Things By Simon

Edinburgh: Laying the Groundwork

I’ve been in London since last Friday, preparing for the upcoming show Manipulators at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The show is a collaboration between myself and fellow illusionist Vyom Sharma, and was primarily created because we both felt like visiting the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival but didn’t feel like the hassle of self-producing our own shows.

So we took the far more complex and involved route of merging parts of our respective acts into a two-man theatrical monstrosity.

While Vyom is back in Melbourne preparing, I’ve hit London a week early to get the groundwork under control. It’s amazing how much goes into getting a show happening, and much of it is significantly easier if you’re at least in the same country.

Things that have been done this week include:

  • Getting 10,000 flyers printed. Yes, ten thousand. And based on what I’ve heard about the Fringe, that may be on the low side compared to what many shows end up using. With a quantity that large, it becomes instantly clear why we wanted to get them printed here rather than lug them from Australia.
  • Getting 50 posters printed. Far fewer than the flyers, since our deal with the venue includes them taking care of poster distribution. They only require 30 posters to fill their existing spaces, and we’ll keep the rest for any personal spaces we can negotiate.
  • Making contact with local performing arts connections. Magicians, illusionists, comedians, theatre people, any and all people with connections to the Fringe. This is partly for promotional purposes, but also to have some general contacts and advice for the inevitable challenges of producing a show at the biggest arts festival on the planet.
  • Gear shopping. Though the show is relatively compact (we deliberately designed it that way), there are several items involved that were too bulky to easily bring on the plane. With a week in advance, I’ve had plenty of time to get together the things we’ll need.
  • Live promotional shows. Thanks to the efforts of Kate Muir (a fellow Hollywood Fringe award nominee) I have a couple of¬†¬†promotional gigs lined up for this weekend. In the battle for publicity that is Edinburgh, every extra piece of live promotion can be a big help.

And, finally and most excitingly…

  • Getting our website online. While this obviously didn’t need to be done in London, it’s what has occupied most of my spare time in between the other tasks. Coded from my 11″ Macbook Air, uploaded from various Starbucks coffee shops around central London, www.manipulatorslive.com has gone from non-existent to online in the space of less than a week. I’m very happy with it; the hope is that having a dedicated snappy-looking website will make the show stand out from the large crowd of non-snappy-looking-website-owning other shows.

And so accompanied by a sleep deficit, a coffee surplus, and surprisingly minimal jetlag, I have a few more days to get everything sorted before Vyom arrives and we head up to Edinburgh.

Once we’re there, with another 2,000+ shows to share the festival with, there’s a good chance things are going to go absolutely batshit crazy.

Personally, I will be very glad that we got the groundwork done a week earlier.




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