Fringe Office Survey

The fringe office launched its on-line survey for participants today.

The questions are quite comprehensive but for the record I’m listing my some of my answers here. If you agree with any of my points then please mention them yourself.

Do you think that the Fringe Society registration fee represents good value for money?

This is difficult to comment on because a lot of the services the fringe society organise aren’t immediately noticeable. The gates on the Royal Mile, the distribution of the guide and the cleaning up of Edinburgh afterwards. I don’t think the price should go over £300 for listing a show before the discount deadline.

Do you think the commission rate (6%) on ticket sales represents good value for money?

I think the more expensive ticket booking costs the more expensive it makes it for audiences to come to the fringe. This could mean less audiences in the future. So I think they should be careful not to increase costs at all. It’s a very expensive holiday to come to the fringe and I think they should give the audiences a break wherever possible. How they arrived at 6% is a bit of mystery. I’m guessing the process could be made more efficient with a decent computing system.

Do you think the purpose and activities of the Fringe Society are clear?

Got to be honest I struggle to see what they spend all the money on.

Did you go to any of the events at Fringe Central?

No. Some of the events didn’t appeal to me at all and being in two shows makes it very difficult to attend these events. I think more Road-shows might be a good idea when people aren’t working hard everyday trying to raise an audience.

Do you have any other comments on other Fringe Society services, such as registration, programme entry, information and advice and the Box Office?

I think the brochure needs redesigning. I think it’s too messy inside and confusing to look if you just try to scan through it. Thumbnail images are helpful but the current layout needs some work. I actually started a petition about this, but I seem to have picked the worst site for hosting it.

From a technical point of view I also think the distribution of images to websites need to be looked at. Without getting too technical there are two colour formats for images on computers. CMYK and RGB. CMYK images are files designed for printing and are used to print the brochure, posters and flyers. RGB images are for computer screens and smart-phones. CMYK images don’t show up with the correct colours in web browsers (see below).

How a CMYK file shows up in a web browser and what it should look like.

The image on the right is how my image should have looked in a web browser. As the fringe office circulates images to a number of web publications they should be asking for a separate web ready image, the same as they the do at the Brighton Fringe office.

If you can copy and paste this statement into your questionnaire hopefully this problem will get sorted next year.

“Can you please include an option on the show registration page to upload a web ready RGB image file for circulation to websites, instead of distributing the CMYK printing file which shows up incorrectly in web browsers.”

Approximately how much did staging your show at the Fringe cost?

I don’t need to be approximate I’ll tell you exactly how much my shows cost.

Ian Fox Exposes Himself cost:-

£295.20 Fringe Entry Fee
£40 Free Festival contribution.
£27.99 Posters from Fileprint
£20.56 Flyers (one side of flyer shared with The Great Big Comedy Picnic)*
£50 Hire of projector for 1 month.
£62.99 Projection Screen (both screen and projector were unnecessary as it turns out as the room had 3 TV screens).
£39.99 Converter for VGA signal to TV screen

Flyers were printed by 1-2print quote reference code J0B9BP for discount.

£536.73 Total cost. (as you can see I could have saved £112.99 by being more knowledgeable about the room).

Great Big Comedy Picnic costs.

£295.20 Fringe Entry Fee
£40 Free Festival contribution.
£20.56 Flyers (one side of flyer shared)
£30.55 Posters.

£386.31 Total Cost

What was your biggest challenge at this year’s Fringe and what could be done to help companies meet these challenges in the future?

Getting treated fairly by the venues you’re performing in is the biggest challenge. I think it should be part of the agreement with the venues registering that they give performers discounts. If someone is paying to advertise your venue, and actively out on the streets dragging people into your venue and you’re getting a big surge in drink sales out of it, a cup of for £1 or cheap soft drinks and staff discount on food doesn’t seem a lot in return.

Is there anything that the Fringe Society doesn’t currently do that you think it should do?

I think they could do more to recycle left over print materials left in venues.

One thought on “Fringe Office Survey

  1. Hi Ian.

    This was my first year at the fringe and I have to say I couldn’t believe *how much* value I was getting for my Fringe Society registration fee.

    I had an incredible first year – ten 4* & 5* star reviews, page 3 of The Herald, center spread of The Edinburgh Evening News. I crammed 120 a night into my 50 seater room, turned away between another 20 on my quietest night & 100 on my last night (you can see video of half the queue for returns (I’d ticketed my 50 seats a night despite being a free show – here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa5chF7Nejo ) and even got “industry interest” – and I can honestly say that I couldn’t possibly have achieved all that without the help and services provided by The Fringe Society.

    I had at least 8 individual phone calls with the media & participant development office in the run up to the event & 4 face to face meetings while I was there.

    They helped me write my press release, helped me put together a “hit list” of media and industry people to talk to, advised me on the best way to do it, helped me hone my entry for the brochure and advised me on how to promote a stunt (which I actually never got round to doing because I was so busy) and I was only there for 10 days!.

    The facilities provided at Fringe Central were also a crucial factor in making my run a success – I was in there every day making use of the PC’s and printers to update my publicity, chase up reviewers and print out reviews to staple to my flyers.

    You say you didn’t attend any of the events (all free!) that they put on which is a shame.

    I only attended two because of my short run and because, like you, I was also busy with two shows a day (mine and a showcase – sometimes 2-3 showcases) and flyering everyday but both of the ones I did attend proved to be incredibly valuable.

    I attended the “Meet The Media” event which was a hideous scrum but did result in me getting on the Scotsman’s radar and also got me three more reviewers through the door.

    The other I attended was the “participants development workshop” which has brought me actual touring work, two positive meetings with agents & meant I met one of the two shows I am now putting on a London season with.

    I expect if I’d been there for longer I’d have gone to more of their events which would have created more opportunities for me.

    As I say I was gobsmacked how much help and resource my registration fee bought me and it was all just there for the asking. I think the problem is people don’t know it’s there and don’t use it.

    This of course is in addition to all the “background stuff” they do which you allude to and of course the fact that they employ an office full of full time staff all year round. So I can easily see where the registration money goes.

    Do agree with you on the web ready artwork issue and I also think 6% is a bit steep a commission and is in danger of driving prices beyond peoples reach – potentially a problem next year when the Fringe will be competing against the Olympics

    I should also say that the second most useful resource to me as a “first time fringer” was this blog – it’s brilliant! Please keep it up and thank you.

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