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What I learned from FringeNYC

September 10, 2012

First, my apologies for being MIA. I have been around, and if you were in NYC this summer, you probably knew that. I spent July and August promoting and producing the heck out of my solo show From Busk Till Dawn, which I did as part of FringeNYC. It’s over, which in the theater, always brings a little sadness, but in my case, I don’t have time, cause in 5 days, I’m getting married! Also, I am glad to have something else to worry about, which I will surely say in 2 weeks when the wedding and honeymoon are over, on to the next thing right?

Doing FringeNYC, and doing it alone, man do you learn a lot. I hope this can be a help to anyone producing in the future so I am just going to kind of let my fingers go here.

Number 1-if your show is 45 minutes long, tell Fringe it’s 55 minutes long. You don’t get penalized if your show is shorter, but if you go a second over, man, no dice.

Number 2-get rid of your postcards. If you order 5,000 postcards, give them away and give them away like they have the plague. There is nothing more annoying than this 1/2 box of 3,000 postcards I paid for and never handed out sitting in my already cramped apartment.

Number 3-know your tech for your show before you go in. You get hardly any time to tech it, your first two performances are basically teaching yourself (or your actors) where the light is. This is true of all festivals, but man that doesn’t make it cool.

Number 4-be wary of doing what other people do. I bought a much bigger ad in the program than I needed, because I panicked and didn’t do enough research, some of this was my fault, and some I blame on the guilting tactics Fringe uses to sell ads. On this same note, if you have a show that most likely won’t be put into a huge venue, think about advertising even more carefully. If you are in a theater that only has 50 seats, can you sell that out without spending another $3-500 on advertising?

Number 5-don’t expect anything from the fest. Yeah, I know Fringe does publicity and all that, but the fact is, my show was mixed in with 186 others, some good, some not so, but still 186 others. I managed to get decent crowds, but it was because I plugged the heck out of the show. I know some people who were very disappointed because they couldn’t get 15 people in let alone 50, and I asked them what kind of marketing and promotion they did, they didn’t.

Number 6-know, trust, be friends—with your Stage Manager, Light person, director. I say this from the solo perspective especially. Doing a lot of the events and required things as well as the fest experience as a whole can be lonely if you don’t have people you can trust working with and on your show. I get that some people have to hire for certain jobs, but if you can get friends who will be there with you for the experience, that helps a lot.

Number 7-don’t be so serious. I know, I know, I poured my heart and soul into this show for years and here I am putting it up right. But at the end of the day, it should be fun, and this fest, which has turned some shows into big hits (Urinetown, Matt and Ben) mostly just gives a lot of shows a chance to work things out. I got some good reviews, good responses, but no one called and asked me to put it up at the Roundabout. HBO hasn’t offered me millions to make a mini series, but that’s ok, cause I got to do it, my friends got to see it and I had fun.

Producing is always hard and lots of work, Fringe makes some things easier and some much harder due to the fact that there are 180 plus other shows. I hope some of what I learned can help you!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2012 6:06 pm

    great lessons. The Postcard lesson and the over-estimating your time apply very well to the Edinburgh Fringe too!

  2. September 10, 2012 6:07 pm

    PS, and congratulations on your show and upcoming wedding!

  3. September 11, 2012 11:26 am

    Love that you did this. Your show was fantastic and I’m glad to hear all the work of producing it was worthwhile. So excited to see pics of your fab wedding this weekend!! 🙂

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