Hat Lines

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 04/11/05 07:59 PM

Can some of you street performers give me some good hat lines (tip remarks)?I have been doing some street magic in our local park here in Houston,Texas.People were tipping me pretty good without me saying anything about money.Well,the park police ran me out of the park when they saw how much money I was getting.Told me"no soliciting allowed" in the park.I went to the downtown area.I ran into an area where they have street venders saleing merchandise.The man that is in charge of this area told me that he has been looking for a magician.I perform,but the people downtown at this park don't tip too well.I need some good hat lines. I can't afford to buy no books at this time I am broke.So don't tell where to buy so-and so's book >Just give me some good funny or serious HAT LINES that I can use.They seem to be suprised when I put my hat out for tips.After about 3i/2 hours I got $10.00 :cool: oh yah they don't sale permits for buskering here. :whack:
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/12/05 06:12 AM

Danny Hustle's "Buskers Cafe" has a thread devoted to the subject:

http://www.thedannyhustleshow.com/forum ... c.php?t=28

You might also check out www.performers.net

Both links are invaluable to buskers

The Magic Cafe also has a section devoted to street magic... I reccomend reading through it... but be careful about posting there (in my experience, their censorship policies often lead to posts being a waste of time.)
Guest
 

Postby Ian Kendall » 04/12/05 08:24 AM

For the most part, working performers would be reticent to give away their current lines. If you come up with an original line, the last thing you want is for everyone on the street to be using it...

I have a very vivid yet unpleasant memory of a heated discussion with a new performer on Circular Quay in Sydney. He had 'borrowed' a couple of lines from my show, to which I objected. His defence was that street performing was all about taking lines from other people...

Take care, Ian
Ian Kendall
 
Posts: 2152
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Edinburgh

Postby Brian Morton » 04/12/05 02:48 PM

Giving away good hat lines is as close to giving away real money as you can possibly get; I really don't know how you can expect to get "good" hat lines for free. Saying you don't have the money for a book is like saying that you expect to live off the kindness of strangers (and that's a charitable way of putting it).

Gazzo's pamphlet, "Read Between The (One)Lines" is as close to a collection of working lines -- hat and otherwise -- that you could ask for, and his price for what you're getting is extremely reasonable.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

brian :cool:
User avatar
Brian Morton
 
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/12/08 11:43 AM
Location: Bawlamer, Merlin

Postby Brian Marks » 04/12/05 03:15 PM

just write the line. cheapest way. You should strive to be as original as possible. buying lines is just as disturbing as stealing them. It says your not going to give what you say any thought what so ever and you give up.
Brian Marks
 
Posts: 918
Joined: 01/30/08 01:00 PM
Location: Nyack, NY

Postby Pete Biro » 04/12/05 06:58 PM

NO NO NO.... buying lines is the best way. Look at Jay Leno and David Letterman, for example. They HIRE a full staff of people to write for them.

If you yourself CANNOT create lines, but are a good performer, then by all means, buy material, be it in book form, or by hiring a writer.

I recently did a deal with one of Leno's writers to update one of my routines. It was well worth the cost.
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Guest » 04/12/05 08:03 PM

More important than the lines themselves is the psychology.

First thing I do is, in the middle of the show, after you've proven that you're entertaining and worthy of their time, you plant the idea in their heads that you will be expecting money. The line doesn't matter, just the fact that the idea gets planted and is allowed a few minutes to grow and mature.

Second thing I do is, just before the revelation of the grand finale--that is, when the hook is in their mouths and they can't leave--you give them another hat line. Because, first of all, they can't leave, and second of all, you're nurturing the thought of leaving a tip.

Third thing I do is, immediately after the revelation of the grand finale, I whip out my hat quickly, before people are able to recover from my grand finale, and launch into a final set of tip lines.

Humorous tip lines should alternate with serious tip lines; they reinforce each other. The final set of pitch lines should be the strongest, because that's your final sell.

Also, never use a hard container to collect money in because when change falls in it, everybody knows, and it gives everybody the idea that they can drop in change and get away with it.

In addition, put in some kind of tip line specifying what the standard tip should be. In 2005, you always strive for $2. It's ambitious but not ridiculously so. But mention $5, too, just to put the idea in rich people's minds. It will pay off.

Try to do as many money tricks as you can. It keeps dollar bills as the general environment of the show, which keeps them thinking about money.
Guest
 

Postby Pete Biro » 04/12/05 10:28 PM

Bring out a had OVERFLOWING WITH large bills... say, "OOPS, this one's full.. (put it away and bring out an empty) "Here, you can use this one for your donations to my college fund."
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Ian Kendall » 04/13/05 01:47 AM

John Lenahan has a great story about when he came to the UK.

In the States he would use the line 'please give generously, I have a <insert name of crap car here>. Much laughter.

Then he gets to Liverpool and asks what a bad car in the YooKay might be. He is told a Skoda. so, at the end of the first show he says 'Please give generously, I have a Skoda' and everyone says 'F*ck, he's got a car!' and walks off...

David's advice is spot on - especially about specifying a suggested donation. I don't remember by first hat, but my second was 27p.

Another thing to consider is local knowledge (as evidenced by John's story). My first couple of shows in Australia were terrible, because I was still working to a British sense of humour. I had to rewrite the whole show to get it to work in Oz. Also, Pete's comments about hiring a writer if you can't write lines yourself is fair, but make sure that the person you hire has knowledge and experience of street performing.

Take care, Ian
Ian Kendall
 
Posts: 2152
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Edinburgh

Postby Guest » 04/13/05 06:35 PM

I studied a lot of street performers in NYC, in the 70's and still think it was a golden time and place for street theater in general. Philippe Petit was the all time king of money makers, and he did a silent act. It was all psychology, how often he passed the hat, how he passed the hat, when he passed the hat. I suspect he even had it down to what was the optimum crowd size, how long he had to work them, how fast he could turn them over. Anyway, at the end of a roughly 12 minute routine, he would hop on his unicycle and tool around this big circle he chalked in the park, with his hat out, and the money just flew in. I took the lessons I learned from him and did okay myself for a summer. I did quick 12 minute routines, a few crowd drawing flourishes, a quick warm up with a magic trick/psychic effect, then I closed with an escape/ihai stunt, and I always stopped to ask for money while tied up or chained, before I escaped. I used to tell everyone they where going to run as soon as I did the effect, so I wanted paid up front. It was always good for a laugh, got a few bucks, built a little anti climax, then I would do the escape and pass the hat a second time as a closer, to decent results.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/14/05 11:58 AM

"Here, you can use this one for your donations to my college fund."
"and if you give a $10 or a $20, I don't have to go to college!!"

or...

"if you liked my show, throw a couple dollars in the hat... if you didn't like the show, throw a $20 & I'll put it in my college fund!"

PS: the tips given by Groves (above) are more valuable than any line... nice / valuable advice David.
Guest
 

Postby Brian Marks » 04/15/05 09:30 AM

Jay Leno and David Letterman have nightly television shows that must be different every night.

Jay Leno does not use writers for his stand up act that he performs around the country
Brian Marks
 
Posts: 918
Joined: 01/30/08 01:00 PM
Location: Nyack, NY

Postby Guest » 04/15/05 11:02 AM

Best hat I ever saw was done with a borrowed dog. The magician finished his act (very good act in likely the best location in the US, loads of tourist and huge crowds gathered) and the dog would walk along the tip with a hat strapped to it's back. Folks who didn't see the show were putting money in because their kids wanted to give it to the dog. I later found out the owners of the dog lost it in Florida and though they checked with the pound and were told it wasn't their it turned out it was and...well....dog gone.
Steve V
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/15/05 12:14 PM

This sounds much like a slightly different story that I heard from a couple of street performers who roamed around the Southeast. But in this case, it was their own trained dog who was able to carry a hat in his own mouth and go up to each person so that they felt compelled to put money in. Real cute, and to buskers, worth a whole lot of money.

I have a tape-recorded interview with this guy somewhere in my office, from Mardi Gras 1995 in New Orleans, when I was down there for a couple weeks busking with all the other hardcores.

Well, this couple was a guy who played banjo and a woman who played washboard, and they traveled around in a motor home. When they were driving through Orlando, though, they had a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus; the driver had fallen asleep. The buskers were taken to the hospital, but when they woke up and asked for the dog, the medical personnel were at a loss.

"What dog?" they asked.

Police went back to the accident site but found no sign of the dog. The assumption was that immediately after the accident, the dog wandered off, perhaps looking for his owners. The local media picked up on the story, and it became a sensation, tugging at people's heartstrings. (You could probably find the whole story in the archives of the Orlando Sentinel; I looked it up and found the story a few years ago.)

When the buskers got out of the hospital, they called local animal shelters every day, to see if their dog had been picked up. They scoured the neighborhoods around the accident. They would not give up.

Finally, they called an animal shelter and were told:

"Oh, that animal was put to sleep yesterday."

They had called that animal shelter every day for a couple weeks, and had mistakenly been told that there was no dog by that description at the shelter. Finally, after being unclaimed for a couple weeks the animal shelter put him down.

How's that for a story that will make you feel bad?

And to answer your question, Harry J. in Houston, that's another way to make big money: Get a genius cute pet to help you. Because this dog was very smart.
Guest
 

Postby Dan Trommater » 04/15/05 01:49 PM

For an author to forgo the sale of one of his books and generously give the advice that appears here is incredible and a real testament to the community that is the Genii Forum. Thanks for sharing David.

Dan
Dan Trommater
 
Posts: 84
Joined: 03/15/08 11:35 AM
Location: Canada

Postby Guest » 04/15/05 02:01 PM

Thanks, Dan. Maybe we'll cross paths someday and meet. I've heard you have some mean chop-cup work.
Guest
 

Postby Brian Marks » 04/15/05 02:04 PM

Yes, David is one of the nicest guys in magic.
Brian Marks
 
Posts: 918
Joined: 01/30/08 01:00 PM
Location: Nyack, NY

Postby Guest » 04/15/05 03:31 PM

Now I don't know if it is the same dog, I saw the dog do his rounds but was told later about the florida thing, may be different a different dog. I loved the dog idea.
Steve V
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/15/05 04:48 PM

it was their own trained dog who was able to carry a hat in his own mouth
Note: the dog didn't carry a hat... he would go up to the peeps, take the dollar from them and then drop it into the hat.

When I heard Jeep lost that dog, it was a sad day... However, he now has a new 'best friend' (though not as talented as the last.)
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/15/05 09:24 PM

Thanks David,I love magic,and I love to perform magic.I don't have a personal mentor.I learn from reading ,videos,practice and this Genii Forum.I believe that there are some good people here.Some are haters,who have forgotton where they came from.They want to take and never to give back to the art of magic and more important to other newbees trying to do the best magic and best entertainment that they possibily can.We don;t all have alot of money.I know that I don't.I know that this is starting to sound like a tear jurker.However,Thanks eveyone who has replied to this subject HAT LINES.GOD BLESS>
Guest
 

Postby Steve V » 04/15/05 09:25 PM

The wife said the dog we saw took money, kind of a hound looking dog. I know it wasn't the magicians but he was using it at that time while the owners were there. Great way to increase the ol' hat....a dog.
Steve V
Steve V
Steve V
 
Posts: 642
Joined: 01/20/08 01:00 PM
Location: Silver Springs, NV

Postby Guest » 04/16/05 12:46 AM

Jeep, maybe that was his name. Yeah, sounds right. Is he still with his wife, who played the washboard? He was going on and on about how much money that washboard cost, like $1,000 or something. Said she played a really superb washboard.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/16/05 11:50 AM

Is he still with his wife, who played the washboard?
Nope, it's down to a two man act...
Jeep & the dog.

Jeep sidenote; in addition to playing banjo he occasionally puts on some make-up & does balloons and/or a few magic tricks.
Guest
 

Postby Dan Trommater » 04/16/05 01:24 PM

David.

Your email address through this board didn't work for me.

We met a couple of times back in 2000 at Earth, Wind and Flour. I was living in LA at the time to hang at the Castle. I'm not sure that we've seen each other since.

I'll be performing the chop cup routine at the Castle in a couple of weeks. Mind you, it's really just a variation on the Don Alan routine, so don't get your hopes up.

Dan
Dan Trommater
 
Posts: 84
Joined: 03/15/08 11:35 AM
Location: Canada

Postby Guest » 04/16/05 05:35 PM

How do you change your profile on this board? I've changed my email address to: won111der@cs.com.
Guest
 

Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/16/05 06:58 PM

David,

In the upper right corner (of just about any forum page you are in) you should see a link to My Profile. Click on that then click on the View/Update Profile link in the dialog box that appears. That should take you to your profile listings. Change what you need to then click on Update Profile which is at the bottom of the page.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5999
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Bill Palmer » 05/04/05 12:10 AM

It took me almost half a dozen years to write the hat line that I used for the rest of my Renaissance Festival career. It wouldn't work for anyone else, so I will give it out here.

I would do my last trick, then I would proclaim loudly, "My Lords and Ladies, I would now like to perform my favorite illusion for you. I will remove this ordinary, empty wizard's hat from my head, invert it and when I wave my hand over it, it will change into a receptacle for money. LOOK! IT WORKED!!!!

I'd like each of you to step forward now and donate generously. Remember, this is the way I earn my living. I sell no baubles, bangles, beads, belts, bracelets or other bric-a-brac. All I can do is give you a moment in time when your mind is taken off your troubles and you experience a bit of fantasy.

If I've done that for you today, please be generous to me. You have no idea how difficult it is for a dirty old man to find work in (name of town.)"

It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it worked very well for me, both in the path and onstage.
Bill Palmer, MIMC
Bill Palmer
 
Posts: 719
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Houston TX

Postby Guest » 05/04/05 11:24 AM

Originally posted by Bill Palmer:
..."My Lords and Ladies...."
Bill, that's not just a good hat line, it's good writing.
Guest
 

Postby Brian Morton » 05/04/05 01:19 PM

Bill Palmer wrote:
If I've done that for you today, please be generous to me. You have no idea how difficult it is for a dirty old man to find work in (name of town.)"
I haven't yet worked a hat faire, but I love this line. :)

brian (coming up on his 7th year at a Ren Faire) :cool:
User avatar
Brian Morton
 
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/12/08 11:43 AM
Location: Bawlamer, Merlin

Postby Guest » 05/04/05 06:35 PM

I think I'll close my school shows with it! :D
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/23/05 09:02 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
NO NO NO.... buying lines is the best way. Look at Jay Leno and David Letterman, for example. They HIRE a full staff of people to write for them.

If you yourself CANNOT create lines, but are a good performer, then by all means, buy material, be it in book form, or by hiring a writer.

I recently did a deal with one of Leno's writers to update one of my routines. It was well worth the cost.
Jay and David have to come up with fresh new stuff every week. It has to be both funny and topical. You can buy if you want to, but you're better off writing your own. MHO :D
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/23/05 09:09 AM

I've just recently received a permit to perform on the streets of Providence. (Haven't managed to work up an act yet... but I have a permit!)

The thing is pretty toothless, it states that I have permission at the descretion of local police and, while the permit itself doesn't say, I was told if local businesses ask me to move on, I have to comply.

The permit also states there will be no solicitation for funds which means there can be no "hat line." I thought of working something out along the lines of; "The nature of my permit with the city of Providence is that I cannot solicite funds... however, if at the end of the next routine, you feel compelled to put a one or a five into my bucket, there's certainly nothing I can do to stop you!"

"What do you think, sirs?"
Guest
 

Postby Bill Mullins » 05/25/05 11:58 AM

I think it will cause local businessmen to ask you to move on, and it will cause police to use their discretion against you.
Bill Mullins
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Huntsville, AL

Postby Guest » 05/25/05 01:19 PM

Santa Cruz (a lovely beach community here in Northern California, as seen in a Dirty Harry movie and Lost Boys) had a simular policy. The main problem turned out to be that the store owners didn't mind talented street performers because people would stop to listen or watch them and them, perhaps, enter the store afterward. Problem was the tub thumpin', no talent noise makin', street performers that chased off the talented ones and basically begged with a drum stick in their hand.
Steve V
Guest
 


Return to Platform & Stage Magic