Producing a Full Production

Inspired by the independent film movement, NYMF delivers a range of resources to our participating shows by blending an economy of scale and grassroots mechanisms of a festival model with a technical framework geared specifically to musicals. By supplying the theaters, technical equipment, production management, and marketing platform, we will provide support to help you produce your show as easily, effectively, and affordably as possible, but we do NOT produce the individual shows. We are a presenting platform.

You and your producing partners will be responsible for all the aspects of producing your show – such as casting, rehearsals, show-specific staffing, design, physical production, and the many details and decisions required to successfully present your project.  

What does NYMF pay for?
NYMF provides a framework to allow the shows to be produced much less expensively, and we take care of the big-ticket items – the performance venue and venue staff, the major marketing, a generous lighting package and major overall technical support.

NYMF spends about $30,000 per show to provide a package of resources and services (which would cost much more for an individual, independent production). These resources include:

  • An Off-Broadway theater in which to perform your show, equipped with an extensive lighting and sound plot
  • A band package including keyboard or piano, drums, guitar and bass amps, music stands, chairs, etc.
  • Wireless microphones and instrument microphones, and all the perishable equipment needed to use them
  • A sound engineer (A1) to mix your show  and deck sound assistant (A2) to help with wireless microphones
  • Tape, gel, and other incidental tech needs, as well as a steamer or iron for wardrobe
  • A technician, production manager, box office management, and house management in each venue
  • Marketing assistance through the NYMF website, Festival-wide materials and advertising, Festival press/media outreach, and promotional events
  • Access to NYMF-specific discounts on rehearsal space, costumes, and other equipment, and on outside marketing and printing for your NYMF production 

What do I have to pay for?
Invited Shows pay a participation fee of $6,000 upon acceptance to secure their spot in the festival. This fee is waived for the 10 Next Link Project shows, which pay a $500 Next Link participation fee. If accepted to the festival as a Next Link Project, $50 of your submission application fee is credited toward this amount.

NYMF also charges each show a production fee to cover part of the package of resources it provides. The production fee varies from $600 to $900 per performance, depending on the size of the venue to which you are assigned (larger venues, which have more equipment and also more seats to sell, have slightly higher fees). There is an additional $30 per wireless microphone to be used per performance.

In addition to these fees, you will still have to cover the specific production costs of your show, including:

  • Actors and Stage Managers - Under the 2014-2016 AEA NYMF Code, Equity performers receive a minimum stipend of $1020, which covers up to four weeks of rehearsal and up to 5 performances. Please also note that you are not required to use Equity actors in your production but if you employ any, you must operate under the AEA NYMF Code. If you use Equity performers, we also recommend you use an Equity Stage Manager.
  • Other Production Staff  - Director, Designers, Musical Director, Musicians, Board Operators, Run Crew, Casting Director, etc.
  • General Managers – Because of the level of production complexity at NYMF, many shows that are being self-produced by their creators find it helpful to hire a general manager to supervise the technical and financial aspects of the production.
  • Rehearsal Space - We will help by securing discounts for festival participants, but rehearsals are entirely your responsibility.
  • Set Materials and Construction Costs - Remember: simple but effective – you’ll be sharing the venue with several other shows, and will have to strike your set after each show.
  • Costumes - though we can assist you in securing not-for-profit rental rates.
  • Additional/Special Technical Needs – If you need NYMF to provide any special equipment for your show (e.g. projectors and video equipment, additional lighting instruments or sound equipment, etc.) or to undertake special rigging costs for your scenic design, you’ll have some additional related expenses. Depending on the designs of other shows in your venue, NYMF may be able to split these costs among multiple shows – and NYMF does everything in its power to secure equipment at exceedingly discounted rates

All in, your production may cost you anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000, depending on the size of your cast, your production values, and your show’s specific production needs. Box office proceeds (collected via a third-party system and professional box office staff) are split between NYMF and the individual shows, so you will make back a portion of your expenses – especially if your show sells well. Bear in mind, however, that you will not receive your box office proceeds until five to six weeks after the festival, and that your costs will definitely exceed your share of the box office income.

How else can NYMF help me produce my show?
While you (or your producers) bear the responsibility for producing your own show in a professional manner, we will do as much as we can to help you do so as effectively and inexpensively as possible. Some of the additional resources we provide include:

  • Basic guidance on producing within NYMF including: a step-by-step guide for producers, a New York City resource guide, and a Festival staff member dedicated to assisting out-of-towners in navigating New York resources.
  • Assistance in finding designers and other production staff upon request.
  • Access to discounted rehearsal space and costume rentals.
  • Assistance with casting: for a small fee, you can attend the open auditions hosted by NYMF.
  • Help in raising money for your production: we will provide fiscal sponsorship enabling donors to make fully tax-deductible donations to support your production. This requires an additional agreement between NYMF and your producing company. NYMF also has relationships with private funders who may offer grant opportunities dedicated to festival participants.

Additional resources provided for Next Link Project shows include:

  • Subsidies covering your production fee (a savings of as much as 20% of your overall budget). 
  • One-on-one access to a professional New York dramaturg, who can act as a creative sounding board for your show as you continue to develop your script for production.
  • Special industry networking and "matchmaking" events with potential producers, investors and collaborators.

I heard that NYMF takes a cut of the subsidiary rights from future productions of my show. Is that true?
NYMF requires that writers sign its contract to guarantee that they will provide the Festival proper billing on future productions, but NYMF does not take a share of the writer’s subsidiary income.

NYMF takes a small percentage (2%) of the gross income that the Signatory to the NYMF contract earns from future exploitations of the show.  It applies to any production that opens within a period of 10 years after the festival, but only kicks in once the Signatory has earned $50,000 gross income from the show.  This is designed to ensure that NYMF is able to leverage the success of past shows to keep the festival affordable for new writers, without encumbering shows or otherwise hindering their further production.

Where and when will my show be performed?
Your show will be scheduled into one midtown Manhattan venue for the duration of NYMF. You will share your venue with several other musicals that will play in repertory with yours. In the past, NYMF venues have had between 90 and 191 seats.

Full productions have anywhere between 5-12 performances over the course of the festival. 

How long will I have to load in and load out?
All shared lighting, sound elements, and rigging positions will be installed and removed during the overall festival load-in and load-out days, by technical staff hired by the Festival. 

You will be responsible for loading in your own scenic and costume elements on the day of your first show. On that day, you’ll have access to the space from 8 or 9 a.m. until your curtain starting between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  During those hours, you’ll need to load in your set and costumes, tech your show, perform a complete dress run with all technical elements, break for dinner… and then, open!

In addition to the time limitations of having only one day in the space to tech your show, be aware that you’ll be performing in repertory with other shows and will have to strike your show to a storage position within 30 minutes following each performance. Before each show after your first, you’ll have 60 minutes to set up your set and sound check (this hour INCLUDES 10-15 minutes to open the house and seat audience members).

Additional technical/production information will be discussed in the participation packet you will receive if your show is accepted.