Where would I look if I wanted to find out how to go about becoming a theatrical producer? What are the elements involved? What is the difference between a producer and a director? How does one go about creating a musical?
The answer to all of these questions can be evasive, and until quite recently had to be pieced together in a kind of patch-work way from a variety of sources. But now there is a one-stop-shop for most of those answers. For people interested in writing and producing theatre there is a new e-book that can be used as a step by step guide called “The Guerrilla Guide To Being a Theatrical Producer.”
The author Teddy Hayes, a veteran playwright and theatrical producer with 40 years experience in the field, says he decided to write the e-book because he has often been asked over the years by so many people what does a theatrical producer do and how does one go about becoming a theatrical producer.
He says he has been approached by traditional publishers to publish the book in hardback form but has refused on the basis that the e-book is written and designed to help the reader by linking them directly to the places they need for information and help. For example, if a producer needs insurance to cover liability for performers and the public, or advice on legal, copyright or marketing matters, there are hyperlinks that the reader can use to go directly to the websites of companies providing those services who Teddy has had personal experience of using.
In a digital environment, this kind of resource can become invaluable especially for high school and university students interested in a career in theatre.
Another interesting feature of the e-book is a section that discusses the pros and cons and do’s and don’ts of various approaches, such as few or many characters, how many sets, live music v pre-recorded, etc. There is also a section dealing with creating original musicals, copyright protection, using other people’s music and songs and music publishing.
Although the author describes producing as being an artistic project manager, he also likens it to someone that has just acquired a dilapidated apartment building where lots of things need fixing and the custodian in charge tells the owner that all the problems in the building do not fall under his job description. However, if the new owner wants the apartment building to work as a business they must find all the necessary elements to make it work, including money and people to fix what needs fixing: plumbers electricians, tenants, rent collector, etc., so that the apartment building does not go to rack and ruin but rather becomes an ongoing business
This e-book is timely, not only because it is probably the first of its kind, but because presently theatre tickets are selling like never before in history and places like Broadway in New York and the West End in London are making record profits in the billions.
Hayes says that this e-book is both an act of giving something back to a profession that has helped him realize his dreams as well as a teaching exercise. “I want more and more people to understand both the artistic values as well as the financial benefits of becoming a theatrical producer. After 40 years with lots of ups and downs, I’m still lucky enough to be actively writing and producing. For me, there is no better gift in life than that. Doing something that you love and getting paid for it.”
For myself, I think this little e-book is an oasis in a theatrical desert.
Marlene Rose, Editor: Little London Theatrical Review