Event Details
  • Essentials of Successful Self-Producing
    July 31, 2022
    12:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Essentials of Successful Self-Producing 2022

Sunday July 31, 12pm to 5:30 pm EDT
Our annual workshop reformatted and rethought for virtual presentation

Sometimes you've just got to jump in and be more than an artist to make theater happen. "I'm just an artist" no longer cuts it when you make the move from page to paying audience – you are now the CEO of your brand!  In this groundbreaking half-day workshop we will look at how artists can successfully take on the challenging role of "producer" to generate their own opportunities. The ones who are most successful have to master a range of business skills, don a variety of hats, and learn to be expert jugglers.

Come learn to view your creative work from a business perspective and understand the need to think differently. Make smarter choices, not only now but also for the future of your show. It all seems a little overwhelming at times, but we will break it down into easily digestible bites. When you know what you're doing, it can actually be fun and fulfilling! Cost: $125, $85 for TRU members (see red registration box on this page). 

COVID-19 scholarships still available - fill out an online scholarship application at https://forms.gle/BeGgYecFcaJUsNk18 and send a brief email to TRUnltd@aol.com requesting financial help.

"I just want to thank you for the amazing workshop you put on yesterday. It was the best six hours I have ever spent on Zoom …  I was so riveted by all the speakers that I didn’t collapse until after it was all over.... I have been taking other workshops as well, but these particular speakers presented super useful information in a very relatable form – not too didactic or formal, but also without a lot of filler. Just straight-up, useful information." ~Daphne White (in CA)

"I can't thank you enough for the opportunity today. It was just so informative and inspiring!" ~Angela Polite

Led by TRU executive director and writer-producer Bob Ost. Guest speakers will include: 

  • dramaturg/director/producer Cate Cammarata of CreateTheater.com;
  • entertainment attorney Eric Goldman;
  • marketing expert Monica Hammond of Big Leap Brands, taking your show to the next stage;
  • production advisor/strategist and producer Blair Russell of Show Shepherd, a strategic theatrical development company, and producer (Slave Play, off-Broadway's long-running immersive Sweeney Todd) and the new leader of TRU's producer development program's Foundations of Producing. www.blairrussell.net;
  • self-producing playwright Phil Olson, a national award-winner with 18 published plays performed in over 400 cities in seven countries around the world.

Our curriculum (subject to change):

11:45 check-in

12:00-12:30 “Why Are You Doing This?” with Bob Ost

  • If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t know how to get there.
  • How your goals affect your choices.
  • Understanding your property and identifying your audience.
  • Wearing many hats, one at a time.

12:30-1:15 "Legal Pitfalls and Protections" with attorney Eric Goldman

  • Agreements: collaborator, options, contracts, and more.
  • What you need to know when you ask for money. And what your responsibilities are.
  • Underlying rights, intellectual property protections, licenses.

15-minute break

1:30-2:30 “Planning Ahead and Making it Happen” with producer Blair Russell

  • Having a vision of what this play could be and how far it can go. 
  • Thinking and planning beyond your current production.
  • Finding your team. It’s never a one-man show (even if it sometimes feels like it).
  • Developing leadership and management skills.
  • How much do things really cost? How much should you pay people?  How to have those conversations and more.

2:30-3:30 “Finding & Creating Opportunities” with Cate Cammarata

  • The impact the pandemic has had on the development process, and how to add "virtual" to your plan.
  • The development options: table read, staged reading, showcase, festivals, cabaret, virtual and more.
  • Getting your plays out there in the world: licensing, and getting the most out of it.
  • Researching and booking tours.
  • Fringes and festivals. 
15-minute break

3:45-4:30 “Marketing, Promotion and Self-Promotion” with Monica Hammond

  • Branding: The 4 most important brand assets for your show
  • Audience: Creating your ideal audience avatar
  • Digital Marketing: Finding your ideal audience online
  • Budgeting: The marketing mix and how to spend your lean budget
  • Partnerships: Using their audience to build yours

4:30-5:15 Keynote panel: "Successful Self-Producers Share Their Secrets" with Phil Olson, Bob Ost

  • How to capitalize on this production in order to plant the seeds for the next step.
  • Long-term strategies and sources of support.
  • How to get help when you think you can't afford it.
  • Persistence, persistence, persistence. (And how to best focus your energy while you persist.)

5:15-6:00 Q&A/break-out sessions for networking

  • CATE CAMMARATA (TRU literary manager)

    is an Off-Broadway producer, director  and dramaturg in NYC, dedicated to the development of new plays and musicals. She is the Founder and Executive Producer of CreateTheater's 2022 New Works Fest, the Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective and has been the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) for ten years. Off-Broadway: The Assignment, My Father's Daughter. Regional: My Life Is a Musical (Bay Street Theater). Cate's company CreateTheater, has been helping writers develop and produce new work since 2016. During the shutdown of 2020-2022 CreateTheater developed and/or produced more than 70 shows with online readings, workshops and dramaturgical guidance. For this work Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) has honored her with the TRU Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2022. Cate holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from SUNY Stony Brook and is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at CUNY Baruch College.  www.CateCammarata.com  www.CreateTheater.com


    is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Big Leap Brands LLC, working with clients to understand their business as well as we know our own, because small opportunities can be found in the most granular aspects of any business that will make a huge impact, including opportunities for clients in their marketing, systems and processes, expenses, and more. As a marketing professional, Monica has worked on numerous Broadway shows, including the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Once On This Island, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, It’s Only A Play, Gettin’ The Band Back Together, as well as the National Tour of A Night With Janis Joplin. Off Broadway: That Bachelorette Show, The Awesome 80s Prom, Daddy Long Legs, A Better Place. She is also the Founder and Chief Coloring Officer of Curious Custom Coloring Books, and Founder of Broadway Murder Mysteries.


    For over 25 years, Eric has provided legal services to Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winning talent, and to technology and internet entrepreneurs. Recent projects include representing the writers of the Broadway smash hit Come from Away and the producers of the highly successful Off-Broadway musical parody of the television show Friends. Before launching his own firm in 2011, Eric worked for 15 years as a Senior Associate for entertainment attorney Mark Sendroff of Sendroff & Baruch LLP. Eric also served as in-house counsel for St. Martin’s Press and Hertz Computer. His first job out of law school was working as an associate for copyright guru Stanley Rothenberg.  Eric is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and New York University School of Law.


    has written 18 published plays that have had over 400 productions in seven countries around the world. Twelve of his plays are published by Samuel French/Concord Theatricals including Birthday Club, A Twisted Christmas Carol, Mom's Gift, Don't Hug Me, A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol, A Don't Hug Me County Fair, Don't Hug Me I'm Pregnant, Don't Hug Me, We're Married, Don't Hug Me, We're Family, Polyester The Musical, A Nice Family Gathering, and A Nice Family Christmas. Phil's play, A Twisted Christmas Carol, had world premieres in 8 cities, concurrently, in 2019, something that has never been done before in live theatre. Phil's plays have over 30 playwriting and theatre awards. Seven of his plays are set in small towns in Minnesota. As a script doctor, he’s re-written three movies that have been produced, as well as thirteen original screenplays. He's also sold two screenplays. Phil went thru all four levels of The Groundlings, writing and performing with many talented people including Maya Rudolph.


    While still a senior at U. of Pa., his one-act Beast was produced by Bob Moss in the first season of Playwrights Horizons. He went on to write book, music and lyrics for the off-Broadway revue Everybody’s Gettin’ into the Act at the Actor’s Playhouse, and Finale!, Grand Prize winner in the 1990 American Musical Theater Festival Competition (presented at NAMT) and the 1992 New American Musical Writers Competition, and a finalist at the O’Neill Music Conference in 1989. More recently his musical Angel in My Heart won Best Musical in the Fresh Fruit Festival. He won the New Works of Merit Playwriting Competition for his play Breeders, previously a finalist at the O'Neill, as well as a selection of the TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series. The Necessary Disposal was a finalist in the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, has been a finalist in three other national competitions, and was part of the Shotgun Productions New Play Reading Series and the Oberon Theatre Reading Series, both in NYC; his one-act A Glass of Water was part of the Lovecreek Festival, HomoGenius Festival, Downtown Urban Arts Festival; other one-acts have been showcased all over New York. He won a 2004 OOBR Award for the review "Songs Are Like Friends", and is a 3-time MAC nominee. While he was producing his own musical revues at cabarets around Manhattan he discovered he could combine his artistic talent with the business skills he was picking up in the advertising world. The idea of Theater Resources Unlimited was born, with the help of co-founders (and  fellow writers) Gary Hughes and Cheryl Davis in 1992. He has gone on to produce musicals Civil War Voices and Rip in the Midtown International Theater Festival, and the classic Chinese musical, Romance of the Western Chamber.


    is a Tony-nominated producer, developer, whose experience ranges from fringe festivals to Broadway shows. His most recent theatre projects include the 12-time Tony-nominated Slave Play, Lizard Boy, and the concept recording of the new musical For Tonight. As Co-founder and Director of Operations for Resounding, he produces live immersive entertainment. Blair has been a guest speaker/artist at a number of institutions including the University of Maryland, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, and the York School in Monterey, CA. He was also a visiting lecturer for the semester-long Atelier program at Princeton University where he collaborated with composer Georgia Stitt on her oratorio The Circling Universe. Blair has appeared as a guest on a number of podcasts (American Theatre Artists Online, A Star Is Bored, Backstage Talk, Broadway ReFocused), webseries (Actors Unscripted, Awkward Conversations, Be Our Guest! - Live and In Color, Dreamland XR, In The (Home) Office - Goodspeed Musicals), and at global conferences (National Alliance for Musical Theater, Global XR Conference, Immerse Global Summit Series)