APP OF THE MONTH: Behance

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Art, Promotion, Websites
Name Behance
Product Description Owned by Adobe, Behance is the world’s largest creative network for showcasing and discovering creative work.
Availability Available from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and through your browser.
Key Features ·       Look at projects from all over the creative industries including but not limited to:o   Graphic Design

o   Photography

o   Illustration

o   Interaction Design

o   Motion Graphics

o   Architecture

o   Product Design

o   Fashion

o   Advertising

o   Fine Arts

o   Crafts

o   Game Design

o   Sound

· Check out work curated and compiled by humans, not computers, and created by imaginative inventors who you can follow and interact with.

·       It’s used by some of the world’s leading creative companies to find new talent and advertise job opportunities throughout the industry.

·       Build mood boards of projects that inspire you while exploring the communities.

·       Watch artist and expert-led live streams to learn new crafts or the latest artistic techniques.

Prices and Plans Completely Free!
Biggest Pro The wide network of artists and companies who use this platform to find new talent!
Biggest Con It’s owned by Adobe so desperately makes me want to invest in every product they make so that I can make my own art!

I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t even heard of this platform until I discovered that many Fine Art Students from the Class of 2021 had profiles.

It is the perfect place to show off your work and get inspired!

It’s Panto Time: Oh no it isn’t!

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Creative Industries, Promotion, Theatre

Oh yes it is!

That time of year again, when usually I would be up to my armpits in dame wigs and glitter.

Alas with a countrywide lockdown keeping the theatres closed it won’t be the most traditional pantomime season…

But never fear!

I have been to ask the magic mirror on the wall and she tells me there will be a panto after all!

And I know what you’re thinking! There’s no way you’ll be able to keep up these panto puns for the whole post…

Oh yes I will!

With the help of the Good Fairy, I have scoped the country to find some awesome panto offerings throughout the UK, which will help you go from feeling like the back end of the pantomime horse to the star of the show in no time.

 

And hopefully, in the spirit of panto and with a sprinkle of pixie dust, I’ll help inspire your arts business to create some fun panto content of your own!

 

Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas

A star-studded Comic Relief, Christmas offering from the BBC with bonus illustrations from the legendary Quentin Blake and cameos from James Blunt, David Tennent, Sam Smith and Sir Mo Farah. Celebs adorn their own makeshift costumes and source their own random props to tell the story of Cinderella in true covid style, including a surprise Hollywood Mega-Star stepping up to play the panto horse!

Essentially, this is a rehearsed reading over zoom including lots of classic gags from the year like Button’s internet connection breaking up just at the moment he tries to declare his undying love for Cinderella, an interruption at the door for a Morrison’s delivery or people entering the scene on mute. It works because the cast was brought together on the same call and can play off each other, raising the banter to another level.

From the outtakes at the end, it is clear that the participants had a delightful time filming which you feel as an audience member. It goes to show you can have fun, make great content and raise money, all at the same time.

Check out the Comic Relief panto HERE!

 

My First Panto: Goldilocks and the Three Bears by The Garage

My First Panto clearly takes its inspiration from Children’s television, designed for the CBeebies target audience and tailor-made to keep toddlers and younger children engaged. It includes simple dance routines to join in with, engaging puppetry and simple, comic book style animation depicting great onomatopoeic words like splosh and splat, with brightly coloured cartoon-style sets and costumes.

You may think that restricting your work to a particular audience will limit your number of viewers, but by specifically devising and customising your work to fit a particular buyer persona your work becomes more appealing and stands out from your competitors. Another thing this show does brilliantly is utilise a small cast, which means that it is easier to create content whilst abiding by government coronavirus guidelines.

Check out The Garage’s My First Panto HERE!

 

Cinderella: The World’s First Interactive Live Stream Pantomime by PantoLive

Available until 31st January, PantoLive has created a fully interactive online panto, cleverly produced using CGI and green screen bringing the panto experience directly to your living room with the special touch of Chris Johnson who makes for an awesome and engaging Buttons.

A great little addition to this show is the interactive audience buttons including all of your classic panto responses:

  • BOO!
  • Aww
  • Cheer!
  • Clap!
  • Behind You!
  • Buttons!

You don’t need to be a tech wizard to encourage this type of interaction in your content. If you choose to stream your work on Facebook live, for example, you can ask your audience to get involved by pressing the like, love, care, wow, haha, sad and angry buttons! Don’t be afraid to get creative with technology which already exists!

Check out Panto Live HERE!

 

The Scunner That Stole Christmas by The Gaiety

An episodic panto designed especially for the local community, filled with classic lines, characters, shout outs and even a chase sequence! The main narrator, aptly named Fairy Handwash leads the action where cast roam around the county of Ayrshire looking for the lost panto ingredients of Joy, Adventure and Togetherness.

At the end of each episode, they even give ways for the audience to send in their contributions to help save Christmas. This is like a masterclass in how to create User Generated Content (UGC) for your Arts Business. By asking the kids watching the video to contribute, not only does it engage them in the conversation, it makes them feel a part of your business, hence boosting your brand visibility and authority. The great added bonus is that they also created videos for your social media, which as we all know, can be a time consuming and arduous task. Sending in your best panto jokes or teaching your finale choreography are just two great ways you might involve your audience!

Check out The Gaiety’s The Scunner that Stole Christmas HERE!

 

#Panto_Demic! By Conquest Theatre

A cancelled panto season has left the baddies of the fairy tale world at a loss of what to do with their lives! Join them on a pre-recorded zoom call as they discuss their options for future bad deeds and figure out if they can get back to their usual terrible plots whilst the pandemic rages on, complete with song and dance and for the bargain rental fee, from Vimeo, of £7.

The genius Unique Selling Point (USP) of this panto is the stand out storyline twist. From Disney alone with their successful franchise of ‘The Descendants’ where we see the offspring of the Disney baddies coming of age, or their best-selling board game ‘Villainous’, which allows players to pick their favourite Disney Baddie and win by completing their awful schemes, we know that this format can be successful. This is exactly what Conquest Theatre has done with their online panto offering!

Try to think of unique angles in your content which will appeal to viewers in a way that your competitors don’t.

Check out Conquest Theatre’s #Panto_Demic! HERE!

 

Jack and the Beanstalk by Ulster Theatre Company

The most traditional of online panto offerings comes from the Ulster Theatre Company. It is a pre-recorded show (like the live streams offered from the National Theatre) of Jack and the Beanstalk with all the features you would usually expect from a Christmas show, and a pantomime cow who can perform Riverdance.

Whilst we can’t get to the theatre you shouldn’t be frightened to pull material out of your archives. It isn’t just for the major companies like The Shows Must Go On and Shakespeare’s Globe. You can either present this content for free with a suggested donation or set it up to have a rental fee, like the Ulster Theatre Company has, charging £9.99 per household, much less than you would usually spend taking your family to the theatre and no less of the quality! A really great panto! It’s available until the 31st January 2021.

Check Out the Ulster Theatre Company performance of Jack and the Beanstalk HERE!

 

 

Cinderella ONeLINE and Short Cinders by Alliance Theatre

This is one of the most brilliant theatre endeavours I have come across this pandemic. Since Autumn, Alliance Theatre has been compiling performances from a cast of 350 participants from all across the globe to contribute to this wacky and brilliant retelling of Cinderella. Characters morph into other versions, with multiple community members playing their part, bringing to life everyone from Cinderella herself to the Pumpkin who longs to be her coach! They have also developed a completely different short retelling of Cinderella so there is no excuse to not get your panto on!

This is User Generated Content (UGC) used in the best possible way. What I really love about so-called amateur productions is the clear passion everyone contributing has in the success of the project. Basically, everyone is having a lovely time and that makes you have a lovely time watching it! Why not have a think about different ways you can use your audience to not only create great content, but have the best time doing it.

Check out both Cinderellas from Alliance Theatre HERE!

 

Goldilocks and the 3 Bearz by Basel English Panto Group

This is an awesome contribution from a small company across Europe in Switzerland who are introducing the very British Tradition of Pantomime to the local community of Basel with the opportunity for locals to take part themselves. And let me tell you they have definitely nailed the panto concept! The specially arranged dance routines and covers, including the disco classic ‘Love Shack’, really helped me to get my panto fix this year!

This can also act as a stimulus for your arts business. Are there any traditional art forms or shows that are performed elsewhere in the world that could be reimagined for the British stage? Get your research on and really push the boat it here! I assure you there will be groups all over Facebook with enthusiasts like yourselves just longing for a platform to experiment, from Japanese Noh Theatre, Indian Harikatha or the traditional Commedia Dell’Arte of Italy find your niche and have fun with it.

Check Out Basel English Panto Group’s Goldilocks HERE!

 

And I’m afraid that’s it for now, (oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is) but we would love to hear about any online shows you’re putting on this panto season! Just hit us up in the comments below and we will do our best to share them on Social Media!

How to Improve your Organic Reach on Facebook

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Marketing, Promotion, Social Media

Facebook is an incredible platform for expanding your Arts Business’ reach. With 2.7 billion users worldwide and 1.79 billion daily users, it is officially the world’s largest social media platform.

But, with a growing advertising market and an increased focus on businesses, it is becoming increasingly tricky to grow organically.

This doesn’t make it impossible though!

With the huge increase in users and therefore content, Facebook has an algorithm in place to filter posts dependent on the viewer’s behaviour and previous interactions. This means certain posts are prioritised over others.

 

But how does it do that?

 

Well, the truth is, we don’t know exactly, but (similarly to increasing your SEO Ranking) marketers have worked tirelessly on an equation to help you build your organic reach.

 

This may sound tricky, but it’s actually really simple, so let me break it down for you.

 

AFFINITY

This is all to do with how much your followers interact with your page and posts: your super fans who check out your business page every day, have a higher affinity and are more likely to see your content. The more posts they view and interact with, the higher their affinity, so you want to ensure as many of your followers view and interact with your content as possible.

 

WEIGHT

This is all about the type of post you put out. If you post a video, that has a higher weight (in the eyes of Facebook) than an image, which in turn has higher weight than a post that contains a link, which in turn has a higher weight than content that is just text. You see where I’m going with this.

This is also about the level of interaction you receive, so the more likes, loves and lolz you get will contribute to the weight your post carries too. Different levels of interactions also hold different weights, so comments and shares and worth more than likes.

 

DECAY

This is all to do with when the post was made. The average lifespan of a Facebook Post is around 6 hours and most interaction (likes, comments, shares, etc.) take place in the first 2 and a half. So, unless it is a super special post, like those engagement or new baby pictures that always seem to hit the top of my news feed, after 6 hours you can pretty much guarantee that your post will no longer be seen.

 

Now you understand what the equation means you can begin to use different tactics within your Facebook Page to help improve your Organic Reach:

 

  • Post Great Content: Yes, this is a lot easier said than done and takes a bit of time to work out what sort of content works for you and your arts business, but the more relevant your content is to your audience the more likely they are to interact with your posts and spend time on your page
    • + AFFINITY + WEIGHT
  • Get More Page Likes: There are lots of ways you can go about this which doesn’t just involve inviting everyone from your friends list! A great way to boost page likes is to find groups and pages with similar interests to you and share some of your content to their walls; if their audience likes what they see they’re bound to throw you page a like.
    • + AFFINITY + WEIGHT
  • Engage with your Audience: This can improve both your affinity and your Online Reputation Management (ORM). It helps your audience relate to your business, knowing that you are a real person who communicates with them through comments and messages. This in turn encourages them to spend more time on your content.
    • + AFFINITY + WEIGHT
  • Use Facebook Stories: At only 3 years old Facebook Stories is still a growing way to share your content. I see stories as those spur of the moment posts you want to share with your audience (unlike your feed which is meticulously planned). There is still limited competition on Stories so you can use it to cut through the noise on Facebook and improve your relationship with your existing audience.
    • + AFFINITY
  • Post Questions or Polls: Users are more likely to interact if you ask them a question, simple really. They feel a psychological urge to respond! The same can be said of interactive competitions too! Everyone loves free stuff so if there is a chance of it and all you need to do is share a post your audience is much more likely to engage.
    • + WEIGHT
  • Post Images and Videos: And GIFs! Yes, I am still a lover of the GIF. When people are scrolling through their phones feed, they are more likely to pay attention to something that is visually stimulating.
    • + WEIGHT
  • Ask your Audience: Don’t be afraid to ask people for likes and shares. This acts as a call to action for your audience for them to get all up in your content. Don’t overuse this though! Just stick it on the posts you really want to reach the most people.
    • + WEIGHT
  • Plan and Schedule your Posts: This takes a little bit of trial and error: just post different content at different times of the day to start with then after a month or so, when you have built up some data, you can use Facebook Insights to figure out what times and days work for you. Then you can begin to schedule your content.
    • + DECAY

 

We are always happy to share posts about your Arts Business so if you want a little more traction please Tag Us on Facebook @TheArtsBiz and we’ll do our best to share it for you!

We’d also love to hear about the posts from your creative business that have done really well. Afterall, if we all shared the knowledge, we could all benefit from the rewards.

 

Thanks to Green Umbrella and WordTracker for the stats and some additional info that helped when writing this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Open Days: Coburg House Art Studios

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art, Networking, Promotion

Artists need space.

 

Whether we find ourselves requiring more so set up a studio, the need for a professional business address, a little extra storage to free up some space in the house or just the need for a bit of company, we often seek out studio, office or rehearsal space to work in.

 

And I don’t know about you but despite the fact I ‘work from home’ most of the time I actually find it immensely difficult to work at home. Whether I move to a coffee shop, a coworking space, a mate’s house or even a train (which I am currently on) I tend to get a lot more done! I think this is down to the naturally collaborative nature of creative work.

 

There are loads of these spaces all over the country for every different field of work and every price bracket. Usually located alongside the artistic suburbs of towns and cities not only do they make excellent workspaces but they can also make for great communities!

 

One of my favourites of these is Coburg House Art Studio situated in Leith, Edinburgh and home to over 80 designers, artists and makers.

 

It has been running for over 20 years and across that time has built up quite the reputation as an exciting, unique creative hub.  To get a studio space at this former granary there is a wait list and (I’m told) it costs a pretty penny, but for good reasons! Very good reasons indeed.

 

First and foremost, much of the ground floor of the Coburg House Art Studio forms a shop and gallery where studio users can display and sell their work. It is open every Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.  A really nice touch with this shop is the counter which consists mainly of a display of artistic business cards, presumably from every designer, so that if you should find something you like you can find that artists card and contact them directly or take them as a keepsake from your visit.

 

Another great idea is that twice a year they run weekend open days. One during the spring/summer and one just in time for Christmas. Not only can you learn more about how their artists work, you can talk to them about, well, anything you have ever wanted to know! It’s like a living museum where you can learn about any craft you could imagine.

 

Coburg offer their artists in residence the opportunity to display their work in exhibitions both independently and collaboratively.  They have quite a unique range of arts and crafts including: painting, print work, ceramics, glass, jewellery and illustration so I can only imagine the diverse and imaginative installs hosted.

 

A few of the artists in residence offer courses which you can take in the studios to and in case that wasn’t enough they also have a combined social media following of around 6500.  It is a hugely positive and inspiring environment which is clearly adored by its artists in residence!

 

So how can your Arts Business take inspiration from the Coburg House Art Studios? How can you get the public involved and improve awareness and income for the artists and you company?

  • Think about having open days for the public where they have the opportunity to get a special behind the scenes look at how you run your arts business.  Do you run a theatre company? Think about running an open rehearsal or script read throughs.  Do you have a dance school? Try having an open workshop.  What about a museum? Have an access the curators or scientists day or run specialist educational tours.  Think outside the box to develop unique community events.
  • Run specialist workshops encourage the local community to learn new skills or try something new.  You could offer these for free to raise awareness or charge a ticket fee as a way of bringing in additional income
  • Think about introducing a shop or gallery.  This works great in galleries and studios as it gives artists an immediate connection to sell their work and the commission you earn can be used to put money back into your venue and make it even better for clients.  Think outside the box here, the RSC runs
  • If you have the space available, you may consider launching a coffee shop or bar.  Make your work place a cool place to hang out!

 

Coburg House Art Studios have created a community beyond their community and become creative hub for the people of Edinburgh as well as the artists.

How could you do the same?  Let us know in the comments below!

How Theatre can Inspire Revolution: ‘First Time’

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Promotion, Start Ups, Theatre

Theatre has a unique ability to inspire audiences.  It can work particularly well when raising awareness about charitable causes.

 

Well, recent winner of a Best Show of the Fringe award from The Stage Nathaniel Hall does just that with his new one man show ‘First Time’ in collaboration with Dibby Theatre.

This autobiographical play explains how Nathaniel contracted HIV from his first sexual partner.  He cleverly uses a variety of storytelling techniques to portray the emotional rollercoaster he had been on from when he first received the news through his journey of coming to terms with his diagnosis.

 

A self-proclaimed activist Manchester based Nathanial aims to speak out for and with those who have previously been unheard or ignored.

 

It is a combination of his immense bravery in telling his own unique story, his natural ability to inspire others to come out and speak openly about their own experiences with HIV and his incredible fundraising drive to work alongside locally based HIV charities offering workshops and talks that have led to some unbelievable (and well deserved) National Press Coverage.

 

This has included editorials in AttitudeBuzzfeed, and BBC News.

 

In fact, flicking down his press page is basically like the perfect lesson in who to contact when developing a press release list for a show like this: the national news platforms, the local reviewers and papers, the LGBT community and theatre-based media companies across the UK.

 

What is particularly special about Nathaniel’s show is how in talking about his diagnosis he has begun the healing process of his mental health and finally he is looking forward to the future. He has used his story to encourage a revolution.

 

You can take inspiration from Nathaniel when developing your own work.

  • Could you get involved with charities that are relevant to the work you’re producing?  This could open up funding opportunities for your own show and help boost donations to the charities you are supporting.

o   ‘First Time’ has run after show parties to raise money for local HIV charities

  • Could you offer specialist workshops or talks to help others learn from the themes in your work?  Could you contribute to the community alongside your performance to help spread your message and could increase your ticket sales.

o   ‘First Time’ has run post show discussions about Rapid HIV Testing.

  • Could you use your work to raise awareness of and openly campaign for an important cause? If you found communities that would be helped with your work this could not only mean sponsorship for your performance but also opens new marketing outlets so that your show is reaching the right audiences.

o   ‘First Time’ aims to erase the stigma around HIV and campaigning for the UN Goal of zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.

 

We would love to hear about any work you’ve done like this.  Let us know in the comments!

 

Nathaniel J. Hall and Dibby Theatre will be touring ‘First Time’ soon so keep your eyes peeled on their website here to check out when where you can see this remarkable show.

To Flyer or not to Flyer

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Marketing, Promotion

That is the question

 

Yes, it’s tiring, emotionally draining, time consuming, environmentally unfriendly and you’ll probably get soaked to the bone due to the terrible and completely unpredictable nature of Scottish weather, but yes! To Flyer is always the answer!

 

The Arts Business have complied all the reasons you should flyer, the where’s, the when’s, the who’s, the what’s and the how’s all of which will make your flyering the most effective and enjoyable it can be.

 

1.       Be Human – build up report, have a chat, some human interaction and conversation goes a long way.  You want to show off your personality, see if it matches.  If you’ve got some great banter with your flyeree chances are they will take a shot at your show.

 

2.       Never Flyer Alone – Always have a partner! Flyering can be exhausting and the constant rejection can really get to you so have someone in the trenches with you, someone who is going through the same thing, someone to rant to, someone who will be your comrade!

 

3.       Rope in the Family – no one is more on board with your show than blood relatives who will rave about you to unsuspecting flyerees! Chances are they are coming to see your show anyway and with crazy low budgets who doesn’t love a bit of free and passionate labour.

 

4.       Schedule Times – Protocol usually dictates that you should flyer in the two hours a day before your show as this will be the most effective time to draw in the punters.  Don’t over flyer: you have to keep up your flyer enthusiasm for the entire festival so better to have short but constructive bursts.

 

5.       Have Breaks – very few of us are resilient enough to flyer for 2 hours straight so start 15 minutes earlier and have that cheeky tea break in the middle where you can try to chat about anything but flyering!

 

6.       Mix it up – An entire month promoting the same thing day in day out can be boring so why not trade flyers with a company you know and trust for a day, they flyer you, you flyer them, it adds a little variety to what can otherwise become a tedious activity.

 

7.       Location, Location, Location – obviously the Royal Mile but you are guaranteed a load of competition so other areas to think about are Princes Street Gardens, Bristo Square, George Square and The Mound, especially the paved area by galleries where the Half Price Hut sits. This is filled to the brim with undecided audience members just looking for your suggestion.

 

8.       The Royal Mile – you have loads of competition here so make sure you stand out.  Another cheeky tip is to have a wander up and down in the morning and check out the pop-up stage performers for that day.  Any with a similar genre to you? Chances are those crowds who stop will also be interested in you and your show!

 

 

9.       Flyer at your Venue – basically the only place you don’t have to ask permission to flyer so get up and down their box office queue, find shows that are like yours and flyer at the beginning or end of your show! Take advantage of your space, chances are you’re paying enough for it.

 

10.   Flyer entries and exits – do your research into similar shows and ask if you can flyer either the start or end of their shows, maybe even ask them to leave flyers on chairs inside.  Remember in queues there are bound to be paying customers just looking for their next show and if it’s a similar genre to yours chances are the audience will be interested.

 

11.   Find your Audience – Take the gamble out of flyering by finding out where your Target Audience hang out.  Are you a magic show for kids? Try mummy and me clubs or creches.  LGBTQ+ Comic? Look into the gay bars and clubs of the city.

 

12.   Have a Gimmick – something that makes you stand out in the crowds, wear your costume, create a photo opportunity, carry around that puppet, give out free condoms: draw attention to you!  Think outside the box and have fun with it.

 

13.   To hire or not to hire – street teams can be pricey, but they are also time saving.  Their pros are that they know the distribution channels and the city better than you do but remember they don’t know your show as well as you and your crew!  Just do your research and figure out if the money for time trade-off is worth it.

 

14.   5 second performance – think of it like a micro show, hook them in with a fun 5 seconds, then make a plan for the next 5, then the next 5 and the next.  Reel them in and keep them hooked!  If they like you then they will most probably like to see your show.  And don’t be afraid to practice before you flyer!

 

15.   Don’t force it – sure offer a flyer out but don’t force it into their hands, let the flyeree take it from you.  If they show genuine interest in you they are way more likely to come and see you, remember one flyer gently given is better than 10 thrust into uncaring hands.  It’s more environmentally friendly to!

 

16.   Nail your Exit Line – Don’t let the goodbye be awkward, like a farewell after a one night stand it is better to be confident not weird.  So, come up with a killer one liner which will make them remember you when they’re looking for they’re next show to see.

 

17.   Stay Positive – I know this is easier said than done but at the end of the day flyering makes up a big part of everyone company’s fringe experience so you may as well have fun with it.  Remember, we’re all in the same boat so turn that frown upside-down and don’t let the haters bring you down!

 

 

Don’t worry about flyering! Be Happy!

 

 

Have you got any flyering tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments so we can add them in!