Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yet again...

I am on a kick about this because this is where our marketing veers off dramatically from others.  But I have Seth Godin to back up my "selectivity".  From his blog again:


The trap of social media noise

If we put a number on it, people will try to make the number go up.
Now that everyone is a marketer, many people are looking for a louder megaphone, a chance to talk about their work, their career, their product... and social media looks like the ideal soapbox, a free opportunity to shout to the masses.
But first, we're told to make that number go up. Increase the number of fans, friends and followers, so your shouts will be heard. The problem of course is that more noise is not better noise.
In Corey's words, the conventional, broken wisdom is:
  • Follow a ton of people to get people to follow back
  • Focus on the # of followers, not the interests of followers or your relationship with them.
  • Pump links through the social platform (take your pick, or do them all!)
  • Offer nothing of value, and no context. This is a megaphone, not a telephone.
  • Think you're winning, because you're playing video games (highest follower count wins!)
This looks like winning (the numbers are going up!), but it's actually a double-edged form of losing. First, you're polluting a powerful space, turning signals into noise and bringing down the level of discourse for everyone. And second, you're wasting your time when you could be building a tribe instead, could be earning permission, could be creating a channel where your voice is actually welcomed.
Leadership (even idea leadership) scares many people, because it requires you to own your words, to do work that matters. The alternative is to be a junk dealer.
The game theory pushes us into one of two directions: either be better at pump and dump than anyone else, get your numbers into the millions, outmass those that choose to use mass and always dance at the edge of spam (in which the number of those you offend or turn off forever keep increasing), or
Relentlessly focus. Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that's worth owning and an audience that cares.
Only one of these strategies builds an asset of value.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Great advice

I love today's blog from Seth Godin. Below.  Being in the arts for a while will teach you to just keep going through the roadblocks.  Keep going or pick and roll right around them and improvise a new path as you go.  


My motto has always been,  "The worst they can say is 'no'" .  Then if they do, whew, they just disqualified themselves from being a part of whatever fun thing we are doing.  And I can concentrate on the few "sneezers" (viral marketing) that will spread our message. 


 I was recently advised to "buy email lists".   But gang, here is where new marketing comes in.  I am "spam" to those email lists. They don't know or care about us.  I will be gathering emails, at our events, at our networking.  If I have 300 folks as opposed to 3000 that is ok.  That is 300 folks who said they wanted to hear from me and will support what we are doing.  No wasted effort there.  


But that kind of talk sometimes garners you odd looks from the old standby's.  See blog below.  :)  


Unexpected turbulence

Is there really any other kind?
If we see turbulence coming, we tend to avoid it. The art is in knowing that turbulence might come and looking forward to it, bracing for it and embracing it at the same time.
If your plan will only succeed if there is no turbulence at any time, it's probably not a very good plan (either that or you're not going anywhere interesting.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Creating strategic alliances

This week we created two very important alliances.   One was with the Hilton in Stamford.  We confirmed a date for our next event there,  "So ya wanna be a Broadway star".  A two day event that will be like a mini American Idol for anyone 15-32 years old.  We will have them all sing 16-32 bars the first night and narrow them down to the top 10 for the next night.  All of them will be judged by NY agents, Ny casting directors, directors and folks that could potentially get them jobs.

The prize for the winner is being added to daily, but so far it's 1. Interviews with the NY agents in their offices. 2. a photo session 3. Makeup and hair consultation 4. voice lesson 5. consultation by Jamibeth Margolis on their "package" and rep book. 6. $50 gift certificate for Restaurant.com 7. a NY audition.

I think the most exciting is the sit-down meetings with the agents.  Plus everyone gets to give their headshot and resume to the panelists.  We are confirming our "star" guest who is an American Idol star.  More later when we have it firmed up.   The dates are Jan 28/29th.  The application is only $50.00.  The tickets to see the show are only $40.00 and that covers both nights. We will also have a "Fan's Favorite" winner.

Also this week we had a meeting with the Development director (Liz) and Event coordinator (Jen) at the Bruce Museum.  I gotta tell ya, we meet the most intelligent, talented and beautiful women while networking this theatre!  Both of them were terrific and very onboard with the idea of "partnerships" and strategic alliances between Non Profit Arts groups.   And since they are a super credible and well-known Museum in Greenwich, this could be the start of a lovely relationship where we can impart our marketing know-how on how to reach the "Millennium" group (ages 18-31) and they could lend their extensive knowledge of that area and their prestige.

Often, Non profits consider each other competition i.e. "if you come to see our show you won't go to see their show".  But we believe there can be more synergy in not only events, but education outreach as well and we have developed quite a few ideas that were met with enthusiasm.  Will keep you posted...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bank Account and stuff...

We opened our bank account for the theatre on Thursday.  It feels so official.   Lynn and Cathy (our accountants/treasurers) and Jamibeth and me were at the bank in Stamford.  See picture below of Lynn and Brandon, our bank rep.

After that meeting, Jamibeth and I headed over to the Hilton in Stamford http://www.hiltonstamfordhotel.com/    I was there for Matt Castle's wedding (cast mate from "Company" on Bway) and loved the space.  We met with the marketing director, who couldn't have been more lovely.  She agreed that we could use the ballroom for our "So ya wanna be a Broadway star" event in Januaray and also showed us their wonderful smaller space that looks like a cabaret room.  We can use that for smaller shows right now.

This is all very exciting.   Next week Jamibeth and I have a meeting with the Event director and Development director for The Bruce Museum in Greenwich.  When I tell you that is a big deal I am under selling it.  More later.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

NPT promo video!!

It's here! It's HERE!  THE NPT promo video!!

Mark Holleran (Holleran Media productions) is responsible for this great video. He is on our Board as well.

This was all from November 11th.  Feel free to write to me with your comments.  missohiokh@yahoo.com

If you cannot see this video on your mobile (I can't on my Blackberry) please come right back here to the home page of my blog.  www.theatreringleader.blogspot.com  to see it.

I value your opinions!
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Ken Davenport's blog

Everyone knows I am a Seth Godin Fan.  I also subscribe to Ken Davenport's blog.

http://www.theproducersperspective.com/my_weblog/

He is a Seth fan too. :)

While he is more into Broadway producing, we agree on much of the same marketing and this week he referred to Regional theatre in his blog.  See below or go to the most recent blog of Ken's.

This makes a lot of sense and is something I think our theatre will definitely entertain.



Self-producing problem? Try our new and improved mini-enhancement.

ConfuciusConfucius say, "Anything that can be done big, can be done small."
Ok, he didn't really say that, but it doesn't make it any less true.  
Case in point.  When big Broadway shows "tryout" at regional theaters around the country before coming in, they are usually produced under what we call "Enhancement Deals".  The Broadway Producers supplement the regional theater's budget with cash, and the regional theater usually takes a royalty for future productions as well.  Honestly, I think it's quite a good deal for the regionals . . . and in recent years . . . it has become too good of a deal.  (Read this blog for my reason's why.)
However, even Confucius would agree that the theory is good.
So, back to the big/small axiom.
As you know, I'm a big advocate of Authors self-producing small productions of their work, if they can't find someone else to produce it for them.  (I'm not sure if you know, but Confucius was actually the first to say, "Just do it," before Nike stole it.)
Three of the complaints I hear the most from Authors embarking on self-production are:  
  • Money
  • Fear of the production being seen as a vanity project
  • Money
While there are many workarounds for both issues (click here to read my thoughts on "Vanity Projects"), here's another one using those Confucius-like words.
If big regional theaters and big Broadway Producers are benefiting from enhancement deals, why not small non-profit theaters and small off-off Broadway Producers/Authors.  In fact, couldn't they benefit more?
There are hundreds of small non-profit theater companies in the metro NYC area.  And I'd bet you $10,000 that most of them would do almost anything for $10,000.  So if you're an Author or a budding Producer, staring at a self-production Equity Showcase budget  of approximately $35,000 . . . couldn't you approach a non-profit theater company and say, "Hey, I've got a play.  If you do it on your season, I'll give you $10,000.  And I'll even give you a piece of it going forward."
Now, that play would still have to be good enough for the NP Artistic Director to take it, and it would have to fit within their mission . . . but isn't this a win-win for both sides?
  • Self Producing Author (or Producer) saves thousands and gets show produced under auspices of credible theater.
  • Non Profit theater gets infusion of cash and a piece of the project going forward, and a reputation as a launching pad.
Ken says, "Cool."
Any small theater companies out there have examples of successful mini-enhancements?  








Sunday, November 13, 2011

PROMO EVENT nov 11

Hey Gang



See below for short videos of the event Friday. It was GREAT!  The performers were GREAT! The paparazzi were GREAT!  The space was GREAT!

To see the videos I took from my phone, come back here to my blog page (if you are reading this on your mobile or can't open the videos on your email) .   click on this link:  www.theatreringleader.blogspot.com

Also visit our facebook page for great links to photos.
 http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Paradigm-Theatre/112332212178935?sk=wall

The paparazzi were encouraged to post their pics.  Felix posted a great slide show that leads to his professional photography page.  Miss CT is so photogenic!

Here are my informal videos. When the promo piece is done I will post it as well .
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 11th Invitation

HI Blog Followers

Because you are following along with the fun, I want to personally invite you to our November 11th,  "Create our own buzz" extravaganza.   Yes, it has become an extravaganza. I even confirmed that the current Miss Connecticut is going to be a part of it. :)

We have 18 paparazzi, 5 Broadway singers,  an amazing place "Grand" in Stamford  http://www.stamfordgrand.com/, limos,  a jazz sax quartet, an accapella group from Western Ct State (part of our education outreach) .

If you would like to join us, just dress up and come as our "guest".  6-6:30 is the "arrival" scene.  6:30-7:15ish is the concert.  All this is free, great PR for us and for the restaurant.

Here are the bios and pictures for the gals:


Bway crédits:  Les Miz, Mary Poppins, Sweet Smell of Success, Pajama Game (with Harry Connick) Radio City Music Hall (Ms Claus)  Many tours and symphony gigs. 


Jodi Stevens  http://www.jodistevens.com/  recently earned rave reviews as Hollywood film icon, Marlene Dietrich, in the Off Broadway production of Dietrich and Chevalier. During the run, she completed principal photography on the independent feature film, Pervertigo, due out in 2011. Other films include The Funeral and The Narrow Gate. On Broadway she starred in the original companies of Urban Cowboy and Jekyll & Hyde. Off Broadway favorites include, Claire Strider in Under Fire: The Musical, I Can Get it for you Wholesale, Eliot Ness in Cleveland, Body Shop, Antigone: The Musical and 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Around the country Ms. Stevens has also starred in many regional productions, such as Heaven Help Us: A New Rat Pack Musical: Harmony: the musical, by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman ,Dracula, the Musical by Frank Wildhorn and Christopher Hampton, Annie: the 20th Anniversary,Twelfth Night, The 1940's Radio Hour, Me and My Girl, Fen, The imaginary Invalid, Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean.
On television she has quest starred in Conviction, Sex and the City, Central Park West, Guiding Light, All My Children and As The World Turns

Diana DiMarzio   Bway: Sweeney Todd , Light in the Piazza, symphony gigs and please see her promo ßsheet

Jill Soares (NY readings, shows,  Recently performed at the Triad Theatre in "These Two: Songs of Happiness, Hope, and Heartbreak," a one-night-only concert paying tribute to the music of Georgia Stitt and Jason Robert Brown to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. The concert was music directed by Benjamin Ruahula and featured broadway talent Lauren Kennedy, Tituss Burgess, Stephanie Umoh, Kristy Cates, Matt DeAngelis, Ashley Kate Adams, Emily Afton, Ryah Nixon, and Trevor McQueen.


Miss CT.  Morgan Amarone  (Facebook page) 


Kristin Huffman   Bway: "Company" as Sarah. Tony award winning show.  Phantom tour in europe. Miss Ohio/runner up to Miss America.  Artistic Director of The New Paradigm Theatre.  Fund raiser for non profits around the country.  www.kristinhuffman.com 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

November 11th "Buzz"

Things are moving fast now after the Board meeting.  We decided that we needed video representation of what our events, and PREformances are capable of looking like so we are staging a Gala!  ( a real one would take months of planning and we want this to be November 11the)

Think of a movie scene that included a Gala and now think of that as being half real and half "Created".

I have some great Broadway performers coming up to perform for us. See the video below as an example. Kim Stengel from Phantom of the Opera (also a recent Steven Speilberg film) is coming along with some other Broadway friends to actually perform a short concert of their favorites. While the "guests" look on with martini glasses in hand.  All the while this is getting filmed.  

The rest of the "event" is more of a casting feat.  Lisa Durke, producer, and casting director here in CT is helping me cast the "guests" all dressed in tux, gowns and wealth.  I contacted a meet up group of photographers and have about 12 "paparazzi" who want to shoot the event as the guests and bway stars arrive on the red carpet.  Gotta find a red carpet.

Since all these Preformances are a chance to demonstrate our mission statement to the community before we are even in a fixed spot, I have asked a quarter of jazz sax players from my class at Western CT State University to play on the red carpet as the fancy cars pull up to let off the stars and the guests. Education outreach.

Then we move inside for the 'concert'.  All of this is actually being filmed by Mark Holleran Media Productions (awesome producer, also on our board) and will be turned into a 2-3 minute promo that we can show different corporations around Stamford, Greenwich and Norwalk.  "Wow, see what you could be a part of?"

It's basically creating our own hype too.   I have some actual press coming as well so that we can make a huge statement right out of the gate.  My board has been asked to invite 2 or 3 VIP's to be a part of the "Making of" this event as well and they will get to see themselves in the video and perhaps be a part of our "tribe".

Everyone will be asked to whip out their phones and do a short little video of their own experience that night too, and we will let them post on our website and facebook page.  I will also ask the audience for any non profits that they support and who might want to use a Broadway singer or two for their own real Galas.  We, the New Paradigm Theatre, are happy to provide.

Branding:  Arts, Education, Non profit outreach and Internet marketing.  All elements present and creating our own Buzz.

See the video below for my backstage audition in NYC yesterday where I met Kim Stegel.   She knows Jamibeth well and has agreed to be in on the November 11th Preformance Buzz Gala.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First NPT Board meeting

We had our first Board meeting of the New Paradigm Theatre Co this Sunday.  I knew we had picked great folks to be on the board, but everyone really complimented each other as far as their skills and contacts.

Jamibeth came in from NJ and we ran the first meeting together.  I started by bringing everyone up to date on the progress and contacts we have already made, listing it out in a time line.  Even though things move slower than I would like, I realized that we really have done quite a bit already.

We have some fun stuff coming up soon too.  Planning a "movie shoot" of one of our Gala events so that Mark Holleran (board member) can shoot a 3 minute video ( he is a professional producer/director of commercials and film)  that we can share with corporations when we want to show them what they can host with the help of the New Paradigm.  We will need "guests", "models", "paparrazi" and then I will invite some of my professional singer friends to be a part.

Right now it looks like beginning of November for the shoot, but I will let you know in case you want to be a part. As my blog subscribers, you get first dibs on being featured in the video...especially if you have a pretty gown or tux. :)

Feel free to check out this video below as we prepared for our first board meeting.  I know you can't see this on your phones or sometimes in your email, so feel free to come back here to the actual blog to see the video. It's very short.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Young American Heroes shoot

Today was my first day on the set for "Young American Heroes".  See the videos below (all under 1 min) for a Behind the Scenes look at the shoot.  My own voice student, Kara Burgess, who is 16, plays my daughter.

I met the woman who runs the Palace theatre in Norwalk at the shoot. She and her husband own the Palace which used to be a performing house and is now a tv/film studio.   We talked about brainstorming as they are very into educational elements and liked the idea of linking arms with a theatre like ours.

This is a goal that I have had since the beginning of our founding so it will be good to speak with folks who understand that being diverse in any industry has it's advantages.  Being a regional theatre who will be brining folks up from NYC to perform in shows has its advantages for a film/tv studio who wants great talent for their own productions. Why shouldn't theaters producers combine with film producers within a city like Stamford, Norwalk or Greenwich?

See below for the short videos behind the scenes.  If you can't see this on your phones, just go to the blog itself.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Incorporation!

WE ARE INCORPORATED!!!   Kelly let me know Friday last week.  So now my mission is to pick a date in the next month to have our first Board meeting.  I have the board, just gotta get them all together.

I have been delaying getting the website up and running and I think it was just because I wanted to be "official" before I spent the time and effort to get the site, pay for it, get domain name, etc.

I have the design and the team that will help me put that on the web.  Now that I have to get the Board together in a month, I will really commit the time and money to that project.

The Facebook page has many followers already and I am posting there. So is Jamibeth and our super intern, Jamie Rose! We are trying to prove some of our mission statement of being good advertising for other theaters by posting stuff on that page and I have asked Jamibeth to also post when she does auditions or directs so that folks see us "in motion".

For my part I will be posting photos and videos of the PBS series I just booked!  It's not the hosting gig, but is actually playing the part of the mom (abigail ludington) on the Young American Heros series.  The fun part of this is that the 16 year old girl playing my daughter is actually one of my voice students!  Totally coincidence!  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Incorporating with Kelly

We signed the incorporation papers today!  Paid the fee to file, and are on our way.   Kelly O'Brian (pictured below) is our amazingly astute lawyer (also a board member) and is taking care of filing the papers this week for us.

Jamibeth went over the bylaws and made some tweaks and she and Kelly will chat again this week about those.  I am ready to write to each of my 11 board members and set up the first meeting to kick this off.

Just to let you know how it works, we incorporate as the New Paradigm Theatre Company, Inc, first, and then we get cracking on the 501C non profit part. The incorporating doesn't take too much time.  The non profit status does.

So we will discuss our Preformances and the next 6 months of Branding, performances, tribe-gathering etc and fund raising, at the first board meeting.

yay!    Thanks Kelly!  (she does Wills and all sorts of other Lawyer stuff too. Right here in Milford!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sept 5th

It's been a while and I will blame some of it on Hurricane Irene!  But all is well here even though we were evacuated.

Getting so close to finally getting the incorporation papers in.  Kelly, our lawyer, is super busy, but has tweaked the By Laws and Jamibeth is looking over them to be sure of everything. 

I have gotten all the Board members info to submit and then will pay the incorporation fee.   Within a month we have to have a Board meeting to approve things.  I need more details but that is what I understand.

Met with a great Board member who likes our Preformance that is a big gala idea.  He has asked his country club if we can do it there and they are interested. Once we have a kick-off Gala to get the word out etc, we can start with the consistent and smaller events as well. This year may seem like we are a traveling cabaret, but the gist is that we are branding and making good on our mission statement now...before we have a permanent home.

My goal is to get so much excitement happening over our exclusive events, that folks will be chomping at the bit for us to find a real home.  Even if it takes a while for that, we can have event after event in homes, because they are so exclusive and we are targeting a very specific audience/donor member.

College teaching has begun for me at WCSU and University of Hartford.  I am in callbacks for a hosting position at the Public TV station in Hartford. That would be great PR and leverage for us with the theatre too.  Wish me luck Tuesday. My final "callback" is to put together a piece (in 6 hours) on anything I want in Hartford.  Of course I have chosen the Performing Arts building that I teach in!  

The producer said to keep it light, fun and entertaining.  I am aiming for the Daily Show-type of piece with the proposed question of "So ya wanna be a Broadway star".  To explore how and if the popular talent shows on TV like "American Idol", "So you think you can dance", "Dancing with the stars" etc has helped or hurt our industry.  

Even in this economy we took in twice the amount of freshman this year.  That is what my piece will explore, in a fun way.

Friday, August 19, 2011

SINCE LAST WE SPOKE

A lot has happened.   The CPA's have approved Jamibeth's four year projected budget and I sent that on to Kelly, our lawyer. 

After she does her thing to get us incorporated we have something like 30 days to hold a board meeting and get the bylaws approved.   Then we are considered "incorporated".  Easier to begin raising money if you are something official!

Once we are an official thing, then the 501C (non profit status) part begins. That will take a longer time.

During that time we are going to be engaging in a year of "PREformances" (as my husband Andy termed them) throughout Greenwich and Stamford (perhaps NYC as well)   Those will be taylored events for our "tribe" of supporters that really prove our mission statement.  We also want to loan out our Broadway folks to other non profits and their Galas through the year.  Again, as a way of saying that we are a "thing" before we are a "thing", and here is what we do for the community.

Kind of like a traveling troupe, but with more lingering effects. And our PREformances mingle our new supporters and our "stars", as you would expect.

Speaking of fun performances, I will include a short video I took while I was on stage at the Stratford Festival last night.  That theatre went under about 25 years ago but it is such a cool space.  They don't use the inside anymore, but the outside theatre (shell) is great. The supporters in that area really are trying to at least bring back some performances in the summers, so enjoy my insider look at being on stage for this event below. If you can't see this short video on your email, just come back to the actual blog site:  www.theatreringleader.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Four year budget- DONE!

Thanks to the hard working Jamibeth Margolis (exec dir), who did the four year projected budget amidst running tons of auditions in NYC and directing a show, we are well on our way to being incorporated! Check our facebook page and add a comment to that post if you could.

The way it works:  Turn in 4-year projected budget to the accountant, Lynne, who looks it over for anything that might not work.  Then that all goes to the lawyer, Kelly, who starts the incorporation process. 

I understand that doesn't take too long.  After that, we have 30 days to hold a board meeting to vote on our by-laws.   Both Randy West (artistic dir of The Way Off Broadway theatre) and Todd Olson, (artistic dir of American Stages) sent me their by-laws as examples of what we need.   I have performed in shows that they directed. What great guys!

Next?  Playing around with all the stuff I learned at the Internet Marketing convention.  Reallllllly cool stuff ya'll.

Also made contact with the heads of Conquer Entertainment.  Completely innovative way to work with recording artists.   What a nice partner they will be with our theatre.  I mean, really, who doesn't want to be around famous recording artists who have a multi-million dollar company behind them?

Pic is of the Gala at the convention.

Monday, August 1, 2011

CONVENTION time

This week we are preparing to go to the Internation Convention for our internet marketing company.  25,000 of the best internet marketing minds will be gathering in Greensboro NC and we will be with them to learn the newest and best techniques to grow not only our own internet business, but to apply it to our theatre business.

If you haven't guessed by now, the way we are creating this theatre is based on newer marketing techniques as well as progressive internet and website initiatives.   I will never cop to being a tech genius, but I am smart enough to have surrounded myself with folks who are on the cutting-edge.  Many of them are my business partners who will also be heavily involved in the making and marketing of our theatre.  The Team approach has a much greater chance of success in my book than the solo approach. With any business

One to one (peer to peer, business to business, face to face) marketing is the approach we are taking with marketing our theatre, and that is something that we have been taught through our marketing company (and Seth Godin of course) It works so well that our marketing franchise is ranked #54 on the top 500 online retailers list!

So as I pack for this exciting convention I will be listening with my "theatre" ears for any business tips and tools that work so successfully in business that they just have to be applied to the arts.

ps our facebook page needs "liking"  ... new paradigm theatre

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Touring real estate

Monday we saw quite a few spaces in Stamford with the illustrious Deb at Sabre Realty. Jamibeth, Andy and I hit the Clairol Building (the developers are turning it into another Chelsea Piers...very cool), the old Stamford Theatre works, The Hunt Center, and then an address that has two buildings that will be torn down by the owner.  See below for short videos of each. 

ONE of them is our spot! But I won't tell you which yet. :)

Amidst trying to get the website designed, the 4 year budget done and approved, and the theatre incorporated, we are writing by laws (thanks Randy West) and just fine tuning what our next year will look like.

And, I have an audition for Mrs Claus with Radio City Music Hall tomorrow and then I fly out to Ohio to sing with the Lancaster Festival to narrate and sing for a world premiere of a new ballet. 


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dancing Guy

Please take 3 minutes to watch this video about leadership.  http://sivers.org/ff 

It's what we are doing with The New Paradigm Theatre, this blog, and our "movement".

Thanks for joining in the dance ya'll !

Sincerely, Kristin -  Dancing Happily on the Cutting Edge

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ready, Fire, Aim!

There is a school of thought that says you need to know everything before you do anything. Lay out charts, graphs, get a degree, take years to plan.  I have a masters degree and I understand that.

Then there is the school of thought that says "Ready, Fire, Aim".   Could that fail? Yes. But I can learn much faster and make corrections as I go with this philosophy.  By the way, I don't expect to fail, but I do expect to learn a lot as I go.  If, by any chance, that alienates anyone, then they don't need to be in our tribe.  It's ok. This is new marketing. Not mass marketing. And the internet gives us the chance to correct as we go.

"Ready, Fire, Aim" has been my philosophy for about 20 years.   I have done ok.  I think successful artists tend to think this way. I didn't know everything before I did my first Broadway audition.  I learned as I did more and more auditions.  We could actually ask Jamibeth how I did because she was one of the first casting directors to audition me! It was either Phantom or Les Miz.  Even if I wasn't totally "cooked" I must have done well enough to keep the ball rolling.  My point is: if there is a exciting enough kernel embedded in the idea (audition) then it moves forward and people will keep up with you just to see you grow into your potential. 

Side bar: Part of our mission is to provide an education tab on our website that will help teach other Broadway hopefuls.  Help them get a leg up and learn from all our contacts before they walk in the door via short videos from casting directors about what they like to see in an audition in addition to our other educational programs and services.  Plus links to other sites that have tools like that.

In "Ready, Fire, Aim" mode I am learning how to write good polling questions via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_survey .   I think traditional business folks might giggle at that because they would hire a professional poller, plan it for 3 months, have meetings, stick stuff up on a wall, whiteboard it and maybe miss a chance to move forward fast.  When I was doing research on the Greenwich/Stamford area, I went to Wikipedia.  I also went to Greenwich and Stamford in person, many times, and talked to business and arts folks. For 6 months we have done that. Building a tribe of supporters, checking out the area, going to meetings with business folks, meeting the mayor. I am running the preliminary questionnaire by folks that I trust in business and in the arts.

My point is:  We could keep studying and planning like traditional business does, or we can jump in there with our awesome team of business and artistic professionals who believe in this project, who see the unique elements, and make this work.  We can learn from everything we are doing and create something new that benefits the area and the arts. Now.

If you are interested in helping me do some polling in Stamford in a couple weeks, write me at:  missohiokh@yahoo.com    I have the surveys almost finished and we will have a great time finding out what would drive those same cool folks, who are out on a Thursday night, to our theatre.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Polling and stuff

I learned something valuable this week.  When you have brand new ideas that you need to flush out, only run it past people who have known you a while and are already aware of your background and are a part of your tribe. If they only know you from what they read about you on the internet, ie actress, non profit fund raiser, teacher they may not be aware of the many contacts, networks or experience you have in business.  :)    

As we create a new template, I find it's easy to get folks excited about this.  You can't fault people who don't know you for reverting to their own "world view" of how marketing or producing should be though when they hear your new ideas.  But you don't have to listen to them if they really don't know how you operate in the world.

Apply that to whatever your own mission is.

Our internet marketing company did something 20 years ago when they started that was really smart.  They surveyed people to find out what kinds of products they were spending millions of dollars on and then they had the best people in those industries make a product branded for them.  It was a safe bet because our corporate team had all the info they needed to justify the creation of that product.  They continue surverying and tracking today. Must be why we sit at #54 on the top Internet Retailers list...above Disney.

Applying this to our theatre, I decided to follow Joe Meyers (of the CT Post) advice this week and will be going to Stamford on a Thursday night (a very populated night) to see the tons of folks who have come out to the restaurants and outdoor cafes.  But I am adding something.  I will be taking a few interns (somehow branded with our logo) to do some polling about why those folks are there, what brought them out, if they see live theatre, what would bring them out to see theatre, would they like to see stars, would they go to restaurants where they knew the stars would be eating etc.

That way we will be doing what Seth Godin suggests as well:  "Traditional media is all about interrupting strangers. Modern media (including modern bookselling) is focused on building a tribe, earning permission and then creating products and services for that audience". 

Why don't more theatres find out what people want that aren't already at their theatres? Shouldn't we all start smart like that?  Not: "If you build it they will come".  Instead :"How can we best serve you in this community?" and then build your theatre around listening to what they say they need, guaranteeing you an audience.

Monday, June 27, 2011

HMMM...

Hi All,

For some reason my blog decided to repost an entry I wrote from January.  hmmm.

I sometimes feel that I am moving slower than I would like, but reading it allowed me to see how far we have come in a relatively short amount of time.  Reading it again I realized that getting a probono lawyer, a cpa, a terrific executive director, a wonderful tribe of followers and supporters, a meeting with the mayor of Stamford, and a webteam, is a lot to do in that amount of time.

So onward and upward!

Hopefully my blog will be happy with the newer posts. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

UPDATING FOR WEEK OF 6/18/11

Quick update for you.

This week, I secured a great probono lawyer who will help us file for incorporation and then for the 501c status to be a non profit. I have had my feelers out for a lawyer who will do this probono for months and months.  At the Newwork of Executive Women meeting this month I met a young female lawyer who "always wanted to be an entertainment lawyer" and whose sister is a professional lighting designer. She met with me last week with one of her collegues who handles npo's and she's on board.

They told us we need to have a four year projected budget.  Jamibeth picked up that ball is and is running with it. I am contacting my contacts to find a CPA who can look it over for us when we have it mostly done.

Working with my whole web team now!  I have Mark Holleran of Holleran Media productions who is on board to work with the website and it's videos and our video "reality" show for the area. More on that later.  And also Jeff Stundel who is Jamibeth's contact. Great background in web design etc.   So now I have three guys who will pow wow with me this week on a conference call to get the ideas going the way I need them on the website.

If I say we are different the site has to look different than the normal theatre website. We are going to brainstorm on that because the website will be my biggest marketing tool where we begin "performing" before we even become a real theatre.

Monday, June 13, 2011

IMPROVISING WITH THE UNIVERSE


Thank goodness I learned how to improvise by doing murder mysteries early in my career because this Friday put my skills to the test.  The Universe was my scene partner.

After months of trying to get in to see the mayor of Stamford to lay out our theatre concept and see if he would be supportive of it, I finally got a meeting.  Important because we could make inroads to spaces, people, etc with his seal of approval.

My terrific and already very involved Executive Director, Jamibeth Margolis, was coming up on the train from New Jersey/NY and my husband suggested I take the train down to Stamford instead of braving the traffic on 95 south at that time of the morning.

I hopped on the express train to Stamford and was getting in at 8:55am.  Perfect for our 9:30am meeting. On the train ride I was making notes for a short outline I wanted to use when I saw the signs for “Greenwich” pass by the window and I panicked!  I had missed my stop! In nine years of traveling on the train to and from NYC I have never missed my stop.  It had taken me so long to get this meeting! Calls, emails, actually running up to the mayor at the Reinventing Stamford meeting and having him give me his card, then more calls, and emails and then finally getting an appointment.

Jamibeth was already in Stamford and I ran down the aisle of the train to find a conductor so I could get off at the next stop only to find out this was an express train with no more stops until 125th Street in NYC!  That is another half hour from Greenwich! 

Here is where the universe began participating in my forced improvisation.   After my panic attack the whole train car of really nice folks started giving me advice on the times of the next train out of 125th street and back to Stamford and utilizing general calming techniques on me. Usually we all ignore each other. The coolest Jamaican lady talked to me until I calmed down and told me about the time she had an interview as a professor for Yale and was late. When she found out I was a teacher she related this to being a very good teaching tool for my students, told me I would always remember today and asked me to write her later about how it turned out.  I did. 

After I had calmed down a bit more I called the mayor’s office telling them I had had some trouble with the trains.  It’s not a lie, I did. 

I thought they would shut me out because he is super busy, but they were extremely nice. I told them I wouldn’t arrive until 10:45am and calculating a 10 minute walk to his office I would arrive right before 11.  They told me to come anyway and that he could see me from 11-11:15.  Not the amount of time I wanted but Jamibeth was already there and had come about 2 hours plus on her trains.  This meeting was so important to see if Stamford has the support we want for this project, so I resigned myself to this improvised plan.

After disembarking at 125th street I jumped back on the train towards Stamford.  The sweetest conductor in the world didn’t charge me again after I told him my story. Again, not usual but clearly a part of our improve. The Universe and me.  As I neared Stamford Jamibeth told me on the phone that it was indeed a 10 minute walk and that no taxis would take you to the office because it was too close. I have no idea why the man next to me wanted to become a part of our scene, but so that I could sprint to the mayor’s and get a few more minutes on my meeting he actually jogged with me out to the street I needed to be on and pointed out an improvised shortcut that cut five minutes off my sprint.

In the elevator of the government building I changed from tennis shoes to pretty boots on the way up to the 10th floor.  Jamibeth was in the lobby and in a couple minutes we were escorted in.

I have often had to improvise a “put-together look” for auditions when I have dashed from one to the next and with Jamibeth’s great supportive energy I was able to lay out our proposal to the Mayor as if I had planned to make a 15 minute presentation all the time.  At the end of the overview the mayor said, “Kristin, just a little advice. Next time you do a presentation I suggest you become more animated, get more passionate and more knowledgeable about your subject”. 

As that is advice I have never heard in my whole life (it’s usually more like “slow down” or “wow you are really intense” it took me a second or two to realize he was joking. Becoming a part of the scene.  Everyone laughed and we continued the conversation until 11:36. He asked great questions and offered help and support.  Jamibeth said he really seemed to get it and be on board.  I thought so too but was still a bit in shock over how well this had turned out.

I didn’t expect the day to turn out so well at all after I missed my train stop.  I didn’t explain the theatre’s concept to those folks on the train, nor to the man who jogged me to the mayor’s office so I am not sure what really happened there to make all those people join in the moment of improv. Perhaps when you are on a mission people can tell and they are attracted to the energy. 

In the spirit of the Tony’s last night “I would like to thank my scene partner, The Universe”.