Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Speaking of Numbers

I once worked on this show/meeting for a big Fortune 500 company where a fancy consultant appeared via satellite from Zurich and talked about how companies, when under stress, tend to look at their costs/revenue and only focus on the numerator part of the equation. They never look at the denominator.
Don't worry about your costs, he suggested, instead increase revenue.
But after he spoke the only thing the executives at the meeting wanted to talk about was reducing costs and laying people off.
I feel I learned a big lesson from this. Work on the denominator in the cost/revenue equation.
Wait. I don't get it. What do you mean?
So for the Pandora Machine it's all about increasing revenue.
How are we going to do that?
Well, by making more movies.
Haven't you been saying that for years?
Yes but this time... I mean it.
What are the bottlenecks to making more movies?
The number 1 bottleneck is post-production time.
And what are you going to do about that?
Increase the number of editors. Get a faster computer.
So how many movies a year do we need to make again?
That is at least 3 a year.
How you doing with that?
Not as well as I wish. Earthkiller took much too long to complete. But we have it, Battle: New York Day 2, and the upcoming Android Insurrection. Then we're going to shoot and post the Dragon Girl picture.
How much do you expect to make with each picture? 
I have a deal where I split revenue between my company and my producer's company.  We have been calculating revenues from each picture at $24,000. So that's $12K/picture to the Pandora Machine.
That, uh, wait -- what are your expenses?
Studio rent, and my personal expenses (like groceries and my apartment) -- whatever I can skim off the top in order to eat and pay luxuries like insurance.
Three pictures a year only brings you in $36K -- and you still need to rent your studio out of that.
Yes. This is why four pictures/year would be better.
Which is impossible.
Almost. We know The Asylum goes 4 months from distributor saying "we'd buy something like a shark movie with tentacles" to delivering picture.
But if you had The Asylum's sales you'd be the cat's pajamas.
I don't even know that's a saying. "Cat's pajamas." It doesn't even make sense.
Let's talk about your debt load.
Sigh. Let's not.
C'mon. For old times' sake.
Let's say it's about $50K.
I'm gonna say that's not a lot of money. But, er, what sort of interest are you paying on it?
Well, there I'm lucky. I owe my dad half of that but at very favorable interest terms and payment.
How much interest are you paying?
Above what he'd get at a savings bank.
But below a loan shark or a credit card?
Loan shark wouldn't remind me that it's his retirement fund.
So rather than a high interest rate you just have emotional interest?
I pay more in guilt than gelt.
What about the remaining $25K?
There's about $10K I owe to my producer's company.
That's quite a trick. I bet there's no interest on that.
Just wait 'till we finance the next picture.
And the remaining $15K? 
That's just an estimate. I'll be getting together real numbers together this month.
What about your costs in rent now that they're scuttling Theatresource?
Oddly, my rent may go down as much as $100/month. But I don't know exactly yet. It depends on how fancy we want to go with a new space.
How much was the studio at Theatresource? 
$500/month. I was paying $300 of that.
So you're paying 3/5ths of the rent but using up 3/4 of the space?
Uh. Who are you exactly?
Oh, so your studio partners were patronizing you.
You are so mean. I prefer the term "subsidizing."

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