The second you decide to go into the business of producing, you realize two things: that your level of responsibility increases ten-fold and that you are taking a major risk. Once you decide that you are going to produce a show, you have effectively placed yourself in charge, and while it's fun to be your own boss . . . the boss is also the one who everybody comes to when something goes wrong.
Imagine for a moment that you're on a ship and it's a beautiful day outside,and you are going to produce a show. All of a sudden there is the down payment to pay on a space, insurance costs, hiring costs, space rental and you have a few months to find the money to cover all of those things in your budget! It's getting a bit cloudy right? Then, you do get the money together and get into rehearsals and nobody is buying tickets the week before you open. Hear the thunder? Opening night comes and a reviewer comes who is more critical than this guy and you get slammed in the press. Feel a few drops? On top of all of that the second night at the theatre, the custodian who has no knowledge of theatre at all, decides to clean the floor outside of the entrance to the theatre and curse at you when you tell him it's unsafe for your actors. Rain's coming down now right?
Somehow you make it to the third night of shows and two of your actors who have been in "showmance" bliss since rehearsals began decide they won't speak to one another and you have to hold the house ten minutes until they finally agree to go on stage. It's pouring now. Money's low, everybody seems to hate you, and you're thinking to yourself that desk job in corporate hell seems a lot more viable than this. You finally close the show and have lost anywhere between two to three thousand dollars. Sounds like you're in the middle of a hurricane right?
So you ask yourself the question, "What happens now?" You either turn the ship around and go home or keep going through that storm. That, ultimately, is up to you. They have a saying in this business: you "can't make a living, but you can make a killing." Being a producer is hard work with a lot of challenges, but I believe if you stick with it, you can make it.
The title of this post comes from a song in a musical that I'm helping produce and it speaks to the idea of acceptance. To hear the song, go here. As a producer you're going to be asked to do many things, but nothing will be more challenging than steering your way through the storm when things go wrong. When I used to teach at theatre summer camp, I would give my students what I called an affirmation kit. It had the word "Can't" written on a slip of paper with a dotted line after the "n" that read "fold here", I told them that if they ever thought they couldn't do something they should just fold that paper over. In the producing world rain will fall. I say grab the wheel and let it rain on.