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Selling Out With Jack Reuler

Is "free cheaper than cheap"? For Mixed Blood Theatre in the Twin Cities, it seems to be. Its admission initiative called "Radical Hospitality" allows anyone to attend a show for free. Three seasons of the campaign is paying off with increased popularity and donations.After hearing about the program on HowlRound.com, we spoke with Mixed Blood Theatre artistic director Jack Reuler. He shared further insights into what aspects of the program are working, what they're continuing to tweak and what...

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Customer Service

When Bad Reviews Turn Into a Win

No one ever wants bad reviews, but in the live entertainment industry there's always the possibility that an audience won't respond to your show the way you would like. And then, what do you do? Ignore the comments, or use them to build a better event?A great example of doing the latter is haunted house/immersive experience The Purge: Fear the Night from Blumhouse Productions, makers of horror films Paranormal Activity and Insidious. The initial idea was a free-roaming house...

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Marketing

Don’t Say “Guest” When You Don’t Mean Guest

For some reason, businesspeople tend to drift toward gibberish in their speech. (And you’re all businesspeople, by the way, even those of you who believe that “businesses” do something different from what nonprofits do.)In the search for something interesting, different and effective to say, people try a lot of things. Many of those things are nonsensical. Some of the nonsensical things sound good, and sometimes when they sound good people start copying that nice-sounding bit of nonsense. Eventually, people...

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Bright Ideas

Are Musicals a Gateway Drug for Opera?

David Belcher at The New York Times recently reported on the trend of opera houses performing American musicals in addition to traditional opera.Not only is it a way to add additional options to a company's repertoire, but it could be the "gateway drug" that brings in a new audience and gets them hooked on opera.It seems fair to say that an opera company will put a unique spin on Oklahoma! or The Sound of Music and that could be...

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Experience

“Deliberate Change”

The other day, I mentioned my encounter with Bob Farrell and it prompted me to read up a little bit on the mostly tragic history of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlours.Somebody, perhaps not a totally unbiased somebody, put a lot of effort to catalog the ups and downs of the organization, and it’s interesting reading, because it shows a fast rise, powered by a passionate concept, with adoring customers and a lot of unique qualities. But it also catalogs the...

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Experience

Can You Say “VIP” Without Cracking Up?

You should know, I like selling tickets. I like seeing the venues of Goldstar’s partners packed to the rafters and their bank balances go up. I also like seeing a room full (as opposed to a room half full) of people having a great time at a live event. That’s just how I am.So I’m on record a bunch of times in support of things like premium pricing, even so-called “VIP” packages. As a rule, when a fan wants...

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Bright Ideas

The Secret to Children’s Theater That Sells

Now that you're convinced you need to "get 'em while they're young," the trick is figuring out just how you're going to get them. Disney and Dreamworks have done a remarkable job creating movies that appeal to both youngsters and adults, but how does that translate to live entertainment?Utah's Deseret News looked into just that in a three-part series on children's theater. They asked a few local experts what's worked for them and came away with some great advice...

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Marketing

What Does “Get ‘Em When They’re Young” Mean for Live Entertainment?

Get a child hooked on your product when he’s 10, and he’s yours for life. A lot of marketers believe that as gospel, and from time to time evidence emerges that “proves” it.I’ve always been less convinced. Preference is highly perishable, and most of the “brands” I liked as a kid aren’t particularly relevant to me now. I mean, I still like Count Chocula in theory, but I don’t exactly eat much of it.And when you look at the...

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Marketing

Take Your Organization From Scrappy to Successful

Here’s an inspiring success story about Patrick Dooley, the artistic director of Shotgun Players in Berkeley, Calif. In 1992, the theater company called the basement of La Val's pizzeria home. Twenty-two years later, they operate out of a hip 120-seat converted church called the Ashby Stage. And they’re about to open Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy The Coast of Utopia.Two of Dooley’s quotes in Karen D’Souza’s San Jose Mercury News article caught my eye. The first shows he’s really paying...

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Word Stock

Word Stock Market: Service

The Word Stock Market is an occasional feature on SellingOut.com, where I will tell you whether to buy, sell or hold a certain word based on whether that word has a strong future or has seen better days. For example, if you’d bought the word “hybrid” 10 years ago (when it meant a cross between a horse and a donkey, not an eco-friendly car), you’d be rich today. On the other hand, if you’d bought “digital camera,” you’d be...

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