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Follow Friday: 07 May 2010

05.07.10 | Comment?


CATEGORIES conversation starter, follow friday, ideas, marketing, rabble rousing, social media, the process, theatrical ecosystem

Thank God it’s on Friday again.

Here are some of the stories we’ve been following at 2amt. This week’s batch includes one word, two words, dirty words, not-so-dirty words, digital analogs, a submission statement and even a touch of Dr. Seuss…

Brittney Filek-Gibson on partying down
Spinning off of Trisha Mead’s 2amt post from last week about how not to build a younger audience, Brittney describes her experience of a Canadian Stage Company experiment with the kind of party that might not work. This one didn’t not work, but is an interesting case study in the pros and cons of such an event.

Adam Thurman on unlearning learning
There’s a difference between learning how to do something and being able to do it. Adam Thurman reminds us that while the education may be important in terms of teaching and honing our skills, we can’t let the education get in our way when it comes to working creatively. Or, as so often happens, we can’t let our education snuff out the creative fire that burned inside to begin with.

Andrew Girvan on living in the future
One thing we’ve looked at in these Follow Friday posts is the potential for digital distribution of theatre. Andrew Girvan takes a very clear-eyed look at digital theatre work, and particularly the National Theatre’s presentation of Phedre as a live event streamed to cinemas around the world, in this twenty-minute talk. You can watch the video, watch the Powerpoint and/or read along with the talk.

Eliza Bent on stolen chairs
This profile of the Stolen Chair Theatre Company appeared in the April issue of American Theatre magazine. It describes their Community Supported Theatre model, which was inspired by the Community Supported Agriculture movement. Why not cultivate financial support for your work ahead of time instead of borrowing against the uncertainty of box-office revenue? Why not work with and strengthen your own community? See why Stolen Chair went with this model and how they’re making it work.

Dave Charest on words
One word, to be exact. Can you boil your mission statement down to one word? What is your word? The two words that best describe Dave Charest’s theory are “focus” and “clarity.” Sharpen your focus, own your word. This is important whether you’re part of a busy theatre city or the only game in town.

Amy Wratchford on not-so-dirty words
Put simply, marketing is not a dirty word. It’s not about sticking your foot in the door and pushing the vacuums or encyclopediae. It’s about communication and connection, staying on point. No, your staff isn’t going to memorize your marketing plan, they probably won’t even read it. Or your mission statement. But if you break it down–find that one word–and build from there, your staff will all be on the same page. That’s a good thing.

Rebecca Coleman on picking up the tab
Okay, you have a Facebook page. (Not a group, it has to be a page for this to work.) Why not add a tab specifically for reviews? Open it up for your audience to post their reactions in more than 140-character bites–and play fair, don’t just keep the good ones. This can help build trust between you and your audiences by engaging and soliciting their input. It might also encourage people who stumble upon your page to give your next show a try. Rebecca shows you how to do this step-by-step. And then she shows you how to post an events calendar to your WordPress blog, just because.

J. Holtham on dominance in submissions
Is there such a thing as an open submission process? Of course there is. Is it the only way playwrights get their work through the system. Of course not. At the 99 Seats blog, a look at the question of whether or not the O’Neill Theatre Center has an open submission process or not.

Fabrizio O. Almeida on storefront to Broadway and back
A profile of David Cromer, who’s gone from the Chicago storefront work of Our Town with the Hypocrites to New York City, been nominated for a Tony for directing at Lincoln Center and has now returned to Chicago to direct at the Writers’ Theatre. If you haven’t been paying attention to his work before now, one word: start.

Myles McNutt on a killer serial
You may not know the name Stephen Tobolowsky, but you’ve almost certainly seen him in film and tv over the years. He’s also an accomplished storyteller. Myles McNutt takes a look at his podcast series, The Tobolowsky Files, which has become more than just memories of life on film sets. It is a true triumph of storytelling from a master of the art form, and something that lovers of narrative storytelling should certainly be listening to, as Myles says.

Karen Greco on caffeine withdrawal
You’ve had an idea, why not have an event to drum up some business, some attention. Okay. What kind of an event are you thinking? Is it something that connects with your mission, your audience both real and potential? Karen Greco takes a look at a Starbucks store that hosted–and may well continue to host–an event that drives regular customers away without benefiting from the potential customers attending the event itself. This is a cautionary tale.

Isaac Butler on the things you can think
We’re taught to expect closure at the end of a story, we crave it. But sometimes, the open-ended story is just as satisfying. Or in some cases, heartbreaking. Isaac Butler makes a good case for craving the unresolved resolution, with the help of Dr. Seuss and a box of tissues.

And finally, a quote.

I wrote a play
And it took me many a day,
It took me many a month, hear, hear!
It took me many a hungry year,
Yet I still thrill when I say
That I wrote a play.

Cole Porter, “I Wrote A Play,” cut from SEVEN LIVELY ARTS, 1944

David J. Loehr

Artistic Director / Editor, 2amt ::Artist-in-Residence / Producer, Riverrun Theatre Company, Madison, Indiana::Member of the Playwrights' Center::Husband, father, cat owner, cat bed.

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