Budgeting: Avoid Short Changing Your New Musical

You don't need to be accountant Leo Bloom from The Producers to create a solid budget for your new musical.

For some of you, this may be a no brainer but I thought it was worth mentioning…

Have you ever produced a musical, a workshop or a reading and said, “wow, we have no money!”? While most of us have said that at one time or another, I bet it’s not entirely true. You probably have SOME money (even if it’s a hundred bucks!) and how you budget that money can make or break your project.

Try to avoid falling into the trap of zero based budgeting. Zero based budgeting means you start with a budget of $0.00 and try to spend as little as possible along the way. By doing this, you risk setting up your musical project to operate with what they call a “lack” mentality. This can be dangerous because it means that your team has to wrestle with you for every penny. Decisions get made based on what’s cheapest and not what’s best. Not to mention every time you dole out funds you have the anxiety of wondering how much more you’re going to need by the end of the process. Not ideal.

Alternatively, if you create a budget, even a small one, your team will know what they have to work with in advance. This will allow them to operate with an abundance of creativity within their resources.

Whether it’s $100 or $1,000,000+, figure out how much money you can reasonably come up with and create a budget in advance. It’s amazing how creative your team can get when they spend less time and emotion trying to pry a few dollars from you and more time making the most of what they have to work with.

Next time you are approaching a musical theater project… lining up your team, nailing down your script, and setting the date and time… I hope you’ll also spend a few thoughtful minutes writing up a budget. I can’t promise you won’t still lose sleep about some aspect of the project but you’ll spend less time thinking about the money and more time thinking about your art.

One comment

  1. Mz. Trinchero makes a great point here. To perhaps sharpen that point a bit consider your first lemonade stand experience. You concocted an amazing thirst quenching potion of the latest passion drink to hit your block…but nobody came to sample. If you haven’t thought about a marketing strategy for your show (of which you spent years of blood sweat and tears, creating) maybe you should start first… by opening a lemonade stand.

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