Money makes the world go round: A blog about the business and culture of all things entertaining in the world of theater, television, film, music, art, gadgets, gizmos and other life necessities (and probably other things, knowing myself)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Devil Boys: A breakup over money issues

With a plastic cup of cabernet sauvignon in my hand, I couldn’t remember another time I laughed so hard on a Friday night, alone. Well, I wasn’t technically alone since I was sitting in a dimly lit room with, say, thirty other people.

But it WAS a Friday night and I had traveled to midtown’s New World Stages to witness the wackiness circulating the off-Broadway play “Devil Boys from Beyond.”

The hilarious script made its public debut during the previous year’s New York International Fringe Festival and broke box office records, despite limited stage props and an inability to pay their talents. But the funny lines and chemistry between those involved kept the show sold out every night as people lined the streets to witness the success of a low budget production.

Then, Buddy Thomas took his science-fiction spoof and collaborated with Kenneth Elliott to produce an even more bizarre script.

Despite a stomach-clenching comedic act that was fresh, unique and everything else you wanted in a performance, the play ended nearly three weeks early for one main reason: money.

Devil Boys’ budget was set at a standard (in regards to off-Broadway productions) $100,000 but when the show didn’t instantly take off and expenses kept racking up as the weeks continued, the show came to an abrupt end before its time was up.

When I heard of the news, I was heartbroken. Honestly, the play made me laugh, cry and think. But aside from the was the chemistry…I could feel the chemistry from my seat in the audience. And if there wasn’t chemistry behind the curtains, well, the actors certainly knew how to pretend there was when the spotlight hit them.

“Simply to me, that’s what theater is all about – connecting the actors to the audience,” said Elliott, director and co-author. “It’s how I got my start…doing shows in clubs in the East Village when I moved to New York.”

Elliott talked about the good ol’ days when he was involved in plays like “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” and the whole performance was acted out in front of a backdrop in some dark club.

With all that said, you must be prepared for operating preview losses associated with off-Broadway productions, Elliott explained.

“Usually it takes a few weeks where there are previews that you have to pay for,” he said. “Advertising is extremely expensive...contingency funds… in most theater budgets, there are significant items needed in capitalization.”
With all the attention that a big money production can receive before its art is even shared with the world, the low budget entertainment industry – the “underdog” of show business – must take on creative endeavors to fight against the big money.

“When the script and the cast is right, it doesn’t matter how much money is put into the play, it’s good,” said Jeff Riberdy, a casted alien in the out-of-this-world 'Devil Boys.’ “But in order to make the big bucks, you have to go Broadway… it’s just the place to be for the money.” 

Top Secret: Facebook Takes Over with New...Phone??

Following Apple's footsteps, word is out that Facebook is building the software and working with a third party to produce the hardware for a new phone.


Currently the number one Web site in the United States (with Google coming in a close second), Facebook has reasons to feel threatened and left behind by the power held by the iPhone and Android. Less than a year ago, news circulated that Google was working on a phone which we now know is the Nexus One. It won't be surprising if Facebook will have their own phone by next year. 

And why shouldn't they? Why stay an app when you can etch your name on the entire software? In other words, why rent when you can own? Zuckerberg, the youngest self-made billionaire to-date, has reasons to feel owning a mere app on a smartphone isn't going to cut it in long-term competition.  

So what's the phone going to look like? Is it going to be blue? The phone could come out in a number of styles and appearances, but the bottom line here is price. And who's going to buy it?

I'd say, most likely, the phone will be cheap...probably dirt enough so that more people can afford to buy it. Facebook is free to the public and now it's the number one Web site so why shouldn't the phone be affordable and be the number one phone?

Two upper-level employees - Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos - are said to be working on the top secret project. Creating all of Facebook's iPhone web applications and formerly assisting to create the Firefox browser, Hewitt is qualified to work on a new software for a top secret phone. On the same scale, Papakipos is equally qualified as the recent lead developer of the Google Chrome OS project. Interestingly enough, Papakipos left this past June before the project was finished, most likely, for a more "exciting" project speculated to be - that's right - the new Facebook phone. 

Officially the word isn’t out yet and we don’t know when the secret launch date will be. And how the Facebook geniuses will integrate Facebook into the phone will, well, be another blog post.