Preparation began in December to bring this show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year but I didn't qualify or I was too late to access any funding assistance and this made it a particularly difficult decision.
I don't have any personal savings, this was just a mapped out risk involving funds from gigs, finances, credit cards and so on.
I sat down with my wife and explained the cost, she was very supportive; she believed in the project and worked out how much I'd need to make profit or to at least break even and that's where the story begins.
Without my wife giving her support and telling me to do it, I would have never of considered it.
Family comes first and I now hope to make my son proud.
Researching is always fun when it comes to projects like this and the amount of material is insane.
Fitting in the elaborate sketches in the length of show I had was never going to be possible but it needed to follow a formula of short to the point gag, song, short to the point gag, song... etc
This formula had to be driven by the host with the most himself Dean Martin. Dean had years of hosting his comedic variety shows entitled 'The Dean Martin Show' and this show was weekly for NBC racking up 250+ episodes. After this shows cancellation Dean continued his TV career with The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast; similar to shows like 'The Last Leg' these days where a panel make fun of popular celebrities.
Dean was always a breath away from making his captive audience laugh along with whoever he happened to be working with at the time.
In comparison to that you have today's entertainer Michael Buble. Michael had his own one-off TV special on ITV 'Michael Buble Sings and Swings' in the UK but also managed to host 4 annual Christmas shows in the USA. His star power and mass appeal is huge but even he can't compare to the domination Dean Martin had in his era.
Mashing these two stars together you come to the conclusion that Michael is certainly the straight man of the double act and very much a man of his fans. The writing process began with me writing wildly about the differences between modern day and the 1960's. This filtered down into Dean learning in disbelief about some of the advances in modern technology.
From here I was able to develop a pattern of pitting Dean Martin's arrogance and flamboyance against Michael's current straight edge, man of the people family man image.
From an early age my grandmother shared her music taste with me and I was so fortunate to have this amazing lady take care of me and teach me the absolute joy of Paul Robeson, Al Jolson, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and many more.
Unfortunately my grandmother deteriorated incredibly quickly with Dementia once it began to display itself and I spent my teens caring for her. We shared a room and I would just try and make her laugh every day. When eventually for the final part of her condition she had to go into a care home when her needs became too great for the house we had, her mobility was more or less zero. I attended the care home every day and made her laugh. Often at this stage in her illness she didn't know who I was but the occasional spark made it all worthwhile.
I left that care home crying every time... But my routes in entertaining come from making her quality of life as good as it possibly can be.
11th January 2017 - Venue Booked
When it came to deciding on a venue one thing that was very important was an on-site bar. I'm not a drinker myself but I want people to enjoy their night out and its so nice to be able to watch a show and relax.
I'd say its very important to shop around, I had quotes from Greenside (who offer an excellent programme and press day) and various other venues. It became evident that places like Greenside or theSpaceUK work for their money. In the end in terms of the dates I wanted, venue size, bar and a quick and informative response led me to pick theSpaceUK. Charles Pamment was very helpful when it came to sending guides and advising of deadlines. Charles was friendly and it didn't feel like I was communicating with a template auto response, he was fantastic. Contract signed; no going back.
12th January 2017 - Show Registered
Charles sent me a guide of things to do after I booked the venue and I wanted to get the show registered quickly. Registering for the Fringe isn't actually mandatory but I believe they say technically you are not part of the festival if you don't register. It costs roughly £300 to register depending on the length of your show run. The website is great though and it allows you to start getting ticket sales very quickly. The ability to track ticket sales and know how busy each night of your run is will be a great help too.
It's important to check the dates of getting approved, this means your venue is ready to go and if you get it done by the date below then your tickets can go on sale at the next sale date. I would say get there as soon as possible.
8th June 2017 - Script Meeting
Meeting up with Steve was great, we had some emails back and forth discussing ideas for the script. Steve was happy to trust me for the most part. I think he was impressed with a couple of ideas I shared and genuinely felt we were heading in the same direction.
We had a read through it and quickly realized as you always do there was just too much material and not wanting to drops songs was pivotal. We removed a couple of gags about Dean being shocked phones don't have wires and mocking Buble for having uber old fans.
Collectively we tried to engage the audience following the formula that whatever joke was happening to make sure the show was never far from a song.
25th June 2017 - Rehearsal
I took a trip up to Steve's house in Edinburgh, my son Harrison got to meet 'Uncle Steve' for the first time.
We spent 4-5 hours going over the script and timing it.
(Steve's timing method was questionable)
Unfortunately during a short break I went up the stairs and broke the mans bathroom door handle. It literally came off in my hand. For a brief moment I wanted to hide it behind a plant or something but really I had nowhere to hide and nowhere to run so I went back down stairs and gave it to him.
Luckily we saw past it and kept singing.
We ended up singing through a whole host of songs that are not in the show! And ended up desperate to put some in.
We took some snaps of our rehearsal and both felt excited after it I think. We sounded in tune with each other and it was great to see Steve back as Dean Martin - he slipped into it so well, fantastic.
27th June 2017 - Final Venue Payment
2nd July 2017 - Rehearsal
July 1st 2017 the final payment was due to the venue... Wow I don't think I've ever had that much money in total in my bank account as the total fee for the venue. A mixture of gigs, buying and selling, credit... you name it, I used it.
All to make Bubbles and Martini happen and put on a show for the people of the Fringe.
I'll be absolutely honest with you - incase you're thinking about it - I never began this project to make money, profit was never my aim and if you are going there to make money - one word... don't!
I'll be so happy to break even.
I am doing this to entertain, for professional approval, for experience, for my family, for my son and to prove to myself that although I've dedicated myself to a lonely time of looking after my baby for nearly 3 years I can still do this...
Time will tell!! Stay tuned!
A great rehearsal on stage at The Hub this week. I decided this was best as we have a gig next Saturday and wanted to go through our set for that properly as well as sing through as much of our Fringe material as possible! Unfortunately the hire didn't include any equipment so I got there early and set up speakers, microphones and a camera.
This was purely a music rehearsal and we were able to film bits and pieces to view them back and see what we thought later on.
8th July - Bubbles and Martini Gig