Monday, March 3, 2008

The Winner Takes It All

I won, and luck had nothing to do with it.

I will return later today with a new Broadway Star Bingo board, but while I had a minute, I wanted to share my great win. Ken Davenport, producer of the off-Broadway show Altar Boyz (among others), writes a blog that I follow regularly. It’s an interesting amalgam of producing theories, inspiration, and viewpoints that, as I did earlier, I still highly recommend. Whatever your role is in producing commercial art, it’s easy to get caught up in circumstances and, in the end, to lose sight of your initial vision. When the stress comes, adversity arises, or the pressure’s pressed, we panic and toss vision out the window, almost always to the detriment of our work. Davenport’s blog entries work to keep us on track toward the prize.

Occasionally Davenport will ask questions for which he’ll award prizes to the first person who responds without using Google. I’m usually not the first person to read the blogs, but I was, this time, the first to read it with the right answer.

The best part was that, while reading what he had written about John Grisham, I was thinking, “That’s like Hal Prince,” which was an easy connection for to me make because, like Hal Prince (or should I say, because of Hal Prince), I have always aspired to start new projects the day after one opens (mostly because I have so many projects I want to do and can’t wait to get started; plus, if you want to be prolific, you have to act prolific). In fact, I started writing the book to my second musical while I was (literally) in the throes of producing a reading for my first one. I liked the idea and couldn’t wait.

After thinking, “That’s like Hal Prince” while reading his blog entry, I got to the bottom and had forgotten my initial response (the question was asking what Hal Prince and John Grisham had in common, which was basically what I discuss above). When I finally made the connection, I was so excited, I almost fumbled my response.

I don’t know where I learned Prince’s work habits from—I’m thinking maybe from watching the bonus features on Broadway: The American Musical so much, though it could have come from Broadway: The Golden Age, the book Harold Prince and the American Musical Theatre: Expanded Edition by Foster Hirsch, or any of the number of books I’ve read on the topic.

What I have found is that your life calling (or area of study, as the case may be) is the area in which you could work extremely hard at something and actually look forward to it. Some people could never imagine sitting down to write a book or a play or a sitcom pilot. I could and have (though none have been published or produced professionally yet). Likewise, I could never imagine sitting down to take apart a car engine or to tackle cleaning a trashed hotel room. Thank God others can.

Hard work. Hard work is how I know that Hal Prince starts a new show the day after his last one opens. It wasn’t really work in the traditional sense, though. I’ve loved learning all that I have. But, like all good things, knowledge and success takes work to acquire, a mountain of hard work.

Luck has nothing to do with it.

the Broadway Mouth
March 3, 2008

No comments: