Enthusiastic senior starts music business

September 22, 2008 — by Elizabeth Lee

It is senior Elizabeth Shin’s ultimate dream to run her own venue complete with a bar and food service and open space—for concerts.

It was last year when Shin began to realize that dream, when she sat mesmerized by the story about alumnus Vivian Wang in the school newspaper. Wang, who was an intern at Pinup Productions, had wanted to hold a music concert herself in Saratoga, but couldn’t handle the burden that came with managing it. Wang’s efforts piqued Shin’s interest, and Shin decided to take up the challenge on how to start a music management business like Wang’s Pinup Productions in Saratoga.

“I was like, ‘Hey, this sounds cool, maybe I’ll just invite my favorite local bands [to concerts],’” said Shin. From then on, Shin began extensive planning with the original music production organization, Paper Star Productions, with senior Nicole Ng.

“[I’m really into music] and managing something like this is a unique experience,” said Shin excitedly.

Shin originally planned to start a club on campus but had to discard that plan because the ASB is currently cutting many special interest clubs. She was also planning to bring performers onto school campus but had to drop that idea because of a lack of insurance.

Paper Star Productions has encountered many problems along the way. With no adult advisor to guide Shin and Ng along, the pair has been forced to figure out everything by themselves. Usually, they rely on the Internet for information on production, concerts and venues.

Shin, who had been searching for a long time for a suitable venue, has ventured to a dancing studio, community colleges, and even a tae kwon do business, but was turned down each time. Recently, the committee of West Hope Presbyterian Church in Saratoga, which responded that the music she was going to showcase was “too rowdy,” also rejected Shin.

Though angry and distressed, Shin was driven by hope and ambition, and continued to go through the difficult process of finding a place—any open place.

Like a miracle, the single word “yes” came when Shin finally received her confirmation of approval from the committee of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Saratoga.

Cost is another issue that Shin and Ng are facing.

“It’s so expensive!” said Shin. “If we put in all the costs [including insurance], then we can run up to $1,000.”

Costs for the business usually range from $500 to $1,000 and Shin and Ng are still trying to find opportunities for outside financial support. Ng is currently searching for possible fundraising methods to relieve their bill for renting and setting a place for performances. As a last resort, Shin will pay out of her own pocket, but she hopes that members from the community will make contributions.

In order to find more support, Shin created the open group Paper Star Productions on Facebook, where anyone can join and help the organization.

A few people have already replied, such as senior Yvette Young, who is currently communicating with a band called Westwood and Willow.

Paper Star Productions will be hosting its first concert tonight at 7 at the West Hope Presbyterian Church in downtown Saratoga. Fortunately for Shin and Ng, the committee members of the church are waiving the insurance fee for them because it is a one-time concert. The show will feature the musicians Kylle Reece, Vincent Do, and possibly Westwood and Willow. Shin and Ng estimate tickets will be $8. Whether they will do another concert in the community will depend on the results of this first concert.

Shin is planning to focus on choral music, rock, alternative, indie, acoustic and family-friendly music, such as orchestra.

By managing her business, Shin has learned valuable lessons about planning, human relations, communications and flexibility. She hopes to do something similar to Paper Star Productions in the future as a part of her career.

Shin and Ng as a group also have a more localized goal.

“We’re trying to set up concerts around Saratoga so we share how awesome music is,” said Shin. “And hopefully people won’t say, ‘There’s nothing to do in Saratoga’ anymore.”

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