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Old 06-14-01, 02:35 PM   #1
Eric
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Butterfly Show me the Money!

I am nervous about passing the hat. Probably one of the worst things to be nervous about and that's why I'm here. I want to keep the show rolling while I pass and have the audience give out of liking the show, not out of pity. I would hate to ask for money out of pity like a common (gasp) beggar!
What do you seasoned pros do? Not asking for word for word (see Photocopying Pirates), but the basic idea would be nice. I heard some address memorizing act fellow would say,"Keep the dollar or give, it's your choice, but if you don't, I know where you live." or something to that extent. Any comments?
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Old 06-14-01, 07:59 PM   #2
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One day I tryed doing NO monny lines at all, just had a hat out. and I still did Ok
asking for $ in new york is trickey

"thankyou if you liked my show please feal free to make my hat hever" no mony mentiond however if, when you doft your hat there is a dollar pined in side thay'll get the idea.
Also if you are not good enough to deserve the mony don't go out there in the first place, have your show ready first it will save you greaf in the long run.
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Old 06-14-01, 08:35 PM   #3
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Ask for the money. Just do it. If you feel like it is begging, get over it. Most people want the chance to say "Thank you" for your show, for you work, so just ask for it.
If you have won them over with your personality, not just the tricks, they feel like you are thier buddy and they want ot thank you in some way.
I think of it as being the host of a big party and my job is to make sure all the guests at my party are having a good time. It helps me not just show off a bunch of tricks, but to really try to get them to know "me" the character/the person, who happens to do some cool things, or funny things that they cant do.
I've found that being honest and real (or the apperience there of) helps in the hat line. Don't bullshit them with how much you "need" the money. Guilt doesnt work. Be honest. Then after the "honest" section of the hat line, leave them with something funny, so you are memorable. An old stand up comic said to me once, that you should end your stand up set with a joke that you think sums up who you are and how you want the audience to feel about you or go away thinking about you. I use that theory when thinking of hat lines. It works. So if you are unsure of the hat line and not confident, thats what they go away thinking, if you are smarmy, or using guilt, thats what they go away thinking.
There, now you have a method to coming up with hat lines.
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Old 06-14-01, 11:34 PM   #4
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Butterfly

in my limited experience, you have to make the hat lines a part of your show. make them as enjoyable as everything else. you don't want people thinking "oh shit, he's gonna ask me for money now", you should keep them entertained while you are doing it. make it as funny as you can. but you should also let them know that this is what you do for a living, you're not just there for a good time. i'd also say that you should do your hat lines BEFORE your finally. don't do them last. end the show with a trick.
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Old 06-15-01, 07:50 PM   #5
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Orange is right with making it part of your show, don't wrap up and then ....Oh yea the hat...
prepare them early, make jokes about $, keep it light and part of your act and it will work.
face it, it's the best part of the job. No one gives to a street performer grudingly, who else can say that about 100% of there custmers?
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Old 06-16-01, 10:16 PM   #6
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Best thing I've ever heard about the actual hat is make it deep. Make it deep enough that the crowd cant see how much is really in there. If they see a ton of money peaking over the edges and out of your opening, they may not be as inclined to tip. this is, of corse if you work the crowd with the hat in your hand after the last trick.
I've had a huge hat made for my tips. Its funny looking and draws attention to itself without drawing attention to the cash.
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Old 06-21-01, 12:34 PM   #7
Adam Gertsacov
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The problem that I always find is getting the people in the back. You know the ones I mean. The ones who stayed for your entire show and as you start your hat pitch they start backing up and turning around. So what do you guys do to get those guys?

I did a series of gigs at the Easton Town Center in Columbus this past weekend. I had no problems drawing a fairly nice crowd (and this is for the flea circus, which is not the largest or most flashy of events) People loved the shows even though I didn't have a microphone... I just couldn't get the people in the back (the majority) to pay!

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Old 06-22-01, 02:29 PM   #8
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hey adam...
bigger fleas...?
a cockroach circus...?
i guess that would mean a larger 2" sui-cycle.
hmmmmm....
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Old 06-22-01, 04:46 PM   #9
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My theory for the people in the back is 'fuck them'. No matter what you do you cant make them give if they dont want to. Arsen(sp) said to me once that the best thing you can do in your show is to get them to care about you the person, thats what makes them want to give. Because they like you or identify with you. The people who walk by you with eyes down and dont tip, Arsen said feel guilty inside because they know they should tip. I take comfort in that thought. I know it doesnt put money in your pocket, but it feels good knowing I got to them on some level.
As for Easton Town Cntr, I have worked there the past two years, and I have charged them enough so I dont have to pass-hat. I dont know what its like now, but they are a big company and their pockets are DEEP. Things may have changed, but when I last worked there I charged a bunch and they ponyed up the cash without blinking. They gave me the option to pass hat as well, but in place of my hatline, I said "Normally I pass the hat after my show, but today I'm not. If you enjoyed the show, then thank Easton Town Center, this one is on them." It got a good reaction from the audience, saved me from feeling pissed at the people walking out the back, and made the company (who was paying a ton) look good.

[This message has been edited by Todd (edited 06-22-2001).]
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Old 06-22-01, 10:55 PM   #10
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Piggy

It is important to spell your hat lines correctly, elsewise you may be able to get the same amount of money without hat lines at all.

I'm not in it for the money and I had the most trouble with asking for the dinero in the beginning too. Think of it this way: People want to be able to relate to you and understand you. If you don't make your goals or reasons obvious they will be uncomfortable. This is something good to remember in all performance.

A tip for getting the back of the crowd, as suggested by Jim; spread out the circle at the end or slowly throughout the show. This will make a bigger front row. More people will be able to see and more people will feel the connection to you. Remain high during the pass. Remain visible. Make sure everyone knows that it isn't ever too late to pay. Wrap duct tape around the outside of the crowd. Don't leave a stage division down at the end of the act or fellows won't want to cross it.

You don't have to be funny during your hatlines but make them bareable and, like someone else said, tell them a few times.

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Old 06-25-01, 11:51 PM   #11
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Easton Town Center is continuing to pay well, but I am always looking for a little more. And since I rarely do the flea circus as a busk, I thought I'd try it out. It works, but those people in the back were hard to corral.

I sell merchandise in the beginning of my show, which is also a little weird. In a theatre it works fine, cuz they've already paid for the show, but asking them to pay ahead of time seemed a little strange.

Still, I did a bunch of shows and it worked out well. I was just vocally tired by the end of it. I was performing in front of the fountain..... which is fairly loud!
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Old 06-26-01, 10:12 AM   #12
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Hey man,

They had you in front of the fountain? Yuck! I know the spot. We had them set us up out side the enterance to the movie theatre, right there by Bath and Bodyworks. B&Bw window was our back wall/ back drop. It was nice because it gave us foucus, we could bounce sound off the walls, and it was a nice wind break for the fire eating. We insisted on that spot for the windbreak, but also, because we didnt want to be stuck out by the fountain. Ha, next time tell them the noise of the water distracts your fleas, or that they work better when they can smell Dewberry soap for B&Bw.
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Old 07-05-01, 05:04 PM   #13
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Eric

May I offer you a different perspective? I am not a performer, but simply someone who enjoys watching street performers.

I will pay a street performer because I have enjoyed myself. Nobody is forcing me to. My attitude is that I will pay what I think you are worth & what I can afford on that day. If I've stayed until the end of your show, chances are I'll throw something in your hat. If you're cr@p, I'll usually have the decency to leave before the end of your show. I usually vote with my feet.

Someone once said (who???) that street theatre is the most "honest" form of entertainment. The audience gets to enjoy the show, then THEY decide what they think it's worth. You might like to read "Street Theatre and Other Outdoor performance" by Bim Mason.

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Old 07-11-01, 09:22 AM   #14
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my connection went a bit screwy. Sorry about the repeats.

Rex

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Old 07-11-01, 09:24 AM   #15
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It's the next one really.

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Old 07-11-01, 09:25 AM   #16
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After many years of passing the hat I am now very relieved that I don't do it very often. And when I do I now give a really short hat line like " if you liked the show please put some money in my hat". I don't make as much that way but I got so sick and tired of not making what I deserved no matter how good my show or hat line was. You all know what I mean when even though you made $100 or 100 or whatever but you probably had 500 people watching you.
Anyway you'll make more money if you don't look or act like you need it and you'll make even more money if you put a little effort into getting some gigs. I quite often do a street gig where I might have an audience of 30 or 40 people ( yes I'm that good at drawing a crowd ), but I'll still be paid more than I'll make in a day at an enormous festival.

The festival is more fun to work at though.

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Old 08-31-01, 11:05 AM   #17
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Hey gang
To both Todd and Adam

Yeah, Easton can be sucky for you guys, I'm sure. I'm the guy who booked Adam and will probably book Todd in the future (muwahahahaha). The pitch is a bit tricky. The outdoor pitches do nicely, but more importantly, as our first, summer-long series of busker bookings (augh! Alliterative hell) comes to a close, the hats have risen dramatically. While the performers earlier on, like Adam, Flyin' Bob, Peter Gross, et. al, kinda suffered from lean hats, the public is finally getting the education it needs and is givng da props. So, we/i hope this will continue to the benefit of all: we pay a lower flat fee and you guys walk with the fattest of hats.

Cheers,

Chris
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Originally posted by Todd:
Hey man,

They had you in front of the fountain? Yuck! I know the spot. We had them set us up out side the enterance to the movie theatre, right there by Bath and Bodyworks. B&Bw window was our back wall/ back drop. It was nice because it gave us foucus, we could bounce sound off the walls, and it was a nice wind break for the fire eating. We insisted on that spot for the windbreak, but also, because we didnt want to be stuck out by the fountain. Ha, next time tell them the noise of the water distracts your fleas, or that they work better when they can smell Dewberry soap for B&Bw.
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Old 08-31-01, 06:29 PM   #18
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I reckon a a token we should all be lucky that there are still peole who give us money even when sometimes we've all had large audiences who havn't given us what we think they should have.

I have often complained when I have seen the differences between one crowd or another on the very same pitch at prime times.

Thats just the awy it is folks and nothing will change it no matter how hard you try!

if you a big crowd puller then your hats are always on some level above say another performer with an equally good show but smaller crowds.

Some are aggressive at getting their money and full hats take for instance Forest (Sydney) he is great at scaring peole into not leaving or not tipping.

If your'e hard core then you can get it, if your'e really gentle ( Lee Andrea Barcelona ) you can see the contrasts, I pesonally believe that if your show is original or stands out amonsgs't the rest you will reap the rewards.

Although as I say again the public, your audiences are the ones who have the right to pay or not.

Sometimes it's better not to expect but wait for the surprise after you have put your heart into it.

Trevor Rooney

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Old 09-03-01, 10:08 PM   #19
Adam Gertsacov
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Butterfly

Although I was disappointed with less than stellar hats, I liked the crowds and the Shadowbox people! I had some really good crowds. I just couldn't get them to pay!

Creesto, I don't think i saw you while I was there! I think you were working another pitch or something then. Or did you introduce yourself, and I just missed it...

I would have been better off if I had come up with a p.a.-- I don't normally travel with one, cuz I usually work the theatre circuit! Next time the p.a. comes with me!

I just finished some shows for an Olde Tymey baseball show in Roxbury NY which went stellarly. Two sold out shows!

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Old 11-08-01, 04:22 PM   #20
herbie treehead
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I don't expect anything from them
they dont expect me to be any good

then two types of people step forward and give me money

those who feel sorry for me

and those who are quite suprised at the novelty of seeing a 33 year old, plump, receeding man trying to be funny
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