Thursday, May 27, 2010

Runnin' on Fumes made of Love

I just got done reading Rob Kozlowski's rules on how theatre companies should treat writers and he's got some great points but, on the other hand, it looks like we won't be working with Rob anytime soon because we won't be able to make him happy based on price alone. This got me thinking about budgets and, in particular, our budget so, in the spirit of true transparency, I thought I'd break down where we are right now and where our money goes when we actually have some.

GreyZelda currently has $500.00 in the bank. We have fundraisers getting set up and I'm currently putting my own money (that could be going to baby food, diapers, concerts, travel, what have you) down to pay for whatever is needed for the fundraisers, as are our other company members, just so we don't have to dip into the very small change purse that is our bank account. We're hoping that we'll be able to, ultimately, raise $5000.00 in the next few months so that we can put up our first show after a two plus year hiatus. We're also applying for grants, but one can never tell if you'll actually get one, so ...

What will we do with that $5000, you're wondering?

Well ... here's how it works out:

Boho Theatre Rental Costs - $2200.00
Marketing - $300.00
Costumes - $500.00
Set/Props - $1000.00
Rehearsal Rental - $300.00

That all adds up to $4300.00 and I'm just throwing out some projected costs here. I'm being conservative because I haven't officially broken it down, but, even if we're able to stay perfectly within this budget, we would have $700.00 left over.

I would like to split that $700.00 up to pay our designers, actors and playwright equally which would equal 8 people allowing everyone to have $87.50. However, that would put us back to zero, so we would need to make $5000.00 in ticket sales and additional fundraising to put up our next show. It would be awesome if we have more than $5000.00 per show but that's the number we're shooting for. And, even if we had more money to throw around, would bigger payouts to everyone, again putting us back to zero, be the best fiscal move for a business hoping to get to another season?

And, remember, Chris and I aren't seeing any of that money. Only the people who work project to project see it. So, our members don't get paid and our directors don't get paid.

I know GreyZelda isn't alone with this and, to be quite honest, this is part of the reason we've been on a hiatus for the last two years. We're moving forward with a new season because we want to do it and our company members want to do it. We want to create. We want to share art with our community. We're not doing it to make our creators happy through money. I wish things were different but if you're looking to make money working with our theatre company, you'll need to look in another direction.


Rob Kozlowski said...

I should write a follow-up post because there are plenty of things I would do for free. Envelope stuffing? Helping build a set? Paint? Raise funds? Absolutely. Just not writing.

RebeccaZ said...

Would you accept $87.50? =)

The reasons we're making the payout equal is that I've been feeling that it isn't right that the actors often get little to nothing but the designers get a payout, so ... sticking with our new outlook, the playwright would be a part of the production team which also includes the actors and designers, but not the producer/director (me).

However, if there's a play that we absolutely must do and it requires a paying a rights company or the playwright is asking for a particular price, than we will consider it into our budget.

The nonprofit/storefront scene is all kinds of weird when it comes to production costs, but that's another post for another day ...

Rob Kozlowski said...

I like the payout equal idea, and of course, $87.50 would be awesome from you guys. Even $50 or $20 probably. From the Goodman? Not so much. It's a case-by-case basis for me. No rate card here.