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I Need Comments/Criticism For My Busking Set

Hey everyone!

I've been performing street magic for a while but I have never thought about busking. I've always felt awkward taking people's money directly when I barely know them and much prefer money coming through direct deposit into my bank account. Money is tight right now since tuition costs have gone up and I need more avenues for pocket money since all my main job money will be used for school.

Here is a description of my busking set and I will explain the pyschology of it afterwards. I would like to get some feedback and opinions on it.

So I would set up a table or suitcase and set on the ground and just leave it open. I would then walk up to a nearby group of people and introduce myself as an entertainer and ask them if they would like to see my craft. If they agree I would start performing for them.

"So I'm currently a struggling college student *as I'm pulling out my fire wallet* that loves to entertain people with magic. Unfortunately, university has been burning through my funds! *as I ignite my fire wallet*" (hopefully this will attract more people to watch as well).
"All I have in my wallet is simply five dollar bills *In preparation to do Prophet by Tom Isaacson* but if magic was real what would it really look like?"
I would then wait for someone to hopefully suggest that they would turn the money into a higher denomination.
"That's exactly correct! So with a snap of my fingers, I would make those ones turn into one hundreds! (I would pause to let this moment sink in for the audience and have them examine the bills if I feel that they won't take them).
"Unfortunately Uncle Sam isn't too fond of this idea and I have to keep them as just single dollar bills thus my struggle is real!" *snap them back into one dollar bills*

I would then pocket the money and ask "Now seeing that, who wants to loan me there money?" At this point hopefully I will have eager volunteers to loan me some money. "I will be destroying this eventually so I will take the lowest denomination you have. You see I have this weird relationship with money in that" *puts coin through hand via Doubting Thomas and it lands back in the spectator's hands*"I can push it straight through my body!"

"But wait I can do more with that coin. This is how I would trick you via sleight of hand *
makes coin disappear and reappear via sleight of hand* and this is how I would seemingly make it sound like it's breaking due to audio illusions." *flicks coin to make a breaking sound*
"But this is something that only magic can explain..." I would then close my fist and perform Break by Uday Jadugar and hand all the pieces to the spectator and leave them with an impossible gift.

"For my next effect, I need a volunteer!" (hopefully this will draw in more spectators). I would then pick a volunteer and ask them to think of something very personal that I would have no way of knowing what it was and to write it down on a post-it note. I would let them write it on the back of a box of cards. I would then perform Psypher 2.0 by Robert Smith and slowly elude to obscure questions that are specific to that personal item to make the mentalism all the more powerful and then finally reveal it.

"Since we already have a box of cards out, who would like to see a card trick?" From there I would go into an ambitious card routine or my bread and butter effect, Camper. I would end with a spectator's signed card going from my shoe and then later into my mouth utilizing the smoke gimmicks of either Smoke by Alan Rorrison of The Dream Act by Shin Lim.

For the last bit of it, I would close with Counterfeit by Wayne Houchin with a business card so that way a spectator has an "impossible" souvenir with my info on it.

So the psychology of what I'm doing all starts with bringing money to the table right from the very beginning. I'm not directly asking for money but in my comedic routine of Prophet and a fire wallet I'm addressing the need for such. Then I immediately go from that into another money routine that borrows money from a spectator which is psychologically suggesting to people to give me money but then I leave them with an impossible souvenir. I then go into a mentalism routine that is designed to be personal with a stranger to try and build some sort of relationship with my audience who are strangers to me. I'm hoping it will psychologically suggest that I'm a type of friend of theirs by doing a mind reading act of something they love. I then go into a card routine that most people would guess is sleight of hand which is good because I want them to see that I'm a practiced magician and thus they would not be donating money to some chump on the street but rather a guy who takes his art very seriously. I close on Counterfeit because it's a great way to close a routine and it at least leaves someone with a business card in hopes that other people will ask for my business cards as well. (I really wish I had Double Cross to close on but I'm currently broke :().

My backup effects for the routines (in case something goes wrong) are as follows. Prophet-Coinbite, Doubting Thomas/Break- Superman Coin Bend or sleight of hand routine, Psypher 2.0-Steam 2.0/All Seeing Eye by Dan Harlan, Ambtious Card-Camper, and I have to use Counterfeit as my closer unless I wanted to do another mentalism routine.

Any help/criticism is greatly appreciated!
-Tyler
 
May 19, 2010
239
24
As a busker, I think it's awesome that you're taking the leap and bringing your craft to the streets. So, job well done there.

As far as the routine is concerned, it appears as though you put good effort and thought into it. There are no problems with your vision on how the set should go however...

You have to be extremely flexible when busking. Getting a routine to go off the way you described it only comes along once in a blue moon. It is extremely hard to hold a crowd, especially when you are just starting out. Expect rejection and expect a lot of it. But don't let that discourage you. Just some basic tips from what I have learned:

-Establish your space and let the specs enter said space. Walking up to a group of people who have already claimed an area often leads to rejection, and it is far harder to get tips that way too. Set up a table on a corner and own it. Be inviting and let people come to you.
-I know we as magicians hate the stereotypes, but be prepared for families with kids. They stop the most and the parents expect you to entertain their children and that's about it. That's where the tips are, so I'd pick up some spongeballs or something of that nature.
-Maybe considering closing or finding an effect a little bigger? I close with cups and balls (so unique, I know haha), and I do it because whatever crowd I've gathered can see it easily. Card tricks will quickly lose a crowd because not everyone has a chance to see the card, comes in late, has trouble seeing, etc.
-Finally, look nice. You might look silly wearing a shirt, tie, and vest in a touristy town where everyone is wearing a swim suit (that's my setup), but it makes a huge difference in how people perceive you.

I know its cliche, but the best way to learn is to do it. Go out there and you will quickly see what does and doesn't work. Don't be afraid to take risks, and please be original. If its one thing that busking has taught me it's that everyone thinks they are original and unique, but they aren't (Perform for a week and you'll see what I'm talking about;)). Try to do something special with your busking, and be a one of a kind performer in the only way you know how.

Good luck!
 
As a busker, I think it's awesome that you're taking the leap and bringing your craft to the streets. So, job well done there.

As far as the routine is concerned, it appears as though you put good effort and thought into it. There are no problems with your vision on how the set should go however...

You have to be extremely flexible when busking. Getting a routine to go off the way you described it only comes along once in a blue moon. It is extremely hard to hold a crowd, especially when you are just starting out. Expect rejection and expect a lot of it. But don't let that discourage you. Just some basic tips from what I have learned:

-Establish your space and let the specs enter said space. Walking up to a group of people who have already claimed an area often leads to rejection, and it is far harder to get tips that way too. Set up a table on a corner and own it. Be inviting and let people come to you.
-I know we as magicians hate the stereotypes, but be prepared for families with kids. They stop the most and the parents expect you to entertain their children and that's about it. That's where the tips are, so I'd pick up some spongeballs or something of that nature.
-Maybe considering closing or finding an effect a little bigger? I close with cups and balls (so unique, I know haha), and I do it because whatever crowd I've gathered can see it easily. Card tricks will quickly lose a crowd because not everyone has a chance to see the card, comes in late, has trouble seeing, etc.
-Finally, look nice. You might look silly wearing a shirt, tie, and vest in a touristy town where everyone is wearing a swim suit (that's my setup), but it makes a huge difference in how people perceive you.

I know its cliche, but the best way to learn is to do it. Go out there and you will quickly see what does and doesn't work. Don't be afraid to take risks, and please be original. If its one thing that busking has taught me it's that everyone thinks they are original and unique, but they aren't (Perform for a week and you'll see what I'm talking about;)). Try to do something special with your busking, and be a one of a kind performer in the only way you know how.

Good luck!
Thank you so much for your advice! I really do appreciate it. I'm going to try and film it too so that way you guys can get a better understanding of what's going on and give me specific examples of what is going right and what is going wrong.
 
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