Top 10 Tips for First Time Producers Trust your gut. Your instinct is a powerful tool, people can easily sway you from this especially when it comes to money and how much a production should cost, but stick to your guns - saying no can be a good thing. Don’t be afraid of making hard decisions. Being a producer isn’t always about being nice, you have to put the show first, for example, if the team needs to change then change it, no matter what - otherwise the show will suffer. Communication, Communication, Communication. This is the single most important thing. When you communicate you demonstrate that you are in control, keeping people informed and always having time for any member of the production team builds their confidence in you. Communication also enables you to retain control - by communicating you decide what the narrative is. “Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” You may be completely run off your feet but it is imperative that you present a calm and controlled exterior, this reassures people and builds their confidence in you. Small things aid this, despite how busy you are start conversations asking how others are - did they have a good weekend, and take the time to thank people. Know when to ask for help. As a producer people on your creative and production team will often think that you hold all the answers, you can never 100% prepare for the journey of any show and things will always crop up that you have never faced before. Use your industry network, no-one in the sector wants to see a show fail - we are all in it for the same reason - to make good theatre, and everyone at some point will have asked a peer for advice. So pick up the phone. Be honest & open with investors/funders. Everyone knows that the road can be rocky, respect their intelligence and if things aren’t going to plan be honest with them, explain the situation and inform them of the action you are taking to rectify the problem. They would rather be fully informed than have things sugar coated for them. Fire Fighting. As mentioned unforeseen hurdles will always arise and problem solving or ‘fire fighting’ is one of the primary skill sets required by a producer. However, fundamental to this is solving the problem, don’t get caught up in why or how something hasn’t gone to plan, that can be analysed at the end of the project, right now you need a solution. Stay focused. What’s Next? At the start of any project create a Project Plan outlining when each step of the project needs to be started and also completed, when things get super busy this will be your lifeline ensuring you stay on schedule and that nothing gets forgotten about or overlooked. Set yourself realistic targets. Your ‘to do’ list will be crazy long and a lot of the tasks will be ones that take time, each day pick 5 things you want to achieve - ensure that at least 2 of these are relatively quick tasks. Doing this will break up the ‘hard’ tasks giving your brain a little bit of a break, plus ensuring you finish each day feeling accomplished knowing you achieved something. Remember the big picture. 98% of your time will be pushing paperwork, negotiating contracts and problem solving whilst praying no more unexpected hurdles appear from out of nowhere. When everything gets crazy remember to take a minute and visualise the final product - the reason you started the journey, if the get-in has started visit the site, say hello to the actors. Taking this time will reinvigorate you to keep pushing through all the admin.