Budgeting and LARP
It's been a while since I've made a blog post but this morning I was working on the budget and I thought people might be interested in what a LARP budget looks like. Now let me say, I'm not an accountant, I'm just a person in the mid-40s trying to figure this all out. I have some experience with other LARPs and Amtgard in the past but starting this all from scratch is a big project, even for me. A budget is really just predicting and tracking two things, income and expenditures. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qLK3Q5umGnqu-_34qKfAcok155yNTpMlbXIiNdlfIOI/edit#gid=438525347 If you take a look at the income tab, we really have only six sources of income for our LARP at this point. We have the income from selling tickets for three games and tickets for the playtest in December. While our low end of players is 50 PCs, and our top end is 100, I had to choose a number what I felt comfortable with in order to plan a budget. Once we open ticket sales and applications after the new year, we'll have a better idea of where this number will fall. We are also opening up a Gofundme this fall and while it will collect income, we aren't sure what those numbers will look like. Finally we have our Hollow Dawn Shop where we will be selling gear and suppplies for Hollow Dawn, as well as eventually merch like T-shirts. Our market on these items are fairly small and mostly makeup for the labor that will go into making them (with any profits above material cost going back into the game). You can also look and see that we have put in some placeholder amounts we are looking to charge for the game. Right now, our costs aren't solidified. It will include food all weekend long (if you have dietary restrictions we can't handle, we'll have an opt out system). Those costs may go up or down and we may have an early bird/packet discount if you buy all three games. We haven't decided on that yet. As for expenditures, this is where it gets interesting. When running a LARP in Colorado, mostly likely site is going to be your biggest expenditure. Also, since we are starting up, we are having to build our wardrobe for monsters and creatures, as well as our NPC camp weapons from scratch. Food is a variable, depending on how many people you will have at your event. Advertising, marketing, website hosting, coins and currency, etc are all costs you need to consider. One big ticket that I haven't figured out is transportation of our supplies to and from site.
One aspect of LARP that is difficult is how to handle NPCs and staff within your budget. Often times staff and NPCs are comped and do not have to pay for their game. With this comes a hidden cost. Insurance costs go up based on how many you have at your game. If you are covering food within your budget for NPCs/staff, that comes out of your pocket. But I'm a firm believer that more staff/NPCs is one of the best things you can do to create a better experience for your players, so for me, it's worth to eat these costs, but it's something that needs to be accounted for and offset within your budget. One of Geas Gaming's goals is to have transparency in our processes (including how our money is spent) and also help educate others on the process of running a LARP so that they have tools to pick it up and do it themselves in the future. A lot of our numbers are estimates and guesses, and I'm sure many of them will change as we get closer to our event. If you like posts like this, let me know and try and get more of them out as time goes by.