Kissing Cousins

We are in the middle of having to make some rather large decisions about how to proceed with marketing our show. We’ve been afforded some amazing opportunities, which is good since we can’t afford to buy them ourselves, but we’re debating the usefulness of some of the different ideas. Just a quick recap on some of the marketing ideas that have been discussed here before. Put on your tongue-in-cheek-ometer for the following.

1) Name of the show. Pretty simple. Before you ever start writing, go ahead and pick a name that will mean something to people. At some point, someone thought of “Xanadu” and said “Ha! More like Xana-DON’T! Am I right!?” and then they went and named a show that. Except “Xanadon’t” looked wrong, so they named it “Zana DON’T!”. It’s just… I look at that and I feel pain.

2) Write the show so that people will really like it. Seriously. As you go through just be all “Now, will people see this and think it’s awesome? How do I make it more people-see-it-as-awesome-er?”

3) Cast famous people. If someone has their own daytime TV talk show and seems to be a big fan of musicals, there’s no reason not to cast her in a role that requires the skill to pull of the 11 o’clock number. Especially if she’s a gay icon.

4) Cast good people, who are famous. Hugh Jackman kept a show going despite staggering bad reviews. He kep it going right up until the very day he left the show, which was the same day the show closed. That’s how good he is.

5) Get a great image and a fantastic tagline and then buy ads and email blasts.

6) Get pull quotes from even the most bizarre sources for reviews. There’s no reason you can’t say “absurd!” and “irreverent!” and “Historic!” in your ads, even if the quote is “the comedy is absurd, but, despite the irreverent use of stage space, the play still seemed mired in the historic niceties of standard theater”. and the review was from the Waterfront Brooklyn Pipefitters quarterly.

So, how do you do it, if these are the accepted ways. And what are you supposed to do if you don’t have any money at all.

Well, this is sort of our mindset on the whole thing. We have a story to tell, the three of us, and it’s pretty important to us. It’s the revelation that we’ve discovered in ourselves and in our associates, that we seem to go through a second growth spurt when we hit our thirties, or thereabouts. And though we’ve seen a billion movies about the mid-life crisis, we don’t get to see too many movies or plays about this phenomenon. And that might be because it is an invention of our generation…

When we realized that a show with the title “Air Guitar” might ring out in people’s subconscious, we decided to frame the show around this idea. We had the title that would resonate, and we had a story that meant something to us.

So, our first mistake is that we weren’t able to figure out what parts of the play were awesomer than other parts. And we got different opinions. And the three of us had different opinions. So, as usual, we skipped step two in our marketing concept. And, that marketing concept is pretty obnoxious anyway. I’m pretty sure only the most callous and devious people sit down and sculpt their art with some sense of world-wide acceptance as their touchstone.

When it came time to cast people… we just got lucky. We bypassed the Famous, who have agents that will actually steer the actors away from working with us even if they want to, and went straight to the underground. Basically everyone that came in were all people we admired and figured “shit, I’ll send an email and see what they say”.

It was astonishing that we got such amazing actors, two and three deep for every part. Now, the problem is, nobody in the cast is famous. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome. So, instead of saying something like “Larry St. Larry (of Most Recent Hollywood Crapfest)” we’re just letting people know where they might have seen these guys before. So more like “Larry St, Larry (of Awesome Offbrodway Ohyouremember!). And the truth is, people seem to be more personally excited about this cast than any other cast we’ve ever had. These are all people our friends have seen and *love*.

So, now we’re to the graphics and the tagline bit, which are in the capable hands of Jordana and Mac for the words and Claire and Dave for the graphic. You put four geniuses together and get the fuck out the way, that’s what I did.

From here on, we’re confused. This is where you have to figure out “do I leave a stack of postcards at Arlene’s Grocery? Do I book the cast in a public performance in the park? Do I call up the broadway channel on Sirius and try to get that guy to talk to Ulrich?” It’s impossible to know.

So, we’re just pushing through. If you would all just come see the show, and bring 85 friends, I wouldn’t have to worry about the show selling.

So. Maybe just do that.