The sad state of local arts scene

Its saddening to see the effect of lack of funding towards arts locally.

It starts off with a little known production called "Chow Kit Road! Chow Kit Road!" which is being produced by local company Masakini Theatre Co. Although initial publicity was adequate, as time progressed, hype and interest in the show started to wane. Recently, they were caught off guard when their main source of funding decided not to sponsor the show.

Those that have never been involved in any major production need to know that the costs of running a show like this runs into the hundreds of thousands of ringgit if not millions. This amount goes into payment for the cast and crew, venue rentals for rehearsals and shows, external payments for media (lighting, AV, printing etc) and so forth. A major chunk of cash goes into royalties if the show uses commercial content or is a licensed production. Without sponsorship, a show basically grinds to a halt with a showstopping screech.

CKR!CKR! basically uses the songs of the late Sudirman to narrate the life story of its main character. More details can be read on their webpage here but suffice to say it mostly resembles (as written) a local version of Rent!.

Although it is unclear why the sponsor decided to withdraw funding, it is equally disheartening to see the cast and crew which have putting so much effort only to hear news like this. It is not uncommon for things like this to happen since the arts is still viewed as more as a hobby as compared to other jobs like engineers or doctors where the so called 'ROI' is more clear cut and measureable.

The problem now comes with how the production is to continue without funding. As it is, they have around less than two months to come up with the required cash to proceed and have thus resorted to crowdfunding which is found here. Main thing is that successful crowdfunding requires two things - a sizeable 'crowd' and a convincing plea delivery - of which CKR!CKR! has none of. Based on whatever I can gather, tickets are selling slowly, there is not much interest save for a few active members and any social media sites are woefully lacking.

Their crowdsourcing video with their director was uninspired and sounded as if she had given up and was forced to say something to fill in the dreadfully long and mostly empty 1.5 minutes. And what is with the old-film look to the video? It was badly filmed with low audio and has no real delivery goal. Recently, they added in another video with missiles and bombs which had no relation whatsoever to their plight and instead makes them look like their joking around. To a new visitor, it shows that the cast usually rehearse in a war torn country in a well equipped air-cond studio that is easily bombed?!?? WTF? Sad really.

They need US$550,000. As of today they have US$282.00 which is 0.05% of their goal. They have 35 days to reach their goal. Which means they need to have at least one EXTREMELY generous donor or get ~US$15707.00 donations DAILY. Their so called 'plea' for people to donate US$1 (yes, I really do mean 'plea' with quotation marks because their video basically asks this as a question which is something that should never be done) means they need 15,000 people to donate daily which is pretty unreasonable when their facebook/twitter/social media sites roughly have around 300-400 likers/subscribers.

Word of advice - find out how to do proper crowdsourcing videos (Google has plenty of help) and hit the social media sites fast! A plea needs to tell the viewer not just WHY they need the money but WHERE the money goes to and HOW it will be used. Get the cast/crew along to help in the plea to show it is a concerted effort instead of one desperate woman's plea. And for gawd sakes stop the FX videos ... they're just embarassing.

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