If life gives you limos, make lemonade.

At The Awesome 80s Prom, the show starts on the street, with the characters mingling with the audience members on the way in.

The Captain of the Football team and Head Cheerleader even arrive in a limo.

Fun, right?

Thanks to being buddies with the former car service provider of Brian Stokes Mitchell, Eartha Kitt, and Harry Connick Jr, I only paid $50 for the 30 minutes of service.

Cheap, right?

It was the best deal since TDF, until the driver skipped town a month ago and left us limo-less.

We searched everywhere to find a comparable deal.  We even tried offering a limo driver who dropped off audience members at the show $50 to moonlight and take our cast around the block (it worked but it was incredibly awkward).

The best deal we could find was a driver who agreed to do it for his two hour minimum of $150.

That’s a $100 increase per week . . . or $5,200 per year for a show that only operates once a week.  Yikes.  That wasn’t going to work.

Or was it . . .

It took my crackerjack staff just one 15 minute brainstorming session to come up with a fine example of creative producing, and turning a negative into a positive . . . cash flow.

Here’s what they said . . .

Sure, we had to pay the guy $100 more . . . but, we were also getting another hour and a half.  If there was a two hour minimum, then in the name of George Michael, we were going to use that two hours.

Yep, you guessed it . . . The Awesome 80s Prom now has limo service.

My also crackerjack street team sells Prom tickets on Saturday afternoons in Times Square.  Or, should I say, they try and sell them.  It’s a difficult pitch when you tell the customer they have to take the subway (scary!) far from Times Square, to see it.

But it’s the easiest pitch when you tell them that if they buy, they also get a free limo ride to the show (and a bottle of champagne courtesy of the driver).

Over the past 8 weeks, prior to the limo service, the street team has sold ZERO tickets to the Prom.

This past Saturday, the first day of shuttle service . . . they sold 7 at $25/each for a total of $175.  That’s right, math whizzes . . . what used to cost us $50, just made us $25!  And even better . . . we gave 7 customers a truly memorable experience that they will talk about.

Do that every week and we just made another grand over the course of the year.

I could have made out with every single member of my staff after we hatched this plan.

While it’s not a huge chunk of change in either direction, it’s an example of the type of creative producing that is necessary in our competitive world.

They only thing that really pi$$es me off?  That I didn’t think of it a long time ago.

Don’t wait for a limo driver to ditch you before you look at every thing you’re doing on your shows.  Is there  anything you can do to add to your audience’s experience and reduce your cost?

When you start examining your operation, make sure you look beyond the dollars.  Because what looks like more money at first glance, may actually make you more money when you look closer.

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Comments
  • Thom says:

    What I also love about this story is you made the limo driver work his entire minimum.
    When I was in theatre management school at Brooklyn in the 70s, I think it was Emanuel Azenberg who told us the story of having to hire a certain house minimum of local 802 even for straight plays where he’d need no music. The guys were used to collecting their paycheck for basically doing nothing. Mr. Azenberg made them report to the theatre and had them play Jingle Bells in the greenroom for two hours. (At least that’s how I remember the story.)
    The limo driver wanted his minimum for what was basically a short gig; you guys made it work for you. That’s great producing!

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