We’re converting the camera fund to a stretch campaign, and rolling in a microphone upgrade. Almost entirely thanks to local support, a three-cinecam setup is in hand… we’ll be able to produce broadcast-ready media when things get rolling again! (Dang COVID-19.) Getting one more camera for a direct and immediate replacement when one of them goes haywire — as gear is wont to do — is now a stretch goal. Redundant mission-critical components is priceless, we’ve learned that lesson more than once.
The next trick is upgrading audio capture by getting crackerjack microphones (ones that don’t actually come inside Crackerjack boxes).
We’ve already been declined for a grant for this, maintaining our really lousy success rate at securing grants from Vermont arts foundations. We will continue to try. If nothing else, eventually the sheer force of our productivity and presence will break through the barrier.
Microphones that accommodate both speech and singing with exceptional results — while also being forgiving of developing artists and academics who haven’t had enough opportunity to develop robust mic-use skills yet — is the main driver. The most versatile choice for us across voice types and experience levels, and in our acoustic environment, is the Shure SM7B. We hope to secure three, as we frequently have up to three voice sources. Necessary support items include signal boosters, counterweighted boom stands (these microphones are heavier than normal stage mics), and redundant coverings and screens for COVID safety.
The second part is to address that many local composer-performers use acoustic instruments that either have no pickups or have inexpensive pickups that produce thin, brittle sound. We hope to acquire three iRig clip-on instrument microphones to help present their work with improved quality both live and on the recordings. Necessary support items include particular cable adapters and impedance transformers.
Donations to the Camera Fund remain open, but it’s now the Camera + Microphone Fund.
Here’s the legacy presentation:
We’re quietly adding this page to the website as groundwork for a fundraising campaign that we hope to avoid. But we’re also making it public in case anyone stumbles across it and would like to pitch in.
So much of what Stage 33 Live has accomplished — and it’s been a lot — has been because you helped, and frankly it makes us uncomfortable to ask you yet again for even more. Last year (2019) we appealed to philanthropic foundations and it was a complete and total bust, just like 2018 was. We’ll keep trying. We’re nothing if not hopeless optimists.
Most of the usual philanthropic foundations have converted their grant programs to COVID-19 relief this year, which is good. Except because we’ve chosen to pay the performers rather than ourselves, we’re ineligible to even apply for funds that could help us pivot how we fulfill the mission during the pandemic. The message being sent is that mission fulfillment is secondary to payroll fulfillment, even when the mission generates income for the artists served.
We did find four foundations with grants we were eligible to request. As grants go, they’re on the small side. It’s possible that between them we might make the whole goal, though not likely.
From the start, upgrading the cameras has been the final and most expensive phase of the initial buildout, and that’s where we are. Ahead of schedule!
(Grants update, October 2020: Support from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation and The Claremont Savings Bank Foundation have brought us about a third of the way to a three-camera setup. We were aiming for four, but three is a reasonable threshold.)
(Grants update #2, December 2020. The tally: Vermont-based arts foundations, zilch… other arts foundations, nada… COVID pivot funds, bupkis. Honestly, we were surprised that the main Vermont-based arts funders totally skunked us again. Our proposals were solid and the mission well conveyed, at least we thought so. The lion’s share seems to have gone to the usual big dogs. We’re willing to chalk it up to Covid this time. But there’s also good news: Underwriting from The Island Corporation [of Bellows Falls], Covered Bridge Cookies [of Windsor], individual donations, and the pennies we’d saved up already bring us more than two-thirds of the way to a three-camera setup!)
(General update, third in a series of updates, January 2021: Thanks once again to you, we’re almost at three!)
(General update, the fourth and likely final, late February 2021: An entry-level pro setup of three pocket cinecams with the most-needful accoutrements is now in hand except for a couple minor bits and bobs that we’re not stressed about yet. We’ll be able to produce broadcast-ready media when things get rolling again! They look more like 35mm still cameras with pancake lenses than movie cameras, but that’s fine by us. They’re perfect. Plus we managed to scrape it together without dipping into next year’s insurance payment. Getting one more camera is a stretch goal, a direct immediate replacement for when it’s inevitably needed.)