When I was an actor, it frustrated me to no end that I couldn’t plan my life in advance. Every audition I went to, I felt like my whole life could change course for the foreseeable future if I got that gig. Maybe I’d have to move for the summer to an out of town gig. Maybe I’d have to change jobs if I got that one year training program. Maybe I’d get that big tour and I’d be gone for 8 months and come back with a whole lot of money and a new skill set. It felt like I was google maps and constantly trying to reroute a course based on wrong turns, and the delay that I feel while impatiently waiting for the app to refresh and change my route was significantly worse when it was actually routing my life.
Now that I am an artist producer, it’s the opposite sensation. You need to plan everything so far in advance. You need to apply for grants, start fundraising, get marketing plans in motion. Renting a theatre – man, you need to really be looking far ahead! Especially if you want to do seasonal show like A Christmas Carol Comedy (which I do).
Time is a blessing and a curse. If I ever do figure out how to give myself the appropriate amount of time to create a project, time will be a blessing that lets me actually DO all the things I want to. Maybe. Maybe my ideas will always be greater than time allows…. Hmmm… Time will tell. Or again, maybe it won’t.
The hard thing about time is that I am really good at filling it. If it’s going to be a year until Project X really gets rolling, then I am going to fill in my schedule with Project Y and Z.
It’s a relative thing. A year can feel like it’s so far away but it passes so quickly. Things that I procrastinated doing are suddenly looming over my head or you carefully schedule everything well in advance, but one little wrong turn or actor who needs to pull out or venue that fell through throws all that careful planning into chaos and you suddenly have no time again.
So the thing about producing – or I suppose life in general – is that you have to spend some much time making a solid plan, but then you need to have contingency plans up the wazoo, as well as a real ability to make plans on the fly.
People often wait for “the timing to be right” or prop themselves up with phrases like “timing is everything”. But how does that work in relation to a production? Does the timing have to be right for opening night (clearly important) or are you waiting for the right time to start writing? Or the right time to make a show that is topical right now but maybe will be passe in 6 months? How do you negotiate the right time when there are so many different timelines tied together?
I read the quote “It takes a lot of time to become an overnight success”. Yes. Exactly! How to do plan that time before the big “perfect timing” moment? Can you even plan it? Probably not, but that’s my job as a producer, now isn’t it?
Okay, new tangent: If it takes 9 months for a baby to develop, then surely I should start expecting that it will take just as long to develop my theatre babies, right? I actually don’t think that the two are necessarily relevant, but I like to build in these little “rules” for myself to help the google map in my brain. Actually, the process of research and script development through to production is less of a human baby, and more like an elephant baby, so perhaps two years should be my timeline. For some weird reason it pleases me to think of my project as an elephant baby and already I am really a little less frustrated by a long timeline.
Sometimes it’s really helpful that I play these odd games with myself.
Feels good to do a good ramble after a long sabbatical from blog posting….