What the theater crunch could mean for the subsidiary market.

Every quarter, my Assistant prepares a new chart of what’s in all the Broadway theaters, and what we expect is coming next.

At a glance it tells me what theaters are available, or as I like to say, “in play.”  (Get it?  In “play!”  Alright, alright, it’s not that funny, I know.  I’m practicing my soon-to-be-Dad humor.)

And every quarter the number of those “in play” theaters get smaller and smaller, as shows run longer and longer.

This theatrical traffic jam is preventing a lot of new shows from getting on the road to Broadway.

And now, just like any traffic jam that doesn’t get cleared up quick, it’s causing a problem on the other end of the jam.

See the regional theater market, the summer stock market, the community theater market, etc., all depend on new shows coming down the pike to fill their seasons.  These theaters like to do the “new” stuff too (when it eventually trickles down to them).  After all, how many times can they do Oklahoma?

Well, if there are fewer theaters on Broadway for new shows, then that means fewer new shows for the subsidiary market.

So what’s a non-Broadway theater to do?

Look elsewhere!

And that’s the good news for writers out there.

If the subsidiary market isn’t getting an adequate supply of shows for their markets, they’ll have to get their product elsewhere.  And that means these theaters might start taking shows without a Broadway pedigree.

So if you’re a writer, don’t pin all your hopes and dreams on Broadway . . . because I’m predicting that there is going to be a whole bunch more opportunities coming your way.

All thanks to the Broadway traffic jam.

(Want to hear more about how one playwright has earned a living without ever having a show on Broadway?  Click here.)

 

Our 2nd “Shut Up and You-Know-What” is TOMORROW!

You know what I’m talking about, right?

I’m talking about SHUT UP AND WRITE, our in-person writing session, for anyone who wants to put pen to paper or keys to a keyboard, whether you’ve had twenty plays published or never even finished a page.

And our second one is tomorrow, Saturday, January 20th from 10 AM – 1 PM and all you have to do to join us is sign up here.

Being a writer is being your own boss.  But the irony is, artists aren’t usually the personality types that make great bosses!  That’s why writers need a little help with structure, accountability, and goals.

Shut Up and Write is just that.  It’s a set time.  With a set goal (finish X by the time before you leave).  And with experts like my Director of Creative Development, Eric Webb, there to help answer questions or challenges you may have with your project.

Show up and you’re guaranteed to get something done.  It’s just what happens.  So join us.

Look at what a few of our last “Shut-Uppers” had to say about the event:

“Ken Davenport’s ‘Shut Up And Write!’ event was a one of a kind experience: writers from the tri-state area sitting together silently, in a theater writing.  In the crazy and noisy hustle and bustle of every day life, it’s an infrequent opportunity to have 3 straight hours of quiet to oneself to tune into and explore our creative selves.  It was especially rewarding being around the energy of the other writers: quiet, yet a safe cocoon to create in, where you knew you had empathetic people around you supporting your process.  And all for the price of a cup of coffee!  Doesn’t get better than that…” – Ali Skylar

“I recently participated in Ken Davenport’s first Shut Up and Write gathering. I was able to sit with a bunch of my fellow writers and get a solid three hours of writing done. During breaks I was able to meet with some great people that were also there to advance their goals. Even Ken and his team were available to answer questions and offer guidance. I’m looking forward to signing up the next time the event is offered.” – Edward Medina

We hold the event at my theater, which isn’t the size of the Palace, unfortunately.  That means, there is a limit to the number of Writers we can host.  So if you’re ready to start writing, click here.

And it doesn’t matter where you are with your play, musical, screenplay.

Don’t have an idea?  Make a goal to come up with one by the time the session is done.

Got an outline?  Make a goal to write the first three scenes.

Have a draft?  Make a goal to do a rewrite of one act.

All that matters is you come, you shut up, and you write.

Register here.

 

Podcast Episode 145 – Powerhouse Literary Agent to the Stars, Jonathan Lomma

There was a time when I thought about being an agent.  I interviewed with the big three-lettered agencies and was even offered a couple of gigs.  But I didn’t take them.

Because I didn’t have the stamina to sit behind one of those desks for 5+ years before I could agent myself.

You know who did have that stamina and guts?  Today’s guest, Mr. Jonathan Lomma.

Jonathan heard about agenting early on, and whether he knew it or not, he put himself on a path, which he fulfilled, of representing legends like Terrence McNally, Arthur Laurents, and Edward Albee.

We talked about what it was like working with such major writers like the triple-play above, as well as:

  • What made him go to law school even though he was a child actor.
  • Jonathan’s theory of how musicals changed after 2001.
  • How an emerging writer gets on his radar.
  • His favorite quote about working closely with people on the “other side” of the table.
  • And more.

Within five seconds of meeting Jonathan, you just know that he found his calling.  Being an agent is exactly what he is supposed to do.

And after five seconds of listening to this podcast, you’ll realize that Jonathan isn’t just an agent for his clients.  He’s an agent for the theater.  And we’re lucky to have him as an advocate.

Enjoy!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Jonathan!

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

Download it here.

 

3 Keys To Setting New Year’s Resolutions . . . that you will KEEP.

Happy New Year, readers!

This is normally the day when I’d post a podcast, but in light of the holiday, I thought I’d give the microphone a little vacation and talk about New Year’s, one of my favorite days of the year.

Because this is the day when it all starts over.  And no matter whether you had a great year, or a @#$%, this is the day when we set out to make things better than they were.

A clean slate.  A blank canvas.  A bare stage.

So much potential.

And it’s up to us to realize it.

Today is of course the day when millions upon billions of people set New Year’s Resolutions.

And a month from now is when millions upon billions of people will break those Resolutions.

I’m a super resolution maker (are you surprised?), and I spent many years breaking ’em, forgettin’ ’em, and saying, “What the @#$% was I thinking” about ’em.

But about a decade ago, I started using the Three Keys below to help set my resolutions, and, dangit, I started keeping ’em.  And more importantly, they started working!

So, as we ALL start off this year, and since we all want it to be the best year yet, I thought I’d share these keys of mine with you to help you with your resolutions, whether they are theatrically-related or not.

Here’s how I set my resolutions:

1. Make them “The Two As.”

All of your resolutions should be follow the rules of the Two As. They should be “Ambitious but Achievable.” Stretch yourself, but make sure your goal is something you can accomplish.

I once set a resolution for myself to start and produce a workshop, write a screenplay and start a new website in 90 days . . . while working two jobs that took up about 60 hours a week.

Guess what? I failed. And felt pretty bad about it.

Set a resolution that will challenge you but that isn’t impossible. If you just finished a play, don’t set a resolution to “Get it to Broadway.” Maybe set one to have a reading or a showcase production in the next 12 months.

If you just graduated from college and got your first job, don’t say, “I will make a million dollars this year.” Push yourself, yes, but make it something that is possible.

Because falling short of a goal or breaking a resolution can actually cause you to regress on your journey towards success.

2. Make them specific.

Your resolutions should be as specific as possible. The more concrete and clear they are, the easier they are to follow. Resolutions are like directions. If someone says, “To get to my house, just go that way . . . for like, oh, I don’t know, a while, and then turn . . . and after then you’ll sort of end up there.” You’ll never get to where you want to go or you will spend hours on a trip that should have taken minutes.

But if someone says, “Drive three miles, take a left for 2 miles. Turn left at the stop sign then your first right and I’m the red house on the left with the balloons out front,” you’ll get there. Efficiently.

So don’t set a resolution to “write more,” or “go to the gym more often.” Set a resolution that says, “I will write three hours a week,” or better, “thirty minutes every day,” or “I will go to the gym twice a week.”

Specificity leads to success.

3. Make yourself Accountable.

Find someone and SHARE your resolutions with that person. Make him/her your Resolution Buddy!  For some reason people often keep their resolutions private . . . but the best way to make sure you stick with them is to make them PUBLIC.  Put ’em on Facebook, Twitter, your refrigerator. Or in our PRO Facebook group!!!

And have periodic check-ins with your buddy. Or get yourself a trainer, coach, Mastermind, teacher . . . someone to make sure you do your homework. It works! I’ve had an Accountability Buddy for about 20 years. And have been a member of Masterminds for over a decade.

These Three Keys have worked for me, and I hope they’ll work for you.  And don’t hesitate to tweak to make them your own.  Everyone’s journey is different.  But if you start with these three steps as a foundation when you set your 2018 Resolutions, I’d bet that you’ll have your best 2018 yet.
(This post was this week’s “Tip of the Week” email that I send to my ProducersPerspectivePRO members every Monday (they said it was ok to share it with you).  Want more like it delivered to your inbox every week?  Click here to find out how.)

WARNING to all underlying rights holders: Look at our history.

Last week, I talked about how we’re in what I call The Independent Theater Era on Broadway (and actually –  the embrace of Once On This Island by audiences and critics that I’m oh so grateful for, further proves the point).

It’s our audience’s current appetite for originality, as well as the history of our biggest hits, that have me a bit perplexed as of late when it comes to the demands I’m seeing from some underlying rights holders who have been approached about a musical adaptation of their work.

Let me back up.

In case you’ve never heard that term before, an “Underlying Rights Holder” is anyone who is in control of a property that is being adapted for (in our world) a theatrical treatment.  For example, the author of a novel, a movie company, the controller of a musical catalog, etc.

And when approaching one of these URHs, you cut deals for dollars, approvals, billing, etc.

Now, of course, the URH is in complete control and can, and should, ask for whatever he/she/it wants, especially if they could care less about a musical or play ever being made (Negotiating Tip! The best negotiators are the ones who don’t give a @#$% if the deal happens or not).

But if they do want a deal to happen, then they should take another look at the requests they’re making.

Because just look at some of the biggest hits of the last few years:

Dear Evan Hansen – based on an original story

Come From Away – based on history and interviews

Hamilton – yes, they did base this on a book, but there is an argument to be made that they didn’t have to . . . it’s a treatment of historical facts

And look at the longest running musicals of all time!

I count 50% of the musicals in this category that are either based on public domain material (Phantom, Les Miz) or on other unique source material (A Chorus Line, Disney’s movies – of which the subjects were public domain, and of course, the stage producer is the same as the movie producer, so there aren’t any URH roadblocks).

With a historical 50/50 shot at super-success with original or public domain material, and with the recent trend of what’s hot on Broadway, these URH (or more specifically, their lawyers) should tread lightly when asking for too much control if they want to participate in the current Broadway gold rush.

Because I’ve been hearing Producers grumble lately that adapting something not only costs more, but ties a creative noose around your neck (too many approvals, often from people who have never created a musical before), and it just takes a heck of a lot longer.

And as a result, more and more (including me) are just starting to walk away.

 

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