Sunday, August 29, 2010

This Week in This Week

Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week, Neal Freeman

I decided for my last blog post for this week (and possibly ever) that I would do a little nutshell of the things I have done during the week in my capacity of Executive Director of The Gallery Players and producer of our upcoming show, What the Butler Saw. This is all while working one full-time job and two other part-time jobs. I suspect much of this will be familiar to those of you who produce at or run independent theater companies in New York. For the rest of you, it will probably be completely boring.

As things go, this was actually a pretty light week.

At 11am I met one of our volunteers at the theater who has some expertise in sound equipment and who helped me diagnose some of the problems we’d been having with our system. We trekked in the rain carrying expensive and extremely heavy sound equipment to the repair store via subway. I figured with the two of us we could save money on a car service and use public transportation. Stupid idea.

At the repair store, the guy said he would call me with a diagnosis and I told him that if the repairs exceeded $300 that I wanted to talk. More on this topic later.

Other things that happened today: Assembled text for a promo postcard for Reefer Madness, our next show, and sent to the graphic designer. Organized scheduling for space usage next weekend for What the Butler Saw. Proofed program copy for Butler.

We had an open call for Reefer Madness in the evening and while I wasn’t myself there, I felt the pain when Heather, our artistic director, texted me that 147 people had signed in to audition. That is a BIG turnout.

Today I found out that the guy at the repair shop had gone ahead and fixed our sound equipment at a cost of $460 without calling me with a diagnosis or estimate. I was a little mad about that and I told him so.

In any event, it was time to pick up the equipment. I started calling car services (see above – I try to be stupid only once per incident). The first one I found wanted $54 to get from Chelsea to Park Slope. I had used a car service back in March when I had to get our keyboard repaired and they charged only $20 to go from the East Village to Park Slope. I couldn’t remember the name though, so I did some detective work and went through my e-mail to find the date that I went to pick up the keyboard, and then I went to my cell phone account online and looked at the numbers I called on that date. I googled a likely number and discovered the car service I wanted. They offered me $25 for the trip. Success! Car ride back to the theater with heavy sound equipment.

At the theater, I took the opportunity to check in with the director and PSM of Butler, welcomed our brand new ASM who was attending her first rehearsal, got the mail, paid some bills, and started organizing a production meeting for the weekend.

When I got home I filled out and scanned the letter of agreement and credit card authorization forms that TDF Costume Collection requires so that our Butler costume designer could visit this week. Sent about a dozen more e-mails organizing various Butler-related things.


Today was mostly e-mails and no legwork. I tried to arrange a couple of e-blast trades for Butler. I did a few updates to our website. I labeled envelopes and stuffed/sealed 30 thank you letters to Materials for the Arts. I had printed these letters and labels last week right after the shopping trip and felt a little guilty that the letters were all dated August 13th and here it was August 25th and I had not yet mailed them. Overcame guilt. Mailed them.

Side note: does it not seem strange that an organization all about re-using and re-cycling should require so much paper to be wasted on these silly thank you notes?


Received via e-mail a cut of a promo video for Butler and posted it on our youtube channel and on the show’s webpage, and inserted it in the draft e-blast we have ready to go out on Monday. Updated the website some more, and got the ball rolling on an antique wheelchair we are trying to get back to the theater to use in Butler. Scanned the headshots of the actors to send in for the program. In the evening I attended a required grants seminar with the Brooklyn Arts Council. A dozen other e-mails on various other little details relating mainly to Butler and to Reefer.


A few e-mails today on a few Butler-related details. Otherwise, a quiet day in Gallery Players land.


Woke up thinking about Butler and fired off e-mails to the designers to check in as we are one week before tech. Then had lunch with our artistic director and our publicist to discuss strategies for the upcoming season. Then to the theater to help build the set for Butler. We had some volunteers there and progress has been excellent. Stayed until rehearsal began at 6pm. Over the course of the day I spoke with or corresponded with all five Butler designers.


Back to the theater at 10:30am for a set/props meeting for Butler, then stayed for a designer run-thru at noon. Stuck around the theater after the run doing some miscellaneous facilities tasks and clean-up. A few more tidbits on e-mail for the rest of the day.

And scene.

Next week, more of the same. Except no more blog writing.

Thanks for reading my blogs this week. If you’d like discounted tickets to come see What the Butler Saw at The Gallery Players (Sept 11-26, very funny!) message me at neal(at) and tell me you loved my blog. If necessary, lie.

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