Somebody made a post a few days ago about wanting to work as a living statue, and a couple of people expressed an interest in hearing some stories about working as a professional living statue.
I've been statuing for about 2 years freelance, this year I finally got representation through a circus and have been getting regular steady gigs, so I've been on the sidewalk less and less lately, but I still go out, especially during street festivals.
In the advice area, here are some tips to first-time performers:Safety
1. Always be aware of your surroundings. Sounds easy and a given, but it's extremely important to be aware 360 degrees, what is going on and with whom. Always be wary of people gliding past on bikes or skateboards, as they can make off with your earnings. (It happens to everyone at least once, but do your best to minimze any occurances)
2. Change over your earnings every so often. I usually keep track of what I'm making, and at a specific mark I'll note to change over the change. I usually wait until there's nobody around and I keep a little canvas bag under my soapbox, which I fill with the change and put back under, that way it can't be stolen.
3. I wouldn't recommend performing in a character that inhibits too much movement or eyesight, unless you're part of a larger installation, or you're very comfortable with your surroundings. Props, Performance, Etiquette
1. Don't use a milkcrate as your pedestal if you're serious about statuing. Milkcrates are great for like, the odd 2 hour gig, but if you're planning on statuing for 4 hours +, and regularly, then you want something more solid. Milkcrates tend to sag and cause back problems. I made myself a very easy soapbox out of plywood, it's not too much heavier, and very easy to assemble if you've got some woodworking knowledge. You can contact film unions about where to purchase appleboxes, which are also good for statuing on. I don't like them because they're solid, and I prefer having a hollow box to stash my clothes and personal items, when I'm working on the street.
2. Street theatre, even though it's lax, still requires etiquette. When I'm performing in a new area, I scout out the location, make sure that nobody is on the corner I'm spying. It's very rude to take somebody else' corner, and I've seen (and been involved in) altercations over 'territory'. It can get messy. I also like to make friends with the people in the nearest shop, or hotdog stand. It's good to have somebody watching out for you, and a place to change. It's actually very good to make friends with the manager of a shop that has a bathroom for you to use. What I usually do is approach them, telling them I'm a street performer, I'll be performing x amount of days at x time, and is it possible for me to use their bathroom for makeup? Usually shop owners are cool about these things.
3. If you're doing something that's interactive and handing out something, keep in mind you could get into trouble for littering if your crowd rejects your flowers, or tickets, or whatever (technically, although most police officers are cool with peformance artists doing their thing).
4. Even though it's out on the street, it's good for a performer to have a set idea of how their performance will 'run'. For example, I like to get out before crowds start to form on the street, and I leave when the crowds die down. The last thing you want to do is ruin the 'magic' by showing up when the street is already bustling. I also like to show up to the street and my designated performance space fully dressed and in character. It helps keep the mystery, and it makes the performance look more professional. ;)
Anywhoo.. that's about all I can think of right now.
Here's a pic I found floating around the 'net from the Gay Pride Parade last weekend. The same character I was doing when I was chokeholding the guy trying to steal my alms last week!
:p( the Angel of Good FortuneCollapse )
Hope this was helpful to anybody!