In February 2015 when I signed up to the Edinburgh Fringe my venue was Cowgatehead 5. I had two shows planned and everything was on track to be a good festival.
About 3 months ago there was a screw up with my venue when it turned out that the Free Fringe company I was with (Freestival) had lost the venue to another Free Fringe company (PBH). Because Peter (of PBH) kept this information to himself until after the Edinburgh Fringe deadline my programme listing (along with over 100 other acts whose shows were left homeless) are now incorrect in the printed brochure – One report estimates Peter’s actions has cost performers £77,000.
The brochure is non-refundable and this means that I’ve lost out on around £400 of my marketing budget for this year, but more importantly I’ve lost out on a large amount of exposure which the official Fringe Programme can provide. If you’ve ever been to the Fringe you’ll know that it’s like a Bible to help you find stuff that’s happening but also planing your trip. And now, I’m worried.
I’m worried for the same reasons I would be worried if this hadn’t happening, but the lack of marketing support (and loss of funds) has heightened these concerns. The main concern on every performers mind is: Nobody will come. And in my case a fear this will be because they’ll be directed to the wrong venue.
I love my show. And I think every show at the Fringe deserves an equal shot at the credit, praise, hate mail etc that it deserves. My show is my best work to date. I’m so proud of it and I can’t actually tell you how relived I am that I was able to find myself an alternative venue. However, this is only step one of the battle to get people in.
My own best weapon for marketing is now working against me. According to Fringe Central (and every other professional I’ve interviewed) they discover and pick shows by using the programme listings (in print, online and in the app). Thankfully, I’ve been able to update my app and web listing but this might cause even more confusion as potential audience might see it listed in Cowgatehead and Just The Tonic and not know where to go.
Here’s where you come in… (or I hope you do)
Word-of-mouth is much more important than anything else in Edinburgh. Every industry expert has said that the biggest tip offs during the festival are from personal recommendations, not reviews or comedians with big PR budgets.
I don’t really mind if I don’t get reviewed. I’d like it if it happens, but it’s not my main objective during Edinburgh. As a result, I’m not going to spend £3-5,000 on a PR to spend the month badgering reviewers to come see me live.
I am also aware I am not going to make money in Edinburgh (nobody does, with the possible exception of the venues, PRs and the Fringe Office itself. Last year I did a Free Fringe show and my bucket was one for Prostate Cancer UK in memory of my grandfather… And I still didn’t make more for the charity than I invested into the show myself. See the picture to the right.)
My main objective at the Fringe is the same as it has been for the last year (and I guess the last 3 years): To build my own audience.
The best way of doing that (I think) is –
- ONLINE – by giving away free content on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. I do this all the time… just go check on those profiles. And remaining in contact with people who love my work
- OFFLINE – by doing the best performance I can in previews, festivals and clubs.
If you have ever liked or enjoyed me (on or offline) please can you support me and do one of the following things –
- RT this tweet. It’s from my account linking to this article and includes my poster. The more I can get the word out to people that my venue has changed the better.
- Tweet my poster (here’s a high quality image you can download, rip and share on & show link (with the correct show /venue info) and the hashtag #BuddhismAndCats. This will help get me more exposure and (I hope) get some people to come to the show.
- Share this blog post / my show link (here) on your Facebook. With a small note which explains why you’re doing it and that people should give it a punt.
- Please vote for my poster in the Poster Comedy Competition here. Myself and Bella (the artistic director on all of the imagery) have worked super hard on all of this and if we win, we’ll be splitting the money 50:50. The winnings would help cover the loss of the money for the programme and for Bella, she’ll get an unexpected bonus. The audience vote competition is won by the person who gets the most votes… so even if you voted my poster 1 star 100 times, it helps.
- Join my mailing list or follow me on Twitter. If you can’t make the Fringe, I am looking at taking the show to other places around the country… by registering with either of these places I can see where you are in the country and plan my “tour” accordingly.
- Reserve your FREE ticket to come see my show…I’m on the Free Fringe, however I have made EventBrite ticket links for all the shows. I’ve done this for two reasons -i) if something does go wrong (again) I can contact you directly to let you know.
ii) I get a rough idea of how many people might be coming to each show.Get your ticket here –
7th Aug 2015
8th Aug 2015
9th Aug 2015
10th Aug 2015
11th Aug 2015
12th Aug 2015
13th Aug 2015
14th Aug 2015
15th Aug 2015
16th Aug 2015
17th Aug 2015
18th Aug 2015
19th Aug 2015
20th Aug 2015
21st Aug 2015
22nd Aug 2015
23rd Aug 2015
24th Aug 2015
25th Aug 2015
26th Aug 2015
27th Aug 2015
28th Aug 2015
29th Aug 2015
If you do any of these things, please do tag me in them. I’ll be routinely checking the hashtags etc to thank everyone personally for their support.
Thanks for any and all support,