It’s a very old, common and outdated term for street performers to refer to building a crowd as ‘building a crowd.’
That’s not a typo mistake. I have literally grown to dislike the term building a crowd because it is not an accurate description of what a professional busker does.
Here at the School of Busking, I used to say I am attracting a crowd and I turn that crowd into my audience. However, now I realise that I have been attracting an audience from the beginning.
In a nutshell:
A street performer attracts an audience, not a crowd.
Attracting an audience
Let’s unpack that school of thought.
At the heart of every true successful street show, we attract audiences, not a crowd or worse crowds – just as a theatre attracts an in-house audience.
Audience builders is a far more accurate term for street performers!
Don’t confuse this term with pitch building, or the pitch. This is a very helpful descriptive term. It describes the mechanics of what we do.
Attracting an audience is the heartbeat of what a seasoned street performer does best.
You see – almost anything can attract a crowd, even a schoolyard fight, or a rowdy drunk can attract a crowd.
To the untrained ear, a crowd could imply you are attracting an obstruction of people. Take your street show as an opportunity to correct and re-educate –
“…this is not a crowd, this is my audience…”
You are in your right to deny you have attracted a crowd.
You are attracting an audience. The practice of this very concept is clearly worthy of payment.
This is what separates a good street performer from all the rest. Attracting an audience is a skill they have required (even if they inaccurately as I have done called it a crowd in the past)
That performer has through the years, through the consistency of performing and gaining experience in their field – become an Audience Builder.
A few reasons we should adopt the word Audience.
- It’s far more accurate and professional sounding to do so.
- It’s a reminder that it is a skilled practice. It makes you mindful and focused on what you’re truly aiming to achieve.
- It’s a reminder to respect our audience. We’re not attracting a mere crowd of mortals. Rather, it reminds us that we are attracting the heart of our show – our audience.
- It reminds the performer that this show is about their audience.
- It’s also a way of educating the public, shop owners, city officials and even the police.
Performing to my audience
When I’m adopting the above practice, I am reminding myself that my show is about my audience,.
These shows, by far, are always the best.
If you are anxious about something or another or got stage fright, remind yourself it’s about your audience.
- If you get caught up in the detail of your show, keep balance and remind yourself that’s about your audience.
- Above all else, your show is about your audience.
Put it into practice and see for yourself.
So regardless of whether you’re a seasoned street performer or considering starting out. My tip for you today is to adopt the word audience over the word crowd.
It will bring an extra touch of class to your mindset, the pitch you’re performing on and whoever you educate about what you do for a living.
Here to help.
Mario Morris, Master Street Performer, Comedy Magician, coach and mentor, founder of The School Of Busking