What are the steps to finding and maintaining a great creative team?
Putting together a collaborative creative team is more of an art than most people realize, especially for a musical.
After having experienced both good and not so good collaborations, it all boils down to a commitment to the process and an inherent respect for the other’s contributions.
Ask for Referrals
First, look for someone who is not only experienced but also capable, knowledgeable and dependable. Many experienced people are so overbooked with projects that they don’t always have as much time and energy to contribute to yours as they would like.
I strongly suggest that you first seek word of mouth recommendations from people you know and trust. (Putting out a request for referrals on Facebook is fine). You can also check out resources from professional associations, do an internet search, or use other available sources like those found on MusicalWriters.com or Theater Resources Unlimited.
Do Your Research
Before you contact anyone, make sure you do your own research.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Has this person worked on shows similar to mine in the past? Do your own due diligence and find out all you can about their experience. Ask others in the industry about them if possible, or check their contacts on LinkedIn.
- Does this person have a network that may be interested in and may help my show’s progress? Do they work with key level producing organizations or directors that may be interested in my work? They may be willing to introduce you.
- Do I believe they have the level of experience that I could trust to help me move my show forward?
Schedule an Interview
Narrow your possibilities down and start communicating by email, and set up an interview in person or over Skype or Zoom.
Always trust your instincts. Some things to discover:
- Does this person have passion for your project?
- Do they listen to your ideas eagerly, or politely?
- Do they offer what they believe is a “better” idea, or jump on board with your ideas?
- Are they prepared for the interview, and bring in their visions or ideas to you?
Twice when interviewing a potential director, candidates came in with a book of images and other printed material to show us that excited them. This preparation got them the job, and they were terrific.
Finally, remember to make this first step a short “coffee date,” not a LTR. Have the goal to collaborate with them for a specific reading, workshop, etc., not the goal to get to Broadway together. That’s too huge a commitment! Start first with the intention of, “I like you pretty well, let’s see how it goes.”
Take it step by step.
Be Part of a Community
Theater is all about community and relationships, and authentic friendships sometimes create wonderful collaborations. Keep networking online here at CreateTheater, go to theater conferences and galas, join your regional Dramatist Guild chapter or participate in local theater events near you. Meet people and talk about your work.
In the end, it’s all about the work. Remember the improvisation mantra, “Yes, and…..?” Always respect each other’s creative ideas, get excited about adding in your own and stay focused.
The art of the theatre is all about creative collaboration.