Virtual Differences

Performing in a live streamed environment has differences & similarities compared with performing in a more conventional space.

Consider advertising for your event. For an event in a traditional fringe you will probably have a poster run & flyer like crazy. For a virtual event, where are you putting up your posters? Where is the audience you are going to flyer? There’s lots of other differences:

Time and Space

AttributePhysicalVirtual
LocationIn a town or cityThe whole world
VenueA physical space, a room of some kind.Your web cam & the audience’s computer screen.
CapacityDepends on the venue. 50 seats? 100? 500? costs rise with venue size. No limits really. You are standing on a stage in front of 1 billion seats. Now you just have to fill them.
Show LengthConstrained, often by the venue wanting to clear your audience out to admit the one for the next show.Unconstrained. You can make your show as long or as short as you like. Nobody needs you to be out to get the next audience in.
Show TimeTypically evenings in your location, or maybe matinees for child orientated showsSame, but in your audience’s location. This is important, we discuss it in depth below.
Season LengthConstrained by the venue and its cost structure.Run as many or as few performances as you like. Nobody else is following you in the venue.
AdvertisingPosters, flyers, Facebook, Google, etc.Facebook, Google, etc.
MarketingPress, radio, popular pod casts, reviewers, …The same, but in multiple locations.

Show time is a very important difference. In a traditional festival, there is a location, it typically has one time zone & nearly your entire potential audience are working on that time zone so shows have to be aimed for their leisure time. In a virtual festival, you are freed from the constraints of location. I’m in New Zealand, if I want to perform to audiences in the UK, it’s my morning, if I want to perform to people in the USA, it’s my afternoon, East Australia’s evening is my night, West Australia & most of East Asia is my late night …

The point here is, by adjusting your show times within your run, you can reach a much larger potential audience. Just make sure that you aren’t doing an early morning, afternoon, early evening, late night stretch for longer than your stamina allows. Take days off.

Costs

These are in New Zealand Dollars, approximately 50p UK, 70c US. The numbers are pretty rough, but you get the picture.

AttributePhysicalVirtual
Travel$200-$2000$0
Accommodation$250 (5 nights @ $50 / night) and up.$0
Venue Rental$500 (5 nights @ $100 / night)$0 – $15 (Zoom Pro / month)
Festival Registration$40 for small regional festivals through $750 in CanadaSliding scale. $0 in June, $40 July through $200 if you register during the festival.
AdvertisingDepends on your budget. $300 – $500?The same, maybe more as you’re not paying travel, accommodation or venue charges. I’ll be doubling my spend.
Food & DrinkVaries a lot depending on your diet and how much you can cook in your accommodation.Whatever you spend on food at home.
Total$1500 – $3500$650 (And that includes a $600 advertising spend)

Edinburgh Fringe publish a handy budgeting spreadsheet. Run your costs through that and get scared. If you lack patience, they have a number of scenarios.

Running a festival

A lot of people seem to think that a virtual festival should be a lot cheaper than a real life festival. Our costs are pretty much the same. We need a web site, same cost, we need to advertise the festival, similar costs, admin, the same, desk space OK that’s from home, but if we need to get together for some kind of team meeting.

I gather from the low registration cost of regional festivals that they must be relying on volunteer workers, and getting a lot of their funding though a combination of local grants (because they bring people into town) and inside ticket fees.

These aren’t available to us. The whole idea of a virtual festival is it doesn’t take people from their homes to some other place. Inside ticket fees aren’t an option for us either, we looked at the options for ticketing and multi country, multi language, multi currency just got too complex then the thought of negotiating charges with multiple ticketing services … Maybe if we’d had longer …

We may get some volunteer work done, but coordinating it …

We feel we will have to work like crazy and farm out some tasks to paid people.

Your costs are a lot less, ours aren’t.