Thursday, December 13, 2007

Production Pathos and Viral Vectors

Today's posting is all about Production and Marketing, the two key challenges that are paralysing the operations at Grinder Productions. I know that I was initially going to cover these in two separate articles, but the two areas are intertwined, as I am learning more and more every day.

Let's start there - the medium is no longer the message - according to Punk Marketing - the message is the message. If my message is back to being the message (insert celestial praise here) then that means the message matters once again. The days of putting a cheese sandwich on the stage and having people come and watch it are over, people. Okay, maybe not completely over - they'll come the first time but they won't come back once they've learned their lesson. However it goes further than that. Not only is the message the message again, it's not the marketers that are writing that message - it's the market. They not only dictate what's good and what's not - they create what's good and what's not, whereas we, the ones on the production end, can only produce what's not - hence the failure of traditional marketing. From now on I am abandoning my quest for a marketing person - the whole world is my marketing department, a department that is screaming out to be heard, and when it is given the chance produces results that are actually worth the effort that has gone into them!

My role is changing. I think that my new role in marketing and in production will actually be quite similar, hence the intertwinement. It doesn't matter how much I know about either one of those areas - the traditional marketing is being thrown out the window, so traditional methods of production might as well go with it - they weren't working much better anyways - it's time to shape-shift.

In the new reality I don't sell shows - I create ways for the world to sell the shows. I am viral. I am punk. I am not a part of the equation, at least not that anyone can notice or care about. Selling a show is as much about putting people in the audience as it is putting a product onstage, so I will also create ways for the world to produce the shows they are coming to. In a world where you can do almost anything from your computer it is increasingly important to find ways to capitalize on that ability, rather than staying a specialist in a given field that is rapidly being replaced by the wonders of Wikipedia.

For example, I have come up with an idea for our February show, Dating Disasters. It looks something like this:

Contest: tell us your worst dating story in 3 minutes or less – doesn’t have to be true, just has to be entertaining! The best entries will be invited to read their stories live at the ECA on February 15th, where the audience will vote for the best “worst” story, the funniest story, and the most outrageous story. Winners will receive prize money and a prize pack filled with gifts from sponsors. Out of town? You can still submit a story and if it’s chosen and you can’t be there in person we’ll get one of the talented folks at Grinder Productions to read it for you.
Point Person: JK

Notice that the entire show is generated by the user: none of the content has to come from Grinder Productions, almost all we need to do is set up a microphone and have a couple of people (could be as simple as one man and one woman) to read any out-of-town selections. By adding a monetary reward (and we will need to fix the amount at something substantial) the invitations have the potential to become viral on the web. And the money again becomes a tool for the people who are chosen - if you want to win then you have to get your friends out to vote for you. Our job is to assemble a prize pack for the winners - again this generates interest - and perhaps secure a sponsor or two for the event to help cover the rental costs and prize money (though we'd still charge admission). And I shouldn't even be directly involved with it - I should just set it up and let it fly with the help of my point person. Her job will be to make everything work, but the incentive is getting to judge all the submissions to determine the finalists.

Welcome to the new reality at Grinder Productions. In the coming days I'll talk more about my ideas for other projects. I already have a few ideas for The Blue Room, our January show, but I'm not quite sure I've got it quite where it needs to be. Again the days of throwing out every idea under the sun and hoping one of them will sell tickets are over. Now it's all about finding the right idea to sell that particular show. There will still be some room for trial and error, and certainly every idea won't work equally well (or disastrously, with any luck!), but it's all about thinking creatively and remembering that we're not the ones doing the selling any more.

Meals on Wednesday:
Breakfast - nothing.
Lunch - Hash browns and chicken
Snack - buttered bagel
Snack - chocolate bar and Pepsi
Snack - two pieces of toast with peanut butter
Snack - three chocolates


Richard Laermer said...

Wait. what about dinner!

Mr Laermer said...

Wait! What about dinner!