The Fringe attracts all types. If your new at the fringe stuff. I recommend checking out my blog entry on "Where to Fringe?"
What Fringe Should I Begin With?
Although most fringes provide "billeting," meaning they find willing volunteers to provide you with housing during your visit, I would suggest that your first fringe either be close to home or in a city where you have a friend to stay with. Your first fringe will be exciting, but it will also be filled with a lot of ups and downs and a small dose of confusion as you attempt to learn the ropes. Having a friend around can really help and doing a fringe close to home can cut down on your costs.
For instance, I live in Richmond, VA and doing the DC FRINGE this year (a 90-minute drive) was fairly effortless.
How Much Money can I make?
On average, you can earn a decent living "doing" the fringe circuit. Performers who have average marketing skills, who are in an established festival with good run times and a popular venue can make $1,200 in ticket sales per festival.
Many of the popular acts or those with some marketing savvy, make between $6,000-$8,000.
If it's your first time at a fringe, expect to be on the low end of the money scale which is about $400. Face it, you're visiting from out of town, you're out of your element, your accommodations may be a little unsettling, you're travel budget is slowly disappearing. The good thing is that the learning curve is fairly small.
The Fringe Circuit
You can apply to each festival separately or apply to six shows at once through the CAAF application form. (Google CAFF to find out more about this) The CAFF application is your "one-stop-shopping" application form! It's the bomb if you really have your heart set on fringing. With the CAFF application, you just apply one time instead of six separate times. If accepted though, you need to be ready to have a big chunk of dough to pay your venue fees. I mean you have to figure, six shows at about $500 a pop and.... well, you get the picture. Truthfully, I couldn't think of a better way to invest in your career and do what you love. I mean where else can you take $3,000 and turn it into $36,000 while doing what you love to do?