Benj Pasek: I would think: to get to that place you need to think about how do you get your work out there. Nobody is going to just say: „I am going to produce that person’s show!“ So really, you have to think in terms of being your own producer and getting your work out there. And whether that is using social media, using YouTube, using Facebook – whatever those things are, how can you get your show produced so that people can see it? And I think the first show that we did, we borrowed money from anybody – any aunt or any uncle, or Mom or Dad or whatever – just to get our show up on ist feet. And we took it on a tour to all of these different cities in America where we thought maybe we can get friends to come and see it and just kind of create a certain momentum for our show and ourselves and mailed them to anyone who is interested in musical theatre. So really, I think the first sort of step is to be your own producer and think how can I get my work out there in the world and once it is out there, then how can I get people to listen to it and exchange it. And that was a first step for us.
Justin Paul: Yeah, I think obviously at the same time as that or even before that – it is hard to say what is good but: it should be good. What does that mean? Even as you are thinking about how are you getting it out there, how you are going to produce it, I think as much time should also go into studying. A major thing that we did probably backwards – we wrote stuff and said we are going to get it out there and then afterwards, we were like: „wait! We should really know what we are doing and really know what we are talking about.“ And so we went back and we still do it all the time and study people like Lynn [Ahrens] and Stephen [Flaherty] and even older writers. I think there is not – at least for us at the time we were at college – there wasn’t a program to go to where they tought you how to write musicals…
Benj Pasek: ….for undergrads…
Justin Paul: It didn’t exist. So for us it was going back and studying shows and studying musicals that we respected and writers that we respected and trying to learn from them because even though the artform may have changed a lot in terms of the style – you know like Spring Awakening vs. Oklahoma: so much of it is really following a lot of the same format and the same structure.
New shows are facing old problems
Benj Pasek: The problems are the same and you can find the solution to something that is wrong, something that you cannot figure out in your show by looking at Oklahoma because even though – what Justin was saying – the style is completely different, the answer to the problem still exists in Oklahoma that might still be in your show, so you can solve it. The more you know, the more empowered you are to be able to work and find feasible solutions for the modern day issue you are having.
Justin Paul: Yes, So I think it is equal parts putting in the time to make your craft better while also thinking a million ways how can I get it out there? How can I spread this? How can I form relationships with people? People that we went to school with, worked with, collaborated as Teenagers and in our young twenties, now those people are the casting directors and the future directors of Broadway, so it is forming relationships knowing that you are all going to come up together with actors, directors, casting directors, choreographers etc. So creating those ties at that point and then you can all sort of hopefully raise up together.