Press Corruption

27 Feb

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This has nothing to do with buy-outs and palm-greasing of the Journalist trade, and everything to do with pimping out a product.

…Yesterday’s blog got high numbers of interest, so thought you might enjoy a little more on the the realm of Theatre PR.  It’s pretty basic in that you are trying to sell something that people don’t need, and make them pay money they often can’t afford, for something that lasts a maximum of three hours time.

…This is on the basics of course.  The cold, hard, sell-it-to-me facts. 

WE know that theatre is necessary and worth it, and lasts much longer than a fleeting instant, by the fact of how it commands your attention, and influences debates and conversations and emotions long after the curtain has gone down.  But before people get all emotionally invested in whatever it is they are about to see, you have to make them emotionally invested in what they are about to see.

…Yes. It’s sort of a “catch-22.”

Hollywood has been doing this with entertainment for over 100 years.  They found the best ways to corrupt your feelings and pocket book, and continue to tweak them infinitely in new combos and patterns and trends in order to keep up the good work.  It only makes sense for theatre to follow in their footsteps and do the same thing: so we do. 

…We slobber posters all over everything, invent catchy tag-lines, print out postcards and flood the market in bookstores, local businesses, and home addresses, flip out bookmarks, bulk-mail season flyers, tweet about rehearsals, FB “special deals, ” sell random tchotchkes, email campaign your inboxes, and stick ads on every theatre callboard, newspaper, community calendar, radio station, and even craigslist.  We are not too proud to do anything.  Hell, give us a sandwich board and a hot dog suit made of felt, and we’d use that too!

…The point is: theatre only works if you have people come to it.  Tickets are often upwards of twice the price of a Friday night trip to the movie theatre, and it is limited in the special effects and able-to-get-up-any-time-you-want-to-go-pee option. Also, a lot of time, you’re going out on a limb in content, by unrecognizable actors, and plots you’ve never heard of.

I’ll give you all that.

…But it is also my job to get your butt in the seat and watch it anyway. It’s my job as an Actor. It’s my job as a person of theatre. It’s my job as part of a PR team. So here is how I do my share: trailers.

Trailers are the sweet-spot of instant info and emotional investment you can use on unsuspecting patrons. In 2-4 minutes, you can give them history, plot, characters, emotional content, themes, a good cry when needed, and production dates, times, and ticket info. It’s short. The music will help set a perfect mood. And they can share it with others. When I go on a full-run campaign, I usually mix it up with an initial teaser with history of the show and content, to educate…followed by another trailer by Opening to light a flame under their asses more specifically, followed by a review quote-filled one telling them why they should all go buy tickets now because the damn this is just too goddamn amazing to miss…followed by a “one more week and you’ll have missed it, and then won’t YOU just feel like a schmo?” hit.

…And: it works.

People will talk about them. People will share them. It can go viral on FB, and be sent in newsletters and general emails…and it answers the question of WHY a person should buy a ticket, WHAT they are in for, and WHERE the show once came from. So here are a few as examples…just to wet your whistle:

***

First: The Teasers:

Opening Week:

Reviews:

~D

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