The Art of the Business

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

Win a “Go See A Play” T-Shirt! July 15, 2010

Filed under: Local Shows,Marketing Ideas — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:49 am

The folks over at the What You Will Equity Co-op  (currently running Twelfth Night until July 24 at the JAC), in an attempt to promote the theatre industry (not just their own play) got a bunch of shirts printed up with the slogan “Go See a Play.”

Here it is, modeled by the lovely and talented Yurij Kis (who also can rock an eye patch!).

They are $15, and you can pick one up at the Jericho Arts Centre.

OR, you could win one by writing in the Comments section below:

What was the most recent play you saw? OR
What is the next play you want to see?

For the winner, I’ll also see if I can throw in a couple of tickets to the show. I know the publicist. 😉

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The Decision Tree July 14, 2010

Filed under: Future planning,interview — Rebecca Coleman @ 8:22 am

Sometimes you have to make decisions about your career and your life that can be really difficult and overwhelming. Today, I talk to Carol Ann Fried, a trainer and coach, about a tool called The Decision Tree.

Click here to download the Priortizing Grid

Click here to download the Decision Tree

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The E-Myth July 12, 2010

Ah, summer’s here. My schedule is slower, I’m only working a couple of hours a day. After that, I am mostly pool- and park-side with my 7-yr-old son. There are certainly worse ways to spend a summer.

While he’s doing his thing, I’m doing mine: and that often means that I’m catching up on my business book reading. This week, I finally finished The E-Myth. More about that in a sec.

In a not-unrelated segue, I also went to Canadian Tire last week to purchase a chair for my patio. It’s one of those ones that folds up into a little bag, so it comes with me to the pool, the park, or camping. While I was in Canadian Tire, a young, clean looking young woman came up to me and asked me if I’d like to collect a boat-load of extra Canadian Tire money, and if I’d like to continue to collect extra money on all my Canadian Tire purchases. It took me maybe about 5 seconds to realize that she was really trying to sell me a Canadian Tire credit card.

I thanked her, told her I already had all the credit cards I need, and went about my business.

But as I walked away, I felt a mixture of emotions. First, I felt bad for that girl. Bad, because I’ve been in University and had to do crappy sales jobs, too. Bad because she was just doing what she was trained to do, and was probably pretty good at it, but it wasn’t working on me (maybe making me feel bad was a sales tactic? I’d apply for a card out of pity?) I also felt a bit angry, which is how I always feel when I’m being “marketed at” either in person, or by phone.

Back to The E-Myth. There’s some good stuff in there.  For example, I really love how Gerber talks about how you should run your business, not have your business run you, and this little gem: “your business is a means rather than an end, a vehicle to enrich your life rather than one that drains the life you have.” I will probably write more about the parts of the book I really enjoyed at a later date, once I’ve had time to digest it all and implement some of the practices Gerber talks about.

Having said that, it has taken me a long time to get through this book, and here is why: Gerber’s model is based on franchising. The whole goal of any business, he says, should be to franchise, OR to build their business to a place where they can sell it and retire. A great idea in theory, but it feels outdated to me.

In the Chapter 18, he talks about selling methods, and guess what? His system is exactly the system that that young woman at Canadian Tire tried to use on me!

Why doesn’t it work?

Franchises and sales strategies are based upon a couple of things: first off, each client should have exactly the same experience. So, if I walk into the Starbucks around the corner from my house, or the one on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, I should basically have the same experience in terms of decor, service, and menu. Our young woman’s sales pitch was based on a script that her bosses know will not work the majority of the time. But based on sheer volume, they figure they can get enough profit, anyway.

What’s missing for me, in both of these scenarios, is the personal touch. The individual, getting-to-know-you stage. I can walk into any Starbucks and order an Americano Misto, and know what I’m going to get. But I won’t know the person behind the counter, like I do at the smaller, independently-owned coffee shop on Commercial Drive that I like to frequent (their coffee is also way better than Starbucks, but that’s another post). If that gal knew me better, she’d know that I am a staunch believer in having only 2 credit cards: one personal, and one business. I’m not her target market.

For me, this book felt outdated, and the tone of it, honestly, was a bit condescending. However, there were some good things in it, as well, and I will devote another post to the things about it liked.

In the mean time, feel free to disagree with me….

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The Beast of Bottomless Lake July 9, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Business of Arts,Life,Local Shows,Success — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:31 am
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I don’t usually talk about projects that I’m doing publicity for, but this one is different.

The Beast of Bottomless Lake is a feature film that I have been involved with for about four years, now. It has finally been finished, and in January, we held a cast and crew screening.

I’m very happy to report that other people (not just those of us involved) also think that the film is something special. To date, The Beast has been accepted into two film festivals: the Mississauga Independent Film Festival, and the Oakanagan International Film Festival.

MIFF opened Wednesday, and our film screens there July 10. The Beast is only one of 5 feature films to screen at MIFF.  If you’re in the GTA, check it out.

Okanagan… well, here’s the thing: it was the first film fest we were offered, and we felt like that was so fitting–the film reads like a love letter to the Okanagan, after all. OIFF, where we hold the honour of being the opening night gala film, is our true World Premiere. It’s our chance to say thanks to all the great folks up there that really helped to get this film made.

The Beast screens July 21, and I’ll be there, along with Craig and Kennedy, Janet and Keith’s parents.

If you’re near the Okanagan, come and see it.

And here’s hoping that these two festivals are the beginning of the snowball…

UPDATE, JULY 11: The film screened at MIFF last night as planned. I just recieved word that The Beast of Bottomless Lake won Best Feature Film at the 2010 Mississauga Film Festival!! Congratulations everyone!

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In search of inspiration July 7, 2010

I think any blogger will agree with me on this one: finding inspiration to write is certainly the most difficult part of blogging.

Having to come up with fresh content all the time is a big challenge.

So, I’m going to share with you some ways that I have found to cope, and I’d love to hear some from you, as well.

Link: Thomas Cott

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Managing the Noise: Blogs July 5, 2010

Filed under: Blogging,Business of Arts,Planning,social media — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:59 am
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There’s no doubt blogging has come into its own. There are hundreds of millions of blogs on the internet right now, and countless posts on those blogs.

If there’s something your interested in, any kind of niche at all, I guarantee you someone out there is writing about it.

In the past, if you wanted to learn a new skill, or get better at something, you had to buy a book, or take a class. You don’t really have to do that any more–you can learn things from the comfort of your own home–via blogs.

This is all very exciting, but if you’re like me, then you have an area that you  like to concentrate on, plus a few friends’ blogs, plus a couple of other sidelines. That adds up to hundreds of blogs, all publishing at a rate that can make it hard to keep up with. So how do you manage?

1. Get yourself a feed reader. Every single blog in the world has what’s called an RSS feed. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” This little URL makes it really easy for you to subscribe to the blog, in the same way that you might subscribe to your daily newspaper. After you subscribe, every time that blog posts, it is delivered to your RSS reader. You no longer have to check the websites of all of your fave blogs every day to see if they have new posts up. You just have to check  your feed reader.

I use Google, just because it’s easy, and I already use the entire Google suite. But Bloglines is also great. Most web-based email programs these days have a feed reader built in–so check yours to see. Here is a list of the top 10 feed readers.

My google reader

2. Organize: group the blogs that you follow into categories. For example, I have a category for Theatre bloggers, one for general blogging or business tips, one for friends, and one for random and miscellaneous blogs that I just like. This allows you to, at a glance, to see the most important new posts to you.

3. Make time to catch up. I currently am following around 60 blogs in my feed reader. If you do the math on that, you can see that it won’t take long for my feed reader to get out of control. It’s often over 500. So make time, whenever it works for you, whether once a day (hi, Simon! How’s your coffee today?) or once a week.

4. The power of mark all as read. Some days it just gets away with you. Despite all your best effort to read everything, or even to skim everything, you just can’t. Hit the mark all as read button and let it go. It’s okay. The world will go on.

Whatever blog reader you end up using, make sure it has some way of noting posts that really turn you on. Google Reader has a “starring” system. This way, if there is a post that you think you might like to reference later, it makes it easy for you to find.

What’s your best tip for managing your blog reading?

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One more reason why you should be online July 2, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Business of Arts,Business relationships,Marketing Ideas — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:02 am
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Why?

According to Arts and Entertainment Infozine: People who participate in the arts through electronic media are nearly three times as likely to attend live benchmark arts events as non-media participants.

What does this mean?

Well, in the States, The National Endowment for the Arts did a survey in 2008 called the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). The survey measured demographic characteristics of U.S. adults that participated in the arts (such as concerts, plays, and dance performances) via electronic media (e.g., TV, radio, computers and portable media devices). It also looked at how people participate in the arts using their computers. The final result is called Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation.

The findings are very interesting: basically, American adults who participated in arts via thier computers (by, say, looking at paintings on line, or downloading and listening to audio books) were much more likely to attend live art events.

I guess this makes sense: if someone is interested in the arts, they will participate in it however they can. But I think we constantly live in the fear that, if we put our work out there, no one will want to pay us for it. No one will want to see it live.

This appears to not be the case.

Arts participation through the media does not appear to “replace” live arts attendance, personal arts performance, or arts creation. In fact, arts engagement through media is associated with higher rates of participation in those activities.
–Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation

Okay, so this is an American survey, but still, pretty interesting stuff.

Download and read the multi-media survey yourself: Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation
Source: How Americans Use Electronic Media to Participate in the Arts

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