As close to a course in producing as you can get.

There’s no bar exam for Producers.  No boards to pass in order to practice.  No degrees required.

Producers can be marketers, fund-raisers, or dramaturgs.

Anyone with enough passion for product can produce.

That said, there are more and more programs emerging with the goal of educating a new generation of producers about the nuts and bolts of what we do.

Because while anyone can drive a car, you can drive a lot more efficiently and safely if you know how the engine operates.

The Harvard of commercial theater producing is The Commercial Theater Institute, not because of the quality of the education (although it is top-notch), but more so because CTI was the first institute dedicated to commercial theater producing, just like Harvard was the first institute of higher learning in the US.

Harvard was founded in 1636.  Now we have over 4,000 colleges in this country.

Let’s hope we see commercial theater institutes multiply at the same rate.

CTI just announced that it’s accepting applications for its annual 14 week course.  Apply here.

You know what I did today? Tried to buy tickets to my shows.

One of the greatest challenges for Producers is that we don’t control the distribution of our product.

We are required to put the sale of our tickets into the hands of agencies (Telecharge, Ticketmaster, etc.) as well as brokers, group sales agents, etc. and, of course, the ever important box office.

While there are major benefits to being associated with these companies, it does require us to give up some control . . . which is very difficult for control-freaky Producers like me.

You can’t hire your sales force. You can’t train your sales force.  You can’t require them to sample your product.  You can’t learn from your sales force.

You have to trust . . .which is very difficult for control-freaky Producers like me.

So, every 6 months or so, I get to relive my childhood and play Doctor as I give my third-party sales team a little check-up.

And today was the day.

I’m fortunate enough to have 5 shows running right now, so I called Telecharge, Broadway.com, Theatremania, as well as a few random group sales agents and asked a bunch of questions about each one.

I pretended I was Joseph from Ohio (Yep, a Joe-The-Plumber reference), and that I was looking to buy about 8 tickets to a show or two for the upcoming holiday season.

I asked about price. I asked about performance schedule.

I asked if the operator would recommend the show or not . . .

The good news about this month’s check up?  No one hung up on me, and I got accurate information from all of the operators, even if it seemed a bit by rote.

The bad news?  Of all the of places I called, only one person had seen only one of my shows.

I could spend the rest of this blog ranting about how sales people aren’t really sales people unless they truly know first hand what they are selling, but I won’t.

Because going to the doctor isn’t about getting the diagnosis they give you.  You can scream and yell to the heavens that you have a tumor, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go away.

It’s about what you do once you get that diagnosis.

So, instead of wasting our time screaming and t-yelling (tyelling = type-yelling), I’m going to treat the tumor by making sure all my third-party agencies have invitations to come see my shows.

It’s a much better use of our time, don’t you think?

Have you played Doctor lately?

An article about me shopping.

Portfolio.com did an article on me browsing through the aisles of NYMF, looking to see if I’d pick up a new show or two.

I didn’t find anything my size.

WWYD with TOS?

Remember when we talked about the concept of a Broadway to Off-Broadway transfer?

Title of Show is as close to a perfect candidate as you can get for this experimental idea.  Shoot, give me 24 hours, a u-haul, and a collaborative team (and unions) and I could have a version of that show up somewhere else in the city.

The one flaw from our original concept is that TOS hasn’t benefited from any Tony publicity yet.  And then there’s the question . . . would they even be eligible if they downsized before the Tonys?  Would they be eligible for Off-Broadway and Broadway awards (Broadway shows that have moved from Off-Broadway are eligible for both).

Lots of questions . . . but the most important question is:

What would you do if you were the Producers of TOS?

Comment away with your thoughts.  Luckily, this is Fantasy Broadway, where you make the call, but no real dollars are won or lost.

Which means you have no excuse not to play.  So think about it.  Because when your real dollars are at stake, and they will be soon . . . you’ll have wished you practiced more.

My response to the current Wall St. woes.

I got an email from a 13 investor yesterday who thanked me for giving him the opportunity to get in, because if he hadn’t sunk money into the show, he would have sunk it in a stock . . . and that stock would have sunk and sunk and stunk.

All of a sudden, investing in a Broadway show doesn’t seem as risky, does it?

It’s a hard time to raise money, but as a Producer it’s your job to demonstrate why a dip in one market means it could be time to go shopping in another.

Need more tips on how to raise money for your project?  Click here to read all my best practices.

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