Archive for June, 2013

June 11, 2013

Creativity in Oklahoma, Budgets and Breaks

Lessons for teaching creativity – from Oklahoma. I LOVE that it’s in the business section, and love this sentence: “Oklahoma has produced more astronauts per capita than anywhere else, but we also produce more musicians than perhaps any other state. We are exporting talent.”

Saw this one a while back and meant to post – it’s extremely important.  When I ask a client their budget, there’s a reason behind it, and that reason is that I need to know what kind of work we can do together that will satisfy us both. This is why: Why I Need to Know Your Budget

And finally – an infographic. Take a break after you read it.

Pause Onlinebusinessdegree

June 9, 2013

Sunday Roundup – June 9th

Someone used the phrase June-uary to describe the weather and I’m inclined to agree.


Dora Nominees and Fundraisers and Plays

#TheArtOf Marketing – We’re Doing Some of it Very, Very Well

not everything valuable can be measured #TheArtOf

Two client shows closed this weekend – The Dumbwaiter and Midlife Crisis – congrats to you both for getting interesting work up and on stage. We need more of that.

Still another few chances to see Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! at Aki Studio theatre this week  – go get your tickets, it’s funny and touching and sweet.

On that note there is not Cahoots show on Monday but there is a public reading of The Wanderers. It’s the piece Kawa Ada  is currently writing and it’s premiering at Buddies next year,  Reading Monday night, 8 pm Aki Studio – I’m trying to make it.

Summer reading season is nearly upon us! With that in mind the Globe asked readers to send in their favourite summer reads and here they are. 

Happy Sunday!

June 7, 2013

not everything valuable can be measured #TheArtOf

(or, why I like Seth Godin)

one of the amazing speakers at the Art of Marketing conference was marketing genius Seth Godin.

I first came across one of Seth’s blog posts years ago – part of it had something to do with being environmentally friendly and how people were writing “think before you print this” as part of their email signatures in the hopes that people – wouldn’t, and save a tree. Seth said something to the fact that it works the opposite way. I dashed off a quick email with the usual love your blog, love this post and asked why he thought it wasn’t environmentally friendly and went on with my day.

Why isn’t it, you might ask? Because someone who is going to or needs to print an email is going to, regardless of what you put at the bottom asking them not to. And more often then not, an email signature pushes an email to a second page. So instead of being environmentally friendly, you’ve just printed two pages, one of which has no info on it, except a request not to print it.

How did I find this out?

He emailed me back within half an hour. I nearly fell over. Seth Godin emailed me back! I’ve followed his blog ever since.


His segment was great – and he said a lot of scary things. Things like “the public does not want to hear from us anymore that era is over they are better at hiding from us than we are at finding them” and  “all interruption is optional” which are scary things to hear when you’re trying to get people to pay attention, whether it’s for shoes or baby clothes or art.

And that the space in between “normal” and “weird” are changing. It used to be that you’d create your product to appeal to the largest (maybe lowest) common denominator. And now there are more options for weird than normal. Like mainstream indie music – (which is a category, BTW).

Some things he said relieved me a bit. Like the title of this post – “not everything valuable can be measured“.
Which can be looked at under the category of “Counting New Beans“.  And we try to do that in our tribe every day.

And the fact that we now live in a connection economy, as opposed to the industrial revolution. “we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.
We do that every day in the arts – you bring the script and he’ll bring the set design and she’ll being the lighting design and she’ll sell it all as a package and everyone gets credit for their contribution.

And one that struck me – if you want to reach people, you have to have something they want.
What do we have that people want? And not what we want, or want them to want – what they want.

And please don’t say you don’t care what they want, and it’s your art and if they don’t understand it it’s their concern. Because the second you ask people for their time at 8 pm on a Friday, and ask them to pay you to give you their time – it is your concern.

Food for thought.

One question from the audience kind of threw me – a woman saying her creative team was exhausted and verging on burnout and she really wanted to know what to do about it.

Give them a break. Let the focus slide for a second. You know how it’s said that if you’re working on the computer, you need to look up and away every half hour or so to give your eyes a break? Do that for your creativity. Do something that is outside of what you normally create. If you write, then draw. If you draw, then knit. Go to a movie. I do that a lot – it’s a trick I learned from Don Draper on MadMen. Or another: (panel from The Oatmeal)



Or I go to a conference on marketing where nothing is expected of me except to learn.

June 6, 2013

#TheArtOf Marketing – We’re Doing Some of it Very, Very Well

Art of Marketing conference yesterday was FANTASTIC – I listened, I learned, I had questions raised and answered, I got my books autographed and spoke to the authors and it was a great day. Like a rockstar day for me, getting those books autographed was like – I don’t know. Rockstar. My brain is full, and if you know, me, you know that’s a happy happy thing for me.

I have a ton of scribbly notes to go through, and they’ll most likely be informing my next few  blog posts, and definitely informing my work with my clients.

There was a lot of talk about creativity yesterday. Sometimes in its true sense, sometimes in a buzzword-y way.

There was a lot of use of the word art. And a lot of saying “I don’t mean art-art”. And the difference between a “painting” and “art”.

Pleased to report back that my tribe (yes you all) are doing so many things right, so simply, so automatically because we live in a world where creativity is key and king. Many of the attendees there were only beginning to realize that their social media audiences, their consumers and buyers are people – not targets, not demographics, not stats.

We do that already. We’re fortunate that way.

One of the speakers referred to determining donor patterns and how hard that can be to do, because financial donations to companies are very private things, and how to you allow donors to recognize each other? You make the private public.

Congratulations, Toronto Fringe – you do that with every single person wearing a “Tip The Fringe” button. And no to the woman who asked if at that moment, the person stops donating since they’ve received the “reward”, the button – nope. The second reward is wearing it, telling people about it and thereby encouraging them to donate as well. Come  – be part of my tribe.

And my favorite thought –

“we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.”

We do that to the point of no return.  More over the next couple of days, including the super cool thing David Usher has created to make music.

And because this blew my mind, I must share it with you – it’s Freddie Mercury and David Bowie laying down the tracks to “Pressure” – it’s a cappella.  Just listen. No guitar, drums, synthesizers, autotuners.  No guidebooks or goalposts. Just serious ability.

June 4, 2013

Dora Nominees and Fundraisers and Plays

SMADpromoRegentDora Mavor Moore press conference yesterday to announce the nominees! so very pleased to see so many clients represented – Proud, Whipping Man, 4.48 Psychosis, Laws of Motion, Dumbwaiter, DeChardin Project – congratulations!

Click here to download the list of nominees.

Spent the evening at a cocktail reception for the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards finalists – I nominated one of my favourite companies, Expect Theatre and am so pleased they’re in the final round.

Saw this article on Blog TO the other day and I am extremely impressed – GREAT concept for a  hospital fundraiser!

Speaking of fundraisers, all of you who swore up and down you  would be attending the Fringe Festival fundraiser – it’s NEXT WEEK! In ten days people will be savouring a delicious tasting menu courtesy Fidel Gastro AND learning about what they’re eating, AND drinking sexy one of a kind vodka based cocktails, AND eating cupcakes AND bidding on cool auction prizes AND dancing to DJ Ricky. And if you buy a ticket, you too can be one of those well fed, well informed, well libated prize winning dancing fools. And if not – well….

Dumbwaiter (four Dora noms yesterday!)  has added two shows to their run, so visit their website for details.

And Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! is moving and grooving along and has some amazing ticket deals – take a wander to the Cahoots site for more info and then take a wander over to Aki Stuido to see what all the fuss is about!


June 2, 2013

Sunday Roundup – June 2

June! The flowers are purchased and planted, the reading and thinking and writing chair and ottoman are set up on the balcony and it can stop raining offandon any time because I have things to do and I want to do them outside. Avec le soleil.

Last week!

There’s Always Something  never enough time, never enough money. Get used to it and look differently and harder at things. Very popular post this week.

Why Are We Meeting Again? easily the most popular post this week – clearly everyone shares the same sort of issues with meetings. My question is – if so many feel this way, why isn’t it changing?

Why This Video is Awesome – TPM’s Big Red Doors  Love this video. Watch it, and read why.

What Does Your Brand Stand For? and Marketing to Robots

Wednesday is the Art of Marketing Conference! Super excited!

This week also features a three night workshop presentation of Midlife Crisis by Atrium Theatre  June 6,7,8 in the back room of the Cameron House. From the director: What we discovered in the Mid-Life Crisis is the fatal danger of creating static images. People want to be independent and authentic selves, and yet they are incapable of realizing their own lives. They are unable to strike through the mirror systems built by others around them, disfiguring and falsifying everything. In this play the elaborate style increasingly relies on individual stories, collages, changes of narrative perspectives, and unreliable narrators influenced by human emotion.”- Tatiana Chouljenko (Director)

Mid-Life Crisis is directed by Tatiana Chouljenko and features David Fraser, Scott Maudsley and Edward Zinoviev– seasoned professionals trained primarily in the Stanislavsky system. However Mid-life Crisis follows the Theatre of Epic Estrangement, which requires a specific techniques, based on non-identical principles (opposite to Stanyslavsky system where actor identifies himself with a stage character). In this method an actor shows us the character, represents the stage personality without any identification, which gives them a chance to be alienated, distanced.

The distancing effect is achieved by the way the “artist never acts as if there were a fourth wall besides the three surrounding him […] The audience can no longer have the illusion of being the unseen spectator at an event which is really taking place” (Willett 91). The use of direct audience-address is one way of disrupting stage illusion and generating the distancing effect. In performance, as the performer “observes himself” his objective is “to appear strange and even surprising to the audience. He achieves this by looking strangely at himself and his work.” (Willett 92)

I was at rehearsal the other day – it’s an interesting style to watch, and one I’m not familiar with. I think it’s an excellent thing for actors and directors alike to take a look at.  Check it out. 8 pm June 6,7,8 PWYC at the Cameron.

Also heading towards a weeklong run of The Shape of Rex at the Royal this week – familiar talent, familiar faces and ones I’m looking forward to seeing on the big screen. It’s the movie that garnered Vivien Endicott-Douglas a nomination for an ACTRA Award in Toronto for Outstanding Performance – Female. It’s s a film about sexual innocence, sexual betrayal, and the power of secrets, to feed desire, and to poison it. It’s a song in two keys—a rapturous story of young love alongside a bitterly honest, forensic portrait of marriages unraveling. The gorgeous prairie landscapes and the hidden delights of Saskatoon are a perfect backdrop for adultery and contribute to the film’s fresh, original feel.

Definitely hope to see you there.

Enjoy your Sunday, rainy or not.

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