Double Or Nothing!

You all remember my infamous bet from last fall when I incorrectly predicted that the Producers and the Stagehands “would be friends”.

Well, let’s get ready to rumble!

Or not.

The Actors’ Equity Production (Broadway) Contract expires at the end of June.  While emotions are still high from the fall fireworks, there will be no strike.

Why not?  I don’t see an issue that could escalate to that kind of action.  Even if there isn’t agreement right away on raises, the hiring of aliens from overseas, etc., I’m sure talks will continue until they hammer out a deal.  There may be a few threats (and expect Local 1 to express their unwavering support), but the marquees will stay lit.

Who wants a piece of this action?  2:1 odds in your favor.

One issue both sides should discuss?  Health insurance.  There will no doubt be an increase to the already high weekly cost of a producer’s required weekly contribution to the co-administered League-Equity health fund – currently $153/week or $612/month or $7,956/year per actor!

It would be cheaper for the Producer to purchase their own insurance just like any other new company, and cover each actor from day 1 of employment, rather than make the actor qualify for insurance (the current plan requires that an actor work for 12 weeks to earn only 6 months of coverage, and 20 weeks for a full year).

Actors would get their insurance faster and producers would save money.

I realize that this idea is in exact opposition to the idea of union provided benefits.

But sometimes, when you’re lost, you have to think about turning around and going the opposite direction to get you back on track again.

A Few Of My Favorite Things . . . To Read!


I’ve gotten a few emails from readers asking if I have recommendations of books to read for people
getting into Producing.

And, surprise, surprise, I do!

Here’s my “Must Read” list, in no particular order.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big believer in the pot-luck kind of Producer.  Don’t specialize in one thing.  Learn a bit of everything, and develop your own style.  It’s kind of like acting.  Don’t learn one “Method”. Study Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, etc. and then make your own method.

The books recommended below, in no particular order, cover a wide variety of areas from marketing to writing to contracts.  Enjoy!

1.  Purple Cow by Seth Godin

My favorite blog.  My favorite book. Learn how to sell and how to develop product in today’s competitive market.

2.  Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

Remember how I hate marketing?  This is all about the science of selling.  Brilliant.  And scary.  Wait until
you read about how commercial airline disasters increase after highly publicized suicides.

3.  Producing Theatre by Donald C. Farber

A chestnut.  A bit outdated, but a good resource to have on your shelf when you need a refresher in the mechanics of a royalty pool, or how profits are distributed after recoupment.

4.  The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Don’t think there’s a blueprint for story telling? Think again. Using Joseph Cambell’s Hero theory, Vogler shows you how modern story telling is very similar to ancient myths . . . and why it has to be.  Often used for screenplays, I think it’s even more suited for structuring musicals (since musicals, like myths, are heightened forms of reality).

5.  The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

A new chestnut.  And probably the most important book on what spreads ideas (word of mouth – our most important tool) ever written.  Ever.

6.  The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Why concentrating on niche marketing and “doing it yourself” is the way to go in the age of the internet.

7.  Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

After you read the other marketing books, read this one.  Fun, more specific, and the cover is cool.

8.  Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

A reminder that studying data is the way to solve almost all of our problems, from cheating teachers to the drug epidemic.  It makes solving a Broadway budget problem look like opening a lemonade stand.

9.  The Bible, The Secret, Anthony Robbins Awaken The Giant Within, Fortune Cookies, etc.

You need incredibly amounts of faith and confidence to do what we do. Get it wherever you can.

10.  Insert your favorite here.

Got one that helps you?  Comments are open, so feel free to share!  We could all use something else to read while waiting for the 1 train during rush hour. In The NY Times! was the top and tail in a story about Broadway websites in today’s New York Times.

Read the full article here!

The Answer is . . .

The lyric I quoted in my post earlier this week was from Evita.

Congrats to Mary for picking up the iTunes gift certificate.

A follow-up . . .

closed on Broadway over 24 years ago . . . and has yet to be revived.  Seems odd, considering that it was written by the most “successful” composer of the modern Broadway theater and that it was responsible for solidifying star status for its two leads.

So why hasn’t it been revived?

And, if it was revived right now, would it have the money rollin’ on in?

One reason it hasn’t been revived is that it was done pretty damn definitively the first time around, and no one has figured out a better way to tell that story  . . . never mind finding someone worthy of standing on the Casa Rosada.

And we all know how important both of those things are.

Your thoughts on why it hasn’t come back and 142 Sondheim shows have?  Did we really need Into The Woods again?  Wouldn’t you all rather see Evita than another production of Gypsy (even if the original Eva is starring)?

Entertainment Industry Expo

Conventions have always sounded boring to me.  It’s the word.  Convention.  Blech.  Or Expo.  Eww-o.

They just don’t sound fun.

But they are.  Whenever you get several thousand people who are all passionate about Star Trek, weddings, or whatever, in the same room, this really cool energy is created that is anything by convention-al.

The Entertainment Industry Expo is one of those conventions.

Stop by on the 27th of January.  It’s fun.  And free!

Oh, and if you’re there at 10:00 AM, you’ll get to hear me spout a few Kenisms on the panel of producers they’ve put together.