A Dolla Makes Me Holla! (Financial Projections in a Startup Environment)

“You’ll need three years of financial projections at least in your business plan”.  That’s a pretty tall order considering some days we don’t know what is happening hour to hour.  And the answer, “We’ll make loads of money” followed quickly by “Dolla, Dolla Bill Y’all” apparently isn’t an appropriate response. So we’d need a spread sheet and some figures to put into it.   Well thankfully we weren’t totally in the dark.  As part of our pitches we did have to generate some fairly down to earth figures about growth and revenue but of course what we never want to face is the fact that in order to make money you have to spend it. Lighting; heating; office rental; stationary; phones and broadband; staffing; insurance; transport; entertainment; costs of production.  Now all of that over three years and taking into account that as we grow our costs also grow, but maybe not at the same rate as projections (Leaving Cert Economics and Economies of Scale coming to the rescue).  Phew.  I think one thing I have learned doing this is there should be no such thing as finishing your projections, they are going to change a lot, they are going to change as you pivot, and they are going to change as you grow. A quick tip for anyone starting out doing these projections.  There are some brilliant templates available for Excel and Google...

Three.js our beautiful powerhouse

Wow! Take a look at this. www.threejs.org I had NO IDEA this sort of thing was possible in a web browser. Due to an API called WebGL, 3D graphics can be rendered into a web browser. Essentially, it’s still a web page, but if you can grab a hold of that API with good enough of a grasp, some incredibly powerful stuff can be done in humble wee web window. There a few tools out there to provide one with such a grasp; the most suitable of which, as far as I can tell, is a javascript library called Three.js. Just have a look at some of the examples accessible through the link above to see what I mean. Be sitting down. You have to remember when looking at these example that this is a WEBSITE you are seeing. The graphics in many cases aren’t quite as fantastic as what’s available on a games console for example, but that’ll keep improving. What is important is that what you are seeing is completely live. Information from any source could be flowing in to take effect on the 3D elements on your screen, there is nothing to buy, download or install to get it to work (in most desktop cases) and best of all, it’s completely interactive. This means that you could build a whole website, complete with constantly changing information and interactive navigation in full 3D, and it’s compatible across the board. What better way of harnessing the power of full on interactive 3D in a web browser than by using it to build a cross-platform online environment for the planning and creation...

Our first customer – Dagda Theatre

DagdaTheatreCompany “Art agus an Leabhar Draíochta” is our first VisiLit production! This is a huge milestone for us and we couldn’t have asked for a better trial theatre company. Directed by Leah Egan and produced by Clodagh Smith, “Art agus an Leabhar Draíochta” is an all Irish play for pupils of Irish and non-Irish speaking primary schools in Dublin. Set in the magical venue of the Boy’s School in Smock Alley, the main character Art makes his way through his mundane homework, the adventures of Cú Chulainn, tales of Tir na nÓg and back again. Apart from entertaining kids in the theatre, the young theatre group Dagda have visited schools and provided workshops for the kids to educate them about the tales of old in Ireland. To no surprise, they love it. VisiLit has played a key role in the development of the production in the theatre and out. As the lighting designer, James Clifford attended rehearsals and came to terms with the requirements of the show. After the second rehearsal and applying the techniques developed as part of the VisiLit software, James was able to mock up the show with simple steps and show them to the relevant people in the theatre company. Thus, the blocking was complete. Following this, the lighting stage plan was required. This means calculating where the lights will be put on the rigs in each venue, what purpose they have and what colour of light is required for each. In this production, 34 were required and because our software isn’t fully complete James did this manually. It’s painful. After the plan was done, the lights...

Online 3D

That’s right. 3D in a web browser. We though about playing around with some relatively new HTML5 technology to make a 2D online stage editor. But a after some research, we discovered that some absolute cutting edge web technologies are out there that will allow us to do real 3d right in a web browser. So “To hell with it!” we said. “We’re not pussy footing around with some last month’s platform to make an editor that will underwhelm our users.” We are bold and we are brave. “We will do it in 3d or we will die trying!” Life’s too short. Bring on the pain. (because I have absolutely no idea how to do this...

An Online Editor. Really?

So, we’ve spent quite some time talking to our customers, and guess what. Despite our best laid efforts to convince them of the revolutionary marvels of our lighting product, everyone is chewing at the bit at the first mention of an online theatre production planning tool. Who would have thought that validation would actually produce a change? So the way forward seems clear. Lets’s build them what they want. Let’s build something a person can log into online and instantly, easily, and without downloading or installing anything, begin planing a production that they can print out and edit later. Simples. So how are you going to do it, Vince? Well, at this point it would seem that the world of HTML has advanced so far that something like this really is going to be possible, albeit complex. Probably using Javascript and JQuery and some nice sprites or even use of SVG for nice, scalable vector based 2D graphics that will be very quick to download. More thought will be needed and a nice dollop of research, plus some decisions on how this thing is going to look....