12:30pm Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop

12:30pm Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop

Postby zzucker11 » 04 Sep 2015, 16:11

There aren't many venues in the paid or free fringe that had as good of a performance space and staff as CC Blooms did. As first year performers, Viggo and I had one of the most positive experiences we could've hoped for, and a large part of that was because of the CC Blooms family. From our venue captain, to the bartenders to the owners, every person at the venue was on our side from day one and made this journey for us one that we'll never forget.

It's not so easy performing a high-octane, alternative comedy show at 12:30 in the afternoon, especially at a venue that's a bit out of the "center" of the Fringe. But coming in at 11:00am every morning to a staff of smiling and supportive people made it run as smooth as it possibly could. Our stage was always set up, the music and lights were always ready and though there were people dancing there until about 6:00am the night before, the space was always squeaky clean without a trace of the madness that had happened hours earlier. This staff worked REALLY hard every day, yet not once did we ever have any issues with the setup before our show.

I loved everything about the venue. There was a bar/restaurant area upstairs, there were always people hanging out and the stage was one of the few actual stages I saw during the Fringe. The best part about the performance space, aside from the fact that there was an actual stage, lights and sound, was that it was separate from the main bar upstairs. That kept away any drunk hecklers and stopped any noise from getting in during the performance. That way you could ensure that the people coming downstairs to see your show, were there because they wanted to see a show.

One of the only difficulties we had was the timeslot. Obviously 12:30 in the afternoon isn't ideal, but we adapted and made it work. Flyering at that time of day is particularly challenging because most people on that side of town are going to work. There also weren't so many people between the ages of 15 and 40 walking around either, so deciding who to flyer and who to let alone was tricky. It got easier on the weekends, but then there were always Credit Card people and "Save The Dogs" people campaigning farther up the road at the same time. Thus, by the time pedestrians got to me and Viggo, they had already been swarmed by other solicitors and brushed us off. But this has nothing to do with the venue, it's just something that you have to deal with.

Our audiences started off pretty small in the first week as we averaged between 5-9. But midway through the first week, Viggo and I started performing nightly at The Tron Kirk in their 10:00 and 11:00 cabarets and that changed our run completely. We started averaging between 15-25 people per show, sometimes going as high as 30-35. This was incredibly helpful for us, as our show is very audience-participation heavy, and doing it for smaller audiences made it hard to gage if our material was working or not. But once we started performing at The Kixx O'Maniac Cabaret at The Tron, people started coming to the show. That along with word of mouth and some online publicity helped bring in more audience members. Also, CC Blooms retweeted and shared our posts on Facebook and Twitter every day, and that for sure helped bring in more people.

The bucket was always a mystery to us. The number of people never directly correlated with how much money we ended up with in the bucket at the end of the show. Some afternoons we would get 6 pounds, while other ones we'd get 80. On the 29th and 30th we were asked to fill in for the 5:30 slot (which were the two most fun and most full nights we had) and on both of those nights we ended up making over 100 and 120 pounds. Overall I think we made enough to cover expenses for posters and flyers, online registration and other festival purchases, which we considered a success.

There were really no difficulties to overcome other than the fact that we had a hard time flyering, but that's not anything we can control or anything to do with the venue. Next year we would of course love to have a later time slot (and the two shows that we did proved that we were more suited for it) but those are things that work out as time goes on. Our venue captain Neil aka Dandy Darkly was fantastic. He was a veteran at the location and as a venue captain and his leadership skills really shined through. He came to everybody's shows, he tweeted and Facebook'd about everyone's shows and was always very responsive and easy to communicate with. In my eyes he was the perfect blend of fun while making sure we had our acts together. Dandy embodied the spirit of the free fringe for me.

Though this venue had some acts that only did week-runs, all of the other acts were very helpful and supportive to one another. I can say I've genuinely become friends with 4 or 5 of the acts from CC Blooms, and that's because they foster a wonderful environment for the performers. They gave us discounts on food and drinks, always allowed us entry to their parties at night (which were great!) and never missed a beat in terms of set-up and transitions through shows. Mitch (the owner) was one of the sweetest human beings I've ever met, and the rest of the higher ups (Robert) were equally as loving and supportive.

Zach & Viggo had the best experience they could've possibly asked for this 2015 PBH Free Fringe, and it goes without saying that it wouldn't have been possible had they not been a part of the CC Blooms family.
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