Dollars. Cents. Logistics. I think today’s sessions can be summed up in those three words. But I’ll use more.
Today started with Stephanie Sherline, Production Coordinator at Aurora Productions. Check out Aurora’s site. They do a lot. Stephanie brought materials:
And her sunshiney smile. She talked us through the duties of a Production Manager and the logistics it entails (hint: a lot). Danielle pointed out that our producers have the benefit of not dealing with unions, which can take the simple task of moving a piano (“Hey, can you move that piano?”) and turn it into a multi-hour thousand dollar operation (“Well, we need 4 people for 4 minimum work hours from 3 different areas in at least 2 different unions…”). We discussed using our resources (“If your play calls for a lot of toothbrushes, my mom is a dental hygenist! I can do that!” -SS), delegation (which is so easy in a room full of Type A personalities…), and taking ownership of and pride in your project (“Say to yourself, ‘Yes, we’re honored to be here, but we also deserve to be here.’” -SS). There was also a budgeting/Weight Watchers analogy that just really hit it out of the park. I pondered all aspects of it while chowing down on my Shake Shack lunch.
In the afternoon, Daniel Hoyos and Layhoon Tan from Signature Theatre gave us an amazingly thorough overview of the production process from budget formation to striking the set. They brought examples of every document involved, from contracts to calendars to contact sheets and really took their time walking us through the ins and outs of each aspect. Some of my favorite tidbits included:
- The 3 Cs of negotiation: Credit, Compensation and Control
- In production management, you have three things to work with: time, money and labor
- “Morale increases productivity. If people aren’t having a positive working experience, they won’t tell anyone to come see it.” -DH
- “This schedule may seem overwhelming. That’s because it is.” -DH
At the end of their session, they gave us all example crisis scenarios that may happen during a show, and we all shared our thoughts on how to solve them. I’m not going to say Mike Girts and I did the best, but I’m not not going to say it.
Today was a lot of numbers talk, and even I was overwhelmed, and I’m not producing a show! We had a nice calm open forum to end the day, and an anonymously awesome producer pointed out to a lot of stressed faces that “If you’re here, you’re more capable than you think you are.”
There is BRILLIANCE in this room, people! BRILLIANCE.
Can’t wait for Day 5 (How to Pitch w/the Araca Dream Team, Next Steps w/Kevin McCollum, and Box Office Runnin’ w/Harrison Harvey). Get. Pumped.