Are you spending big this Fringe? | We ask Edinburgh comedians if they're paying for lots of extras... and if so, why?

Are you spending big this Fringe?

We ask Edinburgh comedians if they're paying for lots of extras... and if so, why?

If you're paying for things like venue, PR, posters, etc, why did you make that decision? And if you're not, do you think you'll be at a disadvantage?

I want to give the show I've worked hard on the best chance of being seen. Itt feels like an arms race, and unfortunately it's working class acts that can get left behind or have to deal with massive financial anxiety.
Ian Smith: Crushing, Monkey Barrel at The Tron at 1.35pm

I’m at a paid venue (Gilded Balloon) and am paying for PR. I’ve got production support too which means they front a lot of the initial costs, then take them out of the settlement after the festival. Before last year I didn’t know that was a thing, but it makes the build up much more manageable from a cashflow perspective and takes some of the burden off the performer. I’m in a very fortunate position to have the support of agents and the savings to cover additional costs. It’s my ‘debut’ so there’s very much a feeling of ‘throw everything at the wall’. I felt like I would really regret not having PR if I didn’t have a great Fringe, the ‘what ifs’ afterwards… Having done the Fringe before in a group without PR, it’s exhausting emailing all the journalists and having to sell yourself. We paid for PR for the first time last year and I do think it made a difference, we certainly got more reviewers in and in part you’re paying to not have to think about that element. I do think it’s got the point where it’s very hard to generate buzz without paying for PR, which certainly isn’t fair. It feels like the Fringe is veering away from being a ‘fringe’ and is just becoming a festival proper, where to be successful you need representation, an existing audience, a social media following, and budget for advertising and PR. I’m not convinced it’s a good environment, or even feasible anymore, for early career creatives who are just starting out and trying things.
Kathy Maniura: Objectified , Gilded Balloon Teviot, 4.40pm

I’ve come up and done split bills or work-in-progress shows, so this is the first year I’m going all in. You only get one debut, I’ve worked incredibly hard on this show and I don’t want to be up there in August thinking, ‘Oh I wish I hadn’t skimped on that’. I’m allergic to breaking even
Paddy Young: Hungry, Horny, Scared, Pleasance Courtyard 9:35pm

We want an audience! It's delusional to believe we can do this without advertising, the competition for attention is so massive. Anyone going up that doesn't have a huge following already is going to struggle if they don't utilise some form of marketing. Not to say that can't be done for next to no money, but we're trying our best to make the comedy part the focus, not wrangling audience members every day.
Zoe Brownstone & Dom McGovern: Tied for Second , Just The Toni  Subatomic  4:30pm

I didn't get a PR because I am cheap and controlling, but I am paying big for all the other things (outdoor marketing, venue, etc). Sometimes I am so excited and proud. Other times, I think, wait, am I paying £8,000 to go theatre sleepaway camp? Yeah, that thought haunts me. But hey the Fringe is all about taking risks. I worked really hard on making a great show, I have to hope the rest will fall into place
Abigail Paul: Involuntary Momslaughter, Greenside Riddle's Court 6:35pm

I am part of the Free Fringe as I wouldn't be able to afford the festival otherwise. No PR for the same reason. I have a few festivals in different cities/countries under my belt and that may help my ability to get attention and flyering is still the greatest means by which to get people through the door for a free show. But I will still definitely be at a disadvantage as I don't know how to get on the big stages, the line up shows, and the radar of a lot of important outlets
Matt Harvey: Wage Against The Machine, Canons' Gait, 8:15pm

I was self-produced last year (and still am, this year). I did all my own publicity, flyering and marketing (spent £100 total on the physical posters). I got just two reviewers - one watched a tape and couldn't follow my cadence of speech and the second came in on a preview night (which for a debut performer with under a year's performance experience was a death blow). I was bummed but confused that my first show traveled the world to bigger and bigger rooms, despite this lack of review. This year, I was sure I would only go if I could afford a professional to handle publicity. Otherwise it seemed unfair that lesser shows with bigger foghorns got most of the accolades.
Anu Vaidyanathan: Blimp, Underbelly Bristo Square, 7:15pm

I'm paying about £120 quid for flyers, in my experience as a free fringer, this is the best way to get folk in. It's also a great way to meet new people - LOL, not really, it's actually very tiring and gruelling, lmfao
Ruth Hunter: The Ruth is on Fire, The Banshee Labyrinth, 5:10pm

I paid for pr because I'm not a debut, my first few Edinburgh shows were real stinkers, because I didn't respect the idea of working hard on something for a year. Then I gave it a proper go and I had a great one last year and would have struggled to convince a reviewer to come watch it.

I still would have a had a great show but no one would give a shit
Alison Spittle: Soup, Monkey Barrel Hive, 1:35pm

I highly value posters and their design –  it’s an expression of the show and therefore it IS  the show. It’s often the first thing the audience sees of a show, so cutting through the noise of other shows, being yourself and being incentivised is worth spending money. I’ve never done PR until this year - things are coming in so it seems good….things like this
Adam Flood: Remoulded, Monkey Barrel at The Hive 3:20pm

It's an investment to try and bring exposure to my shows and attract a larger audience that will hopefully donate generously.
Lucas Jefcoate and Serena Smart: Smart and Dumber, West Port Oracle, Plane Room 6:15pm

I will be paying for posters and participating in the Free Fringe. I did a fancy paid venue last year and it was so expensive and so not worth it based on the support they gave me. My decisions are purely financial in that I cannot afford to make the loss I did last year. I do feel like I'm at a disadvantage to people who pay for PR and have a nice venue because simply put, with a team around you, it is easier to get things done
Michael Kunze: Infinity Mirror, Laughing Horse at Three Sisters, 11am

I am paying because I have a story I really want to share with the greatest audience possible. I have a PR, I have graphic designers and producers. Essentially, I am employing people who are better than me to do things I can't do, in order for me to get my story across as far and wide as possible
George Zacharopoulos: Wonderland, Pleasance Dome, 8:30pm

It has to be done. It isn't even a necessary evil. Every comedian has to promote
Ciaran Bartlett's Machine Gun Of Filth, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 10:30pm

I'm paying for PR, and I made that decision at the behest of people I trust that have done EdFringe before. I think a major DISADVANTAGE of paying for PR, for me, is the amount of work I've been on the hook for. I get pretty focused and would ideally be spending all my time bettering the show. Instead I have to find time to answer Q+A's, pitch and write op-eds, etc., and that's time that comes out of working on the show itself
Avital Ash Workshops Her Suicide Note, Monkey Barrel at The Tron at 10:05pm

After three years of doing the Free Fringe, this will be my first year doing a theatre venue. I held off doing a venue because of the expenses, but after getting a sense of this huge fest and building credibility, I decided to take the leap to a venue now that I feel ready to make use of the bigger platform that a venue can offer. The cost is much higher but there are lots of perks like: a more central location, more lighting/tech capabilities, in-house marketing, inclusion in printed brochures, etc.
Anesti Danelis: This Show Will Change Your Life, Underbelly Bristo Square, 3:55pm

The general rule-of-thumb is 'if sometimes sees the same image more than three times, they'll pay attention to it'. That's the advantage advertising, which we have both online and on-the-streetHowever, if you're going to pay for that, you need to make sure  the poster is a strong, recognisable design. Furthermore, that the imagery is consistent. From Facebook, to large-print, to flyer - a consistency across all will generate the desired familiarity.  The one thing to note is that we have built a budget across four years of Fringe; we weren't able to afford this in the first two years. It was a disadvantage, yet we still grew in those first two years. It depends if you're happy to play the long game really, which I think is something required for Fringe in general.
Biscuit Barrel: The 69-Sketch Show, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 3.40pm

I am paying for venue, posters etc because I require the extra help. This is my first time at the fringe and if I don't make sure I have spent money on getting my show out there and reaching as many people as possible then my story is at risk of being lost among a sea of shows
Joe White: Ethiopian and Still Not Hungry, The Gilded Balloon Teviot 9pm

I know my strengths and for me it made more sense to take on a second job and use the extra money for design and PR rather than doing it myself
Colleen Lavin: Do the robots think I'm funny?, Greenside Riddles Court Clover Studio, various times

Coming in as an international acts you want to succeed so bad that you're just willing to throw the whole kitchen sink at it. I'd rather do too much than too little
Schalk Bezuidenhout: Keeping Up, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 5pm

Performing at the fringe is a gamble. Like going to the casino, you only bet with whatever you can make peace with losing
Nathan D'Arcy Roberts: Present/Tense, Gilded Balloon Teviot at 4:20pm

CW: Dark or Gallows humour alert. My PR last year involved unintentionally highjacking an article about the death of my friend Ian Cognito in The Guardian to talk about my show.  This year I ran a wake for alternative comic and friend Tony Allen who isn’t dead, yet. So I guess what I’m saying is that I seem to have unintentionally evolved a method for using dead and dying comedians PR. Next year, continuing with my macabre theme  I will be sending out press releases using a ouija board just to see what happens – it’s probably a more effective a tactic than many employed by professional agents especially with the number of performers using PR agents this year. This year the best PR maybe to have no PR as, ironically, that might actually help you stand out from all the other acts who haven’t enlisted the services of the Grim Reaper to do their PR
Becky Fury: Identity , Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, 7.45pm

I don't understand this question. Are some people not paying for these things? Is this whole thing a scam like The Truman Show and I'm the only one actually getting fleeced?
Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johansson, Assembly George Square, 1:40pm

Published: 8 Aug 2023

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