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Entries in daniel kitson (1)

Monday
Apr092012

Comedy Festival - How Do I?

 

                                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Munnery, in La Concepta & Hats Off to the 101ers.

"You kinda know something about this Comedy Festival thing, right? There are SO many shows! You guys must make a fortune! Who should I go see?"  Is a question I am asked at least once a day during the month of April. (Today, the next door neighbours dog, Hitler asked me.) 

My answer is always the same - go see Munnery, even if he's not here, go see Munnery. AND GO AND SEE TWO LOCAL SHOWS FOR EVERY INTERNATIONAL YOU SEE! There is a perception that local comedians get paid to put on a little 'skit' (my fave word for comedy production), go drinking with their buddies all night then sit around enduring endless self congratulating breakfasts in the morning.  Let me shake the untruth off that for you.

Putting on a little skit, for a month takes a LOT of work.  A lot of work and a LOT OF MONEY. You see, the majority of the acts present for MICF are risking their OWN bank accounts, personal lives and sanity. You don't just rock up to the Town Hall in March and put a sticker on the door of the venue you'd like to play in. Although this is a policy I'd like to initiate.

Felicity Ward in the Hedgehog Delemna

No, the work starts about October the year before. You fill out your MICF registration and find the $500 you need to register your show.

Let's keep a running tally, shall we?

Registration, $500

This is of course a show you have already written the bones of, at the very least. You need to have photos. (I think this guy is the best. James Penlidis) Lets call it $400.  Remember, you're not going to get away with a pic of you and your bestie drunk on the beach at Surfers, but professional images which relay the tone of your show. There are going to be HUNDREDS of images/posters vying for spots on lamppost, walls and cafe racks. Most of shows with a much bigger budget than yours so how are you going to stand out? *poster costs, assuming you've done most of the art work yourself, let's call it $1,000. P.S., do you know the difference between semi gloss, matte, and universal gloss paper? Do you need A4 A 3 or A1 size posters?  Have you thought about postcards?

Asher Treleaven

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
Printing, $1,000 

Now you'll need somewhere to put on your little dog and pony show and unless your Dad's got a barn, you're going to want a centrally located CBD venue. Town Hall venues are prized hubs. Being IN the Town Hall does NOT always translate to ticket sales but you're still going to want to be there. Conservative estimates for the venue and tech - oh yes, you'll need someone to run your lights, sound and whatever else you've skillfully woven into your increasingly elaborate pastiche. Conservative estimates will put that charge at around $1000 a week for one of the smaller 30 - 50 seat venues.  The bigger the room, the more the cost.

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $4,000 

Jennifer Wong, Ouch & Other WordsIt's getting a little flop-sweatish now, isn't it? Ooh! Don't forget your Entertainment Liability Insurance. You don't want your confetti cannons going off early and taking out a pensioners eye.  Or your mic stand to fall off the stage and kill a Seeing Eye Dog. Let's guesstimate, $250 (it's been a while and I can't find any receipts of the insurance we've had to buy) but that seems tame.

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $4,000 
Insurance, $250

Advertising! How are you going to let people know your tiny little show is on, in amongst the throngs of Hughsies, the heavily promoted International acts and the locals being produced by Token?  To be honest, you're not. You're going to rely on Word of Mouth but you're still going to buy a little advertising space aren't you? Buying ad space translates to editorial space. (you're buying ad space, the paper are 'giving you' editorial space). A 1/8 page, a 1/4 page, a 1/2 of full page ad?  How much money have you got to burn? You can spend anything from $500 for a tiny corner in something like Beat or InPress for the run or thousands on a Herald Sun 1/2 page. We'll call it a conservative $800 for advertising and flyering - have I mentioned standing outside your venue handing out those precious posters/postcards/flyers you had printed as a way of luring people into your show after they see the show they wanted to see is sold out? You can do that yourself or pay someone to do it for you. Damian Callinan, Robinson Crusoe

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $4,000 
Insurance, $250
Advertising, $800 

If you want a publicist, you can hire one now. If one has room for your show. It's gonna cost ya. $2,000 is a very conservative estimate.

Let's have a closer look at those locals, in particular. How many of them realistically make a living from stand up? If your guess is in the double digits, you're very probably wrong. SO, if you want to put on a show, you're going to need to take time off work. You won't have time to wait tables, or nurse, or be the funny accountant.  You've got some holiday time coming up - best use it. Insert your own lost wages estimate here. $Umpty dollars.

Daniel Kitson in Where Once Was WonderOk, so there are hundreds of shows to choose from. The tickets cost anywhere from $10, Tight Arse Tuesday tix to $40 for (example) Judith Lucy on Sunday night.

Well, you're thinking. Let's shoot at the centre of that range and sell 20 tickets a night, that's $440! See, you guys are raking it in! TicketMaster take half that ticket cost as their fee. What?! Hmm, still $220 a night, where do I sign up! Let's also look at the guesstimated average audience size for a local (unknown quantity) show is on a good night, 10 people. Have you dampened your trousers yet?

As the MICF website says, "Producing a show involves everything from organising venue hire, marketing and publicity, travel and accommodation, sourcing props and equipment, budgeting, ticketing, obtaining insurance and licences and much more. As part of your registration, the Festival provides information packs and workshops to assist you, but it is up to you to make it happen."

MICF is an amazing festival. If not for it, I would not have had 3/4 of the life experience I've had. I would not know who Simon Munnery was. Or Daniel Kitson. I wouldn't have seen Greg Fleet bare his soul and lengthen his sleeves or Felicity Ward rock the shit out of a room. I would not have smeared chocolate cake on Adam Richard's head (ok, that probably still would have happened, just not in front of 3000 people) nor would I have laughed so hard at Bill Bailey that I hawked up a lung. I'd also probably not have the sight of a bare chested Sam Simmons smashing taco shells into his pigeon frame burnt into my retinas, nor would I have... ok the rest of that sentence is now redacted. You know why, Festival of 1998...

It's SO important that you get out there and support local acts. They're literally selling their souls for you.  Go see Damian Callinan, go see Jennifer Wong. You're probably already planning on seeing Wil Anderson, why wouldn't you? He's brilliant but please, take a chance and see someone you've never even heard of.

They've got an average of $8,000 on the line. And don't think, oh I can just see them in October after all this festival stuff has died down. You can't. Festival is special. Festival is very often the only time of the year you'll see any one of these comedians do a solo show of 1 hours duration, packed to the gills with lights, props and a small Bolivan Lizard (WHAT a show!). Go. What are you waiting for?

fahey xx