Why you should spend more money on readings.

A consultation client of mine wrote me recently asking where she could find the cheapest rehearsal space around for a reading of her show.

Before I directed her to a list of available spaces, I asked her what the objective of the reading was.

“To find investors!”

“Ok, and who is going to be in it?” I asked.

“That’s the great part. I’ve got these friends of mine that have agreed to read it for me . . . and they’re all non-union so I can save money.”

“Ummm . . . and what was your objective again?”

“To find investors!”

Already there’s a contradiction.

Let’s use another start-up business as an example of what I’m getting at here.

If you were starting a catering company and were preparing a presentation of dishes for potential investors, would you do it in the cheapest dining room and use the cheapest ingredients?

No, you’d do your best to prepare the absolute best dishes possible, with the best china, in the best dining room . . .because you’d want potential investors to see the best you had to offer . . . not the cheapest.

I know developmental capital is hard to come by, believe you me, so presenting ‘first class’ readings can be problematic.  But you have to remember your objectives.

Now if you’re doing a reading for story for arc, dramaturgical issues,  etc., put it in the cheapest space possible, or doing it in your living room for all I care.  It’s important you do that work wherever you can.

But I often advise people to spend more on a investor readings/backers auditions, and add bells and whistles (including nice space, name actors, catering, etc.) to make the material seem even more attractive.

Because if you want to get money, sometimes you gotta spend money.

(Speaking of rehearsal space, we’re adding three new studios to my space in October – check out www.DavenportStudio.com for more info . . . and don’t forget, writers can get it for free.)


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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.