Tuesday, 25 November 2014


For Alone 2 we built an alien queen. The event ran in February. We spent about 5 months building her, and working out the frame she was based on took weeks. We also spent several hundred pounds on materials. She was amazingly effective for that event. She was totally worth the investment. She was used at Alone 3 and Alone 4, but is not mostly static. We could make her walk again, but I suspect we'd rather put the work into something new.

We usually start with an idea, some things we want to see, and then move onto a 6 word story. You can create a 6 word story for most events. They're just a way of getting it clear what everyone involved in writing thinks is important. It probably doesn't matter if you're working from different viewpoints, as long as you know you are. We use Google Docs for most things. We take a colour each and have a single plot document that we all add to. Separately we'll start working out what we have to spend, and how we plan to spend it. We'll look at 3-4 different ticket prices and often a couple of sets of player to crew ratios to work out what we need to run the event, and where we can afford to compromise. 

Baby ducks

We have previously run events that have gone over budget by several thousand pounds. We can't afford to do that now, so we need to have a realistic idea on costs and have managed to come in on budget on a couple of occasions. This does mean that we need every player to pay before the event. We normally can't accept cash on the gate because we've spent the money by then. It also means that for our events we don't offer refunds.

We've got a quite varied audience. We charge a lot (£150 a weekend for Alone) but we feel we charge about the right amount. We're aware some people can't afford to pay that for tickets. That's okay. They don't have to. 

We typically work with a spreadsheet ( version of the Dark Hearts one) Huge amounts of useful information goes into this. It gives us a central place to look at budgets, prop lists, player lists, crew lists, dietary information etc. We'll also have a plot document. I also want to share an Alone 4 summary document. It bears little resemblence to the event we ran. Plot documents never do. I can't show you Dark Hearts as that is ongoing. We have piles of other documents that detail each character, or each scene and what we need to set it. Once we've written everything we show the plot doc to Humpo who declares it 'rubbish' and rewrites it as something that will work. 

It's a short post today, but those two documents add a fair amount of extra reading. We need to know what we're willing to spend, and it's hard to break even whilst still pulling off the best event we can achieve. We're often hit by last minute costs that are hard to account for (fuel for the generator at Drakelow was a lot more than we anticipated).

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