---1---- The Keys to Street Magic by Brad King
No matter how much you know about street magic, how old you are, how much you know, or what routine you perform, it is always difficult in the world of street magic. How you hold yourself, how you handle the cards, even how you talk can make or break your performance. Your personality will decide the tip you get. The originality of your tricks will spread your name. You have to make everything perfect or you may sabotage your performance.
1--LEARN YOUR MIRACLES
Before you even think about the streets, you need to learn your
tricks. Practice, practice, practice. Use mirrors, your family, film
2--MAKE A ROUTINE
Now you can use some tricks to thread together a routine. Start with something short and sweet, like 2 Card Monte or Coin Bite. Next move into something a little cooler, and longer. If you can deck switch, try Chance Zero or Trace Unseen or Sick Aces (From the Street Magic video). Now, bring out your very BEST trick, like Invisible Deck or even Trick Switch gets great reactions. Now end with something that will get you a nice tip. Think money with $5 bills. If you take someone's $5 bill, burn it and bring it back, they will usually tell you to keep it. It sends a sub-mental image. Something like this is good.
3--PREPARE YOUR WARDROBE
You need a good set of clothes for the streets. I don't mean like an eighties shirt and jeans bagging to your ankles, but maybe some black jeans, and a light jacket with a plain white or gray t-shirt under it. Make adequate room for carrying things though, you need pockets!
4--HIT THE STREETS
You are now ready to go. All this involves is getting permission. If you're going to perform in a restaurant, make sure the owner knows. If you're going on a street corner, make sure you don't need permits. Or, if you're young,get your parents permission. Now you're really ready.
5--PICK A PLACE
In order to be successful, you must pick a good place to perform. You want a place that has a good number of people, yet is not crowded or busy. You want somewhere where you can perform where people are laid back, and willing to watch you. You want somewhere where you won't get kicked out or shoved aside. I find some ideal places are outside black tie restaurants, outside small stores or little strips, carnivals and fairs, and even a bank. These places are good because you have nice people. However, you have to pick the right times, like when people are coming out of a restaurant, or waiting in line at the bank. Make sure you know WHEN the people will want to see you.
6--PICK A PERSON
After you have found your place, pick a person or a few people. First find someone that doesn't look like they're in a hurry. I can't stress this enough! They need to be relaxed and not in a hurry! Also, if you are in a restaurant, someone that is not already eating or looking at the menu. Next, make sure they aren't old. And I'm just saying like not an old geezer (no offence to anyone). I find the elderly just don't like to seetricks. Next, they should look like a trustworthy person. You don't want someone who looks like a tough cookie that will like turn cards over or whatever. Then the hardest part is making sure they look like they can believe. This one is optional, but you'll like it better if the person believes. You could do a trick to anyone, but if they believe, that's when you'll get screaming or 'HOW----DID----YOU------DO------THAT' or backing away etc.
7--MUSTER UP SOME COURAGE
This is one of the hardest parts. Even if your a veteran and have no problem performing for complete strangers, DO NOT skip this step. Get up lots of courage, put a smile on, and be very energetic before you even walk up to them. This will make your performance 100 times better.
Once you find someone and have your courage, make it look like you're just passing by and then notice them. Avoid just standing around and as soon as some one walks by you, stop them. This will shock them, and they will most likely not want to see you. You want to avoid shocking them until the end.
Once you start walking towards them, they will notice you. However keep your energetic look on (do not make it look phony) and be polite and say excuse me. Now they will really look at you. Then once you're next to them or in front or whatever, continue to be polite.
Before you even hit the streets, you need a good introduction. Include things like Hi, your name, if you have a minute, would you like to see REAL magic. Try to avoid saying things like could I show you a trick or would you like to see a trick? Use words that suggest you aren't just a bratty little kid who bought some tricks online and wants some cash. Also, if you say things like could I try something on you, people will think you are like a sex offender or an evil scientist. I like to say 'Excuse me. Hi, my name is Brad King and I'm a street magician. I was just wondering if maybe you had a minute, if you'd like to see some REAL magic?' When you use words like show or see, something clicks in the persons brain that you are going to try to trick them or do a sleight, so they will watch you very carefully, and overall make your performance worse just by saying 'would you like to see a trick?'. When you use things like 'REAL magic' they will be more relaxed and willing to watch you and believe your magical.
11--ALWAYS TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER
If the person says no, I'm in a hurry or anything like that, just say 'Ok, that's fine'. DO NOT continue to insist, 'it will only take a minute' as they will get very annoyed. Just say 'that's fine' and leave them alone. Once again, pick some one who doesn't look like they're in a hurry from the beginning!
Always remember all the people you've performed for in that area. I can't tell you how embarrassing it is to go up to someone and give your introduction and have them say 'O, you already showed me!'. Also, if you introduce yourself to someone, and they don't want to see you, don't ask the person right next to them or some one who may have heard you.
13--START YOUR PERFORMANCE
Once you have got them to stand there, you are finally ready for your trick. Start with something short but sweet. I find 2 Card Monte will literally blow them away, and then a Coin Bite will pull them back to Earth with a bang. If they haven't already run away, or are not standing there screaming their lungs out, then they are saying either 'That's stupid, you wasted my time', or 'SHOW ME MORE!!!' usually the latter. Make your performance flawless, especially your patter. Don't go 'And then uhhhhh, if I could have you *swallow, pause* uhhh hold your hand out. right there then uhhhhhhhh we can do this uhhhhhh trick.' Things like this are bad.
As Brad says in Ninja 2, if you're performing for a tough cookie, the best thing to do is get out of there. However, in some cases, it may be better to smack them across the head with a killer. If you started 2 Card Monte and they're turning over cards etc., stop the Monte right there, and get your clip ready for the One Handed Pass. I like to use the following patter in this situation: 'Ok, so you foiled my last trick. You must have seen it before or something. But this you won't get. Watch.' Do the trick up till where you make that fast move and turn over the top card. Now say: 'Now watch very carefully. Try not to blink. This is one of the fastest sleight of hands ever created' (in a way it is too heh) '.' Do your move, and then SLOOOOOOOWWWWWWWLLLLLLYYYYY turn over the card. After your applause or whatever, collect your tips and leave.
15--FINISH YOUR ROUTINE
If they are friendly, and not doing anything to spoil your tricks, finish your pre-devised routine. Once again, end with a money trick, collect a money tip. The worst thing you can do at the end of your routine, however, is to ask for a tip. You don't want to be viewed as greedy.
16--GIVE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM FOR A TIP
End up with just a few sentences about magic. About 90% of the time, after this, the people will say like do you take tips or something like that. If you say yes, they will tip you well if your performance was good. Remember be very polite!!! But don't take a tip hat with you or say like I take tips or anything like this. This is a surefire way to bomb.
17--BOOST YOUR POPULARITY
If they want to give you a tip but don't have any money, say 'well at least give me a high five/hug' (your choice, whatever you like better heh). By doing things like this, your audience will think, 'Oh, this guy is cool' or something like that. Then when they talk about you, they will also say like he's a pretty cool guy or something like that and your name will spread much quicker, and people will like you more.
18--LEAVE AND CHECK YOURSELF
Say thank you very much, then turn and walk away. Start walking and again, 90% of the time, they'll yell after you 'What was your name again?' If this happens, you know you were great. Tell them, then continue walking. Once more, 90% of the time, they will stare after you, without moving, even after you're gone. Now you can finally stop smiling... if you can. You will find it that it just brings a good feeling to you that you know you made someone's day and your reputation that much better.
19--SLOWLY CUT BACK
After you've been performing for a while, and your name begins to spread, you may want to start cutting back on a few things. First of all, start with a new short but sweet trick, because after a while, when people know what you're about to do, they will turn over the cards etc. Secondly, you can shorten your introduction to 'I'm Brad King, want to see some real magic?'. Things like this can only make you better.
As they say, practice makes perfect. However, your tricks can ALWAYS
be better. Even after you are a famous magician, keep practicing and
hone your skills. Also add some comedy into you your routine. I especially
like David Blaine's dying stunt and mind reading scare. These are
very good. If you think you are a good street magician, chances are
you are. However, you can always be better. Keep practicing!
~Brad King, Street Magician~
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