Self-Producing VII: Production Timeline

Let’s get back to the discussion of self-producing your one-person show in a theater. As a self-producer, you’ll be juggling many many details, which can be daunting and stressful. Your most important ally will be TIME. Time to find your funding, time to hire your personnel, time to rehearse, time to plan and execute publicity – in short, you’ll want as much time as possible to take care of the myriad details that make a successful theater show. Here is a loose production timeline that starts six months before opening night. The more you can get done early, the more breathing room you’ll have when it really counts: in the final production weeks and on opening night. By getting as many of your producing duties done as early as possible, you’ll have more time to focus on your performing, which is your whole point in the first place!

Six months before opening:

Five months before opening:

  • Create Production Timeline
  • Continue Fundraising
  • Create Job Descriptions
  • Find your key people
  • Write Contracts

Four months before opening:

  • Continue Fundraising
  • Hire Designers (Production & Publicity)
  • Hire other important staff
  • Begin Design of sets, costumes, etc.
  • Begin Design of flyers/posters
    • Photo shoot for poster/publicity photos
  • Gather Publicity Information
    • Who/where to publicize
  • Write Press Release
  • Work on Mailing List
  • Build your Rehearsal Schedule

Three months before opening:

  • Continue Fundraising
  • Complete Flyer Design
  • Print Flyer
  • Send Calendar Listings/PR to monthly publications
  • Follow-up phone calls to monthly publications (one week after mailing)
  • Phone Calls for Possible Advance Publicity
  • Get Mailing Lists Together
  • Bi-Monthly Design Meetings/ Final Set Design
  • Create Production Schedule
  • Plan/Begin building Show Website
  • Hire Running Crew
  • Auditions (if needed)
  • Begin Rehearsal Process

Two months before opening:

  • Plan/Send Flyer Mailing (Bulk mail – about 5 wks before opening)
  • Plan/Begin Online campaign/Emailing
  • Final costume & lighting design deadline
  • Weekly Production Meetings
  • Plan Front-of-House Procedure/Concessions
  • Begin Set construction or assembly of set elements to be installed
  • Contact VIPs.  Send Personal Invitations
  • Continue Rehearsal Process
  • Plan for Video Documentation
  • Complete Show Website
  • Begin Program Design

Final month before opening:

  • Continue Email campaign
  • Continue online publicity
  • Complete and print program
  • Create Press Kits for attending press/reviewers
  • Send First Class Flyer Mailing (three weeks before opening)
  • Send PR to Weekly and Daily publications (three weeks before opening)
  • Send PR to radio and TV stations (two weeks before opening)
  • Follow-up calls to Weekly and Daily publications (two weeks before opening)
  • Prepare for Production Week
    • Equip rentals, set pieces, schedule final personnel/help (ushers, concessions, parking)
    • Begin your RSVP list
  • Costumes, Lighting, Sound Plan Finished
  • Follow-up Phone Calls to radio and TV stations (one week before opening)
  • Final Rehearsals
  • Tech Week
  • Production Week
    • Manage every last detail
    • Probably handle some surprise issues
    • Fast run-up to opening night!!!!!!!!

With great love,
Jonna
www.madlively.com

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