Minutes of Y’s Men Meeting of March 16, 2017

Andrew Wilk

The difference between a producer and director is substantial.  A producer is in a management role.  When acting as a producer, I have to deal with unions, manage the budget and apply some expertise in the relevant law.  As a director, I have to break down the musical scores for the programs, assign camera angles and plan out between 1500 and 2500 shots.

In my role as the executive in charge of movies, I am responsible for all the PBS performances.  This is our chance to market Lincoln Center to a much greater amount of people.  Many of these people may never come to New York and see one of our programs live.  We are now using this approach not only with opera and theater, but have expanded it into dance programs, which bring with them their own set of problems.

For any of these programs to be interesting and entertaining, a large number of cameras are a must.  You have to be able to see a story from different perspectives.  This gives it life and depth.  Of course, this necessity brings with it the need for a vast amount of advance planning using a number of directors, each with their own specialty, to coordinate all the various shots.

In the near future we plan on bringing out the operetta, “Falsetto”.  This is a revival of a performance that won every Tony imaginable when it first came out many years ago.  It is built around the event of a boy’s Bar Mitzvah and involves some gay relationships that made it very controversial years ago. 

In the future we are looking to do “Jewels”, which was a Balanchine creation for the ballet and are also looking at staring Sally Fields in “The Glass Menagerie”.

In a prior life I worked with animals for National Geographic.  They are much easier to work with than people. 

Q & A

Q.  Are there other organizations similar to Lincoln Center?

A.  Yes, there are a number of them, but none as large as Lincoln Center.  We even have a consulting group to aid them.

Q.  How do you get younger people into your audience?

A.  That is the question.  But people have worried for years about art audiences disappearing and yet they come.  We do try and get some younger artists to appeal to a more youthful group.

Q.  What is the worst case scenario for the arts under the Trump budget?

A.  Somehow we keep getting funding because there is bi-partisan backing for an arts budget.  It is hard to kill.

Q.  Do you decide on camera placement?

A.  No.  We have a special director that does that.

Q.  Did you decide on the aerial shots for the chamber music piece?

A.  Yes.  We even had a drone for that one.

Q.  Is there a solution for unions undermining everything?

A.  I don’t think so.  The unions are actually healthy for the arts.  They protect the pension plans.

Q.  How would someone prepare to get your job?

A.  Go to the best schools with the best programs, but have a good back-up plan.  It is an extremely tough route and many of the careers are very short lived even if you make it.