What this blog is about

It's an art blog.
Mostly about theatre... but also a healthy dose of pop culture, politics and shameless self-promotion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Looking for a designer

Plus a couple of other cool things to check out

Hey kids;
If you're a cool designer and looking for something challenging and new to work on, contact me.

Seriously: I'm shifting into heavy grant writing mode, and am hoping to produce a workshop of my play REALITY. I'm looking for someone who likes to play with lights, set, and costumes (all at the same time, please) and is based in Toronto. I've always had heavy design elements in my previous work, and I like to give designers lots of creative freedom. Plus, I really like meeting and working with new people.

That being said, I'm already working with a web designer and a video content designer, so as we develop our design concept, we all need to work together. Oh, and remember, all my big plans are contingent on funding etc. etc. (you know the drill).

Speaking of my web guy, he just updated his website: new design, new sections, new extention demos, and an interactive "style chooser". Check it out.

On the other side of the country, one of my favourite bloggers has just released a new e-book on social marketing for arts. Less than 20 bones, and worth every penny. But don't take my word for it: check out this glowing endorsement from Simon over at the Next Stage.

Back here in TO, the Fringe is almost here. You can find all of the play listings on their website, and other info (like getting tix, etc.) However, if you're looking for a extensive list of previews, check out Mooney on Theatre's ever-growing Coming to Fringe 2009 section on her blog.

Oh, and yes this maybe old news but... have y'all checked out The Room yet?


Friday, June 19, 2009

Is there any comparison? Part II

Mr. Ellis weighs in

A little background: Adrian Ellis and I go way back to High School, but have only reconnected in the past couple of years when I moved out to T.O. He's a wicked cool artist that composes for film but also composes and does sound design for theatre, most recently Staged & Confused's successful production of The Crackwalker.

Those of you that are interested in the nitty-gritty of the film composer's creative process should definitely check out his blog The Music Creative. I think its fascinating, and I totally dug his latest post on Music for Theatre. Oh, and you can also follow him on Twitter, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Aside from the fact that I think he's a righteous dude (and that we're planning to do some collaboration on the next incarnation of Superhero Live! as soon as I get this REALITY itch out of my system), I bring all this up because he wrote me an email the other day about my recent post that I wanted to share with y'all.

Check it out:
Hey Aaron,

You should open up your blog for non-Blogger users to comment!! ;)

(Aaron says: this is now fixed, by the by. Anybody who wants to post comments is now free to do so. Thx for the heads up, dude.)

I actually think this is a fascinating topic. Here are my thoughts:

Slimy producers vs. greedy wanna-be's

'If you build it, they will come'.

The producers see a need, and a cheap way to create programming that the public consumes like fresh baked double chocolate frosted cupcakes. As with most things that people lament about our consumerist, hyper-capitalist world, it is the public's acceptance, nay, requirement and hunger for entertainment in the form of sadism. They love to see people persevere and overcome, but even more, they love to see someone fail. This is what I find truly disturbing, not one opportunistic producer or fame-hungry stars in waiting, but the fact that people desire this highly negative, judgmental form of entertainment.

Why do they do it

Very very very very few artists have even the faintest clue about the music or film industry. There is an incredible deficit of proper and realistic education about the ins and outs, pitfalls of 'The Biz', and resources and strategies for success. Instead, people are transfixed by the myths and false promises of the industry - the big bucks and fame, that somehow, magically and by their (supposed) talent, they will be found, recognized, and in every way shepherded (bum patted) to success. Beyond this, even if an artist is somewhat educated about these things, they are not in any way prepared for what to do when 'it' does happen (you've won the lottery, now what?). A career is an incredibly difficult thing to manage, and even if you 'make it' a lot can happen. To make it you have to have a plan, and a sustained career has to have a plan.

So to answer your questions:

I'm trying to figure out what drives people to Reality-TV, despite the overwhelming odds and risks associated with it. Is it the money? Is it the lure of fame? Is it something else?

What drive artists into our profession, despite the overwhelming odds and risks associated with it? Is just passion? Is it the lure of fame? Or is it something else...

I think it's ignorance of the realities of the industry, and moreover, of the nature of reality tv. Recently, filmmaker friends of mine wanted to join the 'On The Lot' program, where filmmakers 'compete' against one another in order to have a film produced by Spielberg (or something, can't remember). I said, forget it guys. They really thought it was a shot at fame.
1. It's a lottery,
2. The best do not always win
3. The producers aren't interested in making stars, they are interested in making dramatic television that retains a high viewership. They will put you in positions that will make you look terrible (by design or post-production), and at worst will cost you your integrity and any real credibility you might have. Do you think the 'winner' of this show will have real clout in Hollywood? Never. It's a joke. They really had no clue what it was really about.

People have stars in their eyes. Everyone believes they have a special talent that is unique and will be recognized. The truth is, no one cares. You have to fight tooth and nail (just like any other entreprenuer!!!) to make your art heard/seen/cared about. Go online and check out some unknown indie-bands on myspace or whatever. There are tens of THOUSANDS - and many are good, if not great! Why are they not famous? Well, they can't ALL be famous, even though they 'deserve' it.

As far as the non-reality star chasing artists are concerned? Man, it takes all types. Let's assume they know the odds of the industry. Well, you gotta still somehow believe that you are going to have a go at it and make it because of god knows what reason. Faith, I guess? Yea, some are in it for the money, some the fame... more are starting to get it that those days are probably over, but there are real ways (hello, Internet distribution/marketing) to make a living - but it's hard and will take tons of work. Me? I do it because I absolutely LOVE what I do, and I want to spend as much time as possible being creative with the BEST creative people - and that means, doing it professionally. I no longer chase fame/fortune - I know the chances are miniscule, and mostly dependent on luck. But, I do know if I bust my ass and do the best work I can, I have an ok chance of at least making a decent living doing what I love.



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cool debate

one big umbrella

On the merits of a "Luminato Fringe"

Me and MK are chatting about the pros and cons (and the likelihood) of Luminato starting up a 'Fringe' festival.

I'm pretty sure I'm talking about issues that are way above my head, but it's still been a cool chat thus far. Anybondy else that has an opinion on the matter should weigh in. I'm a little tired of my own opinions and would love to read what other people think...

Check it out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is there any comparison?

Susan Boyle

Is it wrong to feel kinship with Reality stars?

While surfing, I stumbled upon this article on Yahoo! about the darker side of Reality TV.

The second line is what caught my attention:
But who is to blame when an everyday person becomes an overnight TV sensation and can't cope -- when Susan Boyle falls ill after failing to win "Britain's Got Talent" or when "American Idol" fan Paula Goodspeed, who was teased after a poor tryout, commits suicide outside the home of a judge?

It's a good question. Since most of the Reality-TV analysis I've come across in recent weeks has been framed negatively, I'll pose it this way...

Do you blame the heartless and slimy networks/producers that create the shows or do you blame those attention-starved celebrity wannabes that audition for them?

Alot of people will answer, who cares?

But when I thought about it, I couldn't help but compare these folks to regular artists - like you and me. Not in terms of talent, but rather in terms of the disdain a good portion of our society has for us (while, at the same time, they keep sampling our wares).

I mean, when you publish a report that highlights a 37% wage gap between artists and the average Canadian worker, and that nearly half of us make less that $10K per year, the ensuing public response can range from apathy to outright hostility.

I'm trying to figure out what drives people to Reality-TV, despite the overwhelming odds and risks associated with it. Is it the money? Is it the lure of fame? Is it something else?

What drive artists into our profession, despite the overwhelming odds and risks associated with it? Is just passion? Is it the lure of fame? Or is it something else...

And are the two urges related?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back from the dead?

Hey kids;

Been a while since my last post.


I've been writing. Lots.
... and I'm kinda superstitious, and somehow got it into my head that blogging would somehow stem my creative flow.

But a couple of things that I wanted to let you know about:

1) I'm participating in a workshop this afternoon at CanStage, part of their Festival of Ideas and Creation. It's a Master Class called Projection Design, Language and Collaboration with Ben Chaisson and Beth Kates. Pretty friggin cool. Should be very useful.

2) Check out this show about Reality TV that's premiering at the Toronto Fringe this year. I'm going to check it out... I sure hope it's good.