Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar – It’s baaaaaack!

It seems like just last week it was a freezing cold Saturday in January, when a group of 20 uberly-passionate producers, writers, directors, and more joined me for the first Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar.

We had a blast discussing everything from music rights to how to raise money to how to market with no money.

And most importantly, everyone walked away with specifically personalized action items to help launch their great ideas.

Since it went so well, we’ve decided to do it again!

The next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar will take place on Saturday, June 19th, from 10a-6p in New York City.

I’ve timed this seminar so that all of you with shows in the Fringe, NYMF, Midtown International, etc. can meet with me (and many of your peers) to troubleshoot some of your specific festival-related issues before you get too deep into production.

And remember, I guarantee you’ll be in a better position with your show after the seminar than before.

To learn more about the seminar and its structure, and see what past participants had to say, click here.

To reserve your spot, click here.

Important note:  In order to ensure that everyone gets a solid amount of individual attention at the seminar, I have to limit attendance to only 20 people.  Many of the slots for this seminar went to folks on the waiting list for the last seminar, so I encourage you to reserve quickly, as the seminar will sell out.

See you at the seminar!

Get your show off the ground today!  Click here to reserve your spot now.

10 Questions for a Broadway Pro. Volume 2: A Marketing Director

I got some great response from the first edition of 10 Qs for a Bway Pro, so I thought I’d roll out Volume 2 this week.

Last week we talked about advertising . . . this week, we explore the more ambiguous world of marketing with none other than that Broadway Marketing Guru, Hugh Hysell.

I’ve worked on a bunch of shows with Hugh, from babies to biggies, and Hugh always brings the goods.  Why?  You’ve got to love what you do if you’re going to do a great job.  And if you spend five minutes with Hugh, you’ll realize that Hugh loves his job . . . and those fingerprints of love are all over every show he does, not matter how big or small.

Here are 10 Qs with Hugh!

1. What is your title?

I am President of HHC Marketing, a multi-division marketing and promotions company specializing in Broadway and Off-Broadway.  HHC’s divisions include full service marketing for Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows, BroadwayBox (running the advertising department for their sites including BroadwayBox.com, LunchTix.com and TicketsThisWeek), and TheMenEvent.com (the city’s largest Gay email list, which I use to promote my full service clients).  I am also President of Teams on Broadway (our Street Team Firm).  Often, in playbill listings, we are referred to simply as “Marketing” and many shows refer to me as their “Marketing Director.”

2. What show/shows are you currently working on?

On Broadway, HHC is working on Looped, Jersey Boys and Fela!.  Our Off-Broadway clients include The Temperamentals, John Tartaglia’s Imaginocean, The 39 Steps, Flying Karamazov Brothers’ 4Play, The Irish Curse, Looking for Billy Haines, Yank, Leslie Jordan’s My Trip Down the Pink CarpetSigns of Life, as well as some shows that have not been announced yet (sssshhhhh – I can’t tell you).  Teams on Broadway is currently providing the street teams for Fela!Memphis and The Miracle Worker.  Yes – we did the Princess Leia team for Wishful Drinking. 🙂

3. In one sentence, describe your job.

I run a very active marketing company that seeks out, negotiates and administers marketing programs for our clients, often without spending a dime.

4. What skills are necessary for a person in your position?

Creativity, people skills, charm, drive, follow-through, and strong attention to detail.  As a theatre marketer, as funds are usually quite low, one needs to be very creative and think out of the box.  Our goal is to form effective, attention-grabbing promotions that directly influence the ticket buyer.  You then have to charm promotional partners to help you make your plans come thru.  At the same time you have to be able to drive yourself to fully administer every minute detail of a promotion.  A marketer has to walk the line between being a creative artist, a charming pal, and an anal-retentive, highly-organized business person.

5. What kind of training did you go through to get to your position?

As my mother says, life provides you opportunities for your transferable skills.  I was trained as an actor (BFA UNC-Greensboro, MFA University of Florida).  My acting career was largely in touring theatre where I used my creative skills in the rehearsal process, and anal-retentive skills to keep the performances solid over months and months of doing the same show.  I think these skills have been very useful to me as a marketer.  After I left acting, I knew I wanted to enter the business world of theatre, so I became an intern at Richard Frankel Productions, where I moved up to be Associate General Manager of an Off-Broadway show, which then went on to tour and then on to play in Vegas.  At the same time, I was producing a show in the Fringe that did very well, and I moved it to an Off-Off Broadway venue for an extended run.  That run proved to be my true training to be a marketer.  I had no money to promote the show, but with the advice of a Broadway marketer, I did lots and lots of promotions (bookstore, internet, nightclub, bars, barter ads, etc).  The show stayed alive, and I recouped my investment.  The marketer who mentored me (Scott Walton) later  hired me, and together we grew his company, and in 2002 I bought him out.  I have never taken a marketing course, but I do teach it at Columbia.  Mom is very proud.

6. What was your first job in theater?

My first paid job was as an actor with the Kaleidoscope Theater out of Providence, RI.  We did summer tours of kids’ shows to the music tents in New England (Warwick Music Tent, South Shore Music Tent, etc.).  I played a cat in Pinocchio and the Genie in Aladdin (with a 12-year-old Joey Pizzi as Aladdin and Pinocchio).

7. Why do you think theater is important?

Theatre is adventure, escape, entertainment, enlightenment, education, magic, joy and sorrow all rolled up with beautiful images, soaring music and inspiring words  Life meets Art.  Love it.

8. What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?

Audience development.  The audience needs to grow (so there are more people to buy tickets).  With the arts being cut in education, we are not developing kids with art in their lives.  Without that exposure, how will they learn about art in themselves and thus appreciate the art of others?  We need theatre that cultivates new audiences, and allows them to discover the richness that theatre can provide.

9. If you could change just one thing about the industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?

Make theatre cheaper to produce.

10. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?

The word ‘marketing’ can mean so many things, and even in the industry that title can refer to different jobs depending if you are working in the commercial or not-for-profit sector.  I would suggest that an aspiring marketer first get an internship in NYC within a theatre marketing firm, press office, or general management office. Learn how shows are marketed and why those decisions are made.  Knowing the current environment allows you to help it grow and adapt to the ever-changing consumer environment.

5 Takeaways from the Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar.

This past Saturday, a bunch of super-passionate peeps of all different types, from producers to writers to producer/writers, etc., joined me for my Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar.

We had a great time, and I have to thank all of my participants for their creativity, ingenuity and their desire to do what we all do.  There were some great (and I mean really great) projects that came from the minds of these folks.  And I think we did a great job incubating them all.

We talked about finding investors, getting rights, the pros and cons of festivals, the benefits of a lawyer, determining your hourly value, and much much more.

To give you a sample, here are five quickie-takeaways from the seminar:

  1. You are what you say you are.
  2. People don’t invest in projects, they invest in people.
  3. Birth your baby.
  4. Diversify your producing programming.
  5. Never wait.

If you missed out on this seminar, don’t worry, I have just scheduled my next seminar for Saturday, June 19th.  That date may seem far off, but it’s coming sooner than you think, and because of how quickly my last seminar sold out, I strongly urge you to reserve now (I picked a June date specifically for those of you planning Fringe or NYMF style productions this summer/fall.  Your shows should be heating up at that time.)

For more details on the seminar and to book your spot today, visit my Seminar page here.  (There are also some testimonials from some of this past week’s participants, so you can learn what they thought directly from them!)

Thanks again to everyone that participated this past Saturday!  I expect great things from all of you, so go get ’em.

For the rest of you out there looking to get your show off the ground, I’ll see you at the next seminar!

Get Your Show Off The Ground
Saturday, June 19th
10 AM – 6 PM

Book today by visiting here.

 

 

Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar – SOLD OUT!

Thanks to the 20 folks that snatched up the slots at the GYSOTG Seminar (try and pronounce that with me . . . guy-sought-g).

For everyone else that wanted to get in, I’m sorry but we are sold out.

We are still taking waiting list applicants, however, in case any of the 20 have to back out.

If you want to be on the waiting list, email my assistant asap at melissa@davenporttheatrical.com.  The waiting list will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis, so email asap if you still want a shot at the January seminar.

Because there was such a terrific response to this seminar, I am planning a second one to take place in a warmer month.  Think June . . . pre-Fringe, pre-NYMF, pre-your big success.

Thanks again, and all you folks that did get in . . . see you on January 23rd!

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Don’t forget to vote for the 2009 Producer of the Year.

Make sure you cast your vote by Sunday, December 27th at 8pm.

The winner will be announced here on the blog, on Monday, December 28th.

VOTE NOW

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