We’ve all heard the word “transparency” spoken by our politicians so many times over the last couple of years, that you’d think our primary export in the U.S. was Saran Wrap.
Although the word is a bit overused at this point, I can’t help but want to borrow it for our industry.
Just like the government got a little bloated over the past few years, so have we. We were a bit more flush in the 90s than we are now. It’s always been difficult to produce (and it always will be), but it was certainly easier in decades past. And as Producers we need to act like our current politicians and try and slim ourselves down, which means we need to ask the appropriate questions and push our vendors, service providers, unions, etc. to get rid of their pork.
How do we do it? The word is . . . transparency.
To be honest, I don’t blame some of the unions and service providers for some of the expenses we’re charged, no matter how little sense they make. Why?
Study your producing history and you’ll get it.
A lot of folks got screwed back in the days of the birth of Broadway by guys in top hats who skipped town, abused actors, etc. We’re still a relatively young industry and I believe that a lot of the adversarial tension (and unfortunate precedents) in some of our current relationships has to do with leftover baggage from some of my producing predecessors back in the early EARLY days who . . . well . . . blew it. Read that Merrick biography. As much as I admire so much of what he did, and his passion for this biz, he left so many bad tastes in people’s mouths, I can’t believe any of his partners even stayed in the biz.
How do we overcome some of this dysfunction?
Producing isn’t what it used to be. And the more Producers are open and honest about our business dealings, and the more we are willing to open up some of our business practices for our partners to see (so that they can understand what we deal with on a day-to-day basis), the more we’ll be able to heal some of those fifty-year-old wounds. Some of the best negotiations I’ve had were times I’ve said, “Here. Look at the numbers. You tell me what you would do with these economics.”
We can’t just sit around and say everyone is against us.
We have to accept the fact that we may have been responsible for some of this ourselves.