I recently watched Note by Note, a documentary on building Steinway pianos on PBS. It was a great insight into the creation of this living, breathing music making device. There are many different artisans who contribute to the creation of each piano and each one focuses solely on their one job. These artisans also go through a rigorous training and apprenticeship program as they build the necessary skills to participate in piano building. I marveled at the precision and detail and thought, this is very similar to how a show is put together. With each member of the creative team, the actors/singers/dancers, the musicians, the production staff, theater staff, marketing and sales staff, advertising staff, etc. contributing and creating their part of the production. The key, I believe, to success is to hire the 'best' people for each job and then create an environment in which they can do their best work.
Focus and expertise are keys to success in any job, project or production. It is not easy to be an expert in any given area. So it irks me when I hear from new authors how they feel they should also produce their own plays or musicals. (Recently I have had interest in two projects where this has been the case) That is fine if you are doing your play in The Fringe Festival with limited budget, time and performance schedule. It is an entirely different thing when you are undertaking a major commercial enterprise. And it's not just authors. Music directors, choreographers, even designers are thinking they should be theater directors as well. Now I see how there might be parallels in the creative process but directing actors well takes years of training and practice. What is it with the overachiever attitude that is infecting people? I believe that successful artists like Tyler Perry are to blame for this thinking and attitude. He has been so successful as an actor, writer, director and producer that some people think they could do the same thing. It's just not that easy or simple.
I have a rule, never have an author or director be a co-producer on a project, unless it's Hal Prince. Why? Because I know how hard it is to do one job well and to give a production the best chance to be successful. Writing and directing are extraordinary skills. They take discipline, training, and experience to do well. They each have specific skill sets necessary to accomplish them well. Producing has a complementary but different set of skills necessary. Few people have all of those skills.
When I am approached by someone who feels that they can 'do it all', I am very wary. I wonder what is this person afraid of and why are they putting up obstacles in the way of their potential success. If I have something I want to accomplish, I try to align myself with the best people to help me reach that goal. Sometimes it means letting go, and I think that is the hardest thing for people to do. Because trust is slippery and hard to give.
So my advice, and I know you didn't ask, is to focus on what you know and are good at when trying to achieve a goal. Allow other people to help you get there, you will be surprised how easy it is to get help when you have genuine enthusiasm for what you are doing. And don't think you are Tyler Perry, unless you are.