Archive for ‘arts marketing toronto’

June 19, 2013

From The Archives: #Twitter #Mistakes in the #Arts, and Something To Keep In Mind


This from the website From A Younger Theatre. From their About section:

A Younger Theatre is a platform for young people to express their views on theatre and performance. The site is maintained, edited and published by under 26 year olds who all have a passion for theatre.  A Younger Theatre is a resource and platform for theatre and young people.

You’d better believe I’ve got them bookmarked. Anyway from them:

Theatre Thought: Ten common mistakes that arts organisations make when using Twitter


Also from another bookmark-worthy site – If you are not following Mission Paradox, you should be. I normally link to the post I like, but I want this one on my blog in its entirety because it’s something we all need to keep in mind.

Random thoughts on privilege, the arts and empathy

Self awareness is important.  When a leader of well respected, well resourced arts organization speaks about the “industry”, they have to be aware of the privilege they live in.

For every 1 person making a living in the “professional” arts there are 15 other people who would like to make a living but, for a variety of reasons, are not able to do so.

This matters.  It’s a source of real pain and concern for a lot of people.  It’s important to show awareness of that when discussing the field.

On the other hand, most people with privilege don’t really FEEL privileged.

I’ve talked to a ton of people who make a living in the arts.  When they described their lives and the challenges they have to navigate on a daily basis, I don’t envy them at all.

I wouldn’t want their six figure paycheck.  I wouldn’t want to have to deal with the things they have to deal with.

I find myself thinking about empathy more and more.  It’s so easy for us to jump into our perspective corners:

Bloated, ego filled administrators versus underpaid, long suffering artists.

Overwhelmed administrators versus spoiled, naive artists.

It can get ugly fast.

The key to avoiding that is developing an ability to see and respect the point of view of others . . . even if you really disagree with that view.

More empathy.  More compassion.  We need that in this industry.

June 16, 2013

Sunday Roundup – June 16

It's Always You-poster v1-11x17What kind of a week was it last week? Fringe Fundraisers, shows closing with Atrium and Sister Mary’s a Dyke, getting into the thick of rehearsals for Fringe with It’s Always You: A Musical

Working with Wiggly Dolly Productions and a stellar cast and creative team:  Writer:Dan Redican, Music: Scott White, Director: Sandra Balcovske, Cast: Sheila McCarthy, Dan Redican, Shawn Thompson, Madeleine Redican. Great group of fun talented folks and I’m enjoying working with them.

3 people. Bill, Elaine and Ted. Elaine married Bill and they now have a grown child. Or not. Elaine married Ted and Ted lost his friendship to Bill. Or Bill and Ted stayed friends and both lost Elaine.  Surely there’s one reality where all three managed to live happily ever after?

We’re at the Helen Gardiner, 79 St George Street
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – 10:00pm -11:30pm
Friday, July 5, 2013 – 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Sunday, July 7, 2013 – 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Monday, July 8, 2013 – 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 – 8:15pm – 9:45pm
Thursday, July 11, 2013 – 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Friday, July 12, 2013 – 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Value packs for the Fringe are already on sale, and single tickets go on sale the 17th! visit!

Anyway – about last week…

Creativity in Oklahoma, Budgets and Breaks

The Shape of Rex, 25 second film contest and a Social Media Workshop

Fringe Fundraiser, Canadian Rep, Cahoots and Saying No

I’m out of the office this week, and so rather than leave you post-less, I dug through the archives for things people really liked when they were originally posted and scheduled them all up for you. Enjoy!

June 12, 2013

The Shape of Rex, 25 second film contest and a Social Media Workshop


At the Royal last night to see The Shape of Rex – here’s Brian Johnson’s take on it.


Loved it – and I know so much of the talent involved it was like coming home.  Ryan Hollyman and Monica Dottor and Aviva Armour-Ostroff  and Brett Donohue and Jack Nicholsen and Lorne Cardinal and Layne Coleman at the helm. Wonderful work and I am impressed to my toes with the talent in that movie – heart-wrenching moments and teenagers making you laugh and love and anguish and   – just wonderful work. I agree completely and utterly with Brian’s question not understanding why this film is not being paid the attention it deserves.

I’ve worked with almost all the people I listed up there – and I’ve see numerous pieces Layne has directed. Seeing a film of his is different than a play – with a play you can look at anything happening on stage (including the LX cues) but with this – I felt like with every single shot was Layne telling me personally exactly what he wanted me to look at, and it was beautiful. My heart is happy and full.  It’s only playing for  a couple more nights, best get a ticket and go. Click here for showtimes and info.

Speaking of films – well, videos – got what it takes to tell a Fringe story in 25 seconds?

go ahead and submit – full contest details are here – and take a look at some of the videos already in!

Also I have a workshop coming up in a couple of weeks with Dancer Transition Resource Centre –  ninety minutes of questions and answers and learning about the why and the how of social media for artists. You should maybe come by.

Social Media 101 JUNE 25 2013-page-001

June 6, 2013

#TheArtOf Marketing – We’re Doing Some of it Very, Very Well

Art of Marketing conference yesterday was FANTASTIC – I listened, I learned, I had questions raised and answered, I got my books autographed and spoke to the authors and it was a great day. Like a rockstar day for me, getting those books autographed was like – I don’t know. Rockstar. My brain is full, and if you know, me, you know that’s a happy happy thing for me.

I have a ton of scribbly notes to go through, and they’ll most likely be informing my next few  blog posts, and definitely informing my work with my clients.

There was a lot of talk about creativity yesterday. Sometimes in its true sense, sometimes in a buzzword-y way.

There was a lot of use of the word art. And a lot of saying “I don’t mean art-art”. And the difference between a “painting” and “art”.

Pleased to report back that my tribe (yes you all) are doing so many things right, so simply, so automatically because we live in a world where creativity is key and king. Many of the attendees there were only beginning to realize that their social media audiences, their consumers and buyers are people – not targets, not demographics, not stats.

We do that already. We’re fortunate that way.

One of the speakers referred to determining donor patterns and how hard that can be to do, because financial donations to companies are very private things, and how to you allow donors to recognize each other? You make the private public.

Congratulations, Toronto Fringe – you do that with every single person wearing a “Tip The Fringe” button. And no to the woman who asked if at that moment, the person stops donating since they’ve received the “reward”, the button – nope. The second reward is wearing it, telling people about it and thereby encouraging them to donate as well. Come  – be part of my tribe.

And my favorite thought –

“we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.”

We do that to the point of no return.  More over the next couple of days, including the super cool thing David Usher has created to make music.

And because this blew my mind, I must share it with you – it’s Freddie Mercury and David Bowie laying down the tracks to “Pressure” – it’s a cappella.  Just listen. No guitar, drums, synthesizers, autotuners.  No guidebooks or goalposts. Just serious ability.

May 29, 2013

Why This Video is Awesome – TPM’s Big Red Doors

New fundraising video hit my inbox yesterday – Theatre Passe Muraille‘s campaign to replace the big red doors. Here you go – why it’s awesome is below the clip.

The doors at Passe Muraille are extremely well known –  well –  they are the doors and the entrance. However I’d venture to say the signage over the years advising people which door to use or not use is equally well-known.

Why is this video funny? Because anyone who has worked or volunteered at Passe Muraille knows those signs. And amazement never ceases at people blithely ignoring the STOP or DO NOT USE signs and barging back out through that door.

Barge – BANG! – click/push – flip to re-set the doors to be properly closed. I worked at Passe Muraille six years ago and I will still fix the doors after someone has barged through.

This video hits people in the memory – intellectual, physical, emotional. And in case you don’t remember seeing or feeling it – there’s a demo. It’s exaggerated for effect, patrons don’t get yelled at for using that door (but man, you really wished you could…).  So it adds humour as well.

Why else is it awesome? The CEO is in it. Andy is the Artistic Director – the face of the company who is well-known, respected and one of the most likeable people I know.

The doors aren’t being fixed for fun – they’re being fixed because a) they’re broken but also because b) new doors allow for greater patron accessibility.

And we’re cautioned that it’s going to cost money – money that is not lying around in a new doors slush fund.  Why so expensive? “Heritage building”. And most people, even if they don’t know all that owning a heritage building entails, know there are serious rules and regs about fixing them. So the reason for the cost is explained too.

Finally – posted on Youtube, easily shared through social media and completely accessible to all.

Kevin Roberts of Saatchi and Saatchi coined a term years ago – lovemarks. He  suggested the following are the key ingredients to create lovemarks:

Mystery: Great stories: past, present and future; taps into dreams, myths and icons; and inspiration
Sensuality:  Sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste
Intimacy: Commitment, empathy, and passion
This video makes me smile. Am lovemarked. Excellent job, TPM.
May 27, 2013

There’s Always Something

fridge1Some days you get home and are all set to cook dinner and you look in the fridge to see what you’ll make. And you stand there, staring for a couple of minutes before making the declaration, “THERE IS NO FOOD IN THIS HOUSE.”

Really? None?

It’s possible there is no immediate food to put straight on a plate, it’s possible there’s nothing you really want to eat, it’s possible you’re missing one key ingredient to make the gastronomic feast you were hoping for.


Odds are good that’s not the case. There’s usually something. But if you decide THERE IS NO FOOD IN THIS HOUSE you are stuck in a place where you firmly believe there is NO FOOD and you CANNOT EAT. And you will continue to stare into the fridge until your knees get cold from the draft and you will not eat. Because you’ve decided there’s nothing.

Look harder. Look somewhere else.

A power bar may not be a three course dinner – but it’s something.

A can of beans and some ramen noodles may not be an amazing dinner – but it’s something.

Apples and peanut butter – you see where I’m going. Stop saying there’s nothing when there’s something.

I’ve never met an artist who, lacking an expensive sketchbook and pastels, would not draw on the back of a napkin with a pen.

I’ve never met a writer who – doesn’t.

I’ve never met a marketer who when they saw your stuff wouldn’t try to tweak it for the better.

And I’ve never met any of us who wouldn’t talk about their book, play, show, film or spoken word piece to someone else.

Very few of us have the key ingredients of LOTS OF TIME or LOTS OF MONEY. We’re all in that boat. It’s not a unique place to be. And yet we make art every day, and get people to experience it.  We find the something, and make something with it or out of it.

Find your ingredients. Find your allies.  Stop focusing on nothing. There’s always something.


May 26, 2013

Sunday Roundup – May 26

moose13rv2It’s apparently the end of May. Please let the weather know.

Today’s your last chance to experience The Charge of the Expormidable Moose with the folks at One Little Goat. You can also hit The Dumbwaiter and previews have begun  for Sister Mary’s a Dyke. I was at dress rehearsal last week. It’s enchanting. And if you went to Catholic school – pick a joke, any joke.

Personally? I’m off to be on a panel  – Fresh Ideas in Puppetry Day  -We’ll be discussing the theme of producing and working with producers, and marketing for theatre, facilitated by Dahlia Katz. Other panelists include  Louise Lapointe of Casteliers in Montreal and Anne Barber of Shadowland Theatre. Fresh Ideas Day is an annual mini-conference and festival showcasing artists, both emerging and established, who are taking new and ground-breaking directions in puppetry. This one day convivial gathering is packed full of presentations, demonstrations and discussions, and culminates in an evening of short, fresh works-in-progress along with excerpts from new works. Robert Gill Theatre. Looking forward to it!

Last week! My GOODNESS what a week and you all know why so I won’t even get into that part of it

Uh – thanks? Edited

Take our Junk Mail – please?

It’s Come to This, Has It?

And a quick Sunday read that is both amusing and true – Seven Marketing Lessons From Pulp Fiction

May 22, 2013

Uh – thanks? Edited

ETA 11:25 am May 22  – Due to unforseen circumstances, the Wednesday May 22 evening performance of The Charge of the Expormidable Moose has been cancelled. If you have purchased tickets in advance for this evening’s performance, please contact the Tarragon Box Office at 416.531.1827. We are pleased that the remaining performances will continue as scheduled, visit the One Little Goat website for updates. Many thanks!


Sorry – I got distracted by work stuff and other stuff. So much stuff.

Let’s see   – we do not have a casino. Thank you city council.

We do have a mayor who has made the Daily Show, and not in a cool “being interviewed for his newest book on great city building” kind of way. I don’t know who to thank for that.

We do have a Prime Minister in Peru. Uh – thanks?

Moving on. Mission Paradox is back!

When I begin working with people I often ask this question: Give me an example of marketing that you really like or love.

The ones that end up struggling the most with their marketing don’t like anything that anyone is doing. One of the side effects of modern life is our ability to find the flaw in anything.  We can rip big organizations for being greedy or small ones for not being ambitious enough. Read more

This of course gets me to thinking – the post a while back on What You’ve Got is What I Need let’s add that to the list – stuff you’ve seen and liked. And we’re not getting into the “well of course it’s great, they had hundreds of thousands of dollars” thing. I’ve seen terrible marketing for a quarter of a million, I’ve seen great marketing for a hundred dollars plus tax (true story). And let’s look at the stuff you’ve done previously. The (in)consistency can tell me a great deal.

Trapped in the house today waiting for a UPS delivery. I’ve received  the coveted “somewhere between 10:30 a.m. and 7 pm” slot. Besides working on press kits for Sister Mary’s a Dyke (previews May 25!) and pulling press quotes for Dumbwaiter (runs through June 2!) and some work for the final week of Moose I’ll be doing this today – Ten Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Small Business

May 17, 2013

Infographics and an Article or Two. Maybe three.

Quick Infographic on the Science of Pricing – things to think about while ticketing. No more dollar signs!

Excellent article here on website content, which technically can apply to all your marketing. From Paul Chato, we just finished working together on a Fringe poster, so it was nice to see this.

Another excellent blog post from Seth Godin – Who do You Know? Excellent thought here – “Connect with enough people and you can’t help but bump into something outside your worldview.”

I know. I know. It’s not here. I won’t post it. Check the Star for the articles you’re really looking for today – a Conservative trifecta in the politics of shame. In other news, at least the LCBO isn’t on strike. Have a great long weekend!


May 15, 2013

What You’ve Got is What I Need

46178_183984895086027_1621119881_nClients sometimes wonder what I need to do my job well for their company, their show. The quick answer is I will take any info you have to share as more is better than less. The companies I’ve worked with in the past few months have helped shape this list by being amazingly nimble, quick to permit and helpful – there was a genuine sense of teamwork on getting the word out about their show. It wasn’t just my job, or just their job, it was our job.

The longer list form is, as a starter:

– your show description. In all forms, including what you said about the project in your funding proposal. Yes, I know that it’s written in grant-speak. I am fluent in that.

– names of everyone involved. Cast, crew, creative, designers, administrators. And at least one thing that makes them awesome. They must be – you’ve hired them.

– photos/images. any and all. Headshots, phone pics of rehearsals, production stills, the poster image, the outtakes of the poster image shoot – all of them as soon as possible. Bios as well please. This is the start of my collateral.

– your social media. Not necessarily the keys to the car, but I need to know how often you post things and where. It also gives me a sense of your posting aesthetic. We can talk about permissions at another time.

– a contact list, including your box office person, and your point person wherever you are rehearsing and performing

– to be on the distribution list for the dailies. To be able to stop by rehearsals.

– discussion about posters and postcards and shelter ads and print ads and program ads and who and where and what they’ll be. and then a discussion about what else we’re going to do in addition to those things

– decisions and quick turnarounds on approvals. Someone once said you either need to have a lot of time or a lot of money to do things, and odds are good we don’t have a lot of either.

– commitment to the schedule. Many folks are still under the misguided impression that social media is all whenever you feel like it whimsy. Sure it is. Those are the filler posts. What you’re not seeing is a finely tuned editorial calendar that is set to coincide with posts and tweets and e-newsletters and shares and hashtags and reviews and events and pull quotes and reciprocals and cross promos and interviews and video. It’s all intertwined. And very much planned.

– in case that one was a bit scary, I’ll add to it a sense of fun. Willingness to go a bit further than you expected. And willingness to trust. We’re all in this together.

I might come back and add this to this post at a later time when I think of more things.  I’m tired today having spent spent my evening searching for clues and maps, getting and sending texts from and to mysterious organizations, meeting an equally mysterious man in an alley way and participating in a supernatural ritual. It was an excellent night overall, made some new friends and went to bed – after I washed the blood out of my hair.
This is all to say that when Visitations remounts you need to go and see it. Rather, you need to go experience it and be prepared to play. Great work from the folks at Mission Business. I hope more folks start doing theatre like this if for no other reason than people who are not in our industry attend it.  They’ve gotten a new audience. Well done. Thanks for the experience.

Photo from Mission Business Facebook Page

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