Reflecting – and seeing some interesting things I am learning…..
Well, it has been a few weeks since the last of the summer shows that I produced closed. DAPHNE’S SUNSET was a glorious musical written by great writers – Jaeger and Mitchell. The other show was a workshop production of a show I am producing and collaborating on the development of – NUMBERS NERDS.
Looking back over the whole process I wanted to document some things that I have learned and share them with you. Of course, you likely learned these things ages ago. In that case you can simply reply: “’Bout time, Fella!”
In any case, here they are:
- COMMUNICATE EXPECTATIONS – document and vocalize your expectations of everyone involved. Obviously, the expectation of actors is going to be different from what you expect from the designers, stage managers and directors. But make sure you tell them precisely what you want (and put it in writing). Little things like – emails/texts must be returned within 24 hours, you must show up on time for rehearsals, you must keep your promises (if you agree to do XXX by XXX date – you must do it) — should not be taken for granted. Stay positive, but be clear.
- CLARIFY MY ROLE – I come from a time when there were a lot of Artistic Producers: producers who had a great deal of experience in acting, directing, etc. before they were ever producers. Not so today. Many people, especially young people, have never worked with producers who have an artistic background. Today, many view producers as “investors”. AND, yes there are investor producers, but I am not one of them. I learned to very clearly tell everyone that my role as producer means that not only do I have money invested, but that I have the final say on anything – even creative decisions. Although I have had it drummed into my heard for decades – hire the best possible people and let them work,– it still is my job as producer to supervise the production – even the artistic elements – sets/costumes/sound cues and acting.
- KINDNESS and COMPASSION – You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. Pizza, beverages at rehearsal, rehearsal spaces with air conditioning – go a long way to making the cast/crew happy and want to work hard to make your production look great. So be kind and generous to them.
Now…..as I write this, I realize something that is so crazy. These are the same things that I learned when I had a very successful business for almost two decades. I guess I just forgot them as I was caught up in the aura of “show business”. As I said above….I can be a little slow at times….