This is the second in a series of “behind the scenes” posts about the stuff that really goes into producing a show in NYC. Read the first entry about choosing a title here, or click here to be notified when the next one goes live.

secret-gifLast week we were finally able to announce that 210 Amlent Avenue has been selected for NYMF’s 2015 Next Link Project. Yippee! But Becky and I have known we were on the short-list since December (!). In this post I wanted to share all the stuff we’ve been doing in secret since then.

Gettin’ down to business

businessknowledgeDo you know the difference between an S-Corp, a C-Corp, an LP, an LLP, and an LLC? I didn’t either until I went to a seminar given by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. I took notes like a good student, and then disobeyed their advice and created our LLC without hiring a lawyer. So, Becky and I are now co-owners of Two Act Theatrical LLC and enjoy that awesome “corporate veil” that they are always talking about on The Good Wife. We also had to write an operating agreement for our LLC and opened a bank account for our business. It all felt very grown-up.

Spreadsheet wizardry

Next up was to make a budget for this summer’s production. NYMF helpfully provided us with a sample budget, which we’ve been refining to make it our own, narrowing the dollar ranges (i.e., “I know a guy who’ll do X for $Y”) and eliminating the line items we don’t need (e.g., projections, choreographer). We also have gotten a few awesome in-kind donations which will save us some dough down the line.

Count that money.

Speaking of the green stuff

This summer, NYMF will provide a few important things (a theatre, tech staff, box office, advertising) but they are really acting as our “presenter” rather than “producer”—The Producerswe are responsible for the actual production. Lots of fancy industry folks come to NYMF looking for the next big thing (or even the next medium thing!) and we dream that one of them might see our show and want to produce it.

Here’s the problem: apart from folks who already know and love us, nobody is really interested in investing in the show before that point. It’s a weird sort of Catch-22 (need money to mount production to get money) and raising the $40k+ needed to make this thing happen is the #1 thing keeping me awake at night this week. Hopefully my new bedtime reading will help.

Patti StangerThe dating game

In the last week I have gone on dates with a general manager, a producer, and a musical director, and have three more coming up. Meeting potential collaborators is so much like dating: there are a lot of coffee meetings and lunches, gauging of mutual (creative & business) attractions, and caution not to over- or under- commit to anyone. Also breath mints.

Oh yeah, the play.

selfieRemember that time Becky and I were writing a musical? After oodles of meetings and budgets and LLCs, we finally found some time to get back to the story, script, and songs. We learned so much about 210 Amlent Avenue from our staged reading at NYMF last July, and have a short but significant list of changes to make to the show in preparation for its stage debut this summer. There’s at least one new song coming and a HUGE new plot twist in the works. You’re gonna flip.

Have you ever started a business? It’s sort of like this, right? Does it ever calm down? Or does your life just make room—like having a baby? Comment below and let me know if there’s more stuff we should (or should not) be worrying about. 🙂