The Art of the Business

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

WP Finally Adds A “Tweet This” Button August 18, 2010

Filed under: marketing with blogs,Marketing with Twitter,social media,Tools — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:34 am
Tags: ,

For those of you, who, like me (although not for very much longer) have a WordPress-hosted blog, you will be very happy to know that WordPress has FINALLY added a “Tweet This” Widget.

I love WP. I’m their greatest fan. But it’s frustrating, because you certainly are limited by what you can do with a WP-hosted blog. For example, I can’t post Amazon Affiliate links. And this Tweet button has been a a long, long time coming.

Here’s how to install it:

  1. Log into your dashboard
  2. Scroll down the left-hand side menu board until you get to “Appearance.” If it’s not already expanded, click the arrow to expand.
  3. Now click on “Extras.”
  4. A window comes up that looks like this:
  5. Check the “Show a Twitter Tweet Button on my posts.”
  6. Hit “update” and you’re done!

This makes it a lot easier for folks to read your post and tweet it with one button, as opposed to having to copy the URL and past it into their Twitter client, shorten it, etc.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Advertisements
 

They don’t call it a “revolution” for nothing August 17, 2010

Okay, seriously, this is cool.

A new company called Pay with a Tweet has figured out a way to barter Tweets for stuff. For example, The Globe and Mail published this story yesterday about the Ottawa Indie band called hotshotcasino. If you tweet about them, you get to download one of their songs for free.

The service is available for either Facebook or Twitter, and allows you to edit the message–except for the URL.

Absolutely brilliant. Think of the applications not just for musicians, but for theatre, e-books, restaurants (free appy for a tweet?).

Here’s the thing: we’re using social networking, anyway. Many people are looking at it as a kind of a currency. So why not reward the people that make the noise?

Read the article in the Globe and Mail

Pay with a Tweet website

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

 

Desperation Isn’t Pretty August 16, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Marketing Ideas — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:58 am

Does this make you want to eat here?

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

 

On Vacation August 8, 2010

Filed under: Life — Rebecca Coleman @ 11:27 am

 

State of the Fringe: Jeremy Banks August 6, 2010

Welcome to the final installment on my series on the State of the Fringe. This week, I’ve talked to Ian Case and David Jordan, who run the Victoria and Vancouver Fringes.

Today, I interview Jeremy Banks, who has acquired the title this summer of “UberFringer.” I met Jeremy in the spring, and he told me he had this crazy idea: he had just bought a Flip cam, and wanted to travel across Canada, visiting all the Fringe festivals, working where he could and blogging and shooting video. You can follow along with his travels at Fringetastic!

I caught up with Jeremy via Skype in a coffee shop in Calgary.

RC: How many Fringes have you been to so far?

JC: I piloted the idea at Uno Fest in Victoria, but my Fringe journey started June 10 Montreal. Since Montreal, I’ve been to Magnetic North, the Toronto Fringe, Winnipeg, and Calgary. I will check into the Edmonton Fringe, will perform at the Victoria Fringe, and will do some videography at the Vancouver Fringe.

RC: Who is Jeremy Banks? How did you come up with this crazy idea?

JB: I went back to school and finished my theatre program recently. I graduated from Malispina University in Nanaimo, a town that is better known for  a dessert bar than theatre. With that in mind, I thought I’d try to get a sense of the bigger world–to contextualize what I had learned in school. I contacted Fringe festivals, and was able to get some work with my theatre skills.

I’ve been interviewing lots of people: Executive Directors, actors, technicians, to get an overview of what the Fringe is about.

RC: What’s the state of the Fringe in Canada right now?

JB: It’s hard to describe. It’s an artistic expression of an entire culture. And it’s not just about theatre. It’s theatre people, but it’s not just for theatre people. It’s an entire cultural celebration. Because you get people from every arts discipline coming out to participate in the Fringe. Some Fringes have that as a bigger component than others–here in Calgary, for example, there are multi-disciplinary performances on stage, in Winnepeg and Edmonton, there’s a huge outdoor aspect, which makes it great for families. It needs to be valued and realized as a cultural capital in Canada. Each Fringe is so organic. Each Fringe is unique and they are all connected, and there is definitely a through-line going through all of them. But because each one is connected to their community, it makes each one different and growing.

RC: What’s been your favorite moment so far?

JB: I don’t know yet. My journey is not yet over. Right now, it’s really hard to have perspective on what I’m doing while I’m still in the process. Sometimes you go and get this material, but you don’t know what it’s going to be until you’re finished. I might not exactly know what it is I’m trying to accomplish, but that’s okay. I have faith in the process.

RC: What are your plans for your home Fringe?

JB: I’ll be performing in Victoria, Big Smoke by Ron Fromstein, which won the 2006 National Playwrighting award for Theatre BC. I’ve never performed in a Fringe before, so this is a new experience for me, but I also have this background knowledge of “Fringeness.” After Victoria, it’ll be time for me to look back and start to try to put the pieces together. This has been a great adventure, but in order for me to finish, I need to find the thruline. I also need to find a niche where I can continue working on the project in a a sustainable way: a concrete goal, financial support. I love the idea of creating a fringe show about the fringe.

Everywhere I go, everyone has a different story, not just about fringe, but about life. The gbiggest thing I’ve learned is that fringe and theatre are about connecting and sharing stories. Fringe creates an avenue for you to express yoruself however you want to, under the excuse of theatre. And that’s what makes it valuable.

RC: Thanks, Jer. I look forward to catching up with you again when you’re home, and seeing what you come up with!

Click here to listen to our conversation in its entirety.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

 

State of the Fringe: David Jordan August 4, 2010

Today, in the second part of my week-long series on the State of the Fringe, I interview David Jordan, the Executive Director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

RC:
Tell us a bit about the Vancouver Fringe.

DJ: This is our 26th year for the Fringe in Vancouver. It’s our tenth year on Granville Island. There are 83 shows and over 600 performances over 11 days.

RC: Who is David Jordan? And how did you end up here?

DJ: I came to Vancouver fresh from graduating with my Master’s degree in Directing. The Fringe was my first job here in

Image Courtesy of HereInVancouver on Flickr

Vancouver. I worked there for about a year and a half in various capacities, and then when the ED job came along, I applied for it, and here I am. This is my fifth year as Executive Director.

RC: How does this year’s Fringe compare to previous years?

DJ: Last year, there were 68 shows, so we’re up by about 20%. The trend that we’re seeing with the Fringe is that there are more BYOVs and found venues. For example, Boca Del Lupo is doing a show out of their office with an audience of 14. Someone else is doing a show on a pedicab. Origins Coffee has kindly let us use their space, and we are converting it into a 60-seat venue. We also have a professional development series: talks, and a Clown Conference. Our goal is to make Granville Island explode with theatre.

RC: How were you affected by the first round of cuts last summer?

DJ: We were lucky. We were in the first year of a three-year funding agreement. That money was originally taken away, but they restored it. So we have some time to plan and restructure. This government has systematically replaced operating funding with short-term project-based funding, so we have to seriously look at ways of running our organization with less funding from the government. As the Provincial Government proved to us over the past year, we can’t rely upon them for support.

RC: How have subsequent cuts affected you?

DJ:
Our BC Arts Council funding was cut by 60%, down to $12,700 from $32,500. Basically, by 2012 we stand to lose $70-90,000 worth of provincial funding. That alone is the cost of running our venues, which is something that can’t be cut. Our greatest challenge will be to maintain critical mass in the face of all these cuts.

RC: Despite the current cuts, it looks as if the Fringe will go ahead as normal this year?

DJ: Yes, we are in fact finding room to grow a bit. That’s what keeps me hopeful in the face of arts cuts. We were born out of needing to find a way, and we will always find a way.

RC: How about future Fringes? What kinds of plans are you working on?

DJ: Next year, there will have to be significant changes. We don’t know exactly what it will look like yet, but we have to cut expenses and increase revenues. That’s hard to do. We are a very efficient organization as it is. Maybe site specific work in MLAs offices…?  One thing we are considering is introducing tiered fee structures. Right now, all artists pay the same fee, whether they are in the Waterfront (300+) or a smaller venue of 50. We may start charging more for the larger theatres, less for the smaller ones.  Operating venues is a huge expense for us, so we are looking at ways we can create more site-specific, outdoor venues and found spaces.

RC: Final words?

DJ: We did a survey with members of the community, and the feedback that we got was clear: the Fringe is necessary. Not just for emerging artists (although they are a very important part of the Fringe), but also for more established companies who have moved beyond the Fringe. Some companies want to do new stuff, edgy stuff that they maybe can’t take to their core audience, so they come to the Fringe. The Fringe’s roots come from a place of flexibility and experimentation. It’s artist-driven. And those are all things that we will remain true to as we move forward into the future.

RC: Thanks, David!

Read David’s interview with The Georgia Straight.

Read the Vancouver Fringe’s Press Release

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

 

State of the Fringe: Ian Case August 2, 2010

Last month, an article in the Georgia Straight caught my eye. It was an interview with Ian Case, who runs The Victoria Fringe Festival. They have been hit hard by cuts to the arts, to the tune of $42,500.

I emailed Ian and asked him if I could interview him, and he kindly agreed. Then I thought I’d also interview David Jordan, the ED of the Vancouver Fringe. Then I thought about Jeremy Banks, whom I met earlier this year, and who has spent his summer traveling to many of Canada’s Fringe’s this summer.

Welcome to Fringe Week at The Art of the Business.

Here is my interview with Ian Case.

RC: Tell me a bit about the history of the Fringe in Victoria.

IC: The Fringe started in Victoria 24 years ago. It was started by a group of folks who wanted to see more local production and to take advantage of the newly established trend in Fringes popping up across the country. The festival has been very successful and grown significantly over the years.

RC: What has been your involvement with the Fringe in Victoria?

IC: I attended the second year of the Fringe when I was at University and was hooked. Since them I’ve produced and directed shows that have appeared at the Fringe in Victoria. I was hired 7 years ago as the General Manager for Intrepid Theatre, the company that produces the festival. The company at the time had a budget of roughly $250,000. While I’ve been working with Janet Munsil the Artistic Director, the company budget has grown to over $800,000 per year and the Fringe has more than tripled in size.

RC: What was your background prior to the Fringe?

IC: I am a UVic grad with a specialization in Acting and an BFA in English. I had run a student newspaper while at College and went on to found a private tourism based publication in the Okanagan Valley. I was hired as the administrator for Theatre Inconnu in 1991 for their first Shakespeare Festival in Market Square. I stayed on as General Manager at Inconnu for 4 years then went on to become one of the co-founders and administrator for the Victoria Shakespeare Festival. In 1998, I founded my own company called Giggling Iguana Productions which produced three shows in the McPherson Playhouse then went on to produce over a decade of site-specific work at Craigdarroch Castle. Iguana continues to exist and I recently produced and directed The Importance of Being Earnest on the lawns of Craigdarroch Castle.

RC: What is the Fringe looking like this year? How many participants, how many shows, etc?

IC: The Fringe this year is looking really exciting. We’ve secured 7 full time venues and a record number of artist driven Bring Your Own Venues. We have over 60 companies involved this year and will present over 350 performances. The festival will be the largest Fringe we’ve ever produced and build on our massive increase in attendance last year of 40%. This year is bigger and better than ever!

RC: What was the impact of the first round of cuts in Aug last year?

IC: We tightened our belt a lot this year. We ended 2009 with a provincial government enforced deficit of $30,000 when we were denied Direct Access Gaming funding. We were able to reduce the size of Uno Fest and our presenting series, two of our other programs in order to make our budget balance in 2010 and to safeguard the Fringe which is our flagship event. We have taken on increased fundraising initiatives and worked on developing our donor base all of which has been quite successful.

RC: What is the impact of current cuts?

IC: Less funding will mean less art. It’s as simple as that. We run a very tight ship here. Our staff is already overworked, under-remunerated and smaller than a company doing as much work as we do during the year should be. The average full time working artists in BC earns in the $24,000 per year range which is ridiculous. The only place we can afford to cut, without impacting the quality of the work we present and the work we do in our community is to simply do less. Uno Fest will be reduced again in 2011 if we are unable to secure additional funding to support it. Our presenting series will likely be further impacted. In the past few years we’ve been able to present some of the best and most exciting touring work available from around the world. We will not be able to continue to do this and will scale back the kind of work we present and the number of presentations we put on. This will deny our region the opportunity to see some of the best work available from around the world and leave our community less culturally rich than it has been.

RC: How are you coping, and how will you cope in the future?

IC: We’re cutting and being very careful with our spending. In the future we’ll continue to seek new sources of funding and work on further developing our donors, sponsor and fundraising activities.

RC: Final words?

IC: There seems to be a clear disconnect between what we do as an active sector in our province and how the government sees us. Every other industry sector receives massive support through tax incentives, fees, subsidies and other support. We are having this support torn away. This support was already minuscule in size and yet we have been able to leverage into a vibrant and active arts and cultural scene in our province that outperformed every other sector in the economic downturn. Now that we’ve had the much needed support of our province taken away, it seems highly likely that we will start to lose companies, artists and a great deal of cultural vibrancy from our communities. Just like recreation centres and public swimming pools which are subsidized to make them accessible and affordable to the general public, arts and culture requires support and subsidy to make it’s activities available to the widest possible audience. These cuts will take away that possibility and leave our communities the poorer for it.

RC: Thanks, Ian!

In Wednesday’s Part 2 of the series, an interview with David Jordan, ED of the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook