Selling tickets to a fringe show is just about the hardest part of staging a show. I mean, it’s not as hard as writing a fringe show. And it’s probably not as hard as stepping on to the stage on opening night. But for someone like me who knows two-fifths of nothing about marketing and promotion, selling tickets sort of is as hard as those things.
If you’re in Adelaide and on facebook, you’ll be left in no doubt that the Adelaide Fringe full programme was launched yesterday. Every artist or producer was busy creating an ad or boosting an event, letting you know that their show was on and maybe that tickets were selling fast. Actually, I haven’t seen anyone say that tickets are selling fast, but it won’t be long.
For myself, I am playing it fairly low key. I am aiming to have my season sell-out, but I’ve made that goal SMART. (Achievable and realistic–now that I think about it, SMART might be a little 90s and has probably been replaced by another acronym?). I have chosen a reasonably small venue and have a reasonably short run (one wekk), thus keeping my capacity at slightly less than it was last year. (Slightly smaller capacity because I don’t want to keep presuming on the goodwill of my friends and family. They have already had to buy my novel and go to my show in the last year so, you know, I’m sure there’s a limit).
Last week, I was feeling vaguely in two minds about that SMART decision. On the one hand (in the one mind?) I was happy that I would be avoiding the stress of needing to sell heaps. On the other (hand or mind, I’m not sure which) I was cross with myself for not taking a bigger risk. Should I be working harder to stretch my audience beyond my beautiful family and supportive friends?
Now that the programme is launched, I’m glad not to have the pressure of trying to cut through the noise of the fringe. It’s not just the ads popping up in my facebook feed make me realise how hard it is. Listening to the radio yesterday and reading the blogs and online papers brought it all home. There’s 1,300 shows in the fringe programme. Honestly? The idea of trying to make myself heard by journalists and reviewers amongst all that makes it almost impossible to breathe.
Besides which, I haven’t quite finished writing my show. And I wouldn’t really want to have all my tickets sold and no show to show them.