Theater For The Future

The Art in the Business of Theater – Collaboration Tools and Technology and the Storefront Theater Movement
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After these Messages…

February 16, 2008 By: Nick Keenan Category: Teachable Moments

You’re listening to the sweet sounds of a mini-mental health break. I’ll be back with some exciting stuff later to kick off the workaday week.

In the meantime, you can download this song, which I promise will make you happy. It makes me happy.

Also, check it out! The Neo-Futurists have jumped in as the third (that I know of) podcasting theater in Chicago. While Dean Evans’ pitch-shifted antics are quite possibly the most disorienting sounds I’ve ever heard, the show does what a good podcast should do: Give you a sneak preview of what the experience of the show is actually like. And it provides a new bonus: if you like Too Much Light, you can now forward this link to your friends who also will like the show. Not that TML has an attendance problem, but there you go. I certainly always use TML for my non-theater friends and family coming to town as a sure bet for an enjoyable storefront theater experience, and this will be a useful tool to help plan their evenings. (“Dude. Check this out. if you like it, we’ll go.”) The second episode is also downright inspiring. I don’t know what they call it, but I like to think of it as “the spontaneous music and choreography episode.”

Finally, I’m gonna go ahead and ditch the whole ugly adwords thing on this site, because the traffic and readership doesn’t really justify it and it’s not helping you or me… But really? No one wanted to book a hotel in Hungary or prepare for a career in Video Game Development? I will continue to plug good music (which, shh! It’s music from my shows…) on the sidebar, of course. Buy it through me, or buy it elsewhere. Just listen to it, cause damn it’s good. And it’s my penance for flaunting intellectual copyright law. Sidebar ads as self-flagellation, if you will.

And if you’re a copyright lawyer, I’m just sitting here, providing free advertising for your client. Go sue some teenager who isn’t promoting legal downloads or CD sales.

Wow. Bitter. Back to sipping my Mai Tai on the beach, paid for by all the money I’ve made off the sweat, blood and tears of music industry corporate execs over the years…

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3 Comments to “After these Messages…”


  1. We might be the fourth…I feel like you at New Leaf, The House, and Signal have all been mining this territory for a little while longer with varying content and purpose.

    Ours, as you discerned, serves as a sort of sonic art installation-cum-advertisement as opposed to the interesting behind-the-scenes stuff the other companies are doing.

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  2. Okay, checked out my theory…Signal has a series of podcasts linked to in which the company appeared on “Talk Theatre in Chicago,” which is not their own podcast.

    Did you ever see that old Smothers Brothers bit featuring mildly offensive racial caricature “Jose Jimenez”? He had this one gag where he went on at length about his skydiving expertise, and then declared himself the “third greatest skydiver in the world, after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.”

    After it was pointed out that Presidents Washington and Lincoln had never been skydivers, Jimenez began beaming and shouted “Then that makes me NUMBER ONE!”

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  3. And Talk Theater is a good example of what not to do in a podcast: They succeed in making Theater boring for insiders, rather than entertaining for outsiders. They don’t even overlap sound, which creates this plodding… ah, never mind. Skip it. I’m thinking the potential for theaters to create their our own New Media marketing content is a much stronger model, and my heart is pump-pumping away about that possibility.

    The behind the scenes thing works well for us since New Leaf has long been a company that focuses attention on its process, and I think the form of TML is such that the show experience works well for you, and the House’s works well for them as well, though it’s less focused – the video shows you what you get at a House show. I’m really excited to see what approaches other theaters take.

    I did want to note that Eclipse has been doing video blogs periodically for a while.

    I think the Eclipse model and the House examples point out the most important, and difficult aspect of podcasting: It really only works if you keep at it and release something regularly. I think you guys are well-poised with your format to capitalize on that, but it’s going to be much more difficult for New Leaf to continue that momentum seeing as we’re dark 6-8 months out of the year and everything is bottlenecked through me. We’re working through that, of course.

    I do recommend that you guys start tracking your data (check out Feedburner in the sidebar), and I’ve suggested some ways of doing that on your blog. Measuring the real success of these programs is really important both for your board and grantwork, but it’ll also be useful after a while to bring that kind of information to other theaters and say “look, this is how this works and how successful it is.” Tracking data will also motivate you to keep promoting the podcast as part of your general marketing strategy, because you’ll get this constant feedback that shows you how effective you’re being each day.

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