I promised this a week or two back, and I wanted to get it out so I could explain our current financial position. I know a lot of the finances behind arts organizations feels a bit nebulous, and assumptions are made regarding where the money might have gone. Particuarly now that we have a Patreon and our primary income is your donations, I want to be up front about where we stand.
In the fall of 2016, we had to cancel our then-in-rehearsal stage production of The Beast from Planet X, resulting in a total loss that year of almost $2900, the bulk of our operating budget. The company went on hiatus for 2017, and only midway through 2018 did we start looking at ways we might come back. Since our funds were low enough that we couldn’t really afford renting theatre space (and after a hiatus, we didn’t feel we had an active enough fanbase for significant fundraising), we focused on another track I’d been talking about for a while – producing audio drama podcast series.
Having decided to focus in this area, we did some research and started developing a series, which is actually the series still stuck in development for us, Whimsey and Whiffle’s World of Wonders. We bought recording equipment, I spent a great deal of time developing scripts, and … we found that it was too big an idea to really begin with. Starting from almost no real knowledge of the medium, and balancing schedules with what would be a full cast and a show requiring signficant recording and mixing expertise, we kept pushing the project further and further back while we tried to wrap our heads around how best to make it happen.
Wanting to keep momentum going, I decided to write and produce a smaller, single-voice project, with the idea that I could use it to learn the ropes in the meantime. I wrote the scripts for Moonbase Theta, Out in a couple of months, joined forces with Leeman Kessler to voice them, and we were able to record and produce the series pretty quickly and at very little expense. (Which is good, because there wasn’t much left.) We launched in November, and the series has been running weekly since that time. Neither Leeman nor myself has taken any pay for our work on the series – we knew this was the case going in, but we wanted to make something we love and get it out into the world.
Monetizing podcasts, particularly in this genre, is a difficult thing. We did launch a Patreon at the same time, and we’ve been lucky enough to have a few people back us on there. It helps, but so far it’s been a trickle coming in compared to the outpouring of funds trying to get us started on this course.
In 2018, we had the following expenses:
Podcast Hosting: $65.18
Recording Equipment: $535.82
Commissioned Artwork: $175.00
Banking Fees: $75.00
TOTAL EXPENSES: $851.00
As our accounts really are quite low, I’ve covered the hosting and the bulk of the cost of art for the series from my personal funds. The rest came from what we had left after the losses in previous years. Currently, there is $206.44 in our bank account, as I didn’t want to go so low that possible bank fees would put us in the negative.
Our total income from Patreon in 2018 was $99.28.Thus, we had a loss over the year of $751.72.
As we grow our podcast series, we of course hope to get things back to a more stable place. And we very, very much want to be able to pay the artists who are putting their time and talent into the work. As I’ve said more than a few times over the past year – we’re down, but we’re not out.