An Open Letter to Non-Theater (or Theatre if you’re all fancy) Goers

Remember when people used to write letters? All Griffin and Sabine and shit?

Remember when people used to write letters? All Griffin and Sabine and shit?

It’s not your fault really. There’s so much schlock that promotes itself as theater that it justifies your casting off any potential enjoyment of the form. Unfortunately I’m getting majorly screwed by that way of thinking in the process. Some have said that theater is a form with two feet in the grave just waiting for the rest of the body to fall in. It’s pretty accurate. With the major component of the audience being over the age of 50, white and upper middle class, it’s only a matter of time (say 30 years) before that audience is literally dead. Read More »

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Posted in Audience Engagement, Cultural Criticism, Humor, Self Promotion, Theater Business, Touring | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zero Stars. I Couldn’t Ask for More.

Me Want Stars

Wow. In the midst of my run at Minnesota Fringe I get an audience review with zero stars. Zero. Stars. What shocks me most is that this made me smile. What the fuck am I smiling about? This is bringing down my overall score. This is going to kill my audience. Actually… I couldn’t have asked for anything better to happen. Read More »

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Posted in Audience Engagement, Self Promotion, Touring | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Touring the College Circuit Through Speakers Bureaus

There are several ways to get on the radar of colleges and universities for performance opportunities. From contacting Student Activity Committees to attending Campus Activity Conferences like NACA and APCA to various funded and underfunded Student Groups on campuses it can seem daunting and overwhelming at first, but there is a way to streamline the process so that you are essentially wedding out the shit.  Read More »

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To Fringe or Not to Fringe…

Me and Mr. David Gaines working the Minnesota Fringe crowds.

…that is the question. I have done four U.S. fringe festivals which is nothing compared to some people I know. I based my decisions to tour to certain ones on a number of factors and research but actually doing them presents things you can only get through experience. One thing that happens when you tour the fringe circuit is you hear what works and what doesn’t really quickly from the other artists you end up meeting. Here’s the down-low. Read More »

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Posted in Self Promotion, Theater Business | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Responses

The Roller-coaster of Self-Producing Theater

Before you go self-producing your work dear friends you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1) Are you ready to work a ridiculous amount of hours to make it happen knowing that you might not even make a profit?

2) Are you organized? I mean super duper organized or are you kidding yourself?

3) Are you insane?

The last question is probably the most important one to answer. It also depends on your definition of insanity. I like this one: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I’m realizing quickly what works and what doesn’t, however there is no science to this kind of existence at all. There are so many factors that can make a run have high attendance and lots of buzz, as well as unseen elements that can cause you to lose your shirt even if you repeat the same system that worked the year before. Believe me I just experienced it first-hand. Read More »

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#1000thankyous

1000thankyous

So I’m having major resistance to writing these thank you notes that I was supposed to write over a month ago. To get myself over it and create a new mindset I’m doing a tweet-a-thon with the hastag #‎1000thankyous‬

In general I really enjoying expressing my gratitude but in the last few years I’ve felt compounded by a relentless schedule of performing and marketing the fuck out of those performances so that when I do have time off I just want to curl up with my wife and dog and watch really bad tv shows.

Nothing wrong with that but I notice that the feeling of love that is associated with giving gratitude is gone and replaced by an annoying sense of obligatory thanks. That’s why I don’t want to do it. I want it to come from a place of actual giving, of extending myself in a genuine opening of heart. I think that by having to write short thank yous with a large number and a short timeline attached I will stir the necessary elements up that will bring me back to a place of felt thanks.

Here’s the rules I set for myself and I invite you to join me:

  1. You have to write a personal manifesto of why you want/ need to take part in this project and post it on your blog/ tumblr. You can bit.ly link it to your tweets but that is optional.
  2. The 1000 tweets you write can’t start until tonight at 12:01 (Thursday 11/20) and must end by 11:59 Wednesday 1/26 just before Thanksgiving day begins.
  3. Any tweets without the hashtag #1000thankyous don’t count.
  4. You can thank anything and anyone you want. Just be authentic in your thank yous even if they seem silly and dorky.

That’s it. Join me! I’m @sethlepore on Twitter.

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Bad Advice: Londin Calling for a Cut and Color

Wow. Just wow.

Wow. Just wow.

I have a difficult conflict and I need your help. My sister is getting married soon and it so happens that the only hour I can get an appointment with my stylist to get a cut and color is the during her stupid ceremony. It’s really hard to get an appointment since she’s really popular. What should I do? -GH

Wow. I can’t tell if you’re horrible or my hero. I’ll give you one thing, you’re honest. Obviously you’re a narcissist. The fact that you even consider that getting a haircut instead of attending your sibling’s big day shows how vain and shallow you truly are. However, I’m going to point out something that I hope everyone benefits from. Read More »

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Bad Advice for Good People: Misanthropes and Cucumber Faces

Oh, you people.

Oh, you people.

I don’t like people. What do I do?

Wow, that’s an open-ended question that could lead to all sorts of crap advice, but I’ll go with first thought, worst thought. You need to learn how to garden and kill your own meat because you’re about to go off the grid completely. You know that book turned movie Into the Wild? You should watch that again, but avoid all the scenes where he’s talking to people and that revelation he has at the end while he’s dying of hunger about how much people matter. All that’s Hollywood jacking off. Read More »

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Bad Advice for Good People: Hobby as Lobby, Sensitive Artists and Dudes who want to hump their trucks

Don't take my word for it.

Don’t take my word for it.

The Hobby Lobby decision makes me want to move to Canada but I don’t know French. What should I do? -TZ

When things go wrong in America (and this latest debacle is real wrong) a lot of people want to jump ship. Remember this however: Most residents of Canada live 150 miles from the U.S. border because most of Canada is fucking cold as fuck (unless you’re in Vancouver which is basically Seattle without Sub Pop records) and btw, you don’t need to speak French necessarily. You do however need to be able to talk shit about America, all the time, forever more. Canada isn’t a state, it’s a country with a capital and provinces. If you can name all the provinces without wikipedia, then sure, move up there, but in terms of escaping shitty politics I have two words: Read More »

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A Trade Show for the Performing Arts. Huh? Yup.

conference post

 

A few of years ago I started to attend the various regional arts presenter conferences to sell my wares: um, that would be selling me. After touring a bit of the fringe circuit and self-producing my one-man shows I wanted to take the next step in my professional development and network with the gatekeepers of the performing arts industry. What I was about to embark on was incredibly strange, fulfilling, exhausting and necessary.

Let’s get one thing straight. Trying to make money as a performing artist can suck the life out of you. I’ve talked about the trial and error of self-producing at length. I got very quickly that donning on every administrative hat plus trying to write, rehearse and memorize my work was completely unsustainable. Shit, it still is. I’m actually doing the same amount of work after attending these conference for the past three years but I learned a deeply value lesson: Face time is everything. Read More »

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Bad Advice for Good People: I can’t get out of bed… I don’t know who to bed.

Told ya.

Told ya.

This retirement thing is weird.  I just can’t get out of bed in the morning.  Can you make staying in bed more productive ? -MM

Bed… so many things can be done in bed, both literally and figuratively. Let me give you some examples. You make a sandwich before bed and put it a small refrigerator next to your night stand. Lunch? Covered.

Also, it’s important that your night stand is really the size of a table. And get a couple lazy susans for that sucker. Besides your usual books and full glass of water that seems to be the latest “these are always on my nightstand” phenomenon, you’re going to need a bottle of whiskey, maybe a bong (you should really become a stoner if you’re going to be retired) and a remote for the newly installed widescreen that takes up the entire wall across from your bed. Everything else on there is up to your fancy. Ok? Good. Read More »

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Success Doesn’t Even Make it into the Equation

All roads lead to "Where is the funding coming from?"

All roads lead to “Where is the funding coming from?”

It seems that every two weeks the last couple months I’ve been hitting the same exact wall around being a theater artist. It’s the common “Why do I do this?” existential crisis. At least that’s what it seems like. However, there’s nothing existential about it. There’s nothing philosophical about the economic reality of theater. Read More »

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Posted in Creative Process, Cultural Criticism, Nonprofits, Soceity, Theater Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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