--- Written by Entertainment Business Management Student Caroline Kowalski
During a current initiative put forward by JMC Academy; where industry professionals are invited to come down and share their knowledge with students, I had the pleasure of being in a workshop conducted by “Milke” founder, producer and managing director Laura Milke Garner.
Laura proved herself as a jack (Jill) of all trades having started in radio at the age of 12. Exploring that passion into sound engineering, and dabbling in T.V; this eventually lead her to Live Theatre. “Milke” was founded in 2008 and has produced shows for Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival and many more.
The obvious strengths Laura portrayed included her willingness to try new things, expand her knowledge, gain experience and an unwavering persistence.
As a student that wishes to one day have a career in theatre; this was truly an invaluable workshop. Laura explored the basics of what exactly a producer is and what fills their days, to the fundamentals of running a business like “Milke”. There was a huge amount of optimism from Laura about theatre and how much technological advances have supported the growth and sustainability of her business.
The main points I took away from Laura.
• Communication is key. As simple as it seems, it’s also the first link that can break. By utilising project management apps, emails and of course phones; she ensures that clear communication remains the central component of business.
• Create and build a team that you trust. As the company owner, everything ultimately goes through Laura. However, she has formed a team that have the same goals and drive as her.
• Know your strengths. By understanding your strengths, you can assess where to invest your energy and evaluate what roles should be outsourced.
• Know your product, know what’s important and be patient.
• Find power within your budget. You can completely change your profits by understanding and loving the numbers of your production.
At the conclusion of the workshop I felt as though I had a better understanding of planning, time management, funding, networking and what it takes to make it as a producer.
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