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.
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……
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 people 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 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.
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
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…
For some months, Etta Devine, Caroline Sharp & myself have centered talks on media and society around the Bechdel Test. To expand the discussion, we invite you to join us on the 3rd Tuesday of ever month for the new show:
How does the media we consume shape us as individuals and as a society?
Mack A. Bradley is the founder and Principal of StandPoint Public Affairs. He has developed a reputation for excellence as a thoughtful strategic partner, specializing in strategic communications, crisis management, public affairs and media relations. His professional focus is on solving complex communications problems through thoughtful planning and considered implementation. His client experience includes Fortune 100 companies, government agencies at the local and regional level, charitable foundations, not-for-profits and religious organizations.
Bill Dunford Robotic spacecraft are exploring the skies. You can ride along. Saddle up at RidingWithRobots.org
Dr. Philip Metzger is a senior research physicist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where he founded and leads the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory. He performs research to utilize the soil of extraterrestrial bodies. He was selected as Kennedy Space Center’s Scientist/Engineer of the Year for 2011.
Libby Norcross works at an educational space simulator called the Challenger Learning Center, where she wears a flight suit and encourages kids in science and reaching for the future. In her spare time she travels on geeky vacations, takes classes toward another college degree, doodles inspirational posters, and generally spends her time wondering how in the world she gets to have all the experiences she does.
Amy Pillé (@A_neutron) is a corporate defense attorney practicing in Charleston, SC. She is part of a coordinating counsel team that manages product liability litigation on national, regional and local levels. She is also an avid tech and social media enthusiast, with roots in amateur radio. In what little spare time she has, Amy enjoys sleeping and getting scolded soundly by Abigail, aka Princess Pretty Paws, in the wee hours of the morning. (Shaun, Husband Extraordinaire, often helps out with Abby…no really, our household is basically just a cat entourage…for one cat.)
I’m available for follow-up 30 minutes after the Broadcast ends via twitter or just comment below
Theatre Asylum is excited to present the Social Media Boot-Camps with Outreach Nerd, Cindy Marie Jenkins. Learn how to turn your team into effective promoters, hone your pitch to the press, write a marketing strategy using your talents and create brand ambassadors to increase word-of-mouth. Cindy Marie Jenkins will run the interactive workshops, giving useful takeaways regardless of your budget or manpower.
*The Fine Print: Opinions expressed are my own & not representative of any clients: past, present or future.
I use many brands for examples but do not necessarily endorse any one over the other.
on efficient and inexpensive ways to caption your online content for accessibility.
PS This will be captioned soon!
Alex Lotz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Brian Reis <email@example.com>
$5 for a video with run time under 1:15
$10 for run time under 2:15 (but over 1:15)
$15 for run time under 3:15 etc. until $35 for 7:15.
Any video longer than 7:15 and less than 11:15 is $40.
Videos in the 11:15 – 15:15 length range are $45.
Any video longer than 15 minutes will be $3 per minute (with the “minute” mark still happening at the :15 interval instead of :00).
If a script or transcript of the text to be captioned (with or without time code) is provided, there is a discount of 50 cents per minute of the video’s run time.
We also offer further discounts for channels looking to caption multiple videos:
10% off for at least 5 videos
20% off for at least 10 videos
30% off for at least 15 videos
40% off for at least 20 videos
and 50% off for 50 or more videos.
The bulk discounts are applied after any transcript discount.
These are regular Membership Prices. For a very limited time you can buy any of these Memberships with a ton of extra benefits through their Kickstarter Campaign that runs until January 2nd, 2013. Some deals are limited so pop over there asap!
ABOUT RACHEL, from her site: I’ve been involved in social networks for nearly a decade, well before the term social media came about. Now, I work professionally in social media marketing. I design creative and engaging strategies for clients that achieve measurable goals on a variety of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Pose, LinkedIn, Etc. Sometimes I write about marketing. This year I co-wrote a 3-part series in MAGIC Magazine titled “Social Media Marketing for Magicians.”
At a wedding right after “The Hurt Locker” premiered, my husband Dan spoke with a family friend on leave from the military. This friend didn’t understand why anyone would want to watch a movie like “The Hurt Locker,” why we would want to see that story on screen. Dan explained that we have no idea what daily life is in the military is like, and especially not those specific stories.
That’s all it took for the family friend to understand. He never considered that we, artists in Los Angeles, might want to get a glimpse of understanding his work.
I think it really hit him in a positive manner.
Yesterday I saw La Razon Blindada, the production that transferred from 24th ST to Rubicon Theatre Company. I knew the basic premise: two political prisoners meet every Sunday at 3pm and cannot move from chairs or remove their hands from the table (true story). To sustain their sanity, their reason behind bars (thus the title, which translates to The Armored Reason), they tell each other stories. Read more….
Please help by dropping by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf tomorrow: $1 fantastic drinks and all the money goes to The Help Group’s great programs! Tag #TheCoffeeBean4Kids and I’ll share through The Help Group’s twitter account.
Along with live-tweeting for their twitter account, I created a storify so people not on twitter can also follow along! Storify is a new outlet for me, so please connect if you are there and say hello.
The Help Group Summit brings researchers, clinicians, teachers, students & parents together to learn the advances & new best practices. This year’s Summit focuses on Autism, Learning Differences & ADHD.
Here is a sample of pictures from Friday! Check back for short Saturday clips too.
As you enter & sign in, tables display some of the amazing programs you can find at The Help
Group. It isn’t just a school, but also has numerous after-school and weekend activities as well as aiding int hat very important part of lives – Transition.
Of course we get a swag bag too, with pens and schedules and such. I still use the one I got last year; great for papers & other conferences.
OUTREACH SHOUT-OUT: Always send your attendees away with swag they’ll use often, like bags and pens. They’ll become your own Brand Advocates.
I really enjoy the variety of sessions as well as atmosphere (and coffee/tea/water availability!). Speakers’ slides are given to attendees upon sign-in which allows us to listen and not furiously take notes.
OUTREACH SHOUT-OUT: Note the ASL Interpreter in the bottom right corner of the right picture.
On to lunch!
John Farrimond first introduced David Ono, emcee and representing the Summit’s Media Sponsor ABC7.
Then Dr. Firestone, CEO of The Help Group, introduced First 5 LA, Major Sponsor of the Summit and gave framed student art as thanks.
For many reasons too numerous to list here, The Help Group awarded Senator Carol Liu a Champion of Children Award.
Liu was brief but quite powerful in her acceptance speech: “I share and support the HELP Group’s fight to ensure all children are treated with dignity and given the support they need to reach their full potential. The HELP Group, volunteers, and parents have proven themselves indispensable partners and effective advocates for children with special needs.”
HEARD ABOUT IT FROM: Part of my Outreach Consulting
WHY IT WAS RAD: After a performance in Spanish w. English super-titles, we talked about communicating through English, ASL & Spanish – in all three languages at once! [Video available soon] Read Audience Response.
HEARD ABOUT IT FROM: Diana Wyenn asked me to run Social Media Strategy w/ Jim Halloran
WHY IT WAS RAD: Refocused negative energy from Carmageddon II into a movement towards local art; a movement for audiences and artists alike.
WHAT: DIY Day at the Broad Humor Film Festival. Co-panelist Erika Cervantes from Comediva & I talked to filmmakers on the importance of social media even before you have a product (but not before you have content).
Arts Outreach is a huge part of The CMJ Stories. Every Monday I go Beyond the Blurb of an indie artist’s work, non profit or cause to cultivate more of their audience. Wednesday is Wild Card Day, and usually includes live streams with great speakers!
There are many reasons why this work excites me, not the least of which is the fact that my job is to tell the stories coming out of this amazing theatre every single day.
One highlight, though, is the 1st time campaign. We want people to feel welcome bringing their kids to 24th ST for their first experience of theatre, and so our friends & staff are telling me about their 1st times.
Calling all artists, arts organizations, and venues… Join ARTmageddon!
Are you planning an arts event for Carmageddon weekend? Thinking of holding one? Already have something running or on view September 29 and/or 30?
Very soon the media, city officials, metro, and pretty much everyone else in Los Angeles will all be talking about one thing: Carmageddon II. Let’s unite in response and offer Los Angeles residents an alternative view of what to do on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30… ARTMAGEDDON.
Running parallel to Carmageddon II, this two-day citywide celebration of the arts encourages Angelenos to stay out of their cars and, instead, walk-bike-metro to their local galleries, theaters, music venues, museums and more. Via www.ARTmageddonLA.com, we are telling your neighbors to experience your art.
Already, we have the support Metro, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, ForYourArt, LA Stage Alliance, and a growing consortium of community partners; but what we really need now is you. Please contact Camille Schenkkan and Lyn Cowan, artist & organization liaisons, at join@ARTmageddonLA.com to join this collaborative effort. Participation is free and open to all.