Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blade Running

Here we are, the first draft of Blade Runner the musical. The formatting of the document is majorly messed up and I can't upload anything to my server via FTP.
And, apparently, I've been working on this because I don't have better things to do. Right.
Actually, this FTP thing is frustrating.
I need to understand MySQL and PHP, CGI scripts and whatever the heck Perl is. Because I have no idea what any of those things are.
Updating my version of Firefox and FireFTP seems to have done the trick. Here's the .pdf of the first draft of the Blade Runner Musical.
I'm kind of thinking about switching my hosting provider to Gator Hosting. Everyone seems to like them.

Now I want one

Via Stu, the Canon 300

Canon EOS C300 = Awesome from Jonathan Yi on Vimeo.
No more jello-cam?
Gimme gimme gimme.

So This Is The Problem

So the thing with making a disaster picture is: what is the plot. Let's take solar flares. The sun is jetting out 1.6AU flares that come and lay some cities to waste. The Internet, shockingly, is still up (because it was, after all, designed to withstand a nuclear attack).
But that's not a movie. Here's a movie: A guy (gal/robot/thoughtful rabbit) has a problem that's hard to solve (especially because the world is blowing up). He's gotta solve his problem, even during this catastrophe. But then things get worse. They meet someone and that person gives them some more problems but also a different world view. Then things get even worse.. And shockingly things suck so much that there's not plan at all to fix the first problem, let alone the second problem.
But then the guy/robot/girl at the beginning remembers something that the person they met on page 20 told them. So they figure a plan.
The plan goes swimmingly. Until it goes dreadfully badly. And then it's all lost and there's no way to any good to come out of this except for -- that person from page 20. Whatever they did or said or gave to our hero can be used right now.
And the whole world is saved.
So. How do we do this? What could be so important that our protagonist is put into action even though the world holocaust is going on right now? It better be compelling, that's for sure.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hardened Music

What is it that's wrong with this Florence and the Machine song, Dog Days are Over? I liked it when I first heard it but there is something very... "hard"... with the sound.

I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it the limiting in the mastering? Well, there is actually some dynamic range in the vocals. There are some pops in the "p"'s but... I dunno. The "plainsong" style is interesting. Hmm... maybe the vocals are limited out the wazoo. Are they just autotuned within an inch of their lives? Like I said, I can't quite figure it out.
Now here's a song with some very solid low-end, but a complete lack of auto-tune on the voice. Cat Stevens' Peace Train.

Truthfully, I dig some of the live versions of this song even better. I think at some point Cat Stevens sounded more like "Cat Stevens" -- like somewhere around 1976.
And come on -- that very clear tape edit at 3:01 is just amusing. I mean, could you imagine that passing muster in a modern recording? The mastering engineer would just kick that back to the mixer.
And I forget that that coda exists too...

No, C'mon, Tell Me How You Really Feel

It says a lot for the quality of the structure of Theatresource that it took so long to destroy.
Yeah, it does. But this Board is motivated to destroy it.
Explain to me why the Board of Theatresource is closing the theater? 
Well in their own words it just became too hard for them to book the theater.
Really? Is it actually that hard?
They went and spoke to as many as (and I'm being generous here) three theater companies who Theatresource used to work with. And those companies either said "We only want to work in 99-seat spaces" or "we'll only do it if we can use the Development Series Contract" or "no."
Uh. So three companies...
And that was it. Work is hard.
Well who coulda guessed that after years of being hostile to volunteers the whole place didn't turn around in two months and we'd be booked solid through the new year?
We actually did have bookings -- up through April. Which was better than two years ago.
So. This Board has been actively not paying attention for a while. 
This Board and Jennifer Thatcher, the Managing Director.
Surely there was more due diligence by the Board did before deciding to close the doors. 
Well, I guess that we can count the Board's whining that people didn't give enough the last time the Board cried for help, and that people didn't just, you know, intuit that Theatresource needed a lot more money.
What a load of bad energy they are.
It's quite sad. And completely avoidable. If, for instance, this Board had decided to resign rather than destroy the place, the theater would still be going.
Who is on this Board?
Courtney Birnbaum - Andrew Frank - Eric Laufer - Matt Quint - Melissa Riker - Doug Silver
And they destroyed Theatresource. 
Yup. It took them to destroy it.
But there was a two-year warning that the theater's funding model was going to cause this problem?
You're talking about my February 2010 post about the cash flow at Theatresource.
Yeah. So, er, how does that all work out?
Well, we were cash - flow poor at the time and then as far as I can tell they used Board member Eric Laufer to pour money into the organization rather than grooming new theater companies and writing grants. This is something of the way of conjecture on my part. But... probably what and how it all went down.
So when Eric stopped pouring money into the long run of Greenwich Village Follies...?
Jennifer Thatcher suddenly realized they were out of cash.
And in the meantime the organization hadn't been bringing in new companies or focusing on writing grants or anything.
We were overtly hostile to other theater companies and nobody was working on grants.
And we weren't going to milk Eric Laufer for cash anymore?
That's the way it reads to me at least. But he's not interested in filling the money - hole, and we can't get anybody else to donate because they (shockingly) don't believe in this Board of Directors.
Can't we overthrow the Board and then correct all the mistakes?
Theoretically possible but unlikely. You'd have to get enough Board members to constitute a quorum, and have a majority of them vote to create members which could then vote in a new Board.
But with 100% of this Board voting to close the theater that's not likely to happen.
Not likely.
Is there a plan B?
Plan B was to get a hold of the landlord, get together a dormant 501(c)3, and rent the space.
How'd that go?
At first the landlord said he was "definitely" willing to rent and then a few days later he told me that he wasn't renting it now but would contact me when he was willing to rent. Landlords, counter-intuitively, don't always want to make money. He does seem to want to be able to sell and deliver the building with the Theatresource space empty to buyers, but there are several issues for buyers. It's a long story, do you really want to hear it?
No. Not really. So, what's plan C?
C1 is: find a brand-new space somewhere. C2 is wait for the landlord to get bored with having his space unrented and start to rent it. C3 is work with other theaters instead.
But that whole thing where we had that groovy space and all that great energy...
Yup, they destroyed that all back at the coup.

License to Shred

On the back of my guitar-playing license the Agency stamped the following restrictions:

X cannot play funk
X blues may only be played for practice
X no jazz during daylight hours

I've been pulled over for playing funk by the guitar cops and they let me off with a warning. I was allowed to drive home and believe me I was just doing scales 'till I got inside. I won't be doing that again.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I tried Blogpoll and the code made this page really freaking ugly.
Now I'm using Blogpolls and it seems better.

Musical or Opera?

So, for whatever unknown reason, I'm working on this "Blade Runner, the Musical" idea. Which is absurd and insane.
I'm sort of wondering if it's more of an "opera" than a "musical". What's the difference between operettas and musicals? How about the difference between a completely-sung musical and opera?
I bet that between "opera" and "musical", you're talking a difference in millions of dollars in royalties. Certainly hundreds of thousands.
And unless you somehow got Mozart's licensing the differential is entirely on the side of "musicals".
Maybe we can vote on this. You likely need to click through to this blog in order to vote if you're getting this via email or on an RSS feed.

If you're making that part of the movie where it has to look like you're some sort of super-hacker typing faster than humanly possible, HackerTyper is for you.
Here's your transcript for Apocalypse Now. And Escape from New York. Neither are quite as spectacular as Blade Runner but that's just how it is.

Fun Facts

Our voiceover booth will fit in a 4' by 4' space (that includes the air vents.)
Our desks are 31 1/2" deep and 63" wide.

You know, if we're in a new office, we'll probably need a handset telephone.

Today in the Machine (part many)

We have a delivery date for Android Insurrection. Our sales rep has told us that our robots better look very good! ;-) I think they do. In any case, we're making delivery available by the 15th of January (that's an arbitrary date, and on a Sunday, but it's what I'm committing to.)
Today I visited a studio on East 19th Street as part of looking for a new home for Pandora Machine. It's listed here in this Craigslist ad. The ad, of course, will be gone if you're looking at this post after the beginning of 2012. ;-)
The space is very groovy and quiet. They have a little dining area and two "half" kitchens. Plus a small Pro-Tools-based recording studio, of course.
I'm not sure what we want to do about sound post-production. I could very well move all "sound" oriented things to my apartment (including the Whisperroom). That would include guitar amps and such. I just don't know. I'll have to ask my office-mates what they think.
Sometimes I can get a color-key to just work, and sometimes (most of the time) I have to use the roto-brush to go crazy with rotoscoping frame-by-frame. It's very odd.
Redneck Words of Wisdom has a nice list of things for your characters to say.
The top 10 Paradise Lost quotes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You know what also sucks?

Photo call.

It takes up a tremendous amount of time, just when you don't have time (right before a performance of your show). You're not lit for photography, you're lit for theater. And nobody has spent a moment thinking how each scene would be framed in camera.

Photo call. It just sucks.

You know why/how that Tyrannosaurus Mouse show photographed so well? I mean besides having David Frey do it?
1. We actually lit for photographs (which, incidentally, washed out our video projections, making the live show less but the photographs more). Before the show Maduka made sure our exposure levels were appropriate.
2. We could take pictures around the room and didn't have to worry about the noise of the camera (c'mon, the noise of the camera? Over how loud we play? Not a chance.)

Today's Conversation

Because the whole thing is a dream ballet.
Uh. Yeah.
Cyd Charisse will have to play Rachel.
You... might be a little late for that.

You Know What the Message is Here, Right?

Couples wouldn't argue as much if they drove on the right side of the road.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dance Sucks

You know Bellwares. They'll just straight up murder you.
Every single thing about the dance world just sucks.
The performance facilities all universally cost more than their theater equivalents.
The spaces are usually jerks about making you strike and set - up with almost Fringe-like speed. They'll make you strike your lights on "trees" even. It's a royal PITA.
Dance floors are expensive. Marley is bad enough. But really you want a sprung floor. They're expensive and easily damaged.
There's a huge prejudice against working on a piece, performing it, then working on it more, performing it, and doing all that again -- the critics want to see a choreographer's "new" work and are less interested in seeing it perfected. Theater isn't so obsessed with "new" which helps make for better theater.
And, of course, if you're not permanently injured by the time you're 30, you're doing it wrong.
Lessee, what else am I grumpy about today? Microphones in musicals. Thing is, unless you're spending more than a million dollars on the musical, don't try to hide body mics on the performers.
Now, I fully realize that these damn kids (who won't get offa my lawn) are using wireless mics in elementary school plays nowadays. Their drama teachers will actually make them rehearse putting their own (clearly numbered) wireless packs on (using little blocks of wood to simulate the size of the wireless.)
And I've seen off-off-Wherever shows where they try desperately to keep microphones on sweaty performers who have obviously not gone through dozens of hours of tech with microphones and packs on. So the mics fall off -- the glue and/or the medical tape gets unstuck and you end up with a mess. You get the wonderful sound [that's sarcasm, son] of a body microphone slowly coming off someone's face or hitting their ear, or just falling down their shirt so the audience gets the sound of a microphone over someone's belly-button and...
And yeah, I quit. Musical actors need to know how to project instead of being miked*. And if they are miked, they need to learn to hear less of the band than if they were in a cabaret singing into a handheld microphone.
If you are going to throw wireless on your actor/singers then you better be planning it from the very first moment you put together your musical (see: elementary schools).
In the fantasy world I live in, singers would step up to a microphone or at least sing into a flower.
Right now for Blade Runner the Musical I only have one microphone on stage and it's for the geisha-dressed soprano who serves as the Chorus. Of course.
*And yes, I'm using "miked" rather than "mic'ed" because "mic'ed" looks stupid.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stu and Not Stu

Stu Maschwitz is the dude who keeps the DSLR camera world honest when it comes to shooting movies. We even named a character after him in "Battle New York Day 2". He puts in a very well thought-out and researched post on using any of the various DSLR cameras in the "super 35" world.
A great, great deal of what we do here in the Pandora Machine is done because it's what Stu says to do. Essentially, I've built the world's smallest motion-picture production studio on the DVRebel's Guide.
We only do two things which go against Stu's teachings. Two. I think. It's just the two. Everything else is straight - up Stu.

  • The first thing we do is that we do not color - grade at the highest bit depth available. Why? Because we'll never ever finish a feature film that way. We simply don't have the processing time or machines available to do a 90-minute picture, and then because mistakes were invariably made, do it again, and then (oh, look) we made another freaking mistake so we have to render out the whole picture again

We have enough trouble with Final Cut Pro failing to render using Beauty Box and Magic Bullet Looks. Usually those problems can be lessened by reducing the rendering bit depth down to 8 bits. Maybe with the extra RAM and the heavier-duty video card we have now we can move up to 10 bits. But we ain't gonna move color-correction duties out to AfterEffects, we just don't have the time.

  • The second thing we do is to not really get too frustrated either way with an APS-C sized sensor on our cameras. Which is ironic because in the DV Rebel's Guide Stu suggests that you not get one of those crazy 35mm adapters to slap on a "normal" video camera (this was before the DSLR's really started to be available for movie-making). And back in the day we did use a Letus 35mm adapter. 

So it's a tad ironic now that we use the Panasonic GH-1 which has a smaller-than-APS-C sized sensor. It's not as small as one of the old video cameras (like the venerable HVX200) and it's actually a bit bigger than Super-16mm. But it ain't got the bokeh the bigger-sensor cameras have.
And it's true that I'm not that big on the limited depth-of-field. Citizen Kane is just alright with me. But for commercial purposes we haven't heard a peep from buyers or distributors about depth-of-field for years. Because this problem has been solved -- heck some of those Canon cameras have shallower depth-of-field than a regular old Panavision shooting Academy.
And that's interesting. If you want shallow, shoot shallow (and have a great time focusing there, champ. ;-) And if you want deep, you can go with deep. The buyers don't seem to care anymore.
The debonair Jeffrey Plunkett in Clonehunter. This is shot with an HVX200 with a Letus adapter and (probably) an 85mm Canon at f1.8.

Twenty Palaces

The monster that is the 20 Palaces series got cancelled.
Now, and spoilers apply, but the book series is brilliant. And one of the spectacularly brilliant things it does is not bore you with the back-story and instead allude to it through the course of the stories themselves.
Now, to me, this is not an irritant. The author himself points out the problems with the series are that 1. you don't learn enough about the 20 Palaces Society and 2. we don't learn enough about the protagonist's back-story. I don't think he feels that way about his own work. But he feels that for the market that's true.
It's certainly not true for me. That's why with trepidation I'm ordering the prequel.
But I'm gonna do it.
Harry Connolly is the author. And although I was digging the very organic way that the back-story was revealed, I'll bet the prequel works. And besides, I think the books should become a TV series. But, you know, I think a lot of things.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Studio Review

In my search for new studio space I started looking at recording studios that has space. And there are some really fantastic rooms out there in New York City.
Nightlife has a rental of it's second control room. There are some very interesting shares like this place with the groovy oriental carpets. Three days a week for $750/month. I know the link will be dead in a few weeks but I'm blogging with it anyway.
Pearl Studios is a rehearsal studio in Jersey City, NJ.

I Figured It Out

Blade Runner the Musical but with Snake Plissken is modeled on Apocalypse Now. It all makes sense. Now.
Escape from the Blade Apocalypse.
We have to finish post on Android Insurrection. We have to shoot Dragon Girl. Then we have to finish that movie. Plus we have to write another disaster picture. But I need to finish writing the book to this musical this weekend.
We're going to need a bigger boat.

Aliens on Ice

Stacy Shirley. I... I love you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Put the Bunny out the Door

This is somehow the most deeply weird, and deeply entrancing, commercial I've ever seen.

Amano Music is a music "atalier" in New York that supervised the score.
Have you applied for your HERE resident artist program?
So, when I think of the Blade Runner musical, but you know, with Snake Plissken as the lead character, I realized that the one style of music that I can do is this sort of morphine - pop style.

Can you stand an entire evening chasing replicants and listening to this? What if Plissken's morphology has his incept date accelerated so that he only has 22 hours to find, and kill, the replicants? Is Plissken a bass or a tenor? If Rachel is a soprano, then Batty is clearly the bass -- right?
We're gonna need an owl.

Theatresource Town Hall Notes

For those of you who, you know, actually do theater and couldn't make it to the "Town Hall" called by the Board of Directors of Theatresource, here's the official notes from the meeting.
The logic of closing Theatresource seems to be a petulant "Well, nobody would give money to our last call for donations so we decided not to call for donations again."
JEN: In regards to fundraising, in August, when we almost got evicted, we put out an urgent plea and from that we only raised $2000.
Again and again the lack of communication came up. The Board of Theatresource has always been secretive. I have no idea why. But this Board is more secretive than any of the others I can remember. In the case of the previous "urgent plea" the Board was obtuse about the reasoning for the "urgent plea". It was because the State was coming after the organization for not having paid State Unemployment Insurance. Now, I will not say for sure this is the case in New York State, but I believe that in New Jersey the Department of Labor can send the Sheriff to the banks of the Board of Directors, the Officers, and anyone with check-signing powers and drain their accounts without even going to the trouble of an administrative law hearing. So the Board was personally liable for that debt.
Sourcie: I’ve talked to Jen about grants and corporate sponsorships. There were other options not explored. There are other members in the tribe who could do this work.
This Board, unable to raise money, arrogantly didn't assume that they were just bad at it, but rather that it simply couldn't be done.
Perhaps it's best to realize that at this point the Board was talking about not being able to bring in any money and they have had only $100 in Corporate income and $500 in Foundation income. Year to date, that is.
So yeah, there was no serious effort put in over the last few years to bring in money. Heck, after we announced we were closing the Mayor's Office called to talk about funding and pointed out that we hadn't even bother to apply for City funding since 2008.

Nobody could have done a worse job of running Theatresource than this spectacularly incompetent Board. And nobody did. It took this Board to close down the operation.

So it's ironic to me that there was so much stress on "saving" the 501(c)3. As far as I know, this Corporation has an incredibly deadly liability tail on it. At least as far as I know, and in my understanding, makes it less than worthless because the liability for the other unpaid employment taxes actually penetrates the corporate shield and can touch (and strip) the bank accounts of the present members of the Board, the former members of the Board*, and anyone who has signatory rights on the bank accounts.

*I presume this to mean only the former members of the Board who were active when the tax was being unpaid. Also, it may be that the Board's insurance inures them from direct financial liability. Also, I don't know about people who used to have signatory rights on bank accounts.

Output and Intermediary Formats

Did you know that AfterEffects will cycle mask colors? Why isn't this the default? Sheesh.

More conversation between me and Nathan Vegdahl regarding delivery formats.

Me: I worry about legacy issues. In 10 or 15 years, will a movie I make today still be in a readable format? I dunno!

Nathan: The more open the standard, the more likely it is to be readable in the future. h.264 and AAC in an mp4 container is good, because it has open-source implementations. Worst-case scenario: someone has to pull up old source code and use it to convert your movie to a new format.
OpenEXR is also open source, so same deal.
The formats you have to worry about are proprietary formats, because if the companies behind them stop supporting them, you're out of luck.

Me: The main trick for our lab is: will they be able to take the file we give them and make a DigiBeta tape out of it? Because we still need to deliver DigiBetas.

Nathan: [editor's note: TL;DR: use Handbrake and/or skip to*] Hmm... I don't know if ffmpeg can encode for digital beta. I'll look into it. I use currently use ffmpeg 0.8.5 on Linux for all of my final encoding. I do everything from the command-line, because it gives me more precise control over the encoding process, and I get to play with all kinds of weird settings. But for the most part I keep it simple.
If I want to encode to a nearly (but not quite) lossless H.264 file that is widely compatible with other software, I use this command-line:
ffmpeg -i input_file -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf 1 output_file.mp4
Where "input_file" is the name of your input video file, and "output_file.mp4" is the name of the file you want to create. Ffmpeg auto-detects what container format you want from the output file extension. In this case, it knows that .mp4 means the mpeg4 container.

The "-vcodec libx264" tells it to encode the video as H.264. The "-vprofile baseline" tells it to only use the most widely supported H.264 features, for maximum compatibility. The "-crf 1" tells it to encode nearly lossless (0 would be lossless, but isn't supported in the baseline profile; higher numbers are more lossy).

Sometimes you also need to tell it what pixel format to use, especially if you're encoding from an image sequence (I'll get to image sequences in a moment). You can do that with the pix_fmt option:
ffmpeg -i input_file -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf 1
-pix_fmt yuv420p output_file.mp4

For fully lossless encoding, we drop the profile specification and use crf 0 and 444 chroma:

ffmpeg -i input_file -vcodec libx264 -crf 0 -pix_fmt yuv444p output_file.mp4

The resulting file, however, will not be widely supported, including by Apple's h.264 support.

You will also probably want to use AAC for your audio. Ffmpeg uses aac by default with the mp4 container, but we can specify it manually to be certain:

ffmpeg -i input_file -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf 1 -acodec
libfaac output_file.mp4

And if we want to specify the bitrate of the audio (for example, 320kb/s):

ffmpeg -i input_file -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf 1 -acodec
libfaac -b:a 320k output_file.mp4

If you have separate video and audio source files, you can specify them both, and ffmpeg well merge them:

ffmpeg -i input_video_file -i input_audio_file -vcodec libx264
-vprofile baseline -crf 1 output_file.mp4

When I render anything from a 3d application (for example, Blender) I always render to an image sequence. When I'm ready for final encoding of the animation, I render to png's, which are lossless, and then use
ffmpeg afterwards to manually encode them into a video file. To do this you need to tell ffmpeg where in the file names the frame number is. You do this with "%d" and some variants thereof.

If your files are named like this:

Then you specify the image sequence as "image_%d.png". The "%d" goes wherever the frame number is. Ffmpeg will then find all the files matching that pattern.

If your files are named like this:

Then you specify the image sequence as "image_%04d.png". The "04" (that's zero four) between the % and the d tells ffmpeg how many digits long the number is.

So, using this in an actual ffmpeg command-line:

ffmpeg -i image_%04d.png -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf 1

The problem with images sequences, though, is that they contain no information about frame-rate. So we need to tell ffmpeg what frame-rate they are supposed to be in. You must specify this _before_ the image sequence on the command-line. This, for example, would give the image sequence a frame-rate of 24fps:

ffmpeg -r 24 -i image_%04d.png -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf
1 output_file.mp4

You can also specify the frame rate with decimals and fractions:

ffmpeg -r 29.97 ...
ffmpeg -r 30/1.001

If you plan to use the file for video editing, make sure to set the GoP to 1, which means that every frame will be encoded on its own without reference to other frames in the video (such frames are called "intra frames" or "I-frames"). This makes the file size much larger, but it means that a video editor can pull frames out at random very easily, which is good for scrubbing etc. You do this by adding "-g 1" to the command-line:

ffmpeg -i input_file -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -crf 1 -g 1 output_file.mp4

So there you go, that's a quick-and-dirty tutorial on how I do my video encoding. Although, internally I usually use Matroska ( as my container format instead of mp4. But... then again, I use an open-source pipeline, where mastroska is well supported. I always use mp4 containers when sending material to other people.

If you don't want to use command-line ffmpeg, you can use Handbrake (, which is a cross-platform GUI-ified version of ffmpeg. It exposes most of these options, though sometimes they can
be hard to find.

*Come to think of it, ffmpeg has an open-source ProResdecoder as well. So, for example, you could use ffmpeg to convert from pro-res to h.264 if you wanted to. I don't recall if it supports ProRes422 yet, though. But presumably it will in the future if it doesn't already.

Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?

Apache Wave is an open-source Google Wave application. Briefly I thought Wave would be a good project management/project co-ordination application for us. But then they closed down Wave.
We're using DotProject right now. Of course, now that the Queen Herself hath spake to us regarding project management, I'm not entirely sure what to do with it.
Moo mini-cards are kind of sexy little business cards.
It's the day before Thanksgiving and we have to expedite a PAL copy of Battle: New York Day 2. That's OK, I'm hiding from traffic before making my way to my parents'.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today's News

The landlord to 177 MacDougal Street says he's not prepared to rent the space but that when he decides to, he'll contact me.
This sort of thing is like a roller-coaster. Every few days you get the opposite information from what you've gotten before and you go from "everything's fine, it's all working" to "it's a complete no-go and dead in the water" and then back again to "it's all good, even better than before."
So that's today's news.

So, Apparently

It's Blade Runner, the Musical. But with Snake Plissken instead of Deckard. And instead of the threat about "little people" Snake has to take out all the Nexus 6 or be imprisoned in New York City. If he succeeds he'll be pardoned for all crimes committed inside the United States.
Also, Priss and Rachel are exactly the same model of android.
And it's going to be a big dream electronica score. I've always wanted to write a musical in the style of Bel Canto. No, I mean "Bel Canto."

Maduka Vs the Friendly Skies

The all-too-sexy-for-you Mr. Maduka Steady plays a very dangerous man with a gun* in this clip from Pan Am.

*Which is just like the time we met in the jungles outside of Bogota -- remind me to tell you that story sometime.

Rehearsal Rooms vs Offices

  • Or: "Why was that lady yelling at me all through the town hall meeting on Saturday night?"
Actually, I'm not going to answer that above question.
  • Will someone make the bad lady stop yelling at me?
Yeah, once we start a new organization we'll get a new website and you won't be reading all this stuff on this blog anymore.
  • So wait, you're holding on me? There's a plan of some kind?
Of some kind. I only actually spoke to the landlord on Friday. I haven't heard back anything of substance yet.
  • Will you tell us when you've found out anything?
No. I'm going to keep it under wraps. Just the same as I do with everything I think.
  • I'd rather have the lady yell at me.
Would you? That can be arranged.
  • Dear Heavens no. I'd rather listen to you go on and on about square footage and... and oh no...
Do you like running numbers? Yes. Yes you do. Get out the spreadsheeps and open your mind to wild speculation.
  • Baaaah.
The question on today's menu is: do you make more income per square foot with rehearsal space or office space?
  • No, the question on today's menu is why was that lady so aggressive and yelling at everyone at the town hall meeting?
But I'm not answering that question.
  • In fact YOU didn't say anything at all at the town hall meeting.
Stipulation: at the 177 MacDougal Street space (hereafter known as "177") offices and rehearsal are not mutually exclusive.
Stipulation: we need rehearsal space in and of itself. We make plays. Plays need to be rehearsed.
  • Why didn't you say anything at the town hall? Why let them go on and on with their BS unchallenged?
Plenty of people were challenging it.
  • Yeah, but not you. 
I was there to support others.
  • Do you think that supporting them was better by being quiet and supportive or telling the yelly lady to shut up?
Rather than trying to use a conservative vs a liberal estimate in order to test the numbers I'm using, I'm kinda going for whatever makes the most sense. Ripley Grier has a space just a foot smaller in either direction than the office now called "DigitalSource". They call the room "1R2". Their book rate on that room is $14/hour.
So I'm going to say we can charge $15/hour for the DigitalSource space. (Note that we absolutely must find a way to air-condition that space once April rolls around so some capital expenditure will be involved in making that a usable space. It was 83 degrees in there last night. And it's the middle of November.)
If we open at 2pm and can run the rehearsal room until 8pm and can seriously keep it booked six hours a day for five days a week (booking that rehearsal room during a show will be very annoying to those in the show at 8pm because they'll hear the rehearsal in their own dressing room), that's 30 hours at $15/hour or $450/week. Can we really book that room 30 hours a week? Heck, we haven't been able to book the theater for rehearsals for 30 hours a week. But 30 hours a week is a reasonable goal.
At 50 weeks a year, that's $22,500 a year in rehearsal room bookings. Remember that right now we only make about $1500 a year in audition room bookings.
  • Any why wasn't anyone given an agenda for the town hall meeting before the town hall? Was that just a way to help them sandbag everyone else at the meeting so they couldn't come prepared with real questions and solutions?
The expenses involved in operating a rehearsal room include having a babysitter for the rehearsal (volunteer or otherwise). We need to calculate the cost of the volunteer vs the benefit (financial and otherwise) of having a rehearsal room. And yes, volunteers do "cost" something. Indeed, I have this whole notion that we shouldn't waste volunteers' time on things which bring in less than "x" dollars an hour but that's a whole nuther post.
Only baby owls will be allowed to run meetings from now on.
Now, if we were to put A/C into that "DigitalSource" room, add some Aeron chairs you'd have a windowless office in a back-office space (but conveniently located in Greenwich Village.) It's still "back office". There's no receptionist or free coffee all day long. But we could likely put four "cubicles" in there for $300 each per month. And probably keep them rented for 10 months a year (on average).
Four cubicles times $300 each is $1200 a month. That's $12,000 a year.
So offices are worth about half of what a rehearsal room is worth. Maybe a bit more. Advantage office: no need to have a babysitter on staff. Disadvantage office: you sure as heck better trust your office-mates as they'll have keys to come and go as they please. Advantage office: booking is a lot easier. You just need to do it once every so many months (or in some cases, so many years.)
  • Will any of this keep the bad lady from yelling at me?
Wow. That's so interesting I so thought offices would win out. Even with average of 10-month rental at $450/cube you're only at $18,000 a year, which is substantially below the potential revenue from rehearsal room revenue.
  • So this means I don't have to go to any more town hall meetings where some lady yells at everybody that everything is going great and everybody's doing a great job?
It means you put offices where offices can go and put rehearsal space where rehearsal space can go. Those two kinds of spaces are not mutually exclusive at the 177 space. And you fight dog-and-claw to get those rehearsal spaces booked. Or you just say "full-time booking two rehearsal spaces and the theater is just one too many things for us to do" and you find other revenue.
  • Put some pants on, will ya?
Baby owls don't wear pants.
  • All this time you were channeling a baby owl?
That's why the post is so coherent.

Nathan Vegdahl's Demo Reel

Groove to it. Nathan is helping us out on Dragon Girl. His animation and rigging is beautiful.
You want a full-res version? He's got that too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Xanax, Whiskey, and AfterEffects

Yup. That's about it. This month's Tweet cloud. Why are you following me on Twitter. Are you insane? Do you need medication? Following me on Twitter is no substitute for the Xanax and top-shelf whiskey.
These are the tech specs for Adobe CS5.
You can get this camera stabilizer for $225 or you can get this one for $50. It's up to you, really. (Via Chance.)
Stu Maschwitz shows how he sets up AfterEffects.


Today I did an NDA project. I haven't done an NDA project in a long long time.

Yes. I put an ad on this blog through Project Wonderful. I'll tell ya how that works. You have to click through to see the blog to see the ad. I may end up setting it up for the RSS feed. I don't know. It's only to amuse me.

Silence! The Musical goes to a LOT of trouble to tell you it's a parody. 
I want to make "Blade Runner the Musical". 
Leon Kowalski
Leon. Leon.
Leon Kowalski.
Oh Leon Kowalski
Six days
Leon Kowalski...

The big numbers are going to be "Let Me Tell You About My Mother", "Morphology, Longevity, Incept Dates", "Wake up! Time to die." and the finale " "It's too bad she won't live. (But then again, who does?)"

The Quote of the Day:
"Good Lord, you have some good ideas, Bellware. Although I notice "wearing pants" is never one of them."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Statute of Limitations

As far as I can tell there is effectively no longer a statute of limitations on paying the employer's part of income taxes. Because the statute of limitations (3 years) only begins after you've filed. Maybe I'm reading it incorrectly.
And that's the end of me talking about this for a while. Tomorrow I start doing fun stuff. Here are today's kissing rabbits.

Running the Numbers

Let's make some assumptions. Because, you know, assumptions are fun. Let's pretend that the nut of the 177 MacDougal Street space is $20,000 a month.
And let's pretend there's 2000 square feet of space.
Both of these numbers are imprecise, but somewhat accurate.
If we were to have each square foot "pull its weight" in revenue per month, it would have to bring in $10 a month in revenue.
Of course this is absurd. Bathrooms, for instance, are not revenue - generating. They're at best a loss leader. But you don't want to get rid of them because they don't bring in money. Trust me on that one.
So when looking at the different parts of the space, think about what is good or bad about each part. And figure out how much the place is worth per square foot. You'll notice there's an "x" in there. I don't know what that number is.
Obviously the amount of money the theater itself makes per square foot is greater than the windowbox. But maybe the windowbox is so nice we want to keep it just because. Is the bookstore worth keeping as a bookstore? Would it make more money if we put offices for resident theater companies in the same space and charged them per month to be there? What about the Cafe? Does it make sense to make the cafe and the box office the same space and use the box office space as cubicles for resident theaters?
I don't know the answers. But it'll be interesting to run the numbers.

Project Planning -- An Interview

The Vicereine of the Queen of Mars consented to an audience with Her Regent on the subject of project planning. And thus were the notes taken by Our Royal Secretary:

"Project planning is great for planning -- but it's terrible for execution. The dangerous part of project planning is when you run into a situation where you say "Now I can't stick to my project plan."

"Project planning tells us how late we are and why.

"It's nice to have target dates and know what you're doing and if something comes up, you know how to react. In other words project planning is good for figuring out things but you can't beat yourself up for not meeting your project plan's deadlines.

Our meeting with the Vicereine (artist's depiction).
"The exception to all of this is routine tasks which are done over and over where you want to optimize your process."

A Personal Realization

You know, most people suffer from a cognitive bias of illusory superiority. I suffer from it's opposite. I figure I'm pretty smart, but that doesn't make me able to do analysis and make decisions better than other people in and of itself. Because that's one of the smart things I know.
So I presume most people to be smart.
And then when they do dumb things my logic flow goes like this:
1. They can clearly see the eminent and obvious facts just as I can
2. Therefore they are up to something vastly more nefarious instead.

I suspect I should just assume people are dumb and not evil. That would sure make me feel better at least. Someone does something dumb (or worse yet) a group of people do something dumb and it's probably just because they're dumb. Not because they're trying to pull a fast one.

But my experience tells me that "being dumb" and trying to pull a fast one are (or can be) hand-in-hand. That may be mostly the embarrassment of being caught being dumb -- it makes people cover stuff up so you can't see how dumb they were and that (certainly seems) evil.

Here's my dad running the numbers on his own lemonade stand.
I should probably be less harsh with people who can't read a cash flow or P&L statement. I literally grew up on those. On the train home this evening I remembered that, no kidding, my dad had me write out my expenses and projected sales for a lemonade stand I had out on Clive Street one summer. I ran the numbers and my profit projected was rather low. But I knew that essentially I was going to get a "subsidy" in the form of sugar and lemonade mix from the government my mother, so my business was (for an 8-year-old) fairly viable (if seasonable). 

Theater Companies

So this show, She Kills Monsters, got a good New York Times review.
The Flea are kind of an interesting company. They have a resident company, the Bats, who (it is my understanding) aren't really told when they audition that if they get into the company they'll be expected to volunteer some number of hours each week y'know, cleaning floors and stuff. Other than my obsession with being incredibly up-front with people about things, The Bats seem like a good model for a theater company.
Here's the thing with being a company in New York doing extended runs of shows with (to the producer) reasonable (read: $25) ticket prices. You really have to be non-Equity. What I mean by this is that the producer simply cannot sign an Equity contract.
You cannot do a long run under a Showcase code contract. Showcase code only provides for performances:
Up to 12 within four consecutive  weeks. At least half of the total
number must be presented on a weekday (Monday through Friday) and in no event may
there be more than one two-performance day per week
Step Option:  4 additional performances may be added at a stipend of $10 per member
plus minimum transportation, per performance  
So you can't do an extended run. Nor can you do, for instance, every Friday and Saturday night for 12 weeks.
In addition, the ticket price is limited:
(i) Up to $18, TDF voucher acceptable
Now note that the Producer is incapable of making a pile of filthy lucre on any off-off-Broadway show. The best any producer can do is to not take a bath on the show. So we're not worried here about actors being given the shaft while the producer is in a hot tub smoking a cigar and playing with those heavy gold chains producers invariably wear around their necks.
Where is my gold chain, by the way?
But in addition to that, it's my feeling that Actor's Equity is harmful to theater in New York City. This is part of why I think Chicago has more interesting and innovative theater. But that's for another time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saving Theatresource

  • I'd like to save Theatresource. Not the "virtual company" I mean the place at 177 MacDougal Street. I've always liked it there. What can we do?

There are two main paths I've seen.

Dude, there are very few people who are going to get that joke.

  • Yes, but all of them read this blog.

You got me there.

  • So what can we do again? What's the first option?

We can force a takeover of the 501(c)3 Corporation.

  • Wait, really? We can?

Yes. It's complicated and messy. But it's possible. Although by-and-large the Board is basically inured from challenge because there are no "Members" of the Corporation.

  • I... can't find the Bylaws of Manhattan Theatresource online anywhere on the website.

Shocked. Shocked I say.

  • Don't most organizations like this put up their financials and such on their web site?

I believe I'm having the vapors. Someone call for my manservant to bring me a mint julep.

  • Stop it and tell me why we should or shouldn't conduct a hostile takeover of the Board.

The advantage of having the Manhattan Theatre Source, Incorporated 501(c)3 is that as an organization that's been around for 11 or so years (as I remember in my foggy brain it took about a year to get the not-for-profit status) is that grants are easier to write for the organization.

  • So: money. There's the potential for money for whomever has control of the Board of Directors of the 501(c)3.

That, and the fact that the lease is in the name of the Corporation.

  • So that all sounds like perfectly fine reasons for a hostile takeover.

It does.

  • But by the look on your face, you don't think we should do it.


  • Why?

Going back in time -- the financial catastrophe we just got over came about because back in the day of Lanie and Jim (at least as the story is told) we weren't paying SUI and we were putting Lanie and Jim on 1099's.

  • Is that... or was that... legal?

Not even slightly. I'll even take some blame for that because I never realized that was the case. I would have yelled and screamed about it at the time if I'd known about it.

  • But what does that mean? The Source owes what... the Social Security and the other employer side of the income taxes on the employees they put on 1099s?

Wow. I hadn't even thought of that. SSI. I... I actually don't know what the deal is with that. That's Federal. Thanks for making this seem even worse.

  • So wait, what were you going to say?

New York State came after Manhattan Theatresource for what was initially about $50,000 in penalties and interest and such for SUI.

  • That's why Theatresource was behind in rent over the Summer.


  • And now you're wary of the liability tail the organization still has?

Yeah, indeed. Up until talking to you I was worried about it in the abstract. Now I'm worried about in the concrete -- meaning Social Security taxes. The Federal Government likes to collect on those, and they will penetrate the Corporate shield through to anyone who is on the Board and anyone who can write checks. I've seen it happen. It's not a pretty sight.

  • I'm here to help you sleep better at night.

Well, all of this indicates to me that we'd be better off negotiating with the landlord and starting a new theater at 177 MacDougal Street. With a new 501(c)3. One that's never had any employees or "liability tail."

  • So. A new organization. What would that be like?

I don't know. Open.

  • What? Are you genetically predisposed to oversharing?

Yeah. It's a bit of a defect of mine.

  • So what can you tell me about this new organization?

1. It doesn't exist yet, at least not in the form we need it in.
2. Whatever happens will involve a rollercoaster of "there's no way this can happen" to "oh, everything is better than was expected even a week ago" to "there's no way this can happen" over and over again for the next few months.

  • What should I do then?

Do you have a 501(c)3? Do you want to start a theater?

  • Are those things co-requisites? 


  • So is there going to be a theater at 177 MacDougal in 2012?

I give it a 70% chance.

  • Now, I don't mean anything by this but uh. Well... if it were required in order to make the theater viable, would -- I mean you guys in what they call "DigitalSource" -- would you move out? I mean, if that's what was the difference between making it work and not?

Yep. If that's what it took, we'll pull up stakes and move elsewhere.

  • Where?

Have you heard of the Brooklyn Artists Gym?

  • I just wanted to know your commitment to this thing. But now I feel all bad and nervous. The whole situation is anxiety - producing. Can I see a picture of a bunny?

Here ya go:

See? A bunny. How bad can things be?

Town Hall Meeting

So the 2011 Innovative Theater Awards Stage Manager of the Year made an emotional and impassioned speech about how she felt duped by the Board and the managers of Theatresource and then left the "town hall" meeting the Board had called at 8pm on a Saturday night because she, unlike anyone on the Board, actually does theater and had to make her call.
As the Stage Manager was standing outside the theater pulling herself together, Jennifer Thatcher breezed by and  dripping with sarcasm and as snotty a tone possible said "It's too bad you can't stay."

Yeah, "too bad".
So that's basically where we're at.
In addition to being a nasty piece of work, we also discovered that Jennifer Thatcher is spectacularly incompetent. Apparently the reason Theatresource is closing is because she ran cash flow projections for the very first time.
The irony is that she still doesn't understand what the "nut" is for running Theatresource. And she's the Managing Director(!).
A couple years ago when there was the first and only a meeting of the Advisory Board she was asked what the nut was because each year Theatresource was "surprised" by the tax bill that came in at the end of the year.
So she gave them a number. "And does that include the taxes?" asked a member of the Advisory Board who can, you know, read a balance sheet. Jen Thatcher: "Uh, no."
And still she thinks the nut to be (ironically) lower than it actually is. All you have to do is look at the YTD and see that contrary to what Thatcher said in the meeting, the nut is about $20,000 a month, not $15,000 a month.
And we can't make that nut with rentals and ticket sales. Never could. It's unlikely we ever will. Nobody has a model which shows you can make the nut with rentals and ticket sales. Nobody ever has.
We have to make the nut by grants and donations and fundraising and all the other things the Board has simply not done.
The other issue which is frequently cited as the reason Theatresouce is closing is that the rent is going up. Paraphrasing Thatcher at the town hall "When we first moved in here the rent was $6000 a month, now it's $9700 a month".
Yes -- after 12 years the rent has been going up. This board signed the lease. They know this. Everybody knows this. Rent goes up. So, incidentally, does what we charge people to rent the theater.
I used to have respect for the people on this Board. And at least they all decided to show up, with the exception of the President of the Board, Courtney Birnbaum, who couldn't be bothered to attend. But they seriously, at a fundamental level, cannot read their own balance sheets.
Why on earth this isn't published on the Web is anyone's guess. But here's the YTD of the 501(c)3 for your dining and dancing pleasure.

Ben on the Tubes

Our own sexy Ben Thomas did this spec ad for Doritos. I would totally embed the video if I were technologically capable of such a feat.
Instead, here's a picture of Ben riding his copier into the sunset.

Hi Ho Silver

Friday, November 18, 2011

Can't Stop The Excitement!

I visited the Brooklyn Artists Gym yesterday. It's a very awesome space with a groovy mission and a positive vibe. And boy, the membership rates are very nice. The semi-private space is super-sweet too. The one that's coming available is next to the space's office, with a window. It's (I'd guess) about ten foot by five foot for $319/month.
It's also very close to the pie shop Four & Twenty Blackbirds.
The thing is that the way the BAG is structured is that they price per member. So it would become unwieldy for us to move there because we always have other people around. I mean, not always, but... you know what I mean. So would each person get a membership? I don't know if there's an elegant solution to that problem for us, whilst looking for new space.
But if you're a painter or sculptor, the Brooklyn Artist's Gym seems like heaven.
Bunny butt.

No matter what happens I suspect that we will have to move our office by the beginning of the year -- even if that only means moving it upstairs in the space we're in now.

In other news, one of the territories we sold to is having trouble with the deliverables on Day 2. It may be the HD to PAL conversion. Sigh. We don't know. We'll have to look and see. It could be motion artifacts which were an "artistic decision". We won't know 'till we hear some timecode numbers of the scenes. I have, of course, offered to deliver the picture on a hard drive.
Showbiz. The excitement never stops.

Ways Theatresource Can Make Money Without Spending a Dime

One issue that Theatresource has always had was the non-efficient use of space. Relatively little of our space is revenue-generating.
On the other hand, the space when you first walk in the door it seems very... inviting? People take a deep breath and say "Oh, I love this place" when they walk in. And it seems to me that's mostly the space in the front of the theater and leading up to the landing.
But let's take a look of the non-revenue-generating parts of the space and what can be done.

First a couple assumptions about the finances of a theater operating at 177 MacDougal Street. I'd estimate that the absolute minimum "nut" of the space is $20,000 a month. That's $240,000 a year. Note that I'm talking about "absolute minimum" here. I think that we need to get the total revenue up to about $500,000 a year. But under $240,000 a year and the City Marshal arrives and serves you papers.

Right now the little office I'm in called "DigitalSource" (blame Mitchell for the name) is downstairs in the back-most office. What you need to do is to entice us to move elsewhere. Because the space we're in could be used as a rehearsal room right away. As soon as we're out of there it becomes a rehearsal space -- no construction is needed. It's a little on the small side for a rehearsal room, but hey, it's usable. And there's no issues with noise. Believe me, I've played guitar in there at impressive levels with no complaints.
Let's make up some conservative numbers. Let's make the room $15/hour and rent it for 20 hours a week for 50 weeks.
That's $15,000 a year.* Or, er, 1/16th of your budget? Approximately?

We're trying to keep our numbers very conservative here.

Now what if we had dedicated desks for resident theater companies? I've seen every price under the sun for open workstation space in New York. So again, let's be conservative. Let's say we can rent 5 different workstation spaces to what we might call "resident theater companies" at $300 a month. That's another $18,000 a year with no cost outlay.

The City Samanas playing in the windowbox.
Start a theater company. Non-equity company, get 30 members at $300 a year. That's another $9000 a year in revenue.

Have people pay to be a member of the theater. Those people would have (say) voting rights and such. They pay $150/year. A hundred members is $15,000 a year.

So that's another $57K a year we can add to the revenue of this space without doing any capital outlay.

Other, less concrete things we can do would include focusing on grant money, bringing in new theater companies to produce, and raising donations by individuals and corporations. I know, these are all radical ideas, but with people focused on them, they can be done. (Yes, calling them radical ideas is sarcasm son.)

But we need (as an organization) e'en more money than that. How can we do that? Well, some of those things will require a capital outlay. And another blog post.

*There's no way that the space DigitalSource is in is rentable for the summer months without installing air conditioning. So while this idea works right now because it's the middle of November, it won't work starting in April or May without getting some HVAC in there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

That's funny

Hey, what 501(c)3 didn't bother to apply for grant money from the Mayor's Office for the last three years? Why that would be Manhattan Theatresource.
Funny that now there "isn't enough money to keep the place going".
Weirdly, I'm not even the one whose the most pissed off around here. Not by a long shot.
But clearly, something very fishy is going on with the Board of Directors and closing Theatresource.
Why don't you come on by:
Saturday November 19th, 2011 8pm,

177 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10011

to the "meeting" the Board has called.
I know, you didn't get your invitation, right? Well the Board has been very selective about who was sent information about this meeting of the "tribe".
Plus, of course, they scheduled it exactly when anybody working in theater couldn't make it.

My favorite comment:
"It's not as if they failed. They didn't even try. And worse, they didn't let anyone else try."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Illegal Books

OK, I'll admit it. I am utterly fascinated by the idea of a book banned recalled for "plagiarism".
Personally, I don't believe in plagiarism. Sort of like the way I don't believe in capitalism. It's not that I'm for or against it, I just don't believe it exists.
This comparison of Markham's book to lines from other works reads like a TA's wet dream.
And... I just don't care who he "stole" from.
Maybe it's my music background. But it's standard operating procedure to steal stuff from music. In fact, it's commonly considered that there's a relatively limited amount of music (in any sort of equal-tempered tonal scale at least) that can be written.
And of course there's an entire genre of popular music which actually takes recordings of other artists and creates new works from them. That music is primarily illegal -- and as such it's pretty fascinating by me.
Now that this book is unavailable, I (of course) really want to read it. I mean, if it got good reviews before people discovered that whole sections came from other books, doesn't that still make it a good book?
As it turns out, whole sections of the Manchurian Candidate were lifted from I, Claudius. What if we were to find out that Hamlet and Pride and Prejudice were stolen from earlier sources?
Who? Cares?
If it's good, it's good.
So say I. And as the Lord Regent of the God Emperor of Mars, so say We all.

Labor Laws and Social Media

So here's a funny thing. As an employee in the US you do not have some sort of 1st Amendment right to free speech. You just don't.
Your employer can fire you for any stupid thing you say, Tweet, blog, etc.
I mean, unless it's especially protected speech. That is to say, speech which is protected by the National Labor Relations Act.
Posting a Facebook status where you say "My boss is an ass-monkey" can get you fired. But a post that says "My boss is an ass-monkey for not giving us better wages and working conditions" is protected.
"Candidly discussing wages, hours and working conditions" is something that's allowed under the NLRA. So get over it.

Plus, here's a fantasy ninja sword.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wait, What?

  • So wait, I worked on those huge load-outs of deep storage at Theatresource. We were told at the time that the landlord was insisting that he get back deep storage in order for us to continue.

Yup. You were told that.

  • Did the Board of Directors already know that they were going to shut down the theater by then?

It sure looks that way on the face of it.

  • So they fooled me into working for two days in order to save Theatresource, when really we were just being duped into doing the hardest part of the move out before we were told it was going to happen?

Well, I'm having trouble imagining how it could be otherwise.

  • So who do they think will help them move out of the theater altogether? I mean, I'm not going to do it. I was helping to save Theatresource, not help them to trash it.

Faeries? I don't know. Perhaps there's a band of magical elves living under the stairs.

  • Well, I suppose the only important thing was to really clean out was deep storage. The landlord doesn't care about what else gets cleaned out.

Hmm... Yes. That may have been the thinking. Nobody would have helped clean out deep storage if we knew we were going to close. And no other part of the theater is really a mess, and it might help the landlord if he wants to rent to another theater company.

  • Who is coming to this "Tribe Meeting" they scheduled on Saturday the 19th of November at 8pm?

Well, nobody who actually, you know, works in theater.

  • Why wasn't it scheduled at like 3pm?

Because then the people who work in theater would be able to show up.

  • Will the Board of Directors actually be at this meeting they've called?

I've been surprised before. So... maybe. I doubt any more than half of them will show though.

  • What is the actual financial position of Theatresource 501(c)3?

Right now there's about $20,000 of debt on the books.

  • Oh well that's... wait. What?!

Yeah. For a theater that's not really a lot of money.

  • Of course, we've trashed all the future income by cancelling all the shows that we did as soon as they announced they were closing.

Yup. Sure did. Of course, at $4000 a piece we could make up the gap by adding five new members to the Board.

  • That would make the Board fairly unwieldy wouldn't it?

Do you think it could be worse than the Board that actually closed the theater?

  • You've got a point there. So how do we take over the Board?

I really don't know if it can be done. And I certainly don't know if it can be done before the end of the year.

The Word From On High

So, the word from the mountaintop, writ large upon some stone tablets is:

Make Disaster Films

Disaster kitty says "make disaster movies".
That's the word from on high. Disaster pictures.

Project Management

Do you know what's really exciting? Project management.
Trello isn't working for me. Basecamp doesn't allow for dependencies.

This picture from Android Insurrection amuses me greatly. That's David Ian Lee and Jeff Wills.
I'm also putting together information about where we might move. Nobody will come to Jersey City. It doesn't matter if it's actually easier for them to get to than other places. But frankly, for Rebecca and Maduka, Williamsburg and Greenpoint actually are closer for them.
Wix has a free space in Union Square. A free open-space office?
Greenpoint Coworking is $350/month.
Work At The Yard has private offices for $400/month
Missionfifty is in Hoboken. So except for the fact that not one of my editors will ever come there, it seems cool (they also have about zero information on their own website so I was looking here.) has space in midtown.
Projective Space is worth visiting. They're in Soho.
Imrey Culbert also rents space.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reports from the West

The word from the front lines is that AFM was better this year than last. Of course, last year made for a low bar. ;-)

Just because it's kind of cool, dig Ironbound Studios in Newark, NJ.


Earthkiller gang.
Now I'm exploring the world of WordPress to solve my Interweb Woes (via Allan Mackey -- see comment on post below).

Wordpress Wiki -- a Wiki for Wordpress. What I mean is a Wiki which works on Wordpress.
Ndizi project management. So far I haven't found a Wordpress plugin which supports Gantt charts and dependencies though. Still looking.