For those of you that have been waiting for me to post that interview that would answer the questions I mentioned,
What does “producing” entail?
Producing theatre can be defined in a variety of ways. Producers, essentially, are responsible for getting a play/script/show off the ground and making sure a produce-tion happens. Or, as Mark Hillenbrand writes in, Produce Your Play Without A Producer, “A theatre producer is essentially a monomaniac with a mission.”
Producers have to:
1) Find a show she/he/they want to produce
2) Pick a venue. This means locating a space, not just in terms of budget, but in terms of what the space brings. For example, these are the two main kinds of theatre spaces I was looking at:
A black box theatre is a theatre that is simply that. It can usually have seating moved around, so there are a variety of options for how the play is “staged.” A blackbox is great because, just like the curtains and space around a movie screen is black, this allows the audience to focus on the actors. Of course, a set can be built, and it’ll stand out great against all of that black. But a black box is useful for barebones productions. The disadvantage of a black box is, that, because there is no “proscenium arch,” huge set pieces that must appear and disappear are harder to handle – there usually, too, can be a low ceiling.
A “proscenium stage” is a stage where there is an arch (as above). This arch is great because it helps “frame” the stage and it also allows for larger set pieces to be “flown in” from above the stage. There is usually a higher ceiling, and also the arch hides the “grid,” a series of pipes used in design.
3) Figure out the budget. This should probably be done before picking a space.
For example, I received a fellowship that granted me X amount of dollars. I need to make sure everything fits in X amount. What are some of the most important things, you ask?
This is something I didn’t know about, I’ll be honest, until I started producing. It costs, at minimum, $380.
This person helps you follow rules and prevents fires by making sure everything is safe!
This is by far the most expensive aspect in the budget for my current production.
4) Pay People!
A producer makes sure that all of the following get paid: Lighting Designers, Set Designers, Sound Designers, Technical Directors (if you have your own), Publicist/Marketer, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Actors, Tech Crew, Playwright!
5) Make Sure Things Run Efficiently!
The producer has the ability to fire someone if that person isn’t committing, in the necessary ways, to the project. This includes accomplishing all duties, meeting deadlines, attending rehearsals, etc.
6) Make Sure People Show Up!
Marketing isn’t necessarily the producer’s job, but it definitely falls within the jurisdiction because the producer is putting up a show, usually, with the desire to have an audience share in the work.
My Personal Place in the Producer’s Journey
So far, I’m in the process of finalizing a theatre space, and speaking with potential directors with whom to collaborate. It’s nothing I’d ever done before, nor was I fully taught how this might work – though I will say, I had to learn the organization (hierarchically) of a theatre and that was helpful – in courses.