I had a consult a few weeks ago with an emerging playwright who was struggling to find someone to put her first play on the boards.
When I suggested that the someone she was looking for might be the same someone who helps her put on her shoes and socks in the morning, she looked at me as if I suggested she perform dental surgery on herself.
“I can’t do that,” she said. Now, I knew very well she could do that. She had the ability. She had the resources. And I wasn’t talking about her putting the show up at the Palace, but finding a way to get her play up at the showcase, festival or even mini Off Broadway level? Oh sure, she could do that. I’ve seen hundreds of people do it before. She could definitely do that.
But she didn’t want to do that.
“Why?” I asked.
“How would it look?” she countered.
It’s funny, nope, it’s sad that there’s such a stigma attached to self-producing, and taking that first step to attracting others to your work.
Because for some reason, this stigma only applies to the arts.
You’ve heard me call Steve Jobs a producer before. But when you think about it, wasn’t he a self-producer?
He had an idea. He figured out a way to execute that idea. He even had to raise some money, come up with early marketing plans, and do just about everything else that a Producer has to do. But, he was also the artist that came up with the product (which in my client’s case was a play).
What about the guys that came up with Google in their dorm room?
Or a chef that opens his own restaurant?
Any entrepreneur who starts their own business is no different than any self-producing artist. In business, we praise these guys for their ability to find an idea, develop it into a product and then bring it to market.
Yet in the arts, that’s somehow taboo.
Well, not anymore. It’s time to inoculate us all from the idea that self-producing is an act of desperation or vanity (as I wrote about in one of my very first blogs here).
“How would it look?” I responded to my client.
I guess it would look like you’re taking charge of your own destiny and not waiting around for someone to give you permission to get your stuff out into the world.
I guess it would look like you were just like Steve Jobs.
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