Sunday, January 20, 2008

From the Pregnancy Haze...Audience Building

Well, with T-minus 66 hours to go until my scheduled c-section (baby girl green is due to arrive Wednesday, January 23), I sit down to write my IT Awards blog with some Audience building advice for OOB.

One of the biggest struggles facing OOB these days is PBIS (Putting Butts In Seats). It takes an entire army or the best efforts of everyone in a company implementing a coordinated effort of Marketing, Public Relations, and Audience Building to successfully PBIS.

But what does Audience Building mean? And how does one implement it?

Well, it can mean a variety of things and here are some of my top 5 FREE tips to increasing awareness for your OOBR company...and it helps if everyone involved with the show and theatre company implement these tools:

1. Add an email signature with a link to your theatre company's website, upcoming show information, and ticket information--this means every email you send out will have this information accompanying it.

2. Carry your postcards or company business card with you at all times. You are a walking billboard for your company and you can talk about it whenever and wherever you are...think the receptionist at your doctor's office.

3. Send an email blast to your entire email list with information on your upcoming show. Have your marketing director/graphic designer create something eye-catching for you to send out. Create a ticket discount with a special "Friends/Family" code so they know they are getting a special deal.

4. Utilize FREE social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook. Build your friend lists and continually add to it. Don't forget to build the show events into the pages. Other ideas include making short videos to post to SuperWalls and blogs! (Just don't film the equity actors in rehearsal or on-stage, this is a "no-no" with equity.)

5. Plan talk-backs, special events, benefits, networking events, and more with other organizations which will in turn promote your show for you.

I look forward to seeing more BIS this 2008 season.

Feel free to contact me with questions,

Katie Rosin
Press Agent
IT Awards

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

10 (well, 11) Stress Tips for Producers!

10 (well, 11) Stress Tips for Producers!

or, how I am learning that it's really life that stresses me out.

A few tips on how to handle the tiny little bumps in the road of a life in the theatre.

  1. CHOOSE WISELY. Everything. No pressure.
  2. Drink. IMPORTANT!!! Only drink in celebratory states! For example: "my venue won't let me bring that couch in, my god my director's going to kill me – I will get a couple of beers to relax," DOESN'T WORK! This will only make you drink more after you forgot to eat, and not want to talk to people tomorrow. Which you most certainly have to do. Good occasions: Opening Nights! Or better yet: Closing nights….drink tea.
  3. IT MUST BE YOU! IT MUST BE YOU! Really??? I mean, not everyone is meant to work together. The sooner we realize this, recognize it, and move on, the happier we all will be. The show must go on, but it will close at some point. Let everyone do their jobs, smile, keep it moving.
  4. I AM WATER. Remember your friends' advice, (read their blogs – thank you Shay) and the advice of those Zen, All I really need to know in life I learned from…stocking stuffer books you go this year….it's only theatre! No one walks out with a lisp! (I hope). So you can't sleep.... Sleep's overrated. So your thoughts won't stop…STOP! SLEEP! Your partner in bed next to you is snoring, in slumber land, if there is such a thing – you wake up intermittently with to-do lists…MEDITATE! That's it. Call them tomorrow. You can't do it now. You've never done it before, but you'd like to do something new… it's a new year, after all! OK, ok….hands over your eyes. Breathe. So you forgot that email. You can't "om;" he's asleep...MANTRA! You could use a good mantra anyway. How about you clear your thoughts and see what comes. Forget the emails! Mantra, mantra…Mine from last night? "My (because it's personalized) peace (because that's what I need) will be in a daily mind."??? Well, you slept anyway.
  5. YOUR NON-THEATRE FRIENDS DON'T REALLY GET IT. It's true. They just don't. No matter how hard you try, they will never understand that tech week is the equivalent of moving. So if they thought about it, throw in NYC life for most people, the fact that you've decided to produce, and you're moving at least three times a year. Because when you do move, you are moving your last three theatre company's sets as well. Hey, you never know.
  6. OPENING NIGHT! Have a drink. Take the next day off of work.
  7. RECOGNIZE YOUR SUCCESSES! You got great reviews!!!! Everyone is happy and calm and dining on the fruits of their artistic labor! Now fill the house.
  8. SO the house wasn't as full as it should have been and you didn't make any money, that blogger hated your show, you shouldn't have cast the girl you worked brunch with that one time.
  9. YOU DID IT. You can write home and tell them, "I moved to New York, and I do theatre."
  10. LEARN from your successes and mistakes. Start planning the next one! No one walks out with a lisp.
  11. MY PEACE will be in a daily mind.

- Morgan Lindsey Tachco

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Winter’s Artistic Doldrums

So the holidays are over and what awaits me now, looming on the horizon like a dark storm cloud of cold snow, is the dreaded depression of mid-Winter. That annual low point in the great cycle of ups and downs where I find myself questioning my general worth and wondering if perhaps Dad was right all along: maybe I really should have become a biomedical engineer or a lawyer first and then, after lots of success, tried my hand at acting. Jack Frost's blahs drag me down like slushy quicksand to an underworld where I am forced to watch the movie of my life like that guy in A Clockwork Orange. And while I'm happy with most parts of my life's film, when it comes to my acting career I often find myself slightly nauseous and wondering: "What the hell am I doing??!!"

This year, in an attempt to stave off the feeling that my acting career is simply a cute delusion of grandeur, I've decided to let myself off the casting hook for a while and retreat back into the world of acting class. Enough mixing my art (the thing that makes my soul come alive) with my career (the thing that pays my cable bill). Enough of being in the position where I'm either cast in the part (and get to feed my art) or not cast (and get to watch my starving soul whither away). I'm going to practice my art regardless. Art for art sake, literally.

Now there are all sorts of worthy acting studios teaching and all sorts of methods that work for all sorts of actors, but working with the NY IT Awards has exposed me to one in particular that stands out in my mind: T. Schreiber Studio. I've seen their work and really like the acting that results from it. They recognize many different levels of instruction and firmly believe that no one single acting dogma has dominion on the "right way to act". They are all-encompassing. Plus, they are so friendly and energizing there that I may even be excited, for once, to tackle the animal & statue exercises that surely await me in scene study class.

Thanks to the IT Awards, I am reassured of three things:

(1) I have found a place to improve upon my art

(2) I know, from all the registered theatre companies, that there are vast and verdant seasons of Off-Off-Broadway waiting for me the minute I emerge from my artistic hibernation.

(3) While I will still jump at the chance to play a biomedical engineer on TV or in a play, I can report assuredly that I am happy to let others become the great lawyers of the world.

Desmond Dutcher
NY IT Awards

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Totally Psyched for 2008

Well it is now 2008 which means that this year will be my 20th high school reunion. Back in my hometown of Salt Lake City, no doubt there are chubby ex-cheerleaders-turned-mommies on diets already prepping for the big Skyline High party - go Eagles!!

I can remember in 1988, fast-forwarding my imagination and trying to picture my 20th high school reunion...hmmm....2008...flying cars of course....and I'd be living in New York or LA (or both) and I would be a Broadway star, obviously, and probably most of my classmates would have seen me in a movie or on TV (would they be all up in my personal life from tabloids and daytime talk shows??) I'd be in good shape still and very tan (but would I still have hair??).... I couldn't imagine exactly what I would be like, but I expected it would be a lot like I was back then, only bigger, better, older and wiser and far, far more successful...right? Would I be?? Would I even ever get out of Salt Lake? Or would I be the worn-out drama teacher at the local high school?

Funny, life. Some of what I imagined has actually come true!! (whew) I live in New York City! I am a professional actor! I've worked with several celebrities even if I'm not one myself and thank you universe, I still have all my hair!! (although its graying).

But my professional life is something that I could never imagine. I had barely heard of "Off-Broadway" or "Off-Off-Broadway" in 1988. I had read Charles Busch's stories in the forwards to his plays regaling the colorful tales of the Theatre in Limbo. I knew there was magic brewing in these twisted, mythological streets of a place called "The Village." But it was all a mystery to me.

I have not made it to Broadway, yet, but instead have been fortunate to inhabit this strange and wonderful and, yes, magical world of independent theatre in New York.

I've done stand up comedy, directed plays that received national attention, I've done late night shows, performed for audiences that were entirely nude, I have been on stage in drag, in rags, as a robot, mentally challenged, characters from the Bible, from the Shakespeare canon, I have appeared in plays with shirtless, sexy hunks in tight pants, I have appeared in plays with topless babes, I have shared dressing rooms with mice and roaches, I have seen audiences moved to almost riot, I've played to near-empty houses and I've been awash in several standing ovations, I have worked with amazing playwrights on new American plays (like Chris Weiklel and David Bell and Kirk Wood Bromley) I've seen some of the most incredible new work in process (James Scruggs and Taylor Mac!) and I've worked with some of the most talented people I could ever hope for...I'm a company member of 3 established New York organizations (EAT, TOSOS and The New York Neo-Futurists) I perform almost every week of the year in New York City! I've got friends, family, ROOTS in this theatre world. I'm lucky to be here, folks. This is pretty awesome.

So when I answer my 18-year old self's questions: "will I be successful? Will I be proud of my achievements at my 20-year reunion?" I can tell that kid: YES! You DID make it, Dude! You have an awesome, amazing, adventurous "big city" life, full of passion and art and sex and love and life!!

And yes, you still have your hair kid, you still have your hair (although its graying).

Christopher Borg
Communications Manager
New York IT Awards