We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Font and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The thought process behind creating ShakeSoundCo. was pretty simple. I, along with several other performers in the South Florida Theatre scene, were missing the theatre post Covid. A few of us also were craving to perform some older works of theatre. We originally had begun as a play reading group on Facebook, called Quarantine Corner Play Readings. Each week we would read works both new and old in small little zoom gatherings. However, I saw the opportunity for the group to become something greater and create a new company out of our weekly readings. Luckily for me, two friends, Sam McCue and Lindsey O’Neill, both decided to come aboard for this crazy idea. We all three went into it not exactly with a business mindset but more so of filling a need in the South Florida community.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being in the theatre is not an easy career. Being in the theatre in South Florida is less so. As an artist I never really considered myself much of a performer, which is an odd thing to say because I still perform. But the art I have always wanted to do, and the art I’ve always loved creating has always been attached to the theatre in some way. I would consider myself a director, composer, performer, in that order. Unfortunately in South Florida, the way the business is down here, the opportunities to direct and compose new music for the theatre, are so few and far between, that many people will just create their own companies and do it themselves. Which is exactly what we did when we created SSC. It has been a challenging road to where I’m at as an artist, and at the same time I am constantly reminding myself that I am only 26 and that there are people twice my age who would kill to be in my position. The main lesson I’ve learned in my life is if you want to do something you have to make it yourself. I learned that in high school. When I wanted to start writing musicals I decided to teach myself how to write music and by the end of Junior year I had written my first musical. (It sounded God awful but that was 10 years ago now.) I think, like most artists, I despise repeating myself. You can tell in the underscore to Romeo and Juliet, (Wonderfully directed by Lindsey O’Neill) how I never really try to go for the same genre twice, unless the story calls for it. That’s what I hope can happen with SSC. We won’t ever repeat ourselves.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am such a homebody it’s sort of awful, but if I did have someone visiting I’d probably take them to The Grove and spend a day walking around The Barnacle. If not I’d probably pack a picnic and see if we could head out to Vizcaya. If we did want to go out for drinks it would probably be either Gramps or New Wave, the billiards hall by FIU. Spending a day on the beach at Key Biscayne would maybe be in the cards if they seriously would want it. But it’s hard for me to form an itinerary when I’m so content sitting in a house with some friends chit chatting about nothing and playing video games.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a huge shoutout to my Dad and Step-Mom, Iggy and Jean, they really have been helping me greatly with navigating a lot of the behind the scenes stuff with building ShakeSoundCo. I also have to give a major shoutout to my cohorts Sam McCue and Lindsey O’Neill, we’re all kind of going at this like three blind mice, but we all seem to lead the way at some point. Sam usually takes my less than perfect speech and turns it into business jargon. Lindsey takes care of most of our treasury issues and assets. Both are incredible artists in their own rights, and are excellent sounding boards for making decisions and having SSC run.