forums forums (
-   -   Crowd building (

Devinthejuggler 09-20-09 03:35 PM

Crowd building
Ok, I need some help from the pros here.
I would like to start a discussion on crowd building, does anyone have any tips or tricks or some good sense to impart.

Im talking cold tuesday afternoon kind of stuff.
at the moment i'v sort of had my crowds handed to me on a plate becuase the place i work has so much traffic, but i'm wanting to venture out on to a cold pitch that hasn't been worked before, i think it may be somewhat of a different story.

CutThroat 09-24-09 05:51 PM

Look busy. Like you're preparing for something huge.

Lee Nelson 09-24-09 06:59 PM to people and make them like you

martin ewen 09-24-09 08:50 PM

One secret is to chop tasks up, say three things but as you are chopping and changing from one to another without finishing them then you are obviously working with some sort of purpose but that purpose is hidden from your audience.
People are fundimentally curious apes, being curious used to save lives back when we wandered about evolving and we are still the same mammal really.

So confuse them but don't let them come to any conclusion and you , by doing so, will gather a crowd.

MagiCol 09-24-09 09:24 PM

Devin, Have you done a search on this site to find any other threads on the topic? My juggling is at the very low end of things, and I dont do it on the streets so I don't have experience of what works for jugglers.
I'm a street magician and I reckon that Street Magician work probably needs the most intense interaction with the crowds of all types of busking. That includes building a crowd. So I recommend that you go to the following sites and see what could be useful for you.

The Buskers Cafe
The Magic and look at the Sidewalk subsection.

All the best in your peforming.

RiffRaff 09-25-09 06:34 AM

Martin, can you give an example of this 'chopping' technique?

Jim 09-25-09 08:29 AM

David Cassel's article in the library has a good explanation of the psychology of crowd building. It might spark some ideas...

Devinthejuggler 09-25-09 10:28 AM

Devin, Have you done a search on this site to find any other threads on the topic?

eish, yes...found it :) dont mind me.

Dynamikemagic 12-15-09 05:09 AM

Attitude plays an important role in this.

Devinthejuggler 12-21-09 04:13 PM

Martin! I figured out what you were talking about 'chopping things'! in amazing epiphany, i was doing it and then afterwards i thought 'aaah, thats what he was saying' very effective for a long build.

heres an example:

Monday evening, nice out ( i have to set the scene, this is the first summer i'v done in my homeland as a fulltime performer and its friekn beautiful!) table mountain in the background christmas lights up, not many people i stood there for like 15 minutes trying to start the flame of interest, shit it paid off. I think i did my best show ever tonight when i thought i wasnt going to able to get a crowd, i just stuck it out and i got one or two people, then, ah thank god a family!
I grab the kid ( my bit with the id is i give him a cymbal and he hits the cymbal i tell the crowd that they musnt let the kid down and they must cheer when he hits the cymbal (little bit of phsyche manipulation there...thrilling :)

anyway, all the while i got kid gags to go with it, but i give him the cymbal, and its created a bit of a stir we do a practise run, but in between doing that, i'v told everyone the reason we are doing this to get a crowd and they are into it, all the while puling out gags on people walking past, telling people to move in, and putting my costume on, posing for pictures and this is like 5 minutes into the show and i havent really done anything yet but its coming and people know what they have to do sooner or later the have to clap for the kid...still no tricks yet. and in between that one gag with the kid were about ten other things that were 'chopped' into the mix.

anyway, i dont know if that example is helpfull to anyone but myself and the defrag of the event. but there it is!

fuck! this is soo awesome, you guys are all missing summer in africa? what could you possibly be doing thats that important? :)

martin ewen 12-21-09 05:15 PM

I've heard [in a kinda, "don't tell anyone else but..." way] that Capetown is a little gem.

anyway that chopping thing, the other use for it is defensive.
If during your gig you come face to face with the potential of real physical violence without the time to defuse it then if you have a 10 second piece where you make lots of deliberate movements that don't make sense, [going to scratch your head/break/ reaching for invisable object/break/ smil;ing at your foot/break/ etc

You do this and the antagonist gets put into trance, he cannot help it, he's a curious ape, his brain has to make sense of what you're doing.

You do this stuff and the last /break/ is you simply walking away.
You have about 10 seconds [which is a long time] after your last break where he will be rooted to the spot while his brain's still churning. He'll come too, you won't be there.
I learn't it at clown school. It works.

Devinthejuggler 12-22-09 04:49 AM

oh okay, i wont tell anyone :)

haha, well, hopefully i never have to use this little piece of wisdom!

El Mago 01-14-10 12:29 AM

That's beautiful Mr. Ewen, thank you for sharing that.

martin ewen 01-14-10 02:14 AM

you're welcome,
to recap
you do it slowly and widely across your stage as you make it and create a slow languid quizzical type trance that effects a percentage of passers by.
You do it precisely while standing in one spot [don't want to engage a fight or flight response in someone predisposed to 'fight' ] and rapidly in close proximity to your subject to effect a sudden sharp strong trance.

Now get out there and practice acting wierd,[as if you need practice]

solrak29 05-23-12 12:00 PM

I had to bring this one up again as I found it interesting to handle the
situation where there is slow build.

I don't completely understand this procedure, but from what I get here
is that you slow down and have material that you can work in to
help slow the process to get attention and start building your crowd.

For example, as a magician, I do a sponge routine. Generally, manipulation
will atttract one person or gain attention. Sometimes, I actually have
to talk and/or say, "watch this trick" to get someone's attention. Then
from there work what you do but adding bits above to extend this
to build the crowd???

MagiCol 05-24-12 05:54 AM

Here's something I do to try to get a crowd:
I so some manipulation of objects/movement, sound, use colour. If it's magic gear, do something that can be repeated time and again and which is just a little part of a trick you are going to do later. I keep an eye out for anyone approaching and try to catch their eye. Once I do that, then I can talk to them, showing them and offering them the item I have in my hand, and get them to hold it or one of the items [e.g. a playing card, a coin I'll use, a biut of rope, for a juggler maybe even getting the person to hold the ball/club and then toss it in to me for me to use].

The idea of telling the first two or three people that they are going to be helping you to get other people to stop and look is a good one. Try to get the name/s of one or two of these people and use these names. This will make it look to newcomers like you have got a good relationship with those people already standing with you.

davidkaye 05-24-12 03:12 PM

Now, I don't personally do any of this since I'm an accordion player without an act per se.

But I have plenty of friends who do circle shows. What they do time and again is LOTs of fake prep.

For instance, a straightjacket escape artist I know puts out chains on the sidewalk, and maybe torches, trick bicycles, and other stuff. Then he walks around the circle and rearranges things for about 20 minutes. During that time crowds build because everybody wants to see what's going to happen. When he gets about 50 people gathered around only then does he start his act.

In his book, "Freak Like Me", Jim Rose (love him or hate him) tells of the guy at Venice Beach whose act was lying on a bed of nails. He spent about half an hour of "prep" with pliers quietly bending the nails back and forth, not for any reason except to draw interest.

If you can get a copy of the book, do so.

Mad_hatter 05-29-12 02:32 PM

Has any one here tried Don Driver's crowd building bally from his "Building a tip" DVD?

solrak29 05-29-12 06:04 PM

DavidKaye and MagiCole great stuff.....

I see how the circle guys work is probably what this thread was leaning
to when you have a slow pitch. This is what they meant.

Don drivers, "building the tip", have it, but never used it on the street.
It would be simliar to what David said above....I've seen a guy on
youtube use it, but for me it just didn't fit my style/act....

Peter 05-30-12 06:17 AM


Originally Posted by Mad_hatter (Post 60205)
Has any one here tried Don Driver's crowd building bally from his "Building a tip" DVD?

I got Don's Building A Tip and now use his method. DAMN! IT WORKS!! Felt dumb as a rock when I started but I built my crowds quicker than ever. Plus my hats got bigger. Use it all the time now.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:11 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.