I’ve written about the difficulties of “selling” a piece in a typical reading scenario before (and that entry is actually one of the most read blogs – see the new list on the left hand side of the blog). They’re in the middle of the day. They are under fluorescent lights. The audience’s iPhones are vibrating a hole through their pockets, etc.
And of course, one of the greatest challenges is that a typical musical reading is easily a three hour commitment for anyone attending. That’s a good chunk of an audience’s very busy business day.
So what do you do instead? I’m glad you asked!
I’m advocating the 20 minute lunchtime reading. Give me a couple tunes, a couple of scenes and maybe a sandwich, and I’ll swing down, decide if the show suits my taste, and be back in time to make sure the paperwork on my desk hasn’t hit the ceiling.
You follow up, and if I liked it (and the odds are better that I will if I’m only seeing 20 minutes), you send a script and a demo, which I can go through on my own time.
Then you present a more complete reading a month later for the really interested parties and for the creatives, so they can get feedback on the flow, the development of the characters, etc. (I did this for Altar Boyz, and based the concept on the NAMT model, and I got a great producing partner out of the deal.)
To put it a little more clearly . . .
When I walk by Auntie Anne’s Pretzels on 8th Avenue, they’ve always got this nice employee out front offering free samples of a pretzel bite. I may not have time to go in the store and pick up a full size, but I can certainly do a grab and go . . . even if I’m on my way to lunch!
And in that one bite, Auntie Anne succeeds in whetting my appetite. And when I do have time, I’ll go far out of my way for an original with salt and a side of cheese.