What do soaps and subscription houses have in common?

Barring major breaking news, you can count on your soap to be on every day.  Same time, same channel (and same story line).

Barring a major financial crisis (!), you can count on your non-profit to produce X number of shows a year as well.

They’ve put themselves on a schedule and by doing so, they become internally committed to delivering product (and at the same time trained their audience).

Or what about sitcoms?  When a sitcom is green-lit, the team is committed to writing, casting and producing 13 of those shows.  The first may be awful, the second may be great, the third may suck wind, the fourth may be so-so.

But they are on a schedule so they keep on creating . . . because their calendar tells them too.  And their hope is that the season is fantastic.

Commercial theater producing is hard, because we hire ourselves. No one green-lights and pays for 13 shows in a row, or five episodes a week, or even five shows a year.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put ourselves on some kind of similar schedule.

Successful commercial theater producers, like successful sitcom writers or successful stock pickers, are about the long term.  Sure, one great episode or one great stock is fantastic . . . but what you want is much more than that.

To get it, you have to be willing to have an awful show, a great show, a suck-wind show, a so-so show, and so on.

So if you’re a producer, tell yourself you’re going to do a show a year.

If you’re a writer, tell yourself you’re to write a play year, or a scene a week.


If you’re an actor, tell yourself you’re going to audition for five projects a week.

Put yourself on a schedule, because on this side of the biz, no one else is going to do it for you.

And believe that over the long haul, you’ll have one hell of a season.

  • Ian says:

    Network TV show orders are typically 26 episodes, LOST is at 18 due to their ABC scheduling contract, but it’s typically only cable series and primarily those on premium channels that only order 13 episodes.
    Just saying 🙂

  • I was just going down this line of thought the other day while convincing myself I should, in fact, put up some more shows in the next year… even as exhausting as the last one was.

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