My Busking Experience (4th Week In)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Guardian452, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Well guys, I've had a blast busking. I've been doing it 3 days a week from usually 12-3, but that fluctuates, sometimes I'm only out there for less or more, depending on how crowded it is.

    Each time I've gone out I haven't made less than 70. 70 seems to be my bottom number. I've ranged from 70 in 3 hours to 100 in 2 hours.

    My show has changed immensely, has gotten EXTREMELY more structural, and I've noted where things had to be picked up and sped up, or where I could stretch things out longer. Spongeballs for instance with little kids works EXTREMELY well for me out here in San Diego, my crowd gets built QUICKLY when this is happening for some reason. It also gives lee way to a lot of joking and audience interaction so I can feel them out for lines in the end of my show.

    Some shows I can feel I need to do Spongeballs, some filler card effects to draw more people in, my joker trick, and end with the TOD. Or other times I can go from Spongeballs right into the TOD, or somewhere in between the 2. It's been AWESOME.

    I have DEFINETTLY noticed that I've grown as a performer and as a magician. I have to thank Jimmy Talksalot for spending time out here with me, letting me share a pitch with him occasionally, and his book is GREAT!!! BUY HIS BOOK RIGHT NOW, it's very very good filled with a lot of things I had never thought of before. I also have to thank Don Driver for continuing me interest in magic, showing me UNCONDITIONAL love and support. He is a great guy and has done A LOT for me.
  2. Glad to hear you're doing well with it.
    I always wanted to try busking, but didn't want to go to the city with just a deck of cards and sponge balls. I feel like it should be more to it.

    Some questions I have:
    How long do you perform until you end it and ask for tips?
    How many tricks do you do per "show". I know you mentioned 3, but there has to be more, no?
    What's you liner to draw in the tips/approach people if you don't mind sharing. (If not, it's ok)
  3. I have no problem at all answering your questions and helping out.

    1) My show runs AVERAGE on 20-30 minutes. I can make it shorter, or I can make it longer depending on how I feel the crowd is doing and how patient they are and how engaged.

    2) I do on average 3 tricks in my show. I see no reason why there has to be more. I've done several shows that were going so well that I only did 2 tricks. Yes, 2 tricks. Spongeballs for a crowd builder and etc. and TOD for my finale. I ran a 15 minute show and it went amazing. So no, there doesn't have to be more than 3 tricks, I've gotten away with LITERALLY only 2.

    3) I don't ask people if they want to see magic. I learned that from a friend, Jimmy Talksalot. NEVER ASK if they wanna see something. The answer will be 99 percent of the time NO. You have given your spectator all of the power with this question and now HE is doing YOU a favor by stopping. The answer is also usually NO because NOONE else has stopped and watched you. They are thinking "there HAS to be a reason why I'm the only idiot stopped watching this guy." So I NEVER ask them.

    This is a chapter in Jimmy Talksalot book "To Lure with Spectacle." It's an amazing read written EXTREMELY in a conversational manner. One of the points that Jimmy makes is to act like you could care less weather they stop and watch. Have you be doing them a favor. Do a sight trick that could be silent over and over again that's visual and repeatable to yourself. People STOP and watch you, then call them in closer for a show.

    I personally combine these 2 methods by calling for a magic show "MAGIC SHOW STARTING" etc. etc. I do some tricks visually, but not FOR anybody, this is just warm up for them to have their eye caught and to come in. My ACTUAL show once people are there starts once I feel I have enough people, or enough to draw more people. So I call for a magic show, I hit my magic stick (not a wand, fairies have wands- Gazzo) on the ground, call for a magic show. Etc. Etc.

    I hope this has helped. If you have ANY ANY ANY questions about my routine or busking in general, feel absolutely free to ask them.
  4. Hey thanks for sharing but how difficult is it to get a license? And what is TOM I'm drawing a blank.
  5. TOD and it is tossed out deck
  6. Where in San Diego are you performing?
  7. What sight tricks do you do when trying to draw in an audience?
    Could it be some color changes with a deck of cards? I feel that that can't really draw in people strolling around, can it?
    Maybe a levitation?

    Every time I do cardistry, people ask to see some magic, so maybe that could work.
  8. Abstract- it can vary for how hard it is. Some places require you to have promos and money for insurance to perform there. Other places are just a random lottery, where everyone takes a number and it's the luck of the draw that you get a permit or not. Other places are extremely easy, you just go up and ask for one and they hand it to you. I recommend talking to the head of the places you are interested in, not your city hall. San Diego City Hall said that street performing isn't allowed anywhere..which ic simply not true.

    Kontents- I perform at Balboa Park near the Botanical Garden if you are ever near there. It is a public park with numerous museums, restaurants, and other small attractions. It's also right next to the World Famous San Diego Zoo. So it is a good spot for busking. The first 4 tuesdays of the month are free museum day, so that draws a lot of attention. The weekends are usually the busiest.

    DannyT- I do flip stick vanishes with my wand while I'm talking to myself essentially. Jimmy Talksalot does flip stick vanishes with a hankerchief, makes a ball appear in his mouth, makes the ball change color, and other sight gags. I mess around also with silent mime comedy (simliar to Sam in Benny and Joon)
    It just depends how you market what you're doing- if you are yelling "WATCH THE CARD, WATCH THE CARD- IT'S GOING TO CHANGE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU" Then it very well might draw in people. TELL, don't ask them to stop and watch.

    You need to be loud, draw attention, and stand out. Your voice gets their attention, the visual is what brings them in. If you can find a levitation, then more power to you.
  9. Ya man, I live in NP so I am real close to there. What times are you usually out there?
  10. im thinking about starting to busk. Do you think some juggling is a good way to draw a crowd?
  11. Kontents- I'll be there from 12:30- 4 depenidng on what kind of day it is this weekend. I hope to see you there.

    Lilstunna- Juggling is an AMAZING way to draw a crowd, and once you see a few people stop and watch you- say "I' going to be doing more than just juggling fols but you won't be able to see it from there, so take a couple steps closer so you can see what I'm gonna do" and continue juggling.

    The only thing you can do is to go out and TRY it. Trial and error is how great acts are built
  12. Juggling is a great way to draw a crowd and card flourishing is too! Just make as much of a spectacle as you can while doing one of those 2 things! And keep up the good work Guardian452, try picking up juggling too if you haven't already! It really helps!

  13. What Tossed Out Deck do you use? I have always been intrigued by that effect.....
  14. ace18- Gazzo's hands down. I've tried other ones. Gazzo's is the cleanest, most simple, most beautiful and works for any number of people on the street.

    emagician- I know basic 3 ball juggling, but it would seem out of place in my show.
  15. Sorry to revive this topic, but I would like to put a story from today.

    So I completely forgot that everyone is still working and decided to go out and perfrom at Balboa Park. Of course there is NOBODY there, I didn't get a crowd larger than 15 maybe. Anyways, turns out there has been a tarot card/ plam reader there for about 18 years performing, so he knows EVERYTHING there is about the park.

    He stops me and says that I shouldn't be pushing it without a permit. I asked him what he meant, and he told me. So apprently I was doing something that resembled a 3 card monte (which is extremely odd...since I don't do anything gambling related to that could be taken that way) but anyway, I got the attention of the cops. So they walk over to the palm reader and ask him if I was doing a 3 card monte, wihch he told them I wasn't. So I have now the cops' attention- they don't care that I don't have a permit, just making sure that I'm not actually taking money from people (I do that at the end of the show ;))

    but today was SOOO slow, I was there for 3 hours, and didn't make my minimum by 20 dollars. I usually make at least 70 in 2 hours, which, for now, I'm happy with. I was there for 3 and made 50. The crowds were just NOT forming up or coming over like they usually do. Oh well, that's what you get for a hot day in San Diego when there's noone there.

    Thought I'd share that with you guys, this is gonna be my go to thread for stories or updates or etc. etc.
  16. Thats messed up man. Any ideas on how they "noticed" you? I know they roll through the park at times, but to suggest a 3 card monte routine from out of the blue seems fishy..

    Im going to try to catch you at the park this sat and maybe get some footage for you with my camera.
  17. I'm actually not going to be there this weekend, I have a Magic Castle meeting, next weekend I'll be there
  18. lol thank god I came back here and checked this thread.
  19. Guardian,

    Glad to hear you are out there doing it man. I love hearing about busking / performance stories. You grow so much from each performance. Nobody believes me until they start doing it. The knowledge you gain is so valuable. Nothing you gain from books / dvds.

    Keep it up man. Can't wait until you are telling us about bigger and bigger crowds.
  20. absolutely. :)

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