The 3 Fs

I like to make up dorky abbreviations and acronyms to help keep me on track with a goal.

For example:

EAI – “Easily Actionable Item” A short term task that is easy to accomplish that helps demonstrate forward motion to a organization (just ask the Off-Broadway Brainstormers about this one!)

And here’s my latest!

I am in the midst of looking for new projects, so I came up with a three stage structure to define the steps a producer needs to take when developing a new project.  Rather than name it “A Producer’s Three Stage Structure” and sound like an MBA candidate writing a (boring) paper, I called it “The 3 Fs”.  And since I’m not an MBA candidate and no one is forced to read my papers, I’m posting it here for your grade instead.

THE 3 Fs


Transferring a show from a regional theatre?  Optioning a friend’s play?  Writing it yourself?  This stage is all about locating the property that you believe deserves and demands to be seen.  Think of this stage like adopting a child. (And you wouldn’t rush that, would you?)


It’s your job to assist in the development of the property so that it can grow stronger.  The definition of development changes for each show.  Some pieces may need help with the script.  Some may need a new director that you can find.  Some may need a place to rehearse.  Some may need cash.  Figure out what your show needs and get it.  Even if whatever it needs is not your strength. Either find someone who can deliver what the show needs, or learn how yourself.  Your kid is going through puberty.

3.  (Bring it to) FRUITION

This is the practical part of producing:  booking the theater, hiring the GM (or doing it yourself), preparing your marketing campaign, and getting that show to opening night.  Your kid is 18 now.  And without you, he or she would sit at home playing Wii, smoking doobies and not go to college.  Don’t let that happen.

There they are:  The Three Fs.  Say them with me five times fast.  Find it, flesh it out, fruition.  Find it, flesh it out, fruition. Find it . . . ok, you get the idea.

Grade me on them if you’d like.  Or better, come up with your own better way of putting up a show.

Because the truth is, now matter what road you take, or what letter you use in your “Three Stage Structure”, how you get your show to the stage is not as important as simply getting there.

(Oh and by the way, your kid may still flunk out of school and end up in prison even if you follow The 3Fs perfectly.  But hey, producing shows is not like living in China.  You can always have another kid.  And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t.)

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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.