Whirlwind Tour Part 3 (continued) – Montreal and Bad News

Montreal, which was just supposed to be a fun trip for me, ended up being related to this project as well.  My friend from SAT and I talked about how to generate interest about teaming up to write a grant to bring the multimedia circus show from Taiwan to Japan…

The problem is that we can not get the National Theater of Japan and the National Theater of Taiwan together; it is diplomatically impossible as Japan has a treaty with China to have no connections with Taiwan at all, so to get the show to Tokyo through governmental grants (the best way, I think), we need to have a Canadian face on it, which SAT can definately provide…

Their answer was a positive one, and we talked strategy about bringing the project to the Canadian embassy there when I get back… that will be the next step in Japan.

SAT asked me a lot of questions about what The Rocker could want from them for the festival, but I did not really feel comfortable answering them as we had never talked about that and I am not really sure what my role is, if any, in the festival planning.  On the other hand, I didn’t want to look like I was unprepared, so I basically told them that we are waiting for information from the National Theater and will give them specifics (budget, etc) as they arrive and that as we had worked with the video artists before, that they would have a pretty good idea what kinds of things that we would be looking for, so if SAT and the artists wanted to work out a small proposal, that would probably help us out.

For now, they seem shy to get in contact with the National Theater for whatever reason, so I’m offering to act as a liaison to free The Rocker’s hands from that aspect of pre-production, and will keep the SAT happy by reducing “fuzziness” and the amount of guesswork and effort on their part.  Once the ball gets rolling, I am sure that we can step out of the process, but until then, I am anxious to keep forward momentum on their involvement — I know that The Rocker wants me to focus more on the acrobatic and programming side of the festival, but my interest in the SAT angle is more from the point of view of a future in Japan since if the SAT is involved we are much more attractive from the point of view of potential partners in Japan.  Additionally, given the fact that the SAT has been successful in winning a lot of Quebec arts grants and that they are really interested in making a first appearance in Japan, I anticipate that if they are involved, they will support us a lot in our efforts to tour over there, from both an artistic and financial standpoint.

I also talked with two friends over a beer, which was supposed to be informal, but they also knew about the festival since I’d already contacted one of them about participating as an emcee with me.

We talked about ideas for what we might be able to do for a duo, and we came up with some good ones.  we are both excited about that idea, and would be able to be quick, quality, and largely as self-sufficient as needed.

My other friend showed me her clowning DVD which is pretty good. I’ve worked with her in the past and she is particularily good at animations, and good on stage as well.

I had very bad news in Montreal that I owe money to the Japanese government in taxes, something that I was not at all expecting.  This means that my financial situation suddenly went to critical, and that I am in a little bit of trouble.  After I pay the government, I will have exactly enough money to get me to the end of June, but at that point, I will be broke.  I was budgeting to be OK until the end of 2006 even if there was a huge problem with the show and everything, or if my fee was going to be smaller than I am imagining, but now everything has changed.

I really believe in this project, and I want to be there helping in whatever ways I can, but at this point, I am really relying on an artistic team-level fee.  After this news, I contacted The Rocker in person to start talk about our financial expectations, because if I am way off-base on the sort of fee I might be earning on this project, I am in danger of having to drop out and return home.  Before this bad news, I was willing to take a risk for the sake of the project, but that luxury has been very quickly taken from my hands, and I am panicking a little bit.  It is probably for nothing, I know, and I have always and continue to trust in The Rocker’s judgement, but losing the magnitude of money that I have lost is incredibly unsettling.  I’d also like to talk with him about what I can do to help with the organization of the festival.  If he does want my help, what is most important to me is that I make his job as easy as possible for him without stepping on his toes.

Preparing now for meetings with the producing director of Theatre de la Jeune Lune, the artistic director of a youth circus and school, the Hennepin Theater District, the grantwriting and programmation people at the Ordway Theater, and their counterparts at the Guthrie Theater.  I will also be talking to a big theater in a smaller, wealthy town.  The idea is to get these big-name theaters and organizations to co-write and co-sponsor a grant to bring the show to the US for a one-shot deal or a little tour…  essentially we’re acting as our own agent.

I am also looking to find agents in New York that have worked with circuses in the past.

So things are going well except for the big hit I took yesterday in the financial department.  It has been a real shock to me, and frankly, I am a little scared.  for now, it is business as usual, though, so I put it in the back of my mind.

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