Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Economic Report: Initial Outlay

This is the first economic report for Ulysses' Crewmen. The idea is to be as financially transparent as possible. We've created an online spreadsheet for people who want to look really close at the data. Below, you will find a description of our initial economic state. For a current update (and a history of such updates) see the economic reports.

We started production of Ulysses' Crewmen with about $350 in the Insurgent account. My personal savings account is the start-up fund and back-up if we end up losing money. Working fulltime and saving almost half my paychecks for a year or so helped me build up quite a bit of savings to bankroll this experiment.

The way we run things, there's a fine line between touring expense and personal expense. If we're successful, funds earned by the show, donations and merch sales will pay for production, promotion, merch, gas, car maintenance, lodging and food. Profits if there are any will go to the standard insurgent formula. 1/2 into company fund for future productions and 1/2 cash to the artists involved (myself and Kate).

The first major expense of touring is of course our touring vehicle. We've purchased a used 1998 V70 volvo station wagon for cheap. Then spent almost as much on repairing it (and need to replace the catalytic converter before the tour ends). This was more than we hoped we'd be spending and it's set us back quite a bit (will be at least $4200). We have little chance of breaking even if we count this as touring expense, so it's being accounted for seperately. If you'd like to help us recover some of these costs, we're taking donations through this thing:
If you'd like to make your donation tax deductable, do not use this thing. Email me at insurgent.ben@gmail.com and we'll put your money through our fiscal sponsor.

[UPDATE: car continues to need repairs we can't afford. Above chip in widget has expired, see smaller one on top right of this page.]

Second, is the materials involved in the show. Ulysses' Crewmen is an incredibly cheap show to produce. Props and costumes cost a grand total of $36.49. That's a used suit from value villiage, a shoulder-holster from army surplus, paper for programs and some rope from Bliffert hardware. Everything else is handmade (the hood), borrowed (the gun, from aaron at the alchemist), found in the trash (the radio found in a dumpster behind Matt Richardson's house, the chair from Borg Ward) or things we owned anyway (the rest of our costumes).

Third, is promotion. This got more expensive, because we decided to silk screen our own posters, we needed to spend a bunch of money on ink, screens, and paper. Ink and screens were from Utrecht, paper from cheapest online wholesaler we could find.

Forth is merch. We bought wholesale shirts from American Apparel (I have a wholesale account from years ago before they got so hip and sketchy) which we've silk screened ourselves. We're also selling scripts and essays, so more paper. We're hoping to earn this money back by selling this stuff on the road. It's really beautiful handmade stuff made by ourselves and some wonderful volunteers at last month's craft nights.

Fifth is gas. Which we haven't had to buy any of yet. The volvo is supposed to get 28 mpg highway. We'll be keeping track.

Sixth is food and lodging. Insurgent will not be buying expensive dinners or hotel rooms. For lodging, if we can't crash on someone's couch, we'll be sleeping in the car. For food, we're going to be eating as cheaply as possible while on the road. We've got a cooler, a coffee-machine (for hot water on the road), plans to build a dashboard oven and a solar generator. We started with a large bulk order of oatmeal, dried fruit, canned soup, and salsa from our good friends at the Riverwest Co-op. Once we start making sustainable money, insurgent will pay for some restaurant meals, until then, those will be paid for with personal expenses. Insurgent does not and will not buy booze.

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