Free Fringe Meeting Minutes 1 April 2012

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Free Fringe Meeting Minutes 1 April 2012

Postby danny.worthington » 04 Apr 2012, 06:02

Minutes of PBH's Free Fringe Meeting 1/4/2012. The Vandella, Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush. 2pm

Those Present: Peter Buckley Hill, Helen Arney, Danny Worthington,, James Gregory, James Bourke, Martin Wyatt, Mattew Fong, Emily Andersen, Becky Luft, Gareth Morinan, Bobby Carroll, Martin Croser, Maddie Rice, Louise Beresford Carter, Julian Lovick, Ophelia Bitz, Paul Hanson, Craig Oats, Ryan Jones, Joe Murphy, Joshua Seigel, Rob Auton, Charmian Hughes, Harry baker, Toby De'angeli, Nichol Keene, Anna Freyberg , Charlene Steyers, Genenevi Swallow, Patrick Cahill, Stephanie Laing, Jim Kelly, Andy Higson, Neil Irving.

PBH Thanked Everyone for coming. He then called for a vote of thanks by way of a round of applause for the management of the Vandella for giving us use of the room for our meeting.
PBH explained that we were there to get answers to any questions we had, to get to know each other and to reinforce that which needed reinforcing.

Questions were welcome at any point during the meeting. Attendees were encourage to contribute. The Free Fringe must operate as a team. Emphasis was given to doing "the duty", and leafletting with the programme as the way that the Free Fringe community is formed. This is necessary if there is no community first-timers may feel isolated.
PBH called for cheers from each category in turn, Theatre, Spoken Word, Comedy, Cabaret, etc.
We currently have 5061 performances schedule, representing a growth of 9.6% from last year.
We are bigger than any of the "big four".

PBH called for a cheer from first timers, followed by a cheer from veterans.
He pointed out that the cheer from the veterans may seem more jaded - because the Free Fringe will suck your blood. Edinburgh is like nothing else. Rationally it is futile. But most will become addicted and go back year after year. There is nothing else like it.

Everyone was asked to take at least one copy of last years Free Fringe programme home with them. It is our strongest weapon. There will be 100, 000 copies printed and distributed this year and shows should always offer a programme to everyone that they flyer.
The programme is not free to produce and is financed by advertising. It costs £20 000 for 100,000 copies. Sales of advertising is the job of everyone taking a show with the Free Fringe. Personal contacts who may have a budget for advertising should be approached by everyone. A rate card will soon be sent out by email. Everyone should try to sell advertising and can offer a 20% discount from the rate card. Those who buy advertising include Edinburgh based businesses, national marketers (particularly of refreshments), those providing services to performers, other who just believe in what we do. We welcome advertising for anything but child slavery and nuclear arms, and even nuclear arms is negotiable. SELLING ADVERTISING IS YOUR JOB NOT SOMEBODY ELSES.

The work of organising the Free Fringe must be devolved. We have a strong team in Edinburgh venue finding and a strong team in London helping with scheduling. PBH Plans to retire and some point and then the organisation will belong to the performers. It will be wht has always been intended an organisation of performers supporting performers. PBH will restore the republic in the way Tiberius Claudius did not. He is the last dictator of the Free Fringe.

Everything that needs doing, needs to be done by volunteers from within our ranks. PA will need to be borrowed. Each venue will need 2 mics, 2 mic stands, 1 amp, 2 speakers. If shows bring other equipment it should be left at the disposal of all other shows at their venue. John Glennon who has done sterling work as PA co-ordinator is not with us this year. A volunteer is needed for the post of PA co-ordinator.

Website content needs improving. We have much good press that is not used to its best advantage. Please come forward if you have experience with website content.

There are many other roles that need to be volunteered for. You will recieve emails asking you to volunteer for roles, but there is no need to wait for these if there is something that you feel you can do that will help the Free Fringe put yourself forward.

Anna then spoke about opportunites for previews. Last year the Balham mini festival at the Bedford had 70 shows over the last weekend of July and was really successful with thousands coming to see the shows. The preview team plan to repeat that this year and are looking for shows to take part and volunteer to help with managing the doors on the day.

There will also be a series of previews organised in pub rooms. Please remember if you sign up to perform a preview then it is your responsibilty to promote your show. We are not taking over regular comedy nights there will not be a ready made audience. You need to bring your own follower, friends, and family.

Elise Harris is also looking for 6 or 7 Free Fringe shows who are interested in previewing as part of the Hampstead festival on 15th July. She can be contacted on elise dot harris [at] gmail dot com

If there is a reason that you are no longer able to keep your commitment to perform your Edinburgh show DO NOT present us with an ultimatum. Discuss it with us, so a mutually agreeable solution can be reached. DON'T use us as a backup whilst the money venues makeup their minds. If you have accepted you are now committed. Dropping out at this point will land you on the sh*t-list for life.

There are Free Fringe badges. Wear these in Edinburgh it creates a visible presence. 25p covers the cost of each badge, please make this your minimum contribution if you take one.

Venues happen quickly. We seize the suitable ones as soon as we can we don't have the time and resource to produce diagrams and specification.

This year we have gone for a strategy of critical mass with seven stages around Picardy Place. So shows need not feel that they are in an isolated 'non-fringe' area. There is also the possibility that there will be a non-free-fringe Spiegel Tent outside the catholic cathedral which will draw focus to this area. We also have five stages around George Street/Frederick Street. This area should be busy with the Assembly rooms re-opening under the banner of The Stand and the possibility of a pedestrianised area for the Fringe.
PBH passed round a draft venue map which showed the concentration of our venues.
All the new town venues we have are good. Some much better than some of our old town venues.

Friday 3rd August is set up day. We report to our venues, meet the management of our venues, and along with the venue team (all the shows at that venue) configure the room for performing shows. Where to put the stage, where to put seats for best sight lines, all this needs to be agreed. To help keep the operation smooth and maintain communication between the shows, and liaise the venue management each venue will have a volunteer venue captain. The venue captain will be responsible for running the rigging day. Venue captains are not required until after the Fringe Programme goes to press.

Remember our identity particularly when speaking to the Press. We are the one Free Fringe, run by the Free Fringe Ltd. No other organisation has the right to call itself the Free Fringe. There are not two Free Fringes.

Q's - Do we have friendly press contacts?
PBH - We get good press in the Scotsman, Time Out and Evening News
If someone rings you up from the press and starts discussing your show then before you waste time ask them if they are advertising or editorial. You probably don't have a budget for advertising and can save yourself some effort by checking this at the beginning of the conversation.
All shows that are registered in the Fringe Programme should send a press release about the show. Put in stories that make your show unique. This may be picked up by editorial for publications and give you show some publicity.
Your priority should be entertaining your audience. Many reviewers don't have the first idea about the shows they are reviewing. Don't place your emphasis on reviews, place it on the audience. Don't get stressed looking for good reviews.

The audience are important. All of you will recieve a contact list of all Free Fringers. One of the things that this should be used for is to make sure that if you are too ill to perform your show that an audience is not left watching an empty stage. Try and arrange a substitute show.

You should have enough posters printed to advertise your show around your own venue. Don't bother with large quantities it is a waste of money and effort. If you do want a poster campaign organise this through EAE. Do not flypost - it is illegal.

Charmian Hughes suggested that we should try for a co-ordinated poster campaign. It was agreed that posters should be sited on rigging day as this is when it can be agreed with the venue manager on suitable locations for posters. The more visible we are as an organisation the better.

Q's - How much advertising have we sold to date.
Currently we have promises for £3,500 which leaves £16,500 to raise. Everyone must make the effort this year. The huge adverting shortfall of last year must not happen again.

Q's - Is there a minimum age limit on any venues?
All shows need to declare the age suitability as 18+ when submitting their show details to the Fringe office unless they have specifically been told that they are in an "any age" venue such as Ryans, Princes Mall, Cafe Camino. If a show has a problem with this they need to contact PBH to see what can be arranged. An email regarding this should be sent to all shows.

Q's - Where is Free Wifi available.
At Bannermans and Whistle-Binkies

Q's - What is the possibility of finding a "social hub" for the Free Fringe this year.
This role seemed to fall to Buffs Club last year due to its late license. It is likely that will happen again. Though the Kilderkin also has a late licence and serves food late.

Q's - Where can we get the logo from.
There is a downloadable jpg of the logo attached to the forums under Friends of the Fringe & Chit Chat-Anyone know where the logo is. If you require the logo in monochrome then email PBH.

Q's - When will the programme be available for publicising shows.
The programme gets publish quite late to accommodate as many changes/updates as possible. In particular we are at risk of having to substitute venues due to risks of the so called "Act of God" type. If you are happy to go ahead an produce your own flyers then that is probably your best course of action. PBH also feels that there is some merit in having a downloadable word document of the programme content available before it has become set and printed as the programme brochure.

PBH called for more shows. We have spaces. We need to fill them. In January/February we had more shows than we have space for. We now have more venues and space for more shows. As always a show will not be able to pick and choose it will be the normal process of an application being to the Free Fringe and not a particular venue; an offer can then be made and negotiated on from that point.

Q's - What will be expected of my actors from the Free Fringe.
You must do your door duty for the previous and next shows from 15 minutes before the end of the previous show until 15 minutes after the previous show. You will be expected to flyer with your own leaflets and the Free Fringe programme. All this is detailed in the ethos and conditions which you have agreed to abide by.
Shows in the first and last week are expected to be available for rigging and derigging days. There is not an expectation that shows only performing in the middle week should stay on for these tasks. However if you are in Edinburgh at these times then your assistance would be welcomed.

Q's - Do we have a Twitter presence.
PBH has the twitter account @freefringe and there was a less than successful attempt last year to use a hashtag.
Volunteers for a Social Media Captain were then requested.

Q's PBH was asked if he would speak about Fringe Society membership.
Fringe society membership is a requirement for anyone performing a Free Fringe show. Membership costs £10. The Fringe Society is the organisation that runs the Fringe and in the past has not appeared as democratic as it could. The Free Fringe hopes to see more performers on the board and encourages members to vote for performers that stand for board positions. Free Fringe members that are willing and able to stand for director positions are encouraged to do so. If you are in Edinburgh on the second Saturday of the Fringe then you should attend the Fringe Society AGM.

PBH spoke about conduct at shows. He asked that comedians should not pick on audience members at their shows as many find this embarrassing (even just the normal what's your name, what's your job type questions) and may then be put off coming to other shows. Remember your Edinburgh show audience is not the typical Friday night comedy club audience. Make sure your bucket speech is good. A good bucket speech can make all the difference with donations. You have the right to ask the next show to hold your bucket as part of their door duty. A held bucket gets many more donations than one which is not.

Helen called for a round of applause in appreciation of PBH. Meeting closed.
Posts: 94
Joined: March 2007

Re: Free Fringe Meeting Minutes 1 April 2012

Postby Drew K Forrest » 22 Apr 2012, 23:38

Fantastic... thanks so much for posting these - Much love for the collaborative nature and values of the Free Fringe!

I've emailed the usual advertised contact address just an hour or two back to enquire about and "pre-propose" a couple of new shows, being a little unsure if I was likely to be way too late or not - after reading this I've a little more faith that there may be space for my work this year... Awesome!
Drew K Forrest
Posts: 1
Joined: April 2012
Location: Merseyside, UK.

Re: Free Fringe Meeting Minutes 1 April 2012

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Posts: 1
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