Starting a project in the role of the artist producer will engage a large amount of your energy for a considerable amount of time.
You probably already have an idea, or someone has approached you with an idea. Maybe you have a team or a collective that you know you want to work with. Perhaps you have a chunk of time in your schedule (months away from now) and want to make work for yourself and others. These are all potential starting points.
Even if your project is just an idea, you will need to talk about it to potential collaborators, donors, and peers. Haley McGee has a great “Recipe for a Perfect Blurb” that can help you shape a project statement to start with.
You will be talking about your project differently to different people. The way you talk about the show will change for a granting body versus your twitter followers. Consider the key elements, themes and goals of your project as fundamental building blocks that you can use to shape each different conversation.
Remember to check back many times with this initial project statement along the way. It’s likely that as your project grows, the project statement/description will need to change too.
You will need to answer this question many times along the way - in grant applications, in your marketing campaigns, when speaking to peers, future audience members, and funders. It is important that you have a clear answer from the start! Another way of asking this is who is it for?
Some other important frameworks to consider are:
10 or So Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Art About a Group You Don't Belong To (by CBC)
The REACH Equity Screen for Content Creators. Reach stands for:
- Representation: How does the issue you’re exploring affect people of diverse identities?
- Experience: Are you the appropriate person/organization to be talking about this issue?
- Accessibility: Can everyone access your content?
- Compensation: Who is getting paid, is it equitable?
- Harm Reduction: Is your content unintentionally causing harm?
Set an achievable goal that makes sense for the project. This creates a container and will help you gauge the scope of work, budget and time commitment for you and your collaborators. There are many stages and options for producing a project, including but not limited to:
- dramaturgical workshops
- creation workshops
- play readings
- staged readings
- workshop productions
- pitching sessions
- festival productions
- podcast productions
- independent productions
- touring productions
Setting small goals gives you the opportunity to reassess the project’s feasibility and intentions along the way. You may want to change your project’s trajectory or scrap the project altogether after the first, or fifth workshop. Give yourself many opportunities to check in and make sure that the scope of the project makes sense for right now.