Saturday, December 8, 2007

Review: The DC Fringe

Review: The DC Fringe

Mr. Fringey's Description: The Metrosexual Bohemian

Mr. Fringey’s Festival Ranking: 4 ½ bow ties out of 5:

Sunny-side: Urban with community. The fringe reviewers are mostly prominent well-known journalists and they like to hob-knob with the performers. You can easily make important connections for your career. DC feels like Europe. It feels really huge… like the entire city is fringing! The performances are top notch and edgy! The fringe provides you with an e-mail list of all your audience members so you can thank them and add them to your invite database (How cool is that?!) They have free workshops for performers during the fringe!

Flip-side: It’s spread out and really huge. Unless you are an extrovert, you’ll have to work to meet and tap into the fringe community.

Your Money Sock: You’ve got your choice in DC whether to go the cheap route or the expensive route. To me it’s got the best of both worlds. You can eat cheap or go out an splurge.

How to Fill Your Seats: Best bet for marketing is the usual route: Stand outside the most popular shows and hand out your cards as others exit and enter the show. You won’t see many other performers doing this, so you’ll most likely feel like there’s a city ordinance against it. Don’t worry, there’s not.

The crowds are here and they’re there to see shows. If you get your cards in some hands, you can pack your venue. Hands-down one of the easiest new fringes to pack a house – even on off days and times. I did a midnight show to a nearly full house.

Marketing Angle: I don’t recommend spending money for an ad in a festival program, but for this one I do. It’s worth the money. Also, this is a fringe community with an active blog site through the Washington City Paper. Audience members actually read and participate in the “Fringe or Purge” discussions. Also, the fringe reviewers hang out with the performers so it feels like a really unique community.

No need for a marketing angle here. Do your typical postcard salsa dance, hit up your Myspace list and your DC contacts via e-mail. An easy fringe to market.

Fringe Specs:

Age in Fringe Years: A gifted 3-year old who is already taking college courses on-line at the community college.

Festival Dates: July 10-27

Application Deadline: December 31.

Applying: Snail-mail with $45.

Festival Cost: $600

Ticket Prices: 0-$15 – Performers pay to see other shows, unless you make contact with a performer ahead of time and they fill out an on-line comp for. Really rather complicated!

Payment: 70% of door. All money sent within 30 days.

Showcase: None in 2007.

Venue Location: Venues are spread through the vast city. You’ll need a car or public transport to get around.

Travel: Fly into DC and then take the Metro in. I stayed with a friend in Arlington and took the metro in for my shows.

Travel Advisory: If you plan on parking in DC, it’ll cost around $10-$20 per show. Make sure you bring a rolling carrier for your gear in case you have to park far away from your venue.

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