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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Test


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.

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

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

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.

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."

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.

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.

QOTD

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
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.

Nope.

  • 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.

Yes.

  • 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? 

Nope.

  • 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.

UPDATE:
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.

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.

Monday, November 14, 2011

WordWiki

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.

Posting Bunnies

Well, right now pandoramachine.com is was down. Smeh. It apparently has something to do with hsaccess files. I tried to get PHProjekt to work by installing it through Fantastico. But there are issues with PHProjekt and "magic quotes".

The tech person at IVHosting wrote back that
you can adjust php settings through your own php.ini file, you need to create the file in public_html directory or subfolder of public_html - where you want the settings adjusted.
Example: to change register_globals value you need to create php.ini file with the following line: register_globals = on
But before I could even deal with that I managed to plop and skunk the whole site.

Tech support said that I have an htaccess file in my root directory that says
php_flag magic_quotes_gpc Off
php_value magic_quotes_gpc Off
which is BAD and giving 500 errors.
So I fixed that. But when I logged onto Fantastico in order to put dotProject onto my server, Fantastico told me I should update Tiki Wiki. So I, er, did. And that, of course, broke our Wiki.

In the meantime we should start to have dotProject on our server.

Oh, and look. The wiki fixed itself.

I don't want to do any more of this kind of work ever again. See? This is why I post bunnies.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Parental Blogeration

Right this minute my parents have a blog, although nobody has posted to it yet. I'm kind of expecting the blog to be mostly restaurant reviews, although it may get filled up with cats.
Because there is infinite demand for cats on the Internet.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

177 MacDougal Street

Vanishing New York on the closing of Theatresource notes that the agency representing the property says that the theater could be converted into residential.
I'm not entirely familiar with New York City zoning laws. Although I'm kinda under the impression that the theater's two floors cannot be converted into residential. There is an odd piece of the third floor (which we've already been kicked out of) which is residential but I believe it cannot be subdivided and therefore can only be rented to whomever is using the 3rd floor as his residence.
The Washington Square Park Blog has more on the sale of the property.

There's a walkthrough video of the properties which include Monk's and (what I presume to be) what was Love and even that place that was many pizzarias until it because a back-office kitchen.


The realtor has posted a bunch of information which includes the C of O for the property.
They've also published the revenues and expenses. The highlighted portion implies that the Theatresource part of the property will be converted to residential as the "best and highest use". At least that's what I infer from it, not being expert at these things.

If this is true, then the Board of Theatresource has essentially locked any future theater company from taking over the space by making a deal with the landlord to hand the building over empty.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Netbook

People. Asking about netbook computers. I am answering their questions.

$250 is a pretty good price for a lil' computer to surf the Web and check email on. You can even write scripts on it.
But what if you, for whatever deranged reason, need to run OSX? There's a compatibility chart for that. In my experience it's a big ol' pain in the tuchus to get OSX to run on a Windows netbook, but I have been able to do it. And if you're running (say) Qlab, then you gotta do what you gotta do.
Anyway, here are some computers highly rated for running OSX:
A used HP Mini 1000 will set you back less than $200.

Same thing with a used Dell Mini 10.

And that's my report on computers you can throw in your backpack.
Here's a 1TB USB portable hard drive.


Note to people like my parents: you'll have to click through to the blog to actually see what I'm talking about.
Note to people who aren't my parents: we don't actually talk you see, we just blog at one another.

Charred Pancakes and No Pants

Country Pancake House. There's one in Florida. There's one in Ridgewood NJ.  I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.
+++++
Our own Michael Chmiel is raising money for his short, "Charred".
+++++
On Facebook they all ask "When isn't it 'no pants day' in the Pandora Machine?"
Is there any good reason that it's almost 90 degrees in my studio? Well, if by "good reason" you mean "excuse to not wear pants" then I guess the answer is yes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cats, Frogs, Mitch Gross

I find this cat way too amusing.
Somebody remind me that I have to get to the theater by noon tomorrow because the caterer from the art opening left her bag and she needs to pick it up.
The Frogman cracks me up.
Mitch Gross doesn't get nearly as much Internet "wow" as he deserves for his Abel Cine videos. He cuts right through the malarkey and offers technical details in his off-handed way that are frequently pretty unique. After all the Internet yelling this week about Red/Canon cameras it's nice to see somebody actually operate a light.
One thing Mitch didn't go into any detail about but that Remote Phosphor light seems to have a very even spread, not so much of a hot spot in the middle of it. Sure, you can say that for twelve hundred bucks it better be nice but hey -- at least it is.

Things You Need

Do you need an extended, spoiler-filled analysis of the ending of Battlestar Galactica? Yes. Yes you do.
You know, my parents have been blogging for over two years before I started my own blog. Just today I realized this. They had a blog back in '03. They haven't been updating because it's a bit of a pain in the tuchus because they weren't using any sort of blogging back end, they were just getting my sister to publish their reviews that they'd write on Word. Or rather, my dad would type into Word whatever Iona would say and then edit it.
It occurs to me that my parents would be better served (as it were) by doing either Wordpress or Blogger and having the site automatically update.
Secretly the past two paragraphs are just a passive-aggressive message to my sister to get our parents set up with Blogger for their site. I'm going to end up having to do it (with her help) but trying to trick my sister into doing stuff is my job. Right? That's my job. I'm pretty sure about that. I have to check my contract.
+++++

Maduka has this very nice watch. I especially like the band on it. I don't like those rubbery bands and I don't like metal bands. He likes it because he prefers to forget he's wearing a watch.
Another nice thing is that the dial is nice and big so you don't need your glasses to read it.

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."

"The Source Is Not The Space"

Conveniently, the Board of Directors of Theatresource will have their open "tribe meeting" on Saturday evening, at 8pm. You know, when everyone who is actually doing theater will be working.

The mass email reads thusly:
"We invite you to take part in a meeting on Saturday, November 19 at Manhattan Theatre Source at 8pm. It will be a time to discuss the Board's decision to leave 177 MacDougal Street, answer your questions about it, and talk about the future of the Source and this wonderful community as we continue on as the artistic production company that represents the values and core energy that founded the organization. The Source is not "the space," the Source is the community, its ethos and its joy (amidst struggles) in producing theater and art.
"We realize this decision has stirred up lots of emotions and memories of your time at the Source. We'd love to hear your stories--favorite productions, best party, most memorable moment, why you love the Source. Please send them to macdougalmemories@theatresource.org. We are open to requests for memorabilia from the space that you may want to take as a reminder of the time you have spent working or performing at 177 MacDougal.
"We are already planning to run the InGenius Festival in 2012 and, of course, Estrogenius in 2012. While there will not be an immediate new physical location for the Source at the start of January 2012, we are already dreaming and planning of ways to conduct monthly meet-ups, rent a small office space, and craft a model by which we could run a combined office/rehearsal studio. More immediately, we hope to have your support and ideas on how to best move smoothly out of 177 MacDougal as we head towards the future.
"If you have any immediate questions or ideas that you believe would help in our transition out of 177 MacDougal, please e-mail them to manager@theatresource.org.
"We look forward to toasting our 12-year run at 177 MacDougal with you on November 19!
With gratitude,
Andrew, Courtney, Doug, Eric, Matt, Melissa & Jen"
Remember, the Source is not the space. Just keep repeating that until you believe it.

Alba Bitmap

Ariztical is picking up Betty Ouyang's feature "Popularity".
Sarah Doudna is in this new production of Alba.
Bitmap has a single desk in a 4-person office for $595/month, which is too steep for us but their space looks very very nice. You can also rent an open desk for only $35/day but I never work on any kind of portable computer -- I mean except for writing scripts.

CNNA

Eastern Effects in Gowanus has open-floor desks at $200/month.
Via my cousin Jaime-Jin Louis vs. Rick -- a cat who has learned to text.
Theatresource shuttering in January.
The Digital Gypsy asks: "What's the divorce rate in VFX?"

Let me tell ya, doubling the RAM on your computer has a HUGE effect on how fast you can render.

Monday, November 07, 2011

They Kill Monsters, Don't They?

Qui Nguyen has a new play opening at the Flea, She Kills Monsters.
Who doesn't want to see teenage girls cutting the heads off of monsters? Nobody, that's who.

Hamlet von Schnitzel

"And writing a blog post about writing a book is like multiplying dead kittens by more dead kittens. Or like dividing dead kittens by angry rabbits. I don’t know how kitten-algebra works." The Bloggess.
Get your head out of the bunny butt.
A small dog came into the studio today.
Dog: Did you know that Greenwich Village Follies decided to end their open run two weeks before the Board of Theatresource decided to close the theater?
Me: What a funny coincidence.
Dog: Four of the members of the Board are producers on Greenwich Village Follies, aren't they?
Me: What are you insinuating?
Dog: It's just a coincidence, that's all.
Me: You're a funny little dog.
Dog: It's a lot easier to pillage an organization when you have no overhead.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Why Don't They Resign?

Why on earth would you be on the board of a theater, and vote to close the theater rather than simply resigning from the Board?

Note that the present Board of Directors at Theatresource is actually worse than the one I describe here from a couple years ago. The present Board is actually and actively destroying the theater.
And they're doing it willfully -- not just from neglect.
Yup. Nobody else could actually close Theatresource.
Nobody.

  • Not the State coming after the company for unpaid State Unemployment Insurance. 
  • Not fires. 
  • Not floods. 
  • Not unpaid liability insurance. 
  • Not the landlord sending the City Marshal to our door. 
  • Not the massive increase on property taxes after 9/11. 
  • Not waiting until December to start booking the space for January.
  • Not immense political infighting between the managers and the Board.

Nope. None of those things could actually close the doors to the theater.
To do that, you'd need this Board of Directors.
Let's be clear about that. The theater is not going bankrupt, it's not folding because the Sheriff showed up, or because of some disaster. It's not even closing because the debt load is higher than it usually is.
It's just closing because this Board lacks the imagination, the will, and the backbone one needs to keep a small business running.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Weld Away!

My Buddy Anthony Litton (he was a writer on Millennium Crisis, and he worked at Rockstar Games) just released a game for the iOS (iPad and iPhone) called WELDER. Apple made it a "Game of the Week".
("pls revisit your politics" is the funniest one to me.)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

And This Is Why

I have a CF card curse. I keep losing them. Seriously. Three down. And all at once. They can't have been stolen, because they'd have been sitting next to a camera or a Sound Devices 702. So er. Yeah. There's that.
I've been experimenting with SocialOomph to schedule my tweets.
My hosting company, iVHosting, has started to get snarky with me because they keep blocking my IP addresses and I have to ask them to un-block them.
I hate the new Google Reader. I can't see how many posts are in the left-sidebar because it gets cut off and I can't resize it.
Maybe what I need is an FFT expander. Although if you have a spare Cedar DNS 1000 I'll take it.
I'm actually deliberately limiting my work day. And I'm getting more work done. But I'm quitting around 7pm.
Rebecca Kush has locked two acts (of 9) of Android Insurrection and I've got one mixed (and re-mixed from notes) and will be mixing the next one tomorrow.
This blog post is probably exactly the reason my parents never used to look at my blog.

Thief

An actor got her wallet stolen today. Apparently the wallet was in the theater while she went down to the dressing room to change.
That's really such a downer that somebody would do that.
Yeah, somebody tried to use her AmEx card within an hour of her wallet being stolen.
Sigh. That sucks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Today's Things of Threeness

I am using the new Google Reader rectifier plug-in for Chrome. I'm... not entirely sure it works that great. I'm not too sure that all the new Google "looks" they're applying to their applications is all that awesome. At first glance they're a bit harder to read. Sometimes you don't need to "update" stuff guys.

I need a Cedar DNS-1000. I know it's slightly out-of-date. And because that's a piece of sound gear, do I put it on this blog, my Tyrannosaurus Mouse blog, or the Pandora Machine blog? I don't know.
But it's a multi-band expander specialized for cleaning up dialog from background noise such that we have in our movies all the time.
+++++
I've given up entirely on the notion that my parents would ever read any of my blogs. Just to pester them I've set up three blogs to email them automatically when they publish. This blog gets nigh on a hundred hits a day of people who want to (apparently) look at bunny butts. Say "welcome" to my parents bunny-butt-lookers! (Don't bother, there's no way either of them are going to be navigating their way to the comments.)