Production

Taking on the Producer’s Role: Elevator Pitch

elevator pitch
Written by Kerry Hishon

The following exercise gives students the opportunity to pitch their dream show to the rest of the class. This is a great exercise to do with students after you’ve polled your class. Now that they’ve identified which shows they are interested in working on, they are going to take the next step: discovering what it takes to get the ball rolling towards actually producing a show.

This exercise combines students’ theatrical knowledge with a useful technique taught in business class: SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

A SWOT analysis is used to specify the objective of a business venture or project, and to identify and evaluate different internal and external factors (both positive and negative ones) to achieve the objective. In this exercise, the objective of the project is to select the best possible show for your drama class to produce.

Students will select partners and decide on a show that they wish to produce. As a team, they will complete a SWOT analysis, identifying the following aspects of their show:

  • Strengths: Characteristics of the show that give it an advantage over other shows.
  • Weaknesses: Characteristics of the show that place it at a disadvantage relative to other shows.
  • Opportunities: Elements in the environment (the class itself, the school, the stage, etc.) that the class could exploit to its advantage to produce the show.
  • Threats: Elements in the environment (the class itself, the school, the stage, etc.) that could create obstacles for putting on the production.

Students will fill out the following table with answers to each section:

Helpful

(for achieving the objective)

Harmful

(for achieving the objective)

Internal Factors

(attributes of the show itself)

STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
External Factors

(attributes of the environment – the class, school, stage, etc.)

OPPORTUNITIES THREATS

The following ideas will help students get on the right track for identifying ideas for their SWOT analysis. These are just a few concepts that producers have to consider when selecting a show to produce!

  • Why do they like this show?
  • How big/small is the cast? (Do you have enough boys to do the show? If not, can you cross-gender cast some roles?)
  • Is it a musical or a play?
  • Where would they stage the show? (Does the show have any scenic limitations or challenges involved, like requiring a fly gallery or a trapdoor?)
  • What costs are involved in producing the show? (Think about things like rights and royalties, hiring staff, budget for props and costumes, etc.)
  • How would this show challenge the actors and backstage crew?
  • What is the students’ vision for the show? (For example, do they want to do a show with a huge ensemble wearing period costumes, or a stripped-down version wearing rehearsal blacks?)
  • How would they market the show to an audience?
  • Is the show currently available for schools to produce? (There go your students’ dreams of producing Hamilton at your school, for the foreseeable future…)

Once students have completed their SWOT analysis, they will work together to create a short “elevator pitch.” They will present their SWOT analysis to the class with the goal of convincing their classmates that their show should be produced. Encourage students to emphasize the strengths and opportunities of the show, and identify the weaknesses and threats. To go further, students should try to come up with creative solutions to address the weaknesses and threats–perhaps even turning them into strengths and opportunities!

After each pair has presented their SWOT analysis to the class, they will complete an individual reflection on the process and presentations. Who knows what creative shows and solutions your students will come up with!

Click here to download a free printable SWOT analysis worksheet and reflection sheet.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer, and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. Explore her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.

About the author

Kerry Hishon

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. View her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.