How to Find A Producer and Get Produced (even in a Pandemic).

Since the day my blog went live almost 13 years (!!!) ago, the absolute most asked question I get is, “How do I find a Producer for my show?”

It took a pandemic to realize that although I have been blogging for those 13 years, podcasting for 5+, and have done umpteen webinars as part of TheTheaterMakersStudio, I have never answered this question directly.

So, I thought it was about time I did.

This Thursday, September 24th, I’m going to teach you THE strategy on how to find a producer for your play or musical.

It’s the same plan I used when I was just starting out.  And, well, it worked!  🙂  Over the years, I’ve shaped it to fit the times (and the technology) by observing and talking to the most successful TheaterMakers in our biz.

I also learned by a whole lot of practice in producing my own shows and looking for people to produce them with me.  Over the last 15 years and 30 or so shows, I have seen what worked and what didn’t (and I’ll show you how to avoid the mistakes I made to save yourself a lot of time and money.)

At the end of the webinar, you’ll end up with a blueprint that you can apply to your search for a Producer . . . even in a pandemic.  No BS.  A simple action plan that if you follow, will work.  Because it has worked for me and a whole lot of people just like you.

The webinar is free.  And it’s THIS Thursday night at 8 PM ET.  You can register here.

In it, you’ll learn:

  • The one thing you can do to attract Producers that most TheaterMakers aren’t doing.  (Yep, easy way to get ahead of the competition here.)
  • How to insure you can green light any project you want, whenever you want.
  • The two things Producers WON’T tell you.
  • Case Studies of other Tony Award Winners who found Producers and what you can learn from their path.
  • Don’t need a Producer?  The same strategy applies for finding an agent, investors, or whoever you need.

And whatever I don’t cover about how to find a Producer for your show, I’ll answer in a Q&A at the end.

So if you’ve been looking for a Producer, or want to get your show or musical up on a stage, whether you’re at the beginning of your career, or whether you’ve been working on a show for 7 or more years, this is the webinar for you.

It’ll help.  No question.  And it costs nothing, so if getting produced is what you want, then don’t be a dabbler, be a doer, and sign up.

And after, you never have to hear from me or talk to me ever again.  Just give me a thank you in your Tony speech.  That’s all I ask.

Because if it gets you produced, that’s all I care about it.  You’ll help me with my 5000×2025 mission, AND you’ll get some more theater out in the world, which will help make the world a better place.

See you LIVE this Thursday at 8 PM!  Sign up here!

Why James Altucher and Jerry Seinfeld are both wrong about NYC.

If you’ve been watching your social meed-feed, then you know all about the war or words between Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Investor/Chess Player/Sometimes Comedian, James Altucher.
 
If you don’t, then let me catch you up.
 
In this article, James Altucher, said that “NYC is dead forever.”
 
In this article, Jerry Seinfeld called James a “putz.”
 
Pretty much sums it up.
 
So I’m here to break up the fight and say, “Guys, guys . . . are you high or something?  Cuz you’re both wrong “
 
I’ve followed James Altucher for years. I read his book, attended his events, and even purchased his high-priced investing newsletter for his stock tips (he was a successful Hedge Fund Manager before all this).
 
In fact, I found him so inspiring that I invited him and his kids to the opening of Spring Awakening in 2015. He came, had a blast and told me I had “the funnest job in the world.”
 
So, even though those stock-pickin’ tips I paid for didn’t work out (!), I was a fan.
 
But when I read his vir-article, when he declared NYC a zombie town that would never come back to life, I wanted to punch him in his hairdo.  
The article is classic Altucher. It’s smart.  It has a lot of words.  And it has a hedge-funders-like-logic. It’s like he took a lot of Facebook messages and bandwidth statistics and plugged them into his own personal algorithm and beep-bop-boop . . . out popped a message that said, “Sell NYC. SELL. SELL. SELL.” 
And that’s when James moved to Florida.
Now I love me some data.  But there are times when all these statistics and trends and algorithms are just plain wrong.  (Anyone remember the last presidential election?).
This IS one of those times.  
NYC is experiencing one of the toughest periods in its history, no doubt.  And yes, Times Square reminds me of when I first moved here in 1991.  But back then I never could have imagined that it would be the place it became pre-pandemic, with glitzy retail, Disney in residency, and so many tourists you couldn’t walk down the street.
But that’s what happened.  And it will happen again.
Yes, lots of people are leaving NYC.  Many of them artists, as I wrote about here, who have no choice.  And this forced migration is one of the great tragedies of this pandemic.
But the people that are leaving just to leave, and not because they have to?  The people like James?  They’re doing so out of fear.  And that’s never a good time to sell anything.
In fact, to quote a hero from James’s investing world . . .
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett.

I understand the fear.  Believe me. I’ve had it.  I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I looked at each other and said, “Maybe we should head to the suburbs.  Or another state!”

The facts are,  I could commute from anywhere when Broadway got back up and running.

But that would be me making a quick decision based on a short-ish term problem.  It’d be like a drug.  It would make me feel good in the short term because I was doing something, but long term?

What’s interesting is when people make these decisions, they then have to DEFEND their position to everyone they know.  It’s the psychological principles of “commitment” and “consistency” (beautifully described in this book by Dr. Robert Cialdini.) Once people make a choice, they double down on it, to make themselves feel more secure in their own decision (which is evidence that they weren’t secure about the decision in the first place). 

And, that, my friends, is what we’re seeing in James’ article.
See James moved to Florida.  So of course he is going to claim that NYC is dead.  Because if it wasn’t dead, it would be like he left a dying friend on the battlefield. . . he’d never forgive himself.  (Seinfeld was right when he wrote, “Imagine being in a war with this guy by your side.”)
But I don’t want to be too hard on James.  Because again, I don’t know a NYer who has been stuck in the city since March who hasn’t thought of getting out.  So his feelings are valid.  I forgive him of those.   
 
What I couldn’t forgive James is how his article is the antithesis of the basic tenet of his teaching. And why I became semi-obsessed with him in the first place.
 
I’m talking about his 1% rule.
 
James believes that you can accomplish any goal you want in life by trying to get better at that thing by just 1% a day.
 
Improve a paltry 1%. every day over a year and you will crush your goals.  
And it works.
 
And that’s what is going to happen to NYC.  
It’s not going to get better all at once.  It’s not going to get better by next year.  But over time, watch what it becomes.
 
So for James Altucher to say that “I give up on NYC” is the opposite of the positivity he preaches that has attracted so many people to his various businesses!
 
So why did he write that article? Is the 1% rule bull-puckey?
 
No, he wrote that article because . . .
 
1.  He needed to defend his move per the “commitment/consistency” principle we discussed above.
2.  He wanted to get press.
James is a genius. And he knows how to get attention.  And he succeeded. Big time.
 
Enter Jerry Seinfeld.
 
Jerry, I’m a massive fan of yours as well. And it wasn’t your TV show that did it. It was the movie Comedian, which showed us all how hard you are willing to work at your craft. The movie is a great reminder that everyone, including Jerry Seinfeld, feels like an imposter every once in a while.  
 
But the follow-up article that James wrote to your article (I told you James knew how to get attention . . . and keep the attention going) was right.  You’re living a very cushy Hamptons life right now.  And it ain’t so cushy here in Times Square, where today I witnessed a drug deal in front of one of our famed Broadway Theaters.
 
If you want NYC back, Jerry, you can’t just act like Peter Pan and believe it will come back. You have to be back. 
We need you here.  We need you walking through Times Square (with a mask!) to give some of the few tourists a reminder that famous people live in our city.  We need you to ride our subway if we expect other people to.  We need you to help us get aid from the federal, state and city governments. The forced migration can be stopped with the right stimulus . . . so stop calling Altucher names and start calling Congress People.  They will answer your calls, not mine.
 
No, James and Jerry, NYC isn’t dead.
 
But it is sick. Very sick. And sure, maybe some might even say it’s dying.
 
But if your best friend in the world was dying, what would you do . . . sit back and watch? Go on vacation? Only green-light treatments that have been done before?  Yell from the top of your lungs and say, “My friend is dying” and then head to a beach?
 
No. You’d rant and rave for help. You’d try every experimental drug and treatment on the market. You’d do ANYTHING you can to keep your friend alive.
 
So if you love this city like I both know you do, give each other an e-kiss and make up.  Because together you two could do more good than any of our politicians ever could.
– – – – –
If you’re interested in more conversations about what the future of the theater is going to look like in our fair and non-dead city, click here.
 
 

Tonight on the Livestream: The Olivier (and More) Award winning Author of The Inheritance, Matthew Lopez

Let’s just cut straight to it:

My guest on tonight’s livestream wrote a play called “The best American play of the century.”

That’s right, Matthew sat down to write “The Great American Play,” and actually did it.

If that isn’t enough to get you to tune in, well, I don’t know what else I can say.

Except that The Inheritance won the Olivier Award, the Drama Desk, Evening Standard, Outer Critics and just about every other award out there for plays. Except for The Tony, that is . . . and that’s only because the Tonys never happened! (But they will soon enough and guess who is a favorite?)

Tonight we’re going to find out how this rollercoaster of a year has affected Matthew Lopez, what he’s working on next, and what advice he has to emerging writers who have ideas for 8-hour, 2-part dramas.

You can watch TONIGHT, Tuesday, September 14th at 8 PM ET on my Facebook, on my Twitter, or on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube Channel.

Set a reminder here!
And next week, it’s Will Swenson (Waitress, Les Miserables, Hair)!

– – – – –

You can catch me every TUESDAY at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT).

To learn more about our guests and to support The Actors Fund, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

About Ben Brantley: Something I Never Thought I’d See or Say.

Producers, Actors, Directors have been whispering about it for years . . .
 
When will Ben Brantley give up his post?
 
Some have asked it with urgent desperation, as if a new Times critic would be the end to their theatrical drought. (It’s so easy to blame critics when things don’t go your way – but negative reviews and/or positive reviews are never what decides your fate.)
 
I asked Ben the same question when he appeared on my podcast. Even back then, he had already occupied his important theater seat longer than most.
 
“How long will you keep doing this?”
 
His answer? He told me he was going to keep doing it and saw no reason to stop.
 
And I remember thinking . . . “Good.”
 
I know, I know, that response surprised even me, but keep reading.
 
Last week, Ben finally saw a reason to stop. On Friday, the Times announced he was stepping down from his post as the Chief Drama Critic for the New York Times. Another casualty of the pandemic.
 
Ben was a tough critic, no question. But I’m going to miss him, something I never thought I’d even think, never mind say.
 
Because I learned something on that podcast he did with me. We had something in common. We both loved theater more than anything.
 
It’s common to think critics hate the theater, since they wake up in the morning and 50% of the time (or more), their duty is to be negative.
 
And for some, it’s obvious that the love of tearing people down gets them out of bed.
 
But for Ben, it was clear that what drove him to rant or rave was because he loved the theater so @#$%ing much. He celebrated when a show got the fanboy in him to jump up and down. And he sliced a show to shreds when he wanted more for the art. (And he was often right! Including on some of my shows!) It was tough love. I often saw his negative reviews like a conversation with a boss or parent or friend who was critiquing you only because they knew you could do better. And he SO wanted that!
 
And when he loved something – boy oh boy could you see the joy on his face . . . just by reading what he wrote! (And even if you weren’t a fan of his taste, no one can argue what a writer he was. He turned a phrase as well as any dramatist I know.)
 
My love and respect for what he did inspired me to create a website all around him! (Which I sold years ago because I couldn’t take any more calls from Producers asking me to change the thumbs up/thumbs down rating the website staff came up with.)
 
So yes, I’m going to miss his stuff. And I’m going to miss him.
Because regardless of whether I agreed with him or not, I always enjoyed reading his “drama.” And I always knew that he did what he did out of a love and passion shared by all who work in the theater.
 
– – – –
 
P.S. The only good news about the curtain coming down on the Brantley era is that the Times has an opportunity. One of the most important seats in the entire world of theater is open. It’s a position of influence. It can change the art form. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to fill this theater seat with the voice of someone from a community who hasn’t had the chance to use their voice? (To be Ben Brantley-like clear – I’m saying that the NY Times should take a cue from Joe Biden. The new Co-Chief Theater Critic should be a female person of color. Period. Yes, the future should be DidSheLikeIt.com.)
 
 

I should have known this was coming. Because all the cool kids are doing it.

Want a quick tip on how to tell what’s next in all things online?

Watch what the kids are doing.

Especially when it comes to social media.

Because here’s what happens:

  1. Kids find the latest and greatest social media platform.
  2. After some time, the parents of the kids find the same social media platform.
  3. When the moms and dads join, the kids jump to the next social media platform, like fleas to a new dog.

This process has repeated itself over and over again, since Friendster and MySpace.

Once moms got on MySpace, the kids jumped to Facebook, which was originally built ONLY for kids. Then came Twitter. Then Insta. And now, of course, TikTok.

And lately, the kids have been up to something else which is a precursor of what’s to come to the mainstream audience (and has been accelerated because of the pandemic).

If you watched my livestream with Jordan Fisher, you know what I’m talking about.

In the early part of the video, Jordan schooled me on Twitch – the YouTube-like streaming platform populated mostly by gamers who stream the video games they play (sometimes all day), and kids watch.

But there is something else the kids do.

They pay for the privilege of watching their idols do their stuff.

They subscribe. They give tips. They give gifts.

And the most popular streamers? They make a very good living.  In fact, the top streamer in the world earns an estimated $400k-800k+ . . . PER MONTH. Others earn $100k per month! Yeah, over $1m a year!  From playing video games! (And being unique personalities, of course.)

Ok, ok, those are the top streamers, but even the “average pro” on Twitch earns $5000 per month . . . just by doing what they love to do. (And remember – all that money is coming from subscribers whose average age is 21!)

If you go back and watch Jordan tell me all about this world, you can literally see my eyes widen because, in this one livestream, I saw tomorrow. And it’s because of what the kids are doing today.

The takeaway?

People are willing to pay for streamed content.

And not just filmed productions like Hamilton or my Daddy Long Legs.

And yes, if kids are doing it, then it’s going to tip into a massive new market for all sorts of artists and content creators.  (I’m already hearing some amazing success stories of musicians and TheaterMakers experimenting with paid streams – and having surprising success.)

And while yes, to make a lot of money artists are going to need to have a following. But Chris Anderson’s Long Tail theory will apply . . . meaning that any artist of any kind WILL be able to find an audience . . . the size of that audience will just vary.

Once again, the kids are showing us the way. And it’s coming at the perfect time, because our TheaterMakers need another way to earn a living until the live stage comes roaring back.

This transition from the free to paid model is not going to happen overnight, but the quicker we start introducing paid streaming opportunities, the quicker we train our audiences that art online (even if that’s a unique personality playing a video game) ain’t free.

Don’t believe me that we can make the transition?

Remember when people only listened to music for free from Napster and Limewire?  And then came iTunes?  And you think Spotify, Pandora or AmazonMusic exist because of the free versions? People pay for it.  Who probably thought they would never pay for music . . . ever.

So yes, paid streaming of all different shapes and sizes is coming.

And if you’re a TheaterMaker you’re at a very unique time in history . . . because there’s an opportunity to be seized.  Like being offered to buy stock in Amazon in 1998. (I was – I passed – never a-effin’-gain.)

So what can you do to get in on this?

Well first, if you’re a TheaterGoer and you see a TheaterMaker doing something with a price tag attached (and it’ll be much less than a live ticket – because they have to be), considering paying.  You’ll be helping a TheaterMaker.  And TheaterMakers?  Help your peers.  Attend their shows.  Support and you’ll be supported.

But if you want more specifics, then here are my three giant takeaways for TheaterMakers that you MUST do to get on the ground floor of the paid streaming revolution that is coming.

  1.  Build a following. You need your own tribe, your own fans, your own community to have a successful career in streaming your art. (That tribe can be any size, but you need to know where they are and be able to communicate with them daily – and yes, social media is great, but nothing beats email.
  2. Stream something. Anything. Start experimenting. Plays. Concerts. One person shows. Try to make it a unique experience for the streaming market so it feels created for it.
  3. Repeat.  Keep doing different things until you find what works for YOU. And after a while you will find something that supports your live stage work. Wouldn’t that be nice?

As you can tell, I’m bullish about this. And you’re going to see me experimenting with a lot of different streaming stuff over the next six months. Some will work. Much of it won’t. But I will learn. Because I need to. We all do.

And if you want to learn more about how to stream successfully, whether that’s a Zoom reading, a filmed production or more, check out this resource we pulled together.  It’ll answer all your questions and get you started fast.

Click here.

UPDATED 9/10/20 @ 6:52 PM!

Breaking news . . . the Pulitzer Prize committee just announced that virtual shows will be eligible for the Pulitzer!!!  I mean, I told you I was on to something.  🙂  Yet  another reason to learn how to stream your show.  It has arrived.

Click here to learn how to stream your show now.

 

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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