My Busking Experience

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Guardian452, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. SO, first off, some of you MIGHT remember me or recognize me, I was asking about busking and etc. a WHILE ago. Well, now that it's summer, I have started busking (or something similar to it) ha ha.

    My name is Jeff, I'm 15 1/2, and I perform at Balboa Park here in San Diego. I have been in magic for about 4 years now, but I was out of it for about a year and half because of school and acting. I am a Junior Member at the Magic Castle in LA, so I'm STOKED about that.

    Getting to my busking. My routine consists of some card tricks to draw people in, mainly the biddle trick, followed by an ambitious card routine, followed by another trick where 2 signatures end up on one card. I usually have a crowd of around 10-20 at this point. I stop out from behind my table, and proceed to do "deviant behavior" (if that's the name) off of Sankey's Front Row Sankey. I usually have a crowd of about 30-40 at this point. I end the show with Gazzo's Tossed Out Deck. I have done this routine 2 days in a row now at Balboa Park, and over the course of 2 days I've performed for a total of 7 hours.

    In these 7 hours I've managed to make 159 dollars! I am super proud of myself for this, especially being 15 1/2 and having to compete preachers with speaker systems. I am saving up for a busking pouch from the to do my cups and balls routine with final loads. I perform Gazzo's, but havent been able to because of lack of pouch, but I've been practicing the mechanics and etc.

    I just thought I would let you guys know my progress and etc. etc. Thanks for reading!

    here's some pics of me performing taken by my dad
  2. That's really cool man. You did good. I'm actually thinking about busking today on my main street in San Clemente for the first time.
  3. Ever consider doing C&B? Most buskerd close with it.
  4. I am actually going to close with that, but I can not afford a pouch right now, so I am saving up by ending with the Tossed Out Deck, thanks for the suggestion though. I'm just ahead of you there ;)
  5. Congratulations

    That's awesome man, I personally think that's quite an accomplishment. I'm not sure if you will do it again, but if you're serious about busking, the only thing I would recommend you get it Kozmo's Tales From the Street. It's a two DVD set and he takes you inside the ins and outs of his own busking routine but also how to handle virtually any situation that arises. Kozmo is one of the top buskers in the USA and perhaps the world. I have first hand witnessed his busking act when he lectured in New Orleans about two months ago. I highly recommend you check it out.

    With all that advertising out of the way, :D I do have a question for you. When you were busking that day did you have a set routine, or were you performing "jazz" style most of the time? I still think it's amazing that you pulled a crowd like that performing mostly card effects. If anything that's a testament to how well you perform them. So keep up the good work man and good luck!

  6. I am DEINFETTLY planning on doing this again, don't doubt me there, ha ha.
    I will for sure pick that up once I make a little bit more $$$

    I had a set routine. Biddle trick, ambitious card, a trick form Firestarters with Sankey (signature ends up on the back of another card), then I did Deviant behavior from Front Row Sankey and I ended with Gazzo's Tossed Out Deck.

    Kinda like what I said in the original post ;)

    and it's all card effects, I did spongeballs mainly for kids
  7. Congrats on your results! Looks like you had fun!
  8. Jeff,

    Congrats! You're out there doing what many on here will never do... PERFORMING MAGIC FOR REAL PEOPLE! AND MAKING MONEY!

    You've already taken the big leap, and now there's no where to go but up. By the looks of the pictures, you're doing a decent job too. Those were some pretty good sized crowds for you just starting out. While I've never busked and can't give you any advice on busking in particular, getting a total of $159 for your first time out is pretty good. What were you averaging per hat?

    The important thing to do now is get a notebook and start writing stuff down. Good days, bay days, tricks that work, what doesn't, why it doesn't, bad situations, how you handled them, etc. Eventually, you'll have a lot of info and it will all help to improve your show.

    Remember, you're getting better every time you're out there. There will be times you fail miserably, and that's just as important as the times when you feel everything went perfect. Like I said, take notes...about everything now. Shoot me an email ( and I'll point you in the direction of another forum I'm on where you'll get some of the best advice from some of the most knowledgeable people ever. Real working magicians that busk, do comedy clubs, restaurants, resorts, etc. And no, it's not the magic cafe, lol. This is a private one...

    Talk soon,
  9. Sounds great man! I'm the same age and am starting to busk too! Keep up the good work!
  10. Did you read the whole of his post? He said he would when he gets a pouch....

    Back on topic. Nice one man awesome job! Busking is so much harder than people think it is.

    Cheers, Tom
  11. Ha ha- indeed it was
  12. I am very impressed!
  13. great job. I would love to see a video of you performing. did you have to get a permit of some kind to perform?
  14. Great job!

    I always tip greatly when seeing another magician street performing.

    If you want a good resource pick up "Sleight of Mouth" by Harry Allen. It will help you greatly in the future because there are many people who do not care how old you are they only want to expose the secrets of your effects and become the center of attention.

    Sleight of Mouth and other resources will teach you how to keep them in their place!

  15. congrats!

    I'd be a little hesitant to do Cups and Balls though while busking. It looks too much like Seashells or 3 card it may draw some unintended heat....

    but that's just me. and I'm by no measure an expert on this.
  16. No no no, please go watch Gazzo or Michael Ammar do cups and balls.
  17. don't get me wrong. cups and balls are great. But I'm just saying I would avoid them because some ignorant cop could misinterpret it thinking you're trying to hustle the crowd with some 3-card monte type thing. And that's the last thing you want.

    but yeah. cups and balls are great. just not while busking.
  18. Gotcha, I'm on the ignorant cop bandwagon.
  19. Dude awesome! Takes quite a bit o' guts to that sort of performing. You need to come out to LA and we can busk together. You can even share my pouch ;)

    Rock on,

  20. where do you usually busk

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