Archive for January, 2013

January 31, 2013

A Night of Celebration and How to Hail A Cab

From my Facebook status: what a great night. celebration of the arts and arts funding at Daniels Spectrum – Artscape’s newest creation, amazing to see so much joy and power in one room, all together, friends old and new to hug and exclaim and make plans with and then out for a bite and a drink with (A Friend) who rocks my world and home safe to finish bits and pieces and think about what good things the future will bring to the arts in Toronto. Well done, all involved. To quote Che – art is power. Fought for over a decade, celebrated tonight.

I hadn’t yet been to Daniels Spectrum it was still a deep pit in the ground when I finished working at Artscape and it is a beautiful building, with a state of the art hall for events and theatre – congrats Artscape. You’ve made another beautiful building.

Last night was truly great – the mix of folks there to celebrate this arts funding from artists to city councillors to the Mayor to children running through to their art classes – really a celebration of life. Still – a long day and I was glad to head home, which leads to

Liv+Tyler+Liv+Tyler+Hailing+Cab+New+York+City+Sx9sdY8pO4PlHow To Hail A Cabbecause sometimes we need practical, non-arts marketing advice

I am excellent at hailing cabs. A US friend of mine once said, “they turn around for you – you’d do well in New York” which is still one of the best compliments I’ve ever been paid. I may have to wear reading glasses but I can spot a taxi six blocks away and get it.

Now then – the basic trick to hailing a cab is  – look like you want a taxi. I cannot stress this enough. This means –

Standing at the edge of the sidewalk by the street;
Actively looking, not playing with your phone or talking to your friends.

Hand in the air, and get it up there – whole arm up. No sad little waves, no timid finger snapping (and don’t do that anyway, because really? Snapping your fingers at someone?)

You are on the side of the road that corresponds to the direction you want to go in. Unless you want the meter started and have to go two blocks out-of-the-way or be a partner in a U-turn turned three-point turn turned twelve-point turn and now you’re holding up traffic and folks are honking. Up to you.

Keep your arm/hand in the air. Keep scanning. Try to be on/near a corner of an intersection, as it broadens your search area. Step away from the bus stop – because then you look like you’re waiting for the bus, not looking for a cab. Someone standing on the sidewalk by the edge of the street wants a cab.

If there are no cabs coming towards you, keep that arm up anyway. Why? Because there are cabs coming in the other direction and they can now see you want a cab. Listen behind you – if you hear a little peep-peep! horn – keep your arm in the air , but check the source as it’s probably a cab. Also, cabs going by with their lights off are taken, but sometimes drivers will communicate to other drivers that there is a “flagger” at X Street West and Y Avenue. Get all the taxis on your side!

Since he is going the opposite direction you will need to communicate to him to turn around – this be done with either the over the shoulder thumb movement in te direction you wish to head, or the circle the index finger turn around movement. Either one should be accompanied by mouthing or saying the words “that way“, or “other way“.

If there is a cab coming towards you and he is picking you up, odds are good he will flash his lights to indicate “I see you”. You can respond with a thumbs up, arm down and wait and keep watching them.  In my view, these actions constitute a binding contract for services on the part of both parties, so if another cab comes peeling around the corner and tries to nab you, you must shake your head no, and point at the original taxi, thus cementing the contract. They will thank you for waiting when they pull up.

If – and this rarely happens to me, but if it does – you have flagged a cab and someone a block ahead of you steals it – sorry. It’s a pain but it’s New York rules: If someone steals your cab, it wasn’t your cab.

Bonus info: If you call a taxi and wind up hailing one in the wait time for whatever reason, you must call back and tell them to cancel it. There’s a cab on the way spending time and gas to come get you – you can’t ditch them. Besides, they now have your cell number and you are the person who calls and ditches. Poor form.

And that’s how you hail a cab.

January 30, 2013

Who Are Your A Clients?

Be advised that I am writing this post on my new to me iPad. Bear with me.

Got a tweet yesterday from a workshop participant who was at B(art)er a couple of weeks ago, saying that my advice on A, B, C, and D had proved invaluable to her.

And I will confess that although I remembered her, and our chat about her business, and that she was lovely and smart, I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’d told her about ABCD. Was it an acronym? Always Be Careful, Darnit? A Brave Cowboy Doesn’t – what?

They always say to sleep on it. So I did.

Your clients! A B C D!

Something we learned about in entrepreneuse school was not just who are the top type of clients you want to work with – but who don’t you want to work with?

(I suppose this is aimed primarily at my freelancers audience, but I think it works for anyone who deals with customers and clients on a regular basis.)

So what is an A client? I think it depends on you. (item: I have no C and D clients. You learn. In fact I learned before I left Enrepreneuse school.)

You need to think not just about what you want from you client, but what your client expects from you. You need to ask yourself some questions from the very basic including how quickly did the contract sig get turned around and how fast the deposit cheque came through.

(A client? In face meeting for both of you to sign and cheque is in hand.)

Ask yourself a few other questions. How far in advance did they request your services?again, these are general questions, not necessarily hard and fast rules. If the above doesn’T happen, it doesn’t make them a bad client. Each scenario is different.

Things I look for in an A or B client: a good project, one I like, one I’ve been contacted early enough to give attention to. Enthusiasm, an idea that we are working as a team on your project – I am the marketer. It is your company, I like the fact that we get to work together. It’s great when we’re on the same response time schedule. I love it when we’re expending the same level of energy and it is a true give and take. And I really love when we both respect that we are each good at what we do, and that our work complements each other in the name of art.

In other words, you need to think about why you’re doing this for a living, there are plenty of jobs you could get where you could be unhappy. At least you’d have dental. No point in being unhappy working for yourself.

My lovely and talented intern Lisa will be guest blogging on and off the next couple of months about her experiences in the field. Be nice to her, she’s great.

In the next few days, I’ll be adding a new page to the site called Current Clients, so you and I can see just what i’m working on with who and when. Think of it as an internal list made external – with press releases and YouTube links. Will keep you posted as to when it goes up. I like the idea of a current/future client page, not just a past client page.

All right. This has been my first iPad WordPress post. I am still on the iFence. It has taken me an hour as i am figuring out the multiple keyboards and i don’t quite know how to link or bold things yet. I will learn, you will follow my adventures. See you soon!

January 29, 2013

Plays and tots and language and acronyms

from Kardionic TA Gambarotto

from Kardionic TA Gambarotto

Let’s start right off with the fact that Totsapalooza is sold completely out. From the email I got: There won’t be any more tickets at the door, or anywhere else for that matter. We’ve simply hit venue capacity. Period.
500 tickets is a remarkable and fitting gift for the 5th anniversary of our annual DIY Kid Culture festival. Thank you, all, for your ongoing support. Much appreciated.

THRILLED for them. How wonderful. Looks like it’s going to be a great day for all involved and attending.

Attended a reading last night of Brad Fraser’s new play Kill Me Now. It’s funny and thought provoking and sad and has a lot to say about any number of topics. Here’s to its future. I think people were tweeting under #killmenow.

Of course you’re bound to run into people at an event like that, and I was delighted to see one of my favourite artists Geoff Simpson and make plans for lunch and an art chat next week, and run into another new friend (shared a cab? you’re friends) who as it turns out is the artist being featured at Pentimento this week. I was going to the opening of Kardionic to begin with, now I have to go, and it sounds extremely interesting:  Kardionic (2010-11) is a hybrid media work exploring various scientific and cultural expressions of the human heart. Views into the work include a multi-player audiovisual performance; a series of large-format, high resolution c prints; a fixed video program; and a fixed audio program.

TAPA. TAC. OAC. Freelance. show going up. These are some of the everyday phrases I use that I forget are acronyms and jargon. Had a great time yesterday speaking with the students in the first year of arts management at U of T Scarborough, and we realized there were a lot of phrases I use that others might not know. Considering I profess to hate jargon…We almost turned it into a game of buzzword bingo, with Anne (their professor) catching me on jargon and we’d stop to explain what it meant – after the first few I started catching myself. Something to think about. In one sense, it’s a commonality of language, in another sense it’s exclusionary.  I think we had a good time, I liked talking with them, they had good questions of the thoughtful variety and I wished I could have spent more time there as they are bright and smart and heading into our field.

Om that same subject – A User’s Guide to ArtspeakWhy do so many galleries use such pompous, overblown prose to describe their exhibits? Well, there’s now a name for it: International Art English. And you have to speak it to get on. Andy Beckett enters the world of waffle.


Read these five tips and make sure you aren’t guilty of any of them.

5 Social Media Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking I KNOW, and how can people not get this yet, it’s so BASIC. Well, every year in December there are articles on how to beat holiday stress, and every July there are articles on frizz-free hair and beating the heat, so it’s a reminder in a similar vein.

January 27, 2013

Sunday Roundup – January 27

And there goes January.

Before I forget,  a reminder to all working towards that Toronto Arts Council February 1 deadline that grant apps need to go to their new place of residence at Toronto Arts Council 200-26 Grand Trunk Crescent Toronto, ON  M5J 3A9.

You see where my mind is at these days. Don’t forget the Ontario Arts Council February 1 deadline as well.

Last week? Last week.

Documenting Your Show – the incomparable Dahlia Katz explains why show photograph is wildly important

Three Articles on Social Media. Two Artists Doing it Right

A Room Full of Participants

I mentioned last week I’d be tag-team teaching a course at Ryerson – the Chang School, to be precise – here are the details – I’m doing CDAM 101 Communication and Promotion for the Arts.

Totsapalooza is in less than a week and I’m sensing a sold out event. Small Print Toronto does amazing work in the realm of kid-lit, and this one is no exception, with the talents of Oliver Jeffers being a major part of the day.

He’s lovely.


January 24, 2013

A Room Full of Participants

Last night was the second night of the Paper Nickels CD release party.  Packed to the rafters again.  I was looking around the room and realized that though there were a tons of different faces than the night before – a lot of them were the same. People had come back to hear the same band two nights in a row (not the same songs, mind you, but you see my point.)

We talk about patrons and ticket buyers and audiences and purchasers and engagement. And sure all those people were in the room, everyone had one or more of those labels on them, but there seemed to be something more than an audience and engagement. These folks were actively participating. They knew songs, they knew the songwriters, they shouted requests, they laughed and applauded, they talked about the music, the band members, the band. They all had a clearly vested interest in being there. And I don’t know that any of those interests were exactly the same, but again you see my point.

Participating is different. It’s like you’ve got hand in the game. Participants don’t ask friends if they are going to something, they ask friends when they are going to something.  It’s not should we go, it’s we’ve got to go.

I’m not saying participants always buy in advance, I myself am the queen of advance purchase and still didn’t buy my ticket til the morning of.  But I knew I was going. I felt like I was already part of something bigger than “let’s go see a band/a play/a whatever” – I wanted to be present for something that was already part of my life.

How are you getting folks to participate in your work?

Little bit of Corin magic that I think most folks who read this will smile at and nod in agreement. It’s still cold out there – this should warm you up.

January 22, 2013

Three Articles on Social Media, Two Artists Doing it Right


Don’t Spend It Honey dioramas: Washing Line – by A Shay Hahn, as seen in the Paper Nickels CD book

Chilly out there. Here’s some stuff to read.

Reasoning behind this post? Talking with a friend last night over dinner about how some  social media is done really really well. And other social media is being done in such a half-assed fashion that it makes me grind my teeth.

Also it’s kind of a written down version of the social media seminar I gave last week for b[ART]er and I needed to do that as the Great Computer Crash of 2012 lost me my presentation notes.

Looking at the done really, really well examples – two friends of mine Andrew Shay Hahn (visual artist) and Corin Raymond (troubadour).  So we’re clear –  I’m not talking about big companies with budgets and staff and communications teams – these are people. And artists – I don’t presume to talk about the twitter habits of Hyperglobalmegacorp, Inc.

How are they doing it well? The last three words of that sentence up there – these are people. You know it’s them, you know they are real. They tell stories, they engage, they don’t ask you to do things for their benefit only, they have fun. You want to meet them in real life – as people. Much as I hate the “I’d like to have a beer with Presidential candidate X” – it’s true in this instance. Last night we kept trying to think of the reasons why their efforts work so well and kept coming back to,  “Because it’s Shay. Because it’s Corin.” Always came back to the person.

Their followers feel as though they are a part of something bigger, and it translates into – yes, again – real people.

The social media world we work in as artists is a small one. There’s a person behind every click, every like, every comment, and odds are good we know many of the people behind those clicks, likes and comments. Because social media has the word social in it does not mean it’s not a business (yes, we’re talking business here, Do whatever you’d like on your wall – cats, babies, famous quotes from unknown people – your call.)

Social media is trickier than traditional marketing. I expect a poster and a postcard as a reminder/call to action/buy a ticket. That’s its purpose. It’s a one way push out –  I want you to do something. Social media indicates wanting to engage with someone.  Give and take, back and forth.

“Do you know so and so?”
“Yes – well I mean, we’re friends on Facebook.”

That’s a whole new arena of friendship to maneuver through. How does some one know you, if they “only” know you through Facebook? Or follow you on Twitter?

I go again to my constantly used example of social media being like a cocktail party. Think of the people you want in your house, and who you’d want to talk to at a party. Is it the guy who’s constantly blathering about HIS stuff, never letting you get a word in edgewise? The host who won’t let you have a conversation anywhere but in one spot? Or is it the person who is funny and charming and seems to genuinely be interested in you as a person, not what you can do for them?

If social media is the only way you can afford to market, I totally get that. But just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. If you are inconsistent or excessive or it’s all about you – don’t expect it. Clicking “like” is not a difficult task. Actually liking takes a bit more work – make it worthwhile. And if you’re not sure how to begin, three articles below. And if you’ve already started without being sure where to begin, read up, keep warm!

26 Tips for Getting Started with Social Media Marketing

Eight Rules of Social Media Customer Service You Can’t Ignore

Before You Run A Social Media Contest

January 21, 2013

Documenting your Show

A2S82pAWfeifFjPUGFxqe6cq9YITVTJDZZDOuQMq1DQSpent yesterday talking about live music and new venues for it and art and film and pixels with one great group, then spent more time talking with another amazing group of artists from Zed.To  about the business of their art. Excellent Sunday.

You might remember in December I wrote an article for the Charlebois Post on Emerging Companies and Marketing (it’s linked there in case you haven’t read it yet).

It’s January and the incomparable Dahlia Katz has written an excellent article on theatre photography. Read it – it’s brilliant and true and teaches you things you might not know, and confirms others you do. She knows of what she speaks , in fact she won Charpo-Toronto’s Photo of the Year 2012. Her closing line is unbelievably true and sometimes something we can sometimes forget in the whirlwind of putting together live performance:

Theatre is an ephemeral thing.  Take the time and the money to memorialize it with dignity, sophistication and professionalism.

Go read.

Tomorrow I’m heading to the Tranzac for the Paper Nickels CD Release party. I cannot wait – I’ve talked numerous times about Corin Raymond and the Canadian Tire Money Caper and it’s coming to fruition. More on that later. ETA – this is what I’m talking about:



January 20, 2013

Sunday Roundup January 20

Busy week of work and meetings and rehearsal hall and celebrations. What’s up?

Why This Holiday Card is Awesome – go look. it really is.

Totsapalooza is Turning Five! – most read post last week! Hope we’ll see you there!

b[ART]er workshop last night and upcoming teachings

Dogs and Mailmen, Grandma and The Bank flip the problem to find the solution.

Bit of a celebration last night with Friends of the Arts, to toast the funding coming towards arts and culture.

The city’s executive committee has already overwhelmingly endorsed a motion by Councillor Gary Crawford to release $6 million of billboard loot and use it to increase the 2013 budget for the city’s cultural operation from $47.6 million.

Under Crawford’s plan, another $17 million would be phased in gradually over the next four years until Toronto reaches its oft-stated goal of increasing its per capita spending on the arts from $18.30 to $25.

Congratulations to all on a heck of a lot of work and a long haul.

January 18, 2013

Dogs and Mailmen, Grandma and The Bank

Short post to think on today.

I don’t know where I read this, but it stuck with me. Anyone knows where it’s from, let me know so I can properly credit.

cat-mailman-dogsThe mailman comes. The dog barks every time.

“I don’t understand! The mailman comes all the time! You’d think the dog would be used to it!”

You can spend a lot of time analyzing this, and thinking about how really, the mailman doesn’t come every day, and when he does, it’s not always at the same time, so the dog can’t get used to the schedule and all that. Or you can flip it for the probably more meaningful reason.
“The dog barks every time the mailman comes!”
Flip it.
“Every time the dog barks, the mailman goes away.”


Below from The Power of Why, which is a GREAT book you should have a look through. To paraphrase:

“What is the best way to get older people to do business at our bank?”

You can think about perks like cookies, and seniors’ day. Or you can flip it to think of why they aren’t coming, and flip it further to think of the WORST way to get them to use your bank.

“What is the WORST way?”
“ATM’s in sketchy alleyways! Only be open at night! Tiny fonts!”

– the list is endless. Now take those worsts, find their opposites, and there you go.

Have a great weekend!

January 17, 2013

b[ART]er workshop last night and upcoming teachings

So I had a fantastic time speaking at the b[ART]er  – Social Media Edition last night –  a great group of people with questions and answers and my co-speaker Ricardo McRae (Wedge 15) was ever so smart and a blast to work with too. You should follow them on Twitter @bARTerSEC to keep up on their events.

How much was it to go? someone asked me. It cost two hours. In other words, no money exchanged hands, but in the world of artists and entrepreneurs, two hours is an expensive thing, and I thank the participants for spending it with us.

I was also delighted to see four people there who took the same OSEB course as I did – I refer to it here as “Entrepreneuse School” so congrats to the latest group of grads and best of luck.

We kept recommending things to read and blogs to follow so here are the two main ones we talked about Mission Paradox and Seth Godin.

Had a meeting yesterday with the folks at Ryerson (The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, to be very specific) about a course called Communication and Promotion for the Arts (CDAM 101) that Jacoba Knaapen and I will be tag-team teaching in March/April. Here’s the official blurb: Understanding and researching the components of a marketing strategy is vital to positioning individual art, a creative service, or an organization. This course covers pricing the creative product or service; identifying, reaching, and engaging an audience; required human and financial resources; and how to evaluate efforts for improvement. Social media and digital technology are incorporated along with traditional techniques.

As soon as registration details are available, you shall have them.



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