Friday, December 28, 2012

Have photo? Just add quotes.

Hey there,

So this is one's prompted by a TV show I personally am a fan of, literally and on Facebook, Once Upon a Time. And I love their shares on FB, particularly dramatic photos with one-liners from their characters. For example:, whoa. Especially if you are familiar with the show. But you know what? Even if you're not, it's probably piqued your interest, right?

So here's a prompt for mainly the theatre, opera, and chorale folks, but perhaps also the music and dance, maybe even visual arts. I hesitate to suggest the latter because the first three already have text to pull from. Obviously you wouldn't want to use anything that would be spoilers, but finding five to ten shouldn't be too hard. And most shows do a photo call anyway, so you should already have the photos. And then they can be shared leading up to and over the course of the run.

But, if done well, and without necessarily spelling it out for the audience, I'm sure music, dance, and visual arts could find a way to do something similar. Maybe for music, including something like liner notes or program notes from the composer, conductor, or even a musician. For dance, something similar, thoughts from the choreographer pulling right from the program notes

For the visual arts, I would say not a photo of the finished product, but the artist in the process of making the piece. And then include thoughts, if any, about it.

All this, I would argue, is a crucial part of curating an audience members's experience. Setting up context and expectation (even if partially), without necessarily spelling it out for them. Just a thought of how to easily create programatic content to share.

I will say this. I have seen some theatres post a picture, with a caption that's not taken from the script, but has something to do with ticket sales or a quote from a review. What I love about the Once Upon a Time example (and I know it's different, as it's a TV show) is that there is no call to action. It's just the photo with a beautiful line. Should you do this, when you do share it on your organization's page, don't include a link, don't say anything about getting a ticket, or how long the show runs.

Here's one I wish I'd done for my first Capital Fringe Festival production, in 2010, The Rave Scenes. Not a great example, but something:

So, just share the photo. Think of it as a gift you're giving your audience. Because the goal of this isn't a call to action to see the show, it's for them to simply like a beautiful photo and a great quote, and maybe even share it with their friends. This is crucial because the more they engage with your page, the more they'll see your content...all of your content. And you need content like this so that your audience knows you're not just about ticket sales and donations.

Which isn't to say that you can't or shouldn't ever use your photos to promote ticket sales, or donations, or whatever.. Just, make sure you mix it up with some ask-free content in there.

Anyway, what do you think? Maybe you'll add this to your list of social media resolutions for the New Year? Any challenges to doing this? Have you seen examples of it being done already by artists and organizations you follow?

Let me know in the comments,