Monday, July 8, 2013

Who you gonna call?

So I've been talking a lot about a lead list in these past few weeks. A list of all the people you know, and people that they know, that can help you get your plays moving forward. I've told you how to keep contacts with theaters for open submissions, I've showed you how to make a submission calendar. Now what do you do with the list of actors, directors, designers, and other theatre artists that I asked you to list? Well here goes...

Think about it this way. You've been given a production for your next play. A theatre is going to produce it or you have a benefactor that's going to open their wallet and give you everything that you need to get it on it's feet. But there's just one problem... you don't have a director. They don't have the exact pool of talents that your play needs and they're worried about turnout for auditions. Eventually they tell you..."If we want this play to be the best we need to get the word out. Do you have anyone that you know?"  So who do you have in your phone? Who do you have on social media that you can get the word out to have things done? Don't know? That's where your lead sheet comes in.

Go over that list I had you make. If you took out your phone and made some calls, got on your social media and sent out invites would you be able to get your show cast or get a director/designer in about an hour? What if you're producing the show yourself or you get that private backer. Now you have to get your entire production crew and staff together or else you don't have show. That means that the people you have in that list are the only leads you have to fill that job. Here are some tips...

  • Keep your lists in categories based on skill level, location, and resume. You want people in your location, with the skills to do the job, who will do it for the money you're offering. (You were going to pay them something right?)
  • Keep calling until you get who you need. If someone says no then ask them if they know of anyone that can. You live and die off of names and numbers.
  • If you get a lot of rejections ask them why they won't. Maybe you need to make changes to the show or even work to pay them more to get people involved.
  • Theatre is an "economy of guilt" as my grad department head says. Remind them of the last time you went to their stuff. (you have been going to their shows too right?)
  • Be honest and don't promise anything that you can't. Never promise the job to anyone until they've had a chance to interview/audition. I know from personal experience how much you can burn yourself on that.
  • Don't be worried about people not like you because you're bugging them or "spamming" them. You are a business calling business contacts. Even offering them a job opportunity. If they don't like you then they can request that you don't call them again.
  • Most importantly keep in touch with your contacts. Don't get disconnected. I have been guilty of getting people's info and forgetting about them for a year. Make the commitment to keep in touch. 
  • Last one: Keep researching and keep your list updated. You should know if one of your friends moves or if they've taken a new job. 
So there you go. You should be like Santa Claus make a list, check it twice, visit at least once a year, and know what they want. If you can keep that up you are sure to have a strong network.

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