Friday, October 29, 2004

The Illinois Arts Council Seeks Artists For 2005-2007 Artstour Program:
The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is now accepting applications from Illinois performing artists, companies and ensembles for inclusion in the 2005 - 2007 Artstour Program Artists Roster. The application deadline is DECEMBER 1, 2004.
Artstour is the IAC's fee support program linking Illinois presenters with the wealth of touring artists in this state. Illinois artists can increase their visibility to Illinois presenters and expand their opportunities to tour throughout the state by applying to be a part of the Artstour Program Roster.
Illinois artists, companies and ensembles working in the following disciplines are eligible to apply to be a part of the Artstour Program Roster:
  • Dance
  • Mime
  • Multi-Disciplinary Performance
  • Music
  • Performance Poetry/Literature
  • Storytelling
  • Theater
  • Traditional Ethnic and Folk Arts.
Individuals must be current residents of Illinois and cannot be enrolled in a degree seeking or certificate granting program of any kind. Companies and groups must be based in Illinois and be composed primarily of Illinois artists. Not-for-profit status is not a requirement for application to this program.
The 2005-2007 Artstour Program Artists Roster Guidelines and Application materials are available from the IAC website.
For further information about this program and/or to receive a hard copy of these materials, contact the Artists and Community Services Program Staff at the IAC office, email or phone 312/814-8715, toll-free in Illinois 1/800-237-6994, TTY 312/814-4831 for individuals who have hearing or voice impairments, Address:
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph, Suite 10-500
Chicago, IL 60601-3298.
This is all I know about this, caveat actor.

SAG CEO Hires Lawyer:
The top executive at the Screen Actors Guild has hired one of Hollywood's leading entertainment litigators in his struggle to hold his job at the bitterly divided union.
Robert Pisano, SAG's national executive director and CEO, retained Bert Fields for an expected showdown this weekend with a faction that wants to remove him from his $1.3 million per-year job
(from The Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, via Yahoo News). According to Screen Actors Guild reports that the average income its members earn from acting is less than $5,000 a year, or about four tenths of a percent of what Robert Pisano makes each year.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Difference Between Plays and News:
...let's hope that not all future drama adheres so closely to its second cousin, journalism. Much recent political theatre is informed by the desire to be either a report or an essay. Getting the facts out there is good - putting them on stage gives them electricity they would otherwise lack - but it is not the same as a play. When Shakespeare wrote his great historical plays, he chucked everything in: nonsense about witchcraft, battle scenes, father-son stuff, pageants, philosophical introspection. History, the record of facts, was a release for the great heap of images inside him - not a clamp on his imagination.
Theatre is a place of imagination, of compassion and of obsession. Much of the new journalism is too dry, too flatly written, too studiedly impersonal. Everybody leans on the authority of the everyday, rather than relying on the authority of the imagination
(from Guardian Unlimited).

Crain's Chicago Business on Dark Downtown Theatres:
Free-spending conventioneers come and go. Tourists pour into Chicago. City dwellers and suburbanites converge on downtown looking for fun. But big-time stages are empty
(from Crain's Chicago Business). The link to the whole article requires paid subscription (or read today's print version at a newsstand/bookstore). The article goes on to:
  • discuss the lack of open shows at theatre district venues
  • cite some stats on the city money put into the construction of the venues
  • suggest that when one company controls the market in an area, they have no incentive to increase supply.

Local theaters in ongoing search for target audiences:
...research on theater demographics tends to support the premise of a gradually aging audience. A survey by the National Endowment for the Arts found that the median age of attenders of plays and musicals was 45 and 46, respectively, in 2002, an increase of two years since 1992. (In the same period, audiences for jazz, classical music, opera, ballet and art museums aged even more.) More recent surveys have found that the average American adult theatergoer is now 46 or 47, a bit older than the total adult population's median age of 45.
What's more, the NEA found that in the decade between 1992 and 2002, the percentage of young people in the overall theater audience shrank significantly. Playgoers between the ages of 18 and 34 decreased from 33.3 percent of the total audience to 27.6 percent; young-adult attenders of musicals went from 32.6 percent to 27.4 percent. In the same period, theatergoers between the ages of 35 and 64 increased their audience share
(from Chicago Sun-Times).

Sunday, October 24, 2004

What Is a Personal Manager:
First, let's state what a personal manager is not. A personal manager is not an agent (whose role is to obtain employment). A personal manager is not a publicist (whose role is to generate publicity). Nor is a personal manager an attorney (whose role is to provide legal counsel). And, a personal manager is not a business manager (whose role is to provide accounting, investment, and other financial services).
A personal manager advises and counsels talent and personalities in the entertainment industry. Personal managers have the expertise to find and develop new talent and create opportunities for those artists which they represent. Personal managers act as liaison between their clients and both the public and the theatrical agents, publicists, attorneys, business managers, and other entertainment industry professionals which provide services to the personal manager's clients.
Picture a wagon wheel. At the very center is the axle. The axle is the performing artist around which everything revolves. The hub protects and supports the axle. That is the personal manager. The rim of the wheel is the artist's career which travels on what can often be a bumpy, long, winding road. Connecting the hub with the rim are many spokes which give the wheel support in different directions. These are the agents, publicists, attorneys, business managers, and other industry professionals which support an artist on the road to success. When the wheel is well constructed, the artist's journey can be smooth, speedy and successful.
A personal manager is responsible for everything and anything that enhances the development of a performing artist's career. From simple staging suggestions, to complex negotiations, to long term career plans, a personal manager lives the artist's career every day behind the scenes. The manager's commitment to and involvement in the artist's career is one hundred per cent. The personal manager is the driving force breaking through the barriers of frustration and difficulty so often encountered in the entertainment industry. A personal manager is the person who believes in and keeps fighting for a client when all others have given up.
With responsibilities like that, it is a prerequisite that a personal manager must have the broadest of experience in the entertainment industry. Professional personal managers are also well informed on industry practices, standards, and regulations. Plus, managers are alert to the constant changes affecting the entertainment industry. Only with experience and up to date knowledge can a personal manager benefit clients.
Personal managers who exhibit professional experience, conduct, and ethics have been elected to membership in the National Conference of Personal Managers, an association committed to the advancement of personal managers and their clients. Established in 1942, NCOPM members have vast experience and expertise in concerts, motion pictures, publishing, radio, recordings, television, and theatre.
NCOPM members abide by a code of ethics which includes: having personal management as their primary occupation; dealing honestly and fairly with their clients; not deriving personal gains at the expense of clients; treating client relationships in a confidential manner; not encouraging artists to breach existing personal management contracts; being proud of the personal management profession; and exchanging information with other NCOPM members in the best interest of their clients. Most importantly, NCOPM members never accept a fee from a client on the promise of attempting to obtain engagements for the client.
(from NCOPM). This is all I know about this, caveat actor.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Broadway as a Prism for History:
"Broadway: The American Musical," a six-hour documentary series, to be broadcast over three consecutive nights on PBS starting tonight
(from The New York Times).

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

France May Allow Jamming of Mobile Phones:
The government's industry minister has approved a decision to let cinemas, concert halls and theaters install cell phone jammers - on condition that emergency calls can still get through, officials said Monday
(from Associated Press, via Yahoo Financial News).
Cell phone jammers are already being used in a school in Italy to prevent students from cheating with them (from What What!).

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The Importance of Play Posters:
Good play posters do more than just give theater lovers, collectors and local luncheonettes artwork to display on their walls. They sell a show. To do that, they must catch your eye and hold it long enough for you to see who's in a show and what it's about
(from New York Daily News).

Sunday, October 10, 2004

PerformInk reports that Drury Lane now plans to open their Water Tower Place venue in January 2005.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Theatre Must Acknowledge that Money Exists:
If there is any doubt that money matters, just try not paying rent/mortage for your home or theatre. Paying actors, technicians, writers, designers, directors, and others something, even if it is less than they deserve, may not only be a respectful and essential component of treating them as professionals, but paying people allows them to spend their time and energy not doing something else. This is also true for producers. Not making money may not be sustainable.

The New York Post reports:
The producers of Peter and Jerry - an evening of two one-act plays by Edward Albee that was to have opened off-Broadway next month - have quietly and abruptly canceled the production because they fear the legendary playwright is no longer the box-office draw he once was.
In a letter to Albee, McCann [one of the producers] defended her decision by laying out in detail just how much money she and her investors have lost on his most recent plays, the sources said.
Those productions include the off-Broadway plays The Play About the Baby and Beckett/Albee, and the Broadway production of The Goat, which got generally strong reviews and a Tony Award for Best Play.
Albee is alledged to have responded:
Since when is anyone supposed to make money on an Edward Albee play?
SlowLearner (an NYC Playwright) points out, in a very good post, that:
...people who make their living investing in things want to invest in things that will at least make back their investment.
I'll go further and say that if they don't break even at least some of the time, they will run out of money and stop producing. SlowLearner continues:
I mean, if there are producers out there who want to keep pouring money into artistic work that isn't profitable, I think that's awesome. If someone were to buy me a DVD player just for the heck of it, I would think that was also awesome. But I don't sit here thinking I deserve a DVD player just 'cause I'm a cool guy and I know a lot about movies.
And goes further to say (emphasis added):
I guess I have an impulse to fight tooth and nail against surrendering to the idea of theater as a charity. I guess I buy into the idea that one indicator of one's value to a culture is the willingness of others to pay for your services.
SlowLearner asks if that is a bad way to think about the arts. I think money isn't everything, but it is a thing. In light of Defiant closing after their current show partly because, as Kara Loquist said:
...[people] aren't getting paid enough to own a house or do other things
money obviously matters (Kara Loquist, the current managing director, as quoted in PerformInk).

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Special Advertising Opportunity In Chicago Airports For Non-Profit Organizations:
Greetings! My name is Jen Wilding, actor/writer, and for my day-job I work as an admin assistant for Clear Channel - Airport Division in Chicago. I recently got word from our sales staff that there are some great discounts on advertising for not-for-profit/non-profit organizations and I wanted to share this with arts organizations that would normally find airport advertising to be beyond their marketing budget. These ads fall under the category of PSAs (Public Service Announcements) and get exposure to travelers in baggage claim areas and pedestrian walkways that lead to airport parking garages.
Our sales representatives are currently in the process of putting together the new Chicago showcase of local organizations for these spots at prices significantly discounted from standard advertising rates. Options that could work within your organization's budget may include 43"H x 62"W diorama ads and info boxes to hold brochures. The only catch with the PSA advertising is that no specific location is guaranteed and to get the PSA rates you must provide documented proof of not-for-profit/non-profit status.
For more info on pricing and options that would be best for your organization's budget, please email to Sales Rep Jennifer Pagano:
or call 312-475-1968
This is all I know about this; caveat actor (or rather producer).

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Big Hits verses Niche Markets:
Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream. entirely new economic model for the media and entertainment industries, one that is just beginning to show its power. Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what's available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble. And the more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought (or as they had been led to believe by marketing, a lack of alternatives, and a hit-driven culture)
(from While traditional theatre may never escape the realities of brick and motar logistics, film can, and does.

Someday maybe orchestras can tele-commute:
As pits have grown smaller, so that more seats can be sold or set designers' fancies indulged, a string quartet or a woodwind band, say, is moved into exile. The shrunken pit can be lucrative: add two rows of seats at $100 each for eight performances, and that could add up to $40,000 a week. Moreover, technology has made it easier to deploy musicians elsewhere. Shows have grown more heavily amplified, so the audience more and more hears what speakers are emitting
(from The New York Times).

Equity's First Membership Meeting of the 2004-2005 Season:
Friday, October 8, 2004 at 1 PM in the Member Center (Suite 1522) 125 S. Clark Street, Chicago, IL.
The agenda will include:
  • SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS to solicit suggestions for the LORT Contract, which expires on February 27, 2005.
  • Membership Discussion Period in accordance with the By-Laws.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The trend of TV and films writers writing for Broadway Musicals:
Traditionally, talent travels west. A big hit on Broadway leads to work in Hollywood. Recently, that trend has begun to reverse, and the most significant infusion of Hollywood talent today is within the ranks of legit's least-sung hero: the book writer
(from Variety, via Yahoo News).

Chicago International Film Festival opens Thursday:
Chicago International Film Festival opens Thursday featuring screenings of more than 100 feature films and 50 shorts from around the world
(from The Chicago Tribune).

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Chicago Community Cinema, a networking event for independent film in Chicago, has been canceled for tonight..

Season Preview 2004/2005: A run down of the planned Equity and Non-Equity theatre season in Chicago (from PerformInk).