May 23, 2010

In which I grovel for cash [forward to as many people as would be interested] . . .

As I've repeated ad nauseam here, I'm working on the first production for Crossroads Theatre Project. Of course, as the one with a complete script ready to roll, I'm first up in the hot seat. We're going for a summer production, so opening night would most likely be in late July or early to mid-August.

Working full-time and just getting to the point where I can consistently cover my living expenses without getting queasy or breaking into a cold sweat means that I don't have money lying around to throw at this project.

I'm not going for a Broadway extravaganza here (hell no to that shit). I'm doing a small, intimate piece with minimal set and tech requirements. I'm going for a very bare bones thing to really highlight the actors and the story.

But I need help.

Here is the breakdown of the projected cost of producing Tulpa, or Anne&Me by myself:

$100 -
Fractured Atlas full membership. This will allow Crossroads Theatre Project to be eligible for fiscal sponsorship, so people can make tax-deductible donations. The deadline for May is May 31 (or, to be more realistic, May 28). They review applications in early June, and approvals will be announced no later than June 15. Thanks to shesgottaread, I'm already a good chunk of the way there. If you have and extra $50 or even $25, it'll help a lot.

$1150 - rehearsal space. My research shows rehearsal rates average at about $15 per hour (give or take a little). Tulpa, or Anne&Me is a 2-act play about 2 hours long. It will need about 70-75 hours of rehearsal (includes scenes, acts, and whole play) to adequately prepare the actors for performance. The total is $1125, but I'm adding a little more to include sales tax (if applicable) and/or a little extra money in case a rehearsal runs late.

$1000 - performance space. Performance rental rates can vary wildly. Since my needs are modest, I'm going for the smaller studio or black box spaces. You know - the ones where people are cramped in a few rows of folding-chairs? OK, maybe it won't be that bad, but we're not talking opera house balcony seats here. Based on my research, I'm probably going to have to pay around $30-50 an hour. To be on the safe side, I'm looking at 10 hours of performance each week (Fri-Sun only, includes time for arriving, setting up, seating, strike, etc) for a 2-week run, making a total of 20 hours or so.

$250 - marketing/advertising/publicity. One of the perks of my job is the ability to take advantage of a copy machine. So flyers and shit are no problem. If I want to do glossy postcards or buy ad space or what have you, that's a different matter, but there are intro rates and such all over the city. So this shouldn't be expensive. If there's something left over, maybe I could pay for something more, like glossy postcards and shit. Or set some aside for . . .

$600 - actors. Actors get a shit deal when it comes to getting paid for their work. So many times paying the actors is not even a blip on the radar. I don't want to be like that. Even if I only pay them from the box office and with whatever's left over from the budget, that's something. Ideally, I'd like to pay actors at least the same I'd pay the venue ($2150 total, in this case). But at the very least, I'd like to pay them for performance nights, even just $25. So that's $150 per actor, and a total of 4 actors makes that $600 I want to budget for them, at minimum. Besides that, I want to turn over the box office and most of any surplus from the budget over to them.

General estimate: about $3100.

The most pressing need is rehearsal space. It's possible to do a troupe-style thing where the group performs in different parts of NYC (where we don't have to pay for it). But without somewhere to practice, booking ourselves would be . . . stupid.

Contributing to the project:

If you want to make a monetary contribution, send me an email at rvcbard[at]gmail[dot]com. I'll give you the info you need to help us out. For now I can only take checks or money orders, but I'm working on an online donation option (suggestions other than PayPal welcome). as well. If I get approved for fiscal sponsorship at Fractured Atlas, not only will you be able to contribute online, but your donation will be tax-deductible.

What your contribution gets you (cumulative):

  • $25 - Props on our project website and playbill (complete with link to your website, LJ, or blog).
  • $50 - Comp tickets for the show OR autographed copy of the script, plus program and promotional materials
  • $100 - Video of performance
  • $250 - Personalized YouTube video thank you letter
  • $500 - Russell Simmons treatment (watch Def Comedy or Def Poetry to see what I mean)
  • $1,000+ - Let's figure something out. Maybe a party or something just for you.
But there are ways you can help without money too. For example:
  • Design and/or build our website
  • Design a brochure, postcard, and/or flyer
  • Donate rehearsal and/or performance space (NYC metro area)
  • Helping us get some free rehearsal space (NYC metro area)
  • Marketing/advertising/publicity help
  • Finding good actors who are reliable and cool with a DIY production that may rehearse in different spaces week-to-week. This is even more important than space since its impossible to have theatre without actors.
  • Buying or donating props
What your non-monetary contribution gets you (cumulative)
  • Thanks for helping - Pimp your products and/or services through our show
  • That's really cool - Comp tickets to the show OR autographed copy of the script, plus program and promo materials
  • This is gonna help soooo much - Press release for something you're doing
  • Awesome! - YouTube commercial for your own business or project
  • Holy Shit! - Let's figure something out.
This is not all that's possible, either. Especially if we make more than what we need. We're gonna hook it (and you) up. It's going to be special, and we're going to make you feel amazing.

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