5 Takeaways from the LA Seminar.

Ok, ok, I’ll admit it.  I planned this Saturday’s LA Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar to take place in January partly because I wanted a break from this Godzilla of a winter we’re having, and partly because I had a craving for In ‘N Out Burger.

Well, I’m happy to report that the weather was a sunny seventy-something degrees on Saturday, and In ‘N Out Burger still has the best burger/fries/shake combo on the planet.

And better yet, I’m also happy to report that LA has some of the most passionate theater people I’ve met . . . anywhere.

We had a great session (and a great social later that evening).  Here are five of the takeaways that got tossed around:

  • Test your titles, because what makes sense to you might not make sense to your audience.
  • The rule of two:  sometimes it’s easier to raise twice as much money, and sometimes it’s easier to raise money for two projects instead of just one.
  • Diversify your development.  Spend half your time working on adaptations and half your time working on original material.
  • Critics from other cities don’t like to be told that a show is a hit before it arrives.
  • Theater people face similar issues, no matter where they may call home.

This last one is what really got me.  Before the LA seminar, and before the Chicago seminar, I remember thinking, “How will this be different from the seminars in NYC?”

And for the most part . . . they weren’t.  The same issues that pop up in The City, popped up in every city: how do I raise money for my show, how do I market my show with no money, and how do I get started?

So next time you talk to someone from another theater world, don’t think that they’re that different.  Because they’ve got the same hopes, dreams, and obstacles as you. And maybe you can figure out how to get over them together.

We sure did.

Thanks, LA, for warming my body temp, filling me with sodium and trans fats, and for introducing me to some awesome people.

I’m sure I’ll do it again soon.

And thus ends the great January Get Your Show Off The Ground tour.  Don’t forget, there’s one coming up in NYC on March 19th, and if you register by EOD today, you’ll save $55.  Click here to sign up today.

The next city where the seminar may go will be London.  Taking the temperature now, so if you’re a Brit and are interested, email me and we’ll go from there.

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Enter to win this Sunday’s Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Catch Me If You Can!  Click here.

5 Takeaways from the Chicago Seminar.

This past weekend was the debut of the road tour of the Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar.  First stop . . . Chicago!  And even though it was colder than a popsicle in Sarah Palin’s home state, we turned up the heat on a the projects of the 12 participants.

Before the seminar began, I wondered how different a Chicago seminar would be from a NYC seminar.  What different challenges would Midwesterners face?  How would their obstacles be different?

And you know what I discovered?

The challenges of theatrical entrepreneurs are the same no matter what time zone you live in.

And there are a lot of awesome people with awesome ideas that are on their way up in this business, that live all over this country.

As we always do, here are five takeaways from this past Saturday’s seminar:

  • Make sure you can answer the question, “what’s next?” just in case someone asks it.
  • Taking baby steps doesn’t mean you’re a baby.
  • Looking for investors is like selling Girl Scout cookies.  Start with the people closest to you and then spread out from there.
  • To really make an impact, you have to do the opposite of what is expected.
  • The key to a show staying open and a show closing is in the operating costs.

Thanks to Chi-town for having me!

The next stop on the tour is LA.  There’s only one spot left in the that seminar (which will be held on the 29th).  Click here to grab it.

 

You have to drill down deep if you want to find oil.

I asked one of my staffers to come up with some ideas for a project we were preparing today.  She’s a quick thinker, so she snapped back a few quick ideas that were all good.

I responded, asking for some new ideas in a slightly different direction.  She took some time, and spat back a few more, which were also all good.

And then she told me she was out of ideas.

I shot back even faster that because she told me she was out of ideas, I was requiring her to come up with three more.

She sighed, realized she walked into that one like I walked into that puddle of slush on 50th Street this afternoon, and went back to her desk.

15 minutes later she came back with three more ideas . . . which were all great.

Sometimes you gotta dig a little deeper if you want to get to the good stuff.  It’d be a lot easier if oil were sitting on the surface, or gold grew on a bush.

But it doesn’t.

And if you wanna be a leader in any industry, you gotta be the one who is willing to go get it, no matter how hard it is.

(Oh, and does anyone else think oil analogies are awkward now after the spill?)

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Come to the Social in Chicago – This Saturday Night!  RSVP here.  It’s free!

Upcoming Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminars

LA – Saturday, January 29th.  Register today.  ONLY 1 SPOT LEFT.

NYC – Saturday, March 19th.  Save $55 if you register by 1/31.  Register today.

For more info on the seminars, click here.

 

 

The ticketing war hits the skies.

http://www.theproducersperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/my_weblog/6a00e54ef2e21b88330147e174b04a970b.jpgI noticed a billboard on 7th Avenue the other day that I hadn’t seen before. I snapped a picture so you could see what it was advertising.

Yep, it’s pitching . . . Telecharge, the official ticketing agent of Broadway.

There was a time when Telecharge didn’t have to advertise.  Heck, there was a time when Telecharge didn’t have to give out seat locations.  But with brokers and websites hitting media hard with adwords, banners and even taxi tops (Have you seen that Broadway.com buy?), Telecharge super smartly decided use some of their service fees to fight impressions with impressions, in an attempt to educate the consumer that the fastest and cheapest way to buy is through the official source for tickets.  I’ve seen them spending money on adwords, but the outdoor angle looks relatively new to me.

And I like it.

Ticketing companies are like department stores.  They have a lot of different types of products of all different shapes and sizes.

And the money that is spent supporting the store helps to support all the products inside.

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Upcoming Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminars

CHICAGO – Saturday, January 15th.  Register today..  SOLD OUT!

(But the Social isn’t . . . yet.  Come!  RSVP here.  It’s free!

LA – Saturday, January 29th.  Register today.  ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT.

NYC – Saturday, March 19th.  Save $55 if you register by 1/31.  Register today.

For more info on the seminars, click here.

 

 

Do audiences care if a Broadway show is in previews? Survey says . . .

Oh Spidey . . . you just can’t keep your name out of the papers.

And, based on the 1.8 million bucks you did over Christmas week, I bet you’re starting not to care.

The latest bit of publicity about the uber-musical hit the wires late last week when Bill de Blasio, a NYC public advocate, sent a letter to the Department of Consumer Affairs stating that Spidey was in violation of the law, due to its extended preview period, and their alleged failure to disclose this information to ticket buyers.

While part of me believes Mr. de Blasio is looking to catch a ride on the Spider-Man publicity train in order to further his own political ambitions, this is not the first time this argument has been made (anyone remember Nick and Nora?).

This bit of news started an internal debate between the two sides of my mind.  Do we have to do more to distinguish between opening and previews?  Should we charge less?  And then came the big question . . . do consumers really care?

I formulated my own opinion (surprise, surprise) and then realized that if I really wanted to find out if consumers cared, I needed to talk to consumers!

So, I sent my trusty weekend intern Jason out into the cold to chat with folks in the TKTS line and find out!

We asked 100 US residents if knowing that a show was in previews made them more inclined to see it, less inclined to see it, or if it made no difference at all.

Ready to see the results?

Not so fast.  Before I reveal to you what they thought . . . what do you THINK they thought?  Come on, imagine this is The Price is Right and you have to guess before you see how much that box of Wheaties actually costs.

What percentage was more inclined?  Less inclined?  And what percentage didn’t give a flying superhero.

Here are the results:

12% were MORE inclined to see a show in previews.
18% were LESS inclined to see a show in previews.
70% didn’t care either way.

Surprising? Not to me.

Now, as with any survey, you have to take into account the group sampled (and the size of that group).  A TKTS audience may be only in town for a short period of time, and have a totally different criteria for making that choice.  A NYC resident theatergoer may want to wait until a show is fully cooked before taking a bite.  Admittedly this was a down-and-dirty survey.

But it still says something.

The audience just wants in.

However, the bigger challenge for the Producer is that if your show is a bit “rare” during previews, you should be more concerned about what the audience is saying on the way out of the theater.  Because if they don’t care that the show is in previews, then they’re not going to cut you any slack for it either.  For them, it’s just there . . . so you better be prepared to give them the goods.

We love talking to the folks on line at the TKTS booth.  Wanna see what we’ve asked them in the past?

– Read the results of our survey of WHO is actually standing in that line here.

– Read the results of our “When I say Broadway, you say . . . ” survey here.

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Upcoming Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminars

CHICAGO – Saturday, January 15th.  Register today..  ONLY 1 SPOT LEFT.

LA – Saturday, January 29th.  Register today.  ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT.

NYC – Saturday, March 19th.  Save $55 if you register by 1/31.  Register today.

For more info on the seminars, click here.

 

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