Producing a Show

So, You Wanna Be a Producer?

Fringe Festivals worldwide offer shows a chance to try out work (often new!) in front of audiences, who are generally hungry for something out-of-the-ordinary. Before you choose to produce a show, please read this information on putting on a show during the pandemic.

In-Person or Online?

The choice is yours.

The Fringe is providing performers and venues as much flexibility as possible during this unprecedented time.

This year, we have two options for your show:in-person or online.

In-person:

Due to COVID-19, many Rochester venues are not opening until 2022. While some venues have returned this year, some won’t return until 2022. With that in mind, Fringe is adding venues where possible. We understand the tremendous strain that the arts have endured, and we are adding spaces where we can. (Incidentally, if you’re dying to be a venue this year, please email us at info@rochesterfringe.com and we’ll see what we can do.)

If you have an idea for a site specific show in a non-traditional space, we’re all ears! Simply fill in the application form and click “site specific” under the list of venues. We’ll then reach out to you directly to chat through your location ideas.

Online:

Again this year, Fringe will create a virtual stage, where artists and audiences from all over the world can connect.


COVID-19 Precautions

In line with current New York State rules for the performing arts, we will be using the Excelsior Pass or other vaccination verification methods to ensure that audiences, performers, crews are fully vaccinated.  We realize that the rules are changing, and may very well change again by September, so *full* details of our health protocols for audience members will be posted online closer to the festival itself.  If you’re a performer, now is the time to get vaccinated, if you’re not already. With the usage of vaccine verification, we can get back up to 100% capacity both indoors and outdoors.

For your rehearsal process, we request that you follow all New York State and CDC guidelines. That means vaccinations, rehearsing outdoors or in a very well-ventilated area, and masking if still unvaccinated. We will provide a safety guide upon login at Backstage starting June 8th.


Contracting

For live, in-person shows, your show contract will be with the venue itself, and not with the Fringe.We provide all venues with guidance and training.


Rights & Legal Stuff

That’s right, this is the boring, but necessary, part.  Many of you who have performed in live venues realize that you need to hold the usage rights to material before it is performed live.  The same is true for online performance, but the rules are a little different.

A full page on online usage information will be available starting June 8th, after you login to Backstage.

The bottom line is that, just because something is online, doesn’t mean you don’t need to hold the usage rights.


Marketing & PR

Marketing

This is the time to really sell your show!  Not only will you be selling your show for Rochester, but strong marketing will result in increased attention among the press and other venues and festivals.

Some marketing ideas to consider include:

  • Promotion on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok.
  • Email blasts.
  • Offering ticket buyers a special promo code. Contact your venue for information on this option.
  • Printing and distributing flyers, postcards, and/or posters.
  • Google ad words.
  • Place a button ad on the Fringe website in addition to your show listing.

PR

We will provide you with a press release template and a press contact sheet. If desired, the Fringe publicist will check your press release for you! Sending out a press release is a great way to get both coverage and reviews.


Registration

We know that, now more than ever, Fringe artists and venues need advice, support, and guidance. We will be with you every step of the way.

Due to the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, we have reduced registration fees 25-50% for this year. The one-time Fringe registration fee is *not* a source of revenue for Fringe or performance venues but rather a necessary cost to support performances. The fee has been structured to accommodate shows of all types and sizes:

For venues with 100 seats or more:

  • One production with multiple, ticketed performances/exhibits: $125
  • One production with free, non-ticketed performance/exhibits: $75
  • One production with one ticketed performance/exhibit only: $50

For venues with 99 seats or less:

  • One production with multiple, ticketed performances/exhibits: $75
  • One production with multiple, free, non-ticketed performances/exhibits: $40
  • One production with one ticketed performance/event only: $40
  • One production with one free performance/event: $25

Online Shows

  • On-demand or live streamed, online shows: $25

Please note that the fee is per production and *not* per performance or exhibition. The maximum that one production can pay for registration is $125.  One registration fee equals one listing online.


Budgeting

Before you put on any show, whether at the Fringe or elsewhere, try to think like a producer and create your budget.

Production

Budgets vary from production to production. A music show may simply involve the cost of a new mic cover, but a theatrical or operatic piece may be a bit more elaborate. That said, the spirit of the Fringe calls for minimal sets, costumes, props, and equipment. For example, most theatre shows at the Edinburgh Fringe have a 5-minute load-in or load-out! The focus should be on the performers, artists, and the work. You do *not* need to overspend. Fringe audiences have great imaginations.

If a venue decides to book your show, they will come to you with an offer. This offer should include dates, times, and a financial deal. Some venues prefer box office splits, while others pay guaranteed fees. We provide guidance to all venues, but as always, if a venue offers you a deal and you have a question, we are here to help you. Simply email us at info@rochesterfringe.com and we’ll do our best to advise.

Percentage to the Fringe

The Fringe collects 10% of ticket sales for in-person and live shows to cover operating costs such as marketing, advertising, centralized box office, promotional events, and publicity.


Show Insurance for Live Shows

We all want to ensure that every show is protected in the event that something goes wrong during a live performance. As such, your venue may require that you carry insurance as is very typical of venues that typically present theatre or dance year-round. Or, your venue may cover you on their insurance, as is typical with music shows. In addition, your sponsoring organization may also provide blanket coverage for you.

The bottom line is that, if a venue requires that you carry show insurance, and you don’t have insurance, the Fringe can help with a referral. Full details on our insurance referral will be available after login at Backstage starting June 8.


Questions?

We are happy to chat. Please email us at info@rochesterfringe.com