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Producers are the courageous artists and entrepreneurs of the entertainment industry. They are the men and women who have the first vision of a production and collaborate and incorporate the visions and talents of other artists to make their vision a reality. Until the recent advent of the corporate studio producer, they have allowed themselves to be underestimated and undermined as creative artists and chief production executives and relegated in the minds of critics, talent and the theatrical community as a necessary evil. The creative community has forgotten that it is show "Business" and producers are the boss. Broadway Producers like Florenz Ziegfeld, David Belasco, David Merrick or Joseph Papp were the driving force behind their productions. There was no question that they were the boss. Their shows were driven by the producer's artistic vision and business judgement. Their name above the title was the brand name that sold tickets based on their taste and the public's perception of their standards of quality. There have always been author or composer driven shows or star actor driven shows but in recent years producers have accepted the bastard's standing.
Due to the lack of consistent product on and off-Broadway in past years producers have received no training, or, through trial and error, fly blind in their journey without any apprenticeship. Producers therefore turned over the nuts and bolts of producing to general managers. Sometimes even labor unions call the shots, dictating how capital can be spent and revenues distributed.
Now, there is Broadway University, where producers of all levels of experience, from all over the world, can take advantage of a wealth of resources and experience to assume their rightful place as the boss and creative motivating force that makes theatre happen.
Broadway University is the only institution that offers year-round, ongoing training for theatrical producers. Broadway University exists in three media: live classes in New York City focused on using the Producing Operating System (POS); international TeleCourses (classes held over the telephone through telephone bridge technology) featuring interactive seminars with successful theatre producers, marketing experts and other theatre professionals; and the BroadwayUniversity.com website (where you are now), which functions as a virtual campus and library.
Broadway University empowers independent and corporate producers to embrace their responsibilities (to artistic and business collaborators, investors, audience and community) that come with accepting the role of the boss and driving creative force of a production. Broadway University does this by helping producers to develop a set of skills including creative problem solving, negotiating, financial modeling, and creative marketing. These skills give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace by making them attractive to talent, investors, corporate buyers of product in development and their community. The BroadwayUniversity.com website is the place to go for basic information about the legal and business aspects of producing and helpful advice via bulletin boards. Through live classes and TeleCourses, BroadwayUniversity founder Bruce Lazarus works to help class members to apply these acquired skills to their personal projects and then create new stratagem for using the Producing Operating System.
We use the term PRODUCER OS (POS) for two reasons. First, it makes sense to describe one's personal business philosophy, practices, strategies and beliefs as a Business Operating System. After all, much of this goes on in the background as we're busy producing our shows. Just as Windows 95 or the Mac OS works in the background of operating applications like word processors, spreadsheets, etc. Second, because the term OS is fairly well recognized by computer users, it makes it easier for a person to grasp the importance and significance of the Producing OS. Plus, it makes the learning process more fun. The Producing OS is not a set of rules; it's not "the answer." It's simply a Business OS -- a way of living and doing business that makes a producer more attractive to others, themselves and opportunities.
Synthesizing material from diverse sources such as the Creative Problem Solving Institute, Thomas Leonard's "Attraction Principles," Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends and Influence People," Doug Hall's "Maverick Mindset" and the business philosophy, practices and financial modeling of the Walt Disney Company, Bruce Lazarus has developed this unique skill set into an operating system including methods of creative thinking, negotiation skills, financial modeling, market stratagem and other entrepreneurial applications. This provides producers a competitive advantage when selling themselves and their product to corporate studio producers or as entrepreneurs in the burgeoning non-studio controlled "Independent Theatre."
Utilizing the POS we take the position that the producer is the motive force in back of any production whether on stage, in film, multi-media etc. As the source of the energy, the producer is the originating creative artist employing writers, directors, designers, and actors. As many producers have abdicated their role and power in the last several years the POS functions to stand for and hold the vision of the producer as boss and creative artist.
Think about it. Who chooses to produce the an author's play? Who employs the writer to adapt it? Who chooses the director and cast? Who budgets, raises the financing, books a venue and balances the egos of all the collaborators? Who markets the show, finds its audience and exploits its full potential? Without producers to produce, plays are blueprints of dreams; directors are critics; and designers doodlers.
It is the creative and entrepreneurial genius of producers that Broadway University seeks to develop and empower. By creating a Producing Operating System, producers are encouraged to challenge the basic working assumption that their job as producer is merely to facilitate the author's or director's vision. Their challenge is to identify, nurture, finance and create their own vision.
Broadway University is an interactive, virtual university dedicated to training commercial theatre producers through the Producing Operating System. It exists in three media: through TeleCourses, the BroadwayUniversity.com website, and live classes in New York City.
The Broadway University TeleCourses take place Tuesday evenings, and at other specially scheduled times. They are announced on the BroadwayUniversity.com website and in the Broadway University News, an electronic newsletter, which is delivered weekly by E-mail to subscribers.
What is a TeleCourse? It is a powerful way to get the skills and tools needed to stay competitive in today's business. TeleCourses are courses on topics that are important to the theatrical community, and designed to be taken by phone so the participant never has to leave home or office. The caller simply dials into a telephone number that connects him or her to what is called a teleconference bridge (bridge for short). This "virtual classroom" holds anywhere from 2-30 participants from all over the world and is live and interactive. This may sound strange, but Broadway University has held many successful TeleCourses, and they work well. Broadway University TeleCourse participants get the chance to "pick the brains" of some of the top theatre professionals in the world.
Broadway University TeleCourse guest speakers this year have included:
The BroadwayUniversity.com website is a virtual campus and Free library where one can find:
If the BroadwayUniversity.com website is the informational resource for the theatrical producer, the live classes of Broadway University in New York City are where the producer has the opportunity to play with that information and mold it to his or her own project in development. A 10-week "Step-By-Step Producer's Workshop," led by Bruce Lazarus and featuring guest teachers from all areas of the theatrical community, begins March 22. Producers, general managers, agents, advertising agencies, public relations specialists, tour bookers, marketing wizards and others will appear as Bruce and the other members of the class pick up helpful tips and learn how they can help them turn their most recent dream into reality. This semester's guest speakers currently scheduled include Nancy Nagel Gibbs, (general manager of off-Broadway's, "Smoke on the Mountain," "Visiting Mr. Green," "De La Guarda Villa Villa," and "Over the River and Through the Woods"), Marvin Krauss (producer/general manager of "The Life," "Grand Hotel," and "Will Roger's Follies"), Nancy Richards (theater marketing), Harriet Slaughter (Director of Labor Relations, League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc.) and Glenn Poppleton (booking agent for Dodger Touring).
The BroadwayUniversity News is an e-mail broadcast of the latest news from the theatrical community in and outside of New York, delivered weekly to over 1200 subscribers in advance of the general public because it comes straight from theatrical production and publicity offices. To subscribe to this broadcast, send an e-mail to: email@example.com subject: subscribe broadwayuniversity .
Bruce J. Lazarus is an entertainment attorney in New York City providing counsel in business transactions and finance for the theatre, film, and music industries. He is the former Director of Business and Legal Affairs for Walt Disney Motion Pictures and Television, Inc. and Walt Disney Theatrical Productions Ltd., responsible for THE LION KING, AIDA and the international companies of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. In 1998 Bruce produced the off-Broadway play SHAKESPEARE'S R&J, adapted and directed by Joe Calarco (Winner Lucile Lortel Award) and the feature film "INTERRUPTIONS" written and directed by Gretchen Summerfeld currently on the festival circuit.