The Sunday Giveaway: A Free Pass to the CTI Weekend!

Happy Sunday!  And I’ve got a Giveaway for you worth almost $500 smackeroos (or the equivalent of one Book of Mormon ticket during Christmas week).

CTI, aka The Commercial Theater Institute for ‘long’, is holding their original and annual (32nd to be exact) 3 Day New York City Weekend workshop entitled, “So You Want To Be A Producer?”

I mean, was there ever a better suited Sunday Giveaway for a Producer?

If you haven’t heard about the weekend before, it’s the most popular form of training for the commercial theater out there.  In 3 days you learn a lot and meet a ton of peeps.  In fact, I met someone at last year’s CTI who I brought on to my Macbeth team as an above-the-title Producer!

And this year, they’re doing something a little different.  In their own words, “For the first time, the weekend will concentrate on the creative development process and include presentations by four new musicals that will be followed by discussion and analysis of their commercial creative potential.”


And for one of you . . . Free!

Here’s how YOU can win a free spot:

There’s no question that the best Producers are those that have all four of the following assets:

1) A creative mind
2) A business mind
3) Great networking skills
4) Access or the ability to raise $$$

My question to you is . . . if you could only pick one of those skills, which one would you choose?  And why?

Comment below your answer and you’ll be entered to win!


(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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– Macbeth starts performances in 14 days.  Get tix.

  • sherry says:

    Access or the ability to raise $$$. Most people with that trait either have themselves or know people with the other traits. Unfortunately creative types and business minds often do not have the capital necessary to launch a world class production. Wow, I would love to have a show on Broadway! I have been thinking about this for decades, even have a couple of scripts. This actually proves my point: I have the inspiration, the creativity, the business model; however, I am lacking the $$$$. I hope I win.

  • Duh…A creative mind! With that you can find the solutions for all the rest of it.

    Also…I’m possibly going to produce my first legit project this summer (A NYMF show) and could really use this weekend to get a leg up on it!!!!

  • Lisa B. says:

    A creative mind. A truly creative mind is a nimble mind. It will find solutions to problems that may not be the most traditional. The truly creative mind would be passionate enough to sell to investors;articulate enough to network to get others on board and be savvy enough to hire the right people to see to the business. Without passionate vision, what is the point of being in the theater business? The creative mind has the IDEAS.

  • Malini says:

    I am planning to go to the CTI three-day weekend seminar so I would love to win this before I register.

    I want to learn 4) Access or the ability to raise $$$ because I am naturally creative, have a knack for business and an extrovert.

    Also, in my opinion, if you know how to raise money, the other three fall into place. If you know how to raise money, then you know what you are creating, how you are going to sell it and how you are going to approach many types of people. That’s been my experience.

  • Ken Offricht says:

    A business mind.

    We are in show business. Show is four letters, business is eight letters, and the more important of the two if one is forced to choose.

    A business mind can put together a solid business plan, marketing plan, and create leverage. Money is attracted on the hope/expectation of a good ROI. Broadway is high-risk, high-reward, and the more soundly a show, project, or product is run, the greater likelihood (not guarantee) of success over the long run. A solid business plan can attract investors or other producers who have access to the $$, even if the business-minded producer is a so-so networker, and is only somewhat creative. This is a small community and everyone is about 1.2 degrees of separation from everyone else. One friend or colleague who believes in you can trump tons of networking.

    Like it or not, we are in show BUSINESS.

  • Great Networking Skills! Why? – because I think the job is mostly putting the right people together for the right project. Networking gives you a Rolodex (really? old-school!) filled with people with different skills and connections and uses…so, you meet all of them, categorize them and then put their skills to great work. Everyone wins!

  • A creative mind can figure out the rest if they are willing to figure it out.

  • Zachary Baer says:

    A creative mind can unlock the greatest of obstacles and raise the curtains on the greatest of stages! A creative producer can challenge the status quo and help move forward not only his/her production but the entire industry and community! Broadway needs more creative minds to improve the way shows raise money, develop content, discover talent, and reach audiences.

    If I may be so bold (or “creative”) to take this risk, I would propose that the MOST IMPORTANT asset of a producer is an elusive fifth trait that is written in invisible ink under the first four assets:

    “5. The ability and desire to take risks.”

    Broadway is a community of dreamers and risk-takers. The most creative minds, the best businesspeople, the strongest networkers, and the fiercest fundraisers are only as strong as the risks they are willing to take.

    Therefore, I take the risk to select the elusive #5 as the most important asset of a producer, and the trait that I strive to conquer every day.

  • Rebecca Black says:

    A creative mind. I believe that most people think that the business plan or finding money are the hardest part of a producer’s job, but there are countless ways to educate yourself in those matters. There is no way to teach taste. You must delve into your creative mind to establish a sense of direction for the show. Anyone can be taught simple formulas to look at WRAPS, calculate budgets, or mingle with investors. In my experience, my creative mind gives me the ideas and tools necessary to explore advertising, marketing, casting, budgets, etc. to make the show a success. I am a young producer trying to learn as much as possible about the business side of this industry, so CTI would allow me to establish a better sense of what I can absorb from others around me. However, without my creativity I would not have even gotten this far. As London producer James Seabright said “Producing isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either.” I agree and would even claim that creative minds sustain possibility for all producers.

  • Zach says:

    Great networking skills for sure. Your network is your greatest asset.

  • Ross Mitchell says:

    If you can only have one of the four traits listed, it has to be great networking skills. Creativity, good management, and sufficient funding are, of course, all necessary components of any successful production. But each on its own is insufficient. A person who can find the people you need to succeed (and put them together) will give you a shot at creating a hit show. A great networker IS such a person. Communication is key in show business…as in the rest of life.

  • Danielle G. says:

    Great Networking Skills:
    Networking is huge! It’s how you initially start off in the theatre business (or really any business). Meeting the right people who can share their knowledge with you is so important at the early stages, as I am at right now. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people, who’ve then connected me with other people. If you network well, I’ve found that people are more than willing to share their rolodex of contacts with you, as they once were in the same starting-out position.

    After you’ve done your initial networking, it doesn’t stop there. Producing theatre is a collaborative effort. Meeting and then bringing the right people on board to work with you is key! You want to bring people on who believe in the project, believe in your abilities to make the project happen, and also believe in their own abilities to successfully contribute to the project. The people who you network well with will remember that and will remember you when it comes time to ask them for so little as a favor or so big as joining the team for your show.

    Great networking skills can also be the key to accessing $$$, or in other words investors! If you network well, people, no matter what job field they are in, may want to support you and your theatre project in the future. You never know how, where, or when you may meet the next investor for a show, so it’s important to have great networking skills so as to make opportunities like this fall into your hands.

  • Jeremy Terry says:

    Great networking skills. Actually, this is really hard to choose, but with great networking skills you would be able to develop connections to raise money, and to learn from others. Each of those four is so important in their own ways though, but I gotta say networking is the one I couldn’t work without.

  • Kyle Abraham says:

    Great networking skills. The theatre community is very close-knit, so you can’t have any remote success without great networking.

  • AJ D'Alfonso says:

    I would have to say “Great networking Skills” because your network becomes your greatest asset. A creative mind, a business mind, or finances will only take you so far. It ultimately comes down to the people you know and have access to. Your ability to bring all types together to benefit the production becomes paramount. If you can not network and collaborate effectively then no amount of money or creative or business mind will help you. You can’t do it alone.

  • Andrea S says:

    A strong business mind, because producers need to take their extraordinary passion for the theatre and apply it in a way that is going to generate success and at the end of it all, revenue.
    A producer with a strong business mind will recognize the need to develop a strong strategy before they even obtain financial backing for a production, and once they do, where and how they will most effectively apply it. They will also understand the value of seeking out and collaborating with the right team and forge strong relationships that will support the ongoing development of the production.
    At the end of the day, a strong business-minded producer will be able to take all of the pieces of the puzzle, including the business-side, creative-side, and relationship-side and fit them together in the most effective way to ultimately create a successful production.

  • Creativity. Unique and simple word. Creativity to start searching for a good theatrical project, discover a new playwright, learn how to plan a budget, find the information and contacts you need, build a dream step by step. Creativity. For the more pragmatic solutions to the most complex problems faced by a producer. Creativity. To discover that with a good idea, enthusiasm, courage and perseverance, it is possible to find support for a theatrical production. Creativity to follow in the footsteps and learn from the experience of other producers whom, without any money, could lift the curtain, sometimes after waiting for years. A concrete example: Margo Lion with ‘Hairspray.’ Nobody believed in her project. More than an obstacle, that was a stimulus for her, and only needed the generous gesture of a producer providing a desk and a phone to give wings to her dream. No money? Bankers would love to be producers but they know they need a clever element: creativity. Not cultivated management skills? There is always a sharp professional trying to support a theater adventure. Creativity will bring fresh air to Broadway and Off Broadway. Creativity. Powerful word.

    Norberto Bogard

  • John P. says:

    Creative. You’ve got to have good instincts in order to know WHAT to produce. The rest, eg, business & et working skills and access to capital – they are important but others can do that if they have faith in you and your sense of what the public wants.

  • Heather says:

    I have to go with a business mind, mostly because someone exhibiting that skill will absolutely have or develop the other three.
    Good networking skills is a primary focus of many business programs in this country – and for good reason! In a world of social media and speed dating, people skills are a must-have.
    Of course, with good networking skills SHOULD come the ability to raise money.
    Finally, a strong business sense is not mutually exclusive from creativity. But for argument’s sake, let’s say they are…someone with good business skills is self aware enough to recognize their shortcomings and they will be sure to work with someone that can bring that talent to the project (that’s arguably in part why we have Artistic Directors and Executive Directors in our bigger nonprofit institutions….a much longer discussion outside the scope of this response).
    Nevertheless, in the end, the reason business skills are important is because when we are talking about producing theater we are not solely talking about a great deal of money (though we most certainly are). We are talking about the livelihoods (and DREAMS!) of dozens, if not hundreds of other people. In the end, as an investor, creative team member, or even in the audience, I would trust a savvy businessman or woman with my investment, career, and time.

  • Awesome giveaway.

    I would definitely say networking ability. Because that way you can go out there and FIND the best creative mind, the best business mind and the $$$$!!!

  • Emma B says:

    Great networking skills! You can find someone with the others!

  • Networking Skills. Human interaction is the most important of those skills. With that, all the other skills come easier.
    Richard Skipper

  • Access to or the ability to raise money trumps them all. If you have the money or skills and experience to raise money for projects (plays, musicals, movies, documentaries, etc.) you can buy the rest. While it helps to have an understanding of the creative and business processes, neither one of those alone will make your projects feasible. I don’t care what project you’re working on, feasibility goes up the more money you have. And if you have money, as they say in the movies: you don’t need no stinking network!

  • Charles Jodoin says:

    Number 4 for sure!
    When all is set and done, one needs money to make the magic happen. With money, I can easily make numbers 1, 2, and 3 happen.

  • David Topchik says:

    A creative mind. No contest. I have an Wharton MBA. I’ve co-written a produced musical. I’d sell the MBA in a flash if I could be a creative genius and really, really create art.

  • Chris says:

    I’m going with Great Networking Skills. If you have these, you can find the right people with the other three skills. (Although my personal “needs work” is “Access or ability to raise $$$”) 😀

  • Ed from CT says:

    All 4 can be inter-related.
    A creative mind can figure ways to attract the other 3.
    A great business mind would be- to me- the least important of the 4 but only by a small amount. Reason is that even a great biz mind might not be able to attract/raise the money. And I know many successful B’way shows that did not have a great business plan but the show was good enough to overcome that.
    Great networking skills?
    Again, this can easily get the other 3 done. This might be the MVS (Most Valuable Skill)of the 4.
    And the ability to raise/attract money, which can be the hardest skill to achieve, will naturally tend to have people with the other 3 skills find you.

  • Marc says:

    Great giveaway! What an exciting prize.

    A business mind, for sure. The only way to harness the power of a creative mind, lead people, network and raise money. Business first to lead and model the rest of the project to make it the best it can be!

  • Charles C. says:

    A creative disciplined mind can enhance any problem solving tasks whether to networking, business plans, or fundraising.

  • Nanda Douglas says:

    Great networking skills because without first finding the other people to make the show, what good will your creativity, business mind or money do? You need a team to fuel a dream.

  • Alan B. says:

    It is always about the money!
    If you have loads of money and/or the ability to raise large sums of money then you can hire the best creative minds, the best business minds and the best networking people.

  • Dave says:

    Networking. That’s what helps you find the people who can do the rest.





  • Julia Quinn says:

    Your own pixie dust. Nothing else will do for greatness.

  • Brian Jones says:

    Definitely a creative mind, and not just in the sense of the creative process of a show. You need to have creative marketing ideas, creative new ways to raise money, creative ways to meet people as get them to love your project, creative casting ideas, etc. without creativity, you risk being run of the mill and not standing out to funding sources, audiences or performers. The key is thinking outside of the box and deviating from the norm so you get the opportunity to blaze a new trail and beat the odds with the ultimate goal of creating an epic piece of theatre and make a profit! I think this holds true for any industry, not just theatre! Love reading your blog!!

  • Sophia L. A. says:

    Definitely a creative mind; a good problem solved can figure everything else out!

  • Dmitry says:

    Great networking skills.

    If you can leverage a network, raising money will eventually come and you will get access to capital from that. Creativity without networking is not enough to allow a production to go. For profit focused ventures a business mind could be great, but since there is a high rate of shows that do not recoup, having people want to “be a part f something” has to do with harnessing the emotion behind a show, that is a part of networking.

  • Ellen Orchid says:

    Access to big money. Wealthy friends with an adventurous spirit. Money to burn. There are people to whom $50K is like $5 to most of us. I have friernds like this. They are good people. They can be convinced to invest. Those are the friends you want. I have the creativity and networking skills. Absolutely. But- bottom line -it’s access to the people with the deep pockets; that’s what you need. Without it the rest doesn’t matter.

  • Cynthia Harrington says:

    A CREATIVE MIND will address all of the other categories. Each show will present different challenges. A creative mind must be open to any and all possibilities and also be willing to change and adapt as new situations arise.

  • Ethan J says:

    It’s about the creative mind and the ability to face and overcome failure.

  • Mark M. says:

    Truly all four skills are essential in succeeding greatly in any endeavor. I have used that combination successfully in other industries and it is when that rare combination comes together that one can change the status quo and pull off something not conceived before.

    Of the four skills I would say the most important and useful skill would be Networking.

    A creative mind helps in overcoming obstacles that those who follow the rules may not get past but without structure and funds the multitude of creative minds are left unheard.

    A business mind is excellent in keeping everything moving forward, on time, on budget (or as close as one could hope) but without the creative purpose and “show” to sell, etc it is essential skill spent on lesser things that move us through our daily routine without purpose or consequence.

    Access and/or ability to raise money is a godsend of a gift that many beautiful projects and well meaning purposes lack to get their voices heard. Yet there are thousands of well to do people with more than enough funds or means that have no purpose or reason to their wealth and no vision to find that purpose on their own.

    It is in Networking that one sees the value of each skill, purpose and need and rapidly pulls the pieces together that others can not perceive and create that core block of Creative, Business Savvy and Funded Team necessary to not only put on a show but Produce a gem that will become the new darling of Broadway and set the standards for the next generation.

    When all or most of those skills lie in one person it makes it that much easier for the team to achieve their collective dream. For even that one person who has it all needs more hands and perspective to make their vision come to reality. So again, the ability to build that team becomes the most important skill.

    I would love the opportunity to participate in the CTI weekend and learn everything it has to offer. My skills have been spent on other industries and I want them now to be focused fully on that which I am passionate about. I would greatly appreciate the time saving aspect that this opportunity would bring for the learning curve on how to apply my experience into this industry and be successful. It would be humbling and an honor to be chosen and absolutely exhilirating.

    Thank you Ken for all of your inspiring insights.

  • Access and ability to raise $$$. I have a pretty good way with the other qualities. But also because money can also afford us the best press agent to get the press to come see it and therefore lift the show to another level.

  • My choice is a “creative mind”,

    Without Creativity I couldn´t have made many projects a reality.

    Of course a business mind and ability to raise money are important, but sometimes performing arts projects are not created keeping in mind $$$$. Maybe you doesn´t have money but with creativity you will find ways to raise money and get your show onstage.

    Also thanks to creativity I have built great relations and improve my networking skills locally and worldwide.

    I hope my get that free CTI, peace and all good from Mexico

  • Andrew says:

    A business mind. All the others are only effective when thought about in the context of the business.

  • Alan Langguth says:

    Ken, I’d have to go with #4 with an asterisk.
    Being in the business I’m in I see a lot of people who have money but don’t have a creative mind, a business mind, are good at networking or a combination of of them. However for many years my wife was a professional fund raiser and she has all three of the traits necessary if you want to be successful. After all a business is only successful if money is coming in, networking is nothing more than advertising (and the best advertising for a business has always been word-of-mouth), and creativity is necessary for even the most basic forms of advertising. So I’m with #4(*) — ability to raise money!

  • Elisa Christina Clayton says:

    I would choose access to or ability to raise money. Afterall, the terms ‘starving artist’ and ‘being born on third base’ weren’t coined for no reason.

    • Elisa Christina Clayton says:

      Oh! How could I forget to mention the adage I hear most in the entertainment industry “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

  • Laura says:

    If I had to pick just one, I’d say a great producer would have the ability to raise money. Why? Because you can tell everyone you want about it, but without money the book and the business plan simply collect dust.

  • Sue B. says:


  • Elizabeth says:

    A creative mind. A business mind is important, as well as networking skills, and of course the money. But when it comes down to it, this project is your baby, it’s a piece of you, and without a creative mind behind it, the project is not going to be something that people can relate to or want to see.

  • Ryan Guhde says:


    The ability to build a community to support your project is essential. No person is an island, it takes a village, a person with friends is the richest.. etc etc .. a theme common in theatre is common for a reason. Sure it’s great to make money and achieve fame but there is NO ONE “successful” who did it on their own. It’s why I got involved in theatre in the first place. This community!

  • Ben Holtzman says:

    A Creative Mind!!

    I want to produce not to just make money, but to bring shows to Broadway that people have never seen (or revive show in a new light). I want people to be wowed with creativity when the leave the theatre of a show that I have produced. I want the shows I produce to leave a legacy as many great producers have. I think great producing has a lot to do with taking creative risks. I have no intentions of producing if it’s not going to inspire me artistically, because if I’m not inspired, how can my audience be?

  • Evan says:

    Ahhh Ken – a Kobayahshi Maru scenario writ large for live theater. And having recently taken one of your excellent Sunday fundraising sessions, I know you know that reference. I believe that one can’t really answer the question in its present form. By that I mean one first should “reprogram” the question by defining, understanding and agreeing to what one means by “business mind”, “creative mind”, “networking skills” and “fundraising skills”.

    To me, a person with a good business mind is one who combines creative thinking and imagination, can firmly and fairly negotiate, has good interpersonal skills, can read a balance sheet and an income and cash flow statement, has a wide frame of reference, and who ultimately can fit all the pieces together in the real world. It is not an individual with an MBA who espouses Ayn Rand because they have been told to, generates business plans from a form and reads only the Wall Street Journal or a trade paper related only to their field.

    A creative mind is not one that just engages in flights of imaginative fancy but one that can (to use Apple’s old grammatically poor slogan) “Think Different” and understand how that thought process can be applied in a practical manner to real world situations.

    Networking skill is not the ability to simply “work a room”, glad hand everyone with a joke, collect business cards and add lots of contacts on LinkedIn, but rather the ability to meet, connect and interact with a range of people with sense of purpose and mutual benefit.

    And finally the ability to raise money is a skill possessed by someone with a product, concept or service that they believe has fundamental value, who can locate investors appropriate for the investment, who can successfully communicate the value to the investors, and who can close the transaction (i.e. a good salesperson in the positive sense). This is not the proverbial fast talking salesperson who can sell an icebox to an eskimo (or a uniform and musical instrument to an unsuspecting Iowan).

    With that “reprogrammed” scenario and acknowledging that, in all fairness, your question requires an answer I will go with “business mind” because I believe that in a good business mind the other three characteristics are inherently and fundamentally integrated.

  • Alina Gutierrez says:

    A creative mind. You might be a great manager, with connections and access to funding, but without creativity, you don’t have a product to present whatsoever. Wouldn’t a creative mind also help you to think of unconventional ways to fund a project, find like-minded people who can share a vision of where a project is headed, and be a creative leader (rather than a manager)? I also feel that even though the show would take place in a commercial setting, you cannot discount creativity. Lewis Hyde, a cultural critic, talks about the concept of “the gift economy” in which he recognizes that the gift (in this case-creativity) enables art, and without creativity, there is no art. Would you really put all your money, and use all your connections on a show that is essentially garbage? Would you put everything into a show that does absolutely nothing for the Broadway industry as an art form other than rein in the megabucks? If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t be a theater producer in the first place. #soapbox

  • Wendy says:

    Creative. It worked for Bialystock and Bloom! They were able to recognize a business opportunity after reading Springtime for Hitler , used an unorthorox method to raise capital and they hired someone in their network as the director: the zany Roger De Bris. And of course, they ended up with a hit 🙂

  • ECP says:

    Unquestionably, a creative mind. This asset will lay the foundation for a successful mix of the other three. Of course, I’d like to be open-minded about this, so attending the CTI weekend might result in a change of heart and mind. (What, he wavers?!)

  • Bob Degus says:

    Hands down, if I could only have one of those four as a skill set, it would have to be Great Networking Skills. The reason is that if you have great networking skills you can find the other three and fill out your team accordingly. Thus by networking, I can find money, a business partner, and a creative team. But if I only have a creative/artistic mind, how will I find money? If I’m just a business man… or if I only have money and no creative sense… Where am I? Probably lost.

    Theatre is a collaborative art, made by lots of people working together. The most important skill to have would be “plays well with others” – thus networking. Theater is made by people and good people are the most important asset to have. How you find good people is through your network.

  • Molly Blau says:

    Creative Mind, for sure!!
    That’s how I got into producing — I am also an actress and writer — and eventually, it just made sense to learn to put the whole thing together. BUT, if I could get away with just depending on my creative mind, boy would I ever!
    You can get away with so much! It’s not cut & dry, black & white. With money, you either have it…or you don’t (if anyone has figured out some way around THAT, please let me know); but creatively, there are infinite solutions to any problem. You can constantly invent solutions and new pathways. I LOVE that.
    That’s how I did well in school. I think back to a very scientific Linguistics class I had. I did not understand MOST of it and could never get through all the reading; but I always opted to write papers instead of take tests, and I thought my way around philosophies, made up my own theories, and the teacher loved it!

  • Brandon says:

    #4. Access to the money is most important in this town, everything else will follow suit

  • Mark S. says:

    From that list, if you had ONLY great networking skills, you would be able to find people to join your team that had all the other skills needed to make the project fly.

  • Margaret Rojahn says:

    This is an easy one for me- networking skills. I’m a big believer in working with people who are smarter than me. Good networking skills would allow me to find those people. If I recognize my own weaknesses, the people I network with will help me find people who have my weakness as their strength.

    • Seriously: glad I found your blog. The writing and analysis is excellent (I can tell you're "middle age" because you know that "there's" isn't the same as "there are," and you know the difference between "then" and "than". Keep up the excellent work).

  • I’d choose to have a creative mind. A truly creative mind is a flexible mind that can do what’s necessary to run the business, build the networks and raise the money. And creativity is a hell of a lot of fun 🙂

  • I’d like to add that if you are really, really good at one of these traits, you’ve got them all. The most brilliant business minds I’ve met were extremely creative, great networkers were very creative and people who were really good at raising money were great networkers, and so on.

  • D. May says:

    Creative, because we:
    1. Are marked with remarkable vision to see how to make a fanciful idea a reality.

    2. Employ sophisticated out-of-the-box-thinking to secure financing, staff, stars…

    3. Are not only inventive but promote creative work.

    4. Tend to stimulate the imagination of others and are usually more pleasurable to work for.

    5. Tend to network with other creative people of different backgrounds and technical skills who share our values.

    6. Devises ingenious advertising campaigns.
    and much, much more.

    • D. May says:

      Above all us creatives have an incredible work ethic and seem to be driven to no end to accomplish each task in solidifying our projects because we believe in them.

  • Kevin Meoak says:

    J. Paul Getty said “I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.” A great networking can bring the creative mind, the business mind, and the money to the table. Like a master chess player, a great networker knows how to make all the pieces work together. Theatre is the most collaborative art form in the world and putting the right people in the room makes all the difference in the world. CTI is great because it does just that.

  • Stephen Edward says:

    The ability to raise funding from investors will mean, by default, that a producer has networking skills, a business mind, and creative judgment. Investors must have confidence that a producer has skills 1, 2 & 3 otherwise they wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) invest; that’s due diligence. The primary creative input will come from the director, chosen by the producer to co-lead the team. So, whether we like it or not, we are The Money Men as sometimes disparagingly described. No capitalization = pipe dream.

  • David says:

    Although I believe you need all 4 traits to be a good producer, given only one choice, I think Creativity is the major key to success, especially in today’s environment. Years ago I would have said the ability to raise money, but I have changed my mind. Here’s why: Several years back I really thought I wanted to be a commercial producer. I was working in NYC theatre, mostly non-profit, and I saw this wave of new Producer from the corporate world taking over. They were able to raise money but didn’t seem to know how to “produce” a show. I kept thinking the only thing you need to do is have money to be a producer. But that was before the economic crash changed things. Now that the hedge funders have had to find job, there seems to be a new, smarter group of producers who have to be more creative than just connected to cash. You can have all the money but if don’t have creative minds to navigate the new paradigm in commercial theatre your show may not open/run or be very good.

  • Stephanie says:

    Networking skills.

    In my mind, the producer’s job is to bring together a team that will bring a vision to life. The team must share this vision, and the team must have all of the right skills to execute the vision. A producer without a creative mind, or even a business mind or access to funds, can network her way to those people who have those skills. She can bring in a finance consultant or brilliant director, but not if she is incapable of making the right relationships.

    Ultimately, it is up to a producer to bring together people she believes in. And help these people work as a cohesive unit towards a unified goal.

    (I am terribly excited about the CTI workshop and hope that I can go anyway! Even though I’m an out-of-towner!)

  • Rebecca says:

    All four of these skills are what makes a sucessful producer, I would say that the most important skill is the ability to be a “strong networker”. This skill is important because with it you can find a creative mind or a busniess mind if needed and it gives you the ability to get the funds needed to produce a sucessful show. By making true and real connections with the people around you, you begin to understand the pluse of the world we live in so not only does this skill allow you to gain what you many need in order to produce a show it allows you to be able to understand if this show should be produced at this time. Theater at it’s must truthful orgin is about creating a relationship between performer and audience so that a story can be expirenced toegther, same goes for the relationship between producer and audience and by being a strong networker you know how to form those relationships.

  • Valarie says:

    Access or the ability to raise CASH!
    Knowing who to ask and how to ask for someone to invest in you and your vision would be the most producer like asset to acquire and have. Once a person has gotten to this point, hopefully the other three traits are what led this person to and produce a show. The cash should come if the other three “assets” are what your investors are investing in.

  • Melanie says:

    A creative mind.
    After all, a show is a series of obstacles and their respective solutions. Personally I would rather have someone who can contribute “creative” solutions for those obstacles.

  • lonnie cooper says:

    Access to $$$, I have the other three…

  • Sue says:

    1) A creative mind is essential to push the idea envelope.
    2) A business mind is required to know how to cut losses or invest profits.
    3) Great networking skills are of immeasurable worth in this small-world business.
    4) Access to or the ability to raise $$$ lots of money is required to get the job done.

    I choose:
    5) All of the above

  • Allie says:

    Great networking skills. In this business, it is all about the people you know and if you are able to communicate with them. If you have great connections and know how to pitch an idea to them and build relationships, it will ensure that you have deeper roots in the industry and more people will want to work with you.

  • Stephen Buckle says:

    Access to $$$

    In modern theatre the skills of creative judgement, networking and business are pre-requisites to raising funds therefore investors will have evaluated these aspects of a producer’s reputation prior to investment.  Creativity resides, to a greater or lesser degree, within all of us and is not an exclusive skill, haven’t you noticed that it’s always the accounts dancing at parties ={;-o)? The first and last responsibilities of a producer is capitalization and protecting investors’ interests so access to funding wins the producer’s day, the driving seat, and the bottom line. 

  • Stephen Buckle says:

    Access to $$$: Apologies for typo above “..always the accountants dancing at parties”. Perhaps dancing with joy since they are never short of funds!

  • Diana says:

    I would want to have great networking skills. With great networking skills one can find the creative people and find the highly trained financial people and find the people who have the money and the connections to their connections ,to their connections ,To their connections onto infinity!!!!!As you see it all starts with networking and the network Process will achieve the finished product ….Through connecting The Creative Forces, financially astute ,and Skilled Business people by networking.

  • Jenny Prada says:

    Networking is important for a producer as the stage for an actor.Where you will show your creativity? in front of the right people and in the right “scenario” and How to reach it ?If you can connect with people ,obviously you are creative and have management skills because the first thing like a producer you have to put in the market is you,the producer needs to be always one step ahead. Your business sense will take you to decide with whom to use your time and find the investors for your projects .A great networking is not only a group of friends ,they are your “partners in crime” for that is vital that this group have to be large ,diverse and willing to hear you.Without networking there is no chance to show your creativity = NO bussines ,No business=Zero investors then no producer.Put yourself in front of the right people without fear and a a wide smile and the doors will be open my dear producer.

  • A creative mind. Without that the other skills could help you build a beautiful expensive frame around a crappy painting.

  • Wendy Leopold says:

    Right now the only thing between a lot of people (including me) and their name on top of that Broadway marquee is good ole’ fashioned “moolah.” So my first inclination is the obvious answer- it’s all about “Show Me the Money”! Until I really think about it- about what brought me success in my life. It’s everything on your list + passion. An example: Years ago I became an Event florist. I had a great design eye, decent business skills and absolutely no experience. But, I knew I could sell. With beginner’s luck on my side, I walked into the swankest hotel in Phoenix, The Arizona Biltmore, and left with my first account. Everyone told me I was crazy. But I still remember thinking that I can’t be that crazy if I already got the order! I would learn the rest and figure it out. I spent six sleepless months but I didn’t go into the red. Creativity made my sales grow, but it was my business skills and spirit that kept me in business. I knew zilch, but I had the ability to choose the right experts to work with. I think these same skills apply to successful producing.

    A “good” producer has excellent business acumen which in theater must include marketing and networking skills. A “great” producer has all of the above – plus the gift of creativity. And, a great producer has vision. A great producer recognizes or creates projects that are worthy AND marketable. They are good at selling themselves, because it’s personal- they are their projects. Still, they know that well-constructed business plans, budgets, and marketing will impress investors and increase their investors’ chances for success. And success means re-investing. And that brings us right back to the “moolah”- which I’m working on, because I think I could get a handle on the rest! And I would love to win the CTI contest! Thanks for offering such a great prize!

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