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Friday, March 11, 2016

I Need That Aaron Spelling Magic

And by magic I mean money.

I'm wearing my producer hat today and trying to channel my inner Aaron Spelling in order to raise money to promote the show.

We're fortunate in the sense that our show is very inexpensive to produce. Our largest ongoing expenses are liquor and food. Often I'll make a dress for a particular episode, but that almost always comes in under $20. Occasionally we'll travel for an episode or invest in equipment (like the green screen stands we bought a couple of weeks ago and are loving - worth every penny), but by and large the production costs are low. However, we've come to realize that having the most fun, creative, informative show possible doesn't mean a whole lot of people don't know about it.

Our society loves to tout the idea that, if you work really hard and get people to watch and like your show, it will magically grow from all of the sharing on social media. One person will tell two friends, who will tell two friends, and so on and so on, like that old shampoo commercial. However, this is total hogwash.

We have wonderful, engaged fans who DO share the show, leave us sweet comments and approach us when they see us out and about. We couldn't be more grateful for them and their support. But it's not their responsibility to promote our show and even the ones who share every episode are only reaching the people who see their posts or tweets. It's not like Beyonce is sharing our show (yet). We need to cast the net a lot wider and that means advertising. Which means money.

Depending on which experts you believe, the average person needs to see your ad between seven and twenty times to take action. That means an ad placed only once, or even five times, is a waste of money. And Facebook will happily let you boost your posts or page for as little as $1 a day, but they also tell you up front that for $1 a day you're just not going to reach that many people. No, if you want to be a player, you need to invest.

I get it and I'm a believer. I have a very long capitalist streak within me and I understand what needs to be done. The trick is raising the money in a way that doesn't bother me. I want to avoid crowdfunding, both because I see a backlash against it lately and because I have issues with anyone feeling invested in our project. I don't want to feel I need to report back. That leaves merchandise sales and advertising. And you need high numbers of viewers to see ad revenue, which puts us into a Catch-22: we need to spend money to make money. So that leaves merchandise sales. We have some great ideas for products to add to our merch store. Those will also take capital to produce. It's all a gamble, which is the case for every producer who ever lived, so I'm in good company. So I'll continue boosting our episodes on Facebook and trying to figure out the rest but, in the meantime, I could use a visit from the spirit of Mr. Spelling with tips for producerly fiscal success!

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