Tag Archives: outreach

Two Articles I Wrote on Art as a Parent

I guess being a parent really does affect how I view art. Yesterday two articles I wrote dropped on different publications, Better Lemons and Dwarf+Giant, a blog of The Last Bookstore LA. I didn’t realize until I shared them to Facebook that both show how I view art differently since becoming a parent.

One is how The Cat in the Hat reads like a manual for child molesters. I thought I’d get more pushback on this story, but so far all comments except one appreciate my argument for removing that book from your collection. Thanks to Dwarf+Giant for publishing this one!

The other is the first in a series, What Theaters Need to Know: Courting Families on Better Lemons, a relaunched Los Angeles arts website. Here I detail how small changes and larger ones can go a long way towards making families feel welcome at your programming. Until you’ve had to change your child’s diaper on a nasty restroom floor while other audience members bang on the door during intermission, you really haven’t lived as a parent.

Stay tuned for some more interesting articles from me……

Webinar: Harvesting Leads using social media

Harvesting Leads

using social media

APRIL 24 (11:30-1pm PST)
with Cindy Marie Jenkins

So you have cool content, but don’t see butts in seats as a result?

We’ll cover: 
—Generating leads for your audience beyond family and friends
—Create a fun calendar to attract new audiences
—How to follow through and invite them to your show

More about Cindy

—————-

$50 for live individual training

REGISTER HERE

More Webinars:

APRIL 17: Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

MAY 1: Pitching to Press with Diana Wyenn

MAY 8: Crowdfunding Prep with Madeline Rosenstein

Webinar: Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

APRIL 17 (10-11:30am PST)
with Cindy Marie Jenkins

Is “Hey! My first tweet!” also your only tweet?

Not sure how to use Instagram to connect with audiences?

Have questions but scared to ask them?

We will:

  • Run through Twitter and Instagram Basics, step by step, so you know the correct set up and tools at your disposal.
  • Review Best Practices and Common Missteps so you feel like a power user from Day 1.
  • Plan how you will use each platform to accomplish your short and long term goals.

$40 for live webinar if you register by April 15

$50 after April 15

REGISTER HERE

More Webinars:

APRIL 24: Harvesting Leads using social media

MAY 1: Pitching to Press with Diana Wyenn

MAY 8: Crowdfunding Prep with Madeline Rosenstein

[New] Artist Statement

I applied for a grant recently. I didn’t get it, but was forced to detail how I went from a theatrical director to digital media consultant and now straddle writing with my consultant freelancing and being the primary caretaker of my son (Lil’ Pirate Dude).

It’s a little long, which I’ll fix for the next round of grant applications, but I thought it might be of interest to tie together all of my interests.

I am Cindy Marie Jenkins, CMJ to many. I am a Storyteller, Outreach Nerd, Parenting Nerd, Mama to Lil’ Pirate Dude, Theme Park Wife, Former Theatre Director, Fairy Folk Myth Nerd, and Recent Transplant to Orlando (remember the Theme Park Wife part)?

For a decade, I’ve been obsessed with building new audiences for theatre. This began when I realized I was sick of doing all that work just for my family and friends to see. Sure, we can enrich one another, but art within the echo chamber is not enough for me.

        Through a six year project Voices From Chornobyl, I found success in reaching peopleVFC through a theme, a topic rather than people showing up to “support theatre” just for the sake of it, or because our friends are in it, or because we all work in it. At the same time, I was in charge of marketing for a small classical theater who had a stellar reputation but still struggled for audience and funding. It became clear to me that the ways that marketing had worked for decades were not nearly as effective with the age of the internet, and artists were falling behind the times faster than newspapers. Keep in mind, this was way back in 2009 when you still had to convince a theater company to go onto Facebook; the mere suggestion that you had to think beyond a press release was a battle, uphill both ways. I heard many artistic leaders take the simple route of blaming smartphones instead of exploring them, and condemning audiences rather than investigating their strategies, or even talking to them.

           I reconciled my dreams with the fact that the typical theatrical career path is not for me. I always knew that art could serve a real purpose in changing how people think. Through and beyond empathy, showing how others live and think can go a long way towards opening minds.  I didn’t want to direct whatever came my way just to grow my career. I enjoy entertainment for entertainment’s sake, but I want to create art that holds great value beyond the production. I want to use stories as a bridge towards greater empathy in the world. Every time I chose a project based on the greater good it could do for society, I worked at my best and was happiest. Every time I took a gig for any other reason than great passion, I felt limited by the story’s (lack of) need to exist, my lack of connection as to why, and didn’t do my best work.

Then in 2009, through an outreach project called Imagine East Hollywood, I worked closely with the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and identified that local government faces the main two issues as most theaters had: (1) they only reach the same people and (2) if you don’t know they exist, then you can’t show up, never mind get involved. Beyond that lie at least ten hassle factors to stop someone from attending either. Most people didn’t even know they lived in East Hollywood. I used a film project, interactive visual art display, outreach tables at LA wide events and an immersive theatre experience to help people understand the agenda and workings of a neighborhood council, plus learn how their ideas could help their neighborhood and turn them from passive residents into active stakeholders.

These experiences led me to train myself (with guidance from Enci Box and Tamara

Krinsky) in social media, new communications models, and generally critique most vague, short term attempts to develop audience. I became an Outreach Nerd and trained individuals, then groups of self producers, and quickly added nonprofits, the City of LA and small business owners to my clients.

This quest for the audience led me to Manchester England, where I gave a keynote speech to Chernobyl charities on using my play, adapted from a book of interviews, to raise awareness and funds for their work. A 9-minute demo film was used to entice new donors. By 2006, the 25th Anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, two groups in the UK did perform the piece, and my own ensemble led a series of readings throughout LA and San Diego. We also produced a workshop of Voices From Chornobyl Jr at local libraries and the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

This desire led me to brand myself a Storyteller AND Outreach Nerd, to align the idea of writing and stories into audience building, tying my name to “outreach” rather than “marketing” in an effort to change the direction of people’s thinking about their audience development.

This obsession led me to 24th STreet Theatre, where I could focus on acting as concierge for families to find quality art they enjoy together, while finding the correct medium to share stories that happen every day in this converted carriage house in South LA.

This adventure led me to experimenting with arts coverage during every Hollywood Fringe Festival, from interviews over Twitter to Google+ Hangouts, then from a full-fledged arts review show to podcasts and instagram reviews.

This need to find and engage arts-adjacent folks while feeling increasingly frustrated with theatre as an industry also led me to the longest crisis of faith I’ve ever experienced. Just as I was seeking a new direction, theaters called on my “marketing” (cringe) skills more and more. The more I was expected to just do the short term work that I knew didn’t last and that I so despise, the more I understood that my current path was not working for me. I don’t just want to be the one training artists to change their mindset on audiences; I don’t just want to be the ambassador to new audiences anymore. I also need to create the art that draws new audiences in the door simply by being good and meeting audiences where they live. In many cases, that requires me to move my creative writing as far away from a theater as possible.

Currently I freelance as a Consultant and Writer while raising my beautiful son.

 

Popular Stories Written Like Postcards for Plays (Spoiler Alert: they’re boring as hell)

I started to rewrite popular movie/TV log-lines as if they’re on the back of a theater postcard (or described on a website) to hear how boring they sound. It was meant to be a joke on Facebook, but got so much attention that it might become a regular series.

I can’t tell you how often a theatrical production attracts my attention, then my eyes glaze over when I read the description. I have no solution to this chronic marketing problem except for testing different versions with samples of your target audience(s).

I wrote the first three, then friends joined into the fun:

Selfish spoiled playboy Tony Stark has done nothing with his life since inheriting his father’s fortune. After his life changing experience in Afghanistan where he is confronted by both the true consequence of his empire and his own mortality, Stark finally realized how the power of his own intelligence can be used to help the world. His old friends and investors, however, don’t always have the humanity’s best interests in mind, and Stark must make the choice between those he’s trusted his whole life and his own conscience.

*

Dreamer Dorothy Gale has no love for her farm life in Kansas, with its pig pens and farmhands who

IMG_20150818_144347.jpg

If you haven’t seen Thug Notes videos, every artist can learn from how he describes classic literature.

always seem to watch her a little too closely for her comfort as she grows up. When a tornado knocks her out, she finally travels to the world in her head over the rainbow, where she encounters talking beasts, vertically challenged villages and pagan wannabes who challenge her ideas of right and wrong. Will she stay with them and finally meet the mysterious Wizard of Oz, or will she find her way home to seek out happiness among the family she loves?

*

The well off Hobbit Frodo has settled into his calm life of leisure, brews and nature. The biggest challenge is keeping his estate-hungry cousins away from BagEnd. But then his Uncle Bilbo disappears at his own birthday party, and the trusted if suspicious family friend, a Wizard, throws him out the door in a quest to hide a magical (possibly evil) ring in the land of the elves. Constantly caught between his new adventures, true friends, inevitable betrayals and his humble Hobbit nature, Frodo must decide: stay within a group of warriors sworn to protect him or take a small boat towards a destiny that almost surely will prove to be fatal?

Friends joined into the fun, too. From Sound Designer Vincent Olivieri:

Twentysomething hacker Neo has a boring job and no family to speak of. One day, a mysterious cell phone arrives on his desk, and Neo has a series of interactions with fascinating strangers, eventually leading to his immersion in a topsy-turvy turbulent alternate universe. The previously apathetic Neo is forced to confront his own humanity and role in the human race as he enters an evil computer program and hacks it from the inside out! Contains drug use and adult situations.

From Director Kate Motzenbacker:

After encountering a rebellious group of women in a post-apocalyptic landscape, guilt-ridden drifter Max is forced to confront his own humanity. Exploring themes of environmentalism, reproductive rights, and the human condition, this piece asks the question: what is the responsibility of an individual in the absence of civilization?

From David Jette, Artistic Director of Brimmer Street Theater Co.

What does it mean to be a father? What does it mean to be a son?

These are the questions tackled by this compelling and transformative new work about a young orphan living with his uncle and aunt on a farm far from ‘civilization.’ He spends his days repairing equipment and pining to join his friends on their adventures. Until one day, one of his machines is lost in the desert and is found by an old man, who, long ago, knew the boy’s late father and how he died. The two set off to return the machine to its original owner, and after encountering some truly zany characters, find themselves at odds with the society in which they live, and in search of the force that binds them together.

*

Lot and his family live in a great little part of town, but something about this town is… unique. Unique? More like crazy! His neighbors are total hellions! Until one day, a gorgeous man in white arrives at Job’s door and asks to stay the night. When his neighbors knock on the door and make an ‘indecent proposal,’ and after a strange weather pattern settles in, laying waste to everything he loves dear, Lot and his wife decide it’s time to get out of Dodge. This dramedy about loss and faith is for the whole family, and surely worth its salt!

*

Ever have one of those days? What about one of those YEARS?

Job is a pious man, with one problem – the God he worships is kiiiiind of a dick. After making a bet with the devil (played by One Life to Live’s Kevin Conway!) Job’s deity decides to really mess with his life, in the most unexpected ways! Join us for a night of laughs, and tears, brought forth by this timeless story of the saddest man that God forsook.

Do you have ideas on this? Add your own versions or ideas in the comments.

Guest Article: “When You Look in the Mirror Do You See a Salesperson,” by S. Anthony Iannarino

Artists, Freelancers: we all have to embrace sales in some way for a sustainable career.

Sales and Sales Management Blog

When You Look in the Mirror Do You See a Salesperson 
by S. Anthony Iannarino

To succeed in sales, you have to embrace that you are a salesperson. Anything less than fully embracing the role means that you will produce results that are less than they should be.

If You Don’t Believe
If you don’t believe that you are a salesperson, you won’t make your calls. You won’t spend your time prospecting, and you won’t open new relationships. You will do something less than this.

If you don’t believe that you are a salesperson, you won’t continually pursue your dream clients. You won’t take the long view and nurture them over time. You will believe that they can’t be won because they already have a provider. You’ll give up. You’ll quit.

If you don’t believe that you are salesperson, you will find countless ways to stay busy…

View original post 652 more words

Outreach Nerd Broadcast updates

The past few months have been an experiment with G+ Broadcasts. Their purpose is to connect new audience with indie artists, but the same old methods of interviews aren’t doing the trick.

Imagine that. So I’m changing it up!

Out of all of the broadcasts I tried, here is what has survived – all in a slightly new form:

Outreach Nerd – TUESDAYSbuddha

1st Tuesday/month 7pmPT/10pmET: #SpaceNerd

All levels of expertise or newbies in one Hangout to catch up on Space News

2nd Tuesday/month, time TBA: #OutreachNerd 

Useful Outreach tips & examples of people/orgs doing it right

3rd Tuesday/month, 10amPT/1pmET: #MediaNerds

Co-Hosts Etta Devine & Caroline Sharp join me to discuss how the media we consume affects individuals & society. Formerly the Bechdel Test Talks.

-4th Tuesday/month, time TBA: Outreach Nerd w/ Special Guest 

Web Series Watch* & Live Streams – WEDNESDAYS

Upon request & monthly at East LA Rep’s By Appointment

*Be sure to follow this new series, which has its own site/channel. Co-hort Patty Jean Robinson & I dig deeply into the web series world & bring you our picks!

#FundingFridays – FRIDAYS

Guests will now include Fund-raising/Crowd-funding experts, paired with artists who’ve run successful campaigns.

Have a campaign to promote? You can join the Broadcast, ask your questions of the experts & plug your project at same time.

In-between, you’ll see new outreach-related works, but this is the new regular schedule.

Want to be a guest or have questions? Comment below & I’ll reply within 48 hours.

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