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Old 06-08-02, 04:59 PM   #1
Orange
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Ass crowd gathering

let's say you're working a tough pitch, and there aren't too many people. what are the basic principles of crowd gathering that get people to stop walking past and take a look. i know fire works. i'm pretty sure getting volunteers to do stuff early on is a good thing. what else?
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Old 06-08-02, 09:06 PM   #2
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I had the same problem, what I did was wait untill I saw 5 kids, and jumped up and down rattling my shaker cups yelling "We are about to start a juggling show..... and in this show I will be juggling up to 5 balls, and 3 RAZOR SHARP, thats right 3 RAZOR SHARP knives". I would then invite them up to the front row. I could usually gather my first row easly with this method. I am sure that different pitches would require different methods, but you can sure get attention by jumping up and down, while yelling [img]cool.gif[/img]
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Old 06-10-02, 01:46 PM   #3
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Old 06-10-02, 01:54 PM   #4
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I've been standing on my box (on end so it's really tall), with a torch in one hand and a knife in the other pretending like I'm gonna swallow the knife. When I have a few people together I balence the knife blade down on my toung.
Someone told me that I need to perform to the people that do stop, not the people who arn't there. Doing that has helped me a lot. On saturday night (for example) I started a show for like 3 people thinking the whole thing was going to be just for those 3 people, and it wound up being a huge show by the end. So thats what I have learned in my limited experience.
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Old 06-10-02, 06:39 PM   #5
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I like to start by yelling
"Hey all you suck-holes drag your trailer park asses over here. Drop your plastic silver-wear, put your false teeth in and see a show!!!!"
Never really works well though.
So then on to plan 2 which is beginning with a few people in a smaller more intimate way, on their level and then building (hopfully) from there. With the smaller groups you have to start with love, at their energy and foucused.
I start with some yelling stuff like everyone else, but then I try to get right into something to grab attention and look like a show and not just look like the guy who wont start the show till ther is a crowd. You have to give them something, other than a person hawking, to look at, to grab their attention. I currently start with me on a rolling globe contorting in a small hoop. I look at risk, its unusual looking and (I hope) says "here is a show". At least thats the plan, and as we know, nothing is full-proof. Sometimes, no matter how good, or clever you may be, you just have to write off a show, or a pitch, 'cause you aint got it that day, or they dont want it. Thats the best part about these gigs, you can just take a break and try again later.

I once started a show for 4 people. A kid who was celebrating his 7th birthday, his best buddy and his parents. I figured "screw-it. I'm gonna doi this for this kid" and by the end of the set, I had about 150 people at my stage. So we all sang happy birthdy to him. It became a pretty good show, but I had to begin it with the desire to do the best job for a few people. In those shows, you have to not think about the size of the hat, of you will be mentally "double parked" and not just doing the show. As a matter of rule, I try really hard to not think about hat size when I work, cause it can keep you from foucusing on the show and doing your best work. You end up end-gaining and run the risk of resenting a smaller group and possibly killing the potental for a good show that will slowly draw a big crowd.
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Old 06-11-02, 08:45 AM   #6
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if a person was to incorporate a clock of some sort saying "next show" it might be helpful.
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Old 06-11-02, 02:00 PM   #7
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I was thinking about the clock idea. Seems like it might just work?
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Old 06-11-02, 04:16 PM   #8
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I've tried the clock idea, and it really works well in a place that is set up, or freindly to street performers. Places where people can expect to see a street act. Church Street when it still existed, Esaton Town Center, SF Peir etc. Places that are advertising street performers, or places that have a tradtion of performers. I've found that is raw street, just throwing down and trying to create a pitch, or places where there isnt as strong a tradition or expectation of street performers, that the clock is a bit too passive to really get a good core crowd to build off of. With tough pitches you need something to augment the clock, like you could be setting up your props, staging the circle etc in a really methodical way. Then the clock lets them know something is going to happen, and your prep for the show is an active element to draw them in.
I like to start out getting thier attention with setting up my stuff. Putting things out. I also put down a big black rope out to define the stage area and the audience area. I invite anyone who is watching to come sit (ususallly kids who sit) at the edge of the rope/stage.

There are some really great insights to street theatre/performing in a book by Bim Mason calle Street theatre and other outdoor performance. I think it is still in print. It is one ofthe best books on street performing out there.
Orange, you can now bill youself as the performer endorsed by Natile Portman.
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Old 06-11-02, 09:18 PM   #9
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I read once in a carny pitchman's book that adding 'seconds' to your time really increased the reaction for some reason. The author of the book (it's been years, I don't remember who wrote it) swore by this technique.

"Folks, the show starts in (glance at watch) 2 minutes and 30 seconds"

He said that little addition made a huge difference.

Here's another thought: A digital clock. More expense, but if you could set it to count DOWN from 4 minutes maybe it would make the crowd really believe you weren't just shouting at the air. They might even think you have some sort of regular schedule. Just a thought.
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Old 06-12-02, 12:07 AM   #10
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I find tha complete and total arrogance is a great crowd build... (kind of explains some of the attitude around here, eh?)
Seriously, I blow a whistle, yell "Showtime", and slam my box open, I fling out my straitjacket, my bag of glass, and my rope, and start setting up, I never look at the people until there are at least fifteen of them, I just act rather intense as I set up, once I have those people, and their interest, that's when I start smiling and talking to them, individually, "where are you from, what's yer name, you came all the way from (wherever) just to see my show" blah, blah...

It works for me.
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Old 06-12-02, 12:24 PM   #11
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get up tall yell and light things on fire. this works well any where but NY, in NY you ignore them and go about seting up and everyone will stop and watch, wondering why you arn't yelling or lighting things on fire. [img]smile.gif[/img]
they cut holes in the walls arownd construction sites, and people watch!

some of my best shows have started when a kid comes up and asks If I am going to do a show, I ask them if they want to see one thay say yes and off I go. Dont think of hats It will kill your show!

also do some thing difrent. then people will do the "what the???" double take, and some will stay. If you can get 3 people to watch you will probably get more.
get the audance to clap, yell, light things on fire... ok mabe not the fire, [img]biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 06-13-02, 08:36 PM   #12
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I have a "theory". I haven't put it into action yet but will in a few weeks.
When I was in College I did a research/presentation project on Sojourner Truth. She was a black woman in the early 1900's?? (pretty sure, damn memeory) who travelled around spekaing to people about politics? (there it goes again!)

ANYWAY! What I do remember was that to gather a crowd she would sing until one had gathered. In fact this is how I began my presentation to the class, I sung until they quieted down and it seemed to work. I am going to test this theory very soon. Perhaps I'll break out my favorite renditions of "You are my sunshine" followed by "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and for my finale I'll do the famous "I Love you, You Love Me". If it doesn't work then I'm going to jump up and down and light things on fire! Or maybe I'll stand on one foot with a flaming torch and knife in my hand while singing, or just wait for the alarm to go off. <img src="graemlins/jester.gif" border="0" alt="[jester]" />


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On second thought maybe I should stick with my Fats Waller and Nina Simone. Sounds nicer [img]wink.gif[/img]
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Old 06-13-02, 11:36 PM   #13
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i find that the process of setting up my sign, props and having a little small talk with the few people who've already paused works well to attract the attention of others passing by your stage or pitch... my partner runs around physically forcing (in a non-threatning and funny way) people to come sit down... after we have a decent number (more than five) gathered i usually say something like 'many performers will tell you that it is important to warm up prior to a show... i think that it is far more important to help the audiance warm up prior to me doing a show.' and, then i get them all on their feet and lead them in something really retarded like 'how to read our cues' activity - where we get them all to oooh & ahhh with our hand gestures and end it with us dancing retardedly around like breakdancing geek girls... or, we get them to sing a song... (my partner was particularly fond of leading audiances in 'my bonnie lies over the ocean' and having them all stand and sit every time they heard a word that started with the letter 'b') or - we get them to shout out some retarded cheer... (the 'hey you! over there! come over here! we're tired of waiting and we want these chicks to start the show!' always works well because the last line is so garbled that the audiance cracks themselves up laughing and it provides a good vibe to start the show on...) if all else fails - we light things on fire and run like mad-women around the audiance (we ususally work stages) and get them to scream and clap.

and, if that don't work - sometimes it just ain't meant to be... and, we start the show... and, usually by the end we have attracted a pretty decent number of people... tho' the best show i did was in a rainstorm - it started out as an intimate show for five... then it started pouring and presto! three hundred people showed up for MY show - as it was the only one in a tent... and, it was raining. but, that show ROCKED! we demonstrated why fire eating will not work in the rain... we had a puddle jumping contest (with the crowd divided to cheer on their chick... we both ended up drenched) other acts showed up and heckled us and then we invented the reverse heckling machine... one of the musical acts provided a silent film like score as two of our male juggler friends over dubbed our dialouge... it was GREAT!

what did my friend phil say? 'if you do something they will come.' i usually find that pretty accurate. my acting teacher said 'do it for 1 - do it for 100.' i like that philosophy.

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Old 07-07-02, 06:16 PM   #14
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Old 07-07-02, 08:04 PM   #15
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[img]cool.gif[/img]

[ 07-10-2002: Message edited by: ALAKAZAM ]</p>
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Old 12-31-02, 06:16 PM   #16
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Hey.

Along the idea of singing to attract a crowd, why not bring along a boombox? I find that roping off an area in character while some appropriate music is playing is a great way to draw a crowd. While you lay down the rope and your props, you can interact with people and establish a connection.

If this doesn't work, you could always go and shout, but people are more resistant when you try to force them to watch your show...a little music and a meticulous setup are much less intrusive, and draw a happier crowd.
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Old 07-21-03, 08:15 PM   #17
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I work a market, along with a paid music act. I try to keep my show more of a background, nothing loud or distracting for the musicians. When ever my crowd runs low (i usually have 10-20+ stand around at one time), fire is usually the way to go. I go from 10-20 to 40-50 by the time my second trick is in the air. It seems like a low trick from a juggler's point of view, since fire is the same as clubs to me, but people will stay long enough for me to prove there is more than just flash....
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Old 07-21-03, 11:32 PM   #18
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I have had some luck with the clock... What I had was a sign identifying (pardon the spelling) myself as a comedy juggler, saying "Next performance at (whenever)."

It helped a bit, but I found that it was easier to pack light, and I am doing fine without it.

--- Hey Tom B. --- Hope to see you in Midland this fall!

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Old 08-17-03, 04:09 AM   #19
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Bubbles work really well , we use them for gathering , what we do now is make a gigantic bubble and continue until the first child runs up and pops it , then using the pustefix blue multi bubbler , run around like a mad thing usually with full on fast music until the song ends .
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Old 08-20-03, 11:30 PM   #20
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Firegirl has alot of good stuff as far as really creating a raport with the audience. Sometimes just putting out a clock doesn't do that. Taking the time, in character, to set up, ask people to help, build up to the rowdiness, make them do the work for you is a really great thing. If not in an era themed event, starting music while you do this also works.

The non-era shows I like to sort of play around a bit. Get a small crowd interested. Then go right into my first segment. By then a bigger crowd has emerged and I can stop to talk with them on the whole before continuing. It seems that this slow crescendo really works to get the audience involved, and keep them there.

At era themed events I love to stand at the back of my audience and have them yell for me. I get to look like the proud master and it is much fun.
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