Self-Producing V: Sources of Income, Pt. 1

In my last blog I listed all the various items on which you’ll be spending money to self-produce your one-person show. Now let’s talk about potential revenue sources for your work.

Hint: the most important factor in all of these fund raising ideas is your ability to enroll people in your vision. Spend time working on your ‘pitch’ – how you describe your project, both on paper for cover letters and spoken in conversation. Create compelling marketing materials with exciting pictures. Make people WANT to see your show, show them why it needs to have a life.

Ticket Sales – It’s fun to do the dream calculation: (number of seats) x (number of performances) x (ticket price) = (a whole bunch of money!).  So, after you’ve given yourself some time with that lovely vision of potential gross income, temper it with the more common reality, which is that (in my experience in Los Angeles) it’s hard to get people to come out to theater, so houses are rarely full; if your friends are mostly actors, too, they’re likely on tight budgets and can’t afford expensive tickets – you’ll want to be ready with two-fers, discounts and comps; and unless you’re a recognizable name, it’s difficult to command high ticket prices. So maybe revise your ticket sales estimates. It may be smaller than the potential gross, but it’s still income!

Program Ads – Hit the bricks and start visiting local businesses. Find the decision-maker (owner or manager). Show them a mockup of your program, and the prices for various sized ads. Tell them the size audience you expect to reach, and the length of your run. Leave behind a compelling cover letter and program mock-up so they can think about it. Hit businesses that are close to the theater and can capitalize on foot traffic (coffee house, restaurant or bar that audiences can visit after the show). Hit businesses that may have a connection to something in your show (I mention Birkenstocks in my show, as was able to get a nearby shoe store to place an ad). Hit businesses that may want to target your target audience (if your show is about your cats, say, and you know there’ll be a lot of cat lovers in the audience, you could hit up a pet store or a veterinarian).  Be clear with yourself and the businesses you hit about WHO is going to design the ad (you can ask for camera-ready art from the business, or you can offer to help design the ad, if you have or have access to those skills).

Arts Patrons and Venture Capitalists – rich people! Talk to everyone about your project and your plans. Ask around, be bold. By that ‘six degrees of separation’ you may just find that wealthy person who loooooves cats and is excited to support your show.

Okay, we’ve just scratched the surface. Next blog: MORE sources of income.

Stay tuned!

With great love,
Jonna Tamases
www.madlively.com

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