Entertainment about Entertainment can be financially entertaining.

How many of you have seen a Pixar film?  You know, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Cars, Up, and so on.

A lot, right?

I’ve seen just a couple.  I’m no die-hard, but I can get dragged to one and have a good time, even if my date isn’t 10.

I am a big documentary fan, however (especially since I made one), and the other night, at 2 AM, I found myself cruising through what docs were available to “Watch Instantly” on Netflix.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, there was one on the making of Pixar.  Since I’ve got a passion for how entertainment superpowers are born, made and maintained, I decided to watch.

It was damn entertaining.

And when it was over at 3:30 AM, you know what I did?  I started looking for Pixar films to watch instantly.  I wanted to devour them all like a box of jujubes.

I went to bed at 5:27, dreaming of talking cars and cowboy dolls.

If you’ve got a product that already has market interest, another way to boost that interest is to create supporting products that might appeal to either a new demographic, or more importantly, your core demo.  That group is desperate to consume as much information as they can about who you are, what you do, and where you come from.

So once you have a show that has some traction, take some time to supplement that traction with a history book, a mini doc, or something else that might make money on its own . . . and that supports your primary product.

This idea can be especially rewarding for non-profit institutions.  You should have a book on the founding of your theater, what shows you’ve done, photos, etc.  And before you tell me it’s too expensive, I’m not talking a mass-market paperback.  Try self-publishing with a site like Lulu.  And if you want a doc, try a new filmmaker.  They are tons of them hanging out at Starbucks all over the country.

The cool thing about this concept is that it has the potential to hit the marketing trifecta:

  1. Make money on its own.
  2. Increase interest in your core product.
  3. Identify your most passionate customers.

It’s that third one that is for the advanced marketers out there.  Most of us would jump up and down if we sold a book or a doc about our show or theater, right?  Well, the smarties out there wouldn’t jump up and down just yet . . . they’d find out exactly who that person was that bought it, and they’d make sure they used all of their savvy to turn that person into an even bigger ticket buyer — or better . . . a bigger donor.

Gotta run.  I’m going to see Cars 2 today.

Which I never would have seen if it wasn’t for that damn doc.

 

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Trust me. There is an after-life. I’ve seen it.

This blog may fall under the category of “duh,” but I couldn’t help myself.  It’s a pretty basic concept, but I got slapped in the face with it again the other night, so I thought I’d share it this morning.

At the 3rd annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards (aka The Jimmys), the judges grouped the actors and actresses competing for the coveted prize of Best Actor and Best Actress into groups of 5.  These groups then sang medleys, with each performer getting a featured spot.  A typical group would be a Baker from Into The Woods, J. Pierrepont Finch from H2$, a couple of Tevye’s and a Bobby Child from Crazy For You.

Then there was a very special group of five . . . count ’em . . . five Millie’s.

That’s right, five of the twenty five girls in the competition had all played Thoroughly Modern Millie at their high school.  20%.  That’s a pretty high number, don’t you think?

Extrapolate that to give yourself some sense of the number of high schools that licensed that show last year, which will give you some sense of the amount of royalties paid to to the authors, which will give you some sense of the amount of money that trickled back to the original investors and producers.

“Everything today is Thoroughly . . . ”

I was the Company Manager of Millie on Broadway, and while I was watching the show come together, I don’t think I ever thought about the life that Millie would lead years after the Broadway show had closed.

But you can bet Millie’s bob that I think about it now on every show that I produce or invest in.  The after-life of a show is an essential part of evaluating the risk, and it can be the deciding factor in whether I get involved or not.

I’d bet that if you asked a Writer or Producer of a new show what their fantasy was they’d say, “My dream come true would be seeing my show on a Broadway stage.”

Ironically, the dream of a financial success might just be seeing the same show on a high school stage.

Oh, and if you missed The Jimmys this year, don’t worry.  You’ll be seeing these kids again very soon, I’m sure of it.

 

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5 Takeaways from the GYSOTG Seminar

We had another great Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar this past weekend with a dozen more talented participants with a terrific set of projects.  I have no doubt you’ll be seeing several of ’em on stages very soon.

A bunch of ideas hit the whiteboard during the seminar, but here are five that I thought might add some gas to your project’s tank.

  • Vanity projects are only vanity projects when they don’t work.
  • A primary part of a Producer’s job is to set deadlines.
  • Never work on just one project.  Always have another one in case the first stalls, frustrates you, or dies.
  • Like it or not, sales is a part of everything we do.
  • You’re never too young to be a Producer.  You’re never too old to be a Producer.  If you’ve got a project, you’re a Producer.

Thanks again to all the participants for sharing their passion and their projects with the group.

If you want to see some of the takeaways from previous seminars, click here.

If you are interested in the next seminars in both NYC and Chicago, click here.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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Overheard at Angus: Volume IX

There has been a lot of talk about marriage this weekend (and
congratulations to everyone, btw – even though I’m a Red Sox fan, I was a very proud New Yorker on Friday night).

Because of all this chatter, I couldn’t help but get a chuckle out of the conversation I overheard between two Producers, one of whom has a show slated for production soon:

Producer #1:  I’m thinking about getting married again.  But I’m not sure.

Producer #2:  How come?

Producer #1:  I did it once. It didn’t work out.  And it’s hard.

Producer #2:  It sure is hard.  But when you get it right, it’s magical.

Producer #1:  Huh.

Producer #2:  What?

Producer #1:  Sounds like producing a Broadway show.

Producer #2:  Yeah.  (beat)  And you’re doing that again, aren’t you?

Producer #1:  (laughs)  I guess so.  Thanks.

Producer #2:  Sure.

Producer #1:  You know, marriage and producing have another thing in common.

Producer #2:  What’s that?

Producer #1:  They’re both expensive.

It took all my might to bite my tongue and not run up to these guys to try to option this scene!  But I didn’t. I just sat back and remembered that if you want a big reward, you gotta risk big . . . and you gotta be willing to work harder than you ever have in your life.

And if you don’t want to work hard, then do us all a favor, and do something else.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– The next NY Broadway Investing 101 seminar is tomorrow! Get your ticket today!

– Enter to win 2 tickets to The Illusion Off-Broadway!  Click here.

– Seminars in Chicago, the weekend of July 9th.  Click here!

 

 

If Glee had a baby, it would be named . . .

. . . Smash.

One of the best bits of news to hit Broadway in years happened just last week, when NBC officially ordered episodes of the new pilot entitled, Smash.  What’s it about?

It’s about the making of a Broadway musical.

As one of our industry vets once told me, hits beget hits, and the success of Glee has inspired competing networks to jump on the Broadway bandwagon.  And that’s great news for all of us, as the words Broadway, Broadway, Broadway are repeated over, over and over, in front of millions, millions and millions of viewers every week.

And that’s even if the show sucks.

But from what I hear, it doesn’t.

I had a spy at NBC’s “upfronts” today (which is when the network previews its new shows for advertisers).  My guy reports that the room was so quiet during the Smash preview, you could hear a false eyelash drop . . . and that the room erupted in cheers when the trailer came to and end.

But you be the judge . . . the trailer is below.

Oh, and you know what else is cool?  Like some talent-trade deal, NBC enlisted actual Broadway talent to play Broadway peeps, as if to say thank you for us hiring so much Hollywood talent over the last few years (it doesn’t hurt that Robert Greenblatt, the President of Programming at NBC is a Broadway lover, having produced 9 to 5 just a few years ago).  In the trailer you’ll see Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James, and a few more.  (Do you think Hollywood actors are b*tching about Broadway folks getting the good roles?)

Oh, and the show headlines Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing and a guy with a really cool name . . . Jack Davenport.

In case you needed another reason to tune in, the Exec. Producer is Steven Spielberg.

But you didn’t need another reason, did you?  This show had you at hello, Dolly.  You’re all planning your viewing parties already aren’t you?

I know we are.  In fact . . . maybe we’ll do a premiere party!  (unfortunately, we’ll all have to wait a bit because Smash is a mid-season replacement.)

It deserves a party.  Because it could be our best bet at a new audience in years.

In fact, Smash not a Glee baby.  This is one heck of a big mama.

 

 

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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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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