Edinburgh 2015 Costs

Buddhism And Cats Final

I do this every year… just in case I want to know the exact amount of money I wasted / someone looking into the Fringe wants to see how much they could be spending.

This year (2015) I did two shows. I’ve broken down the costs for going / living at the Fringe and then the cost of the shows themselves.

Aims

  • Truth be told originally one of my aims was to break even. I planned on doing this by doing two shows (to spread the cost of living in Edinburgh) and also to hopefully make enough money to say I broke even. Sadly, I don’t think that’s possible anymore… but I am writing this pre-Fringe. Anything could happen up there.
  • To get more people on my social following / newsletter.
  • To earn back at least £1000 of my money.

Prep

General Costs

Accommodation £650
Train (up) £30.75
Train (down) £42.00
Total Costs –  £722.75

Show Costs – Buddhism & Cats

Just The Tonic Venue Hire Fee £300
Ed Fringe program / app (for the full run)  £295.20 (early bird special)
Marketing Materials (flyers) £252 (for 3,500)
Marketing Materials (badges) £50 (for 350)
Performer Insurance (from insruance4performers) £80
Bella’s Design Costs £430
Total costs - £1327.20
Total costs for everything – 

£2129.95

(£101.42 per show)

Marketing

Beyond the usual flyering I did some additional online and offline promotional work. Here’s what I did… how long it took and how effective / useless it is.

Research and emailing 84 companies – 2 maybe 3 days.

This took me so long to do. I made a MailChimp account and made a “list” of companies and then sent them all personalised emails. This resulted in exactly 1 response of a company who let me put up a poster. I won’t be doing it again.

If you are going to do it, you should only email businesses you have a connection with, friend who can introduce you or a place you’ve actually been to / purchased something from or you’re just spam.

How effective was this?

It wasn’t. 1 company got back to me and the rest ignored my emails.

Joining MeetUp and listing my show on appropriate communities – 4 hours.

I originally tried to list every show in comedy communities but they limit you to adding 4 “meet ups” per day. Also, the admins of these groups deleted a lot of my events a few days after finishing because they were duplicates… so make sure you don’t just spam / fill out every single show.

How effective was this?

Up and down. On weekends I’d get a few people in from this, but ultimately I’m not 100% sure the time / effort to audience generated was enough to make it worth doing again.

Creating EventBrite links for all the shows – 3 hours

This was quicker, largely down to EventBrites “duplicate my event” feature, but still took ages.

How effective was this?

I am not sure. Nobody came with Event Brite tickets… but I did get 2/3 reservations per day. As a free show this was nice to wake up to as it made me feel like people were going to come and I wasn’t going to have no audience that day… did they come? No idea. Nobody said they did.

Blog post explanation – read it here about 90 minutes

I lost my venue due to a big screw up with PBH and Freestival. The left me with an expensive printed programme listing which was incorrect. To get people to know this I wrote a blog post and shared it on social media sites.

My tweet got 40 RTs and the blog post was viewed 440 times and the average length of time someone stayed on the page was 6 minutes 35 seconds, so I can assume a fair number of people actually read it.

How effective was this?

A fair number of comedians came down. Also a lot of friends who had friends come along as well. Oh and a few really hardcore locals who love the festival who wanted to support acts like me who had lost their venue. So up and down again, but not something I could do next year.

My Fringe flyers were delayed 

So I tweeted (below) which was met with a lot of support and love (which I can’t thank you enough for). Also I made my daily vlog for the Fringe about this problem and it was shared a fair bit. You can watch it here.

Thanking everyone took about 4 hours over 3 days after I posted it.

How effective was this?

For exposure this was really good. But it only got down maybe 8 / 10 people over the whole run. Again, not something I could do again but it’s interesting nonetheless.

I got featured in the British Comedy Guides “featured shows”

This cost me nothing and was done as a favour to me because I went to a BCG event and the editor was there… I was the only person at the event which meant it was cancelled. But 10 audience members turned up and I did a gig. After that the editor offered to put me on their website landing page for the Edinburgh Fringe. Nobody said they came because they saw this.

How effective was this?

Nobody said they came from this. A lot of people said they came from the website, and when pressed it turned out they meant the Fringe website, not this one… so I am unsure / convinced anyone came because of this. BUT I did have 2/3 people tweet me to say they’d seen me get featured and congratulated me.

Wrote a press release and emailed it to 4 publications and made it available online [view it here]. Approx 7 hours

Truth be told, I had most of this done from the Brighton Fringe [Fringe Report Here]. The main time was put into ringing a lot of publications and PRs to find out what exactly goes into a press release [see their answers here]. Then I wrote a 1-page press release which I sent to all the people on the Edinburgh Fringe media lists who I thought would be interested – I didn’t think it would be worth sending both.

How effective was this?

I only got on reviewer in (and as yet they’ve not published anything). However, I did email all of them again yesterday (after my run was over) and 3 publications said they came to the show, but I had a full room and they were not allowed in…

Mentioned I was doing a show on podcast in the episodes leading up to the Fringe

I host a podcast. Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of it, I barely mention it. But at the start of the episodes in the run up to the Fringe I did plug my live show… I would say (approx) 15-20 people (comedians / promoters / agents) came because of it. Which is pretty amazing in my head.

Bucket Takings

Before we carry on, it’s worth noting that my “deal” with Just The Tonic meant that the first £1000 in my bucket was mine to take home. After that, they took 30p from every £1 (ie 30%).

It is also worth noting that I did guest spots on other shows were I was often (but not always) give a bucket split. I tried to keep track of this but it wasn’t really practical. So it’s the total I got per day for performing jokes.

My room could hold 45-50 people.

7th August  £49.34  Full Room
8th August  £57.36  Full Room
9th August  £45.44 Half Room
10th August  £28.36 Half Room
11th August  £34.25 Full Room
12th August  £11.86 Around 12 people
 13th August  £33.61 Half room
14th August  £58.16 Full room
15th August  £57.76 Almost full room
16th August  £30 12 people
17th August  £30.07 12 people.
18th August  DAY OFF! DAY OFF!
19th August  £34.85  14 people
20th August  £46.51 17 people
21st August  £64.58 16 people
22nd August  £64.68 Full room
23rd August £29.17 15 people
24th August Cancelled 3 people
25th August £34.50  Half room
26th August  £1* Half room
27th August  £60.18 Full room
28th August  £85.21 Full room
29th August  £64.60  3/4 full room.

*This show went epically bad. They didn’t connect with me and after 20 minutes I put the house lights up and asked if they wanted me to stop. They didn’t but we just had a nice improvised chat…

Total earnings – £857.82

Things I’ve Learned

  • Get to know the names of everyone in the venue. Not just the heads of departments. This is a team effort and you want to be on side with everyone. Just learn their names and if you can spare a minute (which you can) learn something about them that you can talk to them about.
  •  If you can… get one member of staff from your venue to watch your show. If they like it, they’ll send others. And also plug it to punters in the venue while you’re not around.
  • If (like me) you’re doing your own PR and marketing go to Fringe Central’s “Meet The Media” event. You’ll queue for HOURS with other shows to pitch yours (in less than two minutes) to publications. It’s like speed dating, but for Edinburgh shows. Totally worth the time investment. It’s always free and always non-ticketed. So turn up early.
  • Flyer the way you’d want to be flyered to (and pick who you talk to). You never know who will like your comedy, so never second guess people, but you can pick the groups you go up to. Personally I avoided individuals on their own because it was hard to talk to them and I feel it’s a bit forceful (or can be). I went for groups of 2-5 people and tried my best to give everyone in the group eye contact while talking so that they all felt included.
  • Some people believe that the bucket is a “tip” for a performer and you’re getting paid by the venue (this might be because I was with Just The Tonic who normally do paid shows). but this made me change my bucket speech so people gave me a bigger amount (or I attempted to get them to give me a bigger amount).
  • Enjoy flyering (even if you don’t). Even if you’re saying the same shit over and over and over again, find a way to keep it fresh and new for you because (frankly) it is the first time they’ve heard it.
  • Take a moment every day or so to appreciate what you’re doing and anything good which is happening because otherwise you can get too obsessed by what your targets are and overlook the reality of the things which are happening.

How did people find / discover my show?

At the end of (almost) every show I asked the audience how they found out about my show… here’s approximations what they said –

55% – flyering

It’s worth me noting I did not pay flyerers. I did 4-5 hours of flyering per day on my own.

To work out where was the most effective place to flyer, I sat down day 2 with the fringe programme and mapped out when all the shows around me finished. Then picked the ones which I thought would attract audiences that would enjoy my show / be similar then I timed it so that I could flyer for 15 minutes at the end of year.

The more time I spent talking to them, the higher the chance they would come and even more of a chance they’d wait after to talk (which happened on about 1/4 of the dates).

15% – “near by now” feature on the Ed Fringe app.

10% – word-of-mouth

5% – came back from last year / social media

6% – The Fringe website

6% – The Fringe programme

3% – The Just The Tonic programme

Results

  • I made £857.8 (up by over £200 from last year)
  • One audience member got her parents to drive her two hours across Scotland to see me live from Twitter.
  • The Broadway Baby Features Editor gave me a “review” which called me “the Martin Luther King Jr of comedy”.
  • An agent came to see me on purpose (nothing has come of this… yet).
  • A reviewer came to see me (but as yet they’ve not published anything).
  • More people came to see me than last year.
  • 58 new email address for my newsletter. 
  • 30 new twitter followers.
  • I made a lot of industry, performer and audience friends (I even went for drinks / dinner with some people from the audience after shows).

If you would like more content like this… PLEASE subscribe to my newsletter here. 

If you liked this you might also like…

  • An Indie Comedians Guide To Planning Your Edinburgh Fringe ShowLooking at going to the Edinburgh Fringe? Cool… it’s a lot of prep work. As of 2015 I’ve done 3 festivals, interviewed loads of experts and I know that for this festival specifically you need to start planning as early as the August the year before… here’s my month-by-month guide.
  • An Indie Comedian’s Guide To Fringe Flyer PrintingBuying flyers can be a mine field. What paper weight do you need? How many posters? How much should I budget? I’ve tried to answer all these questions and more… Here’s a chart of the cost of printing for a bunch of different printing sites (all numbers are right as of 2015… It’s going to be too much maintenance for me to keep this up-to-date but I hope it helps).
  • An Indie Comedians Guide To Writing A Press ReleaseIf you’re anything like me then you’ll never have had to write a press release before becoming a comedian… as a result you’ll have no clue what is / isn’t meant to go into it. I’ve rung up a bunch of national and local publications and asked the people who read your press release what they want… here’s my on going list of what they want to see from you.
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