THIS WEEK ON THE LIVESTREAM: Susan Blackwell, David Henry Hwang, Damian Bazadona, and More!

This week kicks of Week #3 of our brand new Corona-inspired series, The Producers Perspective LIVE!

The first two weeks have exceeded my own expectations for who has shown up, and the inspiring words they’ve said to me and to all of us.  Stephen Schwartz, Alex Brightman, Sierra Boggess, Leigh Silverman, I mean come on . . .

And more to come . . . every night and every week, until we’re through this thing.

HERE IS WHO IS ON THE LIVE STREAM THIS WEEK:

Monday, April 6th – Susan Blackwell (Performer/Writer/Podcaster – [Title of Show], Broadway.com’s Side By Side By Susan Blackwell)

Tuesday, April 7th – Andrew Lippa (Composer – Big Fish, John & Jen, The Wild Party)

Wednesday, April 8th – Lonny Price (Director/Actor/Writer – Merrily We Roll Along, A Class Act, Sweeney Todd)

Thursday, April 9th – David Henry Hwang (Playwright/Lyricist – Soft Power, M. Butterfly, Chinglish)

Friday, April 10th – Anthony Veneziale aka Two-Touch (Writer/Creator – Freestyle Love Supreme)

Saturday, April 11th – Damian Bazadona (President & Founder – Situation Interactive)

Sunday, April 12th – Godspell 2011 Revival Reunion

 

We are going LIVE every night at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT). Follow me on Facebook to get notified as soon as we hit the “GO LIVE” button. 

To see who’s coming up next, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

10 Tips For Your First Virtual Reading

It’s easy to see the effect of the Coronavirus crisis on Broadway when you hear about shows that were about to open that can’t (yet!), like Diana or Six.

But what you can’t see in all the photos of the darkened marquees are the many shows that got stuck in the development pipeline because of Covid-19.

A whole bunch of projects have been put on pause, with readings and workshops postponed (including a couple of my own) until this invisible enemy disappears.

The challenge for Producers, Writers, Directors, and all us Artrepreneuers, is how do we keep our momentum going on these projects so that we can pick up where we left off when we get the all-clear.

One thing I’m doing, and that I’m encouraging other folks to do, is have a virtual reading of your show.  That’s right, gather everyone in a Zoom Room and read the script.  Why not?  It might be a bit awkward at first, and someone’s internet is bound to freeze, but it’s better than nothing.  And, more than likely, you’ll not only learn something, but it’ll turn out to be a heck of a lot of fun.

You don’t even have to read your full script.  Do a few scenes, or one act, or a scene a week.  If your show is a musical, you can have actors sing(I’d send tracks to folks), play demos instead, or just read the lyrics (one of the most useful things you can do whether you’re in a pandemic or not!).

So try it.  I’m doing one next week myself.  And while it may not be perfect, I know for a fact, that something good will come from it.

It always does when you’re in a room with other people as passionate as you are about a project . . . Zoom Room or Real Room.

And if you need some more tips on how to hold a successful Virtual Reading, here are ten tidbits that come straight from a writer who has been doing virtual readings in a writer’s group twice a month . . . and getting a heck of a lot out of them.  When she volunteered a few of these at a recent virtual meeting of my Inner Circle Mastermind, I asked her to e-scribble ’em down so I can share them with everyone!

Take it away, Jill!

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10 TIPS FOR CONDUCTING VIRTUAL READINGS by Jill Chodorov Kaminsky

  1. Designate one person to organize and lead the reading.
  2. Create a set schedule for the virtual readings (my group meets every other Saturday from 11am to 2pm).
  3. I recommend 2 to 3 hours per virtual reading at the most.
  4. Select 4 people per virtual reading to present their scripts.
  5. Read 10 to 15 pages, from those 4 different scripts, at each meeting.
  6. The first 1 to 2 minutes of each reading should be a very short synopsis of the story.  (If the scriptwriter selects 10 to 15 pages that are somewhere in the middle of the script, allow the first few minutes to explain what has happened up until those pages.)
  7. Assign participants to characters and the narrator, as you would do at any reading.
  8. After the reading, everyone can offer constructive suggestions and comments. The leader should keep things on track, focused on that one script.
  9. Allow 30 to 40 minutes total per script.
  10. Remind everyone that all scripts and ideas should be kept confidential within the group.

Break virtual legs!

Jill Chodorov Kaminsky is a former White House speechwriter and Peace Corps volunteer. Today, she is most passionate about her work as a serial entrepreneur, Broadway investor, and scriptwriter. She is currently working on two original TV pilots, a biopic, and a book about getting married for the first time at 50. I know, I know – she only looks 25. She is told that all the time.

Jill is also a volunteer mentor with Girls Write Now – a nonprofit that helps underserved girls find their voices through the power of writing.

As a member of New York Women in Film & Television, Jill is active in their “New Works Lab,” a group that meets twice a month for readings. New Works Lab has perfected the art of virtual readings in the era of COVID-19. She has shared with us some tips for conducting a productive reading while maintaining physical distancing.

The Producer’s Perspective LIVE! Episode 9: Be More Chill Producer Jennifer Tepper

If there was ever an “All Broadway” version of Jeopardy, and Jen Tepper was a contestant, no one would ever even get a chance to answer a question, never mind score some bucks.

And she’s my guest on tonight’s live stream!

She was also one of the Lead Producers of Be More Chill and Broadway Bounty Hunter and helped make both internet sensations.

Tune in tonight on my Facebook page to catch me and Jen at 8 PM EDT! (Click here to get an e-reminder!).

See you tonight at 8 pm EDT (7 pm CDT/6 pm MDT/5 pm PDT).

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This series continues EVERY NIGHT through the shutdown.  Tomorrow, we’ve got Tony Award Winning Actor Alan Cumming!  To see the full line-up for the next few weeks, visit www.theproducersperspective.com/LIVE.

[VIDEO]: 2019 Super Conference – “What Dramaturgs Do And Why/When You Need One” with Ashley Chang, Jenna Clark Embrey, Jack Phillips Moore, and Jill Rafson

It wasn’t until I had a dramaturg on my podcast that I really understood what the @#$% they do.

If you’ve ever wondered what a dramaturg does, then this panel from last year’s Super Conference is for you.  And something tells me you’ll want to run out and get one for your show when you’re done watching (email me if you do – I can give you a rec).

(And stay tuned for a new video every single day, right here in this space.  Tomorrow, Joe Iconis’ Keynote presentation. Subscribe here to get it emailed to you.)

Don’t forget to tune in our new Facebook LIVE series, The Producer’s Perspective LIVE!, every night at 8pm EDT.  Tonight’s guest is Producer and Creative Director Jennifer Tepper! Click here for the full schedule and to tune in!

When will we come back and WHAT will come back.

It has officially been two weeks since the “social distancing guidelines” set by the Federal Government went into effect, and if one thing is clear from the confusing chatter coming from the Presidential pressers every day, it’s this . . .

It’s going to be a bit before the country opens back up, never mind Broadway.

As of yesterday, gone is the embarrassing goal of an Easter “re-opening” for the country with “packed churches.”  (I mean, I love setting lofty BHAGs, but anyone in the achievement space knows that setting an impossible goal only sets yourself up for failure – and failing at a goal makes it harder for you to achieve the next one . . . and harder for your followers to believe that you will achieve that next one.)

The next deadline for a re-examining of the social distancing guidelines, and therefore a determination of whether or not some businesses will reopen, (set again by the guy currently in the White House) is April 30th. 

But if you’re listening to Fauci, it’ll be longer.  Much longer.  And even though NY’s Governor Cuomo has kept non-essential workers home only through April 15th, he’s also acknowledging that NY has a bigger problem than anywhere else in the US – so how could it ever open up soon?

In the muck of all these differing opinions, one thing has become very clear to me . . .

Different sections of the country will open up at different times.

And more importantly, within those geographic locations, different types and sizes of businesses will open up at different times.

It’s common sense.

The idea of one day waking up and having it go back to the way it was six months ago, with Basketball games packin’ arenas and with OpenTable tellin’ us there wasn’t a reservation to be had at your favorite restaurant, is the kind of Hollywood happy ending that’s just not going to happen.

It’s just not going to be that kind of “Alexa, apartment lights on,” type of switch.

The virus didn’t shut everything in the country down in 24 hours and it won’t let us restart everything in 24 hours either.

It’s going to be gradual.

And it has to be.  As Cuomo (the only politician I’m listening to these days) said in one of his pressers, he does need to get the economy, any part of that economy, going again as soon as possible.  And the moment he can let ten people go to a meeting to discuss how to sell a product, he will. The moment he can let hundred people go to a restaurant, he will.

And the moment he can let 1,500 people go to a Broadway show, he will.

But I’m doubtful it’ll be all those things will be all at once.  And it shouldn’t be.

Which brings me to this . . .

Will Off-Broadway be allowed to open up before Broadway?

And could the 499-or-less theaters that fall within that definition, or even the Off-Off Broadway theaters (at 99 seats or less) get a boost of attention and ticket sales first . . . before the Broadway factory is allowed to be operational?

I’d bet money that smaller theaters will be given permission to open up before the larger ones.  That means they could be the sole producers of live theater in the city.  Usually these smaller theaters are getting Broadway’s hand-me-down audiences, but this could be one of the few chances they have to get the theater audience all to themselves. (This is exactly what happened during the last strike in 2007 – and the Off-Broadway shows I had running, including this one and this one, boomed as a result).

And maybe, this could be another steroid shot to the renaissance of Off-Broadway that began last year (which I wrote about here).

If I were an Off-Broadway theater . . . or was producing an Off-Broadway show, I’d look to see how I could have something ready to go for when we are allowed to gather again.  Because in the midst of this darkness, there just might be a chance to stand out.

Or as John F. Kennedy said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.”

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Tonight at 8 PM on my nightly live stream, Tony Award-winner, Steven Sater, the bookwriter of Spring Awakening Watch on my Facebook page here.  And click here to see who else is joining us this week!

 

 

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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