A Producer’s greatest mistake.

“Can you repeat that?” I asked, even though I had heard the question perfectly clear.

“What’s the biggest mistake a Producer or an Entrepreneur can make?”

I think the reason I didn’t want to answer the interviewer’s question right away was that just the thought of making a mistake makes me twitch like a pre-teen who just found out that Wickedwas all sold out.

Producers, Entrepreneurs, and Business Starters of all types have very similar personalities.  Most are Type A, a little OCD, and without a doubt, all have the perfectionist gene.

And that means making mistakes ain’t something any one of us likes to do.

Ironically, that part of our DNA contributes directly to our greatest flaw. And that’s why I answered this interviewer’s question by saying . ..

“The greatest mistake a Producer can make is never launching their project.”

If you’re reading this blog, then I bet you’ve got a ton of great ideas.  Ideas for shows, ideas for movies, ideas for apps, and so on.  This city, nope, this world is filled with people with ideas . . . and great ones.  What separates people from “Producers” are the people that make those ideas happen.

Too many Producers and Entrepreneurs I know never get their projects going in the first place, usually out of fear of making a mistake, and failing.

But that’s where you have to check that perfectionist nature of yours at the door.  Because you’ll never be a Producer if you don’t produce something.  And hey, even if it bombs, you’re still a Producer.   And you’ll never be a screenwriter until you finish that screenplay.  Or be a business owner until the doors open on your business, whether or not the doors close the next day.

Some of you may even be halfway down the road with your show, your film or your business.  But you’re afraid it’s not quite good enough yet, so you try to hold off on delivering your baby.  Don’t.  Set that opening date, that shooting date, and get that sucker out there in the world.  I’ll give you some incentive . . . completing and launching one idea, will allow you to get to the next.

And hey – if this blog speaks to you, you’re not alone.  I freeze up when I’m doing something new all the time.

Want an example?

Here goes – I’ve been working on writing a book on how to raise money for shows for over a year.  Now sure, I’ve written over 4,000 blog posts which could be 50+ books, but something about saying I’m “writing a book” just freaks me the #$&% out.  So I’ve stalled on my journey towards completion several times.  In fact, I’m still not done!

So here’s how I’m going to force myself to complete it, and here’s a tip on how you can do the same with your project.

I’m going to announce its “opening date.”   That’s right, I’m going to launch it publicly before its done to force me to finish it.

Check this new website out . . . you’ll see that I announce the book (it’s really a course because it includes a ton of audio visual materials as well) and its premiere date –  and only you know the secret that I haven’t finished it yet.  But now that I’ve made it public, now that I’ve put it out in the world, I’ll use that OCD nature to my advantage and make sure it’s ready to ship for you on the day I promised.

See that?  I tricked myself, which is one of my secrets of getting my shows off the ground.

(This book launch thing about raising money is 101% real – check it out here and sign up to be the first to get it and save 10%:  How To Raise Money For Your Show.)

  • Jenna says:

    Just found this, wasn’t sure if you had seen it: http://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/tony-nominee-kelli-ohara-refuses-to-burn-bridges

    I’m buying my copy of the soundtrack now. Wish it had run long enough for me to get to New York and see it.

  • Zach says:

    I appreciate your candor about the difficulty of completing your book, or any big creative project without a deadline for that matter. It’s good to know that even someone as successful as you can be humble about mistakes, though you are a remarkably prolific person. I know I’ve struggled plenty with procrastination, and setting due dates helps keep accountability!

  • Dana Vance says:

    Dear Ken!
    I love your blog…it’s inspiring…I had my third reading of my new play with music called “The Bitches of Ditmas Park”..(it’s about dogs!) and it went great…now I’m writing more music for the show and I can’t tell you how reading your blog keeps me working everyday and knowing that to get this done is to get it UP!! And by hook or crook, I’m going to do just that! Thanks so much for pushing all of us!! Best, Dana Vance

  • Cedric Jones says:

    Thank you so much for posting that! It is so true! I had been working on my poetry collection for months, always finding an excuse not to put it out there. It was only after I posted a publication date on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, that I was able to focus and get it done. Now, We Whisper and Other Poems is out there, and I am so happy!

  • George Rady says:

    All perfectly valid and sound advice (esp about the part about – dropping the “perfectionist” concern and just getting yoyr work out there and see what happens!!!)

    One caveat – as a person from an Investment background who has seen those 19 outta 20 business… fail.

    Have a very clear Idea/Plan/Strategy about “How am I going to put those Butts in Seats”

    In NYC the competition for the Entertainment $$$ is fierce… better have a concept of why a person – who goes to the theatre – will go to ‘THIS’ production/performance… as opposed to an other… OR – if you feel You can think a bit outta the box – why might a person Who Does NOT ordinarily go to the Theatre – come see MY Production/Performance.

    Wish/Hoping/Praying people show up is not a Plan… it’s like opening a Hamburger Shop that is NOT a franchise.


Leave a Reply

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