Posts tagged ‘art’

August 15, 2012

A Post, a Clarification, An Addition


Post on Mission Paradox this week: Don’t Spin Yourself. Two sentences that struck me: To effectively market what you have, you must be able to see it clearly, and If I see the problems they I can create marketing that helps to deal with the problems.

And I was thinking maybe this post was a bit over-simplified – then again I come from the school of defensive pessimism,* so I tend to do this without even thinking about it – I got an email from the author:

Hi Sue

I want to expand on a blog post I wrote titled “Don’t Spin Yourself“.

There is a link between being able to see your art clearly and effective marketing.  If you can understand why people may come to your art exhibition AND why they may not come you can see some pretty dramatic improvements in your outcomes.

The way I make sure that I’m seeing art clearly is by using the pro/con approach.  Whenever I start the marketing process for art I create a list of pros and cons for each production.  For example, here is a pro/con list I created for a show being produced at my day job, August Wilson’s Jitney.


–  Strong history of producing August Wilson productions
–  Good relationship with target audiences, i.e. students, people of color, etc.
–  Good relationship with community partners, i.e. the Dusable Museum, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, etc.


–  The Chicago theatre scene is crowded in the month of September (when Jitney opens) may be difficult to get press attention
–  The bulk of the marketing for the show will take place in late August, a time when it is difficult to get our potential audience to pay attention because they are still in “summer” mode.
–  Top end ticket price is $65.  Is this too much for our target audience?
–  While August Wilson is popular, Jitney is one of his lesser known pieces.  It’s one of his few productions to NOT make it to Broadway.  Will we need to work harder to introduce this work to the public?

Please note that I try to make the list as specific as possible and that I try to include EVERYTHING that may hurt or help the art.  I think about the price, I think about the time of year the art is being produced, etc.

You should also notice that I list cons that I’m not even able to change.  I can’t change the time of year the show is being produced.  That decision is out my hands.  All I can do is make the best of it.

This pro/con list can help me (and you) figure out how to market the art.  For example, if I think it will be difficult to get press attention I may factor that into the revenue expectations for the show.  I may also increase the advertising budget to offset the lack of press attention.

If price is an issue, I may need to work on a limited time sale offer on tickets. You get the idea.

This pro/con list is a surprisingly simple and effective tool for great arts marketing.  Individual artists can do it, small arts organizations can do it, large organizations can do it.

Put your list together and see if it helps you make better marketing decision.

Great initial post, fabulous expansion on it. Love it. Probably because that’s pretty much how I work – I try to look for every possible angle to market to those who will come, lure in those who might come with the right assistance or incentive, and once I’ve determined who’s not coming no matter what – stop worrying about them.

I might at some out lay out a current marketing plan here that I’m working on. Maybe. Anyway – go and make your list!

*Oh stop judging. People like me are the reason the Worst Case Scenario Handbook exists. So next time you need to wrestle free of an alligator, don’t come crying to me.

(You punch it in the nose).

August 12, 2012

Sunday Round-up August 12

The first two weeks of August are usually quiet for my blog What went on?

Pro-Artist/Anti-Institution, PTTP deadlines and a Book Sale!


Two Very Different Shows

Since it was so quiet, here are a couple of great articles that were on the Creative Trust blog last week:

A Good Board at Work and We Have to Tell Our Stories. Thought-provoking – enjoy!

August 9, 2012

Pro-Artist/Anti-Institution, PTTP deadlines and a Book Sale!

My computer has been acting up this week, especially with blogging. I think it’s time for a physical.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting article and so am sharing it with you.

When did being pro-artist make one anti-institution?

Interesting paragraph:

The artistic director of a large institutional theater referred to me as “pro-artist” a few years back. It was meant to be a derogatory comment. When did being “pro-artist” make one an enemy of resident theaters? When did large theater institutions begin to see their own interests as threatened by the interests of artists? And do we think this is a positive development for the American theater?

I find it disturbing that those that have attempted to shine a light on the needs of artists and the fact that those working in institutions have fared rather well relative to the artists they employ over the past thirty years, are now seen as divisive.

In other news, Theatre Ontario has reminded us that the October 1 deadline is coming up for the Professional Theatre Training Program

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline except performance.

And finally – Playwrights Guild is having a Summer Book Sale!  you got your Michael Ondaatje, your Rick Salutin, your George F. Walker, your Moynan King and many others. Take a wander to their website to see what they have and how to get it.

July 24, 2012

In Which We Talked

I led a workshop yesterday on marketing/PR/social media, for a very specific group of arts administrators. Smart, savvy folks that I’ve either worked with or will be working with in the future. On one hand it was great not to go to a go-to Powerpoint presentation that starts with “what is Twitter?” – on the other hand – what was I going to talk about?

And then it occurred to me that one of the most lacking resource in our world (well, everyone’s, I suppose) is time. Time to get things done, time to sort things out, and something that gets sadly left behind is time to spend with your peers and just talk about what we’re doing – what’s working, what’s not, how did you do this, here’s how we did that. Sometimes it happens one on one, sometimes over a beer after an opening night,

And so we did. I asked everyone to write down three things about marketing/PR/social media that they had questions about, or wanted to talk about. And we spent five hours doing just that – not listening to a presentation, or holding questions til the end, but talking. Getting ideas, getting advice, making suggestions. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, and everyone seemed to get something out of it. For companies without dedicated marketing staff, or publicist for shows only, these type of conversations do get understandably left behind in favour of payroll, budgets or contracts.

We don’t have the luxury to do this nearly often enough. Even when we’re talking, it’s email or a scheduled meeting about one thing. If art communicates something, then that’s exactly what we did yesterday.

Big thanks to Sue from Modern Times for asking me to present to this fantastic group of folks, and to Rupal  and big thanks to the OAC for funding it.  And thanks to the participants for making time and really engaging. I think it was both time and money well spent. I’m looking forward to working with these folks again in many capacities – despite the shouts of laughter when I asked if anyone had caught a certain article in the Economist. Here you go.

July 21, 2012

Can’t See What He-She-They Said for the Words

Lots of words the past few days, Facebook posts, comments, statuses (stati?) you name it. A lot is being said about Factory Theatre, Boards of Directors, Young Artists and Old Farts, silence, indie theatre, and who is or is not doing something or nothing and being vocal or not vocal enough about any or all of it.

Can you see what they’re saying?

Sometimes when there are too many words, too many paragraphs it’s easy to say you understand this point of view, or that point of view, or neither. And by the end you can sometimes wonder if you’re on the same page, or arguing about something that wasn’t the original topic. Add in the layout of Timeline, multiple responses on multiple pages and you might have to lie down trying to find what he said about what she said that was SO compelling and you can’t find it to repost. Which is why full text of the four main (so far) Open Letters is here.

So! Let’s see what folks were saying. Remember sometime in June I suggested you run your website through to see what you were saying to your audience – the bigger the word the more often you’d said it and therefore gave the impression that was what was important?

Coming back to wordle.

For the sake of ease, I have only used the “response to___ open letters” I have seen at the time of this post. All letters are black on white in “coolvetica” font. Wordle uses the number of times a word appears in a text to determine its relative size. I deliberately set it to remove common English words like of, and, the. Let’s see what the important parts of these letters were, according to wordle.

No, this is not particularly scientific, but you have to start somewhere and I’m a busy person. I just wanted to see what words and therefore possible themes overlapped in these letters and responses. Its’ not a judgement call either – I wanted to see something, and thought I’d share. Again, this is according to a web-based computer program – toy, really – and not passion, meaning, merit or tone.

David Ferry

Chris Coculuzzi:

Lisa Norton:

Aislinn Rose:

And because we are all indeed a community – here’s all four in one.

Just a different way of looking at something folks are reading, folks are engaged in. A different perspective is sometimes  needed to find commonalities in a seemingly divisive topic.

July 15, 2012

Sunday Roundup – JUly 15

It’s the final day of the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival. Off you go – well before you go:

Psychology of Social Media – Great article.

A Testimonial and Theatrebooks

Boards, Crowdfunding, Message Fatigue – all timely in the Toronto theatre world right now.

Final Weekend of Fringe – this is it. It’s really it. Shows selling out like crazy, book something and see what all the fuss is about. We’d love to see you.

July 9, 2012

Psychology of Social Media and Back to Entrepreneuse School

Great article here from on a subject near and dear to my heart.

Thoughts on the Psychology of Social Media

“When you treat people like individuals instead of the “unknown public,” when you present a real person who is passionate about the art form who helps other people to become passionate too, wonderful things can happen.”

I’ve been saying this all along as well – be real. Be a person. Do not be THAT GUY.  Good article.

A reminder that event invites are still flying with summer festivals and parties and whatnot – before you send another reminder, remember this post from a couple weeks ago, remember that everyone is seeing it whether they like it or not and this was overheard on FB this  – “some of these events I actually want to go to until I start getting messages from them every five bloody minutes.”

This afternoon I am off to entrepreneuse school again – I’ve been asked to come and be part of a panel for the next group of entrepreneurial hopefuls to talk  about the success of your business. I am pleased and flattered. I’m also especially pleased because as always, there’s a delight in being the arts and culture person who is viewed as a success from a business standpoint. You know what I mean.

Hanging around the tent today – it’s going to be an excellent tent talk:

Tent Talk: How Indie is Going to Save Theatre
After piloting Toronto’s largest indie theatre institution for 5 years, Fringe Executive Director Gideon Arthurs leads an “Indie Producing 101” discussion, followed by an informal reflection on the indie theatre movement.

Panel: Gideon Arthurs (Fringe), Julie Tepperman (Convergence Theatre), Michael Wheeler (Praxis Theatre)

See you there!

July 4, 2012

What’s in YOUR Fringe bag?

photo from Fringe Facebook group

It’s that time of year when the articles start coming out about Fringe with picks and how to go about your Fringe experience. I like reading them all. This was a favourite.

And since there are so many, I don’t need to write one – instead, I’m prepping my Fringe bag, because the Toronto Fringe starts TODAY!

I have a new Fringe bag this year, as the one that had been with me through four Fringes just – well, it got me through many things. It’s still a  black messenger bag, this one has a picture of my imaginary dog Nitro on it, and here’s what’s usually in it that optimizes my Fringing experiences. What’s in it started with the basics from the Fringe website

  • Two Fringe programs – one is mine, one to give away to someone who needs one.
  • Water  – get a decent sized water bottle and keep it full. Fill ‘er up at drinking fountains, restaurants etc. any chance you get. Dehydration is for chumps.
  • Umbrella. Just in case. It also makes a nice sun shade. ETA:  A hat. Waiting in line in the sun hatless is no fun.
  • Wallet – contains a fiver to get my Tip The Fringe button (do this right off the bat. In fact, help the staff by being a good example and showing the rest of the line how it’s done). Also contains a selection of toonies as I will tip and re-tip the Fringe. Also contains cash for the fringe tent as there is no onsite ATM. Why, you ask? Security reasons. You need a certain level of security to keep a big box of money onsite like that. The more you know.
  • Blackberry. I just –  there it is. Nothing better than getting a tweet or text about an AMAZING show you HAVE to see, or being the tweeter or texter.
  • Sunscreen – I forgot this last year. And the year before. Red is my colour, but not on my skin. I have a nice spray on bottle in a pocket specially made for it.
  • Sunglasses and chapstick. ALWAYS. Squinty eyes and chapped lips are not a good look.
  • Two hair elastics.
  • Medication – don’t forget your inhalers or insulin or whatever else you require and remember to take them when you are supposed to. You do not want your Fringe experience ruined due to illness.
  • 2 pens and a small notebook – jot things down, make little drawings etc.
  • Business cards – I always have a stack.
  • Flyers for the show you are working on.
  • Gum or mints or lifesavers. Quick sugar hit.
  • A healthy snack. Bring a piece of fruit, or some cut up veggies. Wash down with your water. You cannot live on bar snacks and candy and beer for two weeks. You can try, but it won’t end well. ETA: Also bring some form of protein. Nuts, I guess, if you are not allergic.
  • TICKETS! I am a plan ahead Fringer. Most of  my shows are booked and there are many I will catch on the fly as well. However, only that day’s tickets are in there. The rest are safely at home. Whatever your Fringe style, your tickets are the truly important part
  • YOUR WATCH. You must be on time. CBC time. This is how Fringe works. There are no latecomers. I am sorry you drove in from Ajax/couldn’t find the theatre/got caught in traffic/it was raining etc. I am truly sorry. It’s disappointing, But those are the rules. Do not yell at, swear at, or push the staff. Do not storm by, do not try to shove by. I know it’s on time by your Mickey Mouse watch, but the show is not being called on your Mickey Mouse watch. I am sorry. And quite frankly, other patrons will back up the staff before they back up you. it’s Fringe – it says everywhere there are no latecomers and is one of the few places in our Starbucks society where a rule won’t be bent.
    The most graceful acceptance I ever saw of “you’re late” was the woman who dropped her head in disappointment, laid down the flowers she’d brought for a cast member and went to sit and wait in the sunshine.
    The least graceful acceptance I ever heard of was the woman who screamed and swore at the FOH staff and shoved one out of the way and stormed into the theatre. I supposed I should say something like, “be sure to pack an open mind and a sense of humour“. Yes, do that too.Am sure I’m forgetting something. What’s in YOUR Fringe bag?
July 3, 2012

Sunday Roundup on Tuesday

And we’re BACK. I hope everyone got a good long weekend getting their Canada Day on, or their Pride on or doing whatever it is you did to have a great long weekend. I read a lot, so there are a couple of updates on the Summer Reading page.

last week:

Accolades across the Country – with the Doras, Jessies and Sterligs happening all on one day there was a lot to applaud.

2nd Floor – menswear, haberdashery, Fringe Fundraiser – Fringe Fundraiser and where it was

Yesterday’s Marketing Quiz and Get Ready For Fringe!

Speaking of getting ready for Fringe – it opens tomorrow! Big year, we’re saying farewell to Gideon Arthurs, our Executive Director for the past five years, and welcoming Kelly Straughan our new Executive Director. The Fringe is bigger than ever this year, and I suggest you take a look at their website to see what’s happening. Besides 150+ shows to choose from there’s the massive undertaking that includes the Fringe Club. Go peek!

Speaking of art, his is interesting, I found it rooting around in my bookmarks.  A hospital in the States is taking art in exchange for health care credits.

June 24, 2012

Sunday Roundup – June 24

Continuing to get over bronchitis, but still a lot going on this week.

A Picture is Worth a K.I.S.S. – what Pinterest is doing right

I See Company X Has Updated the Event – Again – my, this was a popular post…. 😉

A Like Share Comment Infographic – I`m trying to post regular tidbits of info on improving your website/brand/online presence/what have you that does not involve a complete redesign of everything, rather just tweaks you can do on a Friday afternoon. Or, if you are intent on a complete redesign,here are opportunities to research.

On Family vs Public  

Testing Your Website in More Ways Than One

Moving forward into the week – it’s the Dora Awards tomorrow night, and the Fringe Fundraiser the night after that and then we’re heading into the long weekend and Summer I’d say is here.

A reminder that Sue Edworthy Arts Planning will be closed for the Canada Day Weekend.

Happy Sunday!

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