Crafting Theatre Part 10:
Postcards, Banners and Posters Galore
One important element of touring a show is the promotion – no matter how good the show is, if people don’t know about it, they aren’t going to come. Which means that a few poor trees and several hours are always committed to promotion materials for every tour. Specifically: Posters, postcards and – at least this time – a banner.
Let’s start with the posters: There are two sizes generally, one for the UK and one for North America. Since this summer I’m staying in North America, it wasn’t difficult to take the poster design and add festival performance dates and logos. Ordering the posters has been more difficult – for some reason, it is surprisingly expensive to print posters. And at around $1.00 each (plus shipping), it is painful to watch them get defaced or covered. So I generally don’t order a lot of them in advance, since it’s cheaper to just print them at Staples and bring them along with me. Also – ironically – the colour photocopies at Staples tend to survive the rain a lot better than professionally-printed posters, where the colour flakes off if it gets wet.
Making postcards involved 1- Altering the poster design and adding addition show information, 2- Guessing how many I’d need for each festival (it ranges from 250-2000), and 3- Figuring out where I should get each batch sent, to save on shipping costs. I tend to order these online at Vistaprint, ideally when they’re having a 50% off sale. But since the times and venues of all the performances for this summer haven’t been confirmed, and postcards are heavy and I’m already bringing practically a houseful of things along with me this summer, I am ordering them only a couple of festivals at a time.
The banner was a bit of a difficult decision. First, it’s expensive. Also, it feels like the height of hubris to park a large banner in the middle of a festival where most other artists are displaying regular-sized posters. However, it’s a good promotion tool, more and more people are using them, and there was a 40% off sale online. And so, several hours were spent yesterday designing and ordering a large banner.
In theory, the designing is easy – just take the poster design, break down the different elements, and put them back together into a banner template. But working on a screen image that is 3% of the actual size takes a lot of imagination (Also, the computer kept freezing…)
Anyway, there is a lot of other promotion that needs doing, but these – and possibly other – physical products are a good – and necessary - start.