Erik Sherman

Complex ideas elegantly expressed

Producer’s Notebook

Ah, the anxiety of being a producer. It may sound self-piteous – it certainly does to me when I hear it from others – but in the thick of things, it’s painfully true. A strong wind is shipping up clouds of snow outside my office window, I have this installment of my producing journal to write, a Web article to finish, a piece for Advertising Age, and yet I keep thinking about a cast. A director. A producing company.

Two of the slots for the March 10 program are nailed down, but oh, that third one. I contact companies which sometimes get back to me. People look at a script and wait a week and an extra prompt to decide, “You know, we really don’t have the time at the moment.” It makes me wonder whether they even read the script.

And so I may be directing a play myself – if I can get the actors. (Otherwise I may have to develop an affinity for rapidly change clothes.) So playwrights are waiting now for word on whether they’ve been picked, not realizing that one of the factors apparently going into a choice is just who the producer can rope into helping.

There’s no way most writers would know unless they had tried producing – and even then they might not know unless they ran into that particular problem. There are always problems – sorry, the politically correct term is challenges – waiting to rear their heads. One involved group that was supposed to pick one of the plays chose something 47 pages long, and experience tells me that won’t be the 30 to 40 minutes I had requested. Another is going to do an interesting puppet treatment of a two-person play, but they need the recorded dialog, and that happens tonight. If my minivan will climb the narrow and treacherous driveway of the voiceover artist who is playing one of the parts and lending use of her recording studio. I mentioned the snow, but did I say there had been 18 inches in the last 24 hours, and an old dirt road is not necessarily a plowed one?

The potential for disaster is never far..

Third Entry

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