The next chapter in producing your first play or musical
It would be easy to offer these key positions to your friends or people you’ve worked with in the past. It is important though to keep your options open, and interviewing potential artistic team members is essential to keep your company/production from becoming stagnate.
KEY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. “Tell us about your creative process. How do you tackle a new project?”
This will give you an idea about how they work as an artist. Each director or artistic team member will have a different way of working, and it’s essential that you find a way for everyone to work together, no matter what their process is.
2. “How do you conduct your rehearsals?”
Knowing up front that a director is one that likes to sit behind a table and direct or whether they micro manage everything on stage is key.
3. “What’s your vision for the show?”
This is probably the most important question you can ask. If a director is set on expensive technical aspects (lighting, sets, costumes) it may not work within the constraints of your budget, and it’s important to find someone who can work within your existing budget. Unless you have unlimited cash flow, you probably won’t be able to have a revolve or lifts on the stage, and so they (the artistic team) need to know and understand that before rehearsals begin.
BOX OFFICE REVENUE BUDGETING
Depending on your venue, you need to accurately project what your production can make during the run. The size of your venue and your ticket cost can give you a pretty good idea of what you will bring in.
The rule of thumb is to budget for 30% capacity. If you have a venue with 100 seats, you should expect 30 patrons per performance. Obviously you want more (who doesn’t want sell out houses?) but you have to be realistic. If you have 30 in your audience per show, and tickets are $20 each, you will make $600 per performance. You can also project what your show COULD make (100 in your audience per show x $20 each = $2000 per performance) but please be realistic with this goal. If you have a cast of 30, chances are you will do well, but you shouldn’t base your projections on sell out houses, because you may not (and probably will not) hit that goal.
Producing a play or musical shouldn’t be about making money, but in these tight financial times you want to recoup your investment, especially if you are lent money with the expectation of paying it back. As well, you probably would like to produce more work, and having working capital for your next production.
After you have picked a show, hired the artistic staff and done your budgeting, you’re onto the next step, which is a lot more fun – the rehearsal process leading up to opening night.