Sunday, March 21, 2010

"The Dish"

On Sunday March 14, I went for the first time to a meeting of The Off-Off Broadway Community Dish.

I never see much point in reinventing the wheel so let me just quote Amanda Feldman on the the organizers of the meetings.

"The Community Dish is a group of Off-Off Broadway/Indie theatre artists who meet every other month to discuss issues that affect us. It's called "The Dish" because everyone contributes something to our potluck meal that we eat together when we meet up."

The reason I went was because back in January, Sean Williams had mentioned the group to me, saying that they were all a good group of people. So I went armed with some homemade coffee cake from my managing director (wife).

The topic of the evening was blogging. I didn't take notes but there were about six bloggers from the independent theater scene there, including: Sean Williams from Gideon Productions, James Comtois from Nosedive Productions, and playwrights Matthew Freeman and J. Holtham.

The most valuable thing I got out of the evening was hearing James Comtois talk about how Nosedive Productions had used comic creator Dave Sim's Cerebus Guide to Self-Publishing as a tool to create their company.

In the week since The Community Dish discussion I have dipped into a couple of the speaker's blogs. Again the most valuable things seemed to be coming from James Comtois. In part to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Nosedive Productions, James had been tripping down memory lane in a series of entries titled Little Jimmy's Guide to Self-Producing.

James' blog really made me take a hard look at what is being accomplished with our Playground blog. I had originally intended that it would be a look inside how we produce our shows. the mistakes. The small victories. Perhaps to be a tool for others starting to produce theater independently, especially in New York, but also to be a record of Playlab NYC's history.

Very quickly though that intention fell by the wayside. It didn't seem like a place to openly discuss the troubles we were having as producers. If you want to build relationships with people and companies then you can't really discuss actors who cannot learn their lines because they are not being open about a learning disability, you can't really discuss the belief that a festival that cares is really extorting money from you. Even if you don't mind burning bridges with the actor or the festival, you don't want people to think you are airing your dirty laundry online. or maybe I don't want to air my dirty laundry.

Because of this trepidation on my part The Playground has become an easy to avoid chore and the entries read like poorly written press releases. I'm hoping to change that though. At lease let a little more personality creep into my writing.

I look forward to the next Community Dish.

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