Saturday, April 21, 2012

Selling an "Expanded Theater" experience

Seth Godin again below:  The questions I think we we need to pose are: How can a theater be more than just a cultural touchpoint for a community?  What lifestyle marketing do we use to capture the donor's attention and to help them realize that we can permeate and influence an entire community?

It will be easy to make a decision to support a theatre in a community based on the wide variety of services we offer that are more than just "art" based.  Developing a "Cultural Identity" is important and there are many ways to make that attractive to a wider audience.  Becoming a Cultural Expression in a community is wider than just becoming a new theater in an area.  One that benefits other non profits. One that mentors more than just young thespians. Expanded "theater" solves more problems that a wider group of people can relate to and support.

Selling to people who haven't bought yet

The portion of the population that haven't bought from you or your competition yet is not waiting for a better mousetrap.
They're not busy considering a, b and c and then waiting for d.
No, they're not in the market. They don't believe that they have a problem that's worth the time and money they think it's going to take to solve it.
As a result, smart marketers don't market to this audience by saying, "hey, ours is better than theirs!"
If this group thought that they had a solvable problem, the would have solved it already.
No, they won't respond to a better-than-them pitch. Instead, they're much more likely to respond to a new statement of their problem and a new statement of the solution. Don't ask them to announce that they were wrong when they decided that they didn't need a tablet, a survival kit or an anti-impotence drug. Instead, make it easy for them to make a new decision based on new information.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Steve Jobs and theatre

I am reading as many books as I can on leadership/leaders etc.  Currently it's the Steve Jobs bio that has me enthralled. Amazing ideas have been coming to me and I am learning lessons.  He was so good at seeing "trends" and markers and then using his passion for design, technology and art to literally change the world.

I love the saying Jobs quotes by Wayne Gretzky (the hockey player) "Skate where the puck's going, not where it's been".  I think of that when some of the old guard want to say "That's not how a theatre is suppose to be built".  We need to skate not only where the puck is going, but we need to lead the way to the goal. Be there before the puck gets there and slap that thing home solidly.

One thing I am noticing is the trend of theaters to use video submissions to narrow down their choices before they have live auditions.  There are many theaters doing this now to save on renting a room and hiring an accompanist for three or four days.  I still advocate a superior casting director such as Jamibeth for Broadway auditions and for that final narrowed down field of applications from videos and from agent submissions for the final round and Equity auditions.

But my point is, that if we, at colleges, are training our kids to do great live auditions, we should also be training them to do great video submissions.  Because if I, as the artistic director, have to sort through 500 video submissions in the two hours I have allocated for that task, I will not be able to indulge them all, even if I give a one-minute time limit per video.  That time adds up!  So if you want me to watch your entire video and then love you and then call you in for a live audition, you better make sure it's creative, well lit, and sounds good.  Not like something you made in a closet.

Perhaps casting directors could be hired to do that initial viewing of the videos because, again, Jamibeth knows immediately what is great just from a few bars. She is trained to look at folks that way.  She narrows folks based on their resumes and headshots quickly.  So to have a casting person do that for videos makes sense.  If you were in Denver, you could just  hire a NYC casting person to help you because the submissions are digital!  Then the artistic director is freed up to do other things and just see the final choices. Kinda like when we do commercial auditions. Or online dating.  Ah theatre is just catching up. I get it!

But I don't care how pretty you are, if you are in the shadows and I can't see your face. I don't care how nice your voice is if it's distorted because you taped in a room with bad acoustics. I can't tell how well you act if you move outside the frame of the video too often.  So many college kids have MAC computers, like I do, and are pretty darn tech savvy, but not all of them are. So shouldn't colleges offer a class on how to make stunning video submissions and great YOUTUBE channel offerings?

When I was in my 20's there wasn't the Internet to post any type of self promotion, so I bought a bunch of Cheryl's prepackaged, individual cookies, small boxes and put my cassette tape with a few short selections together and mailed them to artistic directors saying "By the time you are finished eating this cookie you will have heard my audition/promotional tape. I hope you enjoy both. Please let me know if you would like to hear me for an audition for your upcoming season".  I actually got called in by a few.

My point is, you must be creative and use technology at the same time. Like Steve Jobs.  Theatre is not going to, nor should it, get less technological. So keep up for pete's sake, those of you training folks and those of you learning the craft.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fun and Free Competition!


  “Backstage pass”
JOIN NPT and our Broadway stars AT THE BRUCE MUSEUM!  
Wanna feel like you are already part of that Broadway elite?  Hang out with our stars who will be performing at the Bruce Museum’s Family Event,      SUNDAY,  April 22nd 3-6pm. 
As the winner of the Backstage Pass you can join us backstage, in the green room, chat with the stars and get an insider’s view of a professional Broadway performer’s life.  And let us tell ya, these performers are outstanding sounding and looking!
This event (which features the exhibit by Walter Wick …he wrote the “I Spy” books) draws over 600 people to the Bruce, in Greenwich.  NPT is partnering with this terrific Nonprofit museum, to enhance their event with performers from Broadway shows like Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miz, Company and many more.   

We are performing in costume and you will get a chance, as the winner, to help us with the audience participation songs as well as being introduced as our Facebook competition winner in front of everyone!  We are teaching “Triple Threat” workshops to the attendees that day as well and that is another chance for you to assist and feel a part of our crew.  You will also network with Executive Director, Jamibeth Margolis, and Artistic Director, Kristin Huffman. 
(We are accepting ages 12-40 for this competition) 
All rules must be completed to be considered for winning 
1.       * Go to our Facebook page and post a comment about the new “Mentoring” video underneath the video.  Many of you are featured!  
2.    *  Repost the video to your own page.
3.     * Make a 30 second video of you singing your favorite song from a musical that would go with a “Family event” such as Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Mary Poppins, The Wiz, Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music, etc.  Costumes and creativity are encouraged!  PLEASE POST THE VIDEO TO OUR WALL so everyone can find it easily.
4.     * Get as many of your friends to like your video as possible on our page.
5.     *You may post starting…now!  And the judging will happen and by April 17th.  We will announce the winner shortly after.  No posts for consideration will be accepted after April 17th

*  **Please be advised that if you win, you will join us as a complimentary guest.  If your family choses to attend they will need to pay the admission fee for the event.