Back to School and a Bloggin’ change!

I don’t know about you, but I always think of September as the start of the New Year. Maybe I just never shook the scholastic calendar, or maybe it’s because Broadway’s season kicks into high gear after Labor Day, or maybe it’s because my bday and my anniversary are at the end of August.  Whatever the reason, for me, my year starts . . . now.

And as with the start of any new year, I always take stock of what I’ve done over the last year, where I am today, and where I want to go tomorrow.  I set goals, and then devise specific and actionable plans to meet those goals.

What I realized as I labored over all of this over Labor Day weekend, was that there are three things that I do that I love so much and want to do more of.  And they are . . .

  • I love producing and creating shows.
  • I love working with my consulting clients and PRO members and helping get their shows off the ground.

And third, but not least . . .

  • I love being a husband.  (Your goals and aspirations shouldn’t only be professional, you know.)

Because these are the areas I want to focus more of my time on and because there are a lot of exciting things simmering on my developmental stove (including the Once on This Island announcement from last week, and a couple of other things I can’t talk about yet), I decided that there were a few things that had to give.

See, there’s a theory out there that human beings have a limit on the number of things they can be great at. Some say 3, some say 5.  The idea is to pick those things, and then focus as much of your time on those things as possible, even if that means cutting back on other things that you enjoy.

One of things I’m going to cut back on is writing this blog.

I’m not going away completely.  Oh no, I love writing this blog too much.  And it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done . . . in my entire life.  It has introduced me to amazing people, it has focused my own thinking on so many issues, and it has even made me re-evaluate my position on other things thanks to your comments.  It’s been awesome.

So I’m not going to stop blogging.

But I am going to do it a bit less.

I’ve been blogging daily for the past eight years (!).  It has been one of the greatest habits I’ve ever taught myself.  But starting this week, that schedule is going to change.  Going forward I will post twice a week . . . a podcast on Monday and a blog on Thursday.

If you want more content from me, there are ways to get it.

  • Like me on Facebook. I’ll be doing more “micro-blogging” there, like I did this past weekend when I commented on the Wells Fargo controversy.
  • Subscribe to this blog’s email list.  I often send my subscribers exclusive content that doesn’t appear online, so this is the only way to get it.
  • Join Pro.  I write 5+ articles a month on raising money, marketing, writing, and more every single month.  Get a free sample here.
  • And occasionally, I’ll throw up a bonus post here in addition to Monday/Thursday if there’s something that I just can’t keep quiet about.  🙂

So that’s my new plan.  And I know it’s going to allow me to do better work on and off Broadway for myself, for my clients, and hopefully for you too.

Now, what’s your back-to-school new year’s plan?

See you Thursday.

 

(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:

– WEBINAR ALERT: “How to Make a Living Through Licensing” Wednesday, September 14th at 7PM ET. Click here to register.  Or get it for FREE when you join Pro.

– Enter the Sunday Giveaway to win Ken’s Three How-Tos on Broadway Producing! Click here to enter.

– Get everything you need to help get your show off the ground when you join TheProducersPerspectivePro for free.  Join the club today.

 

Fun on a Friday: Featuring My Mom as the Guest Blogger.

My mom is responsible for me being here.

Not just here on this planet.  That’s obvious.  But she’s responsible for me being here . . . on this blog.  Because she’s the one who dragged me to an audition when I was five-years-old for The Steadfast Tin Soldier at the Gateway Players Theatre in Southbridge, Massachusetts.  I got the job,  and the rest is you know what.

My mom is still active at Gateway.  In fact, they just finished up a run of Fiddler.  She does costumes mostly (she worked her tuchas off making sure those dang bottles stayed on the heads of those Anatevkians).

A couple of weeks ago she texted me the graphic below.  “Have you seen this?”  she said.  I hadn’t.  It made me smile, because yeah, it was funny, but because it was also a joke from her world.  But…I forgot to respond to the text.  (Gulp!)

Two days later . . . “Did you get this???”

It was like I was 12 again and I had overslept.

“Yeah, I did.  It’s funny.”

“You should post it on your blog thing.  Or on The Facebook.”

“Ok, Mom.”

So here’s the thing.  When you’re 14, you don’t always do what your Mom tells you. When you’re 44 and you realize how much you owe the amazing people that not only put you on the planet, but put up with your crazy crap, oh and introduced you to the thing that is now your hobby and your profession . . . you do what they say.

So enjoy Mom’s Fun on a Friday!

 

IMG951614

 

 

(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:

– Enter the Sunday Giveaway to win two free tickets to Small Mouth SoundsClick here to enter.

– WEBINAR ALERT: “How to Make a Living Through Licensing” Wednesday, September 14th at 7PM ET. Click here to register.  Or get it for FREE when you join Pro.

– Get everything you need to help get your show off the ground when you join TheProducersPerspectivePro for free.  Join the club today.

 

Why I didn’t mind this letter from a lawyer.

I’ve learned to recognize ’em.

They come certified.  They are fat.  And they are never good.

Yep, I’m talking about a letter from a law firm.  And even though this one was giving me a scolding, I didn’t mind.

Here’s what happened.

Like most folks, I’ve been following the success of the sharing economy, and specifically Airbnb.  And even though I knew that my co-op board wouldn’t look too fondly on my renting my apartment out while I was away for Thanksgiving, I decided to post an ad for my place, mostly to see how the site worked . . . and if it rented, well, I’d decide what I wanted to do then.

The ad for my apartment wasn’t up for more than 24 hours when that fat, certified, and $1,000 letter arrived.  It had a copy of my posting, and even said my neighbors had noticed people coming and going with suitcases (that part made me laugh because I think they saw ME coming and going with a suitcase).

The letter told me I was in violation of 1,000 co-op rules, made all sorts of threats, and then got to the point.  “Please remove the ad immediately.”

So you know what I did?

I removed the ad immediately.

End of story.

While I’ve never believed that rules (especially laws) were meant to be broken, I do believe they were meant to be tested.  And if no one is going to get hurt, then it’s your job as a Producer of your show (or in this case, the Producer of your life) to push the boundaries of what’s allowable.  Producing theater ain’t brain surgery.  No one is going to live or die based on what we do.  That’s why you should always be looking to see where that line is drawn and when it’s ok to cross it, and when it isn’t.

Because more often than not, the worst thing that will happen is someone will tell you to stop doing whatever you’re doing.

Then you have to decide whether you want to listen to them.  🙂

 

(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:

– Are you coming to the 8th Annual Producer’s Perspective Social on 12/17?  Click here.

– Did you hear we’re LIVESTREAMING Daddy Long Legs tomorrow?  Learn more about this historic first here.

– Only 54 performances left of Spring AwakeningGet your tickets today!  Click here

10 Things this Broadway Producer is thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The business of Broadway has been called a lot of things: The Great White Way, The Fabulous Invalid . . . and my favorite, which is what I overheard a fellow Broadway Producer of mine say recently when he was three vodka tonics deep, “A fickle b#tch.”

Despite how, ahem, challenging Broadway and the theater can be as a way to make a living or even just as a way to make some fun, letls face it, there are still so many things to be thankful for.  And it’s important that we remember how lucky we are to even be in a place where we can do theater . . . any kind of theater . . . whenever we want.

So here are ten things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1.  JOBS is a go!

The final piece of the JOBS Act puzzle was finally put in place just a few weeks ago, which means, after years of waiting, for-profit crowdfunding is a go.  Let this allow small businesses and small theaters everywhere to raise money with ease.

2.  My Guests de Podcast.

I started my podcast last year on a lark.  “Let me see who will agree to do it,” I remember saying.  And everyone I asked has said yes, from Jordan Roth to Tim Rice to Ben Brantley (!), it has been such a thrill to interview and learn from them all.  The fact that these super busy peeps have shared their time and wisdom with me and all of us is a reminder of how generous theater people are, and how dedicated they are to passing on their knowledge to the next generation of artists and business people.  So thanks to you all.  And to the ones coming.

3.  Hamilton‘s a Super Hit

While everyone who works in the theater has a little Hamiltonian-envy, we’re all thankful for this massive hit.  First and foremost, because a rising tide does raise all shows.  When there is this big a hit, people come running to Broadway, and hopefully will see other shows after they see this one (or instead of, since you can’t get a ticket to Hamilton until 2039).  Secondly, I’m super thankful that it’s a hit . . . and has no stars.  It’s a reminder to all of us that the key to a mega hit is making the show the star.

4.  O-ho, BroadwayCon is a comin’!

Another lark of mine was this post way back in 2011, when I dreamed about a BroadwayCon.  And lo and behold it was announced this year and it is now just two months away!  And news flash – I’ll be speaking on a panel or two at BroadwayCon, so I’ll see you there.  Fun times.  (It’s being held 1/22 – 1/24, which is the weekend that Spring Awakening closes – so come see two birds with a few stones).

5.  Deaf West Theatre

Producing Spring Awakening has been one of the most important things I’ve done in my life professionally and personally.  Not only has it pushed Broadway’s boundaries, but it has pushed my own.  I’m thankful that Deaf West Theatre has labored away for so long, doing this great and important work, so people like me could take notice and help show it to the rest of the world.

6.  Stream, stream, stream.

Oh we’re getting so close to breaking through the barriers of “video theater.”  This year, BroadwayHD announced a way to stream a whole bunch of shows Netflix-style, and Lincoln Center/Playbill is showcasing certain concerts and events online as well.  The fear Producers had of distributing their content via video is waning.  Now we just have to convince the unions that this isn’t a way to put lots of money in our pocket.  But this is a way to develop a new audience.  And it’s going to happen.  And, a little birdie told me that there’s going to be another big live-streaming announcement in the next seven days, so stay tuned.  And that little birdie just might work in my office.  And it might be me.

7.  My Co-Producers and Investors

Investing in the theater is always a risk.  But this year, I brought my investors some even riskier productions.  And they jumped at the chance.  Producers can only produce if they have people behind them, going along for the ride, which will without a doubt include ups and downs.  I couldn’t produce without the men and women who put their money where their passion is and support Broadway, knowing that the odds say they won’t get their money back.  But they believe in the art, and they believe in me, and I’ll always be so thankful for that.  And to those investors, I know I’ll have a Hamilton-like hit someday.  I just don’t know when.

8.  The Tony Voters vote with their hearts and their heads, not their wallets.

For years there has been talk about “the road vote,” and how so many voters check off certain ballot boxes because of what will make them the most money when that show comes to town.  Well, when Fun Home took the Best Musical Tony Award this year, that old theory was put to bed.  The truth is, those votes are precious to the Tony Voters, and they vote for what they think is best.  Period.  And I’m thankful for their artistic ethics.

9.  My Hard-Working Super Staff.

It was supposed to be a quiet summer.  Then, I saw Spring Awakening and we moved it to Broadway in 86 days.  Oh, and we opened Daddy Long Legs the very next day.  And those two shows are only about 20% of what my office works on.  Without my staff, my company wouldn’t function . . . and it also wouldn’t be any fun.  So thanks to each and every one of them.  Don’t know them?  Click here to learn more about ’em.

10.  You.  You.  You.

My wedding song was “You” by Chris Young.  But I asked my wife if I could loan our song to all of you.  She said yes, as long as she could get it back.  See, I love blogging.  I love writing about the theater.  I love the comments I get supporting what I have to say, and I even love the comments that hate what I have to say.  And while I’d probably still write even if I didn’t have one reader, I’m lucky enough to have all of you.  So thanks for reading, and for encouraging others to read as well.  The blog has grown a lot since we started together 8 years ago, and I’m excited to where it will go over the next 8 years.

 

What are you thankful for in the theater this year?  Let me know in the comments below.

And I wish you all a hearty and healthy Thanksgiving for you and your family.

 

(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:

– Have a question about producing you’ve been dying to ask me?  Sign up for my free Town Hall Teleseminar on 12/2!  Click here.

– Only 68 performances left of Spring Awakening.  Get your tickets today!  Click here.

– Win two tickets to Sylvia on Broadway!  Click here.

 

Why you should drive like there’s someone behind you.

I bought a car two years ago.  It’s the first car I’ve owned since I was 16.

And ok, I didn’t buy it.  I leased it.  And, actually, I’ll be giving it up at the end of November and not getting another one for a while.

I’ll miss it, because I love driving.  I just hate drivers.

So much of NYC traffic is caused by selfish drivers.  There are the double parkers that could pull over into an empty space, but nooooo, because it’s five feet farther away from their stop.  There are the people who don’t use turn signals so you get stuck behind them when they surprise you as they try to turn right.  You know what I’m talking about, right?

These people drive like there is no one behind them.  Like they own the road.  They forget that their actions have a ripple effect on everyone that is following them.  And when they pull some selfish move, everyone behind them suffers.

Conscientious drivers, who think about the people behind them as well as the people in front of them, make the road a better and safer place for everyone.  And, we all get to our destinations faster.

And the same is true in business.

Too many people in all businesses pursue their goals selfishly . . . without thinking of the people coming up behind them.  They make deals that serve their purpose but set horrific precedents.  They treat potential partners with disrespect, turning them away from the industry as a whole.  This selfish approach to success makes it harder for the next generation of people pursuing the same goals.  And it makes it harder for the industry as a whole.

Pursue your goals, your dreams and your success with unwavering passion and perseverance.  You can even go a little bit over the speed limit down the highway of your career.  But never get too enamored with your destination that you start to forget that there are a lot of people behind you trying to get to the same place in their own time.

Oh, and use your turn signal.

 

(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:

– Looking to Shape Up the latest draft of your musical or play?  Join our writer’s workshop!  Click here.

– Win two tickets to see Trip of Love Off Broadway!  Click here.

 Need help Getting Your Show Off the Ground?  Come to my seminar on 10/17!  Click here.

SIGN UP BELOW TO NEVER MISS A BLOG