How to fund a fringe festival production
Trying to find funding for a fringe festival production is always going to be hard. The main reasons why are because there are so many productions happening at The Fringe Festival that people that do fund shows don’t always see it as a good investment, mainly because a good show can sometimes only get 1 or 2 audiences a night at the fringe. Another reason the shows are so hard to fund are because The Arts Council don’t fund productions going there. This is actually a wise move from them because if they did low budget productions would never get a look in at the festival.
So the first step is to decide what you actually need the funding for. Do you need to be staying at a hotel? Or can you all find a hostel where you all stay in the same room. During Fringe season it’s probably going to be full of actors so you don’t need to worry about waking up to a weird man breathing heavily above you. Try and cut all your costs down, tell actors it’s all profit share on an open book production. If you say it’s open book that means you input all your income and expenditure into an excel document and then everyone in the show/helped fund you knows where you spent the money. This helps with firstly getting a great cast and secondly to your question getting funding.
I would say there are three options available for you here, each is hard but some are easier to achieve. Let’s start with the easiest to do.
There are now more than ever more websites that provide you with a platform to get funding for the project you are working on. What you do is you create a video saying who you are, what the show is, the actors and why you are going to the fringe. People will then give you money for a reward that you give them. This could range from, them having their name in the programme, signed goodies, or maybe even a drink with the cast. Try looking at other projects that hit their target and what they have done. The best thing to do is be clever do something that is makes you look like you deserve the money because that is someone’s hard earned money you are asking for. The best way to promote this appeal is to then get on twitter and tweet like crazy letting everyone know about it.
Find companies in your area or in the Fringe area that are willing to give you money for advertising space in your programme and website. If you can prove your show is going to be a big hit it really helps and make sure they are relevant to what you do. Don’t get funding from a Funeral home if your show is about pregnancy...P.s a show about pregnancy might not be the best idea anyway. Companies like to look good, helping out a struggling arts company makes them feel and look good!
Find yourself a celebrity that wants to be a patron of your company. They give you a small amount of money, you promote them on your website. It also might help you sell tickets. Be realistic with the time you have, if you try and get in touch with Hugh Laurie you might have a long wait. A Soap Star or West End Regular Theatre Actor, they will have the funds and will love being involved with another production.
All in all Fringe is now and will always be a hard one to get right, you don’t go to make money, you go to lose money (if you have any) but to get a reputation about your show. Lastly I would say maybe try and find a venue you can do your show in for a few nights before you go to the fringe, work on a box office split and then you can use the profit you make to fund expenses when you get there.
I hope this has helped, these are the ideas I use with my company and so far it has served us very well!