Recently, a budding #ladyproducer took me out for coffee to pick my brain. The most common issue that new producers face (and heck, everyone faces) is fear of the unknown.
"I don't have a network of investors / I don't want my friends to feel bad if I ask them for money / What if I don't know what to say / What happens if I fail?"
Believe me, I went through all of these fears in my first few years of starting out. I still do!
While talking to this young woman, I was reminded of a time I bopped off to Phuket for a few weeks to study Muay Thai on a whim. At the time I was dismally out of shape, I smoked, and I had never done any kind of contact sport before. Most of the other "beginners" in my class were highly experienced Western boxers who had come to Thailand to study at this particular gym. I was monumentally out of my depth, but figured I had to stick around since I had taken the trouble to get there.
Every morning, I ran drills against a 16 year-old boy named Song who worked at the camp. He had been studying Muay Thai since he could walk and his body was made of steel wires. Our first time sparring-- I froze. I covered my head with my arms, tried to protect myself from getting hit, and left the ring crying. Ajarn Daang, the instructor, barked at me to jump right back into the ring, sniffeling and scared, so I continued sparring against Song. I took a jab to the head within seconds.
And you know what-- it wasn't so bad. What I was really scared of wasn't the pain, but the anticipation of pain. Once I had gotten my butt whupped in the ring a few times, I was able to get back in. And I got my butt whupped every time, because I was a beginner. Once I was over the pain and shock of being a beginner, I started to learn. By the end of two weeks, I was able to land a single punch on Song.
I left Thailand with my body stronger and my mind much lighter.
Producing will knock the wind out of you, and there's no way around it. There will be times when no one understands why you believe in the shows you do. There will be times when people question your taste, your business sense, and your sanity. There will be times when the people you counted on will pull their investments, when your shows flop, when you fall on your face and everyone will see.
But if you're willing to get back in the ring, be a beginner, and learn from the best, you will grow. And you will grow quickly.
So get back in the ring!