Don’t ask unless you are ready to receive.

An up-and-coming Producer met with me recently in my office and pitched me a brand new project.  The pitch was a good one.  Very professional.  Not too long.  To the point.  And she knew exactly what she wanted from the meeting:  her objective was to get me to invest in her show, which she was sure was the next Rent.

I wasn’t so sure that she should be polishing her Pulitzer just yet, but the project did have some merit even though it was very early, so I decided to play along to see how ready she was to take the project to the next step.

When she very clearly got to her close and asked me for the money, I told her I was interested and asked her who I should make the check payable to if I was ready to invest right then and there.  Her eyes went wide.  Then they glazed over.  It became clear that she didn’t think anyone would ever write a check on the spot.  She obviously didn’t give herself credit for being that good, or for her project being that good.

She stammered a bit, and then tried to back herself out of the corner by saying that the investment vehicle was still being created, and that she was discussing some options with her partner and their lawyer and that as soon as they had some papers they would send it to me.

Flash forward a few weeks later, and despite some very nice follow up on her part, I still haven’t received anything.  And without a doubt, my interest has waned, as you would expect it to when I’ve had weeks to think about it, I’m not in the same room with the passionate pitcher, I’ve had other projects get pitched to me, etc.

This happens a lot, actually, especially when projects are artist driven.  Often the business-side of what we do gets lost.  If your goal of a meeting is to get someone to give you money, be prepared on how you will accept it.  Front money agreement?  LLC?  Non-profit donations through Fractured Atlas?

Have a plan.  Any plan.

Because if you’re going into meetings trying to sell your show, you have to be ready for someone to buy it.

More than one road leads to Broadway.

I’m writing this blog while sitting in a hotel room, waiting to see a performance of a musical that is working its way to Broadway.

Am I California?  At The Old Globe?  La Jolla?  Ahmanson?

Well, I am in LA . . but not that LA.  I’m in Louisiana. New Orleans, to be exact, seeing a production of White Noise, a 2006 graduate of NYMF that has been in the news a lot lately.

Noise is playing at a little theater nestled deep in the French Quarter. And when I say little theater, I mean exactly that. It’s called Le Petit Theatre, and it’s the oldest operating community theater in the US.

It doesn’t have 2,000 seats.  It doesn’t have unlimited fly space.  But it does have a supportive community thrilled to be a part of something that is planning on playing The Great White Way (Both Jim L. and Robert D. told me that while waiting in line for the men’s room).  Oh, and it also has a super-sized tax incentive that makes it much more attractive for shows to check out The Big Easy as a place to play (I know I will).

There’s nothing wrong with the “usual” places to play.  But as I touched on here, perhaps it’s time to do what forward thinking people like New Orleanean Holly Way have done and look at other opportunities.  There are plenty of places to try out your show, but it’s up to you, the Producer, to do the due diligence and find the best opportunity for you and your product.

To extend a Frostian metaphor, sometimes the highway that everyone is on is only filled with traffic and tolls.

It takes more time to find a different route.  But that different route can still get you to where you are going, and sometimes it can even be a shortcut.

Want to know what you’re most interested in?

I stare at stats like some people stare at art.

Recently, I was looking at some numbers from my blog (like they were painted by French Impressionists or something), and I clicked through to the list of my most read entries.

I found it interesting, so I’m publishing the list below.  It’ll give you a sense of what the readers are interested in (it certainly showed me a thing or two).  And if you’re a new reader, this list will give you a chance to catch up on some of the more read stuff you might have missed without you having to click through until your fingers fall off.

So here they are . .  the top 10 most widely read blogs from TPP:

10.  Are Discounts Eroding Our Ticket Sales?
9.  People Are Talking About You Behind Your Back And Now You Can Listen
8.  Exactly Who Goes To Broadway Shows Anyway?
7.  Exactly Who Goes To Broadway Touring Shows Anyway?
6.  How To Get A Producer To Read Your Script.
5.  Do Tony Nominators and Voters Really Forget The Fall?
4.  I’ve Seen The Future of Ticketing
3.  Where Creative Teams Earn Their Stripes
2.  Favorite Quotes Volume XV – My Response To Jeremy Piven’s Departure
1.  10 Audition Tips for Actors

Read Other Theater Blogs

2AM Theatre
A Younger Theatre
About Last Night
Act Three – The Reviews
Adam Szymkowicz
Adaumbelle’s Quest
Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment
Aisle Say

Angry White Guy in Chicago

An Unidentified Production
Ann Arbor Theater Vixen
Angela Learns to Act
Austin Actress
Backstage Babble
Bamboo Nation
Bitter Lemons
Broadway Abridged
Broadway Bullet
Broadway Source
Broadway Stars

Chad Bauman – Arts Marketing

Chicago Theater Blog

Chloe Veltman

Corine’s Corner

Creating Theater
Critic at Large
Dave’s Theater Blog

Dennis Baker

Drama Saves Lives

Everything I Know I Learned from Musicals

Fragments

Frank’s Wild Lunch

Fringe Famous

Front Row at Lansing’s Theaters

Grace Notes
Gratuitous Violins

Hand Stitched by Elves

JameSpeak

Jared Neff – My Thoughts

JK’s TheatreScene

Jeremy’s Green Room

John Morrison Blog

Just Shows to Go You

Kim Weild’s Blog

King Duncan, NYC Playwright

Let’s Talk Off-Broadway
Lezbehonest

Light Cue 23

Mark’s Dancing

Martin’s Theatre Blog

Me2ism?

Moxie the Maven

Musical Theatre Talk with Trish Causey

New Theater Corps

Notes from Forum Theatre
NYTheatre Mike 2.0

off-stage right
On Theatre and Politics
One NYC StageHand

One Producer in the City

Painting Air

Pataphysical Science

Pirate Dog

Praxis Theatre

Reflections in the Light
Russell’s Theatre Reviews

Ryan J. Davis Blogs
Sarah Taylor Ellis

Seth Godin

Show Showdown

Stage Rush

StageBuzz.com

Steve Julian

Steve On Broadway

Stu on Broadway

That Sounds Cool
The Art of The Business
The Clyde Fitch Report

The Critical Condition
The DJF
The Fortress of Jason Grote
The Long Tail

The Monthly Manifesto

The Musical Reviewer

The Off-Broadway Alliance

The Randy Rainbow Blahg

The Rob Kozlowski Chicago Theater and Vintage Film Medicine Show

The Savvy Actor
The Stolen Chair Theatre Company

The Teenage Theatre Critic
The Theatre Blog
The Thrifty Theatergoer
The@er

Theater for the Future

Theatre Aficionado at Large
Thoughts from a Los Angeles Theater Producer
Tracking Righteousness
Tynan’s Anger

Upstaged

Usher Nonsense

Visible Soul

A “Will It Recoup” update.

The recoupment of Blithe reminded me that it was time to check in with our “Will It Recoup” contest and see what shows have made money and what shows haven’t.

Do you still have a shot at the iPhone?  Here’s how the horse race to recoupment looks so far:

 

 

SHOW                         DID IT (OR WILL IT) RECOUP?

33 Variations 
              NO
Impressionism            NO
Blithe Spirit                 YES
God of Carnage          YES
Exit The King              NO
Irena’s Vow                 NO
Reasons to be . . .      NO
Mary Stuart                TBD
Norman Conquests    NO

2 recouped shows out of 9 is just above the 1 out of 5 constantly
quoted average.  Come on, Mary Stuart, let’s really beat the averages!  You
can do it!  You just gotta believe and clap your hands real hard (oh
wait, sorry, wrong show).

So that’s how the horses look as they round the bend for the final furlong.  How are you faring in this Fantasy Broadway Investment game?  Would you be making money?  Is there an iPhone 3S in your future?  (I love mine, by the way.  I hate AT&T, but I love my phone.)

Comment below if you think there have been any surprises so far.

Oh, and how did I get this info?  I have my sources . . . and one of them is the NY Times (thanks for doing the leg work, guys).

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