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Secret Producer Series #3: Support Your Inspirations

This week we sat down with yet another one of the industry’s top producers to get their insights on what works and what doesn’t when producing new work!

Q: What’s your biggest piece of advice for theater makers right now?

A: We’re in a period of intense change and transition. It might feel really hard to create art in this moment- I’ve talked to folks who are constantly focused on the message of their piece. Take your time and continue to focus on the story, and if the domino effect works as intended, the message will be more than clear to your audience. But never sacrifice developing characters, relationships, and narratives.

Q: What advice do you have to theater makers just starting out?

A: Support those artists that inspire you most. Watch their Zoom concerts, reach out to offer a word of encouragement, and be a friendly supporter. Those gestures go such a long way, and you’ll eventually find that the folks that inspire joy and creativity within you will be your colleagues in no time.

Q: How do you think COVID will affect the theater long-term?

A: Truth be told, positively. The Theater industry has long been plagued by an allergy to innovation and technology behind the scenes. We will start to learn how to better reach our audiences- how to share our content with less restriction, and in turn we can tell stories farther and wider than we ever thought possible, while monetizing, and supporting the folks who make it all possible.

Q: What’s your biggest regret working in the theater?

A: I was wholeheartedly willing to embrace a life of certain instability when I decided to work in theater, but I didn’t actually educate myself on how to support that lifestyle. Learn early on how to save and invest your money, no one else is going to do it for you- there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a life full of passion and creativity, and still retire comfortably in your older age. Bohemia and Commerce can and should exist in the same sphere.

Q: What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve ever faced?

A: Saying yes to too many projects at one time. Be honest with yourself about your bandwidth, make sure you can focus and commit to the right amount of projects to give fair attention across the board. You don’t want your work to suffer because you’ve taken on too many responsibilities.

Q: What doesn’t work in terms of marketing shows?

A: Folks would argue against this- but we are living in a period of time where print marketing is losing value constantly. Some will argue it’s important to make impressions over multiple different mediums- but print marketing tends to be the most expensive with the least amount of return. Think about how you can parlay those resources into focused digital marketing and press opportunities. They tend to drive ticket sales more consistently.

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

A: Offering employment. I’m continually grateful that as a producer and general manager I’m in a position to offer positions of employment to creative persons. There is an intense joy in seeing people collaborate and knowing you could create space for the artistic work and conversation to happen amongst brilliant creative minds.

Q: What’s the most important role in making theater?

A: I don’t say this to mean to be braggadocious, but the great responsibility of the job is what drew me there in the first place: a Producer. A producer takes the very idea of a show into their hands, and nourishes it. They find a home for that idea- they bring professionals to the table to curate the idea. And they spend relentless hours figuring out how to share the idea with potential audiences. This is not to say the producer is independently the most important role- there are times a writer might self produce their work, or a director might step up and find a means to produce a project. But the producorial hat is a necessary component of any live theatrical experience. Someone has to step forward and say before all others, “I believe in this story, and I will find a way to tell it to others.

Got a question for a secret producer? Contact us at support@theatermakersstudio.com

P.S. We just announced that our annual conference is going virtual this year! Click here to grab your ticket and hear even more tips from top producer’s like this one!

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