Two seasoned promoters with a history of producing shows at the fringe give their input on the best ways to list your show in the fringe guide. Listings from the 2010 guide are discussed highlighting their opinions on good and bad entries.
Lee Martin from Gag Reflex Management first went to the fringe in 2002 as a punter. In 2004 he started Gag Reflex Management and first produced shows at the fringe in 2005. in 2010 his most successful show was “The Boy With The Tape On His Face” who was nominated for Best Newcomer in the Fosters Comedy Awards. Other shows he’s promoted include Toby Hadoke and Jason Cook.
You can download a full version of the 2010 fringe programme by clicking this link. It is about 68mb and is in PDF format so you’ll need adobe reader to view it. There is also an on-line version here.
Lee Martin: “The first thing that grabs you about this entry is the image. Images with listings are new for 2010, and Mick’s image is very effective. A slightly overweight man with Chippendale collar and cuffs immediately raises interest. The 40 word blurb is particularly effective here as it manages to combine four important things. What the show is about, the fact that he has been on telly, a press quote from a national newspaper and an injection of humour. As blurbs go, this to me is text book.” **
Quantum Sheep and a Load of Balls (page 114)
Alex Petty: “This is pretty much the reason we have the placeholder images so as no one uses photos that bad in their listing. The listing itself sounds fine, the TV reference might be a bit dubious but it gets an idea of what the show is about in the listing, Not really sure it should be in the Comedy section, but it clearly mentions poetry, which obviously has its own audience, and the mention of randomness lets you know the nature of the show and that it’s experimental, so could go one way or the other. Which is great for free shows and proper fringe experience for the audience. The problem is the image. It’s from a bad angle, it’s fuzzy, the colours are bleached out. Just makes the whole thing look amateurish.
Lee Martin: “This listing seems to make two instant mistakes to me. One, the acts name is not in the show title, and two, the picture does not show you who he is. The fringe is about selling yourself and this show has fallen at the first hurdle by forgetting that. The blurb however, is much better. Combining pedigree (Perrier Nominee, Comedy Store Players founder) with quotes from national papers.”
Kunt and the Gang – Complete Kunt (page 88)
Alex Petty: Pretty much everything to do with Kunt’s show was text book marketing. The fringe listing is especially good. The image makes me laugh which is a good start and despite being black and white it’s still quite striking. The blurb gets across the message that he’s got a big following on youtube and instead of using his own web link he lists his youtube account so you can see sample videos, and how many views he’s had. Charlie Brooker is a good person to get a genuine quote from. Plus the mention of his song titles “shaven haven” and “fucksticks” lets you know it’s not hard hitting political satire and gives you an idea what to expect. This was a great show but it wasn’t for everyone and that comes across in the blurb. He’s not trying to get as many people into his show as possible he’s trying to attract the right kind of audience.”
Lee Martin: “If Mick Ferry’s listing is the “How To” of fringe entry, this one is the “How Not To”. The first thing that you see is the extremely amateurish image. A live photo, shot from the side in poor lighting with a crop that does not work well for the 28mm space you get in the fringe brochure. On the off chance that people read on, the blurb itself really undersells the show in a very clumsy manner. It’s basically a compilation show, which is what is described in the blurb, but as a piece of marketing it falls way short.”
Bob Doolally’s World Cup Balls (page 37)
Alex Petty: “Again this is a great example of a listing. Striking image different from those around it in the programme. The Bob Doolally character is summed up in 5 words “alcoholic football pundit from hell”, a clear indication of who he is. It says he “returns from South Africa” so we know it’ll be about the world cup. That would have been written in April before the world cup had even started. It’s clearly been thought through you can see what the show is and what it’s about. Again someone whose trying to attract a specific audience.”
Lee Martin: “Now this entry has confused me in more than one way. First up, it’s one of the few (if not only – I haven’t checked the entire brochure) entries not to have an image. The option of an image in your entry is new for 2010 and is at no additional cost, so I can’t see any reason not to do it. It makes this entry much less appealing than the ones around it. Next up, the blurb. Why? Why would you want to see a competition run by an ATM vendor? I know comedy is a powerful marketing tool at the moment, but I just can’t see any synergy between these two things. There’s nothing in that entry that makes me want to see that show apart from the fact that it is free. No need to visit the cash machine on the way.”
Where There is Muck There’s Funny (page 142)
Alex Petty: Again another listings that’s not paid any attention to picking a decent quality image. This a compilation show and they’re very popular with free audiences, that’s clear from the blurb. It’s just looks amateurish when listed next to other shows because of the poor choice of image.”
Lee Martin: “Now this is a fringe entry that breaks all the “rules” but in some ways, is the exception that proves them. There are acts at the fringe that can disregard all the conventions, and just go for something, either interesting and experimental, or just funny. I think this entry shows all of those things. Simon Munnery is something of a Fringe legend and his run will sell out regardless of his brochure entry.”
Tom Williams – Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury (page 137)
Alex Petty: I think the reason I like this is because of the simplicity. There’s no press quotes. No TV credits or 3rd place in some competition I’ve never heard of. It’s just a straightforward description of the show and photo on a clear white background that really fits in with the jury theme. It looks clean, the stripey shirt catches the eye. Really well done.
**Editor’s note. The Mick Ferry image was one I shot. Once we’d decided on which image to use in the fringe guide I produced 5 different crops of the image.