Strangeness in Space | Kick-starting Production
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Kick-starting Production

Kick-starting Production

It must be driving you all potty that everything is taking so long on the Season Finale, especially when you so very kindly crowd-funded the first part back in November!  Just what is taking us so long ? It’s a 30-40 minute episode?  Are we in a time warp?

Being captured by storm troopers in Stoke CON Trent is just the tip of the iceberg… Seriously, there are a number of factors that mean it takes frustrating amounts of time to make a crowd-funded episode.  For those of you who would like to know more behind the scenes – the pitfalls and trials of crowd-funding on something like this, keep reading… it’s  full of commercial issues so feel free to zzzz at any point…

  • You can’t order perk stock ahead of a campaign ending on Kickstarter because you are not assured of any funds until/unless the campaign hits its target. And anyone pledging can also remove the pledge at any time so (as happened a couple of times) people can buy high end perks and then change their minds and reduce,  or cancel them entirely. So even gauging an idea that you might fully fund is precarious.
  • As soon as we knew we were likely to succeed, we got our designs in as good a shape as we could ready for production (badges, artcards, tee-shirts etc), but still couldn’t order until the campaign ended and the income was guaranteed. And there is always a hitch of some kind on a design being tossed back and forward between us and production.
  • The campaign monies don’t come in for about a month.   You will also have a dropout rate as people pledge, but the monies don’t materialise because their creditcard isn’t valid –  last time nearly £1700 failed to actually come to us even though it still shows online in the total. This time it was about £650 that just didn’t come but shows online.
  • you also lose Kickstarter fees and vat from the total – and you need to pay for the stock and postage, and envelopes/bags for the perks you sold – some items are high profit, some are low profit but help promote…
  • So by the time you take all the above into account, £1k from Kickstarter is way less than £1k from a bank account. If you see a campaign say they need £5k to make something they won’t be saying they need to spend £5k on it; they need what’s left of it…
  • As you know from our last newsletter, once we’d got all the gazillions of perks ordered, processed and packaged out ( loads of you multi-perked which was fabulous!),  Trev was offered a wonderful job writing all ten scripts of Get Well Soon Hospital for the BBC, and Simon was invited to run the Cinema at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital for the Medicinema charity,  meaning they were delayed in being able to finish the Finale scripts together.  We all need to balance buying food and a roof with making a podcast so we sometimes have to make difficult decisions and just can’t say no to other paid work in order to work on this for free.
  • Now we have the scripts we need to get into studio with actors. As you know we cast some very good people in Strangeness, which means that everyone else wants them too!   I now have a myriad of availability challenges as all our regular cast are booked on other jobs – it’s been very tricky to find any days in which more than one of them are available at the same time as each other let alone Trev, Simon and Sophie! A good deal of luck is needed when doing this with such a large cast, and my magic wand seems to have been low on battery. Actors’ schedules are such that they may well have a free morning or afternoon, or even full day but they may not know in advance… they are on first call to the job they’re on. So I can’t book a studio for them, or book other actors to come in that day too, unless it is an availability that is assured for definite. Getting it wrong costs us money. All our regulars are being as cooperative as they can,  but getting in-advance-assured free time is impossible for them all. And although we make a point of paying everyone something –  even if low-budget – we don’t pay enough for them to turn down work and keep free for us, much as they love us!
  • Had we a big budget we could just record everyone separately but being crowd-funded, and having also not fully funded part 2 of the Finale, I have to really keep a tight rein on the budget and ensure any studio/engineer time I pay for encompasses as many actors and scenes as possible. So I need multi-availabilities.
  • And aside from what I need to spend on studio/actors/perks/p&p etc,  and now paypal commission, there are the stealth costs in running a company for a project: bank account charges, podcast hosting charges, website domains – and annual accounts need doing by a certified accountant.  All these costs have to be encompassed in a budget or we just have to stop making it.
  • If we order a wadge of Tee-shirts or artcards we can buy them cheaper per unit, but then we may have cash tied up in stock in a cupboard.  I sold all the Tote Bags – but to order only a few more means they cost so much per bag that I would have to price them at a cost no-one would want to pay, to make a profit worth doing  the processing of it… I can buy loads cheaply but they then have to be stored and may just sit as stock.  That stock v cash in the bank connundrum is a fun one!

So, we are really sorry to keep you on tenterhooks for so long, and we want you to know we’re investing your money as wisely as we can. I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to pin down a couple of studio days, and making some offers on guest roles.  I daren’t jinx it by saying exactly what and who yet but think happy, lucky thoughts for me and whatever you have, keep it crossed…

And remember always that we never take your support for granted, and fully intend to do you proud. You are awesome.


Execcer (aka Clare Eden.. producer)

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