"Producer's Corner" by Bruce Lazarus BROADWAY UNIVERSITY:
EMPOWERING PRODUCERS TO RESTORE THEIR IDENTITY AS BOSS
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, flying 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 motive 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, which functions as a virtual campus and library. Incredibly, with the exception of the live classes (which students may freely re-audit), all the resources of Broadway University are offered FREE.
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 the basic information about the legal and business aspects of producing and helpful advice via bulletin boards. Through live classes and FREE TeleCourses, BroadwayUniversity founder Bruce Lazarus works the class members to apply these acquired skills to their personal projects and then create new stratagem to realize them utilizing the Producing Operating System.
MORE ABOUT 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 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 form 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 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.
WHAT IS BROADWAY UNIVERSITY?
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:
Dana Singer, former Executive Director of the Dramatist Guild and author of “The Stage Writers Handbook,” on “Negotiating Author Agreements”
Patrick Herold of the Helen Merrill Agency, on “The Role of the Talent Agent”
Award-winning producer of Big and Hedvig and the Angry Inch James Freydberg on “Producing With Passion”
Award-winning producer Rodger Hess (producer of the new productions of 1776 and Wait Until Dark) on “The Art of Raising Money”
General Manager Roger Gindi (producer of Shakespeare’s R&J on “Budgeting for the New Off-Broadway”
Fred Schnitzer, President of Entertainment Strategists, on “Telemarketing: State of the Art”
President of Pro Marketing Randall Wreghitt (also producer of As Bees in Honey Drown and The Beauty Queen of Leenane) on “An Introduction to Theater Marketing” Producer Bill Repecci on his “War Stories”
Producer Tom Viertel (producer of Smokey Joe’s Café and the new production of the classic The Sound of Music” on “Sponsorship Opportunities”
Marcia Goldberg on “The Role of the Company Manager: It’s 8:15 do you know where your box office receipts are?”
Robert Boyar from Marsh and McClennen Insurance on “Everything a producer needs to know about theatrical insurance but were afraid to ask”
Christopher Gould from Broadway Play Publishing on “The role of the licensing agent”
Margery Singer on “Advance Theatre Marketing”
George Wachtel on “Audience Survey Techniques”
Dana Singer (Former Executive Director of the Dramatist Guild) on “Securing Underlying Rights”
Jean Ward, Esq. (Theatrical Attorney) on “Negotiating Author Agreements”
The BroadwayUniversity.com website is a virtual campus and Free library where one can find:
RealAudio copies of TeleCourses which are recorded and may be downloaded for convenient listening anytime via RealAudio. RealPlayer software is also available and may be downloaded Free The latest news from the theatrical community in and outside of New York, delivered to BroadwayUniversity.com visitors before the general public because it comes straight from theatrical production and publicity offices.
“ABC” listings of New York productions with listings of the producers and managers of each production, along with preview and opening dates and theater locations.
A glossary of important terms for theater professionals - the essential languages spoken in the worlds of theatrical unions, production, management, advertising, and marketing.
Schedules of Broadway University live classes and TeleCourses, including schedules of telephone discussion groups for producers, entertainment attorneys and other businesspeople. Broadway University sponsors brainstorming and coaching sessions for entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds, all of which are listed and described in this section of the website.
Detailed notes from the live classes and TeleCourses, for those who missed class or those who want a refresher.
Informative “Producer’s Corner” articles based on the TeleCourse discussions, putting the important issues discussed into a quick-read, entertaining format.
Sample budgets that compare Broadway, off-Broadway and Broadway Alliance costs.
Contracts from Broadway and off-Broadway productions, through which visitors can see the contract issues discussed in class and the terms in the website’s glossary in action.
Order forms for books and tapes relating to producing commercial theater, including tapes of the TeleCourses.
Jokes and quotes for humor and inspiration!
Everything a the BroadwayUniversity.com website is FREE
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 its Spring term January 1999. 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 semesters 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”), James Freydberg (producer of “Big”, “Full Moon” and “Hedvig and the Angry Inch”), 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 or visit http:/www.BroadwayUniversity.com.
Bruce Lazarus the former Director of Business and Legal Affairs for Walt Disney Theatrical Productions and producer of the current off-Broadway show Shakespeare's "R&J."
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