In Tech (and in Life), Time is like Toothpaste.

I’m in a hotel room as I type this.  And I just finished a sweet caesar salad with chicken that left me fully satiated . . . and with some breath that could kill a whole bouquet of roses.

So I went to brushy-brushy-brushy (as Elmo sings to my daughter every night), grabbed my toothpaste, and noticed that I was just about down to the end of the tube.  I crinkled the tube some more, pressed out the corners and squeeeeeeeeezed with all my might to get a few more drops onto my brush.  “Come on,” I urged the tube, “I gotta kill this Caesar!”

I eventually got a little dollop to pop out but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still have a little anchovy aftertaste right now.

You’ve been there before, right?  With toothpaste, or hand soap (ever put more water in the bottle to extend its life?), etc.

Now flash back to when you opened that tube of toothpaste . . . or that bottle of soap . . . you didn’t think even think about it coming to an end, now did you?  You probably over-pasted, or let some spill, and didn’t give two dollops.

But eventually, your tube did run out.  It always does.  And then you found yourself with less than what you needed to do the job right.

The same is true with time.

And I find my “toothpaste theory” is never more evident than in tech.

Tech is the most expensive and arguably most important time in a show’s run-up to a Broadway opening.  It’s where all the elements come together.  It’s when there are more people getting paid than ever before.

And you only have a fixed period of time before the tech ends, and the performances must begin.

And at the beginning of tech, everyone spends a little more time on things than they should. And then, as the first preview gets closer . . . and you start to approach the end of the “toothpaste tube of time,” things get more tense, as you’re trying to squeeze every last second of time out of your tech rehearsals to give that first audience the best show possible.  “If only we had another day,” is probably the most commonly heard expression in tech.  Well, second most common to, “Oh @#$%!”

So . . . it’s important to go into tech remembering that the toothpaste at the beginning of the tube is just as valuable at the end. Do that and you’ll find yourself with a better show for that first audience, which will result in better word of mouth, and so on, and so on.

Oh, and, by the way, this toothpaste theory works for life too.  No matter what age we are, we all think there is plenty of time to do all the things we dream about doing, from writing a play to having kids to taking that vacation to that one place we’re dying to see.

But, the fact is, life is short.  And you don’t want to find yourself at the end of your own toothpaste tube trying to squeeze a few more years out.  Because you can’t.

So go out there and do something you want to do today.

– – – – –

Want to start working on that script of yours that is in your head but not yet on a page?  Take our free 30 Day Script Challenge . . . and get it on paper in 30 days, guaranteed.

Want a job in the theater? Join our TheaterMakers Studio Production Team Database!

The theater is a collaborative art form.  Even one-person shows can’t be done on their own.  (At the very least, you need at least one person in your audience!)

The cool thing about meeting the right collaborator is that your energy to make something happen doubles, triples, and increases exponentially with each person you add.  And then one day, you’ll find yourself sitting in a Broadway theater teching your show, looking around at the hundred people working on it with you. . . and remembering when it was just you, in your room, with an idea (yes, I’ve had this moment several times).

This is why we encourage TheaterMakers to meet other TheaterMakers and get them signed up on their show, or simply just meet for coffee and brainstorm!

And, believe it or not, one of the most common questions I get asked is . . . “Ken, where can I find a Director/Designer/Composer/Orchestrator/Actor, etc.”  Shocking, right?  Because we all know how many people are desperately looking to work as a Director/Designer/Composer/Orchestrator/Actor, etc.

That’s why we’ve started a TheaterMaker Production Team Database . . . so when you need someone for your show . . . or if you’re a TheaterMaker looking for a job on a show . . . you know where to look.

Post your profile if you’re a Director of plays or a Choreographer of musicals.  Or a Writer, Investor, Designer or whatever.

Search through the profiles if you’re looking for any of the above, or are just looking to meet someone who shares the same passion of making shows as you do, and see what you can cook up together.

Whatever you’re looking for, it’s in our brand new, free TheaterMaker Database. And it’s now open for your submission and browsing pleasure!

Click here to check it out and create your free profile now.

And do it now.

Ask yourself.  What do you have to lose by signing up?  And putting yourself out there?

Only a possible collaboration that could take you exactly where you want to go.

It takes 30 seconds.  Sign up and start working (with someone else) today.

Sign up for the TheaterMaker Production Database here.

 

Podcast Episode 171 – Broadway AND Hollywood Super Producer, Paula Wagner

It’s hard enough to make it as a Producer on one coast, but both?

That kind of success is reserved for a very select group of moguls, and this week I got to sit down with one of them.

Paula Wagner has worn a lot of hats in the business on her way up the ladder, from Broadway actress to Powerhouse Agent to running a movie studio to producing movies like Mission Impossible . . . and yep, producing big Broadway shows like this season’s hit, Pretty Woman.

Could there be a better person to talk to about movies to musicals and vice-versa?

Paula and I talked about that, of course, as well as . . .

  • The skills she learned as an agent that help her be a better Producer.
  • What Hollywood does well that we could learn from and what Hollywood can learn from us!
  • Eye-poppin’ idea that could save the movie industry (and it’s so simple).
  • Why Pretty Woman was made to be a musical and why it’s doing what she thought it would (gross over $1mm a week!).
  • Coming up in the entertainment industry as a female Producer and how that has changed.  Or not.

Enjoy the Podcast and don’t forget to subscribe!

Click here for my podcast with Paula!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 170 – Literary Agent, Max Grossman

Agents get a bad rap.  They’re like lawyers and IRS agents.

But they’re nothing like those folks.

I can’t imagine that an IRS agent gets into this business because he or she loves taxes.

But agents, especially those in the theater, are all here for the same reason you and I are here . . . they love the theater.

Max Grossman, an agent for writers and designers at the powerful but still boutique Abrams Artists Agency, is a perfect example.  He grew up going to the theater, flirted with sports, and came back to the good side of the force.

We haven’t had many agents on this podcast (just this one so far – who happens to represent me!), partly because some of the agents I asked couldn’t get permission from their higher-ups (which says a lot, don’t you think?).

But when I asked Max, he was happy to sit down and talk about what an agent does as well as . . .

  • How he finds new writers.
  • That awkward but important moment when he has to tell a client he doesn’t love something the client wrote.
  • The art of negotiating as an agent.
  • Why some theater writers succeed in transitioning to film & TV and others don’t… and a tip or two for you if this is something YOU want to do.
  • What he’d tell all Broadway Producers if he had them in a room at once.

Enjoy this convo with Max and let it remind you that even when we’re on “different sides” in this business, we’re still on the same team.

Click here for my podcast with Max!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Searching for a CFO aka Cool Financial Operative

After 12 years, the guy in charge of the spreadsheets and projections and all the #s at Davenport Theatrical has left us for greener pastures . . . literally. He moved to Portland.

So I’m looking for a new finance and numbers guru who wants to join a company whose motto is “we do @#$% other people don’t.”

We don’t produce shows for the $, but we know that we need $ to produce shows. That’s where you come in.

You’re an ideal candidate for this position if you can teach me a thing or two about Excel (and I know a lot), are a QuickBooks aficionado, understand accounting (and can do some), can create projections, forecasts, and get excited when you do.

But beyond all the #s stuff, you gotta love hacking corporate health insurance so we can get the best rates and deals for our employees, figuring out the best credit cards to have so we can go to Hawaii on our company retreat next year, negotiating the @#$% out of copier deals, and so on and so forth.

You also have to be someone who says, “Let’s go for it,” with a smile when I have one of my crazy ideas, like making a board game or starting an app. You also have to tell me why I shouldn’t go for it because it doesn’t make sense and takes too much time.

You gotta work hard and long, but we promise fun in the process. After all, we’re in the entertainment business . . . and if we can’t have fun making it, how do we expect an audience to have fun consuming it.

What else . . . let’s see . . .

An MBA would be great, but not required . . . you just have to have enough skills to teach us all a thing or two about business.

You don’t have to love theater, or even come from this world (I like folks who bring outside experience to our niche industry), but it might help if you’re a Broadway FanBoy or Girl because we’re never going to pay you what working for a widget company would pay. But we’ll make up for it in helping to make great shows and a lot of audience members happy.

The truth is . . .  you can decide your own salary . . . based on what you can help us save and/or make. So that’s really in your hands.

You also don’t have to be local, although it’d be preferred. But applications accepted from all over.

If you think you have the knowledge, experience, business acumen, hustle and hunger to help us achieve the heights that we want to achieve (and those are high), send an email to kendavenport@davenporttheatrical.com.

 

 

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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