Gentlemen…

Posted in Got Me Thinkin', Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on April 17, 2017 by RobALott

“I have to explain something here. At that time back in the 70s, if a woman had her own show on TV and ‘spoke up,’ she would be labeled as a bitch, whereas if a man (such as Gleason, Berle, Caesar, etc.) did the same thing, he was labeled assertive, strong, smart etc. Hence, I seldom ruffled feathers. I would somehow find a way to ease into expressing an opinion and still be ‘ladylike,’ thus avoiding being a ‘bitch.’ For instance, when a particular sketch was ‘lacking,’ so to speak, instead of saying to the writers, ‘We have to fix this, it’s not funny,’ I would tap-dance around the criticism by saying, ‘Gosh, you guys, I don’t know what’s wrong with me today, but I’m having trouble making this work, can you help me?’ Yep, that’s how it was back then. At least, that’s how I was.” -Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company

Gentlemen, 

Let’s think about this two ways. 

First, let’s not move backwards. This is still an issue, I know. So, let’s be part of the solution, not the problem. Guys, more often than not, the women we have surrounded ourselves with are smarter and far more intuitive than us. Don’t shut down a straight forward piece of feedback and label it as anything other than helpful. 

Second, I think we can take a note from her approach to making changes and finding fixes. It was her show. She was in charge. But instead of placing blame like so many who had come before, she took responsibility. THAT is assertive, strong, and smart.

What To Do With the Downtime

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on April 10, 2017 by RobALott

“It was a flash in the pan!” 

“It was lightning in a bottle!”

“For whatever reason, it just works.”

Wrong. 

If you don’t know why it’s working when it’s working, then when it’s broken you won’t know how to fix it.

Use the downtime while “it’s working” to go to work on finding out why.

Just Be Cool

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff on April 3, 2017 by RobALott

When in doubt, just be cool. 

Someone messes up on stage? 

Just be cool. 

No need to call out the mistake. No need to make the audience aware of the misstep. Just go with it. Help them. Make it right. 

Just be cool. 

Lies & Trust

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on March 27, 2017 by RobALott

Asking someone to lie for you may show and build your trust in them, but it will eventually and inevitably deplete their trust in you.

Always Keep a Pen Handy

Posted in Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on March 20, 2017 by RobALott

“You always have a pen in your hand when you’re reading.”

Yes. Because the black parts on the page are for what the author thinks. The white parts are for what the reader thinks.

What to do with the Critics

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on March 13, 2017 by RobALott

It is said that on multiple occasions when one of Rocco Landesman’s shows was panned by a critic, he would call up the critic, not to scold and berate them, but rather to hire them. 

He would actually take the critiques back to his creative teams and rather than shrugging them off as irrelevant or unknowing, they would go to work fixing all the things the critic cited as problematic. 

Rocco Landesman became president of Jujamcyn Theaters, a company that owned five Broadway theaters, as well as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Friends,

If you’re smart and good at what you do, go find yourself some smart people who are also good at what they do, but who also happen to disagree with you.

The Time She Wanted to Kill the Director 

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Quotes on March 8, 2017 by RobALott

“One time when I was a guest on a sitcom, I actually wanted to kill the director. This is why: The other actors and I were in the middle of a scene and the audience was howling with laughter. I mean we were definitely on a roll, when out of the blue, we hear from the director’a booth, ‘CUT!’—totally killing the momentum of the scene. We had no idea what had gone wrong. And then we found out. It seems a picture on the wall behind us was a bit crooked, and the stage manager was told to come out and straighten it! Lord!” 

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett