The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

An even stickier situation November 4, 2009

Filed under: Ethics,Local Shows — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:59 am

Last month, I wrote a post on an interesting ethical dilemma that I found myself in. One of my clients, Down Stage Right Productions, was producing Evil Dead: The Musical in Vancouver. It was the first time EDTM had been done here, and they were doing it over Hallowe’en. Basically, this job should have been a cakewalk–it had everything going for it–timing, newness, and built-in fan base.

Except. As you know, another company, based out of Calgary, was also able to get the rights, and put their show up (which opened one week before ours) at the Vogue. They have a huge advertising budget–one which we could not compete against.

So, I wrote a post about this. I’d never had this experience before, and I thought it might be interesting to discuss with the theatre community at large. I had no idea it would be such a popular post. It’s gotten almost 500 hits, and garnered 25 comments. It’s likely one of my all-time top posts.

But I have to be honest with you. I didn’t allow every comment. On October 10, I got a comment from Kevin McKendrick, the director of the Vogue’s production. And I chose not to post it.

This is why:

  1. There was one part of his comment which I found inflammatory. Let me be clear: he was not slagging anyone, I just felt that if I published his comment, Mark (the director of the DSR show) would feel obliged to respond to it, and then Kevin would probably respond to that, and there would be a “he-said-he-said” argument happening in the comments section of my blog. As much as I love stats, I love peace more, so I didn’t feel comfortable putting that up.
  2. I am being paid by Down Stage Right Productions to be their publicist. I try, for the most part, to keep direct references to my work out of my blog. If a situation with a company I’m working with comes up, and I can reference it by re framing it as a business thing, I will. But I don’t actively advertise shows that I am working on on my blog. It’s not its place.
    The tone of Kevin’s comment that he wanted to publish on my blog was very PR-oriented. And as the person responsible for the PR of the other production, I didn’t want to post his comments. My loyalty was to DSR.

Here’s my question to you: did I do the right thing?

As bloggers, I don’t think we are held to the same editorial standards as newspapers. Blogs are, by their very definition, personal. They’re told from the first person, and I don’t think you can ever be fully unbiased. I don’t even believe newspapers can be fully unbiased, but at least bloggers are more transparent about it.

So, I’m being transparent. And I’d like to know your thoughts.

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5 Responses to “An even stickier situation”

  1. Kate Foy Says:

    Yes, you did in my humble opinion! I think a professional disclaimer on a site is always a good thing in any business. Your own ethical stance in this case seems to me very clear, calm and rational, certainly adopted in the best interests of the local industry as a whole i.e., the two companies and potential audiences … and of course, your own business and future clients. I’d certainly be more inclined to hire someone that I felt had such a mature grasp on the situation.

  2. I think you probably did the right things, with the caveat that I would hope you wrote to Mr. McKendrick and explained your reasoning.

  3. Deb Pickman Says:

    Yes, I do think you absolutely did the right thing by your client.

    Besides, it’s completely your choice how you would like to moderate your blog.

    I always get the feeling with blogs that there is no “have to” in terms of style or content.

    It’s a bit like the wild wild west – and you are the sheriff of Art of The Business mam!

  4. Ah, yes, I did send Mr. McKendrick an email to that effect.

  5. Mobil Bekas Says:

    You did the right thing, absolutely.

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