[VIDEO]: 2019 Super Conference – “Welcome to the 2019 Super Conference” with Ken Davenport

When we started releasing our Super Conference videos on Tuesday, we started at the end, with Stephanie J. Block firing us all up to get out there and do things we’re afraid to do . . . because it leads to the kind of success she has had.

Today, I’m giving you my kickoff to the event.  Every year, I bang the gavel to get the proceedings underway, and give you my “state of the state” of theater, which includes some analysis of where we are, and where I think we’re going.

And last year’s “Welcome” included some data I dug up that I think all you writers out there will find very comforting.  (And FYI, I’ve already started working on my “Welcome” for this year’s conference, because it’s going to be quite a celebration.)

So enjoy my “Welcome,” and hear why I think the power in the Theater is going BACK to people just like you.

(And stay tuned for our next Super Conference video . . .  Ashley Chang, Jenna Clark Embrey, Jack Phillips Moore, and Jill Rafson in a panel on “What Dramaturgs Do and Why/When You Need One.” 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 press director Rick Miramontez! Saturday’s guest is composer Stephen Flaherty, and Sunday will be director Pam MacKinnon!  Click here for the full schedule and to tune in!

[VIDEO]: 2019 Super Conference – “Budgeting for Every Stage of Development” with Adam Hess, Brian Moreland, Margaret Skoglund, and Charlotte Wilcox

Budgets are the foundation of every business, especially Broadway.  Our economics are so fragile that if you eff up your budget, your show could close faster than it should, no matter how good it is.

That’s why we produced a panel on “Budgeting Best Practices” our SuperConference with a powerhouse group of Broadway General Managers who discussed . . .

  • The difference between a Capitalization budget and an Operating budget
  • What the biggest “line items” on a Broadway budget are and how to keep them in line.
  • Why the typical recoupment time is for a Broadway show in modern times (and what you should shoot for)
  • The process for how profit and royalties are calculated and distributed.
  • And more. 

Watching this video will save your show money.  Period.

Enjoy!

(And stay tuned for a new video every single day, right here in this space.  Tomorrow, my official welcome presentation to the Super Conference 2019 which includes my analysis of the trends of the types of shows that Broadway wants right now.  Click here to get these daily videos 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 Broadway Star Alex Brightman!  Click here for the full schedule and to tune in!

Introducing The Producer’s Perspective LIVE! Starting TONIGHT at 8 PM

Last weekend, when I realized I wouldn’t be seeing a lot of my friends, acquaintances (or “virtually” anyone) in-person for quite some time, I started reaching out via FaceTime, Zoom and Text just to check-in and see how they were doing.

Well, they showed me.

In the first few moments of our chit-chat, they had me laughing, they had me learning (sharing their tips of how they were getting through this), and they had me inspired to do something to help anyone out there who need the same medicine that I inadvertently did!

That’s when I thought . . . more people need to hear from these amazing folks.

So that’s what we’re doing.

Inspired by my podcast and the little pick-me-ups I described above, tonight we start TheProducersPerspectiveLIVE!

Every night at 8 PM EDT, we’ll have a superstar TheaterMaker join us for a brief chat about how they are doing, what they are doing, and what tips they are for you on getting through, and eventually, getting back to what we all love to do . . . make theater.

And yes, that’s right . . . no recorded edited episodes here.  These will be LIVE and ON VIDEO, streaming live on Facebook.

And just look at who has already shot their hand up and said YES, I’ll do it!

Stephen Schwartz – Tuesday, March 24th
Sierra Boggess – Wednesday, March 25th
Alex Brightman – Thursday, March 26th

Rick Miramontez – Friday, March 27th
Stephen Flaherty – Saturday, March 28th
Pam MacKinnon – Sunday, March 29th

Steven Sater – Monday March 30th
Jennifer Tepper – Tuesday, March 31st
Alan Cumming – Wednesday, April 1st
Leigh Silverman – Thursday, April 2nd
Sergio Trujillo – Friday, April 3rd
Jeanine Tesori – Saturday, April 4th
Anthony Veneziale

David Henry Hwang
Andrew Lippa
Lonny Price
Kevin McCollum
Zalmen Mlotek
Ryan Scott Oliver
Damian Bazadona
Drew Hodges
David Rockwell
Jack Tantleff
Al Nocciolino
John Caird
Des McAnuff
Stephen Byrd
James Lapine

It’ll be every night, 7 days a week.  And you can see the schedule for the series here.

I’ll kick it off tonight to talk a little more about it, take some questions (and honestly, test the technology before I get a big star online).

Tune in to my Facebook page TONIGHT, Monday March 23rd, at 8pm ET (7pm CT / 6pm MT / 5pm PT) to hear more about it AND get an update on what will be joining us.  And to find the most up-to-date schedule and list of guests, visit this page: www.TheProducersPerspective.com/Live.

See you tonight . . . and every night!  And don’t forget, the schedule is here!

 

3 Marketing Lessons for Broadway from Super Tuesday.

Is it just me or is Super Tuesday the new Superbowl?  Ok, ok, maybe it’s the Playoffs, and Election Day itself is The Big Game.

But it certainly felt like a-must-see-sporting event Tuesday Night, as my wife and I snuggled on the couch, eating wings, and screaming out at the TV when there was a touchdown or even a “fumble” (Like that awkward moment when Joe Biden mistook his wife for his sister – I’m just glad he didn’t make an Arkansas joke after he did it).

As I hooted and hollered (I think I even did “the wave” at one point – my wife did not), I couldn’t help but notice there were some Broadway marketing lessons to be learned from the results.

Now, these are general takeaways, and are not about political affiliation, viewpoints, or any of that ire-instigating stuff, but they do apply . . . so here goes.

1. Whoever has been around the longest, has an advantage.

If you’re in a cluttered market, like this year’s democratic field, and there isn’t an obvious decision for the consumer/voter to make, they’ll default to the thing that has been around the longest.  Joe Biden won the night.  Why?  Partly because he’s been around the longest! He has run for President 3x now, so voters are used to seeing him in a field like this.  He has been a member of Congress even longer than Bernie.  And, of course, he was a VP.  In marketing-speak, he has the highest “awareness” or market penetration of any of the candidates . . . so it’s not surprising that he’s starting to gallop ahead.

TAKEAWAY:  In a recent study I did on Broadway shows, The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera were the two shows of all the shows on Broadway that had the highest awareness.  Why?  Because they had run the longest, of course.  And it’s no surprise that they are two of the most successful musicals . . . in history!  Long runs help perpetuate an even longer run.  So, get your show to run for a long time. 🙂 Or, the better takeaway is for those of you who want to make a career in the theater.  If you’re a Writer, Producer, Director or other TheaterMaker, keep on sloggin’ away.  Your Awareness will catch up too.  Remember how I said Joe ran from President TWICE before?  Yeah, those didn’t work out quite so well.  But he kept on runnin’.  And we’ll see what happens this time.  (And I’d expect Mayor Pete to be in 1, 2 or 17 more races until he notches a big win too.)

2. Endorsements matter.

My favorite phrase of the night from the CNN Color Commentators was “Joe-mentum.”  Made me spit out a buffalo wing.  But it’s true.  After Joe’s win in South Carolina (which was partly due to the endorsement from Jim Clyburn), he was speedin’ into Super Tuesday with some extra gas in the tank. . . and then he got those late-in-the-day endorsements from Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg . . . and then . . . blast off.  Getting other people to support your mission is an easy way to double or triple your base.

TAKEAWAY:  Get testimonials from your audience members, celebrities or any influencers out there. And don’t just put those quotes on your website, but get those folks to push their message about your show out to their audience.  However you can.  Yes, even if you gotta trade something or even pay ’em!   If you think Jim, Amy or Pete just gave Joe their endorsement without getting something in return (one of them has VP written all over their future), well, you should not be a politician . . . or a businessperson.  Because this is how the world works.  Reciprocity.  Give ’em something to get what you want!

3. Buying advertisements is effective but NEVER as effective as word of mouth.

I used to like Mike Bloomberg.  He did amazing things for NYC.  He runs his governments like a business, yet he goes after the NRA and other social reforms like he’s got a gun.  But, Mike proved that money can’t buy you everything. And, by the way, this isn’t the first time voters have rejected a politician trying to make up for their lack of awareness or poor word of mouth with cash.  They rejected billionaire Ross Perot.  Mitt Romney supplemented his campaigns with his own personal fortune.  That didn’t work.  And, now, it looks like Mike is against the ropes.  Actually makes you feel pretty good about the American people.  Spending more than 10x what your fellow candidates spend may get you in the race, but it can’t get you to win the race.  And kudos to Elizabeth Warren for reminding us all of this . . . even if it hurt her own cause.

TAKEAWAY:  Buying more advertising to “make up” for your late arrival to the market, or to overcome bad reviews or worse, bad word of mouth (those debate performances, Mike – and what did you do that required those NDAs anyway?) may improve your standing, but it won’t guarantee your rise to the top. So don’t let advertising agencies convince you otherwise.  As the above proves, getting your show to run a long, long time and getting positive word of mouth is much more important than spending $100 million.

This race is only just getting interesting . . . so you can bet I’ll be back over the next 7 months with more comparisons of Political Theater to actual Theater.  But I promise . . . NO discussion of actual politics. 🙂

What do you think about the strategies candidates use to marketing themselves?  Comment below.

And if you want to learn more about political marketing and how we can use their strategies to help our own businesses, check out the smart blog of this actual political marketer.  (Yep, candidates hire marketing companies too.)

Episode 207 – The Lead Producer of Jagged Little Pill, Vivek Tiwary

Here’s all you need to know about Vivek Tiwary . . .

He had never lead produced a Broadway musical when he had sat down with Alanis Morissette and convinced her that he should be the one to develop a musical based on her best-selling album, Jagged Little Pill.  (I mean, just getting the meeting would be a win in my book . . . but walking away with the rights?)

Alanis didn’t have to go with him.  She could have called any Broadway Producer in all of Google and they would have leaped at the chance to put those songs on stage.

But she chose Vivek.  Because, as you’ll hear in this podcast, he has that fantastic combination of passion, perseverance and business acumen (backed by a business degree from Wharton).

Oh, and did I mention that he also wrote a New York Times best-best-selling graphic novel called “The Fifth Beatle”?

I got the chance to sit down with the left-and-right brained Vivek and we talked about . . .

  • What he said to Alanis at that meeting to get those rights.
  • His path from Investor to Co-Producer to Producer.
  • Why the secret to success in business is finding a niche . . . and what his is.
  • What he learned in business school that he uses on Broadway.
  • Why he believes it’s important to tell stories that are about what is happening NOW.

Enjoy the podcast, and if you haven’t see Jagged Little Pill yet . . . go!

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

And this week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Drew Gasparini! If you enjoyed the outro song in this episode, go on over to www.thedrewgasparini.com or check him out on Instagram & Twitter @DrewGasparini.

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