Friday, May 6, 2011


this of course is written for the beginner.

the key to busking i think is;

"get em to stop." "get em to stay." "get em to pay."

this is what matters most.

it doesn't matter how long your show is, or how big or small it plays.

what matters most is, if you got em to, stop, stay, and pay.

before doing a show, KNOW what type of show you are going to do!

you may like to do;

close up, or parlor, or stage, on the street, but what ever you do,

you have to set up and organize the crowd to present your work and then get paid to do it.

there is of course different methods to do this depending on the size and length of your show,

and you should choose a method that best suits the need of the show you wanna do.

generally speaking;

1."close up" or "sidewalk show", is a short show around 8 - 12 mins. and therefore,

in my opinion,

demands a quick build. and a brisk steady tempo to finale and hat.

to start, the intire crowd walking by on the sidewalk, needs to stop walking all at once and turn to you, then be brought in as close as possible.

this can be done with sharp patter and a simple large visual effect, or mimed in the same way.

after they are brought in, they are held in place by steady mime or patter and presentation.

through out the show they are reminded that they need to tip at the end of the show, and at last, before and after the finale.

2. the parlor or half circle show is the same, except the tempo is slowed and the program will run longer 15 - 25 mins.

after the crowd has been brought in close, for commitment sake, they are backed up to present parlor,

this of course isn't always needed if the crowd is a strongly committed one, as in maybe a festival.

3. stage or circle show can either be started by progressing up the latter from close up to parlor or can be started with a slow build of crowd building instead.

in other words you can entertain your audience with magic while they wait for the audience to get bigger or you can clap and cheer them for the entire time,

and or using other stalling methods some use stand up comedy to entertain them while they wait.

this is needed of course, because a large production usually needs a large audience and it can take awhile for the bodies to move into position.

also the "circle show" has a much slower tempo because it's motivation is different.

it's motivation of course is to attract those who are willing to stay 30, 45, or more mins.

- in choosing the size and method of your show;

it should be understood that a pro can perform any of these, and if you desire to be a pro you will need to know how to do all of them.

different size and method should be used to fit the venue.

but if you have the luxury to do what ever you want on your venue, in other words,

if there is a pitch of any size and lots of foot traffic, then the decision is a simple one, do what you love most.

- my choice?

i have done all of these, but i prefer to do sidewalks, but if i need money i do half circles.

this has worked best for me in my career on the street.

the only time i do circle shows anymore is if i am hired by a festival to do circle shows,

or on the street, if the show turns into that...if that's what the people want, then i will slow the tempo down and put in more material.

the point of all this is to know what the show is going to look like before you present it to an audience,

that way you and your adience will know where your going and what is expected of everyone.

and stop thinking about money......people smell what you love and the money will follow.

it has always been my opinion that no matter what the type of show or work we do on the street we are all in it together,

we are all buskers and should try and stick together.

also, i'm writing this because when ever i am teaching on the street, i have found that beginners are going out there and just trying to make anything work on a wing and a prayer.

don't get me wrong this is great in trying to find your self and what works, but it can be a bit brutal on you.

so i think you should try and invision the show first...after all, how is the audience supposed to understand your program if you don't.

any way, i hope this helped some one.

you pal jimmy