Reversal of Fortunes

Frankly when I think about what I am about to type, I am a little stunned, myself, because I do not know how I got from being desperate and depressed just two and a half months ago to where I am now.

Three weeks ago, Adco reversed their previous decision to ignore our project and have decided that they are interested in at least some preliminary sponsorship activity and on Monday I will be sitting down in their main building with The Activist, one of their senior partners from their special events division, and a senior partner of a major PR firm.  We may even have a representative from Sony there but he is worried about that looking too official right now. I’ll be leading the full presentation which, if billed as an introduction to our project for all interested parties, should be pretty strong.

Basically, I am trying to get these people to talk together, and get them excited about the prospect.  If all goes well, I guess they start to comb through their respective client lists, find someone willing to latch on to the concept of bringing a circus show to Tokyo which is looking more and more like a possibility.  These people and companies who were looking at me blankly three months ago are now calling me to express interest.  If it’s good art too, that’s great, but since the mention of art seems to be a real buzzkill at these things, I’ll be focusing on the budgets and profit margins, that they want to see.  I’ll try see if they might offer a little pre-production and development budget for the project in Japan.  That way I can continue to produce the show here and keep courting various corporate sponsors that continue to pop up on my radar.

So how did “no’s” turn into “maybe’s?” Out of the blue, five weeks ago, I got an email from my friend at Adco who says that he reread our materials, reconsidered, and is trying to get Adco to work on it in some way.  He asked for a quick meeting to learn more so I quickly asked The Rocker send me the budget of our last show in Montreal and then started working on a new 3-5 minute video showing the type of shows we create.

At that meeting, I gathered that their renewed interest comes largely from Cirque do Soleil’s planned permanent show in Tokyo starting in 2007.  Also, is seems that in the last couple of months, the Japanese public has been embracing other pop stars from across Asia (Hong Kong, Korea, SE Asia, etc…)  I had known about both of these, but was surprised that Adco opened the meeting with that information. They seemed very happy with the two videos I showed them and the powerpoint presentation that I have been working on, so they gave nominal support to the  project because they want their name to be associated with the circus brand.  Finally some real support!

All I had to do was revise the budget Adco would handle publicity (which was a big cost).  I’ve created a nice brochure, a bilingual powerpoint presentation, a full DVD with all promotional videos in one place, and of course, fancy new name cards, so I’m going to go celebrate.  Fuck!  The biggest advertising company in the world wants to support us in Tokyo (nominally, ok, ok, but still!)!

Tokyo remains my focus as it is essentially the key to success in greater Asia; no other country can do as much for us in terms of actual financial support.  An investment in this little show could pave the way for a larger-scale tour, and then regular tours through Japan with various projects that might open up to us.  I’m sure that circus will be hot after Cirque du Soleil opens that permanent show and our project is smaller-scale, local, and has the support of Adco.  Just one big meeting on March 6th before leaving for a couple of weeks on my first vacation in over a year!

I arranged to meet the Adco team about 15 minutes before the actual start of the meeting to see if they would be willing to hire me as a ‘circus consultant.’  Seeing as they initially told me ‘hell no,’ and now they are showing a lot of interest, I want to see if there’s any way to be on their team to hedge my bets no matter what happens… They’ve told me that their goal is to sell advertising packages to clients in Asia and that the circus market is unsaturated at this point, at least until Cirque du Soleil enters in 2008.  We’re basically sneaking in under the radar, so I’m trying to sell my ability to work internationally, my circus contacts, my understanding of the creation and managing of circus shows, and the operation of small, medium, and (now) large events.  I wonder if I can connect to Adco Taiwan through Adco Japan…

Working hard right now, but it is all going to be worth it if the tour comes through.  Until then, I eat rice.

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