Wanna go to London as a Producer Exchange Student? Here’s how!

Last year I was honored to have been asked to speak to a group of young Producers from the UK who were here in NYC studying our theater, in the hopes of learning some tips and tricks they could take home.

What I didn’t know until about halfway through the conversation was that there was a group of young Producers from the US doing the same thing in London at the same time.

“What is this,” I asked.

“It’s the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange,” a student answered.

And now you’re asking “What the heck is that?”

The TS Eliot US/UK Exchange is probably one of the coolest opportunities out there, and not many people know about it.  100 actors, directors, producers, and writers are accepted into the program, and then, for a week, they simply swap cities.

And learn.

Cool, right?

The Exchange is seeking this year’s applicants now.  Click here to learn more and apply.

And when you get in, you better promise to send me a postcard.

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FUN STUFF:

–  Play “Will It Recoup?”  You can win a Kindle!  Click here and enter today!

– Need a writing partner?  Come to our Collaborator Speed Date!  RSVP today!

– Enter this Sunday’s Giveaway!@  Win 2 tickets to see Pippin star Ben Vereen!  Click here!

Have you gone undercover lately?

I don’t watch much television, so I didn’t catch the CBS business docu-drama, Undercover Boss.  Did you?  It’s ok, you can admit it.  The world loves reality TV (which, by the way, is something that we, as writers, producers and creators have to come to terms with – we don’t have to go to R-TV’s extremes, but there is an element of the genre that excites audiences – what can we do to our entertainment to excite ours?).

UB featured bosses anonymously joining the lower ranks of their companies to learn more about what it’s like to be on the front lines.

For example . . .

A Waste Management CEO sifted cardboard.

The 7-11 CEO made doughnuts.

The CEO of Hooters . . . well . . . you don’t want to know.

Producers, Artistic Directors and Theater Owners don’t have the anonymity factor in most organizations to learn from their “fellow”-employees about the real issues they face everyday, but they could learn a lot from their audience.

So, all of you Producers, ADs, Owners, Writers, etc . . . take a shift at a show and work merch, usher, take tickets, sell tickets at the BO, etc.

You may have to miss the latest episode of Real Housewives of Bangladesh, but I guarantee you’ll never look at your audience the same way again.

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Special thanks to blog reader Malini for giving me a heads up about this show.  If you’ve got something that you think will make an interesting post, don’t hesitate to send it my way!  Just email me.

What will tomorrow’s audience want from their theater?

Yesterday, we chatted about how difficult it is to get the multitasking generation to the theater because they can lay on their couch and channel surf, web surf and Wii surf, all at the same time.

That got me thinking . . .

There have been a number of theories tossed around lately about how the current crop of musicals on Broadway have a certain sound or are from popular musical catalogs, because the current theater-going demographic (folks 40+) is the first group of theater-lovers who grew up on rock and roll.

Simply put, the traditional sound of musicals has changed, because the traditional audience has changed.

Well, in the 1980s, another entertainment game-changer hit the stores:  the personal computer and the video game.

According to my calculations, that puts us about 10 years away from the next group of 40 year olds who grew up on something that their parents didn’t; a something that had a major impact on their lives, and their entertainment.

So . . . if Rock and Roll had such an effect on our product . . .  can you imagine the effect that the computer will have on our product?  Or the video game?

Or, I guess what I’m saying is . . . our audience is about to turn upside down pretty dang soon.  The computer is the car of the last 30 years.  And that’s going to have a ripple effect and change what people want from their theater.

If you’re a writer, get ready to adapt and expand, because our audience is going to want so much more if we expect them to turn off and sit still for two hours.

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Update:  I wrote the above blog two days before this article about the “Theater of the Arcade” appeared in the NY Times.  Read it here.  Interesting stuff on its way.

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

Last Saturday, another great group of super passionate producers, writers, artists and more woke up early and spent the day with me and the other entrepreneurial artists who signed up for my Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar.

We had a blast.

We heard about all sorts of projects at various stages of development.  We talked about finding and signing collaborators, how to wear multiple hats on multiple projects, and yes, you guessed it, we talked about how to raise all those important funds.  And everyone walked away with a to-do list that they were psyched to check off.

While it’s impossible to recreate the energy of the room in a blog, I thought I’d do what I did after the last seminar, and post five simple takeaways that resonated with the group, that will hopefully resonate with you.

  • Creating experiential entertainment has never been more important than it is today.
  • The nicer the theater you put your show in, the higher the expectations from your audience and the press, will be.
  • Your agents and your lawyers work for you.  You do not work for them.
  • Developing scripts can be like sick children.  And if your kid isn’t getting better, don’t stick with your one doctor.  Take him/her to the best doctor you can afford.
  • Just because your show doesn’t belong on Broadway, doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong.

There was a ton of other great stuff that came out of the seminar, and so much of it came from the participants themselves!  These seminars have turned into great collaborative think tanks of some of the most exciting and emerging theatrical minds I’ve seen.  Thanks for being so awesome, guys.

If you’d like to participate in one of my seminars, sign up today by clicking here. The next seminar will be on Saturday, November 13th. (The timing is ideal for all of you post-festival peeps curious about what to do AFTER the festival.)  FYI, I’ve modified the structure a bit to make the seminar more efficient, but that also means that there are only 12 spots available.  These spots will go fast, so register today.

Click here for more info and we’ll see you there!

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.

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