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 Post subject: My very first busking experience
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:47 pm 
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Joined: 30 Oct 2007
Posts: 51
Hi, my name is Luc Nguyen and I am 17 years old. I'd like to classify myself more so as a children and family entertainer. Truthfully, I have never once performed on the street, nor have I read any books about how to pull a crowd or how to get paid. I honestly did not know what a hat line was and I did not understand the true meaning of busking. Until today, that is, when I decided to take a portable table, and my set of cups and balls (I am not well funded, so I have a set of Uday Brass Cups and Balls) my TT and a Silk of my favorite color (Orange) onto the harsh cold streets. (Of course, that was my initial view of performing on the streets.)

I carried with me a 8 x 11 card board sign that said "Magic Show" and taped it to the front of my table. (Note: I was at the Montrose District in Houston, Texas, it was a beautiful park) My appearance was rugged. I wore a pair of jeans, tennis shoes and I had a suit jacket over my buttoned shirt with a velvet red tie. Also I had a top hat I bought from a Halloween store. I stood and waited. My stage was set, and I watched as potential spectators walked on by, sparing only a second glance at the sign.

Some scoffed and walked on by. Some did not even acknowledge my existence. Many chose to ignore me. I was thankful that I chose a spot under a tree, it shaded me from the glaring sun and blocked potential exposing of angles. As the minutes passed on by, my eagerness to perform started to diminish. I could only stare at the stack of brass cups, and they only showed my reflection. The image of a bored child, perhaps doing something way over his head.

Suddenly, as if by the heavens, they sent me a ray of hope. A gust of wind blew my sign away from my table, onto a group of people; sitting along the cool grass. I palmed my face in embarrassment, as I slowly turned my attention towards them. They picked up the sign and glanced around, finally setting their sights on me. They began to approach me, slowly and cautiously. My heart beat started pounding and my face was starting to blush. I shook my head vigorously, knowing I had to keep my composure.

If it was one thing I knew, it was that a Magician always had to keep his composure, no matter what the circumstances. So, they walked towards me, and handed me back my sign. They took a couple of steps back and then waited. I could have sworn a few tumbleweeds blew past us until the realization smacked me upon my head. They wanted to see a show.

The stage was already set, and the spotlight has been cast upon me. "Here I go!" I mentally prepared myself as I took a deep breath. I introduced my name and what I was going to do today. I told them before hand that I was going to astound them, to the best of my capabilities. This caught them seriously, some of them took off their shades and crossed their arms. The others waited, listening earnestly to my story.

I finally reached towards my cups. From there on, I was on auto-pilot. (Tweaking my patter from children towards adults of course, I even stole a few jokes from Gazzo, supplied for free off of his demo videos.) Before I even did the first load, I took a glance up and was shocked at the crowd of people building upon me. I saw strollers, children, teenagers with ipods, parents and the elderly. I almost froze until I told myself, "Composure, composure, composure."

I believe it was luck that day that I did not encounter a single heckler. Not a single person hassled me, they only enjoyed the show. It was amazing how the crowd reacted, when a lemon appeared from a cup. The reason why I chose lemons was because I loved to always end on a rather cliche line. "When life gives you lemons, perform magic." I will always be able to say that with the biggest grin that would stretch from one side of my cheek to the other.

When I finished my routine, I looked up. At first it was pure silence, the only sound provided was the chirping of birds, and the gentle breeze of the wind. Slowly, like a fuse towards a pile of fire crackers, the applause began to explode. My jaw opened, and I felt my heart melting away from embarrassment and happiness. I waited a little longer, and I began to thank them, telling them that it was because of them I was able to perform. From there, I took a step back from the table and bowed.

I was not expecting a child to be the first person to finally approach me. He held 5 dollars in his hand and waved it in the air towards me. I pieced back my heart and grabbed my hat and graciously lowered it to his height. He smiled and said "You're amazing!" (I will never ever in my life, forget this.) He then placed the 5 dollar bill into the hat, and ran off back to his mother.

Soon, like a stampede, everyone from the crowd began to rush over, to place money into the hat. They were all chatting about my performance, complementing me and hastily grabbing my hand to shake it. The only thing I can do was to reply "Thank you very much." The stampede finally ended, and it was just me, alone with my table. I stared at the hat, shocked by the pile of green I saw. (I believe I made $150 USD for a 45 minute performance, maybe shorter I was not sure)

I cleaned up my location, and took everything back home, my hands still trembling from the events that trespassed today. It was my first busking experience, and I was not use to the harsh cold streets.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:23 am 
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Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Posts: 4110
Location: Milford OH
Luc, a couple of things to help. The first mistake you made was thinking that people would stop because of a sign. You have to draw them to you and get them to stop.. Gazzo, and I yell MAGIC SHOW!!! very loudly and when a family with kids walks by I stop them with a trick that involves the kids. This gets others to srop. Then when I have 5 or 6 adults I start my show. I do sidewalk shows, shows that are 10 to 15 minutes longm hat line thru the whole thing and then end with a hat line.


Try these and you'll get better


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:39 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 107
try to look up more often, so that you will have an idea of the crowd you have.

paddy is right on the money: to stop them, you either do a silent magic trick, making eye contact with passers by (the vanishing silk is good), or you yell.

and in the end, take a bow, or any other applause position (after I reveal the hat load, I step back, put my hat on my head, keep my feet together and outstretch my arms on the sides), so that they will know that it's the end, and you want applause.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:13 am 
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Emperor Penguin

Joined: 24 Jun 2006
Posts: 6622
Location: Penguin's Most Feared Intellect
It was definitely and interesting story, and like you said, you got lucky. But it's a good first experience. Hopefully you learned from it.

If you really want to learn about busking though, go to the street magic section here and read what Paddy and DaveV have to say. It will be well worth your time to search for that information, and you will get a lot of it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:01 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 22 Jun 2009
Posts: 908
Awesome.


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