Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Make your own!

I want to riff a bit on Seth's blog today.  My university students will tell you that one of my "themes" is  "Make your own!"  Back in the day, you really were at the mercy of others in our business.  You had to wait to be picked. It was only the lucky few who held the reigns and could act as "gods" to grant you your debuts. 

Now we have the internet. Now we have "entrepreneurial studies" in colleges. Now we have a generation of people graduating college with the anti- 9-5 attitude.  They want to be their own boss and they want to dictate the hours they will work.    

How does the Theatre World react to that?  Well things still operate like they did before, with the gods of casting and such. BUT now you see more and more start ups, new shows, trying to get a foothold.  People are financing their own movies and TV shows that they made on Youtube.  Or just on the web. And the web is virtually free. More and more new shows are getting a foothold outside of NY and then moving to Broadway.  If I have my way they will have a foothold on TV or the Web as well.  

 It's an exciting time to be a new theatre.  I have a great board who really believes in our mission and is along for the wild ride of "let's just make up our own rules" as we decide on a space. I am simply amazed at the entrepreneurial folks both in business and the arts, who are in our Tribe now. 

 It truly does feel like "Hey, let's put on a show!"...but with a networking, smart business, civic, entrepreneurial flare. 

The debilitating myth of musical chairs- Seth Godin

I was invited to a fancy gathering the other day. Thirty of us, chatting amiably over drinks, then invited to sit down to eat.
A little slow on the trigger, I was the last one over to lunch. To my horror, there were only 29 seats at the long table. All of my Jungian anxieties triggered in one moment. No room for you, you don't belong here, you probably shouldn't have come in the first place.
After a deep breath, I walked over, got a chair from along the wall and scooted myself in.
Epic disaster, averted.
It turns out that in the connection economy, where the network effect creates value and abundance in those connections, it's pretty unlikely that there are precisely one-too-few chairs at the table you hope to sit at. And if there are, it turns out that it's easier than ever to bring your own chair.
Even better, start your own table.
In school, we teach kids to try out, to work to make the cut, to suck it up and give up when they don't. We forget to teach them that the better approach (the adult, real world approach) is to just start your own team. One hyper-ironic example: A friend didn't make it past the final try-outs for the improv club at school. Bummed out, he moved on, never realizing that he could start his own improv club...
If you're spending a lot of time worrying about musical chairs, it's almost impossible to be generous and connected. If you've got one eye on the lookout for when the music will stop and which chair you're going to grab, it's inevitable that you're not really focusing on the amazing people you're with. On the other hand, once you stop playing that game, it seems as though new chairs just keep materializing.

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