Past LSF team creatives The Clarkson Twins and Gemma Hurley, are putting on a show…! I asked Michael to share what he had learned about breaking into comedy via fringe theater… Over to Michael…
Hello there! Michael Clarkson here. If you’ve ever attended the London Screenwriters’ Festival and pitched at the Great British Pitchfest, you will have met me and my identical twin Paul in that room, ringing a bell and calling out after every 5 minutes.
After much deliberation and banging our heads against the British television industry, we decided to transform one of our feature screenplays into a fully fledged theatre production.
If you’re serious about comedy, then the Edinburgh festival is the place to have your work seen. Comedy commissioners come in droves, literally looking for that cliché “next big thing”. It is still where most of the comedy you’ll see on television today is sourced, despite the growing independent comedy web series, shorts etc that our British film making community has to offer.
So we plunged head first into the ambitious task, funding the show out of our own pockets and through generous supporters on Kickstarter (we’re currently 50% funded with 15 days to go!) only to find to our surprise that producing a play is already a million times more rewarding than producing a short film where everything inevitably depends on that one day of shooting (and it rained all day, the van broke down and the jib broke).
With Death Ship, we have been on an incredible writers journey. From the finished script, to the table read, to work-shopping with our talented cast and listening to the instant feedback of the audience opening night laughing at jokes. Here is some of what we learned…
- PLAN AHEAD:
The Edinburgh Festival starts at the beginning of August, but if you’re serious about going, you need to start preparing at least a year before. We missed out on so many applications and grants funding, such as Ideastap’s £10,000 which closes about 8 months before the fringe. If you want corporate sponsorship – forget about it unless you hit them up before they spend their yearly budget. We made a lovely press pack and everything which went to waste!
Paid Edinburgh Venue or The Free Fringe? We opted for the latter to avoid the extortionate venue fees (£6k-30k!!!). They’ve been gaining kudos, better venues and popularity in recent years, with Robin Ince doing his show there last year, and we aren’t shy of doing things a bit guerilla style 🙂
- LONDON PREVIEWS:
These are shows you’ll have in June/July to generate press reviews and interest before you transfer to Edinburgh with the show. You’re not just planning for a month in Edinburgh. It’s a long term campaign that should play out months before Edinburgh and – hopefully – after Edinburgh too! As long as your project is strong and you have a savvy head you’ll be able to find some awesome places to put on your show such as: The Comedy Boat Club, The Courtyard Theatre, 503 Theatre, Canal Café.
There are only 4 more days left to catch Death Ship’s London previews at the Courtyard Theatre in Old Street (closes Sunday 30th June).
“It’s jam-packed full of gags… delivered so fast that even if you miss a few, you’re still laughing from the previous ones!”
London City Nights
So come along and get on board! Ticket details on the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/207085809440481
And help us fund our kickstarter campaign (Today we’re 50% funded with 15 days left to reach our minimum target of £5,000 or we don’t get a penny and the show will be severely compromised!) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1076673752/death-ship-666-the-titanic-parody-play
Michael, Paul and Gemma x
Onwards and upwards!