Edinburgh Eight Steps

Eight Steps To A Better Fringe: Q7

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 seven…

Performing at the Fringe is partly about building a network. What tips have you got for people looking to make connections in the industry?

Chelsea McGuffin: Be clear about what you want from the Fringe. Make a few great connections that have real potential rather than fifty that are window shoppers that you will never have time to follow up.

Susan Harrison: Be nice, go and see other people’s work, attend workshops if you’re interested in what’s being shared, and if you enjoyed someone else’s show then help them spread the word. What goes around comes around.

Samantha Pressdee: Visit the performers bars and chat to people in there. Ask your peers for introductions. Just be nice to everyone.

Ian Smith: Go and see shows and be nice to people. It’s easy to just focus on yourself and get bogged down with work. Go and see shows by interesting people and congratulate them and start a conversation if you see them afterwards.

Oliver Forsyth: Don’t stay in. It’s only one month, go out, meet people, see their shows and don’t just hunt around for ‘big’ people. Anyone you meet there could be running Paines Plough in five years time, so be nice.

Sukh Ojla: Be friendly. And talk to people as – well – people, and not as potential employers.

Natano Fa’anana: At Casus we have a “no wanker policy”. That’s a good mantra! Every person that crosses your path might play a role in connecting you with the industry. Respect that relationship and don’t be a wanker.

Naomi McDonald: Try and wangle your way into venue member-only bars. Neck as much beer as possible. Then stalk someone who looks important. The smoking area is a great place to corner someone… so I hear.

Scream Phone: KINDNESS! Ask people how they are before asking about their show. We always remember the genuine chats we have with companies, over someone reeling off their show synopsis.

Al Samuels: See other shows similar to yours and compare notes. Talk to anyone you think might be even tangentially interested in the same things you are. You never know. That’s one of the best parts of the Fringe. You become connected – often forever – to people you would have never met outside of Fringe and you never know where it might lead.

Robyn Perkins: Don’t just walk around asking for spots. Be real when talking to people. In terms of things you can do to connect, I would say bars and watch shows. Go to the industry bars. You don’t necessarily have to be at the VIP bars, but there are venues where comics hang out more. Second – and probably more importantly – watch other people’s shows. Performers do not tend to watch as much as they should, so it means a LOT if you put in the time to support other acts.

John-Luke Roberts: If you set out to network, be sincere. People can sniff it if it feels fake – the real key to it is just being nice and friendly. Don’t stop a conversation with a friend or an excited audience member half way through to speak to some bigwig you’ve seen over their shoulder. Don’t forget you’re doing this for the audience, not for the industry.

Just These Please: See other people’s shows and be kind – everyone’s tired! The more supportive you are, the more knowledgeable you become about what’s on and who’s who. Edinburgh is also very much the place for approaching people and asking them questions. You’ll either be greeted with someone willing to share their experience or someone who’s literally just off stage and too sweaty to compute.

The Thinking Drinkers: Sleep with as many people as possible. Not really. It sounds a bit pretentious but the VIP artists bars are a good way of meeting people. Also, go and see as many shows as you can handle and introduce yourself afterwards. It’s always good to meet folk who are in the same boat. Again, stuff like Twitter is also a good way of connecting with people.

Julia Croft: Just be open and friendly, ask people for coffees and drinks, try and bump into them in an artist bar, and know that these things can take a long time. Don’t be impatient and don’t talk about your work too much, be a good human first and be an artist selling their work second.

Alex Gwyther: Be open, listen, be kind, be sociable, be enthusiastic. And leave your ego at home!

Jordan & Skinner: Think local and global. Sometimes the Fringe is a great way to connect with people who are actually based near your home town. And once you’ve made that connection, it’s easy to keep in touch. Also, we’ve found that getting to know other people performing at our venues can be really valuable. These connections have proven to be some of the greatest and longest lasting benefits of performing at the Fringe.

Tanya Agarwal: Buy people drinks and talk about things apart from theatre.

James Rowland: Make good work and be nice… Don’t be shy about telling people you like their shows and, if you see something you like, invite them to yours.

Joz Norris: I think try not to reach too hard for that sort of thing. Invite people you’d like to work with, and stay in touch with them, and if you’re the right sort of thing then they may well try to work with you. But don’t come off too needy or desperate. Those things come to you at the right time if you work hard enough on making something good, and grasping too much for them I think makes them harder to reach.

Micky Overman: I have absolutely no idea, which means I either have absolutely no idea or I want to keep all my secrets to myself. But it is 100% the former. My best guess is sleep your way to the top. Go on!

Ed Night: Sneak into their houses, steal something of theirs, and then say you’ll give it back but ONLY if they put you on the TV.

Eric Lampaert: Slap the most important person at the fringe in the face. They’ll definitely remember you.

James McNicholas: Sleep around. It’s certainly benefited [NAME REDACTED].

Andy Field: Every big venue has a private bar for performers and industry. If you don’t have a pass, just try and blag it. Once inside, find the most influential person you can and simultaneously take a sample of their DNA (hair, saliva, that sort of thing) and poison them. Take the DNA and make a clone. Then you just need to stalk the famous person until they die from the poison, dispose of the corpse, swap in the clone and boom: you have total control over one of the biggest names in comedy. The world is your oyster.