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When should I invite Producers to see my show?

According to dictionary.com, the definition of ‘Show’ is “to cause or allow to be seen” which is why it’s only natural that if you’ve been developing a show, you want people to see it.

But if you’ve got a new play, a new musical or a new disturbing performance art piece that would be banned in 16 countries, you’ll eventually need to ask yourself, “When do I invite producers to see my show?”

That’s exactly what Tim, a young, up-and-coming Producer from out West asked me last weekend via email.

It was one of those questions that I was irritated that I got.

Why?  Because frankly, I should have answered this on the blog a long time ago! I shouldn’t have had to wait to get prodded by Tim.

Ok, putting my Catholic guilt aside for a sec . . . here’s what I told him:

Knowing when to invite Producers, partners, investors, potential creative partners, etc. to a reading is tricky.  You don’t want to invite people too early, because it’ll be hard to get them back if the reading flops, no matter how much work you do on the piece.  You can’t wait too long to invite them, because the best way to raise money, attract partners, etc. is by showing off a sample of your product.

So how do you know?

Let me ask you this . . . How do you know when you’re going to take a boyfriend or girlfriend home to meet your parents?

The feeling is the same.

You wouldn’t bring anyone home if you didn’t think there was at least the slight possibility of something serious developing, right?  Sure, you might be nervous that your parents might not like your new significant other, but you wouldn’t put you (or your Other) through that stress unless that person and that relationship were important enough to you, and unless you felt it could move forward.

It’s the same for shows.

Do not invite people to your show, if their approval may determine your show’s future, until you’re confident in what you’re presenting.  Because, unfortunately, Parents and Producers are similar.  They judge a lot based on first impressions and initial instincts.

Which means, you may not get a second shot at impressing them.

So unless you plan on eloping, you’re better off waiting until you feel good about what you’re doing, or if you can’t judge for yourself, ask an objective third party for their thoughts on your show before you invite the world.

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