Fringe first-timer's guide: How to flyer like a pro

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Edinburgh Fringe Royal Mile

Have you headed to the Fringe as a performer for the first time? Have you survived the opening excitement and the woes of 'Black Wednesday? ticket gloom?' Fear not!

Get Comedy has scoured the comedy land to ask seasoned Fringe-goers for their own first-time guide. Opening our series of Features, The Real MacGuffins explain the art of a successful flyerer.

Hi, Dan from The Real MacGuffins here. This is my 8th Edinburgh Fringe and I’ve only managed to avoid flyering once so if this is your first time, here is my invaluable guide to the art of flyering to help you get through day in, day out, through earth, wind and fire (not much) and rain (lots).

First up some dos and don’ts :

  • DON’T stand still holding your flyers in a pretentious mime pose – passers by may take your flyer but they won’t see your show; 
  • DO simulate sex – passers by may not take your flyer but they will see your show.
  • DON’T run up to people and shout in their faces – you will be killed;
  • DO sing, play musical instruments and have gorgeous girls in your cast – crowds will gather and you may even inadvertently raise some cash from busking – it all helps.

Next, the nitty gritty – how to get through a long shift without going insane:

  • Ideally you need to flyer with someone else – a flyering session you share is a flyering session you survive;
  • Pretend crowds are made up of celebrities – it’s great fun imagining you’re really flyering Brad, Angelina or Clint – in my time I’ve flyered Billy Connolly, Jeremy Paxman and H from Steps.
  • Come up with some rhymes about your show that can keep your soul calm and be used as a mantra: ‘Don’t buy an omelette, come and see Hamlet’; ‘My house is on fire, please take my flyer’; ‘Make your choose-ical to watch our musical’. This means you should stay sane.

Finally, how do you actually get people to take your flyer? I use a few tricks here:

  1. Set up your pitch – ideally on the Royal Mile – this will be your home;
  2. Don’t be a twat – people won’t take one, would you?;
  3. People love free – just shout ‘Free thing’ a lot and the public will come to you;
  4. Lie and say ‘Sell out show, 5 stars’ – if you get caught out on this just say ‘Bonjour’ and run away.

Good luck, happy flyering and remember if all else fails simply pay someone else to do it for you, or do what Jim and I do – just get Matt to do the shitty jobs.

The Real MacGuffins are appearing at the Fringe 2010 at the Pleasance Courtyard, 22:45 until 29 August
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