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Finding the Right Dayjobs as a Theatre Artist

August 6, 2019 Leave a comment

(This post was written as a podcast article for the wonderful Broad-WHAT? podcast put together by Ryan Nunez and Theo Budd. You can find them at https://broadwhatpodcast.com/ and this particular podcast at https://broadwhatpodcast.com/2019/06/11/june-blog-month-episode-2/ )

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Hello Broadwhatniks!

I’m Andrew Wade, and I’m here to talk to you about life with dayjobs as a theatre artist. This isn’t advice persay, because goodness knows I don’t have a perfectly arranged life, but I thought I’d share a few ways I’ve seen people somehow both manage paying their rent and working in theatre, and what I’ve found works for me.

First, if you’re a Vancouver artist who makes their whole living doing what you love… bravo! You have my respect. Whether you’re someone who managed to slowly increase the percentage of your income earned by theatre work, piece by piece, until it made up the whole of your income, or one of those brave souls who quit everything and leapt face first into the profession to great success… I’m impressed.

I know of one fringe artist who works his butt off all summer long. He travels from fringe festival to fringe festival, using those May to September months to earn his income for the entire year. It seems like half of the time, he didn’t even win the draw to be in the particular fringe festival, but he hounds the organizers for open spots, and when some company drops out at the last minute, as often happens, he seizes the opportunity, flyers like a madman, and draws crowds. Now, this is Fringe Festival money, not investment banker money, so to survive off his earnings he then lives the rest of his year in somewhere with cheap living expenses, like an island in the pacific ocean. Earn quick, live cheap.

That’s a sort of balance. But for most of us, we need day jobs. Personally, I’ve always been enamoured by the idea of working like someone out in the oil fields, going hard for four months of the year, and then having enough money to take the rest of the year off to make art, act in shows, write. But then I’d have to work in the oil fields, and with these delicate hands? Pass. But if you can find high paying seasonal work, amazing.

There are also plenty of people in our community who choose to work the full time joe job that lets them act in one solid production a year, and if that’s your life, all the more power to you!

But for those of you like myself who want to hustle all year ‘round, going to auditions and seeking out roles, maybe booking the odd stage management or directing gig, you’re going to want to look at finding flexible work where you get to opt in to all of your working hours rather than constantly needing to get shifts covered. Many theatre artists do the 9am-5pm, full time job, and then straight to rehearsals and performances every evening, but in my view, those fifteen hour days just aren’t sustainable.

When looking for a flexible day job that will let you take time off to work that theatre contract, there are a couple of categories. First, there’s the job that you can do ANYWHERE, AT ANY TIME. My own part-time role as Executive Director for the Richmond Arts Coalition is like that. 98% of the job is spent online, updating websites and databases, sending off emails and scouring the web for arts events to compile into even more emails… all stuff I can do at 2am or whenever it’ll fit into my schedule. Other theatre artists I know do transcription work – writing up the words spoken in videos for a fee. These are jobs that are guaranteed not to be double-booked with the moment you’re about to go on as Lady Macbeth.

Second, there are the day jobs with opt-in scheduling. These are jobs that send out or post a schedule each month and say ‘what days can you work?’ and then they fill their shifts accordingly. The key to these jobs is to be valuable but expendable. You want them to want you to work as much as possible, but to not NEED you to be there. For me, I have wonderful employers at SFU Woodwards and Gateway Theatre who work this way for my Front of House Manager jobs, and my event shifts at Science World and for a company unfortunately acronymed as BBW work similarly. They’re delighted to have me, but the roof won’t fall in if I’m not there, because I’m one of a fleet of workers they have to fill those shifts. The shift opportunities themselves are quite irregular and they couldn’t have full time workers if they wanted to as the shifts only happen when there is a show or an event!, so they can’t expect their workers not to have other things going on in their life.

I’m told that serving jobs often pretend to be like this, but are often a trap, leading to angry employers demanding their employees be there for the busy Saturday when they’re supposed to be at rehearsal. I’ve steered clear of those jobs.

The downside to this kind of work is that it tends not to pay a whole lot, admittedly. That’s a sacrifice I make for knowing I can build a survivable, steady income whenever I don’t have a theatre gig to take up my time.

You may have noticed that most of my own day jobs are arts related. That is no coincidence! I’ve surrounded my work life with bosses who love the arts and want me to succeed as an artist, and that support is invaluable. There have been a lot of company rules bent in my direction to help me along my path because my bosses believe in the arts, and they believe in me.

To emphasize that point, I just came off of a dinner theatre contract that kept me in Alberta for five months, and might have gone as long as eight months. I was real nervous about it – I accepted the gig in late November and left December 31st. Not a whole lot of notice. I was sure I was going to lose some of my Vancouver safety net, but you know what? To a person, my bosses were all delighted for me. They told me not to worry about it, and that they’d look forward to offering me shifts when I got back into town. And now I’ve accepted a second dinner theatre contract that’ll take me back to the prairies from mid July until either January or April, and they’re still happy for me.

So that’s my advice – if you want to be theatre-flexible all year round, find jobs with bosses who love the theatre where you can be valuable but expendable, so that you can disappear for that two month contract when you book it. My own financial anxiety finds the idea of dropping all day jobs to pursue my art full time to be far too intimidating (and frankly, I’m not sure I’ve got the talent to achieve a lofty goal like that in Vancouver), so I keep dayjobs like these, with my schedule flexible but my rent payments steady.

It works for me. Thanks for listening.

Categories: acting, living, money

My 2018 Fringe By The Numbers

March 9, 2019 2 comments

 

Every year (2013) (2014) (2015) (2016) (2017) I have put out a blog post with financial breakdowns of my fringe festival experiences. I only spent time in Salmon Arm and Vancouver last year, but as I sit second on the waitlist for Vancouver Fringe this year, I figure I shouldn’t break the streak! So here’s how we did:

 

“I just want you to know, your show will stick with me forever. Thank you.” – a woman who recognized us at a diner, a couple of hours after a Salmon Arm performance

 

For 2018, I applied for a number of festivals with Hullaboo and The End of Everything. As is statistically probable, my lottery luck was not with me: Winnipeg Fringe (nope), Calgary Fringe for the first time instead of applying for Saskatoon (they take place at the same time) (nope), Victoria Fringe (nope), Nanaimo Fringe (nope), CAFF Lottery (nope), Edmonton Fringe (nope), and Vancouver Fringe (nope, but got in as a Bring Your Own Venue). I also submitted for Salmon Arm’s weekend-long ‘Theatre On The Edge’, which isn’t a Fringe as they select their entrants, but is otherwise similar to one.

Note that I have NEVER gotten into Edmonton or Winnipeg… I think that by now, including CAFF lotteries, I must be a startling 0 for 16 in lottery draws to get to those cities.

So, the tally for 2018? 0 for 7, mitigated by finding a BYOV for Vancouver Fringe and finding a juried festival that would take us.

Keep in mind that while I produced the show, all profits were to be shared between myself and the lovely Katie Purych (with our Stage Manager Bonnie Duff receiving a fee for Salmon Arm).

 

EXPENSES:

Failed Fringe Application Fees:   (application fees don’t come cheap!)
Winnipeg: -25.00$
Calgary: -35.00$
Victoria: -30.00$
Nanaimo: -25.00$
CAFF Lottery: -25.00$
Edmonton: Full fee of -761.25$, with 724.50$ returned six months later = -36.75$ (plus whatever interest I would have earned on that money in the interim)
Total: -176.75$

Edmonton Fringe continues to have a very awkward and irksome application fee system.

 

Salmon Arm Theatre On The Edge Expenses:
Festival fee: -225.00$
Gas money: -80.00$
Stage Manager fee: -100.00$ (Bonnie Duff adamantly refused to accept payment, was happy for the job training and adventure, demanded I put the fee towards paying those failed application fees.)
Total Salmon Arm Expenses: -305.00$

 

Vancouver Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -50.00$
BYOV fee: -450.00$
Carousel Theatre Venue Fees: -895.00$
Postcards (1000): -74.05$
Carousel Theatre Taxes: -44.75$
Posters (25): -16.40$
Facebook ad: -20.00$
Tape for posters: -13.62$
Videographer: -60.00$
Total Vancouver Fringe Expenses: -1563.82$

 

Fortunately, a lot of the Hullaboo expenses – such as puppet creation and costuming – were covered in last year’s over 1600.00$ loss on putting up the show in Saskatoon.

Expenses not included:
– Food eaten / groceries bought
– Lost income from not working dayjobs

 

And now let’s look at what we earned!

INCOME:

Salmon Ticket sales (after festival took their percentage cut): +845.52$
Vancouver Fringe Ticket sales: +1564.00$

 

Which means that our overall profits were:

Salmon Arm: +540.52$ (with 220.26$ going to myself, 220.26$ to Katie Purych, and 100.00$ as per Bonnie Duff’s request, going toward paying failed festival fees)

Vancouver Fringe: +0.18$

0.18$.

 

Seriously. We made eighteen cents in Vancouver.

 

+1564.00$ in sales, with -1563.82$ in expenses.

 

We should be running a non-profit.

 

Katie respectfully refused to accept her nine cents of profit and told me to put it toward the next production. 

 

For those who are interested, here is how our Vancouver ticket sales spread out from performance to performance:
Exchange Vouchers (comps we gave out to a group that sends low-income families to shows): 5+0+0+5+5+0+0+0 = 15 (0.00$)
Super At Door / Superpass (comps): 1+2+2+1+1+6+2+1 = 16 (0.00$)
Rush Pass (comps for volunteers and performers): 0+7+2+0+14+8+1+5 = 37 (0.00$)
Half-Price Ticket (second show only) (11$): 12 (72.00$)
Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 Pack (9$): 1+0+0+2+2+1+1+3 = 10 (90.00$)
Frequent Fringer 4 Pack (10$): 0+0+3+0+3+0+1+0 = 7 (70.00$)
Regular Tickets (12$): 6+0+12+9+28+12+11+33 = 111 (1332.00$)

 

My Kindergarten Teacher!

And for a day by day breakdown, our audience sizes were:
13 – 21 – 19 – 17 – 53 – 28 – 16 – 42 .

Those 53 and 42 size audiences were huge confidence boosters. One of them also included BOTH my kindergarten teacher AND my high school drama teacher, who both loved the show. My kindergarten teacher said I was one of the most gifted kids she ever taught. My drama teacher overheard this and said something along the lines of, ‘Well, I wouldn’t go THAT far, but I’m glad to see you’re doing well’. 😛


Overall, we made +463.95$ this summer (with 220.26$ going to Katie Purych), which compares thusly to prior years:

2017: -296.62$
2016: -58.21$
2015: +897.63$ (due to fee for writing TITUS)
2014: +83.51$
2013: -1671.16$

All the gratitude I have in my heart goes to Katie and Bonnie for adventuring this past summer with me and giving Hullaboo and The End of Everything some life!

Hopefully he will emerge out from under the bed again sometime!

My 2017 Fringe – By The Numbers

January 12, 2018 1 comment
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Hullaboo - Riding 1350pxFor the past few years (2013) (2014) (2015) (2016),I have put out a blog post with financial breakdowns of my fringe festival experiences. With draws for Vancouver and Victoria fringe festivals coming up, I figure it is long overdue for me to write my annual Fringe Financials post for 2017!

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In 2017, I decided to go ambitious with my new project, Hullaboo and The End of Everything. I had a costume designer friend help me create a custom look for Hullaboo. I wrote a TWO PERSON show (twice my regular number of people), knowing that it would also double my transportation costs. I booked a photoshoot just for this show. I had a puppet-maker friend help me out. The challenge for 2017 was going to be making a very professional-looking show.

In reality, the challenge ended up being that AND finding a new co-start with less than two weeks to go when the original actor got a long-term, paying contract elsewhere (which I totally understand and was okay with versus the uncertainty of profit-share fringing!).

So how did our 4.5/5 star-reviewed show do?

“This is a show that I can recommend enthusiastically. It’s smart, it’s fun, it tugs at the heartstrings — if you ever wanted to see a Pixar movie at the Fringe, this is it.” – Saskatoon Starphoenix

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And at what cost?

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For summer of 2017, I applied for seven lottery/first-come-first-serve draws: Saskatoon Fringe (first-come-first serve, put on waitlist, later got in), the CAFF lottery (did not win), Winnipeg Fringe (did not win), Edmonton Fringe (did not win), Calgary Fringe (did not win), Vancouver Fringe (did not win), Victoria Fringe (did not win).

So, I went 1 / 7.

All in all, those application fees (aka ‘put my name in the hat’ fees) set me back a fair amount:

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EXPENSES:

Failed Fringe Application fees:
CAFF Lottery: -25.00$
Winnipeg: -25.00$
Edmonton: -36.75$ (in a super awkward way of paying 708.75$ and then getting 672.00$ of that back, a month later)
Calgary: -35.00$
Vancouver: -50.00$
Victoria: -30.00$
TOTAL: -201.75$

Hullaboo - Claws 1000px
Hullaboo production costs:

Hullaboo tuxedo costume: -208.69$
Hullaboo costume shirts: -20.98$
Hullaboo costume make-up (green eyeliner): -22.40$
Hullaboo photoshoot (for posters and handbills): -131.00$
Hullaboo props: -1.40$
Giant puppet monster/costume: -100.00$
TOTAL: -466.47$

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Saskatoon-specific production costs:
Application fee: -50.00$
Festival fee: -680.00$
Plane ticket to Saskatoon (Me): -156.58$
Plane ticket from Saskatoon (Me): -156.58$
Plane ticket to Saskatoon (Katie): -156.58$
Plane ticket (Katie left a couple of days before I did, on a slightly more expensive flying day): -183.88$
Total cost to switch plane tickets to work for my wonderful replacement actor: 0$
(actual cost was 262.50$, but the first actor reimbursed that amount)
Handbills from eprintfast: -63.25$
Poster printing from Clubcard: -13.33$
Packing tape for posters: -3.35$
TOTAL: -1463.55$

Expenses not included:
– Fringe bar beers
– Rent paid back home
– Food eaten / groceries bought
– Lost income from not working dayjobs.

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Ooof! That’s a significant amount for a guy who doesn’t earn all that much.

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So let’s take a look at the income:

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Hullaboo - Scared 1500px

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INCOME:
Ticket sales: +489.49$
TOTAL: +489.48$

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Eeeep.

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How’s that? Let’s break it down:

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Ticket sales:
Advance ticket sales (12$): 0+0+0+0+2+2+4 = 8 sales (+96.00$)
Company/volunteer comps: 4+8+4+9+6+7+5 (I let volunteers in) = 43 tickets (0.00$)
Rush Media: 0+1+0+0+0+0+0 = 1 ticket (with that review quote above! 0.00$)
Frequent Fringer 5 Pack (11$): 0+2+0+2+0+0+1 = 5 sales (+55.00$)
Frequent Fringer 10 Pack (10$): 0+0+0+0+2+0+1 = 3 sales (+30.00$)
Frequent Fringer 20 Pack (9$): 0+1+0+0+1+2+0 = 4 sales (+36.00$)
Frequent Fringer – Child (7$): 0+0+4+0+0+0+0 = 4 sales (+28.00$)
And then this fringe removes GST (the only festival in the country to so do): -31.52$
= 489.48$

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Needless to say, that profit share with Katie didn’t really work out. We still had a fun time, though.

 

Hullaboo - Cross 1500px

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BUT ANDREW, YOU GOT A GREAT 4.5 STAR REVIEW!

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Yes, yes I did. Unfortunately, they never printed the review in their print paper – it was only online, if you scrolled down a bunch. They didn’t even include it in their ‘best of fringe’ feature where they reprinted reviews, even though that feature included a large number of shows with worse review scores. Alas. And Saskatoon is a ‘reads the paper’ kind of town. That’s my guess as to why so few people saw the show. But I really don’t know.

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FINAL FINANCIAL VERDICT: -1642.29$

Compare to 2016’s -58.21
Compare to 2015’s +897.63$ (due to fee for writing TITUS)
Compare to 2014’s +83.51$
Compare to 2013’s -1671.16$

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BUT!

Let’s not leave it on that rather dour (albeit tax deductible) note. For there were other fringe-related developments in 2017! I took part in a number of non-fringe festivals with previously fringe shows, and performed a few of them at the Heritage Grill as part of Way Off Wednesdays (run by the lovely Devon More). Let’s take a look at those:

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20374450_10155006831608155_5516162208895623601_n

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Non-Fringe with Fringe Shows:

In March, I performed my Hatter show twice in New Westminster at the Heritage Grill as a by donation show:
First Performance Donations: +134.90$
Second Performance Donations: +10$ (yeah, it was a bit of a bust)
I also performed The Most Honest Man in the World at the same location that month, by donation:
Donations: +102.55$
And in December, I performed Hullaboo and The End of Everything once at that location, by donation:
Donations: +156.40$
Profit share to Katie: -78.20$
Heritage Grill by donation total: +325.65$

Due to previously being in Port Alberni during their fringe, I was invited back to their Solstice Festival to perform William vs The World:
Solstice artist fee: +650.00$
Ferry Expenses: -16.95$ (there)
Ferry Expenses: -16.95$ (back)
Stage manager pay: -66.09$
Solstice total: +550.01$

I also took my show, The Most Honest Man in the World, to a separate non-fringe festival in Salmon Arm, Theatre On The Edge, for two performances:
Festival fee: -225.00$
Greyhound to Salmon Arm: -62.90$
Return trip cost thanks to the lovely Andrew Bailey and thanks to his lovely girlfriend: 0$
Artist take-home from ticket sales: +757.90$
Salmon Arm total: +470.00$

I also performed in a Geekenders show (Slumber Here) at Vancouver Fringe, but it did not make any money. Which was to be expected, as we had to hire a live donkey for the show!

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More generous end verdict:

If I balance these fringe show fees beside my fringe losses from Saskatoon, we get an end of 2017 financial figure of…. : -296.63$

Which doesn’t seem as bad. What do you think?

Hullaboo - Audra Balion Art

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Hullaboo - Poster

My 2016 Fringe: By The Numbers – Vancouver Edition

October 6, 2016 Leave a comment


My 2016 Fringe: By The Numbers – Vancouver Edition

Hello!williamvstheworld-image-01

Every (2013) single (2014) year (2015), I put out a blog post with financial breakdowns of my fringe festival experiences. This summer, however, I took a break from the tour as a whole and only performed in Vancouver.

Before I get started, I just want to give Vancouver Fringe kudos for making the ticket costs more transparent this year, at least online, clearly separating the amount of each ticket price that is given to the performer versus the fringe festival fee attached to each ticket.

This year (2016), Vancouver Fringe had 100 shows – more than ever before, but fewer than the advertised number of 110 due to ‘Generation HOT’ and special event shows – and gave $260,213.00 in revenues to artists.

Divide that number by the number of shows, and the average revenue per company would be 2,602.13$ . Given how successful many companies are, it’s safe to peg the median revenue figure somewhere lower than that.

(thanks to Shantini Klaassen for getting these numbers to me.)

So let’s take a look at how I did compared to the average!:

Vancouver audience numbers (for William vs The World):
# of performances: 9
BYOV Venue capacity (Arts Umbrella): 31
Total # of audience members: 10 + 30 + 23 + 24 + 23 + 13 + 15 + 30 + 29 = 197.
Average # of audience members per show: 21.8
Total # of paying audience members: 4 + 17 + 15 + 20 + 13 + 10 + 8 + 18 + 19 = 124.
Average # of paying audience members per show: 13.78

Comp ticket breakdown:
# of Kids Up Front ticket donation: 12
(I gave four comp tickets to each of my first three shows to https://www.kidsupfrontvancouver.com/ , a charity that Vancouver Fringe partners with.)
# of Super Pass comps (given to those who billet artists – let artists stay with them): 1
# of Exchange Vouchers (another option for those who billet artists): 1
# of Kick Ass Pass comps (free fringing given out by the festival to staff and big donors): 3
# of Artist Request comps: 5
(I had a few friends arrive late to one show so I booked them comps for another, and I traded show tickets with another friend.)
# of ‘Comp-Advance’ (any comps booked in advance): 17
# of volunteer/artist rush comps (Vancouver Fringe has an awesome rush line system where volunteers and other artists can see non-sold-out shows for free): 34

 

williamvstheworld-image-02

 

EXPENSES:

Failed Fringe Application fees:
Saskatoon: -50.00$ (actually got in, but had to drop out.)
Orlando: -33.43$
Winnipeg: -25.00$
CAFF (Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals lottery): -25.00$
San Diego: -56.99$ (got in, but dropped due to potential border issues due to citizenship problems)
Nanaimo: -25.00$
TOTAL: -215.42$

Vancouver Fringe fees:
Lottery draw (did not get in): -50.00$
Vancouver Fringe BYOV fee: -450.00$
Arts Umbrella venue fee: -500.00$
Arts Umbrella-required extra venue insurance: -43.75$ (+time to find insurance broker)
TOTAL: -1043.75$

Other:

Photoshoot: 0$ (reused content from previous year.)
Packing tape for posters: -3.55$
25 Posters from Clubcard: -12.26$
1000 postcard handbills from ePrintFast: -75.28$
Chuck the Third (cactus prop/character): -8.95$
TOTAL: -100.04$

TOTAL EXPENSES:
-1359.21$

Expenses not included:
Fringe bar beers (5?): Roughly -27.50$
– Rent paid (as I live here)
– Food eaten
– Lost income from not working dayjobs (although during the festival I DID admittedly work one standardized patient shift, one Science World shift, one SFU-Woodwards front of house shift, and put in a few hours on Richmond Arts Coalition items in my role there as Administrative Assistant.)

 

INCOME:20160906_135729_west-11th-avenue

Vancouver Fringe:
Frequent Fringer 4: 10$ per ticket = 0$ to the festival, 10$ to the artist.
Frequent Fringer 10 or 30: 9$ per ticket = 0$ to the festival, 9$ to the artist.
Full ticket price: 14$ = 3$ to the festival, 11$ to the artist.

# of Frequent Fringer 4 tickets sold: 5 tickets :: at 10$ per ticket = 50.00$
# of Frequent Fringer 10 + 30 tickets sold: 29 tickets :: at 9$ per ticket = 261.00$
# of full tickets sold: 90 tickets sold = 990.00$
Average amount per ticket, paid to the artist: 10.49$

Total: +1301.00$

 

FINAL FINANCIAL VERDICT: 1301.00$ – 1359.21$ = -58.21


Compare to 2015’s +897.63$ (due to fee for writing TITUS)
Compare to 2014’s +83.51$
Compare to 2013’s -1671.16$

 


Conclusion:

William vs The World is a harder show to sell than The Most Honest Man In The World, and I didn’t have any other festivals this year to build any sort of momentum or media push, so I expected a smaller turnout, and that happened. All the same, the only reason the number was negative this year was due to festival fees for festivals I ended up not getting into or dropping out of, so I’m content. It was a lot of fun to get to be a part of at least one fringe this year.

Felt like home.


williamvstheworld-image-03-cropped-700x350

And a final image of how I transported my set to and from Granville Island. 🙂

20160918_023855_west-11th-avenue

 

My 2015 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!

March 24, 2016 5 comments

 
 
My 2015 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!
 
As it is tax season, I am finally getting to my fringe receipts for last summer.
 
These are the numbers with which Andrew Wade traveled to five different cities and performed in their Fringe Festivals.
In 2013, I estimated that I SPENT 1671.16$ more on my tour in expenses than I earned.
In 2014 I figured that I earned a grand total of 83.51$ after travelling through five festivals.
 
So how did I do on my summer tour of 2015?
 
 

Toronto audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

The Most Honest Man In The World - option 2b - Copy# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 156
(this number is actually lower — skewed by artist comps not used by people for 1st and 2nd performances)
Average # of audience members per performance: 22 (without 1st comps: 17)
# of comps given away to 1st show to try and build word of mouth: 30
# of comps given away to 2nd show to try and build word of mouth: 10
# of comps to media: 3
# of artist comps (it is SUPER awkward to get other artists comps in Toronto): 5
# of comps to outreach (including to a group of new immigrants): 21
# of comps to VIPS (like artistic directors): 9
# of comps to volunteers: 11
Total # of paying audience members: 11 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 4 + 15 + 15 = 66
Average @ of paying audience members per performance: 9
 

Saskatoon audience numbers
(for William vs The World):

WilliamvsTheWorld - image 01# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 120
Average # of audience members per performance: 17
# of comps to fringe staff: 0
# of comps to fellow performers: 37

# of comps to media: 1
# of volunteer comps: 20
Total # of paying audience members: 6+11+8+11+8+6+11 = 61
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 9

(last year’s average of paying ticket holders for Honest Man in Saskatoon was 21.)
 
Nanaimo audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 82
Average # of audience members per performance: 14
# of comps to VIPs: 13
# of comps to ‘Buck’ (volunteer bucks?): 6
# of comps to artists via password: 9
Total # of paying audience members: 0 + 14 + 11 + 12 + 6 + 9 = 54
(yes, I had zero paying ticket holders to my first performance. Seven comps, though.)
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 9
 
Victoria audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 26 + 19 + 34 + 25 + 18 + 47 = 169
Average # of audience members per performance: 28
# of comps: 11 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 6 + 10 = 45
Total # of paying audience members: 124
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 21
 
Vancouver audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

(Note: the venue could only hold between 30-39 people. The capacity expanded mid-run.)
# of performances: 8 (due to being a BYOV)
Total # of audience members: 238
Average # of audience members: 30
Smallest house: 9
Second smallest house: 25. No one comes out to a 1pm Saturday show apparently.)
# of advance comps: 15
# of artist’s choice comps (videographer): 1
# of comps plus membership purchase: 10 (no income to me on these.)
# of comps to media: 2
# of comps to Rush Passes: 38
# of comps to Super Passes: 5
# of comps to Kick Ass Passes: 6
# of comps to Golden Ass Passes: 3

# of Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 packs: 11
# of Frequent Fringer 4 packs: 11
# of regular tickets sold (with or without memberships): 13 + 12 + 2 + 12 + 22 + 19 + 31 + 25 = 136
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 17

(Vancouver has a LOT of ticket categories!)
 
 
Honest Man advertisement for TITUS program
 
 
EXPENSES:
 
 
Failed Fringe Application Fees:
Winnipeg: -20.00$
Edmonton: -26.25$
CAFF: -25.00$
Total: -71.25$

Toronto Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -27.50$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Flight to Toronto: -334.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -50.55$
Weekly transit pass: -40.75$
Gift of pillow for billet: -10.00$
Booze = -10.00$
1/2 of cost of flight to Saskatoon: -121.65$
1/2 of Baggage fee of flight to Saskatoon: ~-16.58$
Total: -1374.30$
 
Saskatoon Fringe Expenses:
11780505_10153160690958155_1082156576_n
Festival Fee: -730.00$
1/2 of cost of flight to Saskatoon: -121.65$
1/2 of Baggage fee of flight to Saskatoon: ~-16.58$
Photoshoot cactus prop: -5.59$
Chuck the Cactus in Saskatoon: -11.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -53.94$
Bottle of Fireball Whiskey for my spoof on Spoof Night: -15.95$
Booze = -6.00$
Flight home from Saskatoon: -185.98$
Baggage fee from Saskatoon: -26.25$
Total: -1186.21$

 
Nanaimo Fringe Expenses:
Application Fee: -25.00$
Festival Fee: -175.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (500) from ePrintFast: -39.98$
Booze: -9.26$ + -5.70$ + -6.30$ + -20.00$ = -41.26$
Ferry to Nanaimo (with bike): -18.85$
Ferry from Nanaimo (with bike): -16.85$
Total: -330.21$

 
Victoria Fringe Expenses:
Festival application fee: -28.00$
Festival fee: -572.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Rechargeable batteries for blood pressure monitor: ~-19.00$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -44.07$
Booze from the store: -25.37$
Other booze: -7.40$ + -10.00$ = -17.40$
Ferry to Victoria: -16.70$
Ferry from Victoria: -16.70$
Ferry from Nanaimo (had to head down to Victoria via the mainland mid-Nanaimo-festival for a promo): -16.70$
Bus tickets to/from the Showdown Preview: -6.00$
Bus from ferry: -2.50$
Bus to ferry: -2.50$
Ferry back to Nanaimo: -16.85$
Total: -813.76$


 
Vancouver Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -50.00$
BYOV Festival fee to the Fringe: -450.00$
BYOV Festival fee to Arts Umbrella: -400.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: 44.07$
Booze: -11.00$
Total: -968.34$

 
Other Expenses:
Travel insurance (admittedly including a two week visit to the States) = -91.98$
Professional photoshoot with Dominic Chan for both shows: -140.00$
Foamcore Posterboards (for all Honest Man shows): -22.29$
Index Cards (for all Honest Man shows): -7.04$
Total: -261.31$
 
Expenses not considered:
Rent paid back home
– Groceries while on tour and between festivals, at home
– Lost income from not working my dayjobs
 
TITUS-banner2-1-980x380
 
 
INCOME:
 
Toronto Fringe:
Advance Ticket Price: 12$ with 2$ Admin fee = 10$ to artist
Full Ticket Price: 10$
(which they thankfully didn’t advertise so much this year as in years past as being amazing because it has never gone up in 20 years, to which all artists respond with ‘inflation is a real thing, you guys’…)
5-Play Ticket Price: 8$
Advance Pass Ticket Price: 7.5$
10-Play Ticket Price: 7.5$

Advance Pass (’10SP85′ and ’10SPOF’ on paysheet) ticket sales: 9 = 67.50$
10-Play ticket sales: 1 = 7.50$
5-Play ticket sales: 1 = 8.00$
At Door and FP (??) ticket sales: 7 + 4 + 4 + 8 + 4 + 14 + 14 = 55 = 550.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 9.60$
Total: 633.00$
 
Saskatoon Fringe:
(all numbers confused by the festival removing GST from payout)
Full Ticket Price: 14$
5 Pack Ticket Price: 13$
10 Pack Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket: -2$
Artist take-home of ticket price: 10$-12$
Advance ticket sales (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 10 tickets = 120.00$
5 Pack ticket sales (13$ – 2$ = 11$ per ticket): 2 tickets = 22.00$
10 Pack ticket sales (12$ – 2$ = 10$ per ticket): 6 tickets = 60.00$
Ticket sales at door (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 43 tickets = 516.00$

GST awkwardly deducted (the only festival to do so): -39.99$
Audience donation!: 10.00$
Found a 20$ bill in a gutter one night: 20.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 11.77$
Total: 708.01$

 
Nanaimo Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 12$
Festival Pass Ticket Price: 8$
Advance ticket sales (12$): 7 = 84.00$
Regular ticket sales (12$): 15 = 180.00$
Festival pass ticket sales (8$): 32 = 256.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 9.29$
Total: 520.00$

 
Victoria Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 11$
‘Munch’ Ticket Price: 11$
Frequent Fringer Ticket Price: 8$
(I did not elect to use discounted tickets for students/seniors, which was an option.)

Total Frequent Fringer ticket sales: 9 = 72.00$
Total Full + Munch ticket sales (advance and at the door): 115 = 1265.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 10.79$
Total: 1337.00$


 
Vancouver Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 14$
Frequent Fringer 4 Ticket Price: 13$
Frequent Fringer 10/30 Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket on all tickets: -3$
Artist take-home of ticket prices: 9$-11$

Total Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 pack ticket sales (9$ per ticket to artist): 11 = 99.00$
Total Frequent Fringer 4 pack ticket sales (10$ per ticket to artist): 11 = 110.00$
Regular ticket sales (11$ per ticket to artist): 136 = 1496.00$
Total Vancouver ticket sales to artist: 1705.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 10.80$
 
Income for writing TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus: 1000.00$
Total: 2705.00$

 
 
Honest Man - wide arms 700x350
 
 
Total Expenses (including travel costs):
Failed Fringe application fees: -71.25$
Toronto expenses: -1374.30$
Saskatoon expenses: -1186.21$
Nanaimo expenses: -330.21$
Victoria expenses: -813.76$
Vancouver expenses: -968.34$
Other expenses: -261.31$
 
Total: -5005.38$
 
 
Total Income:
Toronto income: 633.00$
Saskatoon income: 708.01$
Nanaimo income: 520.00$
Victoria income: 1337.00$
Vancouver income: 2705.00$
Total: 5903.01$

 
 
FINAL FINANCIAL VERDICT: +897.63$
(due entirely to the 1000$ fee paid for writing TITUS.)

 
Compare to 2014’s +83.51$
Compare to 2013’s -1671.16$
 
 
Conclusion:
It seems that as a producer/performer, I am still only a roughly break-even fringe artist. Plane tickets are expensive, Toronto is a hard nut to crack, and Saskatoon doesn’t want a show-in-progress.
 
As a writer, well, it seems I need to get commissioned to write shows more often.
 
 
WilliamvsTheWorld - image 02
 
 
Other numbers:
 
According to Toronto Fringe…
Total # of ticket sales at Toronto Fringe, according to them: 64,000.
Total # of dollars returned to Fringe artists, according to them: 467,000$.
Therefore, average ticket price return for an artist for Toronto Fringe: 7.30$ per ticket ‘sold’.
Note: this is below the supposed minimum of 8.5$ that an artist should be receiving from 10-play-pass purchasers, which implies that the festival heralds comp/free tickets as ‘sold’ tickets in its marketing.
 
5: TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus received a FIVE STAR REVIEW from The Vancouver Sun! It was also Picked as a Pick Of The Fringe!
 
3.5: The number of stars this iteration of William vs The World received from the StarPhoenix in Saskatoon.
 
17: I have been a part of 17 different fringe festivals since 2011. (2011: Victoria, Vancouver. 2012: Victoria. 2013: London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon. 2014: Port Alberni, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver. 2015: Toronto, Saskatoon, Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver. )
 
22: I have been a part of 22 different Fringe festival shows since 2011. (Directed BFA: The Musical! and Clutter and Contamination, Acted in Henry V, Stage-managed Sonnets For An Old Century, Wrote TITUS.)
 
 
Assorted Thoughts:
 
This summer began AWFUL and ended wonderfully. I was super worried after Toronto and Saskatoon, though. Ooof.
 
I can’t get my footing at Toronto Fringe. I just don’t know how to reach an audience there. I felt I had a good show, I had an amazing reception from audience members who came, but never found traction. Not sure I’ll go back unless I’m working with a local Torontonian.
 
Also, the Tarragon Theatre is ridiculously stingy with their furniture. I needed two chairs and a surface to put things on. I had to go wandering on garbage day to find chairs people were throwing out, because the theatre was unwilling to lend me a couple of their own. And then carry those back to my billet on my back to be hosed down/cleaned. Boooo.
 
Toronto Fringe is still THE WORST for trying to get other artists to see your show… they essentially don’t allow any artist comps unless you give them a specific name of a specific person hours before your show begins. Which just isn’t practical. And they wouldn’t let us artists all use a given name as a password of sorts, either. We tried.
 
I had one AMAZING experience at Toronto Fringe, though… a man came up to me after the show, in tears. He actually fell to his knees, then cried into my shoulder a bit. He was a new immigrant from Bolivia who really connected to a moment in the middle of my show when I talk about being the new person to French Immersion, knowing no one, and what courage it takes to do something as simple as start a conversation. It’s moments like that that are why I perform.
 
Okay, and moments like the night in Nanaimo when a pretty lady kissed me on the cheek after a night of karaoke. I’m a sucker for things like that.
 
And the dozen-deep cuddle-puddle of fringe artists by the bridge in Saskatoon at 3am.
 
My Saskatoon show was a rushed job. I fully admit it. I ended up with a good show, but I spent my first while in town finishing and memorizing the script… it’s a good show now, and it’ll be great when I revise it further for Vancouver Fringe this upcoming summer, but aye… I was inside learning lines instead of outside handing out flyers, and the numbers show this. I’m still not sure how to best market the show.
 
This year’s Saskatoon Fringe had the potential to be much the same, so I dropped out. I’ve done the last-minute-build challenge. The idea I’m percolating… I want to give it a year to workshop at home and improve and grow.
Saskatoon’s Spoof Night is still the best part of the entire Fringe tour.
 
Nanaimo Fringe had a steep discount for festival passes, lowering the actual ticket price considerably from the 12$ sticker price.
 
500 Handbills is about 350 handbills too many for Nanaimo.
 
Handbill cost variation is due to where they were being shipped (Saskatoon vs Toronto vs Vancouver) and due to whether they were being shipped together with other orders or separately.
 
The gamer in me loves that my final payout in Victoria was 1337.00$ (1337 = LEET = Elite)
 
Colin Thomas, the big Vancouver reviewer, saw Honest Man in Victoria, and liked it! Well, his review was essentially ‘This was much better than his last show.’ Which I guess is a compliment. He didn’t much care for The Hatter.
 
Vancouver Fringe was my first time ever selling out a house. Granted, it was a house of fewer than 40 seats, but still. Thank you.
 
Also, thank you to the tiny Vancouver Fringe audience of other performers who were willing to catch a Saturday afternoon performance just so that I wasn’t doing the show for two people. I put out a message on the fringe facebook thread and a half-dozen kind souls came over to see the show with them. I love this community.
 
It’ll be hard to see everyone else’s adventures on the tour this summer as I mostly take a backseat.
 
I am trying to get a venue lined up for a couple more performances of The Most Honest Man In The World here in town. Let me know if you have any leads (or can get the Dusty Flowerpot to get back to me)!
 
If you missed TITUS, it’s being remounted at The York this August! And a re-invigorated and refocused William vs The World will be at the Arts Umbrella once more for Vancouver Fringe.
 
 
Nanaimo Fringe wall of love 06crop
 
 

My 2014 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers

October 4, 2014 4 comments





My 2014 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!


The numbers wherein Andrew Wade travelled to five different cities and performed in their Fringe Festivals. Last year, my first summer touring, I estimated that I spent 1671.16$ more on my tour and expenses than I earned. How about this year?




Port Alberni audience numbers (for The Hatter):
(audience numbers not provided by festival)
# of performances: 2
# of paying audience members: ??? (estimate: ~27)
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: ??? (estimate: ~13)
Average # of audience members (including comps): ??? (estimate: ~20)


The Hatter onstage in Regina - Photo by Shelby Lyn LoweRegina audience numbers (for The Hatter):
# of performances: 5
Total # of audience members: 110
Average # of audience members (including comps): 22
# of comps: 9+9+7+5+2 = 32
# of paying audience members: 22+14+10+16+16 = 78
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 15.6


Saskatoon audience numbers (for The Most Honest Man In The World):
# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 219
Average # of audience members (including comps): 31

# of comps to fringe staff: 3
# of comps to fellow performers: 30
# of comps to media: 2
# of promo vouchers (?): 23
# of volunteer comps: 15

# of advance tickets sold: 20
# of paying audience members: 146
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 21


Victoria audience numbers (for The Hatter):
# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 14+19+29+12+9+9 = 92
Average # of audience members (including comps): 15

# of comps: 4+6+12+3+2+6 = 33

# of full price advance tickets: 2
# of discounted advance tickets: 5
# of Muncher tickets (could be advance or at door, full price): 5
# of full price tickets at door: 20
# of discounted tickets at door: 23
# of Frequent Fringer (extra discounted) tickets: 4
Total # of paying audience members: 59
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 10


Vancouver audience numbers (for The Hatter):
# of performances: 6

# of media comps: 1
# of volunteer comps: 6
# of performer rush comps: 21
# of artist comps (ones I gave out): 14
# of miscellaneous comps (?): 19
Total # of comps: 61

# of full price advance tickets: 50
# of 1/2 price advance tickets: 13
# of paying audience members: 133
# of total audience members: 194
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 22
Average # of audience members: 32

Photo: Erin Aberle-Palm

Photo: Erin Aberle-Palm



EXPENSES:


Failed Fringe Application Fees:
Edmonton: -36.75$
Winnipeg: -20.00$
Montreal: -55.00$
Seattle: -28.42$
CAFF Lottery: -25.00$
Total: -165.17$


Port Alberni Expenses:
Application fee: Free (First come, first serve)
Festival fee mailing: -0.66$
Festival fee: -200.00$
Cost per performance = -100.00$
Tea: -3.56$
500 Handbills (business cards): -29.39$
Travel to Port Alberni (ferry): -16.90$
Travel away (ferry): -16.90$
Ride from ferry to Port Alberni: -20.00$
Total: -287.41$


The Hatter - Port Alberni newspaperRegina Expenses:
Application fee: -25.00$
Festival fee: -575.00$
Cost per performance = -120.00$
Packing tape: -13.43$
Tea/batteries: -3.20$
Styrofoam cups: -4.49$
Booze: -8.05 + -6.50 = -14.55$
1000 Handbills (business cards): -50.92$
25 posters: -22.62$
Gift to billet: -9.69$
Gift to fellow performer: -3.14$
Travel (Flights to Regina and back home to Vancouver): -388.76$
Extra flight travel cost (to and from) of taking a second suitcase full of props: -42.00$
Total: -1152.80$


Saskatoon Expenses:
Application fee: None (first come, first served)
Festival fee: -710.00$
Cost per performance = -101.43$
Prop (book ・Homeland): -8.35$
Props (Batteries) / grooming: -15.86$
Asparagus for spoof night skit: -0.40$
1000 Handbills (business cards, late getting them printed): -57.74$
25 posters: -18.67$
Gift to billet: -5.48$
Travel (Flights to Saskatoon and back home to Vancouver): -365.66$
Total: -1182.16$


Victoria Expenses:
Application fee: -28.00$
Festival fee: -572.00$
Cost per performance = -100.00$
Board game cafe day: -5.00$
Beer: -6.50$
Props (styrofoam cups): -3.74$
Bowling and pool with fellow fringers: -12.85$
Medical expenses: -38.12$
1000 Handbills (business cards): -35.93$
25 posters: -18.67$
Travel to (ferry+bus ticket): -19.25$
Travel away (ferry): -16.75$
Total: -756.81$


Vancouver Expenses:
Application fee: -50.00$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Cost per performance = -133.33$
Styrofoam cups: ~ -6.00$
Beer: -5.00$
1000 Handbills (postcards ・so I could fit a map on them to the venue): -83.84$
My portion of venue handbill (shared with other companies): -60.00$
25 posters: -18.67$
Bus tickets to reach my venue: -19.20$
Food bank donation (a percentage of ticket sales): -39.65$
Total: -1032.36



Expenses not considered due to working shifts between festivals:
Rent back home, groceries both at home and on tour.


IMG644b

INCOME:


Port Alberni:
Ticket Price: 10$
Artist take-home of full ticket price: 10$
Full festival pass (84$ for 115$ value) = 27% off ticket price
# of full festival passes used = ???
Average amount per ticket paid to me: ???
Total payout from festival: 246.50$
Total: 246.50$

The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 02
Regina Income:
Ticket Price: 10$
Artist take-home of ticket price: 10$
Average amount per ticket paid to me: 10$
Total payout from festival: 780.00$
Donation from a lovely and beautiful friend to get me to fly rather than greyhound: 200.00$
Total: 980.00$


Saskatoon Income:
(all numbers confused by additional GST reductions)
Full Ticket Price: 14$
Frequent Fringer Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket = 2$
Artist take-home of full ticket price: 12$
Artist take-home of Frequent Fringer ticket price: 10$

Advance ticket sales (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 20 tickets = 240.00$
Frequent Fringer (12$ – 2$ = 10$ per ticket): 44 tickets = 440.00$
Ticket sales at door (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 82 tickets = 984.00$

GST awkwardly deducted: -93.13$

Progression of income per performance:
75.43 —> 73.62 —>290.76 —> 294.48 —> 298.38 —> 330.48 —> 207.72$

Average amount per ticket paid to me: 10.76$
Total payout from festival: 1570.87$
Total: 1570.87$


Victoria Income:
Full ticket price: 11$ (+ 6$ Fringe Button)
Students/Seniors discount ticket price: 9$ (+ 6$ Fringe Button)
Frequent Fringers discount price: 8$ (+ 6$ Fringe Button)
Artist take-home of ticket price: 11$/9$/8$
Advance ticket sales (full price): 2 tickets @ 11$ = 11.00$
Advance ticket sales (discount): 5 tickets @ 9$ = 45.00$
Ticket sales at door (full price): 20 tickets @ 11$ = 220.00$
Ticket sales at door (discount): 23 tickets @ 9$ = 207.00$
Munch card ticket sales: 5 tickets @ 11$ = 55.00$
Frequent Fringer ticket sales: 4 tickets @ 8$ = 32.00$

GST awkwardly deducted (5%): 4.81+5.90+8.14+4.05+3.29+1.48 = -27.67$

Scary Progression of income per performance:
96.19 —> 118.10 —> 162.86 —> 80.95 —> 65.71 —> 29.52$

Average amount per ticket paid to me: 9.85$
Total payout from festival: 581.00$

Total: 581.00$


Vancouver Income:
(complicated by having one half-price performance)
Ticket Price: 14$ + 5$ Membership
Admin fee per ticket = 3$ (+membership)
Artist take-home of ticket price: 11$

Advance full price ticket sales (14$ – 3$ = 11$ per ticket): 7+6+7+12+13= 45 tickets @ 11$ = 495.00$
Advance half-price ticket sales (Half of 11$ = 5.50$ per ticket): 13 tickets @ 5.50$ = 71.50$
Advance 4-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (10$ to me per ticket): 1 ticket @ 10$ = 10.00$
Advance 10-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (9$ to me per ticket): 2+1+1+3= 7 tickets @ 9$ = 63.00$

Day-of full price ticket sales (14$ – 3$ = 11$ per ticket): 9+5+5+12+18 = 49 tickets @ 11$ = 539.00$
Day-of half-price ticket sales (Half of 11$ = 5.50$ per ticket): 8 tickets @ 5.50$ = 44.00$
Day-of 4-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (10$ to me per ticket): 5 tickets @ 10$ = 50.00$
Day-of 10-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (9$ to me per ticket): 5 tickets @ 9$ = 45.00$

Happier Progression of income per performance:
199.00 –> 115.50 –> 167.00 –> 179.00 –> 273.00 –> 388.00$

Average amount per ticket (excluding half-price day) paid to me: 10.77$
Total ticket payout from festival: 1321.50$
Minus food bank donation: -39.65$
Total: 1281.85$

photo credit: Michelle Berg

photo credit: Michelle Berg

Total Expenses (including travel costs):
Failed Fringe application fees: -165.17$
Port Alberni expenses: -287.41$
Regina expenses: -1152.80$
Saskatoon expenses: -1182.16$
Victoria expenses: -756.81$
Vancouver expenses: -1032.36
Total: -4576.71$


Total Income:
Port Alberni income: 246.50$
Regina income: 980.00$
Saskatoon income: 1570.87$
Victoria income: 581.00$
Vancouver income: 1281.85$
Total: 4660.22$


Final financial verdict: A positive financial figure of 83.51$ !
Compared to last summer:
 1754.67$ better off.




Other numbers:


Hours spent flying or on layover in airports: 4h13m + 2h10m + 5h11m + 5h35m = 17h9min.
Hours that I would have otherwise spent on greyhound busses: 26h+26h+29h+29h = 110h
Extra money spent flying versus greyhounding: 754.42$ – 388.46$ = 365.96$
Money earned in Richmond/Vancouver on days that would have been spent greyhounding/recovering = ???


Dayjob shifts worked in the 12 days while back home between Regina and Saskatoon fringes: 5.
Dayjob shifts worked in the 8 days while back home between Saskatoon and Victoria fringes: 9.


Days away: 3 + 10 + 15 + 12 + (home during Vancouver Fringe) = 40
Homes graciously opened to me to stay in: 4.


Last year, in its first year as a festival, the Alberni Valley Fringe Festival had 929 people attend performances. This year, it had only 488 audience members.

Courtesy of Shelby Lyn Lowe

Courtesy of Shelby Lyn Lowe

Vancouver is a lot more expensive for both audience members and performers, per performance, than any other fringe festival. Most festivals opt for EITHER a membership/button fee, OR a portion of each ticket, but Vancouver is taking both. Its put-your-name-in-the-hat fee of 50$ is the second-highest in the country (Montreal has a 55$ fee). Both seem expensive  for what they are – an ‘are you serious’ fee for putting a name in the festival’s lottery. And at  least one other performing group expressed surprise to me, after the festival was done, that Vancouver was taking 3$ from each ticket. This detail was not effectively communicated to artists. All that said, Vancouver  was still one of my two profitable festivals this summer.


# of stars in the first ever (and only) review for The Most Honest Man In The World (StarPhoenix): 4 (out of five)
# of stars in a review for The Hatter that came out four days after my tour ended (The Peak): 4.5 (out of five)


Pay for directing  Clutter and Contamination  for Vancouver Fringe: 125.00$


Not sure half-price and discounted tickets are worth it. I didn’t see an appreciable-enough bump up in audience numbers. I probably won’t try them again.


Total # of times performing one-man-shows at fringe festivals: 11
(William vs The World  = 1,  The Hatter  = 9,  The Most Honest Man In The World  = 1)
Total # of fringe festivals I have been involved in: 12
(2011: Victoria, Vancouver. 2012: Victoria. 2013: London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon. 2014: Port Alberni, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver.)
Total # of fringe shows I have been involved with (acting, stage managing, or directing): 15
(includes directing  BFA: The Musical!, acting in  Henry V,  and  stage-managing  Sonnets for an Old Century)


# of awards given out, total, at the 2014 Port Alberni Fringe Festival: 2
(People’s Choice Award, and Best Quote)
# of awards won by  The Hatter  at the 2014 Port Alberni Fringe Festival (total): 2
(People’s Choice Award, and Best Quote:  ‘God Shave The Queen’)




Assorted Thoughts:


To get an accurate gauge of my anxiety meter as each fringe festival went on, look at the progression of income in each festival from performance to performance.


Compared to last year, a sizeable improvement! In the black! Huzzah!
I mean, that still means I am essentially working for free here, but still, progress! Even with adding the expense of flying!


The Hatter  is 2/9 when it comes to making a profit at fringe festivals. The Most Honest Man In The World  is 1/1 thus far!


All summer long, people were calling me a ‘Fringe Veteran’. While on my second tour ever? That makes me a veteran? I mean, perhaps if I were in the ARMY that would be true, but for fringing? Really?


Handbills and posters, and the art of how many to print:
Port Alberni – It was hard to give out 100 handbills, honestly. There just weren’t enough people there to make handbilling worthwhile. And a mere two posters, one per venue, might have been fine. (I didn’t bring any, and arrived to town too late for posters to make a difference.)
Regina – Only needed 500 handbills. If that. And 25 posters were plenty.
Saskatoon – Such a simple festival to poster… even if I DID have the business district upset with me for postering atop the top of their posterwheels. 25 posters is fine, and 1000 handbills was the right number for a busy promoter like myself.
Victoria – Postering does next to nothing here. No fringe hub, and nightclubs poster over anything fringe-related. So handbills are all you’ve got. Handed out more than 500 handbills, but not a lot more. I would print 1000 again.
Vancouver – Unfortunately, I was working shifts at my workplaces on days when I didn’t have shows, so I wasn’t able to handbill or poster very much. Difficult to put up 25 posters in/around Granville Island. Handbilling = inconclusive.


My Saskatoon numbers at least partially increased because people there actually knew who I was, from my performing there last summer! I handbilled a number of people who instantly decided to come see  The Most Honest Man In The World  once they heard that last year I was The Hatter.


That said, people knowing who I was in Victoria, didn’t seem to offer anything like a boost. I suppose three years is a very long time to be away from a university town. And most of the few people I know who still live in Victoria were performing in their own fringe shows.


I definitely felt a home-town advantage in Vancouver, though! Thank you SO SO much to every dear friend who came out to the tea party!


A career is made up of far more baby steps than large leaps. And steps in the right direction are worth celebrating!


Onto next year’s adventures!




Cheers,
Andrew Wade




The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 01

Thank you for the tea parties.

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

       
A few years ago, I had a crazy idea. I had cloistered myself up in British Columbia, hid away in school for twenty straight years, I was anxious and worried that I wouldn’t get the chances to perform in the real world, once I graduated… so I made a plan. A crazy plan. I decided to write myself a one man show and take it across the country.
       
Andrew Wade 011bI had no idea if I could hold anyone’s attention for an hour. I had no idea if I could write a show that’d work. I threw every theatrical idea into the show, creating a mad, patchwork quilt of ideas, and then threw most of them out. I mostly improvised a run at Vancouver Fringe in 2011. I rewrote the darn thing from the ground up. And then I took a deep breath, spent thousands of dollars, and took my little hat and kettle show on the road. First year, I went to London, Ottawa, Toronto, and Saskatoon, spent over two months away from where I lived – the longest I had ever been on the road.
       
I got stuck backstage and had to pee in a water bottle a couple of minutes before my first performance. I sold exactly zero tickets to three of my first four performances. I was on greyhound buses for forty-three straight hours. I lost money. And it was worth it.
       
The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONI also met with mentors and brilliant performers who just wanted to help me along my journey. I made friends, colleagues, and talent crushes. I was introduced to the ridiculous art of attempting to smuggle women into your billet’s place without them noticing. I discovered from my billets just how charitable people can be and how awesome retirement is for a lot of people. I traveled the country, flew for only the third time in ten years. I made a man in Saskatoon give me a great big hug, break down, and cry, then loudly whoop at everyone on the street to come see my show.
       
And then, this summer, I brought The Hatter home. ‘Previewed’ it in Port Alberni to an empty town full of good intentions, brought it to Regina and was fed fancy meats while swatting mosquitoes and having a grand ol’ time. Then came the real homecoming tour.
       
Next, I went to Saskatoon, which had welcomed me so warmly, it felt like home. There’s a reason I was able to perform the most personal work I’ve ever written, there: a new show, The Most Honest Man In The World. Me being me. And most people still called me The Hatter, anyhow.
       
Then came Victoria. The big gulp of nervous air, a city of people I had treasured for seven years, then skipped out on when my degree was up. Spent a quarter of my life there. Felt like I was awaiting their judgment, wanting the city, old friends, ex-girlfriends, to tell me I had made the right call, that I’d made something of myself, out there in that bigger ol’ world. And the people who matter, they gave me just that. And oddly, most reassuringly of all, Victoria, well, it didn’t feel like home anymore. The Hatter is a play about searching for home. In its first draft, it was muchly a play of regretting leaving someplace, some people, somewhere. Now, it’s not that.
       
Now, The Hatter is about moving on.
       
And here we are in Vancouver, at home, and The Hatter is about to hang up his hat. No future plans for him. Nothing set. Just one more celebration, tonight at 8:15pm.
       
Thank you for the tea parties.
       
       
The Hat

Choose Your Own Blog Post

   
There are so many things that have happened in the past month which deserve their own full blog post write-ups, but as is evident on my front page here, I just haven’t been able to squirrel away enough time and mental energy to do them justice. SO, I figure, why not give a brief summary of the amazingness that has been the past month of my life, and ask you what you would like me to expand upon!
   
Leave a message in the comments here (or on the facebook link, or via a twitter message, whatever) if there is anything below that you’d like me to focus a post on. 🙂
   
– One of the last words of advice our dear Floyd Collins director, Peter Jorgensen, gave us, was to adopt the philosophy of ‘instant forgiveness’. If something goes wrong onstage, AND THINGS WILL GO WRONG ONSTAGE, instant forgiveness, move on with the show. This is far from the first time I’ve heard these words, but it is a piece of advice I really do need to continue working at taking to heart.
   
– Balancing momentary opportunities to work in my career field (such as this amazing 2.5 month contract with Floyd Collins!) with stringing along dayjob employers with the odd shift here and there, whenever I can, so that I can still pay rent when the contract ends.
   
– Working with people who have found a way to drop their day-jobs and do this full-time. How they live. How they’re  not necessarily as dayjob-free as I first assumed.
   
– Our culture’s  unhealthy phobia surrounding talking about our salaries and what we make, where.
   
Jesse L. Martin saw our show!Original RENT cast member Jesse L. Martin came to see Floyd Collins. Yep. What it means to me to get seen by a celebrity, and the strangeness of fandom celebrity worship.
   
– So, in my week off, I MAY have performed, erm, a burlesque routine as the Eighth Doctor at a Doctor Who burlesque show put on by my dear friends at Geekenders. In this routine, I MAY have written up a parody of Mister Cellophane, and stripped down to my underwear. I have also never, prior to this, ever even taken my shirt off, onstage. I am always looking for performance opportunities that challenge me! Geekenders/Fairlith/et all, thank you so much for having enough faith in me to risk letting me out up there. Oh, and my sister may have heard about the show somewhere and attended it. (awkward?)
   
– Burlesque audiences are perhaps the best audiences. I mean, I had just been performing in an amazing musical for three weeks with a stunning amount of talent onstage, but the sheer energy and boisterousness of those three hundred people in the Rio, all loudly cheering and whooping and loving life, the feeling off all that delight just shocking joy into my system as I stood onstage, there… Wow. That is somethin’ else.
   
– It’s amazing what audience expectations will do. A proper hoity-toity theatre musical theatre audience expects strong choreography, brilliant singing, good acting, and at least a passable script. Exceed those expectations, and they will love the show.  That burlesque audience, on the other hand, expected to see from its performers a love of Doctor Who, a solid costume, sexy dancing, and someone stripping down to pasties and underwear through the course of their performance. It was a wondrous thing to see the shock and delight they had to see me actually sing something onstage! With character acting! Something I’d written myself! Wow! Expectations exceeded. (Which is great, because it also allowed me to get away with only a passable costume and less-than-experienced, erm, sexy moves.)
   

Burlesque routine, pre-clothing-removal. Photo: Stephen Gray.

Burlesque routine, pre-clothing-removal.
Photo: Stephen Gray.

– What am I willing to do onstage, and what am I not willing to do?
   
– Fringe festival preparations for this summer, or, How I am managing to make the exact same mistakes and good choices as last year.
   
– How does someone write a show called ‘The Most Honest Man In The World’? Has Andrew developed an ego?
   
– I am consistently surprised at how clearly I regress as a person when in a state of desperately-needing-sleep. It’s almost like it’s a direct regression through the years — I start feeling emotional pangs for old flames, take on old physical quirks like holding one arm behind my back… there may be more truth than I know to the old adage that we are everyone we once were.
   
– I fly somewhere, and promptly am sick. Just like what happened last year with London, Ontario. What’s up with that?
   
– Billeting. What it means, and my experiences staying with people volunteering their homes, across the country.
   
– And finally, this is a thing that happened: http://www.tift.ca/floyd-collins-goes-ahead-without-sets-costumes-or-props-press-release-april-7-2014/ . Essentially, a moving company, Midland Van Lines, picked up our set and costumes and promised us a delivery time of 5-7 days to get those items from Vancouver to Barrie, Ontario, in time for our second leg of our tour. Those items were not delivered, and now we are reblocking the show in a fashion that really is quite reminiscent to the old SATCo black box theatre days as a student at UVic. The show must go on!
   
So aye, there’s a good summary of what I’ve been up to, this past month. Back into tech in an our or so. Anything you’d like me to expand on in a full post?
   
   
Cheers,
Andrew Wade

An Actor Ponders

February 5, 2014 3 comments
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Whatcha thinking?”

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And now, a look behind Andrew’s furrowed brow.

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Why am I still looking at job postings? Why do I still have an active RSS feed section devoted to new possible job opportunities, combing and scanning through craigslist, Alliance for Arts, and others, for me to glance through every few days?

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I worked for eleven different employers last year. I am currently on the payroll for four organizations, with two others occasionally bringing me in every other month or so.

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Oh, and these are the non-theatre-companies. Those are separate. Workshopping a play with one right now, and performing with another company for the next two months.

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That’s right! I’m finally finding work as an actor! Fantastic! For two months. Then I’m back. Time to look for another job.

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Why? Don’t you have enough?

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But there are more opportunities out there! Ones you don’t know of, if you aren’t looking!

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An actor always looks for auditions. Always hunts for opportunities. Never ending. Heading to auditions while rehearsing for something else. Endless job interviews. Endless rejections and successes.

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I’ve been trained this way.

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I’ve been trained to approach my work-for-hire life this way.

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I don’t have enough time now to offer my employers.

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I’m spending too much time at work. I could take more time off.

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I could miss out on more opportunities.

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Maybe I should check my RSS feeds one more time.

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Oh. Right. I’m doing Fringe Festivals this summer. Who’s going to hire a guy who disappears for several weeks at a time, over and over again?

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Right. My lovely, current employers. Who I enjoy working for! Not as much as I enjoy working on shows and being a theatre creator and performer, of course. But I appreciate and enjoy them.

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But I could appreciate and enjoy something else!

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Or maybe I should be dropping everything for a few months and see if this whole ‘actor and writer’ career thing can sustain itself!

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That seems somewhat foolish and unnecessary. And maybe I’ll find out I don’t enjoy living only that way, very much! That could shatter me. A lot of sunken cost time into this theatre acting thing. Or maybe I’d get lazy. If I give myself too much free time, maybe I’d just squander it by hiding in books and games. Besides, my employers are happy to trade me 80$ for my day. I can’t turn that down!

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Well, I could, I suppose. Technically.

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And I guess I have! Sorta. For this and the next two months, living the life of the working actor.

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This’ll be a grand experiment. I’m thrilled. I’m just so thrilled. Really. I am. Just peached to the extreme. Don’t lose that, Andrew! That excitement! Those butterflies! Hee!

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And then it’s done, and I’m back to the dayjobs until Fringe festivals. Where I’ll likely lose money again, when considering travel costs.

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I should check those job postings. Or accept more shifts in the couple days I have off before the theatre contract.

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No! I’m not superhuman… I need some time to recharge. Groceries, laundry, as well, I suppose.

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No, Andrew, people aren’t going to laden you down unreasonably. They expect you to need some time to yourself each day. Most people only work five shifts a week.

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But I could pick up shifts on those other weeks? Or find someone willing to pay me to do something new!

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I should check those feeds again. After all, as a pay-for-hire, I’m really contracting out my time to organizations. Makes sense to continually look for new clients, right? Diversification. Allows me to stick with my favourites and perhaps others fall to the wayside. Or find you unreliable because you’re never free and always gallivanting off to to theatre stuff.

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Theatre stuff! I get to do theatre stuff this year! Yay! And maybe next year?

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I don’t think I can take on any more than I’m doing.

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But maybe there’s something better out there!

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But I can’t get trapped in single full-time job life! Right? Right? That’s where people stop pursuing crazy things like acting, isn’t it? Where people get complacent?

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I think I’m afraid of becoming complacent.

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Or is that contentment? Is that what those people have?

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I feel like I’m planning my life so that whenever I want to, I can leave everything and go pursue something else. Keeping one foot out the door. Or at least, holding the door open. Like an actor does, always on the hunt for the next opportunity.

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Do I have a problem, or am I doing this right?

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Oy.

The year Twenty Thirteen – That’s Life

January 4, 2014 Leave a comment
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Twenty-thirteen was the year I toured a show of my own for the first time, the first time I visited any part of Canada outside of BC, the year I went out on dates and put myself out there, the year I got perhaps a little too subsumed by day-jobs, the year I accepted Richmond as a home base even as I became intoxicated by being out there performing on the road. It was the year I designed lights and called the shots for a Diversity Talent Show, gave tours of a National Historic Site, and was given the delightful  news that “we’re going to write you a song”. It was the year I performed a creepy puppet show while a guy did cocaine off a passport in the front row, had the biggest role in the opening number in a musical (in concert), became a bartender, worked for nine employers (and myself), auditioned for one show both in Vancouver AND Toronto, was nominated for an OVATION! Award, and was picked as one of Richmond’s 30 under 30.

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The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONWhen I put a chunk of it in one paragraph like that, it doesn’t sound half bad.

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My financials spreadsheet tells me I earned 21114.94$ in a combination of pre- and post-tax income, not including my Fringe tour, as I lost money on that. Of that money, just under half of it went into savings. A bit of breathing room so that I don’t feel pressured against, say, taking days off work to go to auditions, or months off to possibly lose money performing in Fringe Festivals. I keep my expenses low with good habits, luck, friends, biking and skytraining rather than driving, and the fact that I’m a bachelor without kids. I also live frugally in a single-room accommodation in a building I expect will get demolished in 2014. That’s probably the biggest reason.

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I am grateful that I have been able to find a number of employers who are content with seeing me disappear for a month or two at a time, pursuing my performing career. Hopefully those opportunities will build up enough that I can make a more complete transition at some point.

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Perhaps it’s a credit and a curse to the standards I hold for myself that I’m disappointed that I was only involved in five large-scale productions this year… even if one of those productions I wrote, self-produced, and performed in four different cities over the course of two and a half months. A far cry from the ~12 productions I was a part of in 2012. I also nearly doubled my yearly income. These two things are perhaps not unrelated. 😛

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Regardless, I now know I can earn enough to support myself as I pursue what excites me. I just need to do more pursuing!

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This year was also the year I had a couple of hits with my blog, including one article, A First Fringe Tour – By The Numbers , which has had over 480 hits and was read and shared by people I deeply respect. It was even discussed in a university classroom! Exciting! So now, after a bit of a hiatus, I think I’m about ready to get back to blogging. But first, what the heck was I up to in 2013?

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My theatre life this past year:
Revue at the Revue as Jesus, Santa, and others, if you count the first hour or two of 2013. 🙂
– Nominated for ‘Outstanding Gypsy – Male’ at the 2013 Ovation Awards
– ‘The Boss’ in Fighting Chance’s ‘Side Show‘ (in concert)
– Mr. Zapatella and chorus in APPLAUSE! Musicals’ ‘Fiorello!‘ (also in concert.)
– Singing, creeping, having an all around marvelous time as Filch (and a prisoner, and a thief, and so forth) in Seven Tyrants’ production of Beggar’s Opera. (They’re remounting in March, at the Jericho Arts Centre! Go see it! My dear friend, Chris Lam, will be putting his own marvelous spin on the role as I will be busy with Floyd Collins during the run.)
– Wolf Mountain Writing Collective, staged reading of my short ten-minute piece, What I’d Be Without You, with the lovely Mika Laulainen.

Fiorello!

(Photo: Wikipedia)

The Hatter, The Hatter, so much The Hatter! Who knew you needed to write all your publicity for a June production, way back in February! Hiring a (wonderful) photographer for publicity photos, and putting together the script, and props, and travel plans to take me (economically) from Vancouver to London to Ottawa to Toronto to Saskatoon and back home, finding stage managers in each city, finding ways to get around once I am within each city, designing and printing posters and business cards, oh, and performing the show 34 or so times, plus previews and tech runs… Looking forward to getting back to it in Regina and Vancouver this year!
– Indulging my over-the-top-creepy joys as Panduin The Puppeteer in Judge Dee’s Haunted House at the Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, also with Seven Tyrants. A twenty-minute play that starts every ten minutes, this amounted to three hours of performing (without breaks) every night, eighteen performances each night, for a week. And we sold out! Pretty much every run! Far more successful than ANYONE was expecting. Lots of leaping on bannisters and singing in RIDICULOUS pitches. Loved it. And now, back to applications for The Hatter for next year’s Fringe festivals, for which I shall update you in a couple of weeks!
– Awkward Stage fundraiser, Baby It’s Cold Outside, of which I was a chorus member with a puppet for all of a minute, so I’m not sure that one really counts. If we include that, let’s also include singing a zombie-themed Christmas song for a room full of people holding ukeleles, which, by the by, is an awesome idea for a date.

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My day-jobs this past year:
(with a whole lot of acting in them, really!)
Science Facilitator – Science World!
The occasional centre-stage show as well. I am now trained for the Grossology, Bubbles, Balloons, and Hot Stuff shows. 🙂
Heritage Interpreter – Gulf of Georgia Cannery
Leading tours and teaching school programs.
Bartender – Gateway Theatre
Unexpected and enjoyable!
Standardized Patient – Medical student exams
Pretending to be ill!
Simulations ActorJustice Institute of BC
Pretending to be a criminal, witness, or a victim!
Convention worker – BBW International
No, not THAT ‘BBW’. Though I did get to dress up in full Scottish garb (kilt and sporran and all) for a week at a Urology Congress!
Walk Leader – Creatures of the Night – Stanley Park Ecology Society
At those times when you’re so busy you can’t possibly do anything else, and then a good, old friend phones you up and offers you a job. So much fun!
Voting Officer – Elections BC
One long day, but definitely an interesting experience.
Stage Director/Manager – Culture Club Diversity Talent Show – Richmond Multicultural Community Services
Amazingly comprehensive, in that I used skills I’ve learned from so many different places. Lighting design, working with youth, directing, stage management, producing… marvelous experience.
Background Actor – A big, highly talked about film.
I was an extra in a film for the first time in a year or so!
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Actor – The Hatter and others
I may not have made money on it this year, but producing my own darn show is certainly a job, as is much of the acting work above, gosh darnit. 🙂

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And now onto 2014, where I already have workshifts scheduled with three different employers, and have  the chance-of-a-lifetime to put all that silliness aside for a couple of months and focus on a travelling production of Floyd Collins.

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Hey, now I’m excited! Yay!

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And, as I have a microphone here on the desk with me, here’s a song about hoping for the future. Don’t read into the darker suicide-y bit to it. That part isn’t relevant.

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What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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Fringe By The Numbers: My Reactions

September 7, 2013 7 comments
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My last post, A First Fringe Tour: By The Numbers, already has the second most hits of anything I’ve posted onto my blog. Thank you everyone for your responses and for sharing it around. Here are my own thoughts:

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Yes, I lost money. A fair chunk of change. 1,671.16$ , to be precise. But I’ve been spending money on learning experiences for a number of years now, beginning with seven years of university, followed by the National Voice Intensive last year, and now, this tour. Was I hoping to at least break even? Of course! But to take a wider view, I traveled to amazing cities I’d never visited, had grand adventures, even kissed a lady or two, and got to tell a story worth telling to hundreds of people (okay, 534 people + ushers + technicians) across the country.

For my own personal growth, I desperately needed to travel. It was all 100% worth it. Over the course of two and a half short months, I learned a heck of a lot about theatre, life, and myself, and I can’t wait to get back out there next summer (if the Fringe lotteries are willing to let me).

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The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ON* * * * *

As a former professor once told me as he suffered through the first couple of years of his own theatre company, it’s not at all uncommon for businesses to lose money for their first two or three years of operation. This was my first ever tour. Hopefully now I have a tiny base of fans in each city, who might possibly come out and see a show of mine in the future!

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In each city, to keep this numerical, I think I knew 1 (London), 3 (Ottawa), many (Toronto), and 1 (Saskatoon) people, respectively. No hometown advantage for me.

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Hey Fringe Festival volunteers! You know how you happily exclaim to audience line-ups about how lovely it is that you haven’t raised your ticket price from 10$ for the past fifteen years or so? Well, inflation exists, and what you’re telling artists is that they’ve been earning less and less per ticket for every year for the past decade and a half.

I did not once hear a single complaint on the street or in the theatre about Saskatoon’s 12$/14$ ticket prices. Just sayin’.

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Also, it’s interesting that even with a 2$ administrative fee and GST being factored in somewhere, I still came out earning 11.20$ per ticket in Saskatoon, compared to 9.94$ in London, 9.35$ in Ottawa, and a mere 8.92$ per ticket in Toronto.

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Speaking of which, that shortfall in Toronto exists almost entirely due to the five-pack and ten-pack deals in that city. While I love having frequent fringer packs exist, compare Toronto’s 7.5$ tickets to Vancouver’s frequent fringer packs, which still offer 9$ per ticket to the performer. Seriously consider raising those frequent fringer rates, Toronto. You certainly have a reputation as being a place where performers don’t make any money. I enjoyed my time in the city, but 7.5$ tickets are hurting your reputation and hurting a performer’s chances of being able to break even in your city.

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* * * * *Hatter Poster - Toronto - for printer 2

Every city is so different when trying to figure out the right number of flyers and posters. Before I set out, I pre-printed 25 posters and 500 business card flyers for each city. Rookie mistake, as I learned when I saw other performers in London editing their poster files for upcoming cities so as to include London review quotes. Come Saskatoon I finally began taping quotes onto my posters, but printing posters for each upcoming city as I go seems to be the smarter solution.

So what are the right numbers? Well, 25 posters and 500 business cards felt alright for a sleepy Fringe like London, but I could probably have put up 75 posters in Ottawa, whereas getting 25 posters up in Toronto in anywhere worth looking, proved difficult. Also in Toronto, I ran out of flyers before the fringe was half over – I could probably have handed out 1500. As an experiment, I brought 1000 flyers to Saskatoon, and despite the Fringe’s smaller size, still gave out most of them. So every city is different, and I’ve still more to learn! (It also makes a difference as to how many people you have out there, flyering – being on my lonesome can be a downside when it comes to talking up enough lines to find an audience.)

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I gotta admit, it was disappointing to be one of 36 shows in Toronto not reviewed by Now Magazine. A few ‘N’s might have helped! (For a few more numbers, there were 148 shows in the Toronto Fringe Festival this year. 112 of them received a Now Magazine blurb and set (or lack thereof) of shiny ‘N’s.)

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In London, I recall one performer saying that two or three days before the festival opened, they visited Tourism London to ask for Fringe information, and the person there had no idea the festival was even happening. At Nuit Blanche, I (in full Hatter garb) was asked by several people when the Fringe Festival was beginning. That was the second-to-last night of the festival. It seems London is a hard place to get word out about the festival, which was evidenced by my having zero advance ticket sales, compared to 9 in Ottawa, 23 in Toronto, and 15 in Saskatoon. Toronto is very much more of an advance ticket city than the others – perhaps there’s more of a traditional theatre-going habit there? Or is there less financial disincentive to buy advance tickets in Toronto (when compared to additional fees other festivals add onto advance ticket purchases)?

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The Hat* * * * *

I’m honestly impressed with myself that I was able to keep my grocery bills down to size, even while on tour. Chalk it up to a combination of kind billets, hunts for grocery stores, and restraint whenever out and about with fellow performers. You guys feel free to order your meals at the bar; I’ll just wait until I get back to the food I bought with my big grocery trips on the day before each festival began.

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I didn’t have nearly as strong a show at the beginning of June as I did come mid-August. To be honest, it took me until Toronto to figure out the core of what the show was about – a man trying to get home – and so my show pitches for line-ups weren’t great for the first 2/3rds of my tour. Please don’t take any of the above as me making excuses for perhaps not being as financially successful as I would have preferred: I fully accept my tour as it was.

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Which is to say, a brilliant, daring adventure. 🙂

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For another view into my time on the fringe, as well as my original By The Numbers post, I also put up a By The Emotions post which you might enjoy.

As with before, if you think any of this may be helpful to someone out there, please share it on! I hope these posts are worthwhile for someone else out there. And if you have any reactions of your own, please add them to the comments below!

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Happy Fringing!

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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A First Fringe Tour: By The Numbers

September 3, 2013 10 comments
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A First Fringe Tour by the Numbers: For my 2013 inaugural tour of The Hatter.

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London audience numbers:
# of performances: 10
# of comps to media in audience: 4
# of comp VIP tickets: 13
# of comp Trouper tickets recorded: 1
# of comp performer tickets: 16
# of paying audience members: 54
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 5.4
# of audience members (total): 87
Average size of audience: 8.7
# of shows without a single paying audience member: 3
# of advance tickets sold: 0
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.94$

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Ottawa audience numbers:
Number of performances: 9
# of comps to media in audience: 4
# of comp VIP tickets: 2
# of comp Promo tickets: 2
# of comp volunteer tickets: 9
# of comp performer tickets: 3
# of advance tickets sold: 9
# of paying audience members: 81
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 9
# of audience members (total): 101
Average size of audience: 11.2
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.35$

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Toronto audience numbers:
Number of performances: 7
# of comps to media in audience: 8
# of comps (poor friend): 1
# of comp volunteer tickets: 11
# of comp 10x10x10 tickets: 33
# of comp VIP tickets: 8
# of advance tickets sold: 23
# of paying audience members: 90
Average # of paying audience members: 12.86
# of audience members (total): 151
Average size of audience: 21.57
Average size of audience, not including 10x10x10: 16.71
Average ticket price paid to me: 8.92$

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Saskatoon audience numbers:
Number of performances: 7
# of comps to media in audience: 3
# of comp staff tickets: 1
# of comp company (performers with password) tickets: 27
# of comp volunteer tickets: 20
# of comp promo tickets (???): 16
# of advance tickets sold: 15
# of paying audience members: 118
Average # of paying audience members: 16.86
# of audience members (total): 195
Average size of audience: 27.86
Average ticket price paid to me: 11.20$

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EXPENSES:

Failed Fringe application fees:
Edmonton: -36.75$
CAFF lottery: -25$
Winnipeg: -20$
Vancouver: -50$
Nanaimo: -25$
Victoria: -28$
San Francisco: -35.60$
Total: -220.35$

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Pre-tour expenses:
Photographer for promo shots: ~-100$
New hat: ~-25$
Hot water urn: -68.95$
Pocketwatch: -13.44$
Total: -207.39$

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London Expenses:
Festival fee: -650$
Props/supplies: ~-11.37$
500 Handbills (business cards): -34.47$
25 posters: -20.95$
Stolen bike light (bought for use in London): -20.33$
Beer for my techie: -11.25$
Total: -748.37$

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Ottawa Expenses:
Festival fee: -632.80$
Cider: -6$
Stage Manager: -100$
500 Handbills (business cards): -34.47$
25 posters: -20.95$
Props/supplies/tea: -7.94$
New backpack (other one broke in so many ways): -58.76$
Extremely generous BYOV venue fee: -80$
Gift to billets: ~-15$
Total: -955.92$

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Toronto Expenses:
Application fee: -27.50$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Stage manager: -80$
Props/supplies/tape/tea: -20.41$
Timbits offered at last four performances: -13.56$
Beer: -14.60$
500 Handbills (business cards): -34.47$
25 posters: -20.95$
Weekly transit pass: -38.50$
Total: -999.99$

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Saskatoon Expenses:
Application fee: -30$
Festival fee: -670.00$
Stage manager: -100.00$
Props: -11.03$
1000 Handbills (business cards): -51.41$
25 posters: -20.95$
Beer: -23.50$
Gift to billet/volunteers: -7.74$
Total: -914.63$

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Travel costs to each city:
Plane ticket from Vancouver to London, through family friend: -120$
Suitcase-full-of-props as extra bag on Westjet: -21.00$
Greyhound to Ottawa: -59.33$
Cost to take suitcase-full-of-props on greyhound to Ottawa: -16.95$
Gas money to artist for ride to Toronto: -20$
Transit tokens in Toronto while waiting for Saskatoon: -53$
Greyhound (43 hours) Toronto to Saskatoon: -139.56$
Cost to take suitcase-full-of-props on greyhound to Saskatoon: -15$
Greyhound (25 hours) Saskatoon to Vancouver: -110.78$
Cost to take suitcase-full-of-props on greyhound back to Vancouver: -15.75$
Total: -571.37$

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Expenses back home:
Rent/storage costs in Richmond for 2.5 months = ~550$
Total: -550.00$

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INCOME:

London Income:
Donation: 5$
Ticket sales at door: 532.00$
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.94$
Total: 537.00$

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Ottawa Income:
6 two-for-one ticket sales (5$): 30$
17 five/ten show passes (7$): 119$
9 Advance ticket sales (10$): 90$
40 ticket sales at door (10$): 400$
stage managed a show twice: 30$
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.35$
Total: 787.00$

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Toronto Income:
23 advance ticket sales (9$ to me): 207$
41 ticket sales at door (10$): 410$
3 Five-pack (7.5$): 22.50$
17 ten-pack (7.5$): 127.50$
6 performer (6$): 36$
Average ticket price paid to me: 8.92$
Total: 803.00$

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Saskatoon Income:
Ticket breakdown made very complicated with 2$ deducted from each ticket for administrative fees, plus GST removed from payout on each ticket. (Saskatoon is the only Fringe Festival that does this.)
Donation: 47.75$
Paid by drunks for a photo taken with me: 3$
Payout from festival: 1322.11$
Average ticket price paid to me: 11.20$
Total: 1369.86$

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Other numbers:
Hours on greyhound buses: 8+43+25 = 76 hours.
Food not considered: Grocery/food bill, as it was kept to my usual 200$ per month.
Days away: 71
Homes graciously opened to me to stay in: 5
# of stars in London review (London Free Press): 3 (out of five)
# of stars in Saskatoon review (The StarPhoenix): 4.5 (out of five)

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Total Expenses:
Failed Fringe application fees: -220.35
Pre-tour expenses: -207.39$
London expenses: -748.37$
Ottawa expenses: -955.92$
Toronto expenses: -999.99$
Saskatoon expenses: -914.63$
Travel costs to each city: -571.37$
Expenses back home: -550.00$
Total: -5168.02$

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Total Income:
London income: 537.00$
Ottawa income: 787.00$
Toronto income: 803.00$
Saskatoon income: 1369.86$
Total: 3496.86$

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Cost/Tuition for a two and a half month cross-country adventure: 1671.16$

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The numbers are bit surprising. I’ll put my thoughts/reactions in my next post in a few days. Hope this is useful for some of you out there to see as well! Feel free to leave your feedback/advice/comments below. 🙂

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

The Hatter is a 4.5/5 star show! Wow!

August 5, 2013 5 comments
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I don’t really have a blog post to go along with this, other than to say that for all we artists aren’t supposed to listen to reviews, it is SO validating to see the work I’ve put into this show over the past couple of months take it from a three star show in London to 4.5/5 stars here in Saskatoon!

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Go take a read!

Actor Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression.

“Why can’t we let fantastic things be,” he asks in tears.

Perhaps because they weren’t meant to last, is the silent reply.

In short, you’d be mad to miss this play. – The StarPhoenix

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I would like to contrast this with the first review I ever received for a fringe show, back in 2011, when I performed William vs. The World at Victoria Fringe, and my only review said that “Even sympathetic narcissists should avoid this show.”  Why do I want to contrast it in this way? Because I love the feeling of progress, I suppose.

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The Hatter began as a cobbled together series of experiments in Vancouver, two years ago, and then went on to London Fringe, where for three of its first four performances, THERE WASN’T A SINGLE PAYING AUDIENCE MEMBER IN THE HOUSE. That’s right, three of my first four performances this summer went to tiny houses of strictly media/volunteers/other-performers, all of whom were watching it for free. And since then I have worked on the show, refined elements of it, added in a scene previously cut, and through Ottawa and Toronto, figured out just what its emotional core, its soul, really is. Financially, in both cities I didn’t quite break even, but the show was progressing. I could feel it. And my pitches on the street were also improving.

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Not going to lie, I am loving it here in Saskatoon right now. The street festival atmosphere is fantastic, people yell things at me left and right on the street (due to my costume), the locals are lovely, I’ve had many people ask to take photos with me, people are enjoying my show, and now a review that just blows me out of the water.

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Well played, Saskatoon. Well played. I shall certainly come here again. And I get to enjoy your company for four more performances and seven more days!

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Cheers,

Andrew Wade

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Passive Income – Part Deux!

April 16, 2013 1 comment

Passive Income – Part Deux!

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Continuing my blogging catch-up (while sitting backstage at Performance Works on Granville Island during a cue-to-cue for Beggar’s Opera)! Late last August, I decided to undertake a consistently-blogged-about passive income project to help me focus my time toward high up-front effort activities which pay off passively over time (see: here), instead of the usual hours-for-pay model (aka: my minimum wage job). In order to do so, I followed Steve Pavlina’s suggestion and made this declaration:

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I will successfully build a new stream of passive income by December 1st, 2012, that generates at least 80$ per month on average, and endures for a minimum of five years, and I will do this in a way that inspires hope and gives value to people anywhere in the world.

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563568_508289692551634_957395844_nNot long after I put this desire out in the world – in October, I believe – a family member came to me with a chance to reduce my rent through offering up a quarter of my place to hold product inventory, so that, while this passive income stream will not last for five years, for at least the last couple of months I have been exceeding my passive income financial goal. I find that, surprisingly and delightfully often, if I announce an intention for some goal, my friends/family/acquaintances/coworkers often very soon come to me with opportunities to help achieve what I am aspiring towards. While I am not a believer in the specific ‘Law of Intention’ philosophy, I put great stock into the idea of ‘ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.’ While there may be an aspect of asking God for help in this, it isn’t about tapping into some mystical force; instead, it is about believing in the good and kind nature of the people I know, about believing in the spirit of community. I am grateful for all your help.

Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This project does continue in the background, as the storage situation is very temporary. Ultimately, my end goal is to feel financially secure due to my passive income. This may mean that 60% of my daily expenses are covered, as an example. I admittedly don’t expect to achieve this until I am in my 50’s at the earliest.

I have not, probably to my own detriment, been actively pursuing more creative passive income streams. Instead, I have been overfilling my life with minimum wage workshifts, rehearsals, and administrative preparation for fringe festivals this summer. I really should try to take a week off sometime and spend it exclusively on important schemes… but I doubt that will happen voluntarily if opportunities for definite money (workshifts) exist. I do worry for my financial future once my current cheap living situation evaporates in the near future.

One thing I have been doing is researching dividend stocks as a much more potent place to earn, essentially, a slightly more risky but more lucrative form of interest. Certainly a few steps above my 1.2% free savings account. Not that I can make investments at the moment, but I am excited for the opportunity to do so in the future! I am amazed at how excited I am at the idea of making one-time choices to, say, put 100$ away into stocks, in order to have that 100$ earn 5$ a year, every year, for the rest of my life. I really like the idea of one-time sacrifices which lead to continued, constant, secure boosts through the future.

So perhaps it’s time to make a new goal! How about this:

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By November 1st, 2013, my passive income streams will equal at least 120$ per month on average, as a mix of interest and creative enterprises, and I will do so in a way that inspires hope and gives value to people anywhere in the world.

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Seems ambitious yet possible. And then I’ll keep raising the bar higher as time goes on.

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Keep calm and carry on,
Andrew Wade