We are excited to announce that the Global Spheres Center, located on the east side of I-35-E, just north of the Swisher exit (Corinth), has opened a new space called The Shabbat Room, which is a coffee-house-style café and entertainment venue with stage, sound, and lighting. It has ample room for an audience, with convenient restrooms and parking, all located on the east feeder road of I-35, just south of Denton and north of Lewisville.
And FFP is able to take advantage of this great new venue!
When you come for auditions, just follow our signs. The parking is on the right of the GSC facility (the former Boeing plant), easily accessed, and The Shabbat Room is right there, directly east of that parking lot, and west of the beautiful GSC garden. It’s easy to get to and easy to find. The address is 7801 I-35-E S, Corinth, 76202.
Get registered and get ready to have a great time and a valuable experience!
For those of you who have been looking over our Catalog and Terms, etc., we have made the Video Rights rules a lot friendlier and removed the requirement to pay to obtain those rights. Our Terms explain that all videos of any FFP production are for personal use only. A video of your production may be uploaded to a private or public site for 30 days but must be fully credited to FFP and also labeled as your own production.
You will also notice that the prices are even more affordable for Big Dad Jake, both the one-song and two-song versions, and the Radio Kids’ Mystery of the Clump in the Night!
This is a new process for us and we’re trying to get it right for everyone! Also, our approach is a bit innovative for this industry.
Our new FFP Tunes page is up! Take a look at it! Much more to come!
The two songs featured on our videos — A Good Word or Two and You Gave Me a Song (A Mother’s Song) — are now on our new FFP Tunes page, ready to download and play for just a dollar each.
Inspired by a very good musician friend with lots of songs in her heart and a magnificent family, You Gave Me a Song expresses the joy and pain of every mother:
From storybook rhymes, to challenging times, And time passes on, and then they are gone, You gave me a gift, I know they’re a gift in time I give back to You
Pass your song along and those “gifts” will sing back to their “givers of life” all of their lives!
A Good Word or Two is about the power of words — “good” words, “crafted just so,” that can mend a heart, tend a soul, ease a mind, please a person, or woo that special someone.
Check out our new FFP Tunes page and our Videos. These two songs are from A Shakespearean Tale! which is almost ready to join our catalog.
Keep checking back. More songs and more scripts to come!
We are still wrestling with what seem to be a few glitches in the software we are using, particularly glitches regarding the immediate delivery of digital files upon an order of a script package. Most things are working very well, but some are not. Such is life in this world of digital data.
One way or another, we will get our process sorted out by the middle of next week. Christmas intervened and our frustrated webmaster said, “Enough!” (For a few days.) And we said, “Take off! Go make your tamales!” We were unaware that a tamale tradition had found its way to the hills of Tennessee.
We have 3 musical scripts ready for publication and two more awaiting a couple of recording sessions, which we plan to schedule in early January. And more to follow as music gets recorded.
We want to be as customer friendly as possible, and so we are thinking through (as best we know how) all the ramifications of delivering copyrighted materials in this digital world. It does require a sort of psychological paradigm shift for those of us who are new, even to the old ways of doing things.
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas! (2012) And, by the way… have you noticed it is the Winter Solstice (December 21st) and, despite certain interpretations of the famous Mayan Calendar, we are still here. This fact prompted some to muse that perhaps the calendar actually predicted, not the end of the world, or the end of time, but the end of Twinkies!
“Hey, Boss! It’s Shade! He’s comin’ in alone, Boss!”
Sam may have gone alone to see gangster Bugsy Bigtime, but he’s bringing his entire cast with him to the pages of our finally active Catalog!! See a few more pictures from our pre-Thanksgiving homeschool co-op production in the previous post.
We are working the final little kinks out of FFP’s ordering process for a one-song, smaller script called Big Dad Jake. It should be ready to go later today — Wednesday, December 19, 2012. Our “basic,” 4-song version of Sam Shade — a shorter, less sophisticated script for a smaller or younger cast — should be “live” and ready by the middle of next week (January 2, 2013), along with our rollicking, 7-song, fun-for-everyone adventure called A Shakespearean Tale! You can see lots of pictures and stories in this blog about our summer public production of the fanciful tale of Shakespeare’s lost manuscript.
We are scheduling the final recordings for Sam Shade and the Case of the True Meaning of Christmas for January, and so we plan to have the two 7-song versions of Sam up in a few weeks. But it will be past Christmas?! No need to wait a year — every day’s Christmas with Sam! Ever heard of Christmas in July? At least it gives you lots of time to plan — our jazzy, 1930′s detective comedy/drama can be as sophisticated and grand as you have the resources to make it!
Aside from a minor glitch or two — that we’re working on — the ordering process on our site is operating well. It is designed to make script licensing as simple, friendly, and affordable as we can make it. As far as we can tell, we’re not only the “new kid” on a big, traditional block, but we’re also the only ones using a WordPress template that provides immediate digital fulfillment.
Licensing a script and ordering rehearsal materials is a complex challenge, due to the issue of copyrights and all the required details necessary to establish a reasonable price for each production. So many variables! We’ve had to think through very carefully every step of the shopping transaction and wrestle with our software until it did what you — and we — need it to do. Couple that with getting music recorded and scripts reworked for their public debut and you can see why it has taken a while to get FFP completely operational!
So, by mid-January, we should have 5 scripts up for license and several others hot on their heels, with more to come after that. Keep returning to peruse our Catalog, or sign up for email updates!
Hopefully, it will also explain more about our own choices regarding pricing and material delivery, and underscore that we really are “family friendly,” though professional and vigilant regarding our own material.
A Quick Ballpark Price? Forget it…
It began with me searching for merely a “ballpark price” for scripts in general, musicals in particular. I had heard prices in the hundreds (four or five hundred) of dollars from people who “had heard” but really weren’t sure, but I just did not know anyone knowledgeable to ask at that time.
When I pulled up the sites of the biggest and oldest companies who represent the well-known Broadway plays and musicals, etc., I found royalty applications so detailed it blew my mind – and all that to merely get a quote.
I found a site for Christian children’s musicals. I pulled up a few and saw, at the top of the page, prices like $9.99, $11.95, etc. What??!! The whole thing is only 10 or 12 bucks? Turned out that was the price for one singer’s (or actor’s) booklet (or script).
Once I figured out to scroll down, I found a list of materials, digital and physical, with prices and boxes to indicate quantity for each one. Oh. There’s more to this, I realized. But I still did not understand all the terms or specifics.
Terminology for the Newbie and the Bewildered
Here are a few basics the newbie (like me) needs to understand about the industry in general, especially so you know a good deal when you see one!
The Royalty or the License – you are dealing with copyrighted material from a writer and/or composer. You are not purchasing the material itself. You are agreeing to license it, on the writer’s (and probably agent’s) terms. That license is for a specific time and a specific number of performances, for a specific cast size, and specific venue size, and, if applicable, a specific amount related to revenue generated. For some plays/musicals with certain agencies, you must submit an application for approval and you may actually be turned down.
Usually, you will pay an amount for the first (or only) performance. If you do more than one performance, you will probably pay a lesser (or the same) amount for each additional performance. That will apply whether or not each performance is public or private, paid or free. Period! Fundraiser? Charity? It matters not. A performance in front of any audience is a performance that requires a license and a fee. Otherwise, you are violating the copyright and, yes, breaking the law.
Some typical one-performance charges range from $35 for something very small to $120 or more. Each additional performance is usually $10 or so less. Typical high-school script prices for a reasonably large play/musical might be $90 and $80 or $75 and $65, etc. Musicals are generally more expensive – and should be! (You realize I write musicals.)
Rehearsal Materials – needless to say, guarding copyrighted material has always been a challenge. The tradition (and it still holds forth with most of the big guns) is that there is absolutely no copying of anything. Period. Scripts and scores and CDs are rented for a specific amount of time, mailed out, and returned – and on time, or you get charged a late fee, or a whopping replacement fee. Yes – they have your credit card number and won’t do business without it. We can all be sure that there are very good reasons that business has been, and still is, done that way by a major part of the industry.
One way or another, you pay for each copy you need of the Director’s Script, and each copy you need of the Actor’s Script (or Singer’s Book), including your technical people (stage, lighting, sound crew).
A typical price for one Actor’s Script seems to be $6.50 or $7.50, or more, in the case of the Singer’s Book I cited above.
Music scores for piano, guitar, or entire bands, must be paid for and may cost anywhere from $50 to $200 or so for a package, or so much for each copy needed. Sometimes you are allowed to make copies of a score.
Basically, be prepared to provide the quantity for each item you need and to pay for each one. If the size of the cast is 30, you will not be allowed to order 5 scripts. Sorry. No way.
The Dawn of the Digital
I mentioned this is a traditional, but evolving, industry. Obviously the ease and reach of acquiring and distributing digital products has had a profound effect on copyrighted material. I’m sure there are young people (and probably some older people) out there who think everything is, or should be, 99 cents, or free. Sorry. Not if we hard-working writers can help it. And not if you want writers to continue writing. And producers to keep producing and agents to keep repping, etc.
So, we have the upside and the downside of the marvelous digital world.
On the upside, it saves everyone money and time and grief if materials do not have to be printed in advance and stored, waiting to be rented, mailed, and returned. Delivery is quick and relatively painless (unless you are still computer challenged – get a techy friend!). When costs come down, prices can come down an appropriate amount. (But there is still time and talent to be considered!)
On the upside for you, the customer, it is easier to share files with actors and their pads and phones. It is easier to play CDs or MP3s during rehearsals or even a performance. No clumsy tapes to duplicate, play, and break, and wind around pencils (anyone remember that?).
On the downside for the copyright owner, it is so very easy for those files to get copied and shared where and when they shouldn’t – passed around to friends and uploaded to the world. Oops.
Materials can be copied and stored, physically and digitally, and passed down for future unpaid-for performances. Catch me if you can!
Well, it’s always been a mixed world of the honest, responsible user and the “catch me if you can” user, though today’s world, sadly, shows a growing percentage of those needing to take ethics classes in prestigious business schools and an ever-growing battle royal against copyright infringement and product piracy.
We must, and we do, bottom line, count on the good conscience of our customers. And, for the most part, it works and is worth it to provide our customers with this techy world’s convenient and more affordable benefits.
Affordable and Friendly
In our pricing and our options and our delivery, we have tried to be as affordable and user-friendly as possible, while still positioning our material in what we would call the “mainstream” of the high-quality script world and doing our best to guard our copyrights.
No overly complicated submissions and waiting. We have a basic information sheet that is easy to fill out online. We want you to know before you order exactly what you will be paying. No waiting for a quote dependant on the size of your venue and whether you have tickets and if you offer any discounts, etc. We want you to be able to do a good and fun show on a relatively small budget. We give you tips to save money on costuming and scenery.
We offer digital downloads for script and song materials.
On some of our smaller plays, we actually offer a customizable MS Word version of the Director’s Script (to be ordered instead of the PDF downloads of the regular Director’s Script and Actor’s Script). It requires only that you agree to protect the material and to submit your customized version for approval before your first rehearsal date.
A Relatively New Concept: The Copying Fee – in our perusal of the industry online, we noticed that one or more companies did not rent materials, but provided a digital download and charged a catch-all Copying Fee based roughly on the standard price of one script times the number of copies most probably needed and also some copying of CDs, MP3, lead sheets, etc.
Ah! That sounded like a good and reasonable idea. No printing or copying beforehand and mailing, etc. You make your own copies (only the amount you actually need, mind you). No mailing, no waiting, no returning.
So we have chosen to go the Copying Fee route, and we have gone easier than most on the amount of the fee, as we have on many of our fees.
FFP is a new kid on the block in the world of licensing plays and musicals. However, many of our scripts and songs have been around for quite some time and have been kid and audience tested, quite successfully, a number of times. If we may say, we’ve got some really good stuff to offer you, all with our own unique flavor and flair.
We want to make it easier and more affordable for a lot more groups, big or small, to have fun with a new selection of entertaining scripts and songs that have proven to be very doable and singable and enjoyable for every young person who has come our way – and for adults!
So, know that we are doing the best we can to offer you the best deal we can. Please enjoy our material, but please guard it as dutifully as you would your own!
We decided we just had to share several of the songs from A Shakespearean Tale!
So your director came up with some storyboard ideas and one of our cast members (my artsy photographer daughter) shot the video. We did a quick immersion-style, teach-ourselves tour of iMovie and produced our very first music videos.
We did A Mother’s Song and A Good Word or Two. See them on our FamilyFriendlyPro channel on YouTube. Type the name of the song followed by Family Friendly Productions in the search bar and they will pop up.
You’ll also notice that we now have a Video Tab and both videos are available there.
Everything is original — the songs and the video footage. Even the sunrise is out our back door and so is the horse — his name is Red. Isn’t he quite the star?
Go Down Yonder is next. It should be a lot fun. Look for it soon!
Our Down Yonder Girls tackled another recording session successfully! So, with a little extra fiddle, and a little final mixing this coming week, we’ll have the makin’s for our A Shakespearean Tale! music CD, rehearsal CD, book CD, and a basic accompaniment track for the seven songs.
You know we like for everyone to “make their own music,” but we realize that some of you out there just aren’t prepared to do that. In every group and state I’ve been in, there have always been enough musicians available to play the songs live each time one of my plays has been performed. Whether it’s been a church youth group or a homeschool co-op, we’ve had teens, youth pastors, pastors, and/or moms and dads who could provide a varying mixture of guitar, bass, piano, keyboard, drums, trumpet, and even violin.
We really encourage the live music because it’s fun, it’s flexible, and it’s a fantastic source of energy for the actors and the audience. You can change keys to fit your singers. You can follow your singers as they perform and adjust for any mistakes. You can play music between scenes and adjust it to whatever is happening — because you know it’s rare that things go exactly as planned!
Admittedly, I’ve always either been one of the musicians, or available enough to say, “Here’s the chord sheet and here’s how it goes,” and the guitarists and keyboard players have been good enough to pick it up and run with it.
HOWEVER…for those who want a performance CD…
But now, for A Shakespearean Tale!, we’ll have the rehearsal “here’s how it goes” CD, lead sheets, and a basic accompaniment track if you need it.
We also recorded the one song featured in a short play called Big Dad Jake and the 12 Guys of Israel (the Unconventional Version). The song is called “The Starvin’ Marvin’ Blues” and we called on our longtime star Cameron to do the song with the girls as backup. It was fun! Music Director Susan dialed up a bluesy organ sound on the keyboard, we got a great rhythm going, and away we went.
Look for Big Dad Jake to be up and available very soon!
We have to celebrate. We are on our way!! A brand new upstart company, we managed a successful world premiere of an all-original musical comedy this summer with the most delightful cast, we just licensed our first script (without even one script posted on our catalog) all the way from Texas to South Carolina, and we are recording our first CD! In addition, your crazy writer/director is now a qualified, full-fledged member of the Dramatists Guild of America!
Look out world! Here we come!
Thank you to all the wonderful people who have supported our efforts, and who continue to help us along the way. Our mission is to bring truly family friendly and fun material to groups around the world, large and small, pro and amateur, young and old(er!). That mission also includes encouraging as many as possible to make your own kind of music — live!
As Will Surrey (our lovable gas-station narrator from A Shakespearean Tale!) says, “Keep up with our blog!” and, “Come on along, you’re all welcome!”
That is music to a writer’s ears! When people — adults, kids — can sing a song, remember a song, and be unable to forget a song (!), that’s when you know you’ve written a catchy or pleasant melody, with solid, tight structure, good rhythm and rhyme, and meaningful (or catchy, or clever, or memorable) words.
And if the song is singable, it almost always means it is playable — that any reasonably accomplished guitarist or pianist can sit down and play the song, many times by ear.
At FFP, we love music. Music is fun. We love to play it, and to sing it, and to teach others — especially young people — how to sing good songs. We like to write songs that represent a wide variety of genres. And we don’t “write down” to kids. We don’t do “kid music.” We do music. Young people, from kindergarten to high school and up, have remarkably sophisticated tastes in music and an ability to appreciate well-constructed songs in a variety of popular styles.
The young people we work with also enjoy jumping into “good styles gone by,” such as jazz, Big Band, soul, 50′s/60′s rock, 60′s surf, folk and folk rock, 40′s/50′s Broadway, Western, Appalachian, and so on. That kind of cultural literacy is a good thing! And it’s fun.
Another thing that can be fun is some outlandish juxtaposition — a James Brown-style song in Old Testament Egypt, sung by a silent-movie era character.
Look for some scripts and CDs to begin to appear soon. Our first recordings are scheduled!