Friday, November 25, 2011

Ken Davenport's blog

Everyone knows I am a Seth Godin Fan.  I also subscribe to Ken Davenport's blog.

He is a Seth fan too. :)

While he is more into Broadway producing, we agree on much of the same marketing and this week he referred to Regional theatre in his blog.  See below or go to the most recent blog of Ken's.

This makes a lot of sense and is something I think our theatre will definitely entertain.

Self-producing problem? Try our new and improved mini-enhancement.

ConfuciusConfucius say, "Anything that can be done big, can be done small."
Ok, he didn't really say that, but it doesn't make it any less true.  
Case in point.  When big Broadway shows "tryout" at regional theaters around the country before coming in, they are usually produced under what we call "Enhancement Deals".  The Broadway Producers supplement the regional theater's budget with cash, and the regional theater usually takes a royalty for future productions as well.  Honestly, I think it's quite a good deal for the regionals . . . and in recent years . . . it has become too good of a deal.  (Read this blog for my reason's why.)
However, even Confucius would agree that the theory is good.
So, back to the big/small axiom.
As you know, I'm a big advocate of Authors self-producing small productions of their work, if they can't find someone else to produce it for them.  (I'm not sure if you know, but Confucius was actually the first to say, "Just do it," before Nike stole it.)
Three of the complaints I hear the most from Authors embarking on self-production are:  
  • Money
  • Fear of the production being seen as a vanity project
  • Money
While there are many workarounds for both issues (click here to read my thoughts on "Vanity Projects"), here's another one using those Confucius-like words.
If big regional theaters and big Broadway Producers are benefiting from enhancement deals, why not small non-profit theaters and small off-off Broadway Producers/Authors.  In fact, couldn't they benefit more?
There are hundreds of small non-profit theater companies in the metro NYC area.  And I'd bet you $10,000 that most of them would do almost anything for $10,000.  So if you're an Author or a budding Producer, staring at a self-production Equity Showcase budget  of approximately $35,000 . . . couldn't you approach a non-profit theater company and say, "Hey, I've got a play.  If you do it on your season, I'll give you $10,000.  And I'll even give you a piece of it going forward."
Now, that play would still have to be good enough for the NP Artistic Director to take it, and it would have to fit within their mission . . . but isn't this a win-win for both sides?
  • Self Producing Author (or Producer) saves thousands and gets show produced under auspices of credible theater.
  • Non Profit theater gets infusion of cash and a piece of the project going forward, and a reputation as a launching pad.
Ken says, "Cool."
Any small theater companies out there have examples of successful mini-enhancements?  

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