Maybe, one quiet day when your phone wasn’t ringing, you’ve had the idea “Hey, I should put on my own show!” I have. In fact, since my first steps down this path back in 2005, I’ve learned through experience and a heckuva lot of work, that I actually enjoy the process.

And boy, it is a process! Compared to “doing a gig” where you can walk in and walk out in a matter of hours, producing a show is often weeks of preparation and a long day of work at the event.

It’s easy to get excited about the idea. You do some simple math in your head; “$10 tickets, times 100 seats… I’ll make a thousand bucks!”

Potentially, the rewards are much higher, but there is risk associated too. The best thing you can do is make an informed decision based on all the facts.

Today, I’m sharing with you my own secret cost analysis tool to do just that.

For the past few years I’ve been using a single page spreadsheet that helps me to create a simulation of an event, run the numbers, and determine my revenue, costs, and the resulting profit or loss. With experience, it has become more and more accurate as an analysis tool.

As I prepare to share it with the world, I asked Chartered Professional Accountant and Excel Wizard Kaitlin Kirk to create a version 2.0 that is the best yet!

It is my pleasure to share with you this tool, and offer a guided tool to show how you can use it to validate your own show production plans.

Lorena (with audience volunteer) of the comedy magic duo Trevor & Lorena performs in front of a sold out theatre at WowFest.

WATCH: Ryan walks you through the Show Cost Analysis Tool, explaining how to create an accurate model of your own production. It’s long (22 minutes) but explains every single piece of this complex tool.

Who Is This Intended For?

This is a tool for anybody who has plans to produce their own show. Specifically an event where you are renting a venue and selling tickets to the public. If you are totally new to the idea and want to learn more, I can personally recommend John Pyka’s book “How To Produce Your Own Theatre Show” which is included in his Theatrical Magic collection for a real bargain price.

What Does The Cost Analysis Tool Do?

I like to think of it as an “event simulator.” You can enter all your costs (venue rental, ticketing fees and other expenses) then play with ticket pricing and expected attendance to see what the financial outcome might be.

It will tell you how many tickets you need to sell to break even, and your earning potential for any number of tickets sold. It helps you to make better decisions about your budgeting.

Why Do You Call It “The Dream Crusher”?

Because we, as artists and creatives, tend to focus on the big picture rather than the details. This spreadsheet will tell you the cold hard facts of putting on a show, and you may find that your big idea that “seems like it should work” might not actually be profitable. In some cases it might be a wet towel on your dreams, but hopefully it will also help you to plan an event that will be wildly successful!

Why Are You Sharing This For Free?

I’d love to see more magicians and entertainers creating opportunities for themselves to work at their best. This tool can help you manage the nitty-gritty of event production.

Use the form here to request your free download. This allows me to keep in touch in case there are any updates to the tool.

The Amazing Kaitlin Kirk, CPA!

Kaitlin is the brains behind this spreadsheet. I had the plan, and she made it work.

Having Kaitlin on my team as a left-brained accountant has been invaluable to help me develop tools and processes like this cost analysis spreadsheet. If you run a small business, you should chat with Kaitlin about improving your processes and financial strategy.

Kaitlin Kirk, CPA

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2 thoughts on “Produce Your Own Show: Cost Analysis

  1. Tommy Collins says:

    Thanks so much Ryan! Our local Magic Club has been performing self-generated shows for years and your tips and suggestions will save us hours of headache and frustration. We can’t wait to put it into practice. Keep the good stuff coming! Tommy

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