Fringe 2010 will be just as diverse and exciting as previous years. Being a part of something as huge as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe means there will be many different things for you to consider, or at least be aware of. This section covers everything from basic fringe knowledge to the legality of sticking up posters.
While programmes for individual shows are traditional in theatrical productions, they are not the norm at the Fringe. They may be necessary for you to give more information about the company or acknowledge sponsors and donors, but they are an extra expense in an already print-saturated environment and may not have the impact you would like. If you decide to provide programmes, general practice is to keep the costs low and distribute them to your audience for free. It is worth considering that journalists may want a cast list, so make sure you get copies out to your venue box office or press office, as well as the Fringe Media Office.
As mentioned in the previous section on flyers, if your gimmicks are clever and relevant to your show, they may stack the odds in your favour. On the other hand, they are a gamble and usually expensive, so make sure that you have the necessary funds. The best advice is be original. In previous Fringes, gimmicky flyers have included fake money, chocolate flyers, flyers that double as hand-held fans, souvenir postcards, daily planners, playing cards and sudoku puzzles.
Unless you have proven ability and talent in graphic design you should leave it to the professionals. It is not worth skimping in this area as advertising in the official Fringe Programme and your flyers and posters have a huge influence on Fringe audiences.
You may be able to negotiate a reduction on a designer’s fee in exchange for an advert or credit on your publicity. You could also contact a local art college or university, as they may be willing to take it on as a project or for a smaller fee. Put a call out for designers on Facebook and Twitter and ask your friends to pass the information onto their contacts.
Local Edinburgh printers are very familiar with the process and requirements of print for Fringe acts. They, as well as other printers around the UK, often offer special discounts for Fringe related print. Many printers will have advice and suggestions on keeping costs down. Discuss your budget and requirements with your printer. You will need to know roughly how many flyers and posters you will need when requesting quotes and this will be dependant on your budget and distribution resources.
Once you have all your print ready to go, it’s time to plan where and when to get it out there. General Fringe practice is to distribute flyers and posters every day you perform and to concentrate on getting your ‘image’ out in the public eye in the week leading up to your first show.
Most performers factor in a few hours of distribution into their daily routine. Doing your own distribution is a good way to cut costs, though it does take a lot of time, energy and resilience. If you have cast and crew who are available for a few hours a day, this will help with the taxing job of distributing your own print media.
Alternatively, you can allow for a distribution fee in your budget for a professional distribution company. There are pros and cons to this choice. While professional companies are trained, know the city well, have access to more sites and can keep track of your print and pick-up rates, they can also be expensive and won’t know your show like the cast and crew do. If you have room in your budget, it can be a worthwhile choice, but try to get the distribution team along to see the show, bearing in mind most companies will want your print in advance of the Fringe to organise your campaign.
THE FRINGE GUIDE TO SELLING A SHOW REFERENCE