HELLO AMERICA!—When you hear that a director likes what his producer is doing with a project in Hollywood, it’s very rare! Director Barry Creyton is letting everyone in the industry know that young Texan born producer Michael Plaster is definitely on the right path in becoming a top Hollywood producer.
He not only delivered a compelling staged reading of “I Feel Sin Comin’ On,” he delivered it with some television household names as leads Marla Gibbs, Anna Maria Horsford, Leon Isaac Kennedy and Ruta Lee. Currently, he is busy working on a film adaptation of book, “Hollywood Through the Back Door” as a follow up.
MSJ: Michael, everyone is raving about how fantastically you produced the Saban Theatre “ Reading” of “I Feel Sin Comin’ On…” What was the first thing you had to consider or resolve?
MP: I focused on building a fundamental team that would keep the progress of the show moving forward. Half of the team had been acquainted with each other prior to this production; so from a psychological perspective they were driven to work harder, to show their best, and stay away from making mistakes. A strong level of accountability was maintained within the unit, which insured that everyone would operate on top of their game. The composition of the team is key.
MSJ: Was there a point when you were discouraged or doubted you wouldn’t be able to pull the show off?
MP: Everything was going great until I received the call that Oscar nominated actress Juanita Moore had passed away two weeks before the show. I have to admit that my heart rate rose. MSJ: What was the first rehearsal like involving the entire cast?
MP: That was one of my favorite moments during process. It was the first time I got to see everyone’s relationships unfold both on and off the script pages. I sat back while the cast and director worked their craft and wondered whom might I know and work with for many years to come.
MSJ: Did you ever have doubts about your ability to produce a stage production?
MP: Beginning at a very early age, I have had to face a great number of challenges and set backs in my life. I have to admit to you that as a child I couldn’t speak English. As a result of a difficult upbringing, I was speaking only gibberish and “baby-talk” until I was enrolled in school. At the time of my enrollment, I could understand everyone else just fine, but nobody could understand me. I was placed in intensive speech and language classes and at age six or eight was given no choice but to overcome my perceived lack of ability. The same home life that created setbacks in my language skills also discouraged me from any sort of expression. The first chance I had to be apart of something theatrical was in our High School production of The Pirates of Penzance, however I didn’t speak to many people as individuals much less an audience, so dropped out of the production due to of a lack of self confidence. Over the years I have been able to resolve a great deal of fear and I very much appreciate the theatre community and their personal support. Looking back I have learned a lot about doubt and fear from having first hand experience with a lot of it. I have come to the firm conclusion that the only way to live up to the full potential of your own ability is to first never doubt it.
MSJ: What is your advice for young producers and directors coming toHollywoodto break into the business?
MP: Get good at being the most effective you. It helps to be an entrepreneur, to have a vision even if it’s not clear, and to have someone to call a close-friend.
MSJ: What have you learned since pulling off a “ Reading” of a Pre-Broadway play that turned into a well promoted event?
MP: Unlikely partnerships are everywhere and should be explored thoroughly.
By Michael St. John