Tag Archives: art quality

Random audience development for the arts thoughts (and questions)

Today I do not have a guest blogger planned.  I thought I would fill in the gap with a variety of thoughts (and questions) that I have been thinking over the past week (in no particular order).  Let this serve as a summary of blog posts from past and future.

  • Audience development is hard work.  Are we ready to work?
  • Again, audience development is not “butts in seats” !!!  A butt doesn’t enjoy the show, people enjoy the show.
  • A team is needed for audience development.  Can we be team friendly people?
  • Should we appeal to audiences when programming is concerned?  Would we be letting them run our show?  More on this thought later.  This article spurred this thought.
  • We need to go beyond the discounts when it comes to building an audience or we serve to lose our bottom line.
  • Quality needs to be at the forefront for everything we do.
  • Why are board members so scared to ask for money?  They are passionate about their arts organization.  Aren’t they?
  • If I received a penny for “Something for everyone” and other inane marketing blurbs, I’d be rich! Maybe I should start an audience development fund this way?
  • Artists and arts organizations are supposed to be creative, right?
  • Social Media needs to be social.  It’s not termed Marketing Media.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you can’t develop your audience.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know what types of programs will be appealing and successful.
  • Ask them survey questions beyond the demographic questions.
  • Instead of targeting or segmenting – perhaps reaching out is a better term?
  • Numbers are not people.  You can data mine and analyze away, but this step will not build relationships with living people.
  • If something you are doing is not working, why are you continuing to do it?
  • Why spend money on something that is not working?  Because that’s the way you are supposed to spend your budget?
  • Audience development is a state of mind.  Everyone on your team can be a part of it.  Everywhere you go is an opportunity for it!
  • Learn to be a part of your community.  Use the other C’s to connect, collaborate and care.
  • If you have a big marketing staff, over 2 people, and you are still not getting an audience, either someone is not doing their job, or typical marketing is not working anymore.
  • Run your arts business as a business too.
  • Non-profits can be “profitable.”
  • If a certain business model isn’t working for you, explore a new model.
  • Your audience can be part of your team.
  • Ask your audience, they know what you don’t.
  • Treat your volunteers like royalty.
  • Treat your donors like royalty.
  • Thank your supporters often.
  • Be supportive and respectful of everyone on your team and learn to work together knowing that each part has an important role to play.
  • For gosh sakes, program new stuff too!
  • Be true to yourself and your mission.
  • Brand properly.
  • Be relatable.
  • Engage, but also get your audiences involved! There is a difference.
  • The arts matter, but only if you find out why they matter to your audiences.
  • Your thoughts here!  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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What makes a great trailer? – Audience development for the arts

Today I was in a YouTube kinda mood.  Instead of posting here, I invite you to view my recently updated YouTube Gallery This time, we are highlighting some fantastic examples of trailers for the arts.  Trailers are not just for movies anymore.  With the online video craze, trailers can be made for any type of art and arts organization to promote an upcoming event.

So you want your trailer to be viewed by thousands of people.  What makes a great trailer that will stand out from the rest?  In viewing my samples, you will find some common points to all of these trailers:

  • They are all under 2 minutes.  Trailers that are longer than 3 minutes can lose the audience’s attention.  We are busy people, so try to keep your trailer 2 minutes and under if you can.  Only go toward a 3 minute trailer if the content absolutely keeps us attentive.  I suggest testing on a few people in any case to make sure it is compelling for the time frame you have chosen.
  • They have images that draw you in.  You want to see more.
  • They are of good quality and they download easily.  It is frustrating when the video is slow to load and the viewing quality is poor.
  • The background music fits and is not annoying.  There have been YouTubes I have stopped simply because the music was disturbing to me (in one way or another).
  • The YouTubes fit the branding of the artist/company.
  • There is an attention to detail that is apparent from start to finish.
  • The focus is on the sampler and not the information, yet the information is readily available if you want more.
  • They focus on what they do best.
  • They highlight one or more memorable features of the events.

If you can think of more points for what makes a great trailer, please do share by replying below.  It is becoming easier to create an online video to share, and there are new audiences waiting to discover you and your next event. Trailers can make a huge difference when they are done right!

Have a great weekend!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Audience Development and Steve Jobs

The news about Steve Jobs passing is all over the internet and on the international news.  He was an innovator of our times.  He was creative and a go getter.  The combination changed our world.

One of the articles I found was: The 13 Most Memorable Quotes From Steve Jobs

I was intrigued by his focus and dedication to providing products that blew our minds.  Here are a few of the quotes I particularly enjoyed since they relate to audience development:

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

[BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

I’m not sure I completely agree, but the fact that he went a step beyond, most likely using what he would prefer to use, he did ultimately come up with products that surprised us and that we wanted to use.  He paid full attention to the quality of the product, how it looked and felt and what it was able to do for us.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

[BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

Our messages, our outreach programs, need to be more simple.  The audience needs to understand and connect with us in a moment.  This is why this quote resonated with me.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Don’t settle.  Enough said.

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

[NBC Nightly News, May 2006]

This quote also meant to me to never stop being innovative.  If you keep doing the same programs and events over and over, you will never get to the “what’s next.”

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Having trust and confidence is key.  Where you get this from is your choice.  Sometimes you need to be quiet and listen to find the answers and then be brave enough to implement what you discover.  Other people can tell you what to think, but don’t listen to them if it doesn’t fully resonate with who you are and what you want to achieve.  The dots will connect on their own if you do trust and have confidence in yourself and your ideas.

Steve Jobs was an amazing person of our times, and he also serves as an example that each of us has the ability and the opportunity to be this amazing too.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Audience development needed – Van Cliburn proves the arts deserve it!

I saw another listing of an orchestra filing for Chapter 11 today.  Right now I am hoping and praying that more people will start seeing the value of audience development and do what they can to give it a fair try.  It is sad to see artists and arts organizations in trouble, especially when they have so much to offer.

Yesterday was my favorite pianist, Van Cliburn’s birthday.  My Twitter friend @alanayu alerted me to a NY Times article last weekend:

Basking in Russia’s Love Long After a Musical Triumph

This article points out the love that Russian music lovers have for Van Cliburn and that he was an ambassador for the United States during international high-level meetings between the Soviet and American leaders.

It pointed out how special he was to them.  They gave him the nicknames, “Vanya” or “Vanushka.”

A Russian violinist, Artur Shtilman, recalled the tremulous words of a janitor who said the performance had left her strangely transfixed: “This young man, really just a boy — he plays, and I sit and cry. I myself don’t know what is happening to me, because I have never listened to this music, and I simply cannot tear myself away.”

Special artists and arts productions can do this for us – touch us so emotionally that  it changes us in those moments to be open to much, much more.

I was digging through YouTubes of Van Cliburn yesterday to post various clips in celebration of his birthday.  I found this absolutely amazing clip that made me feel exactly how the janitor from the article describes.  I was an emotional wreck with all the different emotions washing over me.  I share this clip with you now to show you that the arts are worth funding and that audience development is very much needed to ensure the future of the arts today.  Audience development will provide support for the arts by helping to build audiences and getting them more involved by supporting further through volunteering, donations, sponsorships and more.  Some people are naturals at it, which I feel Van Cliburn very much was.  He formed relationships with the people of a country that seemed almost impossible at the time to relate to (so we thought).  Through his music and his personality, they are still his friends and supporters, and he is still their “Vanya.”

I hope you enjoy this clip.  Notice the picture of the full house crowd intently listening to every note.  To me this example stands for everything that is beautiful about the arts.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Audience development thoughts for the weekend

Sometimes it is good to take time off, step away from the day to day in order to get a fresh perspective.   After a few days away, I have a few thoughts to share about obtaining new audiences.  These are thoughts in no particular order with hopes to open much more conversation.

  • If we would like to have a particular audience we need to cater to that audience.
  • Catering to a particular audience may mean changes need to be made.  If you want your art to stay the same, your audience won’t grow either.
  • However, when is it time to say “enough” when it comes to change? You don’t want to turn your art inside out and upside down in order to appeal to a new audience.  It wouldn’t be your art anymore.
  • A delicate balance needs to be established when considering making changes for a new audience.
  • You can add new elements to your typical fair.
  • You can change your typical fair in ways that will appeal more strongly to a new audience.
  • Through the changes though, it is still good to stay true to the art, the play, the music.  Don’t insult your art to gain favor with a potential audience.
  • On the flip-side, don’t insult your audience and be over controlling about your art.
  • Be open to what the new audience is looking for.  Perhaps a new presentation would benefit your art form as well.
  • Quality and care need to be a part of everything you do.  Take care to give your best to your audience.
  • Invite your audience to become a part of your art in one way or another.  Find comfortable ways for you both to engage in a two way relationship.
  • Try not to step on other people’s toes when promoting your art or contributions.  Be gracious and become partners with  other artists, organizations and your audience members.
  • Form collaborations that are win-win for everyone involved.  No one wants to feel like they received the short end of the stick.
  • Always give credit where credit is due.
  • Connect others to become more connected with others too.
  • Learn how to help others and you usually find that you are helping yourself in the process.
  • Be open to new ideas before you shoot them down.  Be open to attempting something new.
  • Be confident to keep what is working for you now.
  • Become a team with the people surrounding your art.  Try not to point fingers and play the blame game and instead, focus on solutions and being a team.  If you see an “us vs. them” mentality coming into play, you are not on the right track.
  • Invite people to your art party.  Sometimes artists do not have the support they need because they “forget” to invite/ask others to join them.
  • Be mindful of where your art fits into the world.  Be honest about who you are and what your art is.
  • Brand to your individuality.  Find what makes you special and sets you apart instead of copying the same old same old.
  • Reach out to others that would enjoy who you are and what your art is about.
  • If you want an audience to support you, you need to support them.  What do they need?
  • Always follow up and follow through.
  • Relationships are what makes it possible to get the support we need.  The stronger the relationship, the more likely people will want to support you.
  • Be honest about your relationships.  Are they two way streets or do you simply contact them when you need them (or vice versa)?
  • Spell people’s names correctly.
  • If you want a diverse audience, you need a diverse outreach program.  Not everyone speaks the same “language.”
  • If you want a diverse audience, sometimes you need to learn another “language.”
  • Be sure to thank people efficiently, timely, and memorably.
  • The quicker you realize that these points can carry over to your everyday life, the faster audience development will become more natural to you.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Audience Development, Peter Gabriel and Orchestras

Last night I went to see one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel.  He is right up there with the Beatles, Sting/The Police, and all my favorite classical music composers.  For this concert tour, Peter Gabriel was being backed by his own orchestra, the New Blood orchestra.  He chose particular songs to have arranged (brilliantly, I will add by John Metcalfe) so the mix was a little more on the mellow side.  There was no “Big Time” or “Sledgehammer,” but instead moving and powerful renditions of “Mercy Street” and “Blood of Eden.”

I’m not here to review the concert per se, although I highly recommend going to see this concert, but I am here to tell you that the crowd was not only hooting and hollering for Peter, they were also very excited about the orchestra.   The orchestra was mainly comprised of  musicians from the local area and the UK.  The conductor, Ben Foster, looked very young, but was extremely polished. These musicians played with such passion and conviction that you couldn’t help cheer them on.

I have no idea if other people in this audience were orchestral fans or as big of a Peter Gabriel fan as I am, but the audience was right there with me in acknowledging powerfully performed music.

Aside from the high quality content of this concert, the execution was audience friendly.  Peter told stories of how a song came into fruition to lead into the music.  Having a better understanding of the song led to a deeper enjoyment of the music.  He was gracious in always giving nods to his fellow musicians, and he definitely seemed to being having a wonderful time, always adding his personal theatrical flair.

Of course Peter couldn’t help adding a multi-media show with video images on a finely meshed backdrop.  It served as a curtain for the orchestra as well.  He is a highly creative individual that has to share the many sides of his artistry.  The video shared the many sides of the music, including the performers themselves.

Even when it rained, perhaps due to his heavy choice of water image songs, the crowd continued to be enthralled the entire time.  I was getting bathed and soaked in both rain and wondrous music.   This means that despite the set backs of the venue or any happenstance, there was no way the audience was budging from this amazing night.

Now back to the orchestra.  There has been a trend with musicians wanting to go on tour with an orchestra, and I do not see this trend letting up.  Just today I saw another article Deep Purple Guitarist Talks North American Orchestral Tour.  There is a draw for musicians to spread their wings, and working with an orchestra can provide a new outlet for their music.  This has many advantages for the orchestra world if they are smart enough to see these advantages.

First, there are new audiences being introduced to the sounds of an orchestra in a format that is already pleasing to them, a rock concert.  The audience usually ends up cheering on the orchestra as well as the main artist.  Some of the audience will take a liking to how an orchestra sounds and seek out recordings and concerts in the future.  Here is the biggest advantage, if you are an orchestra in the area and happen to have one of these types of concerts in town, you better believe I recommend finding a way to reach this new audience.

Our local theatre performance center had a chat session during the Tonys.  I can envision local orchestras equally latching on to this opportunity by hosting Twitter chats or Facebook posts, etc.  Or, perhaps finding a way for the venue or artist to mention going to see a performance of a local orchestra.  If there is a will, there is a way.

Also, if there are local musicians performing, like there were on this concert, find a way to connect with them.  Perhaps they can be personality advocates for the orchestras in the area and reach the audience by tweeting what is it like to perform with someone like Peter Gabriel.  There are people in the audience that would enjoy getting this backstage perspective.

Lastly, I would recommend attending one of these events yourself and take notes as to how the concert is executed.  The orchestra world can learn a great deal from one of these concerts, as aforementioned.  Would it really hinder us to program new and interesting music that an audience can relate to and get excited about, and allow them to applaud when highly moved after a solo?  Mozart enjoyed it.

New audiences such as the ones that attend these types of concerts are ready and waiting if we find ways to reach them, but we must make the effort to reach them.  We could stand to shed our high orchestral ideals and learn from the world around us, even if it is outside of our genre.  Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra put on a concert that could teach us many lessons that are vastly needing to be learned.

If you would like a real review of the concert, click here! 

Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra recording Digging In The Dirt at Air from York Tillyer on Vimeo.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Audience Development and Classical Music concerts for newbies

I had a major thought today after reading another article about a symphony performing a free classical music concert mainly for audience development purposes.  The repertoire selected was the same old type of list: Barber of Seville, some poppy selections from South Pacific, some light operetta favorites.  Throw in pieces from Fantasia and it’s a wrap!

I agree that it is nice to choose pieces that might be familiar to people in order to get them interested in classical music.  However, if they are truly newbies to art music, go ahead and program an accessible newer piece!  Here’s my story:

I had invited a friend to a wind ensemble concert.  She had never heard a wind ensemble.  She said she was willing to give it a try.  She was familiar with a few pieces on the program, but the one she really liked was something she never heard before.  She ended up enjoying the concert mainly because of this piece.  My friend came with an open mind so it really didn’t matter if the selections were familiar, only that they were quality music performed well.

From this example, if a person truly is open and new to hearing classical music, then they will be open to hearing anything!  It’s similar to when someone hears classical music out of context, let’s say on a commercial, and they end up noticing and really digging the music.

The point is, we have an opportunity to play new music for new audiences!  We don’t have to keep performing the same, although pleasant, “gateway” pieces.  We can throw in an accessible newer piece too.  I caution with “accessible” since something outside of a new ear comfort zone could be a complete turn off.  There are pieces out there that can fit nicely into an audience development concert, even if it is for kids.

I hope the composers out there are jumping up and down.  This is an opportunity for you too.  What would you compose if faced with the challenge of creating for a brand new classical music audience?

Perhaps you might still fear the fact that if the music is unfamiliar, this new audience may not like the program.  Please do consider though that if it is truly a new experience, these people are open and ready to receive the best of what you can offer them, no matter what century the music comes from.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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