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Your Producer Pack
Thank you for joining us!
We want you to be ambitious about your work and the number of people who see it. We want you to think beyond simply presenting in a traditional open access fringe festival with thousands of others hoping a producer will pick you up and make you a success.
We want you to break paradigms, create new genres, become the new Peter Brook, Song of the Goat, Complicite, Wildworks, Punchdrunk, Shunt… You.
Anywhere is a festival devoted to creating the best experience for our audiences and for you. Anyone can apply within the boundaries of performance anywhere but a theatre and we work with you to ensure the festival is the best thing for you.
- You can perform in any space that isn’t a traditional theatre space. You can perform in a foyer or a performance space of a different sort retooled (The Touch Industry was performed on the stage of the oldest “Gentlemens Club” in Brisbane in 2015).
- You should not pay for a venue. We think it’s a bit rich that performers pay to participate AND THEN pay for the space they use to perform. A cost that often cripples producers before they even factor in all the technical requirement associated. Which means…
- We encourage you to think outside the traditional theatre box. If you perform just as you would in a theatre you’re kind of missing the point…
- As a festival we’re not interested in how many tickets the “festival” sells but we are interested in how much your shows sell. In 2011-2014 the average audience capacity was 74% compared to the Edinburgh Fringe figure of somewhere between 6-12%.
- We want each show to be successful in achieving their own goals. For some that is tickets sales, for others it is to expand your audience base or to present a new work or try new ideas.
- We’re smaller than the big fringe festivals (think Melbourne or Edinburgh). This means it is easier for you to stand out in a program that fits on one folded out A1 page and it also means we can spend time with you to find your place in the program.
- You get the mailing list of people who purchased tickets for your show and you can use our box office for other shows during the year in non traditional spaces.
What are you going to do?
For some, the idea is clear. For others, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help clarify what it is you want from your festival experience:
Are you doing the show to:
- Change the world?
- Workshop an idea and give it a public airing prior to developing it further?
- Develop your own understanding of yourself and the world around you?
- Provide another run for an existing piece?
- Redevelop a piece with the intention of touring?
- Develop a reputation or to establish the aesthetic of the company?\
- Provide a new audience with the opportunity to engage with the piece?
- Make money?
- To invite professionals in your field to see you and consider hiring you.
- …Or perhaps its something else for you? None is more valid than another but it’s worth remembering why you got involved when you’re panicking a day before you go up and things feel overwhelming!
- So what’s the winning formula?
- Well, it depends on how you answered the questions above, but also:
- Set clear reasons for doing the show
- Set realistic expectations and budgets
- Do the planning ahead
- Get as many people involved as early as possible
- Have a way to manage the producing and creating roles, either by separating the roles or ensuring you give yourself enough time for both.
- The nuts and bolts of producing at Anywhere are not difficult…
- The key is rigorous planning and finding a great team of creatives to work with you, which is what Paul discussed in the previous lesson. Once you’ve got your dream team, discuss these fundamental questions and once they’re sorted, you’re well on your way!
- Question 1: Length & Time of Your Run?
- We’re often asked if it’s better to perform one performance or twelve…Thrice daily or bi-weekly. Monday nights or late-nights…We have no solid answers for you as it depends on WHAT your presenting and why you’re presenting your show in the first place.
- Perhaps think of it this way: What can your cast endure and how much money do you need to make before you break even?
- Its the chicken and the egg dilemma. Do you budget first first or cut a budget to suit the run. A fundamental producer problem!
- The longer your run, the more chance you have of building word-of-mouth. That said, a shorter run allows you to pack it out and end on a high…it’s up to you- look at your existing fan base, your marketing plan, who you want to see your work, your venue options and your budget.
- Aim high enough to stretch yourself but not so high that you become obsessed with ticket sales.
- Building a new audience takes a clear strategy and realistic expectations. Harnessing the power of your fans, allows you to build on your successes. If you’re just new, you don’t have fans- so start thinking about how you’ll make them.
- It’s also worth remembering that some costs are fixed no matter how many times you perform, so it’s not true to say that performing for one day will cost a twelfth of performing for twelve days. Especially when there’s no venue hire fee!
- Question 2: Performance Length?
- Many festivals advise you to produce a 40-minute show that can be taken down in 20 minutes to make one full hour before the next act jumps on stage to do their 40 minute…but it is not uncommon to see performances in Anywhere Festival run as long as 120 minutes.
- Don’t compromise the integrity of your show just to fit it into a venue’s preferred time slot. Find a venue that fits your show or keep looking until you find a perfect fit.
- Listen to Paul’s lesson Locations for more on this.
- Question 3: Timeslot?
- Keep in regular contact with us throughout the decision-making process and be sure to let us know what timeslot you have in mind.
- As we get closer to the final detail deadline you’ll become aware of any potential clashes (for example, the one night only improv show is on at the same time and date as another one night only show- this is bad timing as Anywhere fans cannot be in two places at once!), they they often try 😉
- Think about your audience and when they go out- are they late night? Toddlers? Or will they want dinner before the show?
- Question 4: How much to charge at the box office?
- One of the main reasons why we started Anywhere Festival was to make performance more accessible for non-traditional theatregoers. We wanted to encourage audiences to see something that they wouldn’t normally see or was not part of the theatrical canon.
- For that reason we advise you to price your Anywhere Festival show at or around $20, with few exceptions. Call me if you want to discuss this in more detail.
- Ask yourself, are concession tickets really necessary? My opinion is no. If you’re keen to offer a cheaper price to students then make your first show a preview and charge less to everyone. That way you get word of mouth out at the start and encourage people to sell out your very first night, which sets you up for a great run.
- We’d also advise that you keep your pricing simple.
- Tiered pricing at festivals just annoys those who’ll book to see ten shows at a time (and let me tell you, at Anywhere that happens all the time!). But don’t price yourself too cheaply! Going to a Gold Class movie now costs over $20 and one of the points that kept coming up from audiences was that shows are a unique experience and tickets are considered ‘great value’ already.
- People, on the whole, will pay for an experience.
- Remember to factor in our $2 per ticket fee. So if you want to take a full $20 then set prices at $22.
- …And who has the final say?
- You do. We can advise but you still rule. You need to make sure that you have a (GREAT) producer. This could be designated as one person in the team or someone outside (if you’re lucky). The producer is the key contact for everything and for all our communication AND DEADLINES with you.
- Paul talks about the importance of a great team in other lessons and finding a good producer is vital.
food and drinks, three phase power and change rooms (sometimes).
for venue hire, and that’s before you start factoring in lighting/sound/set and all the technical crew that are
required (and who are the first and sometimes only personnel to get paid).
How could you expand outside the theatrical box to create an experience both for your audience and for
your creative team. Push the boundaries of your imagination and you may just find an exciting new way to
present your work that removes major costs and allows you to present something really exciting.
- Aligning their brand with a leader in the arts community in a clever, memorable and integrated way
- Engaging directly with our audience of non traditional theatre goers
- Increase business profiles both locally and nationally as a creative, connected and passionate member of the community
- Gain a high level of targeted exposure for their products and services by bringing new customers to their premises
- Providing unique opportunities for your customers and employees to be involved from bespoke productions to volunteering opportunities.
- HOW TO APPROACH YOUR POTENTIAL VENUE
- Previous Anywhere shows have used sheds, cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries, markets, boxing rings, swimming pools, toilets, you name it – we’ve had a performance there.
- For any business/venue who hasn’t done Anywhere before, they will need to be convinced that it is easy and it can work for them. Luckily, this is pretty simple.
- The advantages are that the show will bring new customers to their business, somethign new for their existing customers and the festival encourages use of the space as it is instead of turning it into a theatre, so the show has minimal impact on the business.
- They’re also very likely to get media exposure (free advertising) from being involved with the festival. Others will support you because they want to be involved in a cultural community.
- To help you, we’ve created a few simple templates to help you sell the festival and your show to a venue and to ensure they are aware of their commitments.
- If you’re too shy to make the initial contact with the business then please call us and we can talk with the business owner first.
- Projected income from box office, fundraising, merchandise, etc
- Payment to you – the creators of the work. This should be your first expense and everything else is secondary.
- Marketing to tell people about YOUR show so you have an audience Yep, that’s the absolutely basic amount.
- WHAT YOU MAY NEED TO CONSIDER ON SOME SHOWS
- The following items may not be a cost on every show and we encourage you to not use them unless you are going for a big large scale show (See Little Boxes as an example), but if needed they must be included in the production budget:
- Properties (don’t forget food and drink)
- Costume materials or hire
- Transport costs to and from the venue
- Hire of scripts, scores or band parts
- Musicians’ expenses
- Hire of outside rehearsal space
- Special effects (pyrotechnics etc.)
- Seating, lighting and sound*
- For hired items, don’t forget the cost of delivery and collection if you are unable to do this yourselves.
- * Do not fall into the trap of spending money trying to convert a space into a theatre. Find a space where that need is removed along with those costs.
- WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T PAY FOR
- Anywhere Festival aims to remove venue hire, technical costs and extraneous personnel costs from your budget. We recommend you design an artistic concept that removes these costs.
- Some Anywhere shows have been tech heavy (and amazing experiences!) but if you choose to design your show this way, the amount you need to generate in box office income to pay your actors increases tremendously.
- HOW MUCH MONEY IS TOO MUCH MONEY?
- There is no pre-determined figure for the total budget but you would be wise to limit your costs in accordance with your predicted box office revenue.
- How does your work relate to their organisation?
- What do they stand to gain from supporting you?
- By placing theatre anywhere, the festival provides the opportunity to target businesses that would not ordinarily engage with the arts.
- Think about what local business could benefit from their association with you.
- FINDING PARTNERSHIPS
- STAGE 1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
- Think of who would be interested in your proposition: are they local to you?
- Could they offer in-kind support?
- Does their product fit with the themes of your show?
- Have they sponsored other arts organisations?
- Most companies have a personal mission statement on their website, as well as the names of departmental contacts for Marketing, Communications, Sponsorship or Partnerships. This kind of specificity is vital to maximising your canvassing efforts.
- STAGE 2: MAKE CONTACT
- This could be by post, email or (the quickest way of gauging their interest) telephone. Take it as an opportunity to introduce your show and Anywhere Festival. Provide a link to our website to give the company an idea of what the festival is all about.
- If the company is interested in hearing more, you can move on to …
- STAGE 3: CREATE A WRITTEN PROPOSAL
- This should include a summary of your show, an outline of the benefits to the partner or sponsor, the fee (or access to their customers) you are looking for and the timescale.
- Benefits could include promotional materials (endorsement on banners, flyers or in your show listing, or displaying their product in the show), hospitality (tickets for the show, drinks reception at the venue) and media coverage (in your press releases and photo call).
- OTHER TIPS
- USE YOUR CONTACTS
- Rack your brains and ask anyone with whom you have a connection, however tenuous. Your pitch is much more likely to succeed if you approach familiar leads.
- MAKE IT SPECIFIC
- Tailor your proposal to the objectives of the potential sponsor, not to the needs of your show.
- BE REALISTIC
- Just because a huge multinational turns massive profits does not mean they have thousands to spend on the arts. Local companies are much more likely to see a value in investing, and smaller contributions do mount up.
- THINK CREATIVELY
- Could you perform at your sponsor’s offices? Could you run a workshop for the staff’s children? This kind of involvement and engagement with company personnel is really popular and could build a unique package.
- ENSURE YOU CAN DELIVER
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep, as ultimately you only stand to lose.
- KEEP CALLING! You just need the ear of the right person at the right time to succeed.
- Who would want to see your show?
- What they’d like about it.
- What does your show offer as an experience that would make it stand out?
- What particular aspect of your show would intrigue people and make them want to know more by
paying for a ticket?
- Once you’ve established this, maintain a consistent but evolving message through all your publicity and marketing materials. This allows it to cut through with repetition that makes it easier for people to remember.
- If you combine the best marketing strategies you can realistically afford with a focused publicity campaign, your show will benefit enormously. An effective and clever marketing campaign can spell the difference between a successful show and a promising one that simply didn’t sell the concept.
- Don’t focus on what you can’t afford to do. Instead, focus on being creative, flexible and smart with the resources you have.
- MARKETING VS PUBLIC RELATIONS?
- MARKETING is a direct attempt to focus attention towards your show. Marketing generally involves paid promotional activities such as advertising or flyers, for which you directly control the message.
- PUBLIC RELATIONS works by directing the media (traditional and social) to see the news value and potential public interest in your show and publicising it for you…for free.
years, though there are numerous exceptions to this rule. It’s your responsibility to find out your obligations under the law and, if necessary, to pay the appropriate copyright fees.
audiences in Britain and Brisbane to watch it.
gave you the clue to find the next Skype number to video call.
- has been shown to be effective in the prevention of workplace injury or illness
- has been implemented, maintained and evaluated
- is based on current information
- is of value to, or transferable to, other organizations.
- Competent Person
- “A person who:
(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organise the work and its performance
(b) is familiar with the OHSA and its regulations that apply to the work, and
(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace
- Measures designed to eliminate or reduce occupational hazards or hazardous exposure.
- Due Diligence
- The level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to display under particular circumstances. In terms of health and safety, this means taking all reasonable precautions, to prevent injuries or incidents in the workplace.
- Any condition or circumstance that has the potential to cause injury or illness.
- The probability of a hazard leading to an occupational injury or illness.
- Risk Assessment
- Careful evaluation of all equipment, machinery, work areas and processes to identify potential hazards that workers may be exposed to and assessment of the impact of the identified hazards on those that work in the area. Assessing the risk means determining the likelihood that the hazard may lead to injury or illness and the severity of that potential injury or illness.
- The seriousness of the potential occupational injury or illness resulting from a hazard.
- “A person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker”. In live performance, this could include a production manager, technical director or equivalent.
- The theatre company/group should designate one or more competent person(s) to conduct the risk assessment. This person should be a Supervisor such as a Production Manager, Technical Director, or equivalent. The Stage Manager, once hired, should be involved in the assessment.
- The Supervisor(s) should draft the risk assessment for all elements of the production as soon as preliminary designs are submitted. This process should begin as early as possible in the planning of the production and should continue throughout the production process.
- A risk assessment should contain the following steps:
- 1. Identify the hazards
- 1. Identify the hazards for the production and activities involved. Review workplace information such as production designs, worker reports of concerns, workplace inspection records, incident investigation reports, show reports etc. to identify hazards.
- Hazards may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Fog, smoke and special effects
- Flame effects
- Pyrotechnics, explosives
- Excessive sound levels
- Slips, trips and falls due to:
– Irregular stair heights
– Raked floors
– Unsuitable floor surfaces, especially for dance and fights
– Scenery, props, equipment, cables etc. backstage
- Falls from height due to:
– Unguarded edges of balconies, elevated set pieces, orchestra pits, traps etc.
– Performer flying
- Reduced visibility due to:
– Low lighting states and blackouts
– Masks and headgear with potential to obstruct vision
- Hazards of moving scenery due to:
– Installation or disassembly of scenery
– Automated scenery
– Scene changes within a performance
– Changeover from one production to another
- Hazards due to the use or potential misuse of props or costumes
- Hazards due to a lack of training or certification of replacement crew or performers (for example: in performer flying, firearms, and pyrotechnics)
- Hazards relating to power failure, emergency access, egress or evacuation
- Hazards specific to outdoor venues such as wind, heat, inclement weather, insects, animals, etc.
- Hazards due to the use of tools, equipment and materials
- 2. Determine who might be harmed and how
- Identify those individuals who could be affected, including performers, production staff, cleaners, contractors, maintenance workers, etc. Recognise that people who are pregnant, young, elderly, or who have a disability may be especially vulnerable.
- Identify how the hazard could cause harm. Consider how your work affects other workers present as well as how their work affects your workers.
- 3. Evaluate the hazard and decide on precautions
- Determine a Risk Rating for each hazard by considering the likelihood and severity of an occupational injury or illness resulting from each hazard.
- Likelihood – Estimate, using High, Medium or Low, how likely or probable it is that the hazard will cause injury or illness.
- Severity – Estimate, using Major, Moderate or Minor, how serious the injury or illness could be.
- Risk Rating – Plot the Likelihood and Severity on the Risk Rating Chart to determine the Risk Rating.
- 4. Control of health and safety hazards
- The control of hazards is a general duty for employers under the OH&S Act. Legal requirements governing exposure to various safety hazards can be found in the sector-specific regulations. Health hazards are either covered by the sector regulations or separate hazard-specific regulations.Wherever possible, hazards should be removed. If this is not possible, controls should be designed to eliminate or reduce the hazard to levels that present a minimal risk to worker health and safety. Types of controls, in order of preference, include:
- Engineering controls physically control hazards, and are the first and preferred choice of hazard control methods. (Examples include substitution (e.g. using a less toxic chemical, building a catwalk with guardrails) isolation (e.g. isolating noise using soundproof barriers), and ventilation (e.g. installing local exhaust).
- Administrative controls are the second choice of hazard control methods and include the development and use of procedures, worker training, scheduling and supervision, preventive maintenance programs, signage, etc.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to lessen the potential harmful effects of exposure to a known hazard. PPE is considered the last resort of hazard control and should be used only after engineering and administrative controls have been shown to be impractical, ineffective or insufficient. (Examples include eye protection, protective clothing, fall protection, foot protection, head protection, hearing protection, respiratory protection, etc.)
- Where there are no legal requirements under the OH&S Act or its regulations governing the exposure to a particular hazard, select appropriate controls for that hazard, taking into consideration time and feasibility. No person should be exposed to a hazard that has not been adequately controlled. If controls cannot be implemented for any reason, the activity posing the hazard should not be attempted.
- 5. Record findings and implement controls
- Decide who will track the controls and issue updates, with the frequency of updates determined by the complexity of the production.
- Ensure that administrative controls are followed and personal protective equipment is used. Employers have a duty to ensure that prescribed equipment, materials and protective devices are provided and workers have a duty to wear and use the prescribed personal protective equipment.
- Distribute and post risk assessments and relevant Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) (fog fluid etc.) in designated locations such as callboards.
- 6. Review assessment and update if necessary
- Continue the risk assessment process throughout production, including discussions at scheduled meetings. Production is a fluid process so conditions should be monitored continuously for new or evolving hazards. Details related to props, wardrobe, wigs and make-up may not emerge until rehearsals begin. As circumstances change, the risk assessment should be updated.
- If a health or safety issue arises during the rehearsal period that is not in the risk assessment, it should be resolved through discussion and corrective action that meets or exceeds the requirements of your state’s OH&S Laws.
- If the issue cannot be resolved in this way, Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. The Supervisor should postpone the potentially unsafe action until a final resolution has been reached and corrective action has been taken, if required.
- Ensure that the written risk assessment is updated and the version is archived for future reference.
- Sample schedule for risk assessment
- Pre-season / before the first rehearsal
- The Production Manager/Technical Director (PM/TD) will draft the risk assessment as soon as preliminary designs are submitted. The PM/TD will lead a risk assessment meeting before the first rehearsal.
- Those in attendance should include, Stage Managers, Designers, Director, Choreographer and Fight Director (as required) should be included.
- Following the meeting, Stage Management will post and distribute the risk assessment to those in attendance as well as the Designers, Director, Choreographer and Fight Director if they were unable to attend. After the initial form has been completed and the risk assessment meeting has been held, the PM/TD and Stage Manager for each production shall agree on who will track and issue updates, with the frequency of updates determined by the complexity of the production.
- During the rehearsal period
- Stage Management (PM/TD) will identify necessary changes and collaborate with the creative team on updates of the risk assessment. The PM/TD will continue be actively involved in the risk assessment and will schedule meetings to discuss health and safety issues as needed.
- The risk assessment should be reviewed at these points in a production:
- First Runthrough/Workthrough (in the rehearsal hall or onstage), when the whole play has been blocked.
- Prior to Cue to Cue.
- Prior to First Preview (The PM/TD or Stage Manager will notify the House Manager of any effects that may affect the audience (such as live flame), so that Front of House staff may be informed.)
After First Preview.
- After Opening.
- Periodically throughout the run of the production, as appropriate.
- At any change in the run of the production including personnel, venue, and production element.
- After an incident (such as injury, health concern, or near accident.)
- The final risk assessment should be archived for future reference.
- Links & Downloads
- Risk Assessment Form
Thank you for joining us! You’ve worked hard to bring your show to the festival, but what is the next step?There are tons of festivals all over Australia (and indeed Internationally). Just google “world festival network” for a list of several hundred. I bet tons would love to have your show in their line-up.Could your production extend its run? Or maybe your event could be a monthly event in your area…Or can it tour widely? …Find your tribe and you’ll find your audience!Watch the video above for inspiration!