#TBT: Promote Your Show Like a Movie

Happy #TBT! Here’s an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: Promote Your Show Like a Movie. [This article was originally published in 2009.]

I absolutely love one of the posts by a blogger known as the Performance Monkey. Here’s a key snippet:

Photo Credit: Jeremy Yap via Unsplash

“Tell me you wouldn’t love this. You’re settling into your seat at the theatre. The curtain is about to rise on The Jersey Boys, say, or Act Without Words II. But before the show begins, the stars of three or four other shows rush in and hurtle through capsule versions of their productions: all tease and shiver, crackle and charm. Yes, my friends, the monkey would love to see trailers, live on stage.

You can’t quite see Dame Judi Dench hurtling round a dozen theatres in London’s West End to plug Madame de Sade? Me neither, alas, but wouldn’t it be amazing if she did?”

Yes, it would, PM. It’s a terrific idea, and someone should do it.

Two alternative suggestions: First, get more junior actors to go out to these houses and do a short, snappy scene instead of the stars. Obviously that wouldn’t scale, but with lesser-known actors, perhaps it would. For it to have impact, you’d probably need to be present in 10 to 12 of the places where the audience for your show is likely to be taking in a show that evening. There’s issues, but this isn’t as ridiculous an idea as it sounds because the payoff could be tremendous.

Second, why not do movie-style trailers broadcast on a screen? Many of today’s theaters have the ability to put something on a screen, and people do love trailers. In fact, David Elzer, big-time L.A. theater publicist, says that one of his keys to success is thinking of promoting his shows the way he would promote a movie.

In fact, for today’s media consumer, I can hardly think of something that would promote a show better than a movie trailer-style video clip.

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