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 Post subject: Busking Tips....Help?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 8
Hi, First I want to apologize for the looooong post, but I need some help. I am turning 30 this weekend and just got back into magic and really excited about it. I'm practicing every day and hope to start busking soon. I'm hoping my 30th year will be a good turning point in my life doing something that i love....magic! I have a few questions I'd like to ask, but first I just want to say that I am somewhat shy around strangers and feel i lack in the confidence needed to busk. But on the other hand, I feel that I am very well capable of writing some good scripted lines with a bit of comedy mixed in as well....and I believe that I may be able to reherse them enough to where I can FAKE the confidence, until it becomes such a habit that i develop REAL confidence. I also am about to start working on organizing my routines with a good opener to gather the crowd, start my show, then a middle, and an ending that will knock their wigs off lol. I have chosen an excellent place for busking. It's a tourist town with all kinds of entertainment...music, magic, theatres, museums, etc....with people walking around with cash ready for entertainment. And I used to live there, and I've never seen any street performers there, but it seems so perfect of a place to busk....so i think it would be a great place for me to start. And i have a great place in mind with a long shopping center and pple walking around everywhere with no street along side it, so hopefully won't have to deal with patrolling cops, and plenty of open space away from the entrances of businesses to perform my act. And now to my questions:

1) I am wondering why everyone on these forums is recommending cups and balls for a closer? I've never really cared for cups and balls or linking rings and such. Just seems a little over done and old fashioned...things pple have seen before on tv so many times (just my personal opinion). I am wanting to perform things people have prob never seen before...like some mysterious chris angel type stuff. Is there anything wrong with going that route? Or is old fashioned what brings in more tips. I just think there are a lot of other cutting edge tricks that would be way better to blow pple away with than cups and balls. What r your thoughts please?

2) I want to be able to perform several tricks in my show, but I don't want it to go on so long that pple start to leave. How long should it be? 15 to 20 min or what?

3) The personality I want to go with is mysterious and mystifying like Chris Angel (I don't want to BE exactly like him), just mysterious with some really crazy impossible type magic. But I feel I need a few funny lines here and there to hopefully see my charming side and tip more at the end. Do you think it's okay to mix haunting and mystifying with a little comedic line or two inbetween tricks to get a chuckle from the audience?

4) Most important quesion...how much can I expect to make in a day? Like I said...I'm moving to a big tourist town with lots of entertainment. And I know that's a very broad question so let me narrow it down with some expectations I have. Even though i am a little shy....my voice is strong enough though....I truely believe that if I can follow some scripted lines that I come up with, that I could fake my confidence AT LEAST enough to pull off being a little bit of a showman, but definatly not like any expert! I came up with what I thought to be a worse case scenerio. I thought if I can perform the tricks flawlessly and be a JUST OKAY showman, I thought maybe worse case is making like 3 to 4 dollars a show. And if I did like 2 shows per hour that would be like 6 or 7 bucks an hour working 8 hrs a day and at least 5 days a week. so I figured in WORSE CASE in a town like that, that would be enough to get by on if I had to. SO in a tourist town like that, with solid tricks, and my performance being lets say mediocre at first, do you think that that is a good worse case scenerio I came up with? OR do you think it could be much worse...like making a $1 or less per show? I would think that if they enjoyed the show alright that they would tip at least something, no?

5) I was thinking about maybe levitating something around to draw in a crowd. First...do you think that would draw a crowd? And second...if so...how many people? Do you think I could draw in at least 5 to 10 people with that?

6) In you guys' experience, is there any average percentage of people that will tip you opposed to people who won't? Like if I had a group of 10....about how many of that 10 usually tip something?

I know that's a lot of questions and a very long post, and I know I could find all this out through trial and error, but I just hoped maybe I could get some of these questions answered before I get out there! Any answers or suggestions? Any help will be GREATLY appreciated....Thanks

Trevor


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 Post subject: Re: Busking Tips....Help?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Posts: 4110
Location: Milford OH
Yep that's a lot of questions, but they are well thought out and show that you have really considered what you want. I will tale them on serially. First I am 68 yrs old and got into magic at 50 yrs old. Started full time busking when I was 55.

1. Gazzo makes a frigging fortune with the cups & balls so everybody thinks they should also. I don't use the C & B in my act at all. Any effect that YOU can do FLAWLESSLY is a closer.

2. I do 3 effects and run between 8 & 15 minutes depending on the crowd.

3. If you are comfortable in your character go for it. It is a lot easier to hide your shyness when your character is performing. I too am shy but my character Paddy is really outgoing.

4. I'm going to be blunt. When you start it's going to be hard to make anything, if you're lucky you may get $5 for a 15 min show. But as you keep going you get better, you change your patter you LEARN. Now I set a goal and I work until I reach that. $100 a day for weekdays $500 a day for Fri Sat & Sun. After I reach the goal I may keep busking depending on the crowd & how I feel. BUT IMPORTANT INFO!! I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR 14 YEARS FULL TIME Don't expect to match what I make right away.

5. Levitation is a good crowd builder Will Stelfox, a busker in Canada levitates a quarter to draw a crowd.

6. Only your God knows that answer. It will vary from show to show and day to day I've done shows where everyone in the crowd tipped. I have also done shows where NO ONE tipped me. On the same day.

Mazel Tov on your new adventure. Don't get discouraged because every one of us sucked when we started. But we kept going and made a dam good living busking. I don't make Gazzo's $100,000 + a year but I do OK and I'm never hungry of cold.

Paddy


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 Post subject: Re: Busking Tips....Help?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:04 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 8
Wow thanks a bunch Paddy! Those were very helpful answers and I appreciate it a great deal. Wow! Sometimes you can get no tips? It's hard to believe that people could be so cheap! Especially if they enjoyed the show....the least they could do is throw you $1 or 50 cents or something. I just hope that I could at least make $50 a day and if working the weekends too, that would be enough to get me by so I could quit my day job. lol. That's not a whole lot, but I'm used to being poor and living pay check to pay check. But I'd rather be a poor magician than poor and working a job that I hate. But I am going to keep my day job, try busking on the weekends and see how well I do at it, and if I can do okay at it, then it's on! And who knows, if I do it enough and learn more like you said, I could make a good living at it. That's what I want and I'm ready in my mind to go for it! But I still need a lot more practice before I decide to put myself on the street. I want to get my tricks down so well that they look really natural and to the point where I won't mess up, and then write and reherse some dialog. And I like your input about playing a character. It's almost like putting on a mask. And I definatly hear you there. That's what I need to do to help overcome my shyness. Just become a character. I think instead of being all serious and mystifying like chris angel, I think I want to be a little more comical, but talk like my next trick is going to be something that may frighten them or something....kinda give a little B.S. spill and acting a little TOO mysterious with a maybe with an over acted smirk to make them think "is this guy for real or is he full of crap"? And then really freak them out with an impossible looking trick.

If anyone else would like to share some answers to my previous questions, I'd love to hear some other thoughts. I have a couple more questions for you Paddy or anyone else for that matter:

1) What was your first week busking like....did you mess up on any tricks? If so....how did you handle it? I'd imagine that would be pretty embaracing and I think that's the biggest fear I have right now. What if someone sees the edge of something that is supposed to be hidden and calls you out on it?

2) Do you think cramming like 5 or 6 tricks in with a 20 min show would be too long, or should I just keep it under 15 min and do just 3 tricks like you said?

3) If you don't mind answering this...if not that's fine....how much money did you make in your first month...back when you kinda sucked at it? I know you are a totally different person and my results will vary, but I'm just asking what your personal results were in the first month or so? If that's not too personal.

That's the only questions left I needed to ask. If you could answer those questions that would be awesome....if not that's fine, cause you already helped out a GREAT DEAL by answering my other questions. Thank you very much!

Trevor


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 Post subject: Re: Busking Tips....Help?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:34 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 1
Where is this city you speak of? I suggest Jimmy Talks Alot book, To Lure With Spectecule, it may not show you the way to huge marketing or Gazzo fat hats, but it will give you some of the forsight and backbone to deal with working the streets, and dont be too discouraged if you find as a weekend warrior the pros dont have much time for you on the pitch...smilesotheylikeyou
Streetshowkeith


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