When you hire a captain, should you get his shipmates as well?
An interesting question recently came up when I was shopping for a director for a new piece: is it better to hire a director that comes with a team of designers, actors, etc. that he or she always works with, or do you want a director that puts together a new team based on the project itself, and based on input from the authors, producer, etc?
Most directors do have their favorite peeps, and for good reason. By working together often, they develop a shorthand that helps speed up the process. Since their relationship has been already established, there is no awkward getting-to-know-you period. The piece can benefit artistically and financially from such a rapport-y relationship.
But what if the team speaks the same language . . . but they’re going to a different country? If the team isn’t the perfectly suited team for a project, do you lose more than you gain by trying to force them to paint with colors that aren’t in their palette?
In other words (and without the metaphors) if you want to hire a classic play director to direct a contemporary musical, is it good to bring all of his people to the party, even if they’ve never been involved with a musical before?
Unfortunately, there is no clear cut right or wrong answer. As with most things in our biz, it depends on the project.
But the question has to be asked while you’re searching for the captain of your ship, because most captains want to pick who’s sleeping on their deck.
And it all comes down to how much you trust that your captain is going to get you where you’re going.
If you don’t trust them, well, you shouldn’t even push off from the dock.