UPgrade — Economy and agreements

Economy and agreements

By Malco Oliveros

ECONOMY

Can I afford to perform internationally?

The first thing to check if you have been offered the possibility to present your work on tour is whether it is economically viable at all. Very few companies manage to achieve financial profit from touring. For the majority, it is about making the costs and income balance in the end, with the help of the fees received for the performance presentations, some support from foundations and/or sponsors, and eventually the direct or indirect contribution of your own organisation, if its status or structure allows it.

In order to have control over the situation, you are advised to make sure that you conduct a comprehensive project study and planning and to have clear, detailed contracts with both your partner abroad and internally with your employees. Do not forget the small costs that become big in the long run. A realistic budget should contain every detail and include also an amount for unexpected expenses. The following items should be included in your budget:

Expenses:
– Flight tickets / Train tickets
– Possible costs of overweight
– Transportation to and from the airport (origin and destination)
– Transportation within the city of destination (between hotel and venue)
– Costs of freight (if there are materials to be sent)
– Visa costs
– Hotel at the destination
– Possibly hotel on the way to the destination
– Wages of employees
– Per diems
– Communication and PR (if applicable)
– Sending PR materials
– Costs of import/export of the set at the destination (if applicable)
– Project administration
– Possibly production costs (materials for the shows)
– Unforeseen expenses (typically 5-10% of the total costs)

Income:
– Fees for the shows
– Possible expected income from ticket sales
– Possible refund of costs for hotel and per diems
– Sponsors
– Support from foundations
– Own contribution (direct or indirect)

Example Touring Budget

 

THE AGREEMENT WITH THE PROMOTER

A detailed contract that takes every eventuality into consideration will avoid misunderstandings and secure smooth progress for the tour, especially if problems should arise. Consider including the following:

Main contract data:
– Complete name and official address of the presenting organisation, including its fiscal registration number and status.
– Complete name of the company, including its fiscal registration number and status.

Performance specifications
– Name and time of duration of the show to be presented and the number of presentations.
– Dates and times when the show will be presented. Specify if the show has an interval or not.
– Get-in, fit-up and take-down times (specified in the working plan)

Contact information
– Name and contact information of the person in charge of your company while visiting the city.
– Name and contact information of the event’s or venue’s technical manager.
– Name and address of the venue in which the show will be presented (are you acquainted with the technical rider of the venue?).

Financial terms
– The total amount of the fee to be paid by the promoter. Make sure that all figures are included in the contract, including taxes that the promoter is obliged to pay according to local laws (later specified in the invoice) and that it is clear what the final amount to be paid is, after possible VAT and/or other kind of taxes have been deducted.
– Deadline for the payment / form of payment (cash or bank transfer?)
– Bank information: Name of account keeper, bank name and address, account number, SWIFT and IBAN codes.
– Make sure that the promoter pays a part (even if small) of the fee in advance, at the signing of the contract. This will prove the promoter’s commitment and secure loss if the agreement is cancelled later on.

Accommodation, transportation and per diems
– Make sure that it is clear whether the following costs are covered by the company/you or by the promoter:
– Flights, transportation to/from the airport, local transportation
– Freight, international and local transportation
– Customs, costs of import/export of working materials
– Visa application costs
– Bigger or smaller local production costs or possibly materials that are needed for the show, which the promoter must provide.
– Hotel costs, specifying expected category, dates and amount of nights, number and type of rooms (attach rooming list). Is the breakfast included in the cost of the room?
– Per diems, amount of persons/days.
– Interpreter, if applicable

Taxes and royalties
– Who pays which kind of taxes?
– Who pays which kind of rights and royalties? (author rights, choreography, music…)

Communication and PR
– Obligations of the promoter
– Obligations of the company

Insurance
– Obligations of the promoter
– Obligations of the company

Force Majeure
– State the consequences in the case that the presentation is cancelled by one party or the other.

Funding and Sponsors
– Who benefits from granted support.

Complimentary tickets
– Has the company a number of complimentary tickets per show?

 

SOMETHING ABOUT DEADLINES

Obviously it is a good idea to have your touring project defined and agreed in plenty of time. But not all cultures work according to the same time horizon. Most promoters in Asia and particularly Latin America are used to making their decisions quite late, and there is no way to change this. It is up to you to decide if you have got the nerves to wait for the contract to be signed a month or even less before the date of the presentations. Furthermore, regarding this, there are differences in who has the power to demand a long-term deadline and who does not, independently of the culture with which you are dealing. The typical circumstance is that promoters have different levels of priority, often due to the different steps in which they get their funding. They will allocate the first money to the most attractive events, and make the less attractive wait until they are sure they can afford it… and this often means at the last minute.

Example Invoice

Example Contract – if you need a more specific contract ask one of the bigger companies.