What the #&$@ is my job, anyway?

I’ve been lucky enough to speak on a number of panels lately, and one of the most common questions I get is, “What does a producer actually do?”

It usually takes me about fifteen minutes to explain how a producer’s job may vary from raising money to selling merchandise to giving notes to a director to explaining to a hair dresser that the star of the show doesn’t want her in her dressing room because her feet smell. (True story)

And after that fifteen minute lecture, my other panelists are usually ready to gag me because I’ve taken so much of their time.

So, I decided I needed to distill my definition down to one succinct sentence.  So here goes:

A commercial producer’s job is to get as many people to see his or her show as possible.

That task can be accomplished through raising money to get the show up, through giving notes to the authors in order to make it a better show that people want to see, through marketing and advertising, and yes through buying some odor eaters so that star’s nasal passages don’t swell and cause her to miss another show.

But everything you do is in order for it to be seen by as many people as possible.

Because if lots and lots and lots of people see it . . . the investors should be happy because they are hopefully making money, and the authors should be happy because their voice is being heard.

Future fellow panelists, you can leave the gags at home now.  Although, maybe that’s not a smart idea.  I’ve got some other things to say.

Speaking of panels, I’ve been asked to be a part of a very exciting panel at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association conference in Las Vegas on 11/15.  It’s the largest conference on word of mouth marketing, so it should be a lot of fun.  And right after my panel, there’s a keynote address by Andy Sernovitz who wrote “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking”. I’m an Andy fan. He’s smart. Oh, and he mentions Altar Boyz in his book.  🙂 

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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.