Tag Archives: media

Theatre Blogging: it’s not what it could be

I heard recently about a director having the nasty experience of inviting a journalist into rehearsals and then having an unhelpful (I haven’t read it, it’s paywalled) preview article published just before the show opens.

Yuk.

Reading about it sent me back to look at what I wrote nearly eleven years ago (!) about using blogging in theatre.  I was surprised to see what emphasis I put on buzz and PR (that was how the original question had been framed).  And it’s that angle that all the marketing people picked up. I went to see John Berry at ENO because (see the comments on the post) they were doing something like this a couple of years later.  And a year after this first post, I did a little site about the opening of Avenue Q.  It had to be done, and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t read any of the West End theatre blogs or the mainstream journalism that has taken on our blogging form but sticks to traditional writing styles of reporting and criticism.

But I was thinking about more than marketing.

What I was thinking was of a kind of collaborative production journal, where everyone contributes…  think “The Making of…” fly-on-the-wall documentary style, only on the web, and released in chunks as they happen, day by day rather than being stitched together after the show has closed.

I think this points to something much more interesting to do – about using these tools as part of the production, as part of the artistic process, to log progress and reflect on thinking and how things are emerging, for the benefit of the team themselves much more than prospective audience members and to create something bigger and longer-lasting and more networked than traditional documentation or archiving.  It’s “sources going direct”, cutting out the dependence on news organisations (and their sodding paywalls) and making our own media.

 

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Playing with GIFs from archive film ( cc @time_image )

I don’t know what I’m trying to do!

I’m just playing really, but I think there’s something in here – look at how current popular media gets scrunched into little animated GIFs – does that only work for stuff that’s around now or that we’ve some connection to? Isn’t there still some fun in seeing loops of little scenes that we’re not so familiar with? I’ve been looking through the stuff in the British Council Collection which is all BY-NC licenced

So far I’ve just picked out scenes that I think would look good as a loop. But there’s also that gifset thing where you can sum up a sequence made up of little bits (often with subtitles for the key dialogue) I may try that sometime.

sparksshakes

Today I also had a go at making something else: a loop of tracings from a scene

traced30dive30

 

I should write up a bit more about how I did that, but if you’re interested there’s more of this spilling out into my tumblr all the time.

On Channels and Combinations #ukgc13 #commscamp13 #tuttle

Sitting in groups of traditional marketers or comms people I often groan.  The most likely trigger is hearing words like: “Social media is just another channel”

Yes, you can see social media as a channel, but if you treat it like the other “channels” that you’ve had in the past (TV, radio, press) you’re missing out on the secret magic.

What’s importantly different about social media is that they encourage many-to-many connections rather than one-to-one or one-to-many connections.  The counting that goes on is all 1:1 or 1:M – how many followers do you have, how many people saw this tweet/ad/page/article/video.  But what really counts, what really makes a difference is relationship, including the relationships that you foster with your media but aren’t part of yourself.   This is social object territory – make stuff that other people use to connect with each other.  Most traditional comms efforts are still focused on creating a relationship between the creator and their audience whereas the real value for the community as a whole is the potential for connection between members of the audience and that’s what the internet and social media unlock.

This is the magic of unconferences and #tuttle-like meetings too.  They are designed to create connections between participants rather than building a dependent relationship between participants and the organiser.  Traditional conferences want you to sit and listen and know how brilliant the organisers are so that you will buy subscriptions to their publication or pony up to come to the next event.  They grudgingly give you more networking time because you are connected people who understand the value of having many, diverse, connections and you understand the power of conversation.  But there’s a payoff in this for organisers – they want you to have just enough networking time to have your conversation-hunger satisfied, but not so much that you start to think that you can do without them and omniscience.

At an unconference or #tuttle though the whole point is about making connections and building relationships.  Most newbies, when you ask them, think that they’re coming for information, but by the end, most know (even if they can’t articulate it) that what they  really got was the benefit of conversation with fellow human beings and the potential for new actions that arise from the new connection.

Just quickly a bit of maths – In any group, the number of potential pairings is n(n-1)/2

(check it if  you’re not used to this sort of numberwork – If I’m in a room  containing n people, I can make n-1 pairs with others and there are n of us who can all do that. My pairing with, say, @danslee is the same as @danslee’s pairing with me, so divide by two)

At #commscamp13 there were 135 people – in traditional terms this would be quite a small gathering because we’d only be able to get our message to 135 people.  But by focusing on connections and the relationships that result from that, we get (135 x 134)/2 = 9,045 – nine thousand potential connections being nurtured feels a lot more valuable than 135  people receiving the message through the channel, doesn’t it? Is it surprising that from those nine thousand pairs some amazing conversations happened?  And that’s not even taking into account the three-way or four-way conversations that could have happened too.

That’s  why I spend my time creating spaces where people can connect without being told what to talk about or when to talk and when to listen.

 

G20 Voice starting

IMG_0121Still not entirely sure what to do with this opportunity. My instinct is to look for the stuff that other people aren’t covering or noticing. So I included in my intro tags #hiddenstories.

So I expect mainstream media to lead on soap opera stuff between Brown, Obama and Sarkozy.

I expect many people to lead on the sorts of things being talked about here by Oxfam – a rescue & financial stimulus package for poorer countries.

I’m interested in how social media is actually being used to open up the conversation – you may have seen a reference to me in Rory Cellan-Jones’s post yesterday and it’s the middle bit that is interesting, how “ordinary people” who aren’t directly involved in the summit and who aren’t interested in throwing bricks at bankers can take part in the important decisions that are being made at the moment. I’m not suggesting that we can be a direct line between you and the Prime Minister or Mr President but can we be more of a two-way medium? Can we, should we, how should we be doing more than either being a reporter or being a lobbyist?

Keeping thinking and talking and listening here.