The Art of the Business

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

Let’s Make a Scene! October 5, 2009

Every year, our local Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance hosts a conference that takes place over one weekend in October. There are discussions, workshops, and keynotes. Plus quite a bit of socializing and some alcohol consumption.

This year, in light of the drastic cuts to the arts, the theme of Making a Scene is THEATRE MATTERS! They keynote speaker is George Thorn, co-director of Arts Action Research out of Portland.

Here’s what his partner, Nello McDaniel, has to say about the work that they do there:

“ARTS Action Research believes that the challenges confronting today’s arts organizations demand that arts professionals and their community partners respond more forcefully and proactively than ever before. These responses must be complex not reflex, strategic not prescriptive, systemic not situational, studied and deliberate not imitative and tentative, and most of all they must be from the inside out, not engineered from a distance. The future demands that our organizational responses be as creative, bold, entrepreneurial, clear, courageous and adaptable as the art we produce, exhibit and present. ARTS Action Research is committed to an arts community that is artist-centered — led and directed by arts professionals.”

Pretty cool.

Also in the “pretty cool” category, Simon and I will be again on a panel discussing social media. On Saturday afternoon, October 31 (yes, Hallowe’en, and you are encouraged to come in costume. You’re actors, for pete’s sake!), at 1:30, we will be on a panel moderated by Sean Allen called The Power of Social Media.

Here’s the blurb:

The Power of Social Media:
We all know that Social Media is a good thing… right? But what can it really do for your organization besides take up time from your work day? Join us in this open forum as we share inspiring examples and inspire each other with stories of the power of social media for theatre organizations. Moderator: Sean Allan (Chair– GVPTA Advocacy Committee)

We will specifically be talking about The World Theatre Day blog and other success stories.

You should come. For more information, or to register: http://www.gvpta.ca

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I feel like a gospel preacher… November 15, 2008

I’m still buzzing.

Yesterday afternoon, I got to be part of a panel on Marketing Using Web 2.0 at the GVPTA’s annual Making a Scene Theatre Conference (see previous post and its shameless fawning over Daniel MacIvor). I am always a bit nervous at these things, just because I fear I won’t know the answers to questions, but the great thing about being on a panel, is that there are other people who probably will.

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Me, Simon Ogden and Rebecca Bolwitt in the Upstairs lounge at the Arts Club. Photo courtesy of Miss 604.

Enter my fellow panelists: Rebecca Bolwitt (the lovely Miss 604 herself) and Simon Ogden (who is on a crusade to create a new Vancouver theatre audience). Rebecca’s input was invaluable–she gave, I think, credibility to what we had to say, because she is a professional blogger, and comes off as such. Simon and I were able to chime in with our experiences of marketing shows using Web 2.0 technology.

I’ll be really up front about my reasons for agreeing to be on this panel. As theatre artists, we need to get serious about marketing. But we live in lean times, and only the largest companies among us can afford to buy advertising on the side of a bus (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). For the rest; small to medium-sized independent theatre companies, we have to find new and inexpensive ways to market our shows, and Web 2.0 technology is custom-made.

We talked for an hour and a half to the standing-room-only crowd about blogging–both starting your own blog to give your client base a ‘peek behind the scenes’, and how to pitch your show to bloggers to get them to write about it, and the marketing applications of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, My Space, E-mail, E-mail newsletter software, and online event listings.

And people were getting it–they were engaged, asking questions, taking notes, and I could see light bulbs going on. It was really, really exciting. I think we may have converted a few souls.

Can I get an Amen?

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Daniel MacIvor and I are in some good company. November 13, 2008

It’s no secret that Daniel MacIvor is my favorite Canadian male playwright. If I had a buck for every time I’ve performed This Is A Play, I’d… well, I could buy a pizza, for sure.

Yep, he's the man...

Yep, he's the man.

The esteemed Mr. MacIvor is in town this weekend, he’s speaking a the annual GVPTA Making A Scene Conference. It happens this Friday, Saturday and Sunday down on Granville Island. In addition to MacIvor (you can see him twice on Saturday), other notables who will be speaking on panels or giving workshops include Jackson Davies (on a panel called The Business of Acting in Theatre and Film, how much do I love that??), Martin Kinch from The Playwright’s Theatre Centre (a short commute for him), Norman Armour, whose PuSH Festival is doing some amazing stuff in Vancouver’s theatre scene, and the always hysterical (in a very lovely way) Jackie Blackmore.

Oh, yeah, and me. Rebecca Bolwitt, Simon Ogden and I are going to be part of a panel discussion called The New Face of Marketing: Facebook, Text and the Blogger’s World. This is happening Friday, Nov 14, 1:30-3pm in the Arts Club Theatre’s upper lobby.

So, maybe I’ll see you there. I wonder if MacIvor will come to my panel?

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