeting thoughts to go all out pitching, but posts like this, common sense, and a refusal to work 18 hours in a day (aka laziness) brought me to my senses!

For curiosity and conversation sake - your thoughts on why pitching full time has became more difficult? Shopping at .com's the primary culprit? One of the largest flea markets in the country happens here (they claim hundreds of thousands attend - no real data to suggest otherwise - it makes the normally lazy town of a few thousand, a nightmare to navigate however) and I'll pop up a 'Zibit' tent this year likely - no ambition to pitch more than the occasional case of mice; just curious of the life I guess. Smile


Hey Owen, so glad you chose not to take pitching full time... with this new Coronavirus seems like the Sh*t just hit the fan for us... looks like were now unemployed!

I got all my events cancelled or postponed (and as you know most festivals keep the nut..) but think its gonna be a while before it all goes back the way it was or if it ever does..

And Yep, things were already getting hard as attendance were getting low and many don't carry cash on them anymore and times were now changing with the internet and all..

I was out working a traders market this past weekend and did very good cuz many got their federal tax refunds and they had money in their pockets and it was itching them hard. There was even a circus top on the lot.. I guess the show must go on even though this Covid 19 outbreak.. Lol!

I went back this morning hoping I could still pitch this weekend at least but it's all gone now.. the big top, venders and all! It's a ghost town here and just everywhere now..

I guess we're really unemployed now as many others around the globe..

It was already a dying art..

I think it just now died!
Frosty
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Ok ok... I'm being too negative! I'll take all it back!

This will take time before things get back to normal.. and its gonna get uglier before it gets better, but we'll get through this..

Pitching and magic ain't dead yet!

Best to you all and stay safe!
padre rich
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Hope you all return to, "killin' the big un's and running the little un's under the tent."........the lucky boy
God's grace rocks! It makes a good cups and balls routine look pretty boring in comparison.
Frosty
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On Apr 3, 2020, padre rich wrote:
Hope you all return to, "killin' the big un's and running the little un's under the tent."........the lucky boy


Yep! Hope so too..!

but I thinks its gonna be a while before it all goes back to like it was in pre covid19 until a vaccine is made..

I'd love to be optimistic but I don't see it happening soon as its gonna be pretty hard if not impossible to belly up a tip with all the social distancing still happening!

But with time it should all go back the way it used to be..

Thank you padre rich!
Gerry The Great
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Hey Frosty,

Thanks for your updates, and so true what you are saying. I sell quite a bit pitching magic at some big Christmas shows. I stand for eleven days straight over 14 hours and the magic doesn't sell itself! You gotta stop em, amaze them and let them know they can be like you and do the tricks. I have made tons of money but not planning on going back because fo the rent they charge, the crowd turning to no money people, and also just the enormous challenge of standing and pitching for eleven days straight with no break. Oh and I walk back to my pop up camper with wads of cash to a open parking lot next to the event in the middle of a city and sleep in there paranoid all might someone's going to grab me and the cash LOL! First thing of the day is dropping the cash at the bank, then go again.

I am thinking about my flea market on weekends for the upcoming months cause I have lots of inventory. I also am doing a good summer camp business in the summer months, until corona deal I am not sure any or some of my camps will be completed?

Good luck and keep pitching Amigo!
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