Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Seven Steps To Creating A Successful Benefit – Part 7

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The “It’s Time To Get Out Your Checkbook” Speech

Who makes the necessary “Now it’s time to get out your checkbook” speech?  

How do you propose doing that when you’re webcasting from NYC?

Yes, that moment of “OK, now it’s time to get out your checkbook” is the climactic moment of your benefit – even if you’ve sold $5000 tables. You want to approach your potential donor at just the right time when they are most excited and most inspired by the experience you’ve just given them. And you want that request to come from the leader of your organization. And you want that leader to be well rehearsed in what he or she has to say, be a good speaker, feel natural and make a very fine impression in this all too important speech. You want them to have presence. Not always easy …

An “Is Anybody Listening?” Webcast Benefit will originate from New York City, but your pitch speaker can be in Akron, Ohio in the comfort of his living room or in his plush office at work. He or she can come into the webcast live or even pre-taped and give their pitch well rehearsed and natural. This can all be done on a laptop computer sitting in front of them or, if you like, could be pre-recorded and inserted into the webcast at just the proper place in the evening. Donations can be made online at a previously arranged link and submitted through your guests’ handheld devices or cell phones.

Speak to us about the many more intriguing time saving and financial bonuses of using “Is Anybody Listening?” as the draw for your next benefit.

Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Benefit

Part 1: Producing A Benefit
Part 2: Your Audience
Part 3: The Professional Producer/Presenter
Part 4: Promoting Your Benefit
Part 5: The Cost And The Profit
Part 6: The Benefit – More or Less

Seven Steps To Creating A Successful Benefit – Part 5

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

 

The Cost And The Profit

There seems to be a bit of a Catch 22 here. I need the funding to stimulate my cause, but don’t really have the money to produce the benefit in the necessary fashion to begin with.

What do I do?

We’ll work with you. Payment from you comes to us in three ways – a base rate of $500 per webcast, a projected count of $10 per person (non-refundable) upon the signing of your agreement, and a final tally of your per person attendance on the day after the webcast. We suggest you keep your initial projected count of $10 per person low and only count how many you absolutely know will attend to keep your upfront cost as low as possible. If more than your projected count show up, all the better. You can pay for the additionals on the day after the presentation.

Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Benefit

Part 1: Producing A Benefit
Part 2: Your Audience
Part 3: The Professional Producer/Presenter
Part 4: Promoting Your Benefit
Part 6: The Benefit – More or Less
Part 7: The “It’s Time To Get Our Checkbook” Speech

Seven Steps To Creating A Successful Benefit – Part 4

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Promoting Your Benefit

Our organization has a strong and dedicated following, but we need to get them all under one roof at the same time. Promoting this event seems both expensive and time consuming.

Where do we start?

Most organizations have a tough time at promoting, advertising and audience development. Again, monies are spent where they don’t need to be spent and promotion opportunities are missed because the organization is not in the business of promoting. Also, the organization’s staff is too busy running the organization to do all the extra work of promoting the benefit properly.

An “Is Anybody Listening?” Webcast can be easily promoted through your emailing list and physical posters distributed in your community, but where our expertise really becomes effective is in our ability to promote through social media. As an example, if your organization has a Facebook page, we can help you design and expedite a very focused Facebook Ad campaign targeting your particular audience for your benefit.  If you are interested in working with us in this capacity, we’ll be glad to offer professional services for your benefit ad campaign.

Also we recommend having at least 4 weeks lead-time where we will supply you with 6-8 professional email flyers promoting the various aspects of the Webcast and parceled out evenly over the 4 weeks. We’ll do the heavy lifting while you can just sit back and count the blessings!

Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Benefit

Part 1: Producing A Benefit
Part 2: Your Audience
Part 3: The Professional Producer/Presenter
Part 5: The Cost And The Profit
Part 6: The Benefit – More or Less
Part 7: The “It’s Time To Get Our Checkbook” Speech

Seven Steps To Creating A Successful Benefit – Part 3

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The Professional Producer/Presenter

I’m good at what I do, but a bit out of my league when it comes to producing an event.

How can you help?

Most organizations, both church, business and charity are good at whatever it is that they do, but not necessarily good at putting on a compelling, entertaining and inspiring evening in the theater. So often what ends up on the stage isn’t worth a $10 ticket much less a $1000 ticket. The craft of putting on a great evening is a developed skill that normally requires going out of house and hiring a company that knows the ropes. This can be very expensive. An outside production company can eat up the profits of your donations before you know it.

An “Is Anybody Listening?” Webcast takes no percentage of your donations. Its low fees are the same for all its clients whether your ticket price is $10, $1000 or free. We will Co-Produce your benefit with you bringing our 4 decades of experience to your project.

Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Benefit

Part 1: Producing A Benefit
Part 2: Your Audience
Part 4: Promoting Your Benefit
Part 5: The Cost And The Profit
Part 6: The Benefit – More or Less
Part 7: The “It’s Time To Get Our Checkbook” Speech

Seven Steps To Creating A Successful Benefit – Part 2

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Your Audience

My audience of potential donors is small and scattered around the globe. How do I reach them?

Most benefits only reach a local audience – those who are within driving distance of the venue and also happen to be free on that particular evening at that particular time. But what if your audience is bigger than that? What if your potential reach is world-wide? What if your potential donors are scattered around the country? Or what if they just happened to be traveling elsewhere on that particular evening?

Here’s how to go far beyond your usual local audience and reach people of interest around the world.

“Is Anybody Listening?” Webcast goes to them wherever they might be – anywhere in the world. It can play to groups or individual on their meeting houses or their living rooms. Additionally, when the webcast is presented, it is also recorded in its entirety at absolutely no extra cost and can be shown again and again to individuals and groups when needed.

Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Benefit

Part 1: Producing A Benefit
Part 3: The Professional Producer/Presenter
Part 4: Promoting Your Benefit
Part 5: The Cost And The Profit
Part 6: The Benefit – More or Less
Part 7: The “It’s Time To Get Our Checkbook” Speech

Seven Steps To Creating A Successful Benefit – Part 1

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

 

Producing A Benefit

I need to raise money for my favorite cause. Where do I start?

Here’s an engaging way of producing your next benefit!

Need to raise funding for your special church project or favorite charity organization? One of the first things a good event producer looks for is an Inspirational Entertainment that draws potential donors to your benefit evening. Clearly the draw of the event needs to be compelling, elegant and inspiring. Yes, it’s all about the giving, but if there’s one thing I’ve always understood, it’s this:

Working in the theater for some four decades now, I’ve had the necessity to raise money for my various projects through backer’s auditions again and again. What I’ve learned is that potential investors who attend really don’t invest in the play or musical, but instead, they invest in the backer’s audition. They come to your evening knowing relatively little about the concept or script, but if you do the audition right – polished, professional, with great talent and great songs – they gain a kind of confidence in the talent behind the audition and decide to invest in that.

 I’ve also had the opportunity to produce and direct many world-class benefits at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in NYC and have seen the power of presentation result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations.

And, unfortunately, I’ve also had to attend all too many benefit evenings that simply do it wrong – are overly long, disorganized and simply boring. Ya’ wonder how they ever raised a cent.

I’ve also seen benefits that were so costly to produce that the benefit cost more to produce than the money raised!

So the trick is to do it with low cost up front, put a well organized and inspiring entertainment on the stage, keep the speeches short and give the potential donors an evening that thrills and inspires and builds confidence in you, the producing organization..

“Is Anybody Listening?” Webcast is a professional, polished and inspiring concert with a theme that touches hearts and minds and can be shaped to meet your constituency.

Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Benefit

Part 2: Your Audience
Part 3: The Professional Producer/Presenter
Part 4: Promoting Your Benefit
Part 5: The Cost And The Profit
Part 6: The Benefit – More or Less
Part 7: The “It’s Time To Get Our Checkbook” Speech

Update On “Is Anybody Listening?”

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Jenny Burton and Cast – “The Times They Are A’ Changin'”

The news is most positive. As of January 15, 2017 the video editing and remix of the show are now complete and ready for webcast production. I worked with Pamela Radat of J6 MediaWorks digital film and video production in New York who did a masterful job with the two show/ five camera shoot that we filmed last October.

The work was most stimulating and rewarding and we’re all very happy with the result. Simultaneous to Pamela’s editing process, I took the multi-track files that we had recorded during both shows and remixed the entire show for webcast production. Both shows were shot in Hi Def and capture the sound, look and feel of the exciting and standing ovation shows.

Those of you who gave and gave to this production will be happy to see your generosity come to such fruitage.

Julia Wade – “A Still Small Voice”

Now we move on to the next iteration of “Is Anybody Listening?” with much anticipation. In March of 2017 we will begin the webcasting to various interested parties around the world. We’ll have a special evening for all of our past donors, several church presentations here in the U.S., and cap it all off with a series of webcast cyber parties direct from the Sheen Center in NYC to raise investment monies towards a long run in the late spring.

We’ve gone back to the drawing boards, having learned a great deal about our show this past fall in its 4 concerts presented in NYC. Since this entire endeavor is running the cutting edge of a new technology, our initial timeline has changed, and, in fact, lengthened so that we could present the concept in as professional way as possible. We’ll be doing some re-casting, further staffing and actually adding several new songs to the show as well.

Here’s a little teaser as to the look and feel of the show.

Link to YouTube Audition Video of the Opening Song Here.

Many of you have been such a vital part of this with your generous giving and support, and in these most interesting times, we have learned that this show has a very necessary place in our changing world. It’s a right idea in its time. The theater critics concur:

“There is a perfect storm going on over at the Sheen Center, and you are going to want to be totally immersed in the experience.

 “To call IS ANYBODY LISTENING? a concert is doing it a disservice. It’s a bone-chilling soul-searching arousal of humanity and its ability to survive and thrive. EVERYBODY should be listening. One more show – go, go, go!” 

~Laurie Lawson – Electronic Link Journey

Casting In New York

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Casting-Call-waiting-room

For over thirty years I taught the Auditioning course at The Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theater here in NYC. At last count I have sat through over 20,000 auditions during my lifetime in show biz. That’s a lot of awkward moments and a few incredible ones.

Auditioning is an art of its own and very few people ever really get it down. First of all it comes replete with nerves. Normally when an entertainer finishes their moment it is met with applause. That’s the culture. But in an audition, when one is finished, it is only natural to be met with a number of critical eyes and at best, silence.

Even the very talented are very fortunate to be “accepted” one out of ten tries. Failure to get the job is the norm for even the best of talents. It’s a tough world.Casting Call 2

Sitting on the other side of the table, as I have done so for over 40 years, has been exciting, tough, boring, awkward and sometimes even painful, and I could regale you for hours with story after story of fascinating moments of human failure and success.

As much as I’ve done it, it never ceases to stimulate the old juices in me to yet again go down that road. Last week was no exception.

On Thursday I saw over 40 singers audition for 4 roles in Is Anybody Listening – Concert Theater and Webcast at the Sheen Center rehearsal rooms in NYC. This was not an open call where anybody could come in if they were patient enough to wait in line all day, but rather a call through a casting director who scheduled top talent through their New York agents..

Still, each singer had only 5-minutes time allotted them to come in, do their thing and knock us out.

Once again I was amazed at the energy of these special creatures – the Broadway kids, the recording artists, the studio singers, the church singers. They sang their 32 bars of an up tempo tune and (in some cases) another 32 bars of a ballad and we had a few words and then they were gone – back out into the streets, and on with their lives.

We called back the cream of the crop, about 15 of them, the following day and spent about 15 minutes with each working with them and finding out more about their vocal instrument, their acting ability within a song, their true sense of pitch, their innate sense of rhythm, their stage personalities, their charisma, their dedication, their ability to handle the curve ball, their ability to take direction, their vocal range, and probably most important, their ability to focus under fire and their grace at being a joy to work with.

audition-1024x768-300x225A lot to gather in 15 minutes, but hey, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, so repetition teaches one to watch for certain things very carefully in order to make the right judgment in the end.

My overall rule is this: The audition is a microcosm of the entire experience you will have with the talent. So if they’re 10 minutes late to the audition, you’ll end up firing them in rehearsal for being late all the time. If they’re a little bit pitchy in the audition, you’ll end up firing them at some point for singing off key. If they treat the pianist improperly because they’re nervous, they’ll make enemies in the cast. And if their nerves affect them a lot in the audition, then how good will they really be opening night when everything really counts in front of the NY critics?

Another thing I often do during callbacks is to, in some way in the course of the experience, throw them a curve. They say in baseball, “You’ll never make it to the majors if you can’t hit the curve ball.” The same holds true for show biz. Everyone is always trying to be on his or her best behavior in an audition. It’s only natural to want to put your best foot forward. But I want to find out how you’re going to act three weeks into rehearsal when everyone’s struggling to learn the lyrics, remember the choreography, sing the right part and absorb the daily changes constantly thrown at them.

So I throw a few curveballs – just to see how they might handle the unexpected.

In the end, after the last note has been sung and the holding room has cleared, we, the staff, sit around the table, spread their pictures out on the table before us and talk each person down with all our thoughts about how good they were, how graceful they were, and essentially if they were the right type for our show. There’s always someone who just knocks our socks off, but just doesn’t fit the type. These, for me, are the toughest to turn down because, well … I just love talent! When that person can really bring it, I don’t have to even think. The chills that run up and down my spine when they’re singing tell the tale. So after they do so well and prove themselves so solidly, it’s really tough to turn them down just because they might not “look” the part.

On those two days of casting, seeing 60-100 performances, we were very fortunate to have at least 20 chill moments. NYC is always full of exceptional talent. The streets just ooze with it. And I must say that those two days were better than a Broadway show! The talent is just amazing.

Irving_Berlin_Portrait

Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin & Oscar Hammerstein Casting

In the end we hired two. We’re still considering one of the others but waiting to decide based on a whole slew of things.

But the two we hired brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. The tears were tears of joy at the talent that poured from them. And I just keep thinking, “Wow! I get to work with them! I get to have them in my show.”

Now if we can just raise the rest of the money …

But that’s another story.


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