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Old 11-12-02, 07:53 PM   #1
Evan Young
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Question fair cuts $

I'm doing shows on venice beach these days and it's a real struggle. The other day I took a couple of juggler kids (teens) and taught them how to do some of my tricks, explored some of the tricks they could allready do, then I put them in my show. They arn't bad performers, and they have made the show much tighter, and enabled me to make it much longer. The end result is a show that I'm much happier with, but I'm making far less $ splitting it three ways. In a couple of weeks I think the strength of the group will make up for the three way split in terms of my $... but.
The creative process of the show is allmost all me, the equipment is allmost all mine, and I have far more experience, plus I'm carrying the performance with the talking. My new partners are contribuiting, but I'm having to filter most of it because a lot of their ideas are stolen from other acts on the beach.
So here is my question, should I take a bigger cut of the hat for my bigger role in the show. I've been doing even cuts for the two days we've been working b/c it seems like it would encourage their creativity to feel more like equals, but they arn't really equals. Without them I still have a show, without me they have very little. I was thinking mabey I should get half and they can split the other half.
Let me know what you think, I have very little experience working profesionaly in groups. I don't want to make anybody hate me. These two kids are very talented and have a lot of potential, and they are learning fast. They also live with their parents and I have high rent.
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Old 11-12-02, 11:48 PM   #2
Brian R Wilson
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Hey Evan,

Sounds as though you've figured out a reasonable pay system. You seem pretty happy with the pay structure (you get half they get half) and if the props are yours, mosdt of the schtick is yours, well I vote most of the money should be yours as well. Explain to the kids what you typed out here as it sounds like good reasoning. As long as you don't think that they're armed..
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Old 11-13-02, 02:54 AM   #3
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Wow, great question! For my .02 I think you deserve half. On the downside, in any business situation it is tougher to take away something you have given than it is to not give it in the first place.

I'd spend some time thinking about the personalities of the kids you're working with, and then decide if it will tick them off at all.

If it will tick them off, then you'll need to decide if it is worth ticking them off.

I know if it was me, and I'm pretty green to busking, I'd be thrilled to split the way you mention.

Because the thing you are giving these kids is worth a hell of a lot!

You are showing them the ropes, first hand, as an established performer.

If I were them it wouldn't tick me off in the least.

Best,

Dan-
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Old 11-13-02, 03:45 AM   #4
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Get their parents to pay you to babysit them, give then 8% each, keep 84% of your hat. If they don't like it tell them to try doing their own shows..or cleaning chimneys if they're the right size. You say you have no experience with groups, you obviously made this one for some reason, good god man your a born leader now get up , pull yourself together ,fix bayonets, motivate that rag tag mottley crew and get out, over the top and Juggle.
(if they both live at home you have access to 2 extended families, look for seamstress, costume, prop-making, video camera lending, printing, transport, photography, cars houses boats as background for photography)
Ok 8% is a bit harsh (I've done it but that was for security only)
You deserve at least 50% or your being exploited. If its friends you need I have some much cheaper than your 2, ( I have a friend called nick and if you keep him on the cheap stuff you can have him for just under $100 a day)
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Old 11-13-02, 04:11 AM   #5
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You are going to have to decide if the amount of money that you would gain by restructuring the money is worth the conflict that would undoubtedly ensue. If you are willing to risk the ensemble's trust, then you have viable reasons for getting a larger cut. But, if you are really interested in keeping the act together, I don't think that you are able to take more money after the working agreement of equal cuts has been established. Bottom line is that demanding the money be redistributed will eventually lead to a split of "you vs. them" - a dynamic which never leads to a good working environment.

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Old 11-14-02, 01:10 PM   #6
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sounds like a predicament. From someone who can easily put himself in the shoes of the two kids who you are performing with may I suggest how I would like to hear it. "Listen, I really enjoy working with you very much but it is much more difficult to support myself performing with this group than on my own. I do enjoy working with you and am able to continue if I recieve fifty percent of the hat. I have spent a lot of time getting my show to this point and I expect it to support me. If my show is going to be expanded to include you than it still has to support me." If this is not true and you just want the money for reasons of pride or greed then I say forget about it but I suspect this is close enough to the case

good luck
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Old 11-15-02, 01:22 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your insight. It's important to me that I hadle buisness matters inteligently b/c L.A. is a difficult city to live up to. I'm having a really hard time reformatting my show to the area, and the pressure is on because I've run out of money. I have done well in the mid-west this last summer, and I learned a lot, but here on the west coast it allmost looks like it's my first day. I am very young myself (20 only a few years older than my partners), and I'm rebuilting my show from allmost the ground up. Most people here don't see me as an estableshed profesional performer.
Venice Beach is freakin hard, and these two kids are really helping the strength of the show. I really don't want them to feel exploited. People are cheap and have no attention span here, so the show has to tight. I'm gonna talk to them about it and see how they feel, if they want even cuts then I'll have to do some solo shows as well to make up for it. In the mean time, rent day is coming up fast.

[ 11-15-2002: Message edited by: Evan Young ]</p>
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Old 11-17-02, 12:07 AM   #8
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Here is what I've decided. I'm going to give even cuts. All three of us are working hard, I'm working hard trying to direct the show and figuring out how to make it run smooth. They are working hard trying to learn what I want them to do. We're all putting forth the effort, we all get equal cuts.
At this point right now it's more important to me that I can get this group show to work the way I know it can than the money is. I'll find other ways to pay the rent, I want to explore what this project is capable of while it's available to me.
I don't think this is going to be a long term group, it's a learning experience for all of us and it's a fun challange.
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Old 11-17-02, 01:33 PM   #9
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In that case Evan can I come over and join the party? You are as good or better than any agent I have met. Keep up the good work!!
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Old 11-18-02, 02:52 AM   #10
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Let me share a story..
I had almost exactly the same situation a while back. A small low budget no-frills circus with a storyline. Probably the most rewarding and challenging work I have ever done. The door take was announced in the greenroom after the show by a greenhorn door person. Present were the sound, lighting persons, the 4 starring performers, 2 guest performers, 7 volunteers, and 5 passers by.
The propaganda/scriptwriting/painfully frequent practices and prop conception/design/manufacture plus directing and transportation were all invisible at this point, and I spent the next 2 weeks explaining and justifying the budget allocation to all those people and their hamsters.

The invisible pre production work had eaten up 90% of the budget(advanced by the 4 main performers).

Giving a guest performer 20$ based on his percentage of the budget projections after he heard the doorperson announce that figure
was a bitter pill that required lots of Pepto~B to swallow. We starring performers greedily gloated atop our princely sums of ....
..wait for it.....50$ apeice.

Budget allocation is never simple or painless. The true amount of labour given is so hard to quantify. I hope Evan's brave experiment
succeeds in every way for him.
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Old 12-27-04, 07:58 PM   #11
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Dear Evan, welcome to Communism! I perfectly understand your moral dilemma, being raised in Russia with its "equal destribution..." (which was never really true, but it was a big part of propaganda) In my experience, if you can work alone - work alone! 'Adopting kids" may warm your heart, raise your self-esteem and bring some new energy to your show, but it always hurts financially, and in the worst case scenario - you are training your own competition...What if these kids decide that they are better off without you? Now when you taught them all your tricks, and trained them professionally, they could offer you to take a hike and find another pitch... That's what happened to me with some of my "adopted kids"...but who knows, it may be just my karma....

Anyway, please, let us know how it goes - it's a very interesting topic!
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