On Monday, August 27th at 6:45AM PT I put forth the below social experiment through my monthly newsletter.  Six days later, on Sunday September 1st at 6PM, I had raised the full $10,900 necessary to crowdfund my new set at The Linq Casino in Las Vegas.  I cannot thank you, my fans, enough for helping me achieve this goal.  I am overwhelmed by your generosity.  I love you all!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3HsNRt83oA]

Watch “The Inaugural Inflation” of “The People’s Arch!”

“Pulse of Vegas” Blog: “Comedian Jeff Civillico Debuts New Fan-Funded Arch.”

The Full Story of the Arch

The People’s Arch: A Social Experiment

In a spirit of honesty and transparency, I propose this social experiment to you, my supporters, to help me take my Las Vegas show to the next level.  Full details on this crowdfunding experiment and on how to donate are below, but for the quick scoop just watch this video!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAqr1EZFy9s]

Background

I opened my 2PM Las Vegas Show at The The Linq Casino on May 26th. I am happy to report that the show launch has been more successful than I could have imagined. Our numbers are climbing every day.  In June we had about 100 people / day, July saw roughly 200 people / day, and now in August we’re averaging over 300 people a day! For a new afternoon show in Las Vegas, numbers like this are unheard of.

The show is LEAN: One guy on stage (me!), and by contract with the The Linq: one sound technician (love you, Craig), one lighting technician (love you, Jason), and one showroom manager (love you, Sue).  Everyone at The Linq has been so supportive.  I couldn’t ask for more!

Financials

Most people don’t realize that I am not paid by Caesars Entertainment to perform at the The Linq. Quite the opposite– I rent the space from Caesars, and pay for virtually everything necessary to set up a Vegas show and give myself the opportunity to sink or swim.

As you can imagine, there are a great number of upfront costs associated with opening a show on the Las Vegas Strip—rent, tech, printing, and marketing (ads, articles, websites, etc).

My show became profitable in the 3rd week of operation, i.e. the money coming in was enough to cover the money going out each week. This excludes the upfront principal of previously stated expenses. The profit that we make each week rolls into next week’s ads and expenses, and is not yet enough for me to draw a salary from.

Venue

The The Linq Theater seats 650, and as you would expect with a venue of that size, the stage is HUGE. (45′ wide by 22′ deep).  The Linq Theater is absolutely beautiful– it’s a throwback to the old style of Vegas venue with big booths and long tables.

The Linq Proscenium: 40′ wide x 22′ deep

Moving Forward

I’m at the point now where I’m ready to take this show to the next level. With only my prop case and a ladder, the stage is bare to say the least.  I want to create a set that not only adds production value, but also create an atmosphere that complements my brand.  Something like this is necessary to compete with ever-increasing production values for shows in town, particularly on the strip.  I have seen time and time again in my career on stage that it doesn’t matter if the heart of the show is solid gold – if you can’t keep up on the business side, the organization side, and the production side, you will run out of funding before the audience gets big enough to sustain the costs.  I am asking you to help me invest in the future of my show.

So… What if my set was actually a prop in the show?

Vision

A one-piece inflatable set—a colorful arch 20’ high and 40’ wide that explodes onto stage as the opening to my show.

The Inflatable Set

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It adds color, it fills the stage and makes it mine, and best of all— it’s really fun :) The arch will burst out of a flight case that is pre-set in the center of the stage, inflating to a height of 40 feet wide by 20 feet high in about 20 seconds, coming to life before the audience’s eyes to open the show… a perfect fit for my brand and my onstage character.

Design

A set piece like this normally costs $25K+ to design, and another $10K to actually build.  This vision became a real possibility when top-rated set designer Andy Walmsley (designer of sets for American Idol, The Biggest Loser, etc) agreed to design the set for free as a favor.  “I thought—wow this guy has serious talent, he has drive, and this is cool experiment. I will do my part to help,” said Andy.  I’m asking for your support to build it.

Construction

The arch will be constructed by Inflatable 2000. The cost is $10,900. This includes someone from the company coming out to Las Vegas to help with the initial installation and testing.

Vegas

This type of experiment has been done in various other industries, to varying degrees of success.  As far as I’m aware, no live entertainment set in Las Vegas has ever employed crowd-funding.

What I find most interesting about this project is how much I have been advised NOT to attempt it… by other performers, agents, producers, etc.  Asking my fans for help is desperate.  It “destroys the illusion.”  They said that I should make myself appear that I have tons of power and money.  I’m a headliner, a star… rich and famous.  What?  I juggle plungers!!

Call To Action

I am attempting to crowdfund the construction of my arch. I turn to YOU, my fans who have supported me this far.  I am asking for a $10 donation.

I am blown away every day during my pre-show meet and greets just how much you care. I’ve met people who have seen me perform over many years– Disney Cruise Line, Busch Gardens, DC IMPROV during my college years, etc. I meet people who have been getting my monthly newsletter since I was 16!

So many of you have expressed your support to me, across social media and in person, and have encouraged me to continue to take my show and my career in Vegas to the highest possible heights.  To stay competitive in this town, I need your help!  As my way of saying “Thank You” for donating, I am offering a free ticket for every $10 donated for as long as I’m performing at the The Linq.  The least I can do is give you the chance to come see the set that you helped build.  Please pass this around, and donate if you can.

Thank you so much for your support!

FAQs

  1. How do I donate?  The easiest way to donate is through the chip-in widget which will connect you directly to paypal.  If you prefer, you may mail a check to my office address: 1350 E. Flamingo Rd #305, Las Vegas, NV 89119.
  2. What happens if you don’t reach your goal by September 30th?  September 30th is a soft end date.  My goal is to put this set into action in the Fall, but I will keep this donation portal open until we reach our goal!
  3. What happens if you raise more money than $10,900?  Unlike a time-based platform like kickstarter, the donation period for The People’s Arch will end as soon as the $10,900 goal is reached.  Chip-in updates instantly, so you’ll immediately see your donation go into effect.  
  4. Why didn’t you use a traditional funding platform like kickstarter.com?  I thought about that, but I really wanted to see if I could do it directly.  While I believe platforms like Kickstarter are very helpful for engaging the general public, I was more attracted to do this as a social experiment of an artist communicating directly with his audience.
  5. How will we get our tickets?  To make your show reservation, please email Laura from my office: [email protected].  Your email address will be cross-checked with the email address you used to donate through paypal.  Your tickets will come out of my personal allotment of limited daily comps.  Subject to show schedule and availability.
  6. How long are the comp tickets valid?   Your tickets will be good for as long as I’m performing at The Linq, and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon!
  7. Is the blooper at the end of your video intentional?  Yes.