The fringe embryo is five weeks old now. And it is just an embryo. It has no eyes or limbs or character, just the promise of something hard work and amazing. It would not know if I aborted it, but I would know and so would my peers. I have moments of doubt and fear mixed in to the excitement now and I ask myself seriously- ‘’are you having this baby because everyone else has one, because it is what you are meant to do next? Or are you actually broody?’’
I have recently been on an away gig with 2 comedians who have both produced performed and made money in festivals. Neither of these comedy dads professed to have too much positive to say about the whole experience. They quote exhaustion, critics and finance/ pulling in crowds as big strains. (This could be a real baby after all)
So are these three pressures unavoidable? I have decided not- so I plan a strategy to cope with them
Exhaustion- Pick a run time I can cope with, the whole festival would be too much with work and my real kids. 6 to 10 days being my preference. Also make sure I can get time off from work and double check with the family that they are all ok with this. In a fringe, your show is not the only hour of work you will do in a day. I did 40 shows last year in slots in showcases, this is vital for not only plugging your show, but just for experience. You also HAVE to flyer. This seems to take a couple of hour’s every day. Plus it is the fringe man, I got to have time to party and watch shows too.
Critics- One of the comics I went away with had about 25 reviews, the show was a success and he was proud of it, but it still bothered him that 3 reviews weren’t totally positive. I have watched far more comedy than I have done and I rarely see any merit in the reviews I read. So how do I stop the fact that the mother in law is telling me I am doing it all wrong steal my newborn baby joy.
I could not ask her opinion. There is an option, can I not be reviewed? Apparently it isn’t an option, you put your kid in a pageant, and you risk people calling it a hideous munter. Could I try my best work hard and love it and not listen to what others say. I think this is my best option. I am pretty intuitive, I will know if the baby is a fucktard or a future icon. Fact is the baby won’t be happy if mommy isn’t happy. Mommy won’t be happy if she listens to the mother in law, she never liked her anyway so even if she occasionally says nice things, she will not believe her.
Finances- This is where you have to remember you are not an artist, but a business woman. The financial strain is complex for me, because although I probably have a lot more money that the younger ones starting out in comedy, the cash I have is not just mine to spend. I will have to be wise. Dead beat dad Jason has given me a list of suspected costs for the Adelaide baby.
Register the baby- $395 before the middle of October
Venue hire- approx 150 per night including sound and door people
Posters and flyers- hopefully get friends to help make them. Printing 100 A3 posters will cost about $80, and then it costs around $1 per poster to display them.
Insurance- $130ish http://www.duckforcover.com.au/minigen/
So a 10 night run will cost me $2110 potentially.
You can cut costs by going a cheaper venue, or a poor time slot. I am lucky in so much as I have a quite clearly defined demographic- Nurses, probably 30 and over. I need a venue with a bar; I need a timeslot that lets them get home from work and sort kids.
Fringe tickets usually cost $15; I will have to sell 15 tickets a day to break even! I work out the figures for 7 nights; I still have to sell 15 tickets a night. ABORT, ABORT!
Ok, panic over. I could sell 15 each night. Primarily I write the best show I can and I have fun but I also target nursing agencies, hospitals, health centres. I pick the right venue. I pick the right time. Group bookings will be my saviour. I maintain a database of people that have watched my gigs and liked them, and a database of people I have done interviews, publicity and podcasts with; I will need them nearer to the birth.
There are two sides to this fringe, business and arty. I think I can give both a good crack. The baby doesn’t NEED anything! But if I give it lots of attention it should pay for itself eventually, Ahhh! I am broody after all.
Special thanks to Lori bell, Jason Pestell and Kate Burr for advice this trimester. Thanks for reading.