Voices of a People's History
Voices of a People's History

FAQ FOR ORGANIZERS

Can we keep money for our organization?

If your organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and you donate at least 20 percent of your gross proceeds from your event to Voices, yes. You just need to fill out an Evaluation Form after the event. Please consider, though, giving more than 20 percent of your gross proceeds to Voices if you can. Also please consider supporting our featured partners.

 

Can we give money to individuals or groups that are not nonprofits?

No. Our status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit means we can only support other nonprofits.

 

Do we need famous people to do our reading?

No. Some of the most successful Voices events we have ever organized have been readings entirely by high school students. If you plan ahead, find enthusiastic cast members, and organize your event well, you do not need a cast of well-known actors to have a powerful and successful event.

 

How do we invite Viggo Mortensen to our reading?

Voices is not able to cast local events. And while we have been lucky to have high-profile supporters such as Viggo Mortensen, they are all have extremely busy schedules. But we have find that if you look around in your own communities, you will find many talented performers. Sometimes well-known national figures have a local connection, but please use your own personal connections if you would like to pursue them.

 

We’d like to invite Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove to come to introduce and narrate our event?

If you’d like, ask your Event Coordinator to send an invitation for Howard and Anthony. Please allow plenty of lead-time and indicate what your budget is for travel, accommodation, and an honorarium to benefit Voices in lieu of a speaker fee.

 

Can we change the order of readings?

We have found that the script works very well in the order we have suggested, which follows a chronological approach, allowing the audience to follow more easily the historical development of social movements in the United States.

 

Can we cut more readings?

Only in special circumstances. If it’s impossible for you, given time limitations, to perform the full script, you can write us at events [[at]] peopleshistory [dot]us to explain your situation and request a special permission to cut additional pieces to allow you to perform the script. But in such cases, please keep in mind the overall diversity of voices in the shortened version.

 

Can we race and gender bend in our casting?

Yes, though this works better for some readings than others, and for some readings would almost never make sense.

 

What do we do if our cast is NOT diverse?

In almost every community, it should be possible to find a cast that has a good balance of men and women and that is ethnically and racially diverse, as well as diverse in the age range (unless you are casting only among high school students or seniors or some other specific group). Consider reaching out to local churches, to professors and staff if you are students, to radio hosts, to theatre companies (often you can find Black, Latino, women’s, or other acting companies), to political activists who are spokespeople for a specific community.

 

Do you have images that go with the show?

We are working on a slide show for future performances that has only images that are in the public domain or that have been approved for all uses. But at the moment, we do not have one.

 

Can we show our own images during the show?

Audiences often appreciate when we project dates and titles of the readings, in addition to having these in the program. Images can also add a powerful element to a performance, so long as they are not overly distracting, drawing attention away from the words of the performance. But it is important that any images you use be in the public domain or, if they are not, that you obtain permission to use them from the copyright holder. A number of web sites license photographs and other historical images for fairly low cost for events like Voices. If you are at a college, see if your college archivist or librarian can help you with this. In man communities, local librarians also can help.

 

Is it OK to play live music?

Music is an important form of expression and protest. Live music can be a very powerful addition to any Voices performance, adding another level of energy to a show. But most music is copyrighted. You must obtain permission to perform any copyrighted music. Click here for general guidelines on music licensing.

 

Can we play prerecorded music before, during, or after the show?

You must obtain permission to use any copyrighted music. Click here for general guidelines on music licensing.

 

How can we get books to sell?

Most of the material in the Voices store can be purchased directly from the publishers at an organizational discount. Each item in our store has a link to the publisher’s site. The discount is usually around 40 to 50 percent, prepaid. This means you can mark down the price of the materials or you can sell them at full price and raise more money for Voices, our partners, your beneficiaries, or your own work. You can also offer these items as a premium, meaning that you offer them for higher than the publisher’s list price, as part of a special package with tickets to your event or as a donation to support Voices, our partners, your beneficiaries, or your own work.

 

Is it OK to videotape?

We recommend this! You should have all your cast members and anyone speaking on stage as part of the event (narrator, introducers, etc.) sign the online release form if you want to record your event. But keep in mind, camera operators should be sensitive to the performers and to the audience. It is important they are not distracting either the actors or the audience or blocking the views of the audience, especially if they have paid to come to your show. It’s always good to have at least one additional camera for back up in case one camera fails or runs out of tape during a speech, as well as to get a diversity of camera angles to use in editing your presentation. If you do tape the show, be sure to send us a well-labeled archival quality copy (ideally mini-DV or DVD for Mac) and if you can to send us any sound you have that came separately from the video feed (see next question).

 

Is it OK to audiotape?

We recommend this! You should have all your cast members and anyone speaking on stage as part of the event (narrator, introducers, etc.) sign the online release form if you want to record your event. But keep in mind, anyone recording audio of the event should be sensitive to the performers and to the audience. It is important they are not distracting either the actors or the audience or blocking the views of the audience, especially if they have paid to come to your show. It’s always good to have at least one additional recording as backup, ideally from the soundboard itself. If you do tape the show, be sure to send us a well-labeled archival quality copy (ideally DVD for Mac with the audio saved in a lossless format).

 

What kind of microphones should we use?

In our experience, wireless microphones pose a number of dangers of mechanical error, feedback, and other sound problems. Usually you get the cleanest and most reliable sound from having a wired standing microphone or microphones for the readers and a wired microphone (or microphones) on a boom stand for the narrator(s).

Have a question that is not answered here? Please ask your Event Coordinator to review all our organizing materials. If you still have not found an answer, your Event Coordinator should contact us. We’ll regularly update this FAQ in the future based on coordinators’ feedback.

 

FOR READERS

What should I wear?

Unless your director tells you otherwise, wear what ever is comfortable, keeping in mind that if you are being filmed, whites, bright colors, and unusual pattern (checkers, waves) can cause serious problems for capturing your performance on video. Readers sometimes find a subtle change (a cap, a scarf, a jacket) might help them get into the spirit of a reading, but we have found that a contemporary feel, not period costumes, works best.

 

Do I need to memorize my lines?

No. We are not tying to hide the fact that we are reading the words of other people. Just try to do so in a way that does not keep the audience from seeing your expressions. We find a simple music stand works best, as long as it is adjusted not low enough that it is not blocking your face. Larger podiums tend to create a barrier between the audience and the performers. Try to look up from your script when you can, and try to be as familiar as you can with your lines, so you can convey them with the most understanding and power, but our performances are almost always “on book.” If your cast is composed entirely of trained actors and has time to rehearse and to all go entirely off book, that is wonderful, but you don’t need to feel compelled to do so.

 

What kind of accent did Susan B. Anthony have?

We don’t know. And if we did, we would not tell you… Accents we have found almost never work. They usually create a barrier between the audience and the reading, making the reading feel less contemporary and less immediate. The best readings come when actors find a personal and emotional connection with a reading in your their voice, reinforcing the point that these voices speak directly to us today.

Have a question that is not answered here? Please ask your Event Coordinator to review all our organizing materials. If you still have not found an answer, your Event Coordinator should contact us. We’ll regularly update this FAQ in the future based on coordinators’ feedback.

 

FOR EVENT COORDINATORS

Can I make someone else as an Event Coordinator by giving them my login?

No. It is vital for us to keep track of the people responsible for our events. If you want to switch event coordinators, please have the new person send in a new request and note the reason why they are replacing you. We will then update both your records to reflect the change. Please keep in mind also that having a consistent organizer helps your event and our operations both run more efficiently.

 

Where do I send materials after my event?

See the Evaluation Form for details.

 

How do I make payments?

See the Evaluation Form for details.

 

Can I wire the money?

Yes. We can receive wire payments. Contact the Secretary-Treasurer at events [at] peopleshistory.us

 

What is the EIN or tax ID number of Voices?

See the Evaluation Form.

 

What do I do with unsold books and other materials?

It is up the individual publisher if they will accept and credit you for returns. Please contact the publisher who supplied the materials for their policy. But keep in mind you can try to sell the materials or give them away as a premium to people who want to support your work, the work of Voices, or of our partners, if you table at future events or promote the material on your own web site, through your email lists and newsletter, or through public tabling.
Have a question that is not answered here? Please review all our organizing materials. If you still have not found an answer, contact us. We’ll regularly update this FAQ in the future based on your feedback.

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