The bare facts are this: around 150 people came to see my show, many of them strangers, and I made a profit. This is A Win. That people were nice about the show and laughed and liked me on Facebook is also exciting. I’m proud that it was (subjectively) an artistic and (objectively) a financial success.
I don’t kid myself that I’m the best performer – I can be nervous and awkward – but considering I’ve done less than 20 stand up gigs, to do an hour of material feels like an achievement.
Doing a one-person show is difficult. It’s not that there’s no help – Taylor my venue host, Ariel, the supporting artists and various other people were on hand for vital jobs and to listen to me spout off about logistical snags and I couldn’t have done it without them.
The hard work is self promotion. For starters, you know you’re going to become annoying very quickly. You’re the only one that really cares you’ve sunk the best part of a grand into putting the show on, and the only real way to make that back is to hawk the show relentlessly for two weeks – cue the clogging up of Facebook feeds, endless Tweets and pushy messages and text blasts.
I apologise. It’s shameless. But it has to be. The stakes are otherwise too high for one person investing in their own enterprise. Every single ticket counts, so you pester and confirm and cajole and do deals and flirt and beg. Whatever it takes to get someone to the address at the right time.
Even to get those 25 people a show in the door, it took all my time and persistence. Biking around to every hipster coffee shop to put up flyers and posters, sending out press releases you know will likely be ignored in the deluge, flyering at the Fringe headquarters, arranging preview shows, talking to sponsors, hiring chairs, networking face to face…it’s your job for a fortnight.
I’m thankful that New Orleans supports this kind of thing. That the people here get it, that they tolerate the hard sell sometimes. I can’t imagine doing this anywhere else. I’m glad people come to a kind of purposely shambolic Fringe show with an open mind (apart from the people that walked out/fell asleep). That’s two successful years running for me. And that makes me happy. Imagine how it will be when I get good. I’ll probably not be as likeable, huh?