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?)

– – – –

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.

 

 

Look Ma! We made an iPhone app called “At The Booth!”

I feel like a proud papa sending out a birth announcement.  And while the gestation of this offspring didn’t take nine months, at times it sure felt like it!  (Then again, I’m about as patient as a kid on Christmas Eve.)

On January 26th, I wrote a blog about the Top 10 Broadway and Theater iPhone apps, only to find out that there weren’t even 10 to choose from.

So, my staff and I hit the whiteboard and came up with some ideas, and I also put a call out to all of you for your ideas, and said that if I found one that we liked, we’d make it . . . and share the profits.

Well, lo and behold, my staff . . . and several of you (you know who you are) . . . expressed interest in an iPhone app that tells you what’s available at the TKTS® booth, and at what price, etc.

So, we made it!

Introducing . . . The At The Boothapp, your guide to what’s half-price on Broadway today!  Download it now!

 

At The Boothincludes:

 

  • A list of all the shows available at the TKTS® booth and at what price (both in dollars and percent off – 50%, 40%, etc) updated throughout the day!
  • A “line indicator” that tells you how long the line is!
  • A full directory of all the shows on Broadway and Off-Broadway, whether they are at The Booth or not, including cast lists, photos, videos, and more!
  • A full directory of all of the theaters in NYC, including maps!
  • Links to reviews of all the shows!
  • Links to full price tickets and discount tickets, just in case your show isn’t at the booth!
  • And more!

The app has been on soft-launch for a couple of weeks, and we’ve gotten great feedback already.  We gave a few away to some folks in Times Square and here’s what they had to say . . .

“This is exactly what I was looking for.  It helped me plan my day better and I knew I was going to save money.” – Karen, Texas

“If I can find out in advance that a show is available, I’ll come to TKTS® more often, because I know my trip down won’t be wasted.” – Tom, NYC

So, if you’ve ever wanted to know what was up at the booth before you got in line (or even while you’re in line), download the app today.  It’s a must-have for any savvy Broadway and Off-Broadway theatergoer.

Get it here.

Special thanks to my staff, especially Melissa and Blair, who supervised the development, and special thanks to all of you who submitted your fantastic ideas for all different types of apps.  You helped inspire us to make something where there was nothing before.  Now, if you’ve got another idea for an app (or a dog food, a book, and hey, even a musical), go make it.  It ain’t brain surgery.

(And while you’re downloading apps, don’t forget you can get my blog in app form as well.  Get The Producer’s Perspective blog app here.  I’m funnier on an iPhone. Really.  It’s true.  If you were reading this on your phone, you would have laughed . . . a lot.)

My New Year’s Resolution: no more ideas.

Ideas are everywhere.

The hot dog vendor on the corner of 49th St. has them.  My interns have them.  Plumbers, priests and even pets have them.

What separates the people that produce from the people that don’t, is the ability to execute those ideas.  The successful people see the light bulb go off above their head, and then stop at nothing until that idea becomes a reality, whether that idea is for a screenplay, a way to retrofit an antique faucet, or a way to get the peanut butter out of the center of a Kong.

Whether or not the execution of the idea is a success or not is besides the point (in fact, I’d argue that true success is seeing something created where there was nothing before, not how well it sells, or how many people see it).

When you think about it, ideas are nothing but intellectual masturbation.  Execution is where it’s at.

So that’s my resolution for 2010.  No more ideas.  Only executions.

And have faith that the more you execute, the more success you’ll have.  It’s a law of nature.

Happy New Year, PPers.  See you on the other side of the decade.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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