thehefner: (Me: White Background)
[personal profile] thehefner
This concerns all you DC/MD/VA/otherwise-local-ish friends who have any interest in seeing me perform.

SO... I've been accepted into the Capital Fringe Festival. Hooray! Except... ticket prices are now $17.00. I've never seen a festival charge that much. $17.00 per ticket? For a Fringe show? And yet, bear in mind, this would be my only chance to perform here, short of finding another space to rent out, or trying to get a professional theatre to take on my show.

So what do you guys think? Would you be willing to pay $17.00 for a ticket? Because frankly, I wouldn't, and neither would Henchgirl.

Considering the costs of performing ($575 venue fee, plus $200 insurance fee!), I don't know if I'd even make that back, depending on where they'd stick me. First year, I made a great profit, followed by barely breaking even the next year, and it all had to do with location. And with a baby on the way right before the festival--or possibly during, as I understand that first kids are notoriously late--that's time and money which might be better spent.

Really, what are the benefits of performing The Road to Nowhere at CapFringe? There are three, from where I sit:


1.) The possibility that maybe someone from, say, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will see the show and want give us a few performances, something I'm not sure will happen since my show is more geeky and romantic rather than political and social and thus not of interest to DC audiences

2.) Performing for friends, especially those who haven't yet seen me perform. You guys comprised about 80% of my audiences for How Hefnerian, after all.

3.) Getting more reviews.


Writing this all out, it kinda feels like I've already made my decision. But I want to know what you guys think. Neither Henchgirl nor I can objectively consider this now, as we're both CRAZY STRESSED over our impending trip to Fresno, among several other HUGE factors in our lives. I think I have a couple more days to accept or decline CapFringe, so let me know.

Alternate possibility: host a performance of the show (at my house or someone else's) and take donations? If I'm just doing it for friends, perhaps that'd be the better way all around.

Date: 2011-02-21 04:15 am (UTC)
ext_7823: queen of swords (2009 snowflake)
From: [identity profile] icewolf010.livejournal.com
$17? That's it? Maybe it's the lingering New Yorker in me, but that doesn't seem like a an unreasonable amount for a theater ticket. Especially since I've worked Fringe myself, and know exactly how much backbreaking work is involved.

Do it. Get more reviews. Also, the mood of the nation is fatigued with politics--even DC. Don't assume you won't fit some imagined city-wide niche.

Date: 2011-02-21 04:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Sure, compared to NYC, it's dirt cheap! But at every single Fringe I've done anywhere else, the cut-off price has been 10 bucks. Now, considering that CapFringe and DC theatre audiences have no basis of that kind of comparison, maybe they too wouldn't think $17 is a bad price, in which case, yay! But considering that my last show at DCAC barely got enough audiences to break even last year... I just don't know.

I don't think it's really an imagined niche. Looking at CapFringe's program last year, it seemed that the shows were almost entirely based around political and social themes. One of the biggest hits is a show by a libertarian whose politically-themed autobiographical show has been a hit for the past several years he's been doing it. The same show over and over again, mind you! But solo comedy shows like mine, which are usually common sights at Fringes across the country? I couldn't find one!

Date: 2011-02-21 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whimmydiddle.livejournal.com
I want to see the show. Can't think of many/any Fringe Shows I'd pay that kind of money for other than yours, but for yours I would because I enjoyed the first show, even with the people seated behind me who were intimately familiar with the material & laughing distractingly loudly, and I still haven't had a chance to see this new show. Wait, um, that $17 on top of a Fringe button? ...um, why don't you put on two shows for friends---one for people who want to laugh loudly & freely, and one for fuddy-duddies who want to focus on what you're saying?

Date: 2011-02-21 12:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Thanks! Unfortunately, I fear that most of my friends are of the... um... boisterous persuasion. In all honesty, when there aren't at least a few people like that in each audience, the performance experience is more unpleasant for both Henchgirl and myself. For example, see almost every show we did in Canada.

Date: 2011-02-21 07:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
I have no experience with the fringe scene, but I'll echo [livejournal.com profile] icewolf010 - $17 really doesn't seem like that much, since our local high school talent shows and theater performances run at least $10 apiece here in rural Washington.

Date: 2011-02-21 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.livejournal.com
Here's the thing about Fringes, though: I have to compete against about fifty to a hundred different shows, all within the space of ten days. So audiences are really going to pick and choose which of these shows to see when each are $17.00, and many--like mine!--only run an hour. If the show were just me, that'd be one thing.

Now, can my show stand out amid the crowd, if I'm one of the only people doing my kind of humor? Perhaps. On the other hand, you might understand that my style is not attractive to all audiences.

But again, the biggest factor--and the one I can't even consider--is where they'll actually place me to perform. My first year there, I made a more-than-tidy profit playing in a shitty--but centrally located--venue. My second year there, I barely broke even playing at a much better venue that required public transport to get there. To Fringe audiences, I might as well be on Mars, unless I'm a big enough name to warrant that kind of trip.

Date: 2011-02-21 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sara-lakali.livejournal.com
You (and Henchgirl) must make up your own minds about this. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed IndyFringe and I paid $20 for my ticket and my SIL's ticket together. I didn't feel like I didn't get my money's worth, however, I'm comparing it to the other live 'theater' events that I have attended, namely Renaissance Faires.

At Ren Faires, not only do you have to pay at the gate, but you are expected to tip each performance that you sit through more than five minutes of--and the perfomers expect to be tipped five dollars or more for roughly a half-hour performance.

I'd say Fringe Festivals are a bargain at twice the price.

Date: 2011-02-21 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharrainchains.livejournal.com
$17 may not be much for a regular theater ticket, but it is a lot for a fringe show. I think most people believe that fringe is supposed to be less expensive theater; fringe shows are generally shorter, experimental, and designed so that viewers can see two or three in one night/afternoon - affordably. I think the increase in price will impact attendance this year.

Also, it sounds like planning a show at or around the time of a baby's arrival would increase your stress and HG's, at a time when you might want to be nesting/helping her.

I like your idea of putting it on at a small venue/someone else's home - long before the due date! And definitely charge/take donations. I would love to see your show.

Date: 2011-02-22 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tompurdue.livejournal.com
Even the Rudes have to charge $15 for a ticket these days. In fact, if you buy the ticket over teh Intarwebz, they charge you an extra buck, and the price is nearly identical.

Rudes' shows are large-cast shows, so they cost a bit more in sets & costumes and such, but by far the biggest cost is the venue. We couldn't afford Warehouse, but we can afford DCAC, where Fringe used to hold shows. To get Warehouse or comparable venue we'd have to charge at least $20 per ticket, if not $25.

Now, Fringe runs in some VERY cheap venues. Of last year's venues, only Warehouse was suitable. The others... well, I still would have had to charge $15 a ticket there, just because it's downtown and they're still gonna charge me at least $500 a weekend.

Fringe shows also tend to be shorter, but they don't charge different prices for longer shows. In fact, though, audiences don't seem to mind. This year we're sending a 60 minute show rather than a 90 minute one. Being "Fringe", the audience probably would rather not be trapped in a show they don't like for 90 minutes.

Our case is special: we're a troupe. Even when we don't turn a profit at Fringe, it's a loss leader. Fringe does marketing we couldn't even begin to afford, and some people will come see our show who simply would have missed us entirely. They end up on our mailing list, and if a few of them become fans, we turn a profit long term. We also get reviewers out, who would never come to our shows even when we do them in the District.

Our math also incorporates a vast herd of volunteers.

Now, I was NOT happy about Fringe last year. Audiences were small, perhaps because it was so hot, and the venue intolerable. My cast has my eternal devotion for putting up with it.

Had it been me, we wouldn't have returned. The board decided to go back, and maybe the various changes (AC at warehouse, a less brutal summer, a shorter show, one with an even more fringey draw) will work better.

The Mother of all caveats

Date: 2011-02-21 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thirdbase.livejournal.com
We'd pay $17/each to come see you but I'd be bitter at what we'd also have to pay for the button since at most, I'd see 2 shows, since I've never actually seen more than 1, and I don't go out in the city to whereever the button supposedly gets you free cheese sticks on Wednesday nights. But I'd do it. And Ben really liked your last show and we decided to try and drag 3-5 other friends the next time you were in town. So if you get to keep the whole $17, we'd probably get you back most of the insurance fee, supposing that we weren't sailing during your performances.

And the last 3 babies I knew all came some variation of Early to Eek!

Date: 2011-02-21 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cisic.livejournal.com
Yeah - I saw the price change and was surprised. But they don't say what the button discount it - would it be a $10, or $12?

Date: 2011-02-22 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiacat.livejournal.com
Yeah. I would pay because it's you. I doubt I'd bother making it out for any other show.

For MY viewpoint, I'd rather you went option B (house show), but I've no idea which would be the better choice for you.

Date: 2011-02-22 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surrealname.livejournal.com
I'd pay it. do it. gives me an excuse to pay a visit.

Date: 2011-02-22 06:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] superfan1.livejournal.com
Just want to say. I went to see go see the green hornet and I enjoy it. :)

Date: 2011-02-22 07:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ahumblepen.livejournal.com
I live in LA so my thoughts on price are skewed. I would gladly pay $17 a head for a show I thought would be good and/or was being done by a friend. I would come to yours but! ..uh. Aforementioned LA thing. But my perspective these days is that anything under $20 is an acceptable margin of error for sort of carelessly tossing money at.

That being said, my firstborn came almost precisely a week early, so having gone through that particular go-kart race I would advice you and the Henchgirl having a hospital bag and be prepared for Henchling arrival at any time during the Fringe in DC, if her due date is around then. You might want to see about what it would cost you in the terms of profit loss if you have to stop halfway through to take care of a newborn or whatever.

Date: 2011-02-22 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pokeyburro.livejournal.com
I'd probably pay to see it, but largely because I rarely get around to seeing your show.

As for the ever-rising price of Fringe, its popularity, and the competition among its participants, all I can say is - heh. It's become a victim of its own success. Fringe is no longer fringe; needs a Fringe of its own.

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