James Ross - volunteer with PBH's Free Fringe, comedian and improviser gave us the low-down on all things PBH - how to apply, what to expect from a venue, how the Free Fringe differs from the Free Festival and from the paid Fringe. Marxist rants are definitely going to ensue. Transcript is below.
Star of BBC's Uncle, Nick Helm, talked to us about his 16 years of Edfringe experience, including ripping on a certain Fringe publication at length, making £50 on one of his shows and some of the unexpected results of doing a Fringe show. Warning: contains tangents (and swears)
Sketch comedian James Hamilton (or Jay-Ham, as we like to call him here at Cracking the Fringe HQ) gave us his best tips about flyering, poster design and other ace advice about the Fringe. Check out his sketch troupe Casual Violence, and follow him on Twitter @JamesHamilton. Click "Read More" for full transcript.
Improviser, comedian and Foster's Best Newcomer Nominee Cariad Lloyd chatted to us over Skype one morning as she made cookies. She talked about The Artist's Way, finding free accommodation and how she spends her days in Edinburgh (hint: LITERALLY ROLLING IN MONEY). She also gets philosophical about the pros and cons of doing free vs paid shows and the shock of her Foster's nomination. For the transcript, click "Read More."
Jay Foreman is one of our best Edinburgh buddies. Not only does he have a terrifying head/foot, he also has eight Fringes behind him. In this interview, he treats us to some guitar playing and some hilarious insights about the life of a solo stand-up taking on the Fringe, the importance of having fun and what to do when you get home. Click "Read More" to see a transcript.
Producer and artist manager Beth O'Brien, founder of Ditto Productions gave us a great overview of her Fringe year, her advice for getting press to come in, and what her average Fringe day looks like [hint: it's really, really long]. Click Read More to see the transcript. (The first question, cut out is "what is your favourite Fringe memory?")
In the fortnight before we published Cracking the Fringe, we discovered Freestival, the new contender in the free fringe market for 2014. We managed to get a quick mention of them in the book, but we also contacted them to offer a full interview.
What is Freestival?
Freestival is a fresh new addition to the free scene at the Edinburgh Fringe, dedicated to creativity and quality, and run professionally by people with many years of Edinburgh Fringe Festival experience.
Advertising in the Fringe Guide (the free publication that lists every show at the Fringe that pays for registration) is notoriously expensive. A 1/2 page advert in the Fringe Guide in 2014 costs nearly £3000. Comedian and member of the Fringe Society Gareth Morinan caused a stir in 2013 when he found a loophole: by registering the different dates of his show as separate shows, he was able to taking up almost a whole page of the Fringe Guide with his show, but at a fraction of the cost. We interviewed him about the whole thing.
When did the idea come to you to enter a series of times?
I actually had it first in 2012. I was looking at the Fringe programme and racking my head over how to get value for money out of it, when I noticed the pricing structure for shows doing shorter runs at the festival. So that year I had 7 listings, but it didn't really work; most people assumed I was an idiot for doing 7 different shows (it was actually only 4 different shows). On a side note my good friend Mr Barry Ferns had the same idea that year and listed 5 different shows together, but he admitted to me it also didn't really work.
With interest in free shows at the Edinburgh Fringe growing every year, we decided to interview Alex Petty, who runs Laughing Horse, about applying to the Free Festival.
How do applications for the Free Festival work?
We start taking applications through the Free Festival Website in December (www.freefestival.co.uk), where there are listings and technical specifications of all of our venues for performers to browse, and an online form that gets all of the information we need from performers about them, and their shows to us.
What is your ultimate flyering technique?
I decided that handing out as many flyers as possible was both boring and pointless and so developed a mildly illegal but extremely effective way of my own. I pick either one person out of a group or a lone wanderer and start a conversation. It would usually go like this: