Leadership team Ben and Jess Meyer-Crosby have been involved in a Fringe or two over the years, but this is the first year they have undertaken the whirlwind festival under the Grey Noise moniker—and they have learned a lot in doing so. Well, today their suffering is your learning experience as they share with you their top tips for surviving your local or international Fringe Festival with sanity intact.
1 Plan Your Viewing Schedule Before Your Rehearsal Schedule
Nothing can ruin a Fringe experience like realizing that you can’t attend one of the shows on your must-see list because of rehearsals for your own show. Assuming that you are your own producer/director for Fringe (which admittedly you may not be), don’t schedule rehearsals during the festival until you have blocked out time for the shows you want to see.
If you are an actor or other all-important lackey involved in a production, give your Fringe viewing schedule to your director or stage manager as soon as possible. If they expect others in the theatre community to come to their show but won’t make allowances for their own actors to attend other performances, they are completely missing the spirit of Fringe.
Spreadsheets are a great option when planning out a tight Fringe schedule, or user-friendly digital calendar platforms like Google Calendar.
2 Use Your Participant Pass Wisely
Financial strain can be one of the biggest causes of stress during Fringe—so many shows to see, all with an average ticket price of ten to twenty dollars? Not easy to swing for most artists. After doing an initial pass-over and pare-down of your viewing list for budgetary reasons, remember to find out how to get your hands on your “participant pass.”
Most festivals will provide steep discounts on festival tickets to other Fringe performers. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE. These will save you money and remove one more barrier from your being exposed to the amazing indie art being made in your backyard. Many passes like the ones for Edinburgh Fringe are actually good for discounts at a variety of local business, restaurants, bars, etc.
Remember, some participant passes are good for rush tickets only. This means that for shows that are likely to sell out, it may be best to purchase at full price ahead of time.
3 Make Actual Food Plans & Stick to Them
Between rehearsing, performing, and catching a few shows for enjoyment’s sake, sustenance can tend to fall by the wayside—often introducing another financial burden of constantly eating out. While a planned night out on the town with dinner and drinks can be just what the doctor ordered during Fringe, continuing to spontaneously grab fast food throughout the festival quickly becomes both unhealthy and expensive.
Once again, planning ahead is your friend here. If you don’t usually, plan a menu for the week(s) of Fringe that includes ingredients needed, estimated prep times for each meal, and which nights you will plan to eat away from home. Be realistic. If you do not have time to cook on a given night, make that one of your nights out on the town. Otherwise you may realize your mistake at the last minute and end up in the drive-thru.
Frozen meals can be incredibly helpful in terms of affordable “real” food that can be whipped up quickly at home. For another creative twist, some artists even use the first-time $60 off coupon provided by in-home meal services like Hello Fresh for only one or two weeks during Fringe and then cancel the service once the festival ends.
4 Flyer Responsibly
Ah, flyering—the quintessential marketing strategy of every Fringe performer. Posting flyers, passing out flyers—it can seem to never end. Here are some tips to make sure that you are getting the most out of your flyering and that it is not taking over your Fringe experience.
First, don’t flyer in heavily trafficked areas. Seem counter-intuitive? Well, how many people do you know who will grab a random flyer on their way to a Fringe show, continue on to the show they are planning to see, and then return later to see the show on the flyer? It is a much better use of time to pass out flyers where people are hanging out—happy hours, crowds around busking performers, sidewalk cafe tables, etc.—and will take a moment to engage with you about whether or not your show is for them.
Secondly, don’t turn every social Fringe outing into a marketing opportunity. Not only will this turn some people off, it will burn you out. Did you flyer all throughout a meetup event yesterday? Dress up and simply attend the one today as a guest. Your mental health will thank you.
What did you expect? Tips on how to function on less sleep?
No. You know the answer to this one. You’re a human. You have to go home at some point. You have to sleep eventually. Might as well give your body some shut-eye before it takes it by force.