Listed below are some of the responsibilities and expectations of your production team. These jobs are ultimately the responsibility of the Producer.
Beginning with our new season, we are increasing the responsibilities of the Board Liaison. The Board Liaison is appointed for each show to facilitate communication between the BOD and the various show staff, and to provide guidance, information and support. According to Footlite’s Bylaws, the Board Liaison has the final authority on all disagreements between Director and Producer and has the full backing of the BOD. The Board Liaison will check in on the status of these production responsibilities, and in some cases must sign off on their completion.
- 1 Assembling a Staff
- 2 Creating a Budget
- 3 Auditions and Casting
- 4 Scripts
- 5 Meet and Greet
- 6 Theatre Maintenance
- 7 Program Advertising
- 8 Sponsorships
- 9 Publicity
- 10 Set Construction
- 11 Curtain Speech
- 12 Programs
- 13 Long Saturday/Sunday
- 14 Production Photos
- 15 Lobby Decoration and Sale of Merchandise During Productions
- 16 Complimentary Tickets
- 17 Benefit Performance
- 18 Theatre Organ
- 19 Opening Night Party
- 20 Strike
- 21 Exit Survey and Follow-Up
- 22 Script Return
Assembling a Staff
In consultation with the Director, the Producer assembles personnel with the skills needed to direct and perform the functions that are required for that production. A complete staff list including Producer, Director, Stage Manager, Music Director (or Vocal Director/Conductor), Costume Designer, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, Technical Director and Properties was due with the original show proposal. The responsibilities of each position are listed later in this document. The Producer and Director should meet as soon as possible to fill any holes in the production staff.
It is recommended that sincere efforts be made to find assistants for each position, preferably persons with an interest in the position who would benefit from supervised experience.
The Producer must submit to the Vice President a production staff list including all contact information for approval by the BOD. The BOD must approve your staff list before auditions are held. Any further changes in staff should be communicated to the Vice President.
Creating a Budget
It is Footlite's goal to have each production financially self-supporting, and this finally appears to be attainable. In the past, we have taken a very simplistic approach to budgets: each production may spend $3,000 on the variable production costs defined below. New this year, we’d like to try a more business oriented approach.
The Treasurer will provide the production team with as much information about the income and expense items that may be reasonably estimated, and we then ask each team to develop an operating budget for their show. Please give as much detail as you can about your requests. The proposed budgets will be reviewed to determine if the theater can support the season as proposed. Keep in mind that we are a not-for-profit organization, and we must all be as frugal as possible.
- Ticket Sales: The Treasurer will provide statistics of the anticipated sales for the show.
- Donations/Grants: The Development Committee solicits grants for the youth shows. Each Producer is encouraged to solicit grants for their production, but please coordinate with the Development Committee so that we do not alienate our Grantors or derail a plan for a larger need.
- Program Advertising
- Sale of Merchandise: See details later in this document. You may need to seek BOD approval to sell merchandise.
- Semi-Fixed Production Costs
These are required expenses for your production. The Producer can occasionally influence their costs.
- Production Licensing Costs
- Programs: We order programs based on the estimated ticket sales of each show.
- Hospitality and Strike Party
- Variable Production Costs
These are the costs that are almost entirely controlled by the Production Team.
- Costumes, Hair, Makeup
- Promotion Expense: We record the expense of items that are sold to the cast or patrons here.
- Sound and Lighting
- Publicity: Publicity expenses above and beyond the things done by Footlite for every production.
- Set Construction
- Administrative Costs
These are items that must be taken into consideration when computing the true cost of a show. We cannot launch a production without them.
- Credit Card Fees
- Facility Overhead: The basic cost of opening the doors to the building: utilities, insurance, telephone, rent, etc. The cost of a year is then allocated to each production based on the number of seats available for sale during the run. For main stage productions this is currently around $9,000 per show.
A preliminary budget must be submitted before auditions are announced. Please contact the Treasurer for assistance.
Footlite Musicals is exempt from paying Indiana sales tax. All staff and individuals who purchase goods subject to Indiana sales tax should be instructed to present a copy of our sales tax exemption letter or number at the point of purchase. These forms, along with details for tax-exempt purchases at many common vendors are posted in the Board Room. Sales tax will not be reimbursed to the staff person or individual.
Auditions and Casting
Preparing For Auditions
Audition dates and times must not conflict with performances, rehearsals, or other Footlite activities. Please start by consulting the Master Calendar for available dates and times, and then seek approval from the Executive Committee.
It is advised that you select two consecutive dates for auditions be selected, with a possible third for call-backs, if desired. The Producer finds volunteers to help at auditions.
Please compile your audition notice and send to the Publicity Manager for editing. You may only release the notice as it is returned to you. Notices should be ready to distribute no less than 4 weeks before auditions.
Audition notices are sent out to Footlite's email database. Anyone who would like to receive audition notices can go to our website and enter their email address in the box at the lower left-hand corner. On the next screen they'll be able to select "Audition Notices". The Marketing Committee will place audition notices on Facebook, Indiana Auditions, Facebook's StageQuest Networking group, and will release the information to area newspapers. (This is of course no guarantee they'll be printed.) If you would like a Facebook event created for auditions, please ask the Internet Manager.
According to Footlite’s Bylaws and Encore rules, auditions will be open to all members of the corporation and to the general public. Footlite does not pre-cast anyone in any role for our main stage productions.
The Producer, along with other staff members, are responsible for set-up and tear-down of items used for auditions (tables, piano & bench, etc.). A black box containing audition supplies is in the Board Room, but you should verify it contains everything you need.
We do not have a standard audition form, so please prepare one with the information you require. Everyone auditioning must sign Footlite's Release and Waiver of Liability form. It's available on Dropbox.
Please indicate at auditions whether you'll be calling everyone who auditions, or just those who were cast. Different directors handle this differently, so your audition pool may have different expectations.
Casting shall be determined by the Director with the assistance of the production staff.
After auditions, please provide the Volunteer Coordinator with a typed list of email address for everyone who came to auditions, whether they were cast or not. When finished with your audition forms, give these to the Volunteer Coordinator as well. Please indicate on each form if someone was cast or not.
Once your show is cast, provide the Internet Manager a complete cast list for posting online. If you make any cast or staff changes along the way, make sure those changes are shared with them.
Please provide the Volunteer Coordinator and Vice President a copy of your contact sheet when it is complete.
The Treasurer orders scripts for your production. It is the Producer's responsibility to distribute scripts, keep track of who has which script, collect deposits (when we don't own a script) and return the scripts after the production.
Different licensing houses handle script delivery differently.
- Music Theatre International (MTI) shipments require a signature, so the package must be sent to the home of someone who can sign for it, or who will go to the FedEx center to pick up. Scripts are barcoded and the packing list includes these barcode numbers. Use this list to keep track of your scripts.
- Tams-Witmark scripts show up with no notice--no signature required. They are usually hand numbered.
- Rodgers and Hammerstein No signature is required. They are usually hand numbered.
- Samuel French Some scripts we own (usually librettos) and some must be returned (usually orchestrations), but every show is different. No signature is required.
- Dramatists Play Service Some scripts we own (usually librettos) and some must be returned (usually orchestrations), but every show is different. No signature is required.
- Theatrical Rights Worldwide We own all copies. No return required.
Scripts normally arrive in two separate boxes. Be sure to keep the box and all packing lists, as it will be needed for the return. Check the scripts and notify the Treasurer in writing immediately of any damaged or marked up scripts.
For scripts that must be returned, collect a deposit from the volunteers (in the form of a check made out to Footlite Musicals) which will be returned upon return of the book. Typical replacement costs for librettos are $25, and $65 for orchestrations.
Meet and Greet
The first rehearsal is usually used to
- Introduce all staff and cast
- Provide an overview of the artistic direction and goals
- Establish expectations of the cast in regard to rehearsals
- Go over the Code of Conduct
- Issue scripts, collect and record security deposit, keep a list of who has what script
- Distribute staff and cast lists
- Go over safety information and take a tour of the facility
- Read through the script
As soon as your rehearsal schedule is set, please send a copy to the Volunteer Coordinator for posting on the Master Calendar. Please indicate if rehearsals are at the Hedback Theatre or in the Annex. Consult the calendar when setting your schedule to make sure you aren't conflicting with any functions of the current production. If you make major changes to your schedule with advance notice, such as canceling or adding a rehearsal day, please share this information with the Volunteer Coordinator so the calendar may be updated.
The Producer is responsible for maintaining a safe and clean environment in the theater.
The Producer should stress to all staff, cast, and technical personnel that the building be kept clean, trash disposed of properly, and all corridors and access routes be kept open. The Producer should inform everyone that their help in throwing away trash properly (including drink bottles) is appreciated. We are all volunteers, so everyone is required to help clean up.
Rest room paper towels, toilet paper, and soap are stored in the closet by the board room. The vacuum cleaners, brooms and dustpans are also stored there, as well as garbage/trash bags. When bags are full, deposit them in the dumpster at the southeast corner of the side yard. Trash not disposed of properly encourages rodents and insects. Please keep Footlite clean.
The lobby, house and restrooms are cleaned professionally each week of a production. During hell week, it is important the cast stays out of the lobby in the days between cleaning and opening night.
Footlite encourages each production team, along with the cast, to sell program ads. Our current ad specifications and pricing are on our website under the Support Us section. Please contact the Treasurer and Program Coordinator for advertisers to be invoiced. Typically we want the money before the program goes to print, so set your advertising deadlines accordingly.
Trading Ads for Services
When giving ad space for goods or services, it's important the value of the donation be equal to or greater than the value of the free ad space, and that the donation is not something we are used to getting for free anyway. Please consult with the Treasurer before promising any free ad space.
Footlite encourages the production team to sell show sponsorships. It's important, however, that the team first consult with the Development Committee so everyone knows who's asking who for money.
Our current sponsorship packages and pricing are on our website under the Support Us section. We encourage teams to fine-tune a sponsorship to make it more appealing to the organization, but only after consultation with the Treasurer. We must be careful we aren't giving away too much for free.
It is the responsibility of the Producer to make sure everything promised in a sponsorship is delivered. Contact the Treasurer for invoicing and to coordinate other details. Contact the Box Office Manager to coordinate free tickets. It is imperative people expecting free tickets don't show up to uninformed Box Office staff.
Properly publicizing a show is extremely important in attracting an audience, and it's worth noting that Footlite does not yet have a dedicated staff handling this. Many of these responsibilities fall on the Producer.
Artwork and Logos
When available, your show logo is the official logo provided by the licensing house. Otherwise, it is designed at the beginning of our season as part of our season brochure. You must use this logo and only this logo.
New this year, every production will have poster and postcard artwork designed. The production will need to pay for any prints of these items you need. Upon request, this artwork can be modified into additional formats such as Facebook graphics. If you'd like to modify or expand upon your poster, please contact the Marketing Committee.
These resources are available for download on Dropbox. If you wish to order prints of any item, please contact the Marketing Committee. We may have a preferred printing vendor for you to use.
The Internet Manager typically sends email blasts the week before you open, and once every week during the run of the show. Any special events or extra news relevant to the public about your production should be sent in as early as possible for inclusion in these emails.
Your cast should be instructed at the Meet and Greet not to make Facebook events for the show. This will be done by the Internet Manager about a month before the show opens.
Footlite will do regular Facebook posts regarding your show in the weeks leading up to opening, but we highly encourage you to think about other ways we can promote the show on Facebook and to share those ideas with the Internet Manager. With only general information about your show and possibly a few photos, we can only do so much to promote it. However, we must strike a balance between your production doing things on your own, and us doing things through official channels, for the sake of consistency and reaching the broadest possible audience.
Footlite now discourages the practice of creating separate fan pages for shows unless there is a compelling reason to do so (for example, a production that by its very nature will have a large amount of promotional material.) It's difficult to attract visitors to a brand new page, many of the items end up getting double-posted between the fan page and Footlite's regular Facebook page, and those people are then disconnected once the show ends. Please contact the Marketing Committee if you're still interested. The better solution is to make members of the production staff hosts for the Facebook event, where people can more easily be invited, and attendees can be kept up-to-date on show activities.
Your cast should be reminded early and often to promote the show to their friends.
Footlite's Publicity Manager will send out information about your show to area papers, but it's a good idea to touch base so that nothing is forgotten or overlooked. If you choose to do extra marketing for your show, please coordinate your efforts with the Publicity Manager so nothing is duplicated.
It is the responsibility of the Producer to schedule a publicity photo shoot, preferably no less than three weeks from opening night. Footlite has a list of preferred photographers, but we're happy to work with new photographers upon approval of the Marketing Committee. Footlite needs 5-10 high quality photos to help represent your production.
Please pass requests to review the show on to the Publicity Manager, who will arrange for complimentary tickets and production photographs. Unless doing a "preview", we request reviewers do not attend dress rehearsals.
For consistency, Footlite charges our cast $15 for t-shirts and $20 for sweatshirts. Please contact the Marketing Committee for a list of preferred vendors. Please note that contractual obligations may prevent us from selling t-shirts to the general public.
The Marketing Committee must approve your shirt artwork before you place an order.
Past Footlite productions have appeared on Channels 8, 13 and 59. Contact Peggy McClelland at WISH-TV about appearances on IndyStyle. Contact the Marketing Committee about other appearances. FOX59's Sherman has twice come to the theatre for appearances on the morning news, but these appearances require very careful planning and may require prerecorded sound. Understand the requirements before attempting to schedule an appearance, and coordinate your efforts with the Marketing Committee. We don't want any bad experience with a television station to ruin our chances of coverage in the future.
Unless approved by the BOD, Footlite uses a prerecorded curtain speech produced by a local professional voice-over artist. Contact the Curtain Speech Coordinator no less than two weeks before opening night with any special details that should be included in the speech. They will provide an MP3 for the Sound Designer to play at the top of the show.
The Producer is responsible for assembling the following items for the program:
- Author credits for first page of program (coordinate with the Treasurer, as these requirements are typically listed in our contract)
- List of staff to be included on first page
- Director's Notes (if desired)
- Names and positions of staff, crew and orchestra
- Cast of characters and their names
- Any names for the "Thank You" section
- Synopsis of scenes and musical numbers (including a setting for each scene and who
- Cast and staff bios
Janet Simpson with Deputy Printing handles production of our programs. Typically content is due to her by 8:30am Tuesday morning the week before the show opens. Send your content in a Word file to firstname.lastname@example.org as well as to the Program Coordinator, who will help proof the document. You'll find an example of this document on Dropbox in the Programs folder.
Any ads that have been sold are preferred as correctly sized PDF files, followed by TIFF and then JPEG. If the ads are set up in Word, each ad needs to be in a separate file from the rest of the program copy.
We typically do not place headshots in the program. If you choose to do this (such as when its necessary to fill empty pages), note that we are charged extra for Deputy to lay out these pages. Try to find someone with graphic design ability to lay these pages out for you.
Deputy will provide proofs by email either Wednesday late afternoon or Thursday morning. Corrections need to be back by 8:30am Friday, as the program goes to press that afternoon. Corrections may be faxed (547-4180), emailed or telephoned (547-0741).
Cast bios should be carefully proofread for length, to keep space in the program to a minimum. Depending on the size of the cast, give them an 80 word limit. Cast can visit http://www.wordcounter.net to quickly check the length of their bio. Don't worry about formatting, as this won't be maintained when Deputy edits the document, however all show titles should be in Title Case vs. ALL CAPITALIZED, no quotation marks, with either the character or theatre name in parenthesis. Local theatre companies listed in parenthesis should be abbreviated as such:
- Acting Up Productions = AUP
- Actors Theatre of Indiana = ATI
- Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre = Civic (When spelling out Civic's name, note they are no longer "Indianapolis Civic Theatre")
- Buck Creek Players = BCP
- Carmel Community Players = CCP
- Center Stage Productions = Center Stage
- Christian Youth Theatre = CYT
- Epilogue Players = Epilogue
- Footlite Musicals = Footlite
- Hendricks Civic Theatre = HCT
- Indiana Repertory Theatre = IRT
- Phoenix Theatre = Phoenix
- Ricks-Weil Theatre Company = Ricks-Weil
- Spotlight Players = Spotlight
- Summer Stock Stage = Summer Stock Stage
- The Artist Studio = TAS
- The Belfry = Belfry
- Theatre on the Square = TOTS
- Wayne Township Community Theatre = WTCT
Staff List Credits
Be sure to include the Performance Photographer, Publicity Photographer (if it's a different person), and Laura Cones for the Opening Night Party in your staff listing.
The Director will usually choose to hold a double rehearsal on the Saturday or Sunday leading into production week. This is the time for the Director to turn the show over to the Stage Manager to coordinate all technical and performance elements, if it has not been done. Set construction should be virtually complete. Some painting and decorating may remain, but all set pieces, flies, and props should be in place. All set pieces and props should also have their storage and preset locations determined. Costumes should be virtually complete. Minor alterations may still be required. It is recommended that a formal costume parade be held before or on this day.
The plan for the day may vary depending upon the Director’s desires and the development of the show. By the end of the day lights and sound should be set, the stage crew rehearsed in their responsibilities, all set pieces should be spiked, personnel assigned, and musical timings set. The Stage Manager will call cues from then on.
Traditionally there is a pitch-in dinner the event of Long Saturday/Sunday. The Producer (or volunteer designated by the Producer) is responsible for organizing (sign up sheet), setting up, and then cleaning up after the meal.
Production photos are typically taken the night before your benefit performance by Footlite's official photographer. These do not need to be scheduled. Because these photos are released to the public the next day, every effort should be made to have your show complete. If certain elements are missing or incomplete, be sure the photographer is made aware.
Lobby Decoration and Sale of Merchandise During Productions
In the same way Footlite is striving to increase the professionalism of our productions, we want the presentation of our lobby and the before/after experience for our patrons to be equally professional. The BOD has found that decorating the lobby based on the theme of the show and selling merchandise to patrons, while well intentioned, often take away from the high standards we're striving for.
With the exception of the Summer Children's Workshop productions, Young Artists Production and one-time special events (for example, Wine and Cheese parties), any production wanting to decorate the lobby or sell merchandise must first seek approval of the BOD.
Footlite Musicals maintains an Annual Raffle License from the Indiana Charity Gaming Board. There are special rules that govern raffles. You must consult with the Treasurer before conducting any raffle to ensure we comply with applicable state law.
Footlite provides everyone associated with the production two complimentary tickets during the run of the show. Your team should be encouraged to use these tickets during the first week of the production, but they are good for any performance during the run.
Provide the Box Office Manager with a list of everyone receiving complimentary tickets, and they will provide a letter detailing how to reserve them. Tickets reserved online should be placed in the name of the cast/crew/staff/orchestra member, NOT the person using the tickets.
The final dress rehearsal of every production is traditionally our benefit performance, with an invited audience typically from our senior citizen community. Like all our Thursday night performances, this performance begins at 7:30pm. Contact the Benefit Performance Coordinator should you have any questions.
The Hedback Theatre is home to a two-manual, eleven-rank Page Theatre pipe organ. Members of The American Theatre Organ Society, who now own and maintain it as a historical instrument, play the organ before every performance. You must seek approval of the BOD if your production wants to do without the organ.
Opening Night Party
Footlite hosts a party in the lobby for the company and audience on opening night. This is a free event for everyone, and the Producer should remember to publicize the event.
A common frustration at Footlite is the wildly varying conditions of the theatre when a new production team moves in. To help solve this problem, we've put together a very detailed strike checklist. The latest copy of this checklist is available on Dropbox. If the next production team finds an item was not completed, the previous team may be requested to come back and finish.
It is especially helpful if the Producer, Director, and/or Technical Director of the incoming production are present for strike, in case that production wants to make use of certain set pieces. Contact them during the final week of your show to coordinate.
The Strike Party takes place once strike is 100% complete. Footlite will buy the main course (such as pizza) and supply the drinks (sodas/water). Coordinate this purchase with the Treasurer. Footlite's typical pizza vendor is Marcos, and we get special pricing upon request.
Exit Survey and Follow-Up
During the final week of your production, the Vice President will email a link to an online Exit Survey to all cast, staff, crew and orchestra members. We request absolutely everyone complete the survey. The Exit Survey is designed to let Footlite's BOD learn what went well with your production, and what can be improved in the future.
At some point after your production ends, the Vice President will schedule a debriefing meeting with select members of the production staff to go through the Exit Survey results.
It is the Producer's responsibility to return scripts to the licensing house. Please ensure books are completely erased and in good condition before returning any deposit money. Footlite is fined for any damage.
Scripts must be returned no later than one week after closing. DO NOT use the US Post Office--use UPS or FedEx. The original packing sheet will have return instructions, and may indicate a required shipper. Insure the items for $500. Either turn in your receipt for reimbursement or coordinate payment with the Treasurer.