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Your friends need you (or just your cash) [Jul. 28th, 2009|08:41 am]
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By Phil King 

Getting a show up to Edinburgh costs money, a lot of money, often a lot of private money from the person or persons driving the project.  Accommodation in Edinburgh is certainly not cheap during the Fringe, nor is travel up and back and the performances themselves aren't cheap to put on.  This is why shows right now are trying to raise as much final cash from you, the beloved public.

Quiz nights, karaoke, sponsored tiddlywinks or whatever are vital parts of a show's budget.   Friends on Facebook will be being regularly messaged with invitations to events of some kind or another.  Your help is desperately required.  It's often about as hard to get it though as to make it on a journey round the M25 with an average speed of anything more than walking pace.  And who can blame people, there's not much spare cash knocking around right now.  We were lucky with our fundraising night as we enlisted the help of stand-up comedian friend to run the night for us, who in turn enlisted the help of other fellow comedians and bands.  Being able to pass this responsibility onto someone else's shoulders freed us up to concentrate on the artistic side - an absolute blessing.  The reality for smaller productions is that the directors, writers and cast will be responsible for getting in people and their hard-earned pay-cheques.

Maybe there are other options though.  We have done what we did last Edinburgh visit and printed a copy of the playtext for sale either after our shows or through our website.  This is a relatively easy option for those working with new writing but it doesn't help those who are performing published works.  Whatever we have ended up doing though I've always had a quick think in my head totting up the hours spent on it, to work out whether we would have been better simply nipping off into our local pubs and working behind the bar.  When you look at it that way it can be considerably better to get everyone out and working than it can be to tin-shake, but that would remove a very good excuse to have some particularly theatrical parties...

"Killing Alan" will be performing at the Underbelly's Big Belly August 6-30 (not 18th) at 16:40. Box Office: Smirnoff Underbelly - 0844 545 8252 / www.underbelly.co.uk, www.roughfiction.com

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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2009-07-28 11:13 am (UTC)

Suggestion

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Why pay professional actors then?
[User Picture]From: edfringelife
2009-07-28 12:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Suggestion

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Professional actors come with a professional training. Even though many shows in Edinburgh this year will be manned entirely by friends who enjoy working together, casting the net wider does allow you to get cast more suited to the specific requirements of the script.

Also for our show we're involved in a 'profit share' agreement. This means that at the end of the run any profit is split. This offers an alternative to paying everyone up front and is a common Fringe payment option.

Beyond this though the reality is many theatres need our assistance and register names of kind supporters regardless of pay conditions. This is true of theatres as notable as The Royal Court or The Bush, who both use professional actors yet still appreciate financial help.
From: (Anonymous)
2009-07-29 12:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Suggestion

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The most obvious reason for hiring professional actors is that they will invariably do a much better job than someone who was in the drama club at whatever uni they read the classics at. Simply saying you are an actor does not make you one, although countless "reality" television shows would have you believe otherwise.

As is true of most professions, there is no substitute for formal training coupled with natural talent. On top of this, the odds are that any professional actor signing on to an Edinburgh show is resigned to the fact that they're not likely to profit from it, financially speaking, so their involvement would be "for the love of it". From where I'm sitting, I'd rather cast such a person in my show than some student who thinks the festival might be a bit of fun.

Additionally, veterans of the Edinburgh Festival will no doubt have sussed this by now and those that are new to the festival will learn quickly to have a quick glance at the bios of not just the performers, but everyone involved in the show. I, for one, would not want to spend valuable (and expensive) time at the Edinburgh Fringe taking in the sort of show that I wouldn't bother to see at my local amateur dramatic society.

I hope for your sake that you are not a maker of theatre, as you are in for a long, expensive Edinburgh Festival if you are planning on casting a troupe of amateurs.
From: (Anonymous)
2009-07-28 04:01 pm (UTC)

Money-savers

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Hope you'll be including advice on making funds stretch for the majority of Fringe folk who make church mice look middle-class.
From: (Anonymous)
2009-08-13 12:04 am (UTC)

Counter anonymous

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I presume you are one of said professional actors...

Extremely interestin how you use the phrase

"signing on to an Edinburgh show"

which suggests some sub-conscious connotation of likening taking on a role in a small show to collecting your dole money on a Friday morning.

Likewise notable use of the quotation marks around "for the love of it" - as if to suggest you are doing it for the exact opposite reason.

I will stick to watching shows cast around young, enthusiastic and less over-trained performers once again this year to avoid the tired performances from the mid-twenty hacks.

Break a leg.