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terribleturnip

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Some fantasies come true... [Jun. 20th, 2007|09:15 am]
terribleturnip
[Current Music |Ant Music, Adam Ant]

So, you'll be pleased to know that since my last posting, I have indeed, managed to trim my toenails. (Although if you and I are now stuck on a cliff somewhere and our lives depend on my scaling said cliff...well, I no longer have toe claws and you and are going to be screwed, just screwed.)

And I managed to pick up the ant traps and even lay down new ones (although I suspect that I have only managed to develop a breed of ants that thrives on boric acid, since there is a near constant line-up at the feeding trough....)

I can't vacuum yet, since there is way to much garb, gear and assorted crap laying around. And my car....

In all fairness, I have to credit that funny to the Captain, as that was his response to my whinging about someone having varfed all over the house.

Why, yes, it WASN'T hot enough this past weekend, so I chose to spend Monday onsite -- because THAT my friends, was rip-roaring, deadly humidity kinda weather. And inside the ticket booth/office, where I had to to do the bulk of my work...well, let's just say, that tromping around the sunny field surveying the site was like air conditioning. I made the mistake of looking at the thermometer before I packed it up -- inside that shed it was 103 degrees. With no air circulation. I was sweating from places that I didn't think had pores.

All in all, the cast/crew did a much better job than last year, shutting things down. More got done, and more of it was well done.

Sometimes I think it's a miracle -- they give five weekends of playing the show, all sorts of rehearsals and set up time beforehand. Then work two long (and usually hot days) and as a reward, we make them take down all of the tents, the fences, the trash, the props...pack it all up, wrap it all up. Miracle, or they've got the same special kind of stupid that I seem to be inflicted by.

We have officially achieved a "faire that doesn't suck". Which was how I rewrote our business plan's slightly more grandiose goal. We're on our way to possibly achieving my secondary goal: "a self-sustaining faire that can afford to fund itself and take care of its people." My long-term goal: "a good little faire that volunteers can put on without feeling completely consumed and drained by it"...I'm not ruling it out, but I can't say we made huge inroads here.

We have actually managed to attract, accumulate, suck in, trap, some really fine people this past year and thankfully a lot of the good ones have stayed with us. Critical mass -- it's getting there. This is definitely the first year where I felt that a lot of people were actually working hard, and pulling their weight, instead of just the usual suspects.

And the usual cast/staff conflicts...a new tone. Conflicts, sure, but mostly the type of thing that come from lack of management/supervisory skills, differences in style, or being overstressed, underslept and inappropriately dressed for the weather. Most importantly, things that could be talked out. Sure, some mountains out of molehills...but again, things where both parties usually seemed interested in resolving the issue. If there was an "if I don't get my way, I'll quit" moment this year (of which there have been many in the past!) I didn't hear about it. attribute Sure, it could have a little to do with my counterthreat of "if you're going to threaten to quit, you might as well write up your resignation and bring a pen for me to sign it, 'cause I will." but I like to to everyone being more mature, better team building, and actually having a venture that folks want to stay a part of.

I'm madly in love with so many of the new folks who joined us this year and so relieved that the stalwart veterans now no longer have to carry the whole show, plus my own needs for emotional support, on their shoulders.

Oh, but now I'm getting close to maudlin and that's....icky.

We were up 20% in attendance for the entire year. That's frankly a little lower than my projected 25%, but we did have one entire day of rain, which did not have last year -- and if I take out that raindate, where we had only 115 patrons, up against last year's number of 757, and just compare the rest of the days...we're up 33%, which I can totally live with.

(and that, my friends, is called marketing and is why you should never, ever trust us when we start spinning numbers)

Sure, it's easy to feel inadequate when you're neigbhors with one of the largest and best renaissance faires in the country. Hell, our attendance numbers can be matched against....the number of people standing in the White Hart on a good day.

And, when bombarded by pissing and moaning from vendors (you need to do more advertising, you need running water and electricity, you need a real camping area) and entertainers (this stage sucks, where's the greenroom, why didn't I have a stage manager, I can't keep working for hat) and patrons (you need to have an ATM, I came all this way to see Actwhonevershowed, you need more shade, I had to walk to far to get to a privy) it's really hard to not break into tirade A: Look, dude, we're working as hard as we can. Did you know that we're all volunteers. Yup, I do this in my spare time. Spare, hee-hee, upaid, hah-hah....the problem with Tirade A is that I tend to dissolve into laughter and then tears and that's not good.

Or I can go with Tirade B: Oh, yeah, well, four years ago, we were ass-deep in mud playing to three patrons. Three years ago we had no site until a month out from opening day, no shade, one stage, one food vendor. Two years ago...edited for brevity...and you should be goddamned glad you have a faire at all because if the staff of this faire ever came to our senses and decided to have real lives, there'd be no faire at all....

Ahem. Thankfully there are plenty of folks who genuinely seemed to have a good time, be impressed with how much we've grown, and just plain ol' can't wait until next year....

Not to mention those large deposits I got to make at the bank, that felt good. (Although you rennies and your dollar coins. What a pain in the neck. And heavy.)

I'm going to revel in that a few more days before I have to turn to the unlovely task of paying the large bills. Toilets. $8000 worth of crappers. Next person who bitches about us not having an amenity...I'm gonna hand them a poop bag.
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Comments:
From: faithellen
2007-06-20 02:47 pm (UTC)
I could laminate up a few dozen copies of "just because it's a non-profit doesn't mean we CAN'T make money" if it would help.

Seriously, though -- would it be worth making the "fund your favorite performer" possibility more public? Subject to faire-approval, naturally, so that you don't get stuck with Ouchy the Clown or someone. Tax break for the donor, very tangible results, and the faire benefits from whatever following the act brings on their own.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2007-06-20 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't worry. I KNOW how to make money. Our biggest limitation is the number of hours that volunteers can contribute during the off-season. And our self-imposed limitation on going into debt to fund anything.

Our goal is to move away from "fund your favorite performer" as quickly as possible. From my point of view, although grateful that our donors are so generous, it hurts to cut checks for sponsored performers and watch other people bust their asses for hat, just because they don't have a fan base with deep pockets. Plus, there is that whole not wanting your entertainment schedule to be driven by donors. Ouchy's got his followers, but they can follow him some place else!
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From: faithellen
2007-06-20 05:06 pm (UTC)
Sorry -- that wasn't my implication -- I heard *several* different people over the weekend citing the 501(c)(3) status as a reason why ticket prices/whatever should stay inexpensive, and I'm all "it's a TAX DESIGNATION. Give them money."

I see your point about the sponsorships. :)
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2007-06-21 12:45 pm (UTC)
That's actually not at all why we've only been charging $5. The truth is, for several years, we were charging, I dunno -- $12, $15 for what was essentially, a $5 event. At best. I worked so hard to convince staff that we really needed to stop discounting and couponing and just charge what the event was worth....

Well, obviously, I did too good a job, because I've had a devil of a time convincing them that now it's worth a damn bit more.

But don't worry, a graduated increase will be phased in over the next couple of years.
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[User Picture]From: majorchaos
2007-06-20 03:04 pm (UTC)
where to may I make suggestions and/or comments. I've just one comment/suggestion about placement of things that I noticed this weekend.

It was brutal hot sunday, but I did get a round of rat pucking in and had a most glorious shot. Mayhaps you heard of about it?

So far, I've enjoyed every weekend I've been there.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2007-06-20 04:39 pm (UTC)
I did hear of that shot and am only regretful that I wasn't there for it. Not only would I have not fumbled the catch, but I certainly would've taken you up on the offer of a drink. AFTER the rat extraction of course. Hands behind your back.

Comments and complaints can be directed to me via e-mail, which I think you still have...although if you're going to tell me to make the privies "closer to the vendors in case of emergencies" (which is one comment from a vendor, and still puzzles me....but okay, fine, next year we'll go merchant, privy, merchant, privy, merchant, privy, so that you're never too far away from eau de bleu...) you'd best keep it to yourself, or tell me while I'm drinking and have more of a sense of humor.
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[User Picture]From: majorchaos
2007-06-20 05:18 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I have your email. shoot me one at "a DOT majorchaos AT gmail DOT com"

the comment was about the privies... maybe I should wait until this weekend at Celtic Fling?? let you have a few drinks before mentioning it? That is of course assuming you folks were going as I heard something about a gathering afterwards and the good Cap'n's name was mentioned.
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From: pyrateatlarge
2007-06-20 05:00 pm (UTC)
We had the most successful sales from the booth at VARF than any other event we've. . uh. . . boothed-at this season.

You guys have MUCH to be proud of.
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[User Picture]From: mistressfetch
2007-06-20 11:15 pm (UTC)
In my best Jan Brady voice.."It's always VARF VARF VARF" :-) or to quote Virginia Slims "We've come a long way baby" hmmm wonder if we could get a cigarette company sponsorship :-)

We all rocked..some more than others, but all in all...we rocked. I still woke up on Monday morning saying "why do I volunteer?" and repeated the same line while waking up at buttcrackohthirty on Saturday (my day off!!) to drive down there to work all day in the heat but after seeing everyone trying to make it work and being part of something that is becoming successful, well, it was worth it...now ask me that next season and I may tell you to go to hell :-)

Now, I'm officially striking VARF from my vocabulary until sometime around December/January!!

Oh, I made 2 bottles of mint simple syrup today :-) this weekend can't get here fast enough!!!
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[User Picture]From: stonethrow
2007-06-21 12:38 am (UTC)

Someone varfed all over the house.

Hey can we use that as our new shirt saying?
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2007-06-21 12:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Someone varfed all over the house.

Yeah, that and

"Who knew the 16th century could be so hot?"
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[User Picture]From: stonethrow
2007-06-21 01:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Someone varfed all over the house.

How about

Mini Ice Age MY ASS
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