Why you should spend more money on readings.

A consultation client of mine wrote me recently asking where she could find the cheapest rehearsal space around for a reading of her show.

Before I directed her to a list of available spaces, I asked her what the objective of the reading was.

“To find investors!”

“Ok, and who is going to be in it?” I asked.

“That’s the great part. I’ve got these friends of mine that have agreed to read it for me . . . and they’re all non-union so I can save money.”

“Ummm . . . and what was your objective again?”

“To find investors!”

Already there’s a contradiction.

Let’s use another start-up business as an example of what I’m getting at here.

If you were starting a catering company and were preparing a presentation of dishes for potential investors, would you do it in the cheapest dining room and use the cheapest ingredients?

No, you’d do your best to prepare the absolute best dishes possible, with the best china, in the best dining room . . .because you’d want potential investors to see the best you had to offer . . . not the cheapest.

I know developmental capital is hard to come by, believe you me, so presenting ‘first class’ readings can be problematic.  But you have to remember your objectives.

Now if you’re doing a reading for story for arc, dramaturgical issues,  etc., put it in the cheapest space possible, or doing it in your living room for all I care.  It’s important you do that work wherever you can.

But I often advise people to spend more on a investor readings/backers auditions, and add bells and whistles (including nice space, name actors, catering, etc.) to make the material seem even more attractive.

Because if you want to get money, sometimes you gotta spend money.

(Speaking of rehearsal space, we’re adding three new studios to my space in October – check out www.DavenportStudio.com for more info . . . and don’t forget, writers can get it for free.)


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



– 42 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Enter the Sunday Giveaway:  Win 2 tickets to see Million Dollar Quartet Off-Broadway!  Click here.

  • Couldn’t agree more. LOVE that you’re adding more studio space!

  • Ascottfalk says:

    Of course, the other thing to keep in mind is whether the surroundings raise expectations and set a higher bar. I know directors who feel a bare-bones space is better than a fancy space so that audience members realize that they are seeing an unfinished product. Otherwise, unconsciously they may start to expect the polish of a full production, at least in part.j

  • janiska says:

    As an occasional investor, I am turned off by distractions, including an elaborate venue. I am interested in the SHOW.
    A great show doesn’t have to be ‘sold.’ It sells itself. If it touches me, I’m in.

  • Joe Papp Jr. says:

    I also agree. If you’re trying to make am impression, cast well and have a few reharsals. Get it right.
    You only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Jared says:

    I’m a little offended at the suggestion that non-union actors aren’t good enough to show potential investors. Every single Equity actor was non-union at one point. Yes, an investor reading should be done with the best actors available, but that so often has nothing to do with their union status. This also runs counter to an earlier post on this same blog about how relying on star casting is not the best strategy, which then proceeded to list the longest running Broadway shows and mention how few of the featured name stars in their premieres.

  • Bryan David says:

    “Speaking of rehearsal space, we’re adding three new studios to my space in October . . . and don’t forget, writers can get it for free.”
    Can I quote you on that?
    I’m ready to take you upon that offer. Do I have to give you my 1st born child?

  • Sure you can. Click the word “free” in the blog post for details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *