So, I’ve been in New York and Los Angeles for the last three weeks working through some production and financial requirements for our involvement in the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Time flies at this point.
One of the first things we needed to do was engage General Management – or a Line Producer as it is sometimes referred – but more on this later. Another pressing issue has been assessing the pros and cons of running a crowd-source funding campaign for some of the sponsorship monies we need to raise for participating in this prestigious Festival opportunity.
I have very decided views about this process now that I have thoroughtly investigated platforms like Kickstarter, Pozible, Indiegogo (actually there is a plethora of these crowd-source funding platforms available beyond these more prominent players). The result of my investigations: not is all as it seems!
So I am going to go on record and tell a story about a meeting in LA yesterday with a very experienced and senior figure in theatre/entertainment/film. Moreover, for clarity and transparency, I had never previously met this person. In short, the opinion offered was that if we ran a crowdsource funding campaign for MMO, people would support it because they ‘liked’ myself and Victor and would ‘trust’ in our work. Additionally, we have written a musical that centers around the Mexican/Latino diaspora with a Hispanic legacy.
Frankly, It’s this concept of ‘trust’ that concerns me – I’ll explain why in a moment – but it is consistent with the underyling philosophy that has driven the rise of the crowd-source funding phenomenon.
Why do people ‘pledge’ on a, for example, Kickstarter campaign? For a small (or not so small) financial sponsorship – to be clear: it’s NOT an investment – individuals receive a ‘gift’ or other in-kind recognition for supporting a particular project. The assumption is that most of these ‘pledges’ are, at the base level, going to come from friends and family or, at the very least, people who have some passing aquaintance with the people involved and/or those people’s previous work.
AND HEREIN LIES MY CONCERN:
I’m rather fond of my friends and family and extended acquaintances and don’t want to let them down if our increasingly fêted musical, The Mapmaker’s Opera – based on Béa Gonzalez’s breathtakingly beautiful novel – is not the success we would like it to be, and believe that it can be!
Why? Because having a successful new Musical is a very high-risk proposition – for anyone, anywhere, anytime – irrespective of who wrote it. Who knows whether audiences will truly take to any new piece or not? As the venerable Mr. James M. Nederlander (one of Broadway’s most extraordinary men of theatre) has oft been quoted, “You can’t pick a hit from a flop.”
AND THIS IS WHY IT IS HARD:
With little – actually I’ll be totally forthright today – IMPOSSIBLE – odds to overcome to receive any type of government funding support in Australia for the development of a Broadway-designed, commercial, new musical (because they won’t fund an essentially ‘American’ artform to be developed where it needs to be developed – in America!!) we don’t have much of choice in this matter.
SO HERE’S MY AND VICTOR’S PLEDGE:
If you trust us, we won’t let you down!
HOW, DO I HEAR YOU ASK?
We’re not saying it is perfect (only My Fair Lady and possibly Guys and Dolls come close) but our Musical is beautiful, tuneful, emotional, enthralling and takes everyone on a wonderful journey, so we know that by placing your trust in us, you will feel your decision was utterly justified.
WILL WE MAKE IT TO BROADWAY EVENTUALLY?
There but for the grace of God, go we (sic).