Mike Daisey on MFA theater programs

January 25, 2009 by  

Mike Daisey has written an excellent post about the cost of MFA theater programs and how that affects artists. Some highlights are below, but I recommend reading the whole blog post.

“This deepens these programs’ legitimacy, and the participants dig themselves in more and more. When I talk to young people in schools, I am constantly asked which MFA programs I would recommend. They are routinely lied to and told baldly that without MFA training they couldn’t possibly be ready to perform for the public. In undergraduate programs professors of the theater (who very often have never come near the professional theater) push students on to further studies, encouraging them to believe they need further training before working.”

“Where is this process happening in theater? Where are older actors and artists advising the next generation on what to do with their debt? This is an essential process, and we learn nothing if each generation has to blindly stumble forward.

I’ll tell you where they are: they are nowhere. They have no answers, and no venues to speak them in. Artists in the American theater see a life devoid of support, to such an extent that they have no answers for themselves, much less the next generation.”

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Book Review: Advertising 2.0 – Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Tracy L. Tuten

January 20, 2009 by  

Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World is a comprehensive look into the new models of advertising for business-to-business and business to consumer organizations. The book highlights specific companies and how through their use of the various modules, were able to create online relationships with current and future customers.

It is no surprise that advertising has changed drastically. Tracy L. Tuten, author and Associate Professor of Marketing at Longwood University, introduces the readers to the shifts through the emergence of social networking, virtual worlds, blogs, and online games. She clearly explains that companies must change tactics if they want to compete in 21st century advertising. She urges a thought shift away from advertising being viewed as one-way communication and towards what is called Brand Engagement.

Brand Engagement can happen on many different levels and in many different ways. Advertising 2.0 demonstrates best practices from the most popular social media websites while exploring methods that can take your company to the next level. While the book covers what might be considered obvious social media companies like MySpace and Facebook, it also has companies consider other means of building online relationships through consumer reviews and brand sponsored alternative reality games. By also considering social news communities and marketing a company can create an online word of mouth that becomes viral and grows on its own.

If you are new to social media marketing, this book will help you learn the basic vocabulary as well as introduce many different options a company can consider in determining the type of online marketing will be the most benefit.

Table of Contents:
1: Advertising Online: Engaging Consumers with Web 2.0
2: Socialcentricity and the Emergence of Social Media Marketing
3: Friendvertising: Advertising and Brand Building with Social Networks
4: Advertising in the Imagination: Social Virtual Networks and the “Vlobalization” of Brands
5: From Moments to Minutes: Advertising with Social Play
6: Influence the Influencers: Building Brands with Social News Media
7: Citizen Advertising: Consumer-Told Brand Folklore
8: In My Opinion: The Social Influence of Consumer Product Reviews
9: Social Fiction: Branding with Alternate Reality Games
10: Ads in Play: Immersing Brands In and Around Social Games
11: Social Media Impact: Balancing Metrics and Insight for Advertising Success

(This review was originally published on Blogcritics.)

Live Twitter Feed from Portland Center Stage Performance

January 18, 2009 by  

Last night Portland Center Stage invited 30 of their closest Twitter friends to join them in a live twitter feed during the performance of Apollo.  This brought up the discussion of the idea of immediate feedback and audience polling by some in the #theatre twitgroup.  @SMLois liked the idea, but was not sure that most of her audience members has ever heard of Twitter.  @LondonTheatre suggested giving the tweeters a theme or direction, or even possibly involving them in performance.  Could this be a new way to get the allusive teens/20-something population back to the theater?

PCS has to be commended for trying new and different approaches in advertising and connectivity in a economy where more and more people are not spending money on non-essentials.  The tweets from Act I are nothing special and in fact a little boring.  You can try your luck with Act II or Act III. (LondonTheatre is right, their should have been a staff member as a moderator asking questions about the show to the audience members) The idea is something that should be discussed and used as a building block for future attempts in how theaters can use social media to connect to audiences and the greater communities.

Alison Hallett, from the Portland Mercury, did a liveblog during the event.  While she cuts the blog at intermission claiming, “This blog post is worthless.”, commenter @agoodhusband writes, “This will obviously take some more time to percolate through my brain, but I found the process rather useful. I’ve always been frustrated by the traditional sit in a dark room and don’t respond to what’s happening culture that is our theatre. Shakespeare’s time allowed for people to respond to the show in real time, and for actors to directly address audience. There needs to be more of that in our time. Twitter allows that to a degree. There were some useful thoughts and insights in other Tweeple’s posts. I will digest them over the next couple of days.”

100 Best Blogs for Film and Theater Students by BestUniversity.com

January 14, 2009 by  

DENNIS BAKER LLC has been ranked one of the 100 Best Blogs for Film and Theater Students by BestUniversity.com.

The overall list is divided into sixteen categories, like: Screenwriting/Playwriting. Management, Indie Films, Production/Video, Animation, etc. There are only twelve blogs listed in the “Acting and Auditions” section. This means that we are actually in the Top 12 blogs for acting students!

Congrats to my fellow bloggers, there are some great sites on the list.

Theater as Community | WNYC Leonard Lopate Show

January 9, 2009 by  

Robert Viagas, host of Playbill Radio and editor of The Playbill Broadway Yearbook, and Sandra Gibson, president and CEO of Arts Presenters, the national service organization for performing arts presenters, was interviewed today on the Leonard Lopate Show about the scheduled closings of many broadway shows this month.

What caught my ear most was Gibson’s comment on theater as community.   She uses the example of Suzie Lori Parks being a resident playwright at the Public Theater. Parks wrote her first play in five years during the first six weeks of that residency.  Gibson says this is “because she was linked in a different way to the community there”.  She wants to see a re-thinking of how to sustain artists in this capacity.  Also she is working with theaters to facilitate action that further connects the audience to the artist and show people the developmental process of the work.

I think the residency topic, and how it relates to the community, could be a interview topic by itself.  Writers seems to be the ones who a residency seems to be a natural fit, but how do residencies help connect directors, actors, and technicians to the community? What are some examples of other artist residences that have brought that artists closer to the community?

What about the idea of opening the door to the creative process?  I think this is where theaters can begin to integrate Web 2.0 technology.  By theaters using blogs, pictures and videos audience members can feel that they have a connection to individual artists and the theater as a whole.  California Shakespeare Theater seems to be doing just that.  A look at their home page has links to their facebook, myspace and twitter accounts.  Their blog has numerous contributors ranging from artists, staff and board members.  Do you follow theaters online through these various accounts?  What theaters do you know of that are using Web 2.0 to help connect the organization to the community?