Archive for March, 2013

March 31, 2013

Sunday Roundup – March 30

SNOOPYAnd with that, tomorrow is the start of April. And I know today is Easter Sunday but we remain on track for the website.

Last week was a quiet week on the blog post front, but a busy one on the Facebook Page and Twitter feed – not everything posted there (like info on ticket discounts, how to articles and political activism updates) winds up here so I invite you to check out either or both for extra content.

(Certainly not to say content here is going to drop regularly, it’s just something I noticed last week.)

About last week…

Our Work Is Never Quite Done an excellent letter to send to your councillor.

You’ll Find No Chinese Pandas In This Post – Just Canadian People – photos of the physical end of The Journey Of NISHIYUU.

Something else from last week:  New Money, New Opportunities from the Live With Culture site: In January, Toronto’s arts community celebrated City Council’s commitment of new funding for arts, culture and heritage. Council’s strategy is contained in Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto, but spending priorities need to be established and the City is looking to the arts community for input and direction. Public consultations have been arranged during the month of April in Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and downtown. Your input is vital.

Further to the live feedback an online survey will be available here prior to the first public consultation on April 6 (please check back and fill out the survey on the Live With Culture site).

I asked about the format of the sessions and was told The sessions will be round-table style and staff will collecting feedback. See you there.

And of course, when in doubt, The Mission Paradox had a great post last week Promise and Deliver. Take a look, think about what you can promise, and then deliver on it.

And finally Seth’s Blog had something to think about this morning as well about not having just the good parts

If you’re wondering what Snoopy is looking at in the image above, it’s the link below. Happy Sunday!

March 26, 2013

You’ll Find No Chinese Pandas In This Post – Just Canadian People

The Journey Of NISHIYUU…At journey’s end on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, March 25th, 2013. All photos from the Blood-Kainai Tribe Politics & News Facebook page.

 

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March 25, 2013

Our Work Is Never Quite Done

Arts Advocacy Committee meeting last week, emails back and forth about arts funding, links posted and reposted and reminded, so of course I was all set to write an impassioned post this morning about how in terms of that 4 million in arts funding? We ain’t there yet.
Then I was on Facebook and found someone had already written one. And since I am a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel when the wheel has been invented well – I’m posting Emma’s note in full below. Read it. It’s good. If you don’t get something, it has links.
Well spoken Ms. Emma. Talk soon.
Get Arts Funding Passed
by Emma Mackenzie Hillier (Notes) on Monday, 25 March 2013 at 11:36

Hi friends,

So remember when we found out that City Council was going to approve an extra $4,000,000 to their arts budget and we all did a happy dance? We can’t quite finish doing the Snoopie until April 3 when city council will finally vote. I don’t know about you… but in my opinion it’s our job to let our councillors and mayor know that this extra funding is crucial. I mean.. I’d love it if Theatre Projects suddenly had an extra $50,000 grand to throw to companies… like my own.

Uh oh… but wait… I can hear the self-defeatists now: “But Emma… to do that would take work and I prefer to spend all my energy on creating work… except for when I’m on facebook procrastinating because art is hard to make. Administrative Work, Emma, it would take Work!!”

Yes… yes it would… if I hadn’t drafted a letter that you can copy and paste and send along to your city councillor (whose email can be found by clicking on this link http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp).

Oh, wait… I hear another voice: “But Emma… I don’t really know anything about arts funding and how it benefits the sector in Toronto! How can I write and say I support something I don’t know enough about?”

Ah, well, my friend, simply click on this link: http://www.torontoartscouncil.org/ARTS-FACTS/Impact, read up, and maybe snoop around some more on the Toronto Arts Council’s website. There’s some useful stuff in there. Remember… an uninformed artist is an ignorant one (at least in my books). Know your shit, people. Otherwise how can you create for any community but the one in your own head?

So… all in all… it should take less time to fill out the letter below and send it to your city counillor than it did to read this note. Happy Arts Activism! You just did your good deed for the day… and your civic duty… two birds, one stone.

Dear [insert councillor],

I want to take a minute to thank you for your hard work on city council. As a member of your ward, who reads your regular newsletter, I want to let you know that I appreciate what you do for the members of your ward when you represent us to the city.

I’m writing to ask for your support of Recommendation ED20.5 at the vote on April 3, 2013. The arts sector is a vibrant part of our community and as an [insert title here] who works within the theatre industry I know first-hand how crucial additional funding is to the sector’s growth. The extra revenue, delivered to the Toronto Arts Council and then on to artists, will impact the capacity of theatre companies and individual artists to create work that speaks to the vibrant and diverse culture in Toronto.

I’m sure you’re aware of the reports and statistics that have been released on the impacts of arts funding, but to reiterate a few of the highlights:

Grants allocated by Toronto Arts Council directly support:

Creativity:

  • On average 900 new works of art are created annually with support from TAC.

Economy:

  • 15,000 artistic and administrative staff are paid by TAC funded organizations
  • $40,000,000 is generated annually in ticket sales
  • For every $1 granted to an arts organization by TAC, $14.95 is received from other levels of government, the private sector or earned revenue

Arts Access:

  • 15,000 performances, exhibitions, events are presented annually
  • 7.5 million people including 1.5 million children and youth attend TAC supported events annually

The impact on Toronto’s neighbourhoods and communities of increased arts funding includes:

  • creation of a more beautiful city
  • promotion of understanding between cultures
  • provision of opportunities for at-risk youth
  • attraction of business
  • increase of citizen engagement
  • support for underserviced neighbourhoods
  • increase of tourism
  • reduction of crime
  • increase of volunteerism
  • improvement of the economy
  • creation of community pride
  • increase in community organizational capacity

Toronto has lagged behind the rest of country in its arts funding; this increase was recommended 10 years ago. I’m so excited to see that there has been such progress towards the goal and I hope that you will aid in its passing. Speaking as a member of the arts and [insert Ward here] community I can attest to the passion, drive, and personal impact the work of our artists has on the Toronto community. Please support Recommendation ED20.5 and increase funding for this vital sector.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,

 

March 24, 2013

Sunday Roundup March 24

Show five of five in a row opened this week – head up to the Toronto Centre for the Arts because The Whipping Man is now open!

Last week – a lot of travelling outside of my downtown core – North York, East York and via phone to Port Hope. A lot of teaching as well with the CDAM folks at Ryerson and the media students at Sir Oliver Mowat High School. A great week.

What Should You Write About? good article for bloggers new and seasoned.

You Should Nominate Someone! And Two Days of Guest Speaking Dora Ancillary Award Nominations due April 1 and I head to Sir Oliver Mowat

More Guest Speaking, On Flexibility and The Whipping Man Opens Tonight! The two post referenced here on flexibility are still making me think.

Job Opps, Job Descriptions and Things on your Timeline Cahoots is hiring!

Speaking of Cahoots, off to a design meeting today for Sister Mary’s a Dyke, and had a great meeting Friday with One Little Goat about The Charge of the Expormidable Moose. Looking forward to both these shows.

Have a great week!

March 22, 2013

Job Opps, Job Descriptions and Things on your Timeline

CAHOOTS THEATRE COMPANY is seeking applications for the position of ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Cahoots Theatre Company has been dedicated to the creation, development and production of new Canadian plays that reflect our cultural diversity for 26 years.  Cahoots Theatre Company believes that theatre should reflect the richness, diversity, and complexity that we live daily. Diversity means more than race or nation of origin or ethnicity. It also encompasses gender, sexual orientation, ability, language, and class.  Cahoots is a registered charity.
Please see http://www.cahoots.ca/company/job-opportunities/

Cahoots did a good job on their job description – on that note I found this article at bizlaunch the other day.

Finally for today (it’s Friday of a long week) a question that came up in Monday night’s class was on how to keep certain stories from specific people off your Facebook timeline – whether it’s items you’re sensitive to or you’re simply tired of cat pictures. It’s a combination of things – Facebook is something you can do your best to tailor to your individual needs. I still like the explanation I heard a while back – people can put whatever they want on their walls, and you can put whatever you want on your wall, and that news feed is just that – an aggregate of everyone’s whatever they want. If you don’t want to see certain stories there are things you can do, from hiding that person, to hiding certain stories, to changing the status of your friendship with that person. But it requires you to do something. Found this on my newsfeed.  Same folks who created the un-baby me app for folks who were tired of seeing so many pictures of their friends’ toddlers and tots.

Lisa and I were talking last night on the way home from The Whipping Man – it’s brilliant, by the way and you should go and see it –  about the fact that we’ve been part of five shows that have opened since February 7. An opening on February 7, February 14, March 1, March 14, March 21. We have been BUSY, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done. And today marks the first read through for another production.  Add that in with three teaching/guest speaker events this week, plus new client consults and RFPs and I’d say business is going well and I thank friends and colleagues and past and present clients.

Things I want to talk about next week include the power of hearing something on stage, not seeing it.

I also got to thinking about our city. I spent two days guest speaking at a school that is in the far reaches of East Toronto – a GO stop away from Pickering, and The Whipping Man is at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York. Two places that are remarkably different from where I live in Parkdale.

Happy Friday!

March 21, 2013

More Guest Speaking, On Flexibility and The Whipping Man Opens Tonight!

Yesterday was Day Two of guest speaking at Mowat. A different class, again some new face and again some I’d met at the Harbourfront field trip. Smaller group and fewer questions about meeting Harry Styles – not a judgement call, just different.

Interesting to note that the focus didn’t seem to be as much money although there were still two questions about the most money they could make in social media as a career. More questions this time about being happy. What should a job bring to you – what made a good job was being happy in it.  Still a couple of questions about whether or not a degree was absolutely necessary, were contacts more important. Competitiveness and cut-throat also made the cut. We had some good conversations, and when I say conversations I mean genuine back and forth which is something I much prefer as a guest speaker – I always prefer to guest-converse.

A favourite question of mine  – “what exactly do you do?’ – somedays I wonder myself. And this one was incredibly thoughtful, and one we should all remember: “What can I do to help balance happiness and stress in the future?” Excellent question and we all need to ask ourselves that every so often, changing future to NOW.

On the same sort of note, a great blog post from Andy McKim over at Passe Muraille – Are we flexible enough in the arts sector?  which stems from an article in the Guardian: Flexible working: why the arts and culture sector doesn’t get it yet

“Culture jobs are advertised as either full-time or part-time, but rarely as flexible. We define “work” in terms of hours and days worked rather than tasks completed. Even in senior positions, there is often a contractual reference to hours per week and weeks per year. What would happen if we didn’t measure jobs in terms of days worked but in terms of tasks completed? What would happen if we gave people completely free reign to deliver those tasks in a location and time of their choosing?
Some food for thought.

Thomas Olajide, Sterling Jarvis, Brett Donahue Whipping Man phot Keith Barker
The Whipping Man opens tonight, we’ve gotten some great pre-press and I’m looking forward to the show.  Fantastic first person article from Philip Akin for the Charlebois Post – take a read and hope to see you at one of the performances. That’s number 5/5 in the shows opening marathon I’ve been participating in since February 7th – am delighted with the results from them.

 

March 20, 2013

You Should Nominate Someone! And Two Days of Guest Speaking

A quick reminder from TAPA that nominations for the following Dora Ancillary Awards are due Monday April 1, 2013:

Please click on the above links for nomination guidelines or to learn more about the Ancillary Awards including past recipients.
Harry-Styles-Fabulous-Magazine-2012-one-direction-32323652-1600-1299Spent Tuesday afternoon and will spend this afternoon at Sir Oliver Mowat doing a sort of combination social media career day kind of guest speaker thing for a friend’s grade twelve media classes. I met some of them at the field trip to Harbourfront a while back, and there were some new faces. I decided to play the questions game at the start – here is a piece of paper. Write down a question you want to ask about careers, about social media, about any combination of the two, because that way I have content and more importantly it’s content that matters to you. We had a couple good discussions about Harry Styles (how do you meet celebs?) and Justin Beiber and Lindsay Lohan (how do I get to be famous?) – well, what do you want to be famous for?
Those were a couple of fun questions that we managed to take seriously, but still have fun with. And now I know who Harry Styles is.  And we had a couple bigger, more thought-provoking questions  – I would like to know why I should get a degreeWhat was the hardest point in your life? Valid questions and we had good conversations.
What question came up the most? I thought there might be a couple duplicates of it –  but four out of maybe sixteen students…
How do you know when you finally realize what you have to do officially (in the sense of knowing that this is what you want to do)?
When did you know you were where you wanted to be?
How/when did you discover what you really wanted to do in life?
How do you know when you are where you should be?
Some questions never change. Back in today for a whole new group. We’ll see what questions get added to the list.
Many thanks to Ms. Morton’s Grade 12 media class – good to see you again, great to talk to you again, and you made me think as much as I made you think.
March 19, 2013

What Should You Write About?

People sometimes ask me how I think of things to write about on my blog. The answer is:

1) I write about what I know (a good general rule of writing)
2) I write about what I want to write about. That sounds very simple, but sometimes you really have to think about what it is you want to say, convey, and have people read and react to. If you look at my tag cloud, you’ll see that I write about the arts – primarily theatre, but the arts in general. If you look at my tag cloud, you can see what I write about mostly by size of tag.

Great article this week about what you write, and what you might not want to write, and how there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s OK if You Don’t Want to Write Controversial Blog Posts

But can you be non-confrontational, non-provocative, and still be a successful blogger? No question.

And if we are talking about blogging for business, especially in a business-to-business context, a confrontational, snarky style may actually be counter-productive.
Many excellent, well-regarded blogs are characterised not by their being provocative but by being consistently informative and/or entertaining.”

Agreed on my part. I think this also applies to other forms of social media and I love that I’ve got a new terms now – “coat-trailer“.  I think if what you’re trying to do doesn’t fit the style of confrontational provocative posts, you don’t need to write them.  One post of mine that had the most traction, most reads, most shares was Dear Rob – it’s not confrontational. It’s not mean – in fact when I saw the stats on it climbing I was extremely thankful it wasn’t mean. You want to be confrontational, mean, whatever you want to call it – you need to be prepared to deal with that.

I mentioned this a while back when I first heard about it, and now it’s opening and I am really excited! The Toronto Tool Library is opening next week! AM absolutely going to go see what’s on offer.

I’m off to Sir Oliver Mowat High School this afternoon and tomorrow as well to talk to the grade 12 media classes about social media. I will report back later on the youth of today.

Excellent CDAM-101 class last night – intro to social media with lots of good questions lots of good answers and much participation. I’d assigned something from my blog for folks to read about Facebook invites and last night one pf the participants said she had torn apart my blog looking for it, and was there somewhere a search option to find things on my blog?

And I thought, of course there is, I use it almost daily, and definitely I search Sundays for the roundup posts….from the back-end of the site. There is a way to search if you administer the site. Not if you’re just looking for something. oh, maaaannn…

There is now – top right hand corner. Thanks for pointing that out, Maureen. I forgot people might like to search something on my site rather than google it. 400+ posts later –  Lesson learned.

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March 17, 2013

Sunday Roundup – March 17

Busy week! Ching Chong Chinaman is  open, and The Whipping Man is in previews. Go see.

Upcoming things include The Charge of the Expormidable Moose (One Little Goat Theatre Company) and Sister Mary’s A Dyke?! (Cahoots Theatre Company). Small Print Toronto continues to be great  to work with, and we’re hard at work for online and new web stuff for OCAF.

Last week at the Sue Circle Ranch!

Laws of Motion, World Theatre Day, Mission Paradox

Content with your Content

March 27 is World Theatre Day

Bits and Pieces For Friday, and Going Viral

The new Facebook page seems to be going well, garnering a steady stream of likes, and I’m happy to have a spot that is handy for all my clients reviews and bits and pieces so they don’t get lost on my personal page.

By now you may or may not have heard that Google is shutting down their Google reader function. While the headline is a bit much (I wasn’t shocked or enraged, felt it was a bit of a drag but am not taking to the streets), it does pose the question, “what do I use now?”

Some have suggested converting to email subscriptions.

So – if you follow me on Google reader, and want to switch to email subscription, there is a handy form on the side of the page you can input your email address into and I will welcome you cheerfully. Recommended by Brian @copyblogger:

Capture2

Fair enough.

But  I get an awful lot of email a lot of the time and the Reader kept things that I wanted to hear about separate and there was no inbox overload or accidentally deleting something I wanted to read. More than often a Reader item goes straight to my bookmarks. And I bet I have readers in the same boat who just plain don’t want more things in their inbox.

You do have options. And over at Copy Blogger, Mr. Clarke has written a good article about them –  I myself signed up for Feedly and it’s pretty much a one click changeover.

That’s all for today – it’s a Sunday coffee and paperwork kind of day. Happy St. Patrick’s Day if you’re celebrating!

March 15, 2013

Bits and Pieces For Friday, and Going Viral

A few things swirling around in my inbox, my bookmarks and my brain which seem appropriate for a Friday.
 Ching Chong Chinaman opened last night, The Whipping Man opens in a week, and another client is looking for an SM.
One Little Goat is seeking a Stage Manager for our upcoming English Language World Premiere of THE CHARGE OF THE EXPORMIDABLE MOOSE by Quebec visionary Claude Gauvreau (1925-1971) at the Tarragon Extra Space, May 10-26, 2013, with rehearsals beginning April 9.  Equity and non-Equity applicants welcome! Please contact Artistic Director Adam Seelig for details at 416 915 0201 or adam(at)onelittlegoat.org

For a moment I thought this was a “real” New Yorker item, thinking it read like an Onion piece – then I saw Borowitz’s byline. Funny because given the media frenzy, it could absolutely be true – when in doubt, blame the media. Unsuccessful Pope Candidate Blames Media.

I HOPE IT GOES VIRAL!  Familiar sentiment, familiar statement. Good article in the Globe this week – How Catchy Works: The Three Factors That  Make Things Go Viral. Read it and see if any of it applies to your campaign, your ideas, your art.

Something else to think about when you’re hoping it goes viral, whatever it may be – what is viral to you? What does it mean? If you feel that viral is only applicable to a million hits or more, then you might want to think again. Look at your product, your reach, the interest it might generate and who those interested people are. And how many of them exist. Is a thousand a version of viral to you? Five hundred? A million hits might be believable and executable to a pop singer, a huge organization, a publically funded flash mob. But if your reach and supporters is under a thousand in real time, real life – what does viral mean to you?

Something else to consider – what does viral do for you? How does it translate into ticket sales, art sales, film distribution, CDs? Does it matter if someone in rural Saskatchewan has clicked on your video, your post? It might, it might not, depending on who you are and what you do.
“Well it raises awareness.” Uh huh. I’m currently aware of my elbow. It doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything about it. What does awareness mean. BY clicking your video, I’m aware you exist. Hopefully I’ll do something about it.

I HOPE IT GOES VIRAL! is not the end of the game, it is not the final part of the marketing. It’s yet another tool to make something else happen.

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