Attention vendors: you’re not the only ones with a pitch.
I got an unsolicited mass email last week from a company that provides a ‘service’ to the Broadway community. I was a little bugged by the impersonal feel of the salesy-email so I banged back a quick reply:
“Why yes, I am interested in your service, although I do have a current provider. Since you asked me about my interest in your product, might I ask you if you have ever considered investing in a Broadway show?”
I got a response pretty quickly. The vendor kind of e-laughed at me and with a haughty tone said something like, “Oh no, we don’t do that.” Then he went on to try and sell me his product (which, frankly, I could have gotten from a zillion providers online – and probably cheaper . . . he had obviously just gotten lucky and nabbed a couple of Broadway accounts).
I was surprised at his response. Although, honestly, I don’t know why. Given the previously mentioned impersonal feel of the salesy-email, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all.
It would have been nice of him to say that he entertained all sorts of ideas, especially if he was trying to get a face-to-face meeting with me. His reaction made it seem like doing what I do, and what so many others do, is bonkers, but he was more than happy to suck from the Broadway teat for his entire career.
When I was first starting out, I told another vendor that I wanted to be a Producer. She laughed. She tried to convince me to forget it and go into servicing the industry and getting paid for it. “There’s no money to be made on Broadway, but there’s a lot of money to be made off of Broadway,” she said.
There are a lot of vendors out there that do give back to the business, in the form of investment, etc., but then there are those that just seek to get fat off the people taking big risks.
To those, I say this: the map of the Broadway world has changed a great deal over the last five years. There are more competitors than ever. There are more ways to do it yourself than ever. If you’re not willing to even think about giving back to the industry that has fed you for so long, you may find yourself starving soon enough.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.