Edinburgh Eight Steps

Eight Steps To A Better Fringe: Q5

Published on Sunday 28 July 2019

This summer we are asking some of our favourite Fringe people to offer their advice – sometimes sensible, sometimes silly – for getting the most out of the Edinburgh Festival in eight steps, by answering out eight quick quiz questions. Here are the answers to question five…

Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?

Ian Smith: As useless as this advice may seem, just working on making the show as good as it can be – and, for stand-up comedians in particular, there are a ton of guest slots where you can perform and plug the show. Book in as many as you can do without tiring yourself out.

Oliver Forsyth: Not the most helpful advice, in fact it’s painfully obvious, but making your show very good will go a long way. I think it can be easy in the chaos of Fringe to start prioritising all the noise around the Festival, rather than the work. Make something excellent and people will come. I hope!

James Rowland: Focus on making your show as good as possible. You can’t force people into your room, but the better your show is, the more people will want to come.

Andy Field: It really helps if the show is good. Like, if people leave your show and they say “that was great, let’s tell all of our friends”, that’s a very good sign. I once heard someone leave a show of mine and say “yknow what, I think I prefer just watching stand-up on TV”. Naturally, attracting audience for that one was an uphill battle.

Joz Norris: I honestly think the most important thing is to have an amazing show you love and care about every day. Also, invest in your flyerers. Give them your time and energy and care and support, because their enthusiasm for your show will count for a lot.

The Thinking Drinkers: Talking to people always helps. Get involved in any of the live chat shows. Social media is important too – but beyond that, let word of mouth do the work. And it does actually work. Oh, and try not to stress too much about it all – it’s just mucking about really and if you’ve got a good show then you’ve done all you can.

Alex Gwyther: Be sociable and speak to other performers, as they will also come and see your show. Social media is really important. Build a network of other shows online, maybe by using hashtags.

Samantha Pressdee: Track them down on social media! Find people looking for show recommendations on Twitter and recommend yourself. If you are not comfortable selling yourself create a spy account. Go undercover.

Scream Phone: We once made a rule that we’d only take a flyer if the flyerer made us laugh. So get some good chat prepared for those long hours on the Mile. And try to make a genuine connection with people when talking about your show rather than just shoving unwanted flyers into people’s hands.

Naomi McDonald: Talk to people’s faces! Boldly approach them and pitch your show with genuine enthusiasm and the response might surprise you. The amount of times people would say ‘what… that’s actually you on the flyer?!?!? I’m definitely coming then!’ was quite astonishing.

Natano Fa’anana: Bounce off your friends. Give shout outs to your colleagues and they’ll do the same for you. Flyer for one another. Support one another.

John-Luke Roberts: If you’re flyering, talk to people, it’s the only way. Handing out bits of paper and shouting a sentence about your show won’t do much good at all – you’ve got to engage people in discussion. Any discussion: it doesn’t even have to be about the show, you just want them to feel emotionally obliged to support you financially.

Just These Please: We’ve really found that the best way of getting people in, building an audience and spreading the word is by having prolonged chats with people. The half-hearted palmed-off flyer is no match for a genuine chat in the beer garden.

Jordan & Skinner: Make pals with people you meet around town. And that includes anyone and everyone – so taxi drivers, waiting staff, hotel/hostel receptions. They might pass details of your show on to other people. They might not, of course, but at least you’ve had a nice chat!

Micky Overman: Ask your audience to tell people and Tweet about it. Word of mouth is such a strong sell. The people that say “if you make a good show, they’ll come” are right. But it only counts for, like, the REALLY good shows. So unless you’ve made some kind of masterpiece, ask people to tweet.

Susan Harrison: Going to see other people’s shows and chatting to them online, or in real life, can be a nice way to swap bums on seats.

Julia Croft: Make friends with folks at the Fringe and ask them to come along. Word of mouth seriously works better than flyering, so just start chatting to people.

Tanya Agarwal: Have genuine conversations with people about your show instead of just flyering them. Social media is also great for getting the word out.

James McNicholas: One year there was a show on at the Pleasance where, 20 minutes before his show, a guy would run around the courtyard completely naked except for a rugby ball over his genitals. He sold out every day.

Robyn Perkins: Brute force and questionable morals? Is it kidnapping if they are adults? I think with so many performers up there, it is hard to trust complete strangers. As such, ask your audience to tell people – assuming they like you! Also, I find doing as many short spots as possible at compilation shows and then exit flyering is great. That way people see five to ten minutes of you, as a ‘try before you buy’ type thing. But make sure you stick around until the end to hand out flyers… people have a short memory.

Ed Night: False advertising.

Sukh Ojla: Twitter, outdoor advertising, Tinder? I honestly have no idea!

Chelsea McGuffin: I think this is the million dollar question! Be bold, stay true to your show. Don’t over sell yourself. Promote other people. The more we help each other the more we all benefit. Enjoy it. At the end of the day we don’t have that much control over it.

Eric Lampaert: A gun.

Al Samuels: If they won’t come in the show, slowly pat your pocket and give them the “I’ve got a gun and I’ll use it if you don’t see this show” look. Sorry, I’m American. This is how we solve our problems.