I Had a Dream, A Dream About You, Baby...

I had a dream...

Some TV producer came to me and wanted me to do a reality show. (In retrospect, I have no idea why they wanted me to do a reality show. I'm only interesting artistically.) Of course I said no. What a horrifying idea. And he pushed and pushed, and I said no over and over. Then he said, "Name your price." And I said "$10 million an episode and I'll only do thirteen episodes." And he said "Done."

And I don't remember the rest.

But last night, smoked up on God's Goofy Green Goodness once again, I remembered the dream and thought about how cool it would be to have $130 million. I have often in the past pondered through the green haze (or perhaps more accurately, because of the green haze) that if someone would just give me one million dollars (and what the hell is taking so long, y'all?), I could live off the interest, without ever touching the principal, and still nearly triple my standard of living.

No, don't do the math. It will embarrass me.

So $130 million? Holy shit. That might be worth doing a reality TV show for. I know, I know, you'll end up looking like an asshat and they'll exploit you. Not if I get a hotshit Hollywood lawyer to get me a sweetheart deal, with all the right protections. (Can you tell I watch Entourage?)

And then it hit me – I would have, not just that one million dollars I fantasize about, but 130 pots of one million dollars. What that one million would do for me, it could do for my theatre friends, who have to hold down bullshit jobs so they don't starve on how little we small theatres can pay them. And it could do the same for the small theatres, who could then pay their actors much more money.

Holy shit. Think about this. (And keep in mind I was stoned.) I could set up some kind of trust (New Line actor and board member – and financial advisor by day – Keith Thompson could set this up for me) for each of my theatre friends and each of my favorite companies, and they'd get monthly checks, drawn only on the interest. And I'd make sure I set it up so that I can't un-do any of it, in case I get pissed off at one of them. No, of course, I'd never be that petty. One would hope.

If we get an interest rate of 5-7%, which the internet tells me is reasonable (Keith will be sure to tell me if it's not), that means my friends would be getting an extra $50,000-70,000 a year. (I hope I'm doing the math right.). And maybe I could set up $2 million trusts for the companies, so they'd each get $100,000-140,000 a year.

That would be really nice for The Rep and The Muny, but think what it would mean to New Line and Stray Dog, R-S Theatrics, Upstream, STL Shakespeare, Tesseract, Theatre Lab, the list goes on. Maybe I could even put a stipulation on it that half (more? all?) of the money had to go to paying actors and musicians...?

Actually, now that I type that, it would have to be even more income to seriously impact what a company pays its actors, especially since a company like New Line hires 40-50 actors each season (though that includes some repeaters).

What the hell, I'm getting 130 million, right? I'll give each company five million in principal. So that would mean at least $250,000 a year in income, divided by, let's say, an average of 50 actors a season (so I don't have to reach for my calculator), means each actor gets $5,000 more per production.

I like that. And I'd still have a shitload of money left over.

So none of this is going to happen. We all know that. But isn't it fun to dream a little...?

Long Live the St. Louis Theatre!