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Weathering the Economic Storm.

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Van, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Folks we can't ignore it. I don't think it's fully hit our area yet but I think it's just a matter of time. The Crashing of the American stock Markets <down almost 700 points on Thursday> is going to hit those of us in the Non-Profit world and I'm sure it'll hit the "Professional" Production world as well. I'd like to start this thread, if for no other reason, to document exactly how this type of disaster effects our industries.
    My initial impression is that there is not going to be an immediate impact, such as there was with 9/11. I think most of us in the non profit world are really going to start feeling it during the second half of this current season. For those that don't know, a lot of the money raised by non profits comes in the form of "pledges", a corporation or foundation will agree to give a Theatre a certain sum of money of a certain period of time. Usually this money is paid out Quarterly or semi-annually. So most of us have our funding in place for the beginning of the year, the next couple of quarters are going to be a totally different story, I feel.
    I'm going to be having a few meetings over the next week and making vows to start trimming corners everywhere possible. I definitely feel we shouldn't panic, but the ripples are going to be felt and bracing ourselves now may keep us from being totally blindsided later on.
    So let's just keep an eye on things. Do a little reporting here, keep track of the ripple effect. I'm sure the punching bag will be full of posts relating to this topic, so let's keep this one mostly facts, tips and strategies
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Vegas is recession-proof, so they say. Not this time. Figures just released by the LVCVB show convention attendees down 20% for the month of August. edit: Even more important, gaming revenues were down 7%!
    I didn't realize it at the time, but the 12 months following were the most successful ever in terms of attendance at my primary venue.

    People will want to use entertainment as an avenue of escape. Word of advice: plan comedies and musicals. Think twice about that production of The Grapes of Wrath.

    "We'd like to thank you: Herbert Hoover,
    For really showing us the way.
    We'd like to thank you: Herbert Hoover,
    You made us what we are today!"
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Nooooooooo!!!
    I had almost blocked that show out of my memory.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    We have been having the same pledge problem here, and its already affecting my season. My production budget is safe, its tax payed, but one of our venues is having issues. We have a theatre that is on the verge of a complete re-model. Everything is done except for the final stuff (which just happens to include most of the technical elements). I believe that 5 or 6 people have already said they will not be paying their pledges. Unfortunately, this means that the space will not be completed because the money is not their, let alone operational costs.
     
  5. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Our funding comes from Pageant of the Masters ticket sales and as we sold out all 53 performances this summer, we're good for at least the next year. We'll find out next summer whether the issues with the economy will affect us. If we have a drop in attendance, then we're in trouble, but if we continue to sell out, we'll be fine.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm not sure that we ever really got over 9/11 up here. It took a lot longer for it to effect us. But the college foundation has been having a terrible time raising money. They've been trying to sell naming rights to my new theater for 2 years now. With hardly a nibble. We go to someone asking for a million bucks and they offer us $5k instead. Over the last year we have been trying to "sell" 200 seats at $500 each to raise money for operations we have currently sold less than half of them. The current situation is just going to make things worse.
     
  7. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    As a teacher I'm used to not seeing a large budget. Or any budget, really. My concern is that as the financial pinch hits the educational community, the first programs to go are arts. I can run a theater fine without a budget from my district, but not so much without a job.

    We have already noticed a lack of tax credit donations. Usually by this time of the year I have several thousand dollars to spend and work with, and that simply doesn't exist this year. I'm more concerned about what that suggests for the future, than the immediate budget constraint.

    If you want to really panic, read Peter Schiff's latest. Or not, if you like sleeping comfortably at night.
     
  8. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Oh - and this might be a good time to stop dogging on Chinese equipment. :lol:
     
  9. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    That'll never happen.

    Like many others, I'm concerned. It's time to do more with the same or less. I'll be more careful with things like expendables, etc. I might consider lowering some prices to maintain sales volume. But my segment of the business has always been about relationships, so I will be focusing on improving those.
     
  10. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I forget are you at a School ?

    For over Twenty years that is the way ART has operated. we've only ever incurred a deficit in the last two years, although there has been a steady decline in "unearned income" over the last 8 years.<trickle down economics my ass> I'm glad you able to operate in such a manner, but am I not correct in thinking that most of your "talent" is volunteer? this is one area that may stay safe, a lot of folks may have a lot of time on their hands. The bigger issue is, What about the people that buy tickets? When people start trimming their personal budgets, Entertainment spending and charitable given are two things on the chopping block first.

    I feel a lot of what we are seeing right now in the American Market, is an attempt to off load the Humongous amount of American debt that China now owns. Similar to what the Germans did after WW I; if you hyper inflate your currency and you have the ability to print your own money, like the FED does, you can repay your debts in what is essentially worthless currency. It'll take a wheelbarrow to buy a loaf of bread, but we'll pay off the Chinese in no time. The Up side ? Well, comparatively it will be just as "Inexpensive" to by American gear. In the long run we may see a re-emergence of American products on the global market.
     
  11. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    You are correct Van. Without the several hundred volunteers who sign up for the show every year, we would be unable to operate even in good economic times. I'm not sure, off the top of my head, how much Pageant tickets run, but if our volunteers suddenly became paid employees, we would probably have to triple or quadruple our ticket prices, and that would kill us.

    We do have a few corporate sponsors, but as I understand it they pay for our advertising. It wouldn't take too much trimming in other areas to make up for that lost revenue if our sponsors were to pull their support; maybe put some capital improvements on hold for a year or two.

    One thing that gives me confidence in our ability to survive the current economic situation is that The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters organization was founded during the Great Depression. If we, as an organization were able to form and grow in the midst of that economy, we should be able to find our way through the current troubles.
     
  12. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I hope you're right, and that's an interesting theory I hadn't come across. My comment was along the lines of thinking that we're seeing a shift in economic power from the western countries - US and western Europe - to Asia, and especially China. They may come out ahead when this is all over, since they have a manufacturing base to support themselves and less of a reliance on funny money. Many of the things we use in the US, even when sold by American or European companies, is made somewhere else or built from components made somewhere else, typically Asia/China.

    I wonder what the grant situation will look like in a few years? We were just starting to look into applying for local grants in the coming years to finance a technology overhaul, and I know of a few local theater that rely on grants as part of their budget. At least one local theater lost their grant for guest artists, and it affected my school.
     
  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Necro Post Here!

    So, its now been THREE years and some change since this thread was started. How is everyone doing? In my venue, sales are down. We now consider a 60% house as a good one. A few shows have been cancelled due to sales. Promoters that used to do well are now having issues. We have had a few sell outs this season, but nothing like it has been in years past. So, hows it going?
     
  14. cpf

    cpf Well-Known Member

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    I'd say we're seeing decent, consistent turnouts, albeit the place only opened 3 years ago so it's hard to really compare. The few shows that have been cancelled due to low ticket sales have been poorly-planned out-of-town one-nighters, the local community groups are always sold out.
     
  15. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    Doesnt matter
    Were consistently selling out or close to it. We've even gotten an extra day added to a show for the amount of ticket sales....

    Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk
     
  16. mstaylor

    mstaylor Well-Known Member Departed Member

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    Some shows are selling well, others not so much. A lot has to do with advertising and type of show. Personally I am busier than I have been in a while. I can't explain it but over the last three years I have been jammed.
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'm in the same boat, Mike. We are busier than the proverbial 'one legged man' and while I've seen a rise in unearned income, and in capital specific grants salaries and production staffing have remained flat. very flat. However, FOH and Admin hiring has continued apace. Single ticket goals were dropped in anticipation of a lousy year but ther first two shows have beat their goals at 220% and 260 - 80% of projections. Production Budgets have remained flat for a third year running, whilst Marketing and PR have well, let's just say they ain't suffering 'cause their costs aren't rising at the rates mine are. Number of shows, complexity of shows and production values have all risen but staffing, budgets, salaries remain flat. Personally it's killing me.
    Whaaaa! Back to work.
     

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