My best advice for people who want to start producing.

I was recently asked to provide a quote for a new book about people interested in pursuing a career in the arts, and specifically producing.  The author wanted a pearl for wannabe producers on how to get started in this biz, where $10mm is now a small Broadway musical, and so many shows seem to be about which Hollywood stars you know and can get to hang out with you for 14 weeks.

I typed out a quick quote, and then realized that I’ve never addressed it on my blog, so I wanted to share it with you as well, since I know so many of you are upcoming and/or currently producing at all sorts of levels around the world.

So here’s my attempt at a nugget:

My advice for people just starting out is to . . . start.  Producing sounds like a big, fat, scary word.  But producing really just means getting a group of people together and getting a show on.  Maybe that’s Broadway, maybe that’s Off-Broadway, or maybe that’s in your living room.  It doesn’t take millions of dollars to produce something.  Produce whatever you can produce.  But produce it today.

So now that I’ve given you my talking point of the day, take a moment, all you Producers-to-be, decide what it is you want to start producing today, and comment about it below.  Putting it down publicly, and on this blog, will help you commit to getting it done.

And before you can even help it, you’ll be a Producer.

 

Need more tips on producing your project?  Click here to learn the three fundamentals of producing.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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Comments
  • Caskey says:

    I agree entirely. I am wrapping up producing my web series (www.fatguyshow.com) and I made tons of mistakes, but for every mistake, I learned about five more things. Now, preparing to do a second season will be so much easier. I wouldn’t know what I know if I hadn’t tried in the first place.

  • Rita says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. Have you been eavesdropping on my week? Thanks for the push.

  • Matt says:

    I self produced a developmental production of my show Flambé Dreams (www.flambedreams.com) last year at the Iguana Restaurant and Dance Lounge. And I’m determined to mount another production of Flambé Dreams at downstairs at Sofia’s in 2012. You heard me world!

  • Silhouettes says:

    We are the Silhouettes and we just finished second on America’s Got Talent. We are interested in producing a full length theater show of our work. We have been following your blog and learning so much from you. Our dream is to have a show in New York!

  • Sola says:

    I love reading your posts but this one really made me immediately want to respond! I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the “Godspell” family as a ‘mini’ producer thanks to you and I don’t want to just stop there! My goal is to produce a play I wrote about atrocities that occurred in a West African country because of dictatorship. I did a test run as a undergrad in college, received positive response & funding, and even an award from my school for the play but I’ve always wanted to take it further! This blog has given me the mental push I need to tweak my play and get it out there somehow! Thanks Ken! 🙂

  • Jack Dyville says:

    Thanks Ken. Yep, I’ve been doing exactly that for years now – mainly out of NYC, but 3 yrs ago I started FRIENDS ALWAYS CREATING THEATRE (FACT). We have been successful in the fact that we have attratced more than 100 performers to be involved with us and our 5 major productions each year, plus our monthly Reading Series WORDS & WINE (10 Minute Plays) — we do ALL Original works and our Invitational Playwrights Forum meets bi-monthly to work on full length works and One-Act Plays!!!
    We have been called OFF OFF BROADWAYS BUSIEST LITTLE THEATRE COMPANY!
    My REAL CONCERN NOW is How to get people such as yourself in to see OUR SHOWS? We do some marvelous work. I am starting now to INVITE people, backers, producers to see my latest full length comedy/drama, “UMBRELLAS IN THE SHOW” a two person play that is develping to great acclaim. It has been produced in regional/community theatre and I plan to PRODUCE it along with the help of MANHATTAN THEATRE SOURCE in April 2012 but will be having several Invited Audiences into see Readings prior to this as I continue to tweak. It is worthy of a view as are the two outstanding performers LUCY SORLUCCO, (Cabaret & Phatom – National/International Tours) and Gus Ferrari. Thanks JACK DYVILLE
    Playwright/Producer

  • Margie Goldsmith says:

    CONGRATULATIONS on today’s WSJ article about the set — AND they even mentioned you — twice!

  • Ken-thanks for this message. Again, tremendously helpful and inspiring. My new theatre company, 624 Productions (www.624-productions.com) is currently working on producing our first show(Two Sides of Love) @ the Roy Aries Off Broadway Theatre for limited run: December 15, 16 & 17. I guess my biggest challenge is marketing the show successfully on a limited budget as well as getting someone to review the show. My marketing person has a great plan to utilize the social media. Does anyone have any other way to get the word out?

  • Molly says:

    Thank you so much. For your blog, the encouragement, for the work you produce. I am an aspiring theatre producer and my dream is to help the amazing talented people that I meet make their work a reality. I am currently bandying about the idea of producing my first show – a site specific piece that takes place in an apartment and revolves around a poker game. I am also helping a friend with taking a show to Edinburgh in 2013 and another friend in Glasgow to bring his show to New York. I feel that I need some hands on experience and am looking to volunteer or intern in an office to get some experience (need a hand around the office?) Thanks again for the wise words!

  • Roy says:

    Ken,
    I have actually already started! My company, Arouet (http://arouet.us) produced two shows earlier year, and even got some very nice reviews for our second show (and some not very nice ones, which we took advantage of and used in the marketing campaign.) I am now planning two new plays for next year, and the buzz has already started. Thank you for your daily blog, it has been influential in getting me started and continuing the work.

  • Leah says:

    Our new theatre company are in the early stages of our first production, (www.theatreiscool.com) and your advice is spot on…we threw around so many ideas, and they all seemed so big and scary (still do!) but just making the small step of announcing it on our website and twitter made it real, and off we go! Weeeeeeeeeee!

  • Emily says:

    I’m afraid critics will not review a show that only has three performances. If getting reviews is one of your goals, you’ll need to do at least a three week run.

  • Derek says:

    Thank you Ken for this amazing, profound and utterly useful advice! As always, it is quite sound (the way the best advice is.) I would never have started producing theater with my company (The Stabbernauts – all of our plays involving either stabbing or astronauts, and occasionally both) if I hadn’t just taken that first step! (Or stab, if you will! And we do!)
    When my long time friend Derek and I were out of college, we were both scared to make the move to the city. We’d had some success in the Austin scene with our series of “Shakespeare on Bikes” but destiny called when Derek got laid off. Neither of us had any money, and so we had nothing to lose. We hopped that first bus to New York, got kicked off of that bus, and then hopped the next. We were young, inebriated, and full of dreams.
    The first night we were in New York, we saw this guy with a knife on the subway and we’re like – yes! That’s our theater! I had a sci-fi script I had been tinkering with since college called MOON MEN – a sort of send-up of B-movies with an ironic sensibility and a dash of reformation comedy-esque misunderstandings / pace. I revised it, added more stabbing, and changed the title to MOON MEN WITH KNIVES. We cast it in our living room, largely from strangers we had met at bars. The reviews, were astounding. Some quotes:
    “There are [astronauts] and they stab people.”
    “This play [is] bizzare… [and] fun[!]”
    “A play that could result in a lost eye, if you aren’t quick and are sitting in the front row.”
    We didn’t let this praise make our heads swell (well, not much LOL.) We continued to work together, and created such off off classics as ORBIT OF BLOOD… ALIEN VS PREDATOR VS JACK THE RIPPER… JACK BE STABBED… AN ASTRONAUT BLEEDS… THE BLADE IN THE ROCKET FUEL… MISTY SONGS AND SOMBER LOCKS… THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH AND THEN PROCEEDED TO STAB EVERYONE… LOOSE LIPS CAUSE SHUTTLE CRASHES… MARS ATTACKS: THE MUSICAL: THE OPERA, and of course, THE THROAT SLITTING TRILOGY (NIGHT OF SLIT THROATS… SLIT THROATS, CUT DREAMS… SLIT THROATS: THIRD MOVEMENT…)
    We’re currently working on site specific installation piece a la SLEEP NO MORE, only it will be in a really tight, confined area (like a spaceship) It will feature six actors and one audience member at a time. You have to figure out who the murderer is before the murderer stabs you. There is dancing.
    If you’re ever interested, Ken, I have script called KNIFE that we’ve been tinkering with. It is about a man who falls in love with a knife – but he sees the knife as a person. And then it turns out that all people are actually inanimate objects, and he’s the last person on Earth. The last act is the first one, only done as a solo piece with the protagonist interacting with the literal objects that the other people represent. Then he stabs himself. It is going to be amazing, and it can’t done until you do it! You know?

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