So close I can taste the tax breaks.

If you asked Producers in town what they’d ask for if the genie from Aladdin came down and granted them three wishes, they’d probably say . . . lower stagehand costs, no discount tickets, and tax breaks for Broadway Investors.

Yesterday, they’d all be pipe dreams.

But today, one of them is getting closer and closer to reality.

And no, the BroadwayBox isn’t closing up its e-shop, and no, the stagehands aren’t rolling back to 1970’s wages.

But tax breaks, well, now we’re talking.

Yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer from NY announced a bipartisan plan to get our strong-spined Broadway Investors the tax breaks they so deserve.  Schumer’s argument is the same that we’ve all been screaming for years.  “You do it for film and TV, why not Broadway?!?”

And yeah, why not?

Well, the contrarian argument against the tax break is that Broadway can’t go anywhere, so they don’t have to give a tax break . . . because there is no threat of losing the business, unlike film which can take its business and its economic impact anywhere.  Oh, and by the way, Broadway is booming, and all its theaters are full, so it’s not like we need that many more shows because we can’t even get ’em up, even if we wanted to.

That’s what Schumer’s opponents will argue, anyway.

But we know that Broadway won’t always be boomin’.  And we know we’re losing business to the UK.  And that the UK is kicking our ass in developing new, adventuresome work, because of all the money that goes to its non-profits.

If we want to stay the theatrical capital of the world, we have to guarantee that our capital stream continues to flow.  And tax breaks are part of that answer.

Support Schumer.  Send him a note on his website.  And send a note to the other Senators while you’re at it.

And I’ll keep you updated on how the bill is progressing.  I promise.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

– – – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Win a hot Valentine’s Day date with the NY Philharmonic!  Click here.

– Enter Will It Recoup and you could win $500 of Broadway Theater Tickets!  Enter here.

– Listen to Episode 5 of The Producer’s Perspective Podcast for an interview with marketing wizard Drew Hodges! Click here!

How to get on a Broadway Producer’s investor list.

One of the reasons I crowdfunded Godspell years ago was because I had this theory.  I believed that there were throngs of people in the world who were interested in investing in Broadway shows, but they just didn’t know how to do it.

Based on the response we got to our initial offering, I’m thrilled to say that my theory proved correct.  I know, I know, when you’re out there raising money for your show, it seems like an investor is like the holy grail . . . a whispered about myth just around the next bend, and you might grow old never finding it.

But they are out there.  Trust me.  I talk to potential new investors all the time.

And interestingly enough, one of the questions I get asked the most by new potential Broadway investors who have taken my seminar is, “How do I get on a Producer’s investor list?”

I swear, it’s true!  Sure, they ask about risk, and how they can make money (it’s possible, I swear), but so many first time investors are already educated enough about the risks and are interested in getting started that they just want to jump in the water.

Maybe that’s you?

If it is, here are the simple steps that I recommend you take in order to get on a Broadway Producer’s investor list.

1.  IT’S ABOUT TASTE

I always recommend that Broadway investors should invest in shows that they love.  As I often say, Broadway shows are like your kids.  They’re expensive, and sometimes they’ll disappoint you.  But because you love them, it doesn’t bother you as much.  In order to find shows you love, you want to invest with a Producer who has similar taste as you.  So, go see shows.  Lots of them.  And when you find one you like, take a look at the title page of the Playbill and check out the names at the tippity top of the list of Producers (The names at the Top are usually the lead Producers, and the ones in the middle/bottom tend to be aggregators or bundlers).  Circle those names.  Then when you get home, point your browser to IBDB.com or PlaybillVault.com, type in that producer’s name and see what other shows he/she has produced.  If you like what you see, you found one.  Put that Producer on your list and proceed to step two.  (Bonus Tip:  Whenever possible, invest with the Lead Producer on a show.  Nothing against aggregators or bundlers – I do it once or twice a year myself, but it is more beneficial to go straight to the top if you can.)

2.  REACH OUT, REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE

Once you’ve got a list of Producers that have similar taste as you, you’ve got to make contact with them.  Ready for this super stealthy tip?  Call ’em.  Sure, you may not get through, so just leave a flattering message with the assistant that goes something like this, “Hi.  I’m a fan of NAME OF PRODUCER’s work.  And I was wondering if you could put me on your list as a possible investor for future shows?  Do you need anything from me in order to get on that list?”  I don’t know of a Broadway Producer in town that would NOT put you on a list getting a message like that.  It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a call back (but more often than not I bet somebody at the Producer’s org calls you back), but you may get invites to readings, etc.  And in addition to calling (yep, this is not an “or” this is an “and” to-do), you should see if you can find an email for the Producer and drop them an e-line.  You should also link up on LinkedIn, friend ’em on Facebook, etc.  And hey – if you know they are producing a show that’s in previews, go see the show.  You may get a handshake and be able to tell them you want on their list in person.

3.  YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE

Most Broadway Producers have an unwritten rule about who gets their first offers for shows.  Usually, a Producer will give anyone who has already invested with them the first look at new projects.  So, if you’re expecting that you’re going to get the lower-risk, big star driven shows on your first time out, think again.  Those shows are rare, so we usually give them to the investors that have been the most loyal, or have taken hits on other shows, so they can recover any losses (investing in Broadway, like the stock market, is about the long term – I encourage my investors to invest like they are playing blackjack – you don’t play one hand and walk away, you play out the shoe.)  What this means, is that if you want to get on the list of certain Producers, if you want to get offered the lower risk shows in the future, then you may need to take bigger risks when you start out.  You don’t get offers for IPOs when you just start investing in the stock market.  So you probably won’t get offered Hugh Jackman shows on your first time at bat either.  But don’t worry, those shows may be lower risk, but they often don’t return as much either.  So don’t wait for the perfect opp that you think guarantees you a return.  Just get started.  And you’ll find the types of shows you are offered may only improve over time.

See that?  Pretty simple, right?  No GPS required.  But finding the right Producer to invest with is super important, just like finding the right financial advisor.  You want someone who understands what you are looking for, someone who gives you the attention you want, and someone you are going to stick with for awhile.  I always tell my investors that I will have a Wicked someday.  I just don’t know exactly when that’s going to happen.  So you’ve got to invest with me for the long term.

Good luck in your search.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
– – – – –

Want to learn how to get your show from the page to the stage? Join my community of theater professionals on TheProducersPerspectivePRO, plus get instant access to 30+ hours of training, monthly newsletters and networking opportunities, producer contact lists, and so much more! To join TheProducersPerspectivePROclick here!

If they don’t go to opening night, then who should?

A friend of mine, and to protect the innocent, let’s call that friend . . . uh . . . me . . . was recently offered a chance to invest $50k into a Broadway musical.  A high unit price, but fairly typical for a higher priced musical.

While I wasn’t sure it was for me, I happened to have an investor that I thought might want the piece.  And I have no problem putting my people into other people’s shows.  What goes around comes around, and if my investors are happy that’s all that counts.

I asked some budgetary questions, as I do, and did the due diligence that I talk about in this seminar.

And just when I was about to recommend the investment to my guy, I was told that for the $50k, this investor would not be allowed to go to opening night.

Uhhh, come again?  You did say you wanted $50k, right?  Not $5k?

I know theaters have fixed capacities, and I know there are a lot of people that put on big musicals that deserve to be there to celebrate the big Broadway debut. But isn’t someone putting up fifty grand in a very risky proposition due the right to a couple of seats in a big theater?

I’ve planned opening night parties as a Producer.  I’ve been a GM and a CM on opening night parties.  And I know who gets to go to these things.  Everyone and their brother and their assistant who has ever even thought about working on the show.   (And the Company Manager usually always has a few emergencies in their pocket at the end as well!)

And all of them should go.

But the moment we start telling $50k investors that they can’t go?

That’s the moment we start losing investment dollars to other industries.

The perks are one of the few things that separate us from other investment opportunities.  When you buy 100 shares of Coca-Cola, they don’t give you a 6 pack of Coke, right?

But we can give you billing, insider access, and you betcha, opening night tickets.

Needless to say, my friend . . . and by my friend I mean moi . . . passed on this opportunity.

Why?  Because Broadway Investors are the reason why we get to do what we do.  They/we/you deserve to be celebrated for what they do, and therefore they deserve the respect of being invited to our celebrations.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

_ _

FUN STUFF:

– Win Two Tickets to The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Broadway!  Click here.

– Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar on Saturday, January 19th.  Only ONE (!) spot left.  Register today and start your New Year off right.

What a Vegas casino taught me about Broadway investing.

I was on the floor of The Venetian Hotel & Casino last week, staring at the sea of tourists gambling away at the slots and the tables and realized something . . . the house always wins.

And right now, all of you reading this blog, just collectively said, “Duh, Ken.  Duh.”

Because you all know this.  Everyone knows this.  Gambling favors the house.  That’s how opulent casinos like The Venetian are built.

The house always wins.

But . . . people play anyway.

The sea of people in Armani suits, cowboy hats and pencil skirts I saw last week at just one of the 122 casinos in town knew they were most likely going to lose.  They knew the odds were not in their favor.  They knew “the house always wins.”  Including me!  But it didn’t matter.  They didn’t care.  A few folks I spoke to don’t even think about winning money.  They gamble what they know they can lose and then walk away, chalking it up to entertainment.

They play the tough odds for two reasons:

  • The fun and “excitement” of gambling
  • The chance that they might actually make money

And play they do.  Over and over, again and again.

So, all of you who raise money for the theater (and for anything, for that matter), the lesson here is that if we can provide those two things to our Broadway investors, then we should be able to experience similar results.  Las Vegas proves that people have no problem engaging in an activity that may be “profitably challenged,” as long as the experience is rewarding.

It’s a Producer’s job, especially if you’re in this biz for the long term, to ask yourself, “What can you do to make sure your investors keep coming back to your casino?”

 

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

——
FUN STUFF:

– Collaborator Speed Date – Back to School Edition on 9/6 at 6:30PM!  Click here to register.

– The Davenport Supper Club: Musical Theatre Workshop – Every other Tuesday beginning 10/2 at 5:30PM!  Click here to register.

– Win tickets to see The Pied Piper of the Lower East Side! Click Here to enter.

5 Ways to Keep Your Investors Investing.

Believe it or not, one of the greatest complaints I hear from Broadway investors is not that they lost money.  It’s that they didn’t feel like they were a part of the process.  They felt used.

It’s not possible to involve your investors in every part of your business, and they shouldn’t even want you to, because frankly your time is best spent working on selling your show.  However, there are quite a few things you can do to make sure that they know they are more then just a walking/talking checkbook.

We pay a ton of attention to Investor Relations here in my office.  Why?  The few, proud people that are Broadway investors are the gasoline in the Broadway engine.  And treating them with the respect and admiration they deserve is the best way you can ensure you never have a shortage.

Here are five ways you can better your investor relations:

1.  Communication is the key.

Seems simple, but keeping your investors up to to date on the goings on with your show is essential, especially at the beginning of a run (and especially if your investors are out of town).  You don’t want your investors finding out any news about your show on Playbill.com.  And here’s the big tip:  tell them good news and the bad news.  If your show is struggling, be honest.  Investors are smart people and they know the risks of Broadway Investing.  They just want the truth.  And, to give you a reverse-Aaron Sorkin, “They can handle the truth.”  BONUS TIP:  Keep your communication going even when you don’t have a show you’re selling.

2.  Everyone likes free stuff.

T-Shirts, Cast Recordings, Opening Night Gifts, etc.  Small tangible things that remind people that they are on the “team” go a long way.  Broadway investors invest in shows because they love them.  So a physical reminder of that show, whether it’s a window card, or a notepad, are a great and simple way to give them a sense of ownership and pride in your project.

3.  Be available.

I’ve had a ton of investors tell me that they can’t get their Producer on the phone, or that he/she won’t respond to their emails.  WTF?  In my Broadway investing seminars I always recommend that you ask how available the Producer is before you invest, so you can manage your own expectations . . . but if you’re on the Producing side, and you’ve accepted money from an investor in a risky venture . . . then answer your f’in email and return an f’in phone call.  ‘Nuff said.

4.  Be a concierge

We offer our investors a host of other services including setting up ‘house seats’ for other shows, dinner and hotel recommendations and reservations . . . and I’ve even recommended (or not recommended) that my investors invest in other shows when they ask!  Treat your investors like your friends, and they’ll do the same.  Help them, and they’ll help you.  Relationships are built on reciprocity.

5.  Make them money.

Easier said then done, of course . . . and what I really mean is “take care” of their money.  Tell them your motives for each project.  Do you believe it can make money?  Is it an art project?  Have you worked that budget over to make sure its the leanest it can be without compromising the art?  Yes, people know that investing in Broadway is risky, but that doesn’t mean they want to just give their money away.  And making an investor money is a sure-fire way to get them to invest in something else, and recommend to their friends that they invest with you as well.  The odds of financial success on Broadway are about 1 in 5.  Show your investors why the odds are better with you.

 

It’s one of your many jobs to keep your investors happy.  However far you want to take that is up to you.  But I do believe that all of us have a responsibility to the strong and stalwart folks who support what we do.  Treat them well.

Our business depends on it.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

——

FUN STUFF:

– Win an iPad in our Tony Award Pool!  Click here to play!

– Win $500 in our 10 Minute Play Contest.  Click here to enter!

– Win 2 Tickets to Amazing Grace at Goodspeed Opera House!  Click here to enter!

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

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

Featured Program
The TheaterMakers Studio
Featured Product
Be A Broadway Star
Featured Webinar
Path to Production Webinar
Featured Book
Broadway Investing 101
All Upcoming Events

february, 2020

22febAll Day23The Inner Circle Weekend February

X