Walking up to random people on the street

Oct 21, 2007
Bergen County, NJ, USA
Well it is a cold, but sunny day here in almost magicianless jersey :). I have wanted to go up to random people ever since I started doing magic, and now after performing many times for family and friends, I think I would like to take things to the next level and get things on film. (If I film, I will most likely put videos up on the media section :D)

My question is, how do you walk up to a random person with a camera man on the street. I don't think I should go "Hi my name is Doug and I'm a magician.I just wanted to know if you wanted to see some magic today." (Plus it sounds corny.)

I think maybe something like "Hi my name is Doug and I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time." (People are more likely to say no to see magic if I think about it. Asking for a moment of someone's time is probably better. Either way you ask, if you perform magic, reactions will always be the same. Spectacular.)

So what do you guys do? Let me hear your thoughts. I'm probably not leaving for 2 hours anyway. Discuss. Cerca Trova :)



In case anyone was wondering. Today I think I'll film
1. Panic
2. Stigmata
3. Factory Sealed

-2nd edit-

I'm also 16 if that makes much of a difference, but I doubt it =P
Dec 10, 2007
Slovenia (Europe)
No...If you go directly into the magic, majority of people will say No.

They don't trust you, and they don't have a reason as well.

So I'd suggest going to a spectator with a reason, like "I'm sorry, I'm waiting for someone...Do you by any chance have a watch?". After they tell you what's the time, reply with something like this:

"Oh crap...I'm here 20 Minutes to early....Well thanks anyway! Oh, as a thanks can I show you something interesting? I promise it won't take more than 5 minutes away from you. You will love it!"

There, that is probably better. Oh, also don't stick a camera to their face immidietly! Only if they say yes, pull out a camera, since people don't like camera's too much.

Or, you can go with what Wayne did on his Stigmata DVD (On the airport, when he interviewed the guy). Just say you are doing a research for school or something ;).

Well, hope I helped. Also, DON'T start with stigmata! I'd suggest with something really small and easy (Crazy Man's handcuffs etc) so they actually know what you are about to do and can get their reaction making machine turn on :).

Or if you perform Factory sealed, start with a coin vanish...then ask them to look into their wallet, beucase the coin is there. Yea right :D. But if they have a cuarter of their own you can immidietly go with borrowing that (Or they could actually think THEIR cuarter is the one you vanished...sweet). Or you get a nice gag and produce it from something.

Hope you have fun!
Nov 29, 2007
I usually start with a really easy trick where I split a dime into two nickles. My starting line is always "Do you think its possible to break a dime in half" then i let them inspect it and everything or even use one of thier dimes.
Sep 2, 2007
I had a whole five paragraph thematic essay written out for this thread, but I scrapped it after reading this post:
To give you a preview of some of the advice Wayne touches on in Distortion, I would say to steer clear of the brute force method of performing street magic (you know, when you just go up to everyone you see and ask if they want to see something until someone says "yes"). Go somewhere that is full of people enjoying themselves. For example, a farmer's market if your city has one, Pier 39 (where Distortion was filmed), or any other place like that.

Then, just relax. Hang out and enjoy the event. Bring a friend and make performing a few tricks while you're there a secondary goal. Wait for the right group of people who are smiling and look like they're having fun. Approach them in a friendly way, look like you're having fun as well (because you should be), and introduce yourself. Take the time to listen to their introductions and then let them know that you're a magician and that you'd like to show them something incredible that won't take up much of their time.

People want to see magic. That's our natural response. We're curious. But that response can get overridden when a stranger asks if we want to see something. By approaching people who already look like they're having fun with their friends and by letting them know that you won't take up much of their time, you give their natural curiosity a chance to kick in.

Wayne does an incredible job at this. Everywhere he performs, his presence is magnetic. People just crowd around him because of the way he handles himself. If you own any of his DVDs, consider re-watching the performance section and analyzing what works about the way he performs.
If you'd like an example of what Dana is talking about, feel free to check out this Distortion Excerpt in the media section.

Oct 21, 2007
Bergen County, NJ, USA
Thanks Jack for posting Dana's post of Wayne's advice :p Thank you Dana for posting Wayne's advice:p Finally, thank you Wayne for the advice :D

Sadly I couldn't go out yesterday. My friend who was originally going to be my camera man was busy yesterday and could not go out. I doubt I'm going out today either :( Maybe next weekend will be good.

Oct 25, 2007
Derren Brown in Absolute Magic suggests that a proper introduction is key. He says to talk to your spectators first before even mentioning magic.
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