Indie Art: Not Your Undergrad Production of “The Maids”

A friend of mine’s been working on her own adaptation of The Papin Sisters story, better known as the sisters in Jean Genet’s The Maids who [spoiler alert] end up killing their mistress.

But this looks to be an entirely different production…….I’ve seen Naomi’s past work, and admire her imagination, story-telling and ensemble work. As an added bonus, all the ticket sales go directly to her actors and team, some of whom have been workingon this show since January.

Here’s a taste:

Our New (Acro)Door from Diavolo: Architecture in Motion

As you may have notice in our pictures and videos over the last couple days, we have a new door!  But not just any door, this one comes to us courtesy ofDiavolo: Architecture in Motion and is fully equipped to handle the acrobatics and high-flying skills of our ensemble!

though some people still tend to doze off on from time to time…

But in the end, we just end up hanging out.

All in all, our ensemble and production team have been working tirelessly to get ready for our opening night.  So, if you are in the L.A. area, and haven’t got your tickets yet – seating is very limited!

Tickets are available here: http://holdmetight.bpt.me

And if you have a moment to help spread the word, shares, tweets, and emails are greatly appreciated as we push through the last couple days of our fundraiser.Cheers!

Hold Me Tight ensemble

Visit the ‘‘Hold Me Tight’ an MFA Thesis Project’ campaign.

Audience Building 101: Know Thyself / Know Thy Audience

This is the first in a series of Audience Building articles that were originally posted on Ms in the Miz.

I don’t just want to give you a punch list of how to build a devoted fan base; you can easily google some perfectly fine pointers. I will go into depth on the sticking points, the places where I see people take short cuts but are actually quite vital.

These are all methods on how to find and build new audiences, not just promoting without annoying your family and friends. Everyone has to actively attract and sustain new people in order to grow their audience, whether for your personal career, web series, feature film, blog, play, book, business, jewelry store…..you get the idea.

Audience Building 101

Know thyself. (In 160 characters or less.)

One thing I love about Twitter (and there many) is that the profile picture and bio are great examples of how quickly you must explain yourself to someone new. This is a freedom, not a restriction. You shape exactly how people think of you visually and tell them what you do and your personal mission. Go through these Brainstorms for Twitter and it can help you everywhere else, including in-person introductions.

cmj just eyes croppedWhen I change my twitter photo, it is very deliberate. Once, someone with whom I’d had lengthy conversations on twitter but never met in person didn’t recognize me because I wasn’t wearing a green cap (like in my previous profile photo). Last summer, I’d tried in vain to explain where I was in a crowded bar to a playwright, and he found me based on my glasses, front and center in my new one. How do you know the right photo to use?

Brainstorm: What do I want people to know about me? I find 3-5 specific words do the trick. (Using myself as an example:)

1. Curious

2. Nerdy (my freelance business name is Outreach Nerd & I also write about parenting on @ParentingNerd)

3. Focused

4. (optional) Honest

5. (optional)

Brainstorm: How do I want people to feel when they see my photo? Keep these as simple as possible, and be sure they reflect emotions.

1. Intrigued

2. Safe (they can trust me)

How can you possibly describe yourself in 160 characters or less?

1. Find one or two words that brand you in a unique way (based on the above brainstorms)

2. What you DO (Could be job title and/or personal mission)

3. Your associations, projects, related twitter handles and/or hashtags

4. Your current project (also in the website)

For instance, here’s mine at this moment:

Storyteller & @OutreachNerd – I bridge gaps between Audiences and Art. Communications Dir @24thST. New @ParentingNerd.*

Show to a few people and ask them if it sounds like you. Picture wearing your bio plastered on a sandwich board at a conference or an opening gala – are you that comfortable with it? It will be a lot of people’s first impression of you, and you want it right, and you want it current.

I can’t tell you how many times I go to someone’s twitter profile to find information about their new show, and the website listed directs me to an outdated page that has no bearing on the information I want to know right now. You lost my interest. If your current project has a twitter handle and/or hashtag, put it in the bio. Keep it current; keep yourself relevant. Direct people exactly where you want them to look. You have the power. Use it.

Know Thy Audience.

The very first step to this endeavor is narrowing it down. “Everybody who likes comedy/likes to laugh” is not specific enough. Is your comedy akin to Steve Martin, Chelsea Peretti, Louis CK, John Oliver, Sarah Silverman? Is it tweetable, or more long form? (Time-sucker Tangent: see Patton Oswalt if you want a stellar example of using limitations to create comedy that also shows insight into society)

With all of my clients, I place an image of a target and markers in front of them. Be sure to use markers. They make everything more fun.

photo1 8-17-14

Begin in the center of the target: who are the guarantees, the people you know are devoted to you and will share anything just because you ask? People who usually go in the center include the following:

  • Family
  • Close Friends
  • Donors (if you fund-raised)
  • That person who Likes everything you post on Facebook and sometimes it’s a little creepy, but you really think they mean well and aren’t stalkers.

Then begin moving to the outer circles. In the circle just outside the center target, your potential audiences here   may include:

  • Collaborators (They are often considered a given for your main audience, but are not always reliable. Collaborators usually work on multiple projects and their performance or comfort level with promoting in general may contribute to how much they hustle the project. You also have to give them the tools necessary to make it easy, which I’ll cover in a later post)
  • Colleagues/Associates (People who understand that you need help and may ask for it in return.)

Note that you want to consider how close the potential audience is to both your product (people who love the genre of your film, for example) and how close your current real connection is to them. If you want to target Firefly lovers but haven’t been active in any forums, blogs, etc, then move them further away from the center than if you’re a familiar face around the fanbase. It will take time to gain their trust.

Here is how I coach people through completing their target audience list:

  • Don’t think too much about it. This is a brainstorm. Write every thought that comes into your head and don’t edit. You’ll appreciate it later.
  • You can always move people, so don’t obsess over where they go in the target either.
  • Get as general and as specific as comes to you in the moment. “People who like early Bill Cosby comedy” are different than “People who like The Cosby Show”, though they overlap. But if all you can think is “Bill Cosby,” write that and go into detail later.
  • Peel apart every part of your product that might attract people: genre, themes, sub themes, locations, hobbies of characters, actors, etc
  • Use a soft focus on the project to see it from a different angle. Ask people not familiar to read/watch and give you a new perspective into their personal hook.

If you take the time to fill in each outer circle with as many details as you can, it will avoid overwhelm later. Imagine you are sitting at home, and you feel like you should do something but you don’t know what. Don’t just post a soulless status update that sounds too sales-y even for your tastes. Sit down and focus on just one of these potential audience groups. Where do they live online? Who influences them? Where do they find their entertainment? It is so much easier to find a specific potential target than just think “I need more people! Say something witty right now”

How do you find them? That is in my next post, Audience Building 102: Starting From Scratch.

Comment with your questions or tweet them to @CindyMarieJ. I’ll answer or address it in a later post.

*Since this post was originally published on September 30, my twitter profile bio changed, according to how my focus shifted.

How do Diana, Jessica & Steven Make it Work as a Work-At-Home-Parent?

I put out the call for Work-at-Home-Parents, and seven wonderful people answered! They represent a variety of careers, their children are all different ages, and Thursday’s Round Table is sure to be lively and helpful.

Here is an introduction to our guests, two by two. Read about Lisa & Róisín here , Deepti & Tish here.

Diana Kohne KennyDiana Kohne Kenny

is a visual artist who shows new work several times a year, a mom with an active toddler, and in between runs Art Cricket LA, a new business that connects people to local art.

 

 

Jessica Ires MorrisJessica Ires Morris

tries to fit acting, raising a one year old and working remotely for a financial consulting firm into her life and her home. Each area benefits and suffers from the others.

 

siw450x450Steven Wasserman 

has worked on numerous independent productions as director, producer, cinematographer, editor and writer. His work has been featured in numerous international film festivals and broadcast nationally on cable television, and CEO of Hachitan Entertainment, specializing in Creative Production of Film & Video content for broadcast, marketing and entertainment.

 

Moderated by Cindy Marie Jenkins, Storyteller and Outreach Nerd, Communications Director@24thST Theatre. A workaholic () who loves being a new mother  . What could go wrong? Adventures of Lil’ Pirate Dude chronicled @parentingnerd.

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) Map.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Deepti & Tish Make it Work as a Work-At-Home-Parent

I put out the call for Work-at-Home-Parents, and seven wonderful people answered! They represent a variety of careers, their children are all different ages, and Thursday’s Round Table is sure to be lively and helpful.

Here is an introduction to our guests, two by two. Read about Lisa & Róisín here.

Deepti GuptaDeepti Gupta

an actress, voice over artist and producer, recorded her first audiobook when 7 months pregnant, in a make-shift booth of blankets and towels, in the hot month of June. Now, a mom of a toddler, she’s recording audiobooks from her professional booth at home and learning to strike the balance with work and family on a daily basis. www.deeptigupta.com

Watch the trailer for her film Happy and You Know It.

TRAILER – Happy and You Know It from Hamari Films on Vimeo.

Tish HicksTish Hicks 

is an LA Voiceover veteran who runs The V.O. Dojo, a training, networking and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels.

The V.O. Dojo is a training, networking, and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels, from those with an initial spark of interest to seasoned V.O. professionals.

Inspired by the discipline of martial arts and the fun and playfulness of improv, The V.O. Dojo encourages voiceover artists to approach their craft fearlessly and with the wisdom of a warrior.

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) MapMore Info.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Lisa & Róisín Make it Work as a Work-At-Home-Parent

I put out the call for Work-at-Home-Parents, and seven wonderful people answered! They represent a variety of careers, their children are all different ages, and Thursday’s Round Table is sure to be lively and helpful.

Here is an introduction to our guests, two by two. Info on the free event is below.

Lisa Cassandra

Lisa Cassandra

Lisa Cassandra  is an actor, grant writer/development consultant, and copy editor, as well as an entrepreneur with her own health and wellness business. She also conceived and directed the children’s short documentary film, The Jackson Pollock Project. She does all this as a single mom around a teenage daughter and son. Mostly she’s exhausted.

Roisin Ching

Róisín Ching

Róisín Ching is a Speech Language Pathologist, parent educator, and co-owner of Echo Speech Therapy. She and her 14-month-old son are currently cataloging the hiding places of all the cats on their block.

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) Map. More Info.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Email cindy@24thstreet.org to RSVP.

Event: Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) Map.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

We are everywhere now: the Work-At-Home Mom or Dad. Technology has created room for working remotely unheard of just a decade ago. It may seem ideal, but really just creates its own unique challenges. Round-table with guests will include questions and comments from all attendees as well.

Use #WAHParent to join the conversation from home. And yes, children welcome!

*How can you transition from freelance/office hours to working around a child’s schedule?
*How to communicate client expectations without making excuses?
*How to create an office area flexible enough to also balance parenting activities?
*Where to find local activities that allow you to relax or work without your child, and ones that give you the time to focus on them away from work? (Also a handout)
*How to address breastfeeding during meetings
*Should your small budget go towards a babysitter or assistant?
*All this, and quality time with your partner, too?

Round table Guests include:

Lisa Cassandra  is an actor, grant writer/development consultant, and copy editor, as well as an entrepreneur with her own health and wellness business. She also conceived and directed the children’s short documentary film, The Jackson Pollock Project. She does all this as a single mom around a teenage daughter and son. Mostly she’s exhausted.

Róisín  Ching is a Speech Language Pathologist, parent educator, and co-owner of Echo Speech Therapy. She and her 14-month-old son are currently cataloging the hiding places of all the cats on their block.

Deepti Gupta  an actress, voice over artist and producer, recorded her first audiobook when 7 months pregnant, in a make-shift booth of blankets and towels, in the hot month of June. Now, a mom of a toddler, she’s recording audiobooks from her professional booth at home and learning to strike the balance with work and family on a daily basis. www.deeptigupta.com

Tish Hicks is an LA Voiceover veteran who runs The V.O. Dojo, a training, networking and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels

Diana Kohne Kenny is a visual artist who shows new work several times a year, a mom with an active toddler, and in between runs Art Cricket LA, a new business that connects people to local art.

Jessica Ires Morris tries to fit acting, raising a one year old and working remotely for a financial consulting firm into her life and her home. Each area benefits and suffers from the others.

Steven Wasserman has worked on numerous independent productions as director, producer, cinematographer, editor and writer. His work has been featured in numerous international film festivals and broadcast nationally on cable television, and CEO of Hachitan Entertainment, specializing in Creative Production of Film & Video content for broadcast, marketing and entertainment.

Moderated by Cindy Marie Jenkins, Storyteller and Outreach Nerd, Communications Director @24thST Theatre. A workaholic () who loves being a new mother  . What could go wrong? Adventures of Lil’ Pirate Dude chronicled @parentingnerd.

RSVP by emailing cindy@24thstreet.org

Sponsored & Hosted by 24th ST Theatre24th st

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: my involvement with Directors Lab West

Last week I tendered my resignation from Directors Lab West, a group of devoted volunteers who run workshops, round-tables, etc in

Steering Committee & Associate Producers of Directors Lab West 2014, at our last meeting before the 15th Anniversary Lab. Douglas Clayton, Janet Miller, Doug Oliphant, Che'Rae Adams, me and Lil' Pirate Dude, Richard Tatum, Diana Wyenn and Ernest Figueroa.

Steering Committee & Associate Producers of Directors Lab West 2014, at our last meeting before the 15th Anniversary Lab. Douglas Clayton, Janet Miller, Doug Oliphant, Che’Rae Adams, me and Lil’ Pirate Dude, Richard Tatum, Diana Wyenn and Ernest Figueroa.

Los Angeles every May for stage Directors and Choreographers.

As I take a few manual shifts to re-direct my artistic mission, I am sorry to say that this commitment would not get the attention it deserves. If you’ll forgive a dangling preposition, it is also just time to move on. I am very happy with all I gave and all I received during my time and wish the Lab continued innovation and imagination.

My participation in 2008 as a “Labbie” directly contributed to a great step in my career, working at the Antaeus Company (Academy Associate 2008 & Artistic Associate 2009-2010)  as well as friendships and new colleagues too numerous to mention.

Soon after that, the Steering Committee invited me to act as Associate Producer for the 2010 Lab. Being tasked to imagine what our peers need at this specific time in the industry, to motivate “the future of American Theatre,” as Anne Catteneo first said, was daunting, exciting and thrilling. I still remember leading a round-table (my first) with Steve Julian, sitting among some of the most intelligent people I know, who were all hesitant that they could or should use social media to build audiences. Throughout the week, many requested private sessions, and I’m happy to see the fruits of those first meetings in practice today.

When they asked me to join the Steering Committee, it came at a wonderful time in my life (another “shifting time” from Antaeus to freelance outreach consulting) and one blog post cannot contain all of the invigoration, aggravation and new motivation that only four years within the Directors Lab West can offer. I learned so much and grew as a moderator, listener, person, artist. Everyone was incredibly gracious last year as my son’s due date coincided with crunch time for the Lab, allowing me to partake in as much as I was able and always welcoming Lil’ Pirate Dude to meetings, and the eventual Lab.

Zone Rosa Coffee was always there for us, to caffeinate the Lab!

Zone Rosa Coffee was always there for us, to caffeinate the Lab!

Ernest Figueroa, Kappy Kilburn, Brendon Fox, Che’Rae Adams: it was an honor to work beside you all. Different people, experiences and points-of-view are so necessary to this world and our art. You taught me how to handle disagreements gracefully and with more of an open mind than before the Lab.

Doug Oliphant (the “herder of cats,” or Production Coordinator who is also an incredibly talented Director himself): You taught me how gentle and necessary those “gentle reminder” emails really can be. I loved watching your work and career develop to the point where you couldn’t be at the Lab last year, because you were rehearsing!

Courtney Anne Buchan (intern & Co-Production Coordinator): meeting you and subsequently working with you on Gracie and Rose and other projects was a huge pleasure! Thank you for all of your talented work to make our 15th year more visually appealing and the website more……well, just much better!

Doug Clayton, Diana Wyenn, Richard Tatum, Janet Miller: you all stepped up so beautifully as Associate Producers this year, and brought a wonderful energy to my last year. The 15th anniversary would not have been nearly as strong without all your input, support, and very very hard work.

Lab Alum, Guest Artists, Interns: you are all such a special breed of artist. It’s difficult to work in such isolating fields such as directing and choreography. There is usually only one of you in the rehearsal room, and that fact makes it even more exciting and that much harder when there are 30-50 of you in one room.

I needed the Lab every single year to re-invigorate my love of exploration, rehearsal, community; to feel like there is hope for an ever-transforming art; and to meet such passionate people.

Now it’s time for me to take what you’ve given me, and put that energy towards a new vision of our art form.

Thank you.