Monday, May 3, 2010

More hats than a Brooklyn chapeau shop!


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week, Johnny Blaze Leavitt.

I’m so glad tax season is over!  Apart from the usual headaches and worries that we all go through this time of year, there’s one little tidbit that frustrates me to no end.

Occupation: Actor

Holy socks!  Is that ever a gross oversimplification!!!  My fellow Off-Off-Broadway producers know exactly what I’m talking about.  No one is “just an actor” anymore.  And once you decide to produce your own work, you’ll never be “just” any one thing ever again.

A show of hands from my fellow producers (if you have the time to spare).  How many hats do you wear now?  I’ve been a producer since the year 2000 and my hat collection just keeps growing!  I have more hats than a Brooklyn chapeau shop!  Playwright, Designer, Director, Marketing Strategist, Venue Hunter, Prop Hunter/Builder, Contract Negotiator, Dispute Settler, Promoter, Blogger, Stage Manager, Production Coordinator, Graphic Designer, Grant Application Writer, Fundraiser, Liaison, Officer in Charge of Morals, Chief Worry Wart and, oh yeah, Actor.

I can’t stress this enough to other producers: Get a Team!  I am extremely lucky that I don’t have to go it alone.  I have a team of seven who meet once a week (in our secret Bat Cave) to plot and plan.  I also have eleven more multi-talented artists in the ensemble willing to tow the line.

I also can’t stress this enough: Post-It notes!  Little reminders of what I have to do and when.  I have them all over my house!  Or I used to until I got married and my wife wanted a ‘grown-up’ house.  Oh yeah!  Add ‘Husband hat’ to that collection!  Ah, married life.  Luckily I married an actress.  Who is also a Fight Director.  And an Accent/Dialect coach.  And a Voice & Diction coach.  And a stand-up comedian.  And a Doula.  CRAP!  “Honey, we either need a bigger place or fewer hats!  Or more post-it notes!  … Yes, I’ll put my thoughts in my iPhone instead, dear.”

It’s like having a hamster in a wheel hopped up on caffeine 24/7 running around in my head but it’s one of the best jobs there is.

I’ll write more tomorrow but for now, I invite folks to share a quick ‘Day in the Life’ list of chores you do as a producer.  I know after this I have to go write two more scenes for my summer show, check in with my Artistic Director about his prep work for the fall show, go over the drafts for some press releases, talk to my Administrative Director about adding some links to our website, send some documents over to ART/NY, review a SWOTs analysis for my production team, and set up a photo shoot for our next postcard image.  CRAP!  And hunt for a good green screen kit on eBay! 

Um… any sellers out there?


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