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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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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

Why you should write a One Man Show

Posters, with cactus underneath.

This is a rebuttal to a prior post I made a few days ago, named “Why Not to Do a One Man Show”, which I wrote as I heading in to the UFV Directors’ Festival. Well, it’s sort of a rebuttal, anyway.

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Why you should write a One Man Show.

This past weekend (well, four days) has been incredible. Inspiring. I have learned so much from these people, not just about theatre, but about life off the coast, about why people are drawn to the stage.

The UFV theatre department is a strange creature. Students can’t get a degree in the subject – which leads to more than a few ‘English’ students (quotation marks highly emphasized by those involved). Even for a major in theatre requires traversing the two UFV campuses in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, as Abbotsford holds the theatre history courses, while Chilliwack attempts to contain the theatre itself. There is so much talent, desire, and drive here.

Erica

From the other schools as well. My second-hand thoughts about SFU’s theatre department must be sorely out of date, because they put on amazing performances. Same with Capilano. Same with the the lone alumni from VIU. Same with the marvelous people from TRU. Everyone put their hearts and souls into these performances.

Me and my doppleganger, Adam Kozlick

It’s amazing the difference between chatting with someone in the lobby before a show, and chatting with them after you’ve seen them act. We see so much of a person’s soul onstage, it seems.

Once I’ve seen you perform, and you’ve seen me perform, there’s no need to work for a connection – it’s already there. A mutual respect. A view into each other. These festivals weave us together far better than simple conversations ever could.

With a one man show, I don’t travel with a blank slate. Well, not after the first performance. Because after that performance, you’ve seen enough of me to feel comfortable saying hello, perhaps establishing a conversation with a compliment.

And once I’ve seen you perform, I’m not that fellow sitting across from the woman with violet hair on the bus – that first step of a connection has already been made. I already have respect for you and the passion you bring to your art.

Tila

I am so… proud… of the connections I have made this weekend, be they the married woman I held deeply enjoyable conversations with, the married couple (Christine and Sharkie) who remind me of all the best elements of PAX, the reflected kudos with countless fellow theatre practitioners (including the somewhat intimidating tall man from the opening ceremony), the possibility of a collaboration with my talented doppleganger (Adam), the producer who is setting up a festival in Nanaimo (Jeremy), the excited blossoming young actor who has just decided this is what he wants to pursue in his life (Ben), and the charming and eager people who promised me they’d get in touch if they happened to be in the same town I was in the future (and vis-versa).

Ali Shewan and I'm-bad-with-names

I don’t regret coming at all – instead, I regret leaving. I want to play with these amazing people for years to come. But I can’t. From rise to (far too little) sleep, for four days, I have lived and breathed theatre in this city. And now I go. There is a twinge of tragedy to it all.

Is this what Fringe is like, in every city? So many beginnings, so quick to die out unless facebook and travel plans feed them?

But I don’t want to mope like Charlie Brown about this experience. (Oh, and by the way? UFV’s Dog Sees God – second best show of the festival, and the capstone of my weekend. I’ll give top marks to UFV’s completely self-created ‘The Play’s The Thing’, which begins as a fake technical rehearsal for an awful Hamlet production, then splits the audience into two separate groups that tour around the whole building, listening in on interweaving subplots between the actors and crew during a ‘break’… subplots that resemble Othello and Romeo and Juliet for one group, and As You Like It (or Twelfth Night?) and Macbeth for the half of the audience (the side I missed, sadly)… brilliant stuff. Even the actors were amazed they pulled it off, with side-characters quietly conversing on cellphones to keep everyone cued up and on target to ‘happen’ to walk past each group at the right moments in time.)

That was far too many words to go into tangential parentheses.

The Lobby!

As for my show? I don’t know if I have ever had to wait on so many laughs in a performance I’ve done. And with so many people asking me where I’m taking this show next… that’s something I should seriously consider.

The Talented Dylan Coulter

Frisbee Golfing between shows

I originally chose to bring William Fights The World here because it was what I had in my back pocket, and it was a show I was excited to put together. Well, I love this show now, more than ever, and I want to perform it again. And again. And again.

And that is why you should create a one man show. Because with most shows, there is a bittersweet closing night when you know you and your cast of a dozen other actors, or perhaps only four… will never be able to put this show on again.

But I don’t need to say goodbye to William. Hell, I could put the show on right now, in this room, if I had a drizzle of coffee and an energy drink (the consumable props). Twelfth Night will never happen again, but William can rant and rave for years to come.

(Hrmm… I said ‘Hell’ there, instead of ‘Heck’. William is causing my language to falter somewhat when it comes to swear words.)

Well, I can’t make exactly the same show. I’ll never have quite this audience (incredibly supportive as they were), and I’ll need to use a new Chuck the cactus.

Sadly, in our third and final performance at the Festival, his shake-fall to the ground became fatal. Rest in peace, Chuck.

R.I.P. Chuck.

Fortunately, I bought an understudy. And epoxy, in case Chuck broke apart every show. I like to be prepared.

Chuck's Understudy, at his post on a chair at my lobby display

So yes, write a one man show, so you can travel to festivals and build mutual respect for all these amazing artists and audience members. Write a one man show so that the show never needs to die due to cast members moving away.

But know that travelling to a city for a few scant days means creating a whole lot of beginnings, and hoping, wishing, praying that perhaps one or two of those beginnings will grow and prosper. It means planting a whole field of seeds in every city, and hoping for one – even just one – tree to emerge. But the soil is rich, and if I could stick around to water those seeds, who knows what would come of all of them.

Graeme Thompson as Hullaboo @ IGNITE! 2009

As I alluded to in an earlier post, I ran into Graeme Thompson at this weekend – he was filling in for an ill actor from Capilano University. Well, he found me. A few years ago, he had performed as Hullaboo, and found it a difficult task, to try and act a show with so much direct address to the audience. Well, he saw my show, and came up to me afterwards, with kind words: “So that’s how it’s supposed to be done. All your words, everything, just flowed so naturally, like you were really just talking with the audience.” I really appreciated that. An old seed, an old beginning that happened to grow into a meeting this weekend.

Someone compared me to my doppleganger by saying we were “both a level above with our talent.”

When I performed tonight, I was sure I had missed something somewhere, because the 45 minutes between me and my audience flew by so fast.

This post is me celebrating my time at this wonderful festival.

But tomorrow morning I have to leave town, and hope God is a good gardener in my absence, hope that some local farmer will take pity on my field and water it in my stead. And there’s always facebook.

I’ll miss you, Chilliwack.

I hope to see you again next year. If Ian lets me back in. 🙂

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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How to choose a Hero – Meeting Daniel MacIvor

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Daniel MacIvorThe question always puzzled me back in elementary school.

“Who is your hero and why?”

I could never give a proper answer, despite the demands of classroom projects. Sure, I could think of people who had done things I admired, or who had character traits I wished to emulate, but no one person really distinguished themselves enough in my mind to warrant the title of Hero. When I was in my Civilization 2 craze, I said Sid Meier. Afterwards, I said Terry Pratchett (author of the Discworld series). Had to fill that page of the project somehow. But neither really fit.

In my first year at UVic’s theatre department, I discovered Daniel MacIvor. At the Studio Series auditions (where I was sitting as playwright for Hullaboo, whispering away to my director), I saw my (now) good friend David Perry perform an electric, charged monologue from MacIvor’s House, and I thought, “Gee, I really want to give that monologue a go”. I promptly found a copy of the script and read it; the words jumped right off the page.

I don’t quite know what it is about MacIvor’s work, but his characters take on their personalities so immediately, so arrestingly intriguingly, that they find their three-dimensionality in one page where most playwrights need a dozen.

I read up on what he was doing in the world. The man seemed to honest to goodness be making a living in this industry, and boy howdy was he respected among my theatre community. He had done it all: successful screenplays, television scripts, theatre for large scale casts, and one man shows that he himself performed in. He refused the model that says that a play is completely done the moment it hits opening night – a philosophy I’ve always found ridiculous. After all, how can live theatre really be complete without that crucial performance-altering ingredient that is an audience! And why NOT improve a show as it goes along? Why NOT give the closing audience the best darn show you can?

In short, the career I want for myself.

Then I found that my professor and friend (and celebrated playwright in her own right), Joan MacLeod, knew him well. Then last year, he came to UVic (at her bequest, I gathered) as part of a lecture series, where he performed something from House and spoke to students. I asked him a question on writing female characters. Then this year, I learned that one of our mainstages next Spring would be a play of his, Inside. And that he would be here this term for the auditions. That he would be rewriting the script to fit the cast. His life seemed to be spiralling closer and closer to my own.

I didn’t get in. Didn’t get a callback. In the audition hall, he, for some reason, leaned diagonally in his chair, a few seats to the right of the esteemed director, David Ferry. As us auditioners introduced ourselves, one by one, he leeeeeeeeaned over to Ferry’s table and scribbled little notes on the corners of the audition forms, then unleeeeeeeaned back to his slouched diagonal in his seat. Such a personality.

I even got to meet him. Meet the man who is possibly the closest I’ve had to answering that question of who is your hero. And how did it go?

The short: I bombed it pretty badly.

The long: On the day of callbacks, I was chatting with Joan in her office when she got a phone message from Daniel, who was on a brief break from the 30 called-back auditioners (culled from the nearly a hundred who he saw the day before). Joan and I continued our conversation as we walked just outside the Fine Arts building to where the exhausted Mr. MacIvor was waiting. Joan introduced me. I thanked him for doing this show for our theatre community. Then I added a “even from those of us who weren’t called back”, which was sincere, but sounds like a complaint. He apologized. I apologized. He apologized again. Joan mentioned that hey, I have my playwrighting to fall back on. I then made a crack about gee, how lucrative that industry is, with my zero knowledge, to two of the most successful Canadian playwrights in the country.

Wait, what? Of all the moments I would like to rewind.

Why did I say that? What possible reason had I… I still don’t know. True, I was feeling a bit down about not getting to be in a Daniel MacIvor show. But that’s no excuse. I understand how auditioning for a show works. And I try so hard to be a positive individual. But yes, one of my rare-ish bouts of negativity and pessimism came before Joan MacLeod and Daniel MacIvor.

After that, I left them to catch up, understanding that the last thing MacIvor probably wanted on his break was a jilted auditioner.

Regrets aside, it really was still good to meet him, to see more of his personality, to catch a glimpse at our differences and similarities.  To feel his empathic heart. For that, I am grateful.

So is he my hero? Well, he’s a good, talented man that I admire. I’ll leave it at that.

(Oh, and for the record? The first time I auditioned for… <<insert sound of heralding trumpets>> THE ACTING STREAM, I used another section from House as my monologue. I didn’t get in. For that, I would need the words of another Canadian playwright – Michel Tremblay. )

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