On Vacation July 27, 2009
New Arts blogging course with a discount for you! July 22, 2009
I’ll be honest with you: of all the social media that I participate in, blogging is the hardest. There’s a couple of reasons for this. First off, blogging takes more time than anything else. It’s a five-minute job for me to create a new Facebook event, or update it with the latest review. It takes me 30 seconds to Twitter. But blogging is a time commitment of about 2-5 hours per week, if you want to be consistent and build up a following.
Secondly, there’s the problem of inspiration. If you have a niche arts blog, it can sometimes be very difficult to come up with 2-3 new posts per week, even if those posts are short. I have to admit, sometimes my inspiration well is can be pretty dry.
Well, help is at hand. Marianne Devine writes a great blog called smArts and Culture, and like me, she’s dedicated to helping artists to market their work. She has a brand-new 10-week course to help you start a blog, or breathe new life into your existing one. It’s called Arts Blogging–Without the Angst.
It’s available now, and if you use this code ARTOFTHEBIZ, you will get a 30% disount. Check it out–I highly recommend it!
UPDATE: The discount ends August 15, so get a move on!
Theatre Tweeple II July 17, 2009
In February, I put up a post of Theatre people that I follow. That was a few months ago, and I’ve acquired a few since then. In honour of #FollowFriday, here they are (in geographic order):
@CTibbs: Camilla Tibbs, Vancouver
@AtomicVille: Atomic Vaudville Theatre Company, Victoria
@TUTSstanleypark: Theatre Under The Stars, Vancouver
@VancouverOpera: Vancouver Opera, Vancouver
@VanMusicals: An aggragator of musicals in Vancouver
@VanFitz: Michael Fitzpatrick, a theatre admin-type in Vancouver
@foyee: Artistic Associate at Theatre Conspiracy
@playenthusiast: Sally Bent, Vancouver
@solocollective: Solo Collective, Vancouver
@ashleywhillans: Ashley Whillans, actor, Vancouver
@Miss00V: Veronica Campbell, actor, Vancouver
@PraxisTheatre: Praxis Theatre, Vancouver
@Karess: Kaare Long, Administrator, Vancouver
@lacovee: Janis La Covee, Theatre Patron, Victoria
@NicoleMcLuckie: Nicole McLuckie, Publicist, Arts Club Theatre, VAncouver
@powellstfest: Powell St Festival, Vancouver, BC
@Blue_Bridge: Blue Bridge Theatre, Victoria
@DreamRiderTheatre: Port Moody, BC
@TheArtsClub: The Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver
@ShiftArts: Shift Arts: performance art, Port Moody
@RentInVancouver: Rent, Fighting Chance Productions, Vancouver
@thezoocrew: Itsazoo Productions, Vancouver/Victoria
@GillianRFTH: Gillian Lockitch, Theatre blogger/reviewer, VAncouver
@THTReplacement: Theatre Replacement, Vancouver
@TheWriterlyLIfe: Andrea Warner, theatre reviewer/blogger, Vancouver
@NewWorldTheatre: New World Theatre, Vancouver
@ChanCentre: The Chan Centre, Vancouver
@BizBooks: Biz Books, Vancouver’s only theatre/film bookstore
@Audrey_Bee: Adriana Bucz, theatre admin, Vancouver
@vancouverfringe: The Vancouver Fringe festival
@broadus: Broadus, actor, Vancouver
@EmilyKindred: Emily Kindred, Vancouver
@Ryaninvancouver: Ryan Mooney, AD, Fighting Chance Productions, Vancouver
@RandiAndreychuk: Randi Andreychuck, Actor, Vancouver
@theatre_20, Sabrina Evertt, Twenty-something Theatre, Vancouver
@kennedyg: Kennedy Goodkey, actor, producer, Vancouver
@getrealtheatre: Get Real Theatre, Tswassen
@CanadasNAC: The National Arts Centre in Ottawa
@sterlinglynch: Actor/writer, Ottawa
@YvetteDudley: Yvette Dudley Newman, Actor
@ottawafringe: The Ottawa Fringe Festival
@nestruck: Kelly Nestruck, Theatre reviewer, The Globe and Mail, Toronto
@canstageco: The Castage Company, Ottawa
@Theatresmart: Ann Sachs, NYC Theatre designer
@the_ahtist: Katherine Mills, South, Actor.
@TheNOLAProject: The NOLA Project, New Orleans
@BairdWilliamson: Baird Williamson, producer
@fishbowlmuse: Chloe Whitehorn, Actor
@KrisVire: Kris Vire, theatre editor, Time Out Chicago
@RyanNewYork: Ryan Davis, Musical director, NYC
@cindyoconnor: Cindy O’Connor, Actor, LA
@Gfiremark: Gordon Firemark, Theatre Producer, LA
@geoffshort: Geoff Short, Actor/Producer, Cleveland, OH
@sdrosenb: Scott Rosenblum, Theatre Producer, NYC
@ActorsandCrew: employment in theatre
@bilald: Bilal Dardai, Actor, NYC
@hidtal: HIdden Talent Theatre, Chicago
@DanielKuney: Daniel Kuney, GM, NYC
@TuttoTheatre: Tutto Theatre, Austin, TX
@CambiareProd: Cambiare Productions, Austin, TX
@thedavidbeach: David Beach, Actor, LA
@chriscasquilho: Depot Theatre, NY
@willactforfood: Will Act for Food, Chicago
@jodisc: Jodi Schoenbrun Carter, Producer, Westport, CT
@columbiajames: James Sims, Theatre writer, NYC
@dloehr: David Loehr, Riverrun Theatre Co
@happierman: Jeffery Cranor, Actor, Brooklyn
@NYneofuturists: NY Neofuturists, NYC
@fullcircletheat: Full Circle Theatre, NYC
@ivanvega: Ivan Vega, actor, Chicago
@millar: Millar, Actor
@starstrucklynna: Lynna, actor, Massachusetts
@aboutfacechi: About Face Theatre, Chicago
@floggingkatie: Katie Barry, NY
@AtlanticTheater: Atlantic Theater Co, NY
@eclipsetheatre: Eclipse Theatre Co, Chicago
@gglasstheatre: Lookingglass THeatre, Chicago
@halcyontony: Tony Adams, AD, Halcyon Theatre, Chicago
@pinteresque: Billy Hiscoke, SM out of London
@jordanmechano: Jordan Mechano, Actor, Tehran
@TMTPlayers: The Melbourn Town Players, Australia
@royalcourt: Royal Court Theatre, London
@bs10064: Brian Swann, actor, Belfast
@findo: Andrew Findo, Baritone, London
@musicthetresth: Music Theatre South, South of England
Please report errors and omissions in the comments section below! (apologies to you in advance if I forgot you!)
Arts coummunity concerned about cuts to the BC Arts Council July 15, 2009
This email arrived in my inbox on Monday from Peter Boychuck, the communications manager at The Alliance for Arts and Culture. Since then, it has been widely spread, but in case you haven’t seen it:
The arts and cultural sector in British Columbia is facing an imminent crisis. The Service Plans for the next two years show a 40% reduction in funding for the BC Arts Council. The BC Arts Council is the largest funding body in the province; last year, more than 224 communities throughout British Columbia depended on it for support.
“The impact to the province will be devastating,” said Amir Ali Alibhai, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Arts & Culture. “The BC Arts Council supports a sector that employs 80,000 people and generates $5.2-billion annually. It is bigger than the forestry and fishing industries combined. At a time when the government is doing everything they can to create and retain jobs, why are they implementing measures that will trigger layoffs and cause organizations to reduce programming?
According to Ministry’s own research, for every dollar invested in the arts, the province gets back $1.38 in taxes. There are also countless studies that show that arts and culture creates healthy communities, enhances education, and helps to shape our cultural identity.
The government has defended the cuts as a necessary and discretionary, but artists and their communities are unconvinced. “No other government in the country has reduced funding for arts and culture during the recession,” said Minna Schendlinger of the PuSh Festival. “In fact, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and the Government of Canada have all increased their investments.” In their estimation, arts and culture are clearly valued and recognized as an important area to invest by other governments – they are not seen as discretionary nor a frill; they are core investments.
During a recent interview with Scott Walker of ProArt Alliance in Victoria, the new Minister for Tourism, Culture, Kevin Krueger, characterized the arts community as unconcerned. “I am not hearing complaints at all from the arts and cultural community,” he said. “I think people are pretty happy with what we’ve done.”
“The arts community is genuinely grateful for the past support that the Liberals in BC have given to arts and culture,” said Mr. Alibhai. “However, the proposed cuts take us back to much older funding levels. The effect will be a costly creative drain in this province, and it will be next to impossible to regain the ground lost.”
If you are concerned about the cuts to funding in the arts in BC, and want Mr. Krueger to know about it, then send him an email at email@example.com.
UPDATE, JULY 16: Someone has started a Facebook Group in protest. Join and voice your complaint.
What’s your perception worth? July 10, 2009
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I went to McDonald’s the other day. It was one of those extenuating circumstances: I was starving, on the road, and they are pretty much as prevalent as Starbucks.
I thought I’d make a healthy choice and have a salad. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ll notice that McDonald’s advertising has changed recently. In an attempt to manage the backlash against fatty, unhealthy foods, they have changed their advertising. Their commercials often focus on healthy lifestyle choices, a great example of which is their latest campaign to promote their new line of salads.
But I started to wonder, as I sat there, eating my salad, how many people come in to McDonald’s for a salad? I did a quick survey of the restaurant. As far as I could tell, I was the only person eating salad. A couple of older people were there for coffee and a muffin, but about 95% of the people there were eating burgers and fries.
It got me thinking: if you asked some random person on the street if McDonald’s serves healthy food, they would more than likely say yes. If you asked that same person when the last time was that they had a salad at a fast food restaurant, it would likely have been a long time ago.
We go to McDonald’s for a Big Mac. We don’t go there for salad. But what McDonald’s has done is shift our perception from thinking that they are a bad guy. Whether or not they are selling the salads doesn’t matter. What matters is that we no longer think of them as this huge, ugly corporation that is making our entire nation fat and sick (remember Supersize Me?).
Perception is valuable. How do people perceive you?
Just to be clear, I’m not advocating that you work on your hype and not follow through. I don’t like that McDonald’s has millions and millions of dollars to spend on slick advertising campaigns that appear to be able to change their public perception. What I am saying is, do some research and see if you can find out how people perceive you. Hopefully other people’s perception of you will be positive, and all you have to do is follow through to maintain that. But if it’s not 100% positive, think about how you can change that perception.
And then follow through.
Finally, in a bid to put my money where my mouth is, I’d like to invite you to share your perception of me in the comments section below. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m always interested in hearing ways I can improve.
Old school versus new media July 8, 2009
It keeps coming up. At the Arts Summit a couple of weeks ago. At a workshop I was giving on the weekend. In a committee of the GVPTA that I am involved with.
The world is changing. Are we going to choose to react and adapt, or should we try to take the bull by the horns and make it adapt to us?
I’m referring to the old guard. I was giving a workshop on publicity on the weekend, and one of the participants, who was there to learn about how to promote his theatre company using new media, said that one of his greatest challenges was convincing the board of directors and people who ran the company that new media was the way to go. They have been doing things for so long (“just spend $600 and buy newspaper ads”) a certain way, that they don’t even realize it’s not working any more.
Guess what? It’s not working any more.
The return on your investment of buying an ad in a newspaper is exceedingly low. Even publicity is getting harder and harder to book. In the past year, we have gone, in Vancouver, from having 6 theatre reviewers at newspapers, to, at one point this year, 3. Paul Grant, a 30-year vetran of CBC radio, and a tireless arts reporter, is taking a retirement package at the end of this summer, and his position will not be replaced. Space for the arts is shrinking in the traditional media at an alarming rate.
And, while I think that adapting to this new situation is certainly required, I don’t think that it is the full answer. Yes, we need to educate ourselves and our boards of directors about new media, and yes, we need to pitch our shows to bloggers (or start our own!), and participate in social networking. But, as Simon says, you can’t just graft old media techniques onto the new media.
What we really need to do is to take matters into our own hands and create our own media outlet for the Vancouver arts scene. Yes, I realize that this is a huge task. But I feel like there is a big hole out there, and it needs to be filled. We need a website that is the default go-to site for the Vancouver arts community. And it has to be good–with high quality editorial standards.
I’m not exactly sure how to make this happen, as I’m only one person, and to create something like this is going to take time and resources that are beyond me. But I’m talking to some people right now, and there is power in creating a community of like-minded individuals.
I will certainly keep you in the loop.
Read more about this topic over at the Alliance for Arts and Culture’s blog.
Read Are We Losing the Mainstream Media?
Social Media updates July 6, 2009
Three new things have happened in the last couple of weeks that make life just a little bit easier for those of us that love and use social media.
Flickr to Twitter
Twitterberry doesn’t work for photos on my Blackberry, because it takes too long to upload the photos, which are too big (I could change my camera settings to a lower DPI, but I don’t want to), so what I do is upload the photo to Flickr, then copy the address, then paste it into Twitter. A long and circuitous route to get a photo on Twitter “instantly”.
Now, Flickr has integrated the ability to Twitter directly from Flickr. You upload your photos to Flickr, then click on the photo you want to Tweet. Click on the “blog this” button, and, after the first time where you have to authorize it and set it up, it will post your photos directly to Twitter. I even have my own email address, now, where, if I take a photo on my mobile phone, I can email it directly to Flickr. A handy little app for those that like to use Flickr.
Read about it on Mashable.
Vanity URLs for Fan Pages on Facebook:
A few weeks back, Facebook allowed us to create vanity URLs for our personal profiles (ie: www.facebook.com/rebeccacoleman instead of the gobbledy-gook 400-character one before). Now, you can also create vanity URLs for your fan pages.
For me, this is just one more reason why I am now encouraging folks to create fan pages for thier business, instead of a group. You need to have more than 25 fans to get your shortened URL, however, so get cracking! To get your vanity URL for your personal profile or your fan page, go to: http://www.facebook.com/username/
UPDATE: JULY 8
Facebook just added another reason to like Fan pages. You can now create a widget for your website or blog that promotes your Facebook Fan page. All you do is click on the “Add Fan box to your site” link in the menu directly beneath your icon/avatar on your Facebook fan page, and it will take you through the steps to create a widget for your page.
Have a great week! Hope these tips make your ability to use social media to promote your business just a wee bit easier!