The Play’s the Thing Part 5: Productions – Getting Productions

February 28, 2012
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THE PLAY’S THE THING
Part 5: Productions – Getting Productions
Do Your Own Production

By Dale Griffiths Stamos

March 2012

"What once felt like a 'vanity' enterprise…has now become a viable option for emerging playwrights."
—STAMOS

Dramatists Guild of America recently came out with a strong recommendation to playwrights to produce their own work. Why is this? Well, there are a number of reasons, the economy being the biggest. In today's tight market, theatres have become more risk aversive than ever. Looking for sure box office hits, they stick close to plays, old or new, with an established reputation. It is for this reason that one sees the same "new" playwrights being produced over and over again, while many highly talented new playwrights get rarely produced.

What once felt like a "vanity" enterprise, i.e. financing or raising money for one's own production, along with donning a producer's hat, has now become a viable option for emerging playwrights.

I speak from experience. I co-produced my full length play, Dialectics of the Heart, at Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica California. The benefits for doing so were numerous. First, a fellow playwright friend sent his agent to see it, and I was immediately signed to that agency. Second, I formed a relationship with the theater which has resulted in them producing another of my plays. I also met my current director (an Ovation award-winning powerhouse) who, upon seeing the play, asked to work with me. She has directed a number of my readings and will be directing an upcoming production.

"The learning curve will be steep, but it is doable, so do not be scared off …"
—STAMOS

But keep in mind that producing is time consuming and work intensive. It is also detail intensive as you will be dealing with every aspect of the show, from props to set design, from graphics to marketing. If you don't feel you can handle all of that yourself, try to co-produce with a partner that complements you in the areas you feel you are not as strong. You also want to talk to other producers and playwright/producers and get their input on what has worked or not worked for them in the past. The learning curve will be steep, but it is doable, so do not be scared off by the amount of work. If you have a good sense of time management and organization, and start early (my recommendation is to start the process eight months to a year in advance and start your marketing four months in advance) you should be able to keep the necessary balls in the air.

"Remember sometimes the best way to further your career is to be proactive…"
—STAMOS
Remember sometimes the best way to further your career is to be proactive, take the reins yourself, know what you have to offer and offer it in the strongest way you can. You may well be amazed as the results that ensue.
About the Author

Dale Griffiths Stamos is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced and published in the United States and abroad. She is on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and has been a guest workshop instructor at Cal Arts. Her newest full length play, One White Crow, had its world premiere this year at Arena Players Repertory Theatre, Long Island, New York. An evening of her one acts entitled Thicker Than Water, starring Barbara Bain, was produced in May at Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica, CA. For more information on Dale’s work, go to her website at: www.dalegriffithsstamos.com. For information on Dale’s private consulting (all genres), go to: www.manuscriptconsultant.com.

For info and tickets for Dale’s new show: www.plays411.com/lovestruck.

 

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