So I`ve been posting like a madwoman tonight, but wanted to announce that my company, Eating Their Words, LLC, which weds a seasoned chef with three established playwrights for an integrated evening of new cuisine and new theater (in Manhattan), launched its website on Saturday. A theater director and choreographer based in Manhattan who got tired of subscribing to the notion that being an artist means being broke and waiting for others to give you a career, I started this company to see if I could profit from the two things I love most: developing and directing new plays, and eating fine cuisine. My premiere event is three weeks from tonight, and I am marketing my face off, but in some exciting news, I received an unsolicited inquiry from a New York paper who wants to do a story on my company! But almost more exciting was taking a brief nap this afternoon and waking up to find a large sum of money in my bank account! It was the best nap ever! For any of you in the arts, and particularly theater, let me tell you -- this NEVER happens. Finally, I received a referral to direct a new play from someone who saw my website...so hopefully my desire to kickstart my career rather than waiting for it is being realized. So, needless to say, today was a great day. Please visit www.eatingtheirwords.com to see the site. My web designer did a beautiful job. Thank you to SUN -- it has quite literally changed my life. Hoorah!
Congrats on taking the reins! You`ve got a really unique idea and I can definitely see it taking off in a cultural center like NYC. Keep us informed of how it goes and feel free to ask any questions of the community.
No, thank YOU, Rich. The Life Plan changed my life. It seemed highly improbable that as an artist I could simply take the two things I love most (theater and food) and create a business out of them. I have always believed in the notion, "do what you love and the money will follow". Your book challenged me to maintain my optimism, and take the appropriate, calculated steps. Will see how ticket sales do. But it seems to be feeding on itself (pun intended).
Very cool site! And y`know what I love the most about it?...the Need to
Know section where you tell people go "get over it!" LOL! That`s
perfect, and it`s great to see a new and fresh attitude, cancelling out
this never-ending compromise, trade-off, and catering to whimsical
You`re right to focus on what it is you`re passionate about. You`ll
never please everyone, but if you offer to share what you particularly
enjoy, you`ll find plenty of people who agree with you. :-) Most
Excellent, and I`m also waiting to hear the news following your
Thanks, Craig, I really appreciate your saying that. Ticket sales have slowed, and I was told I`m not allowed to panic as a CEO, but rather, have to stay calm, push forward, and figure out how to get this out there. The New York Sun just interviewed me, so I hope to get some press, but I need to sell tickets ASAP. Thoughts?
Is there any way you can afford radio advertising? Perhaps if not, one
of those "be the 15th caller and receive two tickets?"
Are you doing any marketing through the restaurant itself? If they are open to it, you could put a stack of postcards near the front door. Or a tasteful sign on the door. Make it something that promotes an event at the restaurant. That`s marketing for not just your show, but the restaurant itself. See, they might be okay with it if they`re getting something out of it as well.
OK, I`m going to share something scary... you ready? Press coverage in major publications doesn`t matter.
Well, perhaps it matters a little, but many many many small businesses put themselves out of business searching and chasing those big wins while they let countless smaller ones go by.
You`re not "selling tickets". You`re not even putting on an event. You`re doing something bigger than you or your customers or the restaurant.... you`re "telling stories with food and words". All the rest of what you do is just tactics that support that idea. This is your higher calling. (Although I`d suggest really spending some time on refining the higher calling itself beyond what I just said)
In order to be successful on a consistent basis, you need to create something that creates a grassroots movement. You need an army of people telling others about how cool your events are. You need an army of people uploading pictures, blogging, sharing, and telling their friends that they simply have to go see it for themselves. (I`m assuming here that your product is worthy of such praise! :))
I recently heard a story about a filmmaker who had created a film that he had skipped trying to sell to a big Hollywood distributor. Instead, he was driving a copy of his film, a projector, and a screen around to various town halls, libraries, and other local venues around the upper east coast. This wasn`t some homemade movie - it has great production value and known actors. Still, taking it to the distributors would likely netted him a minor amount of money.
Instead, he focused on what he was ultimately doing with the film in the first place - showcasing that great film making CAN happen on the upper east coast. And even more broadly, he was trying to, as he put it "bring back regional cinema". He created a grassroots movement that helped propel his film because it was simply a vehicle for getting across an idea that many people believe(d) in: promoting regional cinema. He picked up supporters like mad because they wanted to see the MOVEMENT succeed and they figured the best way for that to happen was to see HIM succeed.
You`re not doing this project for the vast sums of money that you hope it will bring you, right? What are you doing it for? Can you take that reason and turn it into a mission (not a mission statement)? Is it a mission that can pick up supporters who also believe in the movement, and indirectly your method of propelling the movement?
With the way the Web works today, you can create "movements" easier than ever. Here`s a few things I`d do if it were me:
1. Post photos. Your coming soon on the site`s gallery page screams "We haven`t actually started yet!"
2. Allow attendees to submit their thoughts, pictures, ideas about the event. Don`t edit them except for atrocious spelling errors.
3. Clarify what this thing is about... the current tag line means nothing. Make it mean something higher than you, higher than your customers, higher than the event.
4. Start a blog on (or connected to) the site and post regularly. Let this be the place where you talk about the higher calling, your mission, your movement. Everything you post backs up that mission somehow.
5. Create a facebook group.
6. Reach out to local culture bloggers and invite them to come to an event for FREE. This isn`t the major media, it`s the smaller folks who get all excited about getting invited to things that normally only the major critics get invites to.
7. Create shareable methods that interested parties, happy customers, believers in the movement, etc. can use to promote. Such as:
- Graphical button/banners that people can use on a web site
- Logo library so that it`s easy to add a logo to a blog post
- Social site buttons (to make it easy to submit pages to sites like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, etc.)
Anyway, cool concept, I wish you all the best!!