Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Question of the Day: Fringe Post Cards

Q: Dear Mr. Fringey,
Read your reviews of Cap Fringe. Wondering how many postcards I need. As an out of towner, I won't be able to pre-distribute cards many places and my trip to DC is actually a family vacation. So I can hand out cards... but not a full court press. The Fringe recommends printing 3000. That amount seems excessive to me (?). Wanted to get your advice.

A:3,000 cards is excessive! I don't know where they got that whack number from, especially since the Cap fringe isn't really a postcard fringe.

You hardly see any performers handing out postcards in DC. You’ll see me and if you join me, then you can feel like a freak like me. At other fringes, everybody is fighting to get a good spot to hand out their cards. In DC it’s like a ghost town.

I run 1,000 per fringe and my other fringe pals who sell out their fringe shows run the same amount. To really get the most bang for your buck I would only devote 20% to stacks around town and at Fringe central. So don’t sweat the stacks!

That means 800 should be put in the hands of ticket buyers directly.

Once you're there, you'll get an idea of which fringe shows are sell-outs. When you find out, you'll want to get outside the door when that show ends and put a card in everyone that leaves the show.

That’s it. Good luck!
Mr. Fringey

PS. The second most effective way to market your show at the Cap fringe besides the Postcard is the Shout Out!

What is this? Well, since I already know your show is going to be good, at the end of my show I’m going to shout out, “Hey everyone, if you’re looking for another great show to see, make sure you check out “so and so’s show.” I may give out up to 4 shout outs at the end of my show. This is totally cool to do at the Fringe.

Often, at the end of my show I’ll say, “Are there any other fringe performers in the audience who have a show?” Then, I’ll ask them to stand up and announce their show.


Tim said...

Great advice, Mr. Fringey. First time I fringed at the Rogue Festival (Fresno, California) I was approached by another show to be a publicity buddy-- they would plug me, and I would plug them. I said, why not? and tried it... only to discover mid-Festival that my publicity buddies were the worst reviewed show in town.

I quickly learned that inviting performers in the audience to plug their own shows (and there were always performers in the audience) was appreciated by both performers and audience.

And my printer gave me a deal on 1000 postcards, so that's all I've ordered. ;-)

Amy said...

When I used a printing company that wasn't fantastically cheap, I'd try to be frugal with how many postcards I was getting for each Fringe. Now, though, I found the cheapest company EVER -- like, mind-bogglingly inexpensive -- so now I have no problem printing 1000 per Fringe. Usually that's plenty. The Fringe that's the exception is Edmonton. I brought 1000 postcards, and went through them all in the first 3 days. I reprinted postcards FOUR TIMES (at Office Depot) over the course of the 12 Fringe days, creating either 250 or 500 each time (first in color, then, when I could no longer afford that, black and white)...and all of those were given out by hand to folks in line for other shows or in line at the box office. Which means I did indeed probably make 3000, and hand-flyered 80% of them. If/when I do Edmonton again (and boy will I if I I get in!!!!), I will pre-print 4000 and save myself all those trips to the copy desk!! :D