About this project
Thank you to our amazing backers. You've knocked this Kickstarter out of the park!
If you are looking at this after the campaign has ended and still want to get involved please contact Clayton at:
You're all absolutely incredible!
The Pocket Theater will be an intimate 20-30 seat performance space, located in Seattle (Ballard, Fremont, or Queen Anne). It will be intentionally small and accessible so it can deliver on its core promise:
No one should have to pay to perform. Ever.
With this simple idea in action, The Pocket will be a wonderful place for Artists, Audiences, and Everyone in between.
Let's break down the costs.... PIE CHART!
The projected cost of just getting the space ready to go is about $14,000. You may be interested in what the different chunks of this pie chart represent:
- Construction - Building/painting walls, wiring the space, bar, doors, sound proofing... we're going to have to make a bunch of stuff.
- Equipment - Lights, curtains, sound, cameras, mics, mic stands, cash register... A theater isn't just a room.
- Furnishings - Chairs, tables, bar stools, blocks, signage, fridge, lighting fixtures.
- Permits/Legal - Booze, Biz, & Fire. We have to be approved all over the place.
- Misc - Cups, Programs, Ice, any other unforeseen expenses.
And this doesn't even take into account any of the expenses of keeping the place running long term. Clayton is putting his savings on the line to cover the longevity portion of this. Between you and him, we should be good to go.
The money isn't the only reason we're Kickstarting The Pocket. We want to make sure there are enough people out there who are as excited as we are. Just to get you going here are some people who have endorsed The Pocket already:
- Andrew McMasters: Jet City Improv - Artistic Director
- Rick Taylor: Punchline Comedy - Founder
- Chris Dewar: Seattle Childrens Theater - Education & Outreach Manager
- Emmett Montgomery: Weird & Awesome - Producer
- Rob Raas-Bergquist: Ghost Light Theatricals - Managing Director
- Bret Fetzer: Annex Theatre - Former Artistic Director
- Doug Willott: Jet City Improv - Producer/Director/Performer
- Natasha Ransom: Book-It Repertory Theatre - Education Associate
- Alex Grindland: ComedySportz Seattle - Founder
- Kate Montgomery: SketchFest Seattle - Managing Director
YES! If we work together, we can build something great. With more capital we can make The Pocket even more awesome for everyone. Here are some of the things we can achieve:
- $8,000 = THE BARE MINIMUM [UNLOCKED] - We did it! The Pocket Theater is going to happen! It will have a lobby complete with bar, and a performance space with seats and everything.
- $10,000 = VIDEO CAPABLE [UNLOCKED] - We will install a hi-def digital camera permanently in the space. The stage will also be mic'd, so the videos have the best possible quality of sound.
- $12,000 = REFRESHMENTS [UNLOCKED] - Everyone who gets the SUPPORTER reward will get $5 dollars off their first tab at the bar.
- $15,000 = REHEARSAL ROOM [UNLOCKED] - If we have this much support, we can afford to live a little more dangerously and get a larger space. This will allow us to have a fully functional rehearsal/workshop room in the Theater!
- $18,000 = FESTIVAL SUPPORT [UNLOCKED] - We're obviously going to be producing some amazing art, and the rest of the world should know about it. If an artist who performs at the pocket is applying to a festival, we will pay their application fee.
- $20,000 = OCTOBERFEST [UNLOCKED] - Wow! You guys love performance! October is going to be crazy! During the opening month of the theatre: Rehearsal space is free, $2 off every purchase at the bar, and Master Classes are free!
- $22,222 = SECRET SHOWS [UNLOCKED] - For the first year, every month we'll have a secret show. Only people with the BACKSTAGE PASS will know about them. The shows will be discounted at $5. The drinks will be cheap. The performances will be one-time-only, special experiences, just for you Pocketstarter Mafia!
- $25,000 = ROCKTOBERFEST! [UNLOCKED] - This is insane! Every weekend in October we will fly in big name talent. Local performers will do opening sets. The visiting artists will teach workshops. Kickstarter backers will get to chose who we bring and have first dibs on tickets/classes.
- $30,000 = BRAND NEW SEATS [Locked] - We won't be scrounging around for seats. We're going to make a big investment in comfortable, permanent seating in the Pocket. No hand-me-downs, only the best for our bums!
- $50,000 = ROCKTOB-YEAR-FEST [Locked] - Instead of just one month of national talent, we will bring big name artists EVERY week of the first year. It's a long shot, but if we get here YOU all deserve it.
We're not going to waste any time getting this on it's feet. You'll be getting your rewards before Halloween!
Artists can't afford to throw down hundreds of dollars on something they've never tried. But, at The Pocket: All performances rentals will be 100% FREE. We'll take all of the up front risk, because we believe your show will be a success. Here's what success will looks like in our space:
- Success @ 10 seats sold - You did it!The house is 50% full. Yeah!
- Sold out @ 20 seats - You sold out! Every seat is full. You're so cool!
- Paid out @ 20+ seats - We've had to bring in extra seating! And for every extra seat you get $10. (ALSO, if you succeed this much we'll give $1 off every purchase at the bar for a month, for you AND all of your friends you bring to the space.)
We're confident that almost every show can bring in 10 audience members, but we're not just going to leave that all on you. We will help you build your audience:
- Cross promotion: Every show will be listed on our website, get support from our social media, and be included in programs which we'll hand out at every show.
- Expert advice: We will also give you advice in effective marketing strategies for small scale shows. (Spoiler: It's not posters)
- A built in audience: We will also be develop a devoted audience which comes to see shows simply because they are at The Pocket.
We want you to be amazing, and we will do whatever we can to help. As you build your audience the pocket will be a place where you can continue to grow. There will be three kinds of shows that will be in the space:
- One Time Only: A brand new show, a visiting artist, a press preview. Try something out and see if it sticks.
- Multi-week runs: We will focus on giving shows which couldn't otherwise afford a long run. This will allow you to get press to actually attend your event.
- Keystone shows: You can consistently fill a house, so we'll partner with you to put on shows on a regular basis. Monthly, weekly. Build a strong following.
There's a clear path from one kind of show to the next. But hopefully you'll become too big for the Pocket. In which case we'll connect you with other larger spaces in town, and help you get the best rental deal possible. Why? Because we like you!
There are many reasons that The Pocket will be an awesome place to see performances:
- Awesome Lobby: will have a fully functional bar which will accept major credit cards. It will be well lit, have drink specials, and be a comfortable place to hang out before and after shows.
- Comfortable Theater: The theater seats will be comfortable, and the theater itself will be as sound proof as possible. Also, you will be able to see. Guaranteed. No bad seat in the house.
- Regular Maintenance: It will be kept CLEAN!
Special Treatment (If the audience ain't happy, ain't nobody happy)
- Reimbursed for service charges: If you pre-order a ticket we'll give you $2 off your first drink at the bar to pay you back for your charges.
- Loyalty programs: If you come to a bunch shows, you'll get free stuff. Tickets, drinks, and exclusive shows.
- Intimate experiences: Because the theatre is so small we can work hard to make every individual's experience special.
- Impact: You will help determine what shows we produce. We will regularly poll audiences, asking about what shows they enjoyed. You will matter.
- We don't just rent, we co-produce: We will consciously program shows in the space so we maintain a consistently high quality of performance.
- Unique Shows: Live recordings of pod-casts, touring shows from out of town, collaborative shows between improv and stand up comedians, neo-futurist-esque showcases. You name it! We'll be giving interesting shows a home.
- Connection to established communities: Clayton can draw quality artists through his strong connections with Seattle institutions like: Wing-it, SketchFest, Punchline, Annex Theatre, Ghost Light Theatricals, ComedySportz, and many more.
Along with producing quality shows throughout the year we will also have rehearsal space and classes.
Rehearsal space - When the theater isn't being used for shows it will be a reasonably priced rehearsal space available to artists who need it. If you're working on an upcoming show in our space you'll even get a discount. Also, If we reach the $15,000 stretch goal we'll build a room in the The Pocket dedicated to rehearsal/workshops.
Classes - We believe that training is invaluable for all levels of involvement in the arts. So we'll be offering 3 basic types of classes (Specific examples in the REWARDS section below):
- Beginners Classes: You saw something on our stages and you think you'd like to try it. We'll get you the right instructors and get you comfortable with the new form. At the end you'll have a show for your friends and family.
- Advanced Workshops: For those of you who already know what you're doing, but want specific instruction on improving your craft. These multi-week classes will whip you into performance shape.
- Master Classes: Weekly we will bring in an expert to talk on specific topics useful to performers. Learn how to talk to press, tour your show, apply to festival, auditions, etc. It's hard to make a living as an artist, but some people have done it. They'll reveal what secrets they can.
(Teachers: The Pocket will be a VERY good place at which to teach. We will pay $40-$50/hour, and will have a part-time, professional education coordinator who will fill out classes)
People are already lining up to do some awesome stuff in the Pocket. So may good ideas! Here are some:
- Closing Night! - An homage to neo-futurism - (Pat Casados)
- Iron Sketch - Two sketch groups have 30 minutes to make a set based on a 'challenge' (Doug Willot)
- Oregon Trail... LIVE! - Jim Stewart Allen is an expert at Oregon Trail and will play it live - (Jim Stewart Allen)
- What do you love? - People speaking on what they're passionate about - (Sophie Lowenstein)
- The Filling is Mutual - Special pies baked based on comedians' bits. Both for audience consumption - (Jen Seaman & Chris Leher)
- ComedySportz - Fast-paced, team-based, short-form improv - (Alex Grindland)
- Submission Time - Getting stand up sets on tape - (Kate Montgomery)
- Seattle's Harold - Long form improv at it's most free form (Randall Cleveland
- Go Game Now! - Competitive gaming in front of a crowd, plus table top gaming afterward. (Courtney Weller)
- Fight Night - Stage combat where the audience picks a side (Joey Fechtel)
- Late Night Success - Interviews with successful people interspersed with comedy - (Daniel O'Connell)
- Improv Super Cross - The best improvisers from around town come together for a 1 time show (Clayton Weller)
- And anything else you send us!
Do you have an idea that needs a space? Get in contact with Clayton right now!
BACKSTAGE PASS [$10+] - Everyone who backs this project with $10 or more will get to sign the back of The Pocket with a Sharpie. Sharpies, as we all know, are the only thing other than diamonds to have the scientific classification of "Forever." You'll be with us for eternity.
Also, everyone who reaches this illustrious tier will get a personal invitation to the 2 exclusive Kickstarter backer parties. One will happen right after we get the space. The other will happen after the space is renovated. There will be live music, comedy, prizes, antics, shenanigans etc.
Plus, Clayton will do one push up for every person that reaches this level. He will video tape himself doing them in the space... all in one go. He will say one name for each excruciating push.
SUPPORTER [$50] - You want to see this happen. You like everything that's going on and you want to be a big part of The Pocket. You'll get into one show for free. You'll get $1 off every show you see, and 2$ off every rehearsal rental slot. Forever. Also, everyone who backs the Kickstarter with at least $75 gets this automatically.
You love to see shows. You love to support local artists. Comedy, Dance, Theater, Storytelling, Neo-Futurist showcases... you have an insatiable urge to absorb Art. The Pocket will be the perfect place for you. Here are some rewards you can achieve:
Bronze [$15] - You get into a show. Simple. Short. Sweet. You're awesome.
Silver [$100] - You get the Silver Card! By brandishing this you:
- Get into 1 show for free every month for a year.
- Receive $1 off all purchases at the bar every time you see a show (even if you see more than one show in a month).
- Can reserve seats to shows before the general public.
- Are incredibly awesome.
Gold [$250] - You get the Gold Card! By wielding this you:
- Get yourself AND a friend into 1 show for free every month for an entire year.
- Receive $2 off all purchases at the bar every time you see a show (even if you see more than one show in a month).
- Your friends get $1 off THEIR purchase at the bar every time they come see a show with you. You will definitely be the coolest person your friends know (works for as many friends as you have with you).
- Can reserve seats to shows before the general public.
- Are incredibly awesome... and all of your friends think you're the awesome-est.
Platinum [$500] - Limited edition, only 19 available! You get to name a seat in the theater. Maybe you name it after yourself. Maybe you name it after a french philosopher: we Kant make the choice for you. Plus you get the Platinum card, which gives you all of the perks of the Gold Card, but is better... because it's platinum!
Uranium [$1,500] - SOLD OUT!:
- You get in free. To every show. Forever. Even if a show's pre-sale tickets are sold out, you can call us and we'll get you a seat...
- Speaking of seats. You get to pick a chair. You always get to sit in that chair AND we'll reupholster the chair to your specifications.
- You're the most Awesome person to ever Audience an Art. Ever.
For you Art is not a noun. It's a verb. You Art constantly. You Art comedy. You Art Dance. You Art solo performance. You Art. The Pocket will be the perfect place for you!
Rehearsal [$25] - You get a 2 hour block of rehearsal in the theatre. It never expires. You'll have wireless access. You'll have a private room all to yourself. You will be Art-ing furiously.
Rehearsal-mania [$125] - This is for those artists who need some serious time to get their Art-ing in order. You need to Art everything just right, and the Pocket is the perfect place to make sure that happens. You get 10 hours of rehearsal time in The Pocket. It never expires. Nor will our gratitude.
Video (And Early Video) [$25-$30] - It's hard to get footage of yourself performing, let alone footage that looks good. This is the solution: You will get a guaranteed slot in one of our regular submission video days. We will have a great audience, and you will receive the raw footage of your set. Perfect of applying to festivals on a budget.
Professional Video [$55-$75] - All of the perks of the Home Video reward, but Clayton will personally edit your video. You will look good, sound good, and be wrapped in an official, professional looking Pocket Theater wrapper. It will have a high energy intro and documentary flair. A perfect snack for festival submission panels. Getting something like this done on your own would take hours of your time and/or a large chunk of change.
Bachelor of the Arts [$50] - You get free admission to any two of our weekly Master Classes. The focus of these classes is helping people Art at the next level by learning from local experts. Some examples of classes we will offer:
- How to get festivals to accept you
- Touring your set on the road
- Woo press successfully
- Auditioning secrets
- You and your successful Kickstarter (Hopefully!)
- ... And many more! (If you have something you'd like to learn let us know)
Master of the Arts [$200] - In addition to the Bachelor reward perks you get free admission for one of our 6 week Workshops. We have a strong focus on practical application. Every Workshop culminates with at least 1 show in The Pocket. Along with introductory classes in Improv, Sketch, and Stand Up Comedy we also want to have upper level training. Some proposed classes include:
- Harold Style: Long form improv
- Generative Writing: Get past the obvious
- Dissect My Set: Stand Up broken down and rebuilt
You are an institution, company, or group. You have an advertising budget, and you want to support artists. The Pocket will be a great place to reach audiences and performers alike. Become a part of our community from the get go and work with us!
Standard [$600] - For 6 long months, we will:
- Emblazon your logo on all our programs, on our website, and in mailing list emails.
- Thank you for your generous support before every show, giving you exposure to over 200 receptive, happy people a week.
- Send you 2 tickets a month to use or give away.
Large [$1,200] - Get all of the perks of the Standard reward but for a whole year. PLUS, we will paint a stencil of your logo in our lobby, where it will stay. Forever. It will be somewhere visible. It will not be tiny. This reward will not be available ever again and it has to happen through Kickstarter.
Clayton has lived in Seattle for 5 years and has been producing comedy and theater for that entire time. He's worked with local and national talent. He's collaborated with established institutions, gotten new people involved in the Seattle Arts scene, and has consistently put on quality work.
He recently left his successfully funded tech start up, Freak'n Genius, which after founding in late 2011 raised over $500k in angel financing. The purpose of his departure was to take what he had learned in the private sector and leverage this knowledge to help artists grow in Seattle.
Clayton wants to talk to anyone and everyone about The Pocket Theater. Do you have a show? A question? Anything?
Risks and challenges
Clayton has done a lot of things related to this project. However, he has never built a theater before. He's done a mountain of research and planning, but there are always things that can pop up.
However, we know if we get to a problem we don't know how to solve, we can find someone who does know. There's a huge network out there of people who have done this before and they are excited to help support the effort.
The whole month of September has been made into wiggle room and we have been skewing the schedule later than expected. Hopefully any delays we encounter will have nice cushion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We know what part of town we want to be in: Ballard, Queen Anne, or Fremont.
Right now there is a huge surplus of commercial real estate in Seattle. In preliminary research we found 10 suitable spaces in Ballard alone of varying prices and qualities. Once we know how much money we have to work with we'll select a space that works within that budget.
The model that the Pocket Theater will run breaks even at an average of 10 audience members per show. That takes into account 4 completely dark weeks a year. This works with rent costing up to $5,000/month, which is the most expensive of any of the places we're currently looking at.
We're expecting projecting the first year to average somewhere in the 14-15 seats per show. That will be enough to pay our education coordinator a part time salary, all bar/hosts for their shifts, and Clayton a modest living wage. As we build a reputation for quality work that will increase. We're also planning on getting a relatively long lease (5+ years), which won't be adjustable until we're substantially more established.
In the end I feel that this model for a theater is more sustainable than the resident artist model that most theater's in town utilize. It allows for a flexibility in programming can respond to audience and artists more quickly and constantly. That's the theory anyway. UCB LA runs a similar model (in theirs the artists never get paid), and they have been extremely successful.
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