Fringe Tips For Young Players. (A Guide to not being a D-Bag at the fringe…) By Shane “Grumpy Old Man” Adamczak
Toronto is a very different Fringe to any I’ve experienced before. My fellow tour blogger Yana Kesala, already mentioned on this in her latest blog, but I’ve never encounter a more “Play By The Rules” or “By The Book” Fringe in my life! Especially coming off the back of Montreal Fringe, a festival notoriously known as “The Party Fringe”, it’s been a little hard to adjust. Strangest of all in Toronto is that for a festival with so many rules about postering, tech, starting on time, no latecomers, no passwords and limited comps, this festival has the “Great Poster Sprint” event. The “GPS” is basically running of the bulls for artist to push each other over in the hot sun and put up posters up on one tiny wall, a wall, I would like to note, that NOBODY EVERY WALKS PAST! It was gross, it was ugly, I hated it, I will not be participating in it next year if I should come back here…
BUT on the flipside, my show ZACK ADAMS: A Complete History Of Zack Adams is going really well over here, getting nice reviews, making money and selling out houses. Performing my show IS, after all the reason I am here, so am I really allowed to complain about anything? Short answer; yes. Long answer; Yes, of course I am, I didn’t get where I am by being a douchebag, so why should anyone else get away with it?
So this week, dear reader, I bring you my short list of TIPS FOR YOUNG PLAYERS: A Guide to not being a D-Bag at the fringe…listen carefully kids, this isn’t my first trip around the block, follow these tips and I guarantee you’re going to have a damn good time doing a Fringe Show. WARNING: This is about to get a little preachy.
1. POSTERING ETHICS
Okay you’ve got your posters printed, now what?
-Firstly, don’t put them over other people’s posters, especially other FRINGE posters. They have as much right to be there as you do, maybe even more, as they probably got there first…
- You find a poster for an event that has passed, that spot is fair game
- Someone has two or more of the SAME poster on one wall, one of those spots is fair game.
- If someone has clearly postered over one your posters (Like a D-Bag), that spot is fair game (Beware, this could get ugly and if they also read this guide we could create some kind of infinite loop of postering over each other that ends in us killing all the trees and dying horribly in a fire)
- Don’t put up a hundred of your shitty poster up in one place. If you tape twenty of your posters together and cover up one whole wall, this is uncool *Cough* Great Poster Sprint *cough* and I give the children permission to fuck with your shit.
- Keep it neat. If there’s a nice poster board with room for six posters to fit neatly next to each other, don’t put your stupid poster right in the middle on a wacky diagonally angle taking up three spots, if you do this, you guessed it, those three spots are now fair game mother-effer.
2. SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW ARTISTS
There are over a hundred shows in the festival, and we are all vying for the same crowds, the same wall space and the same spot at the bar, but it doesn’t need to be a battle. Fringe isn’t a race to be the best, it’s a marathon, a long marathon to have a great festival. We gotta keep pace with each other, have our friends’ backs and pick up those falling behind.
Hang out with other artists, for kites sake, meet people. See shows. Plug each other’s shows, flyer each other’s lines. The “Fringe Family” support network is sometimes all we have during our down days (and there will be some) so we keep it rocking. You don’t win friends with salad – basically don’t be a DBag, because no one will like you. The best people I’ve ever met on tour are the people who are humble despite there awesomeness, fun to be with and understand that Fringe is about community.
3. I AM NOT MADE OF MONEY
If you have empty seats in your theatre, wouldn’t you rather have some freeloading artists in them who are going to laugh and clap in the right places? Don’t answer that, the answer is “Yes of course you would, don’t be a moron”.
One of the few perks on tour is being able to see shows for free, so the whole “no artist password” in Toronto is totally bogus. It’s more bogus than Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey, and that movie was REALLY BOGUS, it had the Grim Reaper in it for kites sake. It’s another way to of supporting your fellow artists and I always try to see as many shows as I can and plug the ones I really like. And it’s not that I’m opposed to paying for things, but fringe is a tough gig and we, the struggling artists, are not made of cash. I will always put artists who wants to see my show on my comps list and it’s usually vice versa. Makes for happy fringing and more money to buy the first round of beers later on to say thanks…
Basically kids it all comes down to not being a D-Bag, using your common sense and looking out for each other. Holy Kites, do I have to spell it out for you? Now go back out there and be excellent to each other.
And stay off my lawn.