LESS CASH = BEING MORE CREATIVE
By Vanessa Rae Garcia (director / producer)
Producing a show with not a lot of dough? No problem! I've been producing shows for years and started with extremely low budgets. How did I do it? I asked for help and learned how to stretch a dollar. If you're a part of a non-profit organization, then you should be asking for monetary donations throughout the year to help fund your productions. If you're not part of a non-profit, then you've got to get creative.
The first thing I ALWAYS do is compile a list of my needs. What do you need for this show? Is it modern? Do you need some vintage or period pieces and costumes? What do you already have in stock? You have to stay organized and on top of your game if you want to make this show happen.
Next, I ask to borrow items from surrounding community theatres, universities, high schools, or other performance groups. It doesn't matter if you know them personally or not. Call them up and ask for what you need. 9 times out of 10, they will tell you to come by and look at what they have in stock. This will give you access to props, set pieces, and costumes. Most of these places won't even charge you to borrow these items...unless you accidentally lose it or destroy it- don't do that. Take advantage of your community and borrow what you need. This also helps build your credibility with unfamiliar faces.
Re-purpose what you already have. You can make many articles of clothing look like it's from a different time period with a little altering: aka some work. Find a friend, cast, or crew member who is up for the task to transform your costumes. Lace, ruffles, string, padding, and dye can put a vintage spin on just about anything.
Hit up your local thrift shops. Thrift shops can come in a variety of price ranges. I tend to stay loyal to Goodwill because their prices are set and don't fluctuate based on brand. Be familiar with the daily sales thrift stores promote. You can get discounts daily off of the colored tags on the clothes/ items. Other thrift shops have days where EVERYTHING is on sale. There is a shop in my town that has .50 cent days, .75 cent days, and $1.75 days. You can get an entire outfit for $1-$2!! Learn your city and learn their deals. If you need something really fancy, hit up the "other" thrift shops, but be willing to spend a little more paper (like $20-70).