Those were the days
I did a juggling show on Pearl street (Boulder), and also in NYC in Washington Square Park and across from the trade center during lunch hour. Gee, I wish I could walk from the square over to the pizza place on the corner and get another one of those great square slices !
Hmmmm. Performing wise, always remember that talent is just a crutch. The idea isn’t to impress people with what you are doing. Talk to them as if they are your old friend. Once you got them on your side, your jokes will seem funny.
Of course, there are different ways to do shows, not everyone talks. But the comics make the real money. Even mimes are talking to the audience, just without words.
There is no connection between the difficulty of tricks performed, and the money earned. I have seen brilliant but unfunny self absorbed jugglers who hated me because I made 5x as much per show as they did. Don’t make that mistake, the comics rule, and if you get bitter about that, you will radiate suckage. People will watch unicycling and juggling, but they will love and pay someone who makes them laugh. I am not knocking being an artist and developing great skill, just that skill is only a frame work to grab peoples attention. If thats all you have, they will stare a while and walk away.
Likewise, you have to get good at screwing up. The audience will not care about your screw ups unless you do. I tried to make my show hard enough that I usually made at least one mistake a show. This adds so much to the show, that I have been accused of screwing up on purpose, something I never did. But a mistake is a moment of tension, and thus has comic potential. Remember that if you drop, and feel bad, the audience will feel that. And never, ever ever apologize to your audience. Your feelings and mood will control theirs, once they are listening to you.
I think being young is in every way an advantage. Trust me, you shall grow uglier and less cute by the day for the rest of your life.
There is a big difference between busking for musicians, who play continuously with a hat out, and street juggling.
A street juggler needs to talk to people, build anticipation and tension around the tricks. Build the crowd up to a high note. Then quit and collect your money. Unless you have a good ending, you didn’t have a good show.
I say this because I have seen new performers make the mistake of going on and on with their hat out, expecting people will make a donation before they leave. A few will, but you will make real money only when you pump up a big crowd and quit on a high note and ask for the cash.