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Inner Circle
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Reply with quote  #1 

So, I'm getting laid off in a couple of weeks because the hardware store I'm a cashier at is going out of business, (They've been going out of business since I started approximately four months ago,) so I've began searching for some basic, reasonably priced equipment to take to the streets with my magic, and brainstorming a bit how to go about it. 

The basic equipment I plan on starting out with is as follows; excluding my magic books: Appearing Table, Close-Up Mat, Hat, Playing Cards, Cups and Balls, and Linking Rings. I'm thinking with just those three last items, I could do a fairly large variety of different routines and tricks, without limiting myself to just a handful of really good tricks that are only good for one or two things. The cups and balls and linking rings though don't even really need a spectator though for it to draw attention and/or attract spectators, where the more advanced routines would then take place. 

Before that though, I'm just going to go down to city hall and ask them who I need to talk to about whether or not it's okay for me to perform in a park for example; I wasn't able to find anything online about it in my area. 

Before THAT though...I might need to come up with a magician persona. I considered just using my real name...but I'm kind of shy, and a bit distrusting of strangers, so a pseudonym would be in order. I'm thinking "Hamelden", pronounced HA-MEL-DUN. I like that name for a few reasons; firstly because it's not too much of a detraction from my real name; it's a historical, alternative pronunciation of my Scottish surname, which simply sounds a bit more medieval than the modernized "Hamilton / Ham-ILL-Ton". I also like it because if you add up all the digits of my birthday; 1, 1, 9, 1, 9, 9, 5, you get the sum of 35, and when you add 3 and 5, you get 8, and Hamelden is exactly eight letters long, and if you find the numerical correspondence of each letter in the chart below, the name Hamelden equals 35 just like my birthday, which in turn breaks down to 8. 


1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

A  B  C  D E  F  G  H  I

J  K  L  M  N O  P  Q  R

S T  U  V  W X  Y  Z

 

So...Hamelden...does it sound too cheesy or weird?

 

Next on my list of concerns, is being unique, and original. I want to do a character that hasn't been done before, or else just stick with the classic white-tie tuxedo look because I think such a look would be somewhat surreal in a natural park setting. I've considered a mime persona; black and white striped shirt, black pants and shoes, black suspenders, maybe a fedora. I wouldn't want to wear make-up though; think that could come off as a little creepy. I think a silent magic act could be cool too; there don't seem to be a ton of silent magicians...but again; it's been done, and a mime doesn't really seem to fit with the name Hamelden so much, so I considered a Leperchaun persona; can't recall any Leperchaun magicians (in real life, anyway), and given the cultural heritage of Leperchauns and the name Hamelden, I'd say it could be a perfect fit....but it also seems kinda corny. 

 

Another persona I considered is the wise sagely wizard persona, but I quickly abandonned that because I simply don't look old enough to pull that off; I'd have to be at least middle aged in order for that to work. Unless I was going for a comedy act. Comedy's all well and good, and there definitely needs to be a little bit of that, but I'd prefer to incite wonder and bafflement into the hearts of my spectators; not fits of giggles. =/ 

 

Thank you very much for your time, and I hope to hear from you. =)

 

 

 

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Inner Circle
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Reply with quote  #2 

I'm leaning towards the classical magician style. Not the wand and cape; just standard white-tie attire, like I'm going to a wedding or something. I tend to dress up on public outings anyway, for as long as I can remember. I was the only kid in Jr. High who would wear a white shirt and tie to school lol. Plus, "Hamelden" seems to fit just fine with the classical style; the style seems to go well with just about everything.

 

Also, I thought of a possible theme that may have not been done before: Political Magic. ...Yeah; that would take some major creative juices and a lot of homework, but I want to find ways to differentiate myself from other magicians, and I can't seem to recall ever having seen political themes in magic acts...like, ever. And I've seen a lot of magic lol. Personally, I'm a Republican, thus I'd like to have a conservative twist. The real trick is coming up with reasonable stories of a political nature that fits seamlessly with various tricks, yet isn't so obscure that people who watch at least a modicum of news won't understand what I'm talking about. A magic trick for example that somehow promoted the Second Amendment would be awesome in my mind lol. 

Whereas I'm large conservative, politicially speaking, I'm also quite liberal SOCIALLY speaking, in the sense that I support same-sex marriage, I support the legalization of marijuana, and I don't believe that what's between your legs is what determines your gender; it's what's on the inside that counts; a friend of mine grew up as a girl, but always believed he was a boy, and has gone through transition for years to correct his self-image, and now not even the most observant individual would ever be able to tell that he used to be a girl. Hell, even his little girl pictures look more like a guy, just with some feminine features. He might be a bad example, because in his case it was clearly more of a gender-correction; I can't believe he was ever really meant to be a girl; it just seems silly to think of him like that, whether or not he has a penis. 

So, I suppose I'm a bit in contrast when it comes to political parties; I understand bits and pieces of all of them, so perhaps Libertarian or Independent would be a better political class for me, because despite my liberal views, I also believe the world would be a better place if it was mandatory for everyone to carry a gun on their hip lol. There'd be a lot less whiner babies getting so offended and violent over trivial nothingness if they thought they might get shot lmao. An armed society is a polite society; just look at Israel; teeny tiny itsy bitsy country SURROUNDED by enemies...yet they're still standing, and few people ever dare try to mess with them. Why? Because every citizen is required by law there to serve two years in the military, and always always always keep their assault rifles on them from that point forward. Israelites are highly trained badasses who refuse to be pushed around, and because of that, (peace through strength), they have remained alive and well for thousands and thousands of years. It may seem a bit dystopic to some, but in the long run, they're better off than countries that habitually disarm their citizens and make it harder and harder for them to take care of themselves through use of the Nanny State, coddling everyone like infants that need to be sheltered in a reality-proof bubble......sorry, lol, went on a little rant there. XD

 

You get the idea.

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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'd say be yourself. It's enough to have to remember the presentation and all, let alone how some other persona would behave/react. You can work that out over time
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #4 
You probably cant afford it right now, but I would really suggest getting Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz he goes into persona a lot in his book.

For me I like to gamble, so I
really like routines that have a crooked gambling take to them.

Same thing with the paranormal so I do mentalism and topics like that.

I guess I am trying to say...is to do the stuff that's you. Do the stuff that's interesting to you.

Rick-
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Reply with quote  #5 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind Phantom
You probably cant afford it right now, but I would really suggest getting Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz he goes into persona a lot in his book.

For me I like to gamble, so I
really like routines that have a crooked gambling take to them.

Same thing with the paranormal so I do mentalism and topics like that.

I guess I am trying to say...is to do the stuff that's you. Do the stuff that's interesting to you.

Rick-

 

Coolness; just looked it up and found a copy for $38.46; thanks. =)

 

PS: Indeed; being myself is ideal. Still working on who that is exactly haha. ...Can't be too fakey, or they'll walk away...likewise, I don't feel I can be whole self without them running away or hiding their children from me lmao. There's a little grey area somewhere in there that I should operate in. XD

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Reply with quote  #6 

Think I'll try a silent act for a while; I don't talk much. Partly because I have a speech impediment. Partly because I'm just shy and scared of people. Partly because I always end up saying something weird, bad, or inappropriate. Partly because I just plain don't like people lol. As little talking as I have to do throughout my day to day life, the better. I've also found that if I keep my mouth shut, I stay out of trouble more effectively lol.

PS: I should get more into juggling; that'd be a good thing to do to pass the time if it's not particularly busy, plus it could attract attention from afar. 

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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #7 
Strong magic is definitely one of the best books ever
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #8 
I agree about Strong Magic. Darwin showed how deep his understanding of magic and performance art in general goes.

Mike
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #9 
John, you want to busk? If so, I recommend this book, The Art of Krowd Keeping.
http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/1158

From what I'm reading you've got ideas in your head that you're going to go out there and make a living. And it doesn't even sound like you have an act yet? You're wondering if you should talk, be silent, add juggling…... Get an act for God's sake.

If you've never gone out there before, here's something I wrote for another board. I hope it keeps you on your path. Good luck......

"Here's what's going to happen. So be prepared.
1. You're going to suck.
2. No one is going to stop and watch you. Okay, maybe one couple.
3. You're going to be so nervous you're going to blow whatever trick you were going to show that one couple.
4. The couple will laugh at you and walk away, other street performers won't notice because they were doing shows.

Now that you have that worst case scenario in your head, you can go there and relax.
Anything better than what I just wrote can be chalked up to a good day.

But here's the thing, and it happened to most of us. When you get to your spot, you will find a thousand and one excuses why today is not a good day to start busking: not enough foot traffic, too hot, too cold, too noisy, you have a scratchy throat, your shoes aren't shined, you forgot that one trick that you thought you might want to try if the right moment presented itself, you're hungry, looks like it might rain, a plane passed overhead and how are people going to hear you over that, etc, etc, etc.

Just set up, perform and have fun. Don't mark a successful day by the size of your hats at the end of the day.
Mark a successful by having gone out and done it.
If you got to stop people, have them stay and watch.....you had a successful day.
If you did the above and they dropped a buck or even some change in your hat. You had an even better day.

The key is to break through that wall and do it. That's the hardest part. Everything gets easier once you get out there."
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #10 
Here's some more...this was from someone ready to hit the streets but wondered why he felt so scared.

"Thinking about your original question about why you're scared.
It's fear of the unknown. It's fear of failure.

You're stepping into unknown territory. The streets are not like a paid event where people are there expecting to see you. They didn't pay a fee to see your show. They didn't attend a festival looking forward to seeing the magician there.

For the most part, if you're in a non-tourist destination, people are milling around you with their own agenda for the day and they might not even notice you. That's okay, they probably won't notice most of the people they bump into during the day.

So this plays on your ego. You're a great magician. Why isn't everyone stopping to see your show and fill my your hat with money? Why aren't people even stopping?

Remember, people have lives and for the most part, you aren't a part of it.
Yet.
Give them a reason to notice you, stop and watch what you do (realizing some may leave in the middle because they have to be somewhere and weren't counting on you being there today), and leave something in your hat.
Can you do that? Unknown. What if you can't? Failure.
Fear.

Just do it. Failure lead to modifications. Why didn't they stop? What can I do to make them stop? Nobody clapped at the end of the one effect. Is it too small? Can I make it bigger? Do I need to take it out and put something else in?

The streets make you strong. It'll get you thinking on your feet. You'll hone material. You'll find new bits of business that will become staples in your show. The streets are a win/win situation even on its very worst day.

Let us know how you make out."
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #11 
John,

The coolest thing about this forum is that there are magicians posting here who have real world experience and are willing to share it. Evil Dan's advice seems to me about the best, most intelligent counsel anyone in your position could ask for. I ask that you read over his posts a time or five, absorb what he wrote, and apply it to your quest. 

Evil One, thanks for taking the time to share your hard-won experience with TMF. I have learned a great deal from you in the past, and have little doubt that others have as well.

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #12 
A couple of things I'm not clear on from your posts.  Have you actually learned some magic?  You can't perform without having well practiced effects and know them in and out and what can go wrong.  Too many times we read that someone just received a trick in the mail and it's going into their "act" tonight.  Must be a heck of an act... if they actually have one.  Practice, scripting, and more practice is required. Like Vernon said, if you don't like to practice take up stamp collecting.

Political magic?  Well, it would seem you'd turn off half of a potential audience, wouldn't you want to appeal to the general public?
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ZAVIADELITA

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Reply with quote  #13 
If you get realmagicmagazine for 8 dollars Chris Capehart is in the lecture section and gives a great lecture telling exactly how to make a living with street magic. I now money may be tight now but subscribe for a month at least he really does give some solid info on how the street act works and the best effects to perform.
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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #14 
John, you look young. Of course, at my age everyone looks young.

I so often see young magicians trying to create a character that acts way older than they look. I strongly suggest that whatever you choose, make sure it is age appropriate. I just plain think it works better.

i/m

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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #15 

Hats off to EVILDAN for his excellent advice.  Invaluable insight from a true professional.  Anyone wanting to do street magic should print out his posts, study them, and put them into practice.  

Thanks for taking the time, Dan!


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #16 
Good reference on Chris Capehart. Also, agree that Dan's advice is solid. We really do have some very experienced people giving solid advice. Thanks for keeping this up and running Rudy! What a great resource.

Mike
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Inner Circle
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Reply with quote  #17 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
A couple of things I'm not clear on from your posts.  Have you actually learned some magic?  You can't perform without having well practiced effects and know them in and out and what can go wrong.  Too many times we read that someone just received a trick in the mail and it's going into their "act" tonight.  Must be a heck of an act... if they actually have one.  Practice, scripting, and more practice is required. Like Vernon said, if you don't like to practice take up stamp collecting.

Political magic?  Well, it would seem you'd turn off half of a potential audience, wouldn't you want to appeal to the general public?

 

Yes, I have actually learned some magic; I've also created my own methods of a couple tricks, though I'm pretty sure other magicians have probably come up with the same, if not similar ideas. I couldn't say for sure; I've never felt the urge to reveal the secret to another magician just to see if they'd already thought of it...just to gauge how original of an idea it is...because...if it was more original than I thought, then I would've diminished it in my mind by knowing it's no longer a secret lol. I've been CAUGHT before, but that just made me do it better next time lol. I compete with myself a lot; it's always just been a hobby/mild obsession growing up, and a great way to pass time in various juvenile detention centers and rehab facilities over the span of about five years...I can reverse-engineer just about any trick too, or otherwise come up with a way of doing the same effect albeit with a different method. I like puzzles I guess; takes me somewhere else. I've bought a few tricks from a magic shop when I was a little kid once, but most of the magic I've done doesn't require anything special; just everyday items like cards, coins, string, rubber bands, safety pins, handkerchiefs, dice, and body parts; usually my own...Sometimes the spectator's. =P 

 

The favorite trick I've ever done is virtually "levitating" a person in a chair; the one that requires four volunteers to try to lift a seated individual using two fingers; two under each knee and under each armpit. Of course, they find this to be an extremely difficult, if not an impossible task. They are then instructed to stack their hands on top of the seated person's head in sequence, then take them off in sequence, then, again, with just two fingers each under the knees and armpits, try to lift the seated person, who now looks and feels to be weightless, if not much lighter than before, and soars into the air with ease.....Not even I'M quite sure how it works to be perfectly honest lmao. The first time I was introduced to it was by a guard in one of the facilities I was being held at. In the trick, I played the part of the one seated in the chair, and was amazed the others could lift me so easily on the second attempt. I was a little freaked out at first, but after doing it to others, I've grown quite fond of it haha. XD

 

PS: Indeed; political magic would be tricky, (no pun intended). It'd have to be done in a way that doesn't offend either party, but still tell a story, and ideally be a bit funny as well. Only reason the thought occurred to me is because I watch a ton of news; on both sides of the fence. And there's some comedy GOLD right there lol. Doesn't matter which side you're on; they're both kinda nuts in my opinion. XD

 

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Reply with quote  #18 
@ Evil Dan: Thank you so much for the references, tips and advice! Indeed; I don't have very high expectations at all. My life has always kinda sucked and I've gotten used to it; biggest reason I want to get into magic is because I'd just plain darn enjoy it. It's my way of flipping the proverbial birdy to the mainstream establishment, my parents, and the ritual zombification of our inner children. =P
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Reply with quote  #19 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Intensely Magic
John, you look young. Of course, at my age everyone looks young.

I so often see young magicians trying to create a character that acts way older than they look. I strongly suggest that whatever you choose, make sure it is age appropriate. I just plain think it works better.

i/m

 

I'm twenty-three, so yeah; you could say I'm young. I wouldn't even consider myself full-grown until age twnety-six, when the male brain has officially finished [physically] developing; still got a few years left before I'll officially be a man hahaha. ...Biggest reason "Sagely Wizard" was thrown out of the list of possibilities on day one lol; I'm not nearly old enough to pull that off. That leaves a few other general categories; Classical, Comedy, Silent, Scary, Goth/Steampunk. That last one is placed last for a reason; I'm more of a preppy nerd than a Goth/Steampunk-Aficionado. 

Despite my age, I suffer from above-average intelligence, and so I tragically find others my own age, along with "age appropriate" activities to be rather...well...stupid. If I were to go for age-appropriate, I'd end up feeling...dirty. =P

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