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”.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

CULTURE CIRCLE

Last night  the Culture Circle had our monthly, sometimes bimonthly meeting.

 For about a year, Joe Meyers (entertainment writer at the CT Post) and Jessica Speart (http://www.jessicaspeart.com/, author of many books, most recently "Winged Obsession") and often Drew Taylor (film critic & feature writer for the CT Post)  have met at the Circle Diner in Fairfield to discuss and review theatre, film and books.

At first we wanted to be an online magazine that offered interaction and creative videos of our commentary, culminating in our once a month meetings that could include our "tribe" and driving business to our favorite diner.

We have decided to make the Culture Circle a part of the New Paradigm Theatre with a special tab on our website that will include not only our reviews and videos, but also soliciting (with guidelines) video reviews and commentaries from others who want to share their thoughts and get publishing credit.  Written or in video form.

We will focus on covering Southern CT events (theatre, book signings, non profit galas, college shows, new films etc) and may vary our meeting spot to include restaurants in Stamford, or wherever we decide to locate.  This inititive is a part of developing a "press corp" for the area in which we choose to settle.  Imagine having not only the four of us covering artistic events in the area, but also a whole tribe of college kids and other "authors" submitting stories (ala the huffington post) for artistic, non profit and even business events, driving traffic to those other sites and places we meet as well as to our website. Once again, it's free to do this.

Am I worried about providing my "competition" with coverage ie other theatre groups etc?

Nope.  Also part of our inititive to show that we can all work together. What benefits one, benefits all.

A New Paradigm for how to establish a regional theatre company.

Friday, June 3, 2011

VIDEOS

Hey tribe

To see the videos go to the main page of http://www.theatreringleader.blogspot.com/ and you will see them in the actual post.  The emails you get just show my text.

thanks!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

GETTING OUT THERE

Last week Deb took us to see two spaces in Stamford that could be rehabed into our theatre space. I took short videos and at the bottom you will see the one from the post office site. The Hoolihans video won't load, and that is the one we liked the best, but enjoy our 'tour' of the first space. I took about four stort videos of that.

1. The Post office.  It is still being used as a post office but the building is for sale. Very big.  Very cool. But also historic (can't change the front) which is ok. But also 5 million or so to buy. And that isn't with the rennovations.  But it's right next to UBS and RSB.  We would need a developer who wants to buy it and put in residential units and then let us use the front space.  And once you start rennovating older spaces like that you find other little things that might be not up to code.  Parking would also be an issue. (videos)

2. The old Hoolihans restaurant. It's more modern, and attached to a parking garage too.  7003 square feet and has lots of potential.  I think we should see a few more places and then get the architects to give us some estimates.

Next week I have an appointment with the mayor of Stamford.  Jamibeth Margolis, who is now the Executive Director of the New Paradigm Theatre (I am artistic director) will be coming up from NYC to attend that with me.  Some of you may know her name. She is the NYC casting director who cast Les Miz, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Cats etc on Broadway and she also directs.  Many connections.  I also have known her a long time and we work together well.  We think our combination of talents will be a good fit.

Oh, and yesterday I was in NYC for an audition in front of Jason Robert Brown. I think it went well because Jamibeth and I had just met to brainstorm prior to the audition and I was really pumped about all the cool stuff happening with the theatre.  Makes auditioning so much more powerful when you have something else to feel excited about as well.  I sang Bonnie Raitt's, "Let's give em something to talk about" and I used all that energy about the theatre.  It's a good theme song, no?

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