This post contains detailed discussion of personal finances, both outgoing and incoming. So, if you're uncomfortable with, embarrassed by, or bored by such matters.... look away now.
October 7th, 2013.
So, with the first ever season of Raiders of the Temple of Doom's Last Crusade behind me, and my aching body beginning to return to its pre-show state, it was now time to put my producer's hat back on, and do my sums. I should preface this next bit by saying that, as a veteran of many Melbourne International Comedy Festivals, the shows that DON'T lose money are the exceptions to the rule. Any artist wanting to mount a show in one of these festivals doesn't go in expecting to make money from it - if you manage to break even, you're doing better than most. It's expensive to put a show on in a festival. There are venue hire fees, festival registration fees, advertising costs, public liability insurance....
Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. If you're interested in exactly what costs are involved in mounting a one-man show in a festival of this size (and I'm guessing you are, or you wouldn't have read this far), let me break it down for you.
Full disclosure, people. These are ALL of the itemised expenses I incurred in taking the show from idea to performance....
So $10, 702.25 was the out-of-pocket total; what it cost me (in monetary terms) to make my one-man Indiana Jones stage show a reality.
"Hey, wait a minute, Hally! Where did all that money come from?", I hear you ask.
Good question. Well, as these expenses tended to come through in dribs and drabs, I was able to pay for them in dribs and drabs; they were generally not huge outlays. As you can see, though, there were a few larger sums. I bit the bullet and took that money out of our mortgage, hoping that, at the end of the season, I'd be able to put that money back in to our mortgage.
Did I mention that I have a very, very understanding wife?
In addition to making all those concrete financial investments, there were also the other, less tangible, investments I put in;
The writing, the editing, the learning of the lines, the rehearsing, the choreography, the publicising, the designing and making of props, the transporting of stage furniture, and so on and so on.
So, having put so much of myself into this enterprise, would it pay off? Would I be moving forward on solid ground?
Well, as it turned out... yes.
The further I pursued my dream of doing a successful one-man Indiana Jones stage show - my Holy Grail, if you will - the more my doubts and misgivings just seemed to fall away.
Okay, I think I've probably laboured this metaphor enough now.
When the final show report came back from the good people at The Melbourne Fringe Festival, these were the salient figures:
WHOO - HOO! A PROFIT!
A profit of 7 whole dollars and 75 cents! I'd done it! I'd put on this crazy idea for a Fringe Festival show and broken even. That money I'd taken out of the mortgage would be able to go back into it, after all.
I calculated that I sold an average of 41 tickets per show.
And I calculated that, in a 65-seat venue, that was a 63% occupancy.
I also calculated that my profit of $7.75 equated to me being paid 55 cents to perform each of the 14 shows.
But I decided not to think about that last calculation too much.
I decided to think of that magic number of $7.75 as proof that my idea worked. AND that it may have a future. AND that if I did do a second season, there were a number of expenses that wouldn't bother me the second time around (props, costume and stage furniture items, for example).
So that $7.75 was good news. Really good news!
This show wasn't going to make me rich any time soon... But for now, it had made me very, very happy.