The mindset of most artists (myself included) is that success means that someone somewhere identi-fies the great thing you have made and then provides you with services you need to reach your mar-ket. They will finance, market, package, and sell your product for you. This is success. We as artists are not taught to question this. But what if we redefine success? What if success as an artist means being in control of the production process? What if success means packaging your own product, se-lecting your own target market, and being the producer of your own work?
How I Became a Product Manager: Michele Wells
I broke free of this mindset when my play The War at Home was selected for the Atlanta Black The-ater Festival. Once the play was selected, I was presented with a contract and I had to sign the name of my production company. Until that point, I was an actress and playwright. I had just returned from graduate study in London, where I had produced solo performances but never produced my own large ensemble stage play. Here was an amazing opportunity to produce my own work. I started my production company, Run On Productions, and I got to work. (Image of Logo and Awards Cer-emony) The War at Home was selected winner Best Play Award in its category.
That night at the awards ceremony, I realized that product development, being the owner and pro-ducer, handling the creative and the business, was the positioning I needed to be certain that the most precious gift I have for the world, the ability to create, would be shared with many . Product development is the answer for the artist.
Because I took on the risk and the role of product developer and producer, I am an award winning playwright, performing artist, director, and producer. Since then I have been awarded grants to pro-duce my work in northern California and I have developed new products. My body of work includes large ensemble historical dramas like The War at Home, solo performance pieces like Black Pearl and applied theater like Theater for Humanity. From stage plays to workshops, my passion is the creation of new innovative art products.
I returned to California because I wanted to build Run On Productions in my hometown. My vision includes local artists with a passion for theater and film coming together to tell both local and global narratives, while also using art as a tool for community transformation. After two years of working on plays and films and being a part of innovative and fresh work, I saw that artists in my communi-ty were creating brilliant artistic work without equal financial success.