Tuesday, April 8, 2008

OOB Production Budget Results

Today, we released the results of our production budget survey.

We worked on this for almost a year. We worked with a statistician from beginning to end. She helped us develop the wording of the survey and consulted us on the methods of informing the community about it, collecting the surveys and analyzing the results.

We talk about this in the study document itself, but this is what we did: we made the survey available on our website. We then sent emails to every OOB theatre company listed in our database, which includes about 350 theatre companies. We invited them to take the survey. We included information about the survey on our homepage and in our monthly Update. Twice during the process we made a list of all the OOB productions that had closed a show within the last 2 weeks and sent them emails asking them to take the survey.

We ended up with a 20% response rate which is the industry standard for having a valid study.

It was a long process. And honestly, like many of you, some of the results surprised me in a good way and some left me feeling a little disappointed.

The more I thought about it however, the more I was convinced that making this information public was very important and releasing all of it, warts and all. (Besides, it would be unethical to only release parts of it) We have been living in a vacuum of information for so long that no one has a clear idea of what or who our community is. We have been growing and changing for decades, but it hasn’t been documented. I hope that this study will, at the very least, create a baseline from which we will be able to mark our growth.

And, there are some things in the study that I find very encouraging and inspiring. The fact that 62% of OOB is paying the actors. There is no requirement or law, but the producers are voluntarily paying the actors because they believe that the actors should be paid. Most of these productions are running on a shoestring budget and don’t have any additional funds, but they manage to make this happen. I think that is proof that the producers are not out to take advantage of the actors.

These numbers are also a great motivation to do an economic impact study. $31 million dollars is a lot of money, but the economic impact of OOB would be 3 or 4 times that much.

There are lots of interesting statistics. See what you think.

You can see the results by going to www.nyitawards.com/survey.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Shay Gines
Executive Director
New York Innovative Theatre Awards

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