Steven Sabel’s Twist on the Trade: Content Equals Character

We were all recently reminded that it was Martin Luther King Jr. who famously dreamed of a world where we would all be judged by the content of our character, but in our industry, artists are judged rather by the amount and quality of their generated content. Content equals character in a world where online presence is often the key to getting the job.

Whether we like it or not, the norm of the modern age of entertainment is to judge an artist by the amount and quality of the online content they can continue to generate. Relevant content equals relevance in the industry and viability as a marketable commodity. As an entertainment industry professional, you are a commodity. Or, you are not. We have all heard the stories about people getting work because of their large social media followings, YouTube subscriber base, or viral content. Go viral, or go extinct. Create a high profile, build an online presence, generate constant content, or slide into the oblivion of just another fantasy hobbyist. Get serious, or seriously reconsider your choice of profession.

Think about it. You are a business. Your commodity is you. You are your product and you are selling a service. In order to succeed in business, you must build your marketing machine, and your marketing machine must include an online presence filled with relevant content for prospective customers to seek, find, and assess before they will purchase. In today’s age, nobody purchases anything or uses any service without first researching the company or the product – even if all that entails is posting to the “hive mind” for recommendations of where to eat, what to buy, or who to use for a needed service. I won’t eat at a new restaurant, if they don’t have a website with a menu, photos, and reviews. Would you?

As entertainment professionals, we cannot expect that anyone will hire us if we are a complete unknown without a relevant online presence. If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. If all you are is a collection of personal social media accounts, you are no different than your cousin, Cecil, who works at the canning factory back home in Wisconsin. Get real. Google yourself. I guarantee that casting directors will before they offer you a job. What will they find? Your personal Facebook page? Your Instagram account?

If you don’t have a fan page and a website associated with you as a commodity, then you are not a commodity. How serious can you really be about your professional career if you can’t take the time to register a domain name and build a simple website? Or if you’re completely tech illiterate – get a friend, bribe a friend, or pay a friend to build a site for you. Look at the major professionals whose careers you wish you could have. Assess what they all have in common when it comes to their online presence and generating relevant content. Most of them have people who do it for them, but until you are able to hire a marketing team – you are your marketing team.

If you don’t have available content associated with your career – you don’t have a career.

What you have is a fantasy life – no different than your best hometown friend, Sallie Mae, who you left behind back in Nebraska to become the manager of the local mini mart. If you happen to be the manager of a mini mart here in LA, but you’re not using every spare hour striving to demonstrate that you are something more than a fresh-off-the-bus fantasy player – then Sallie Mae has it all over you, because she isn’t paying $800 per month to rent a room with five other people in a three bedroom apartment in Koreatown with one bathroom. In fact, Sally Mae is laughing at you from her three bedroom, two bath house in Omaha, that (according to a Zillow search) she can get for $1,000 per month.

Get real. Get serious, or you might as well move back to Nebraska. If your only online presence is your personal social media accounts, you are not a professional business person – you’re a hobbyist. In this world, you are what you do. If all you do is post about drinking at local bars with friends – your social media presence says you are a bar fly, not an industry professional. If all you do is post about political issues that interest you – you are a gadfly, not an industry professional. If all you do is post about that great restaurant you ate at last night – you are a wanna-be food critic. You are not an entertainment industry professional.

Entertainment industry professionals post about the work they are doing – even when they do not currently have any employment in the industry. Remember my favorite Sabelism: you have to do the work to get the work. True professionals will post about anything and everything they are doing to better their career. They post about acting classes they are taking, auditions they are preparing for, new physical workouts and diet regimens they are committing to in order to enhance their physical viability for the roles they wish to play. At the very minimum, true professionals are posting about new scripts they are perusing, monologues they are learning, accents they are perfecting, skills they are acquiring, or industry books they are reading to learn more about their craft.

When they do have work, true professionals are generating content about that work. They are posting about learning their lines, studying their scenes, doing their research on their project’s time era, setting, hairstyles, clothing, manners, and any other thing that can assist their backstory and the creation of a viable character. They post about rehearsals. They post from the set while on break from filming. They post behind-the-scenes looks into their processes. They provide hints about their costuming or props, and they sell themselves as professionals on the job. Even when they are not on the job of fulfilling a role or a contract, they are on the job of getting more jobs by constantly generating content to demonstrate that they are true serious professionals.

True professionals post about the projects they are working on – promoting themselves and whatever it is they are doing day and night. The best way to market your product and services to new potential customers, is to promote the work you are currently doing for existing customers. It is far easier to generate relevant content when you are working, and far more important too, if you want to keep the string of work flowing. When you book a gig, it isn’t an excuse to take a break from doing the work, but should rather serve as the impetus for doing even more work to line up the next project.

Build and fill your website. Create a public fan page. Flood your sites with relevant content. Do your best to be the only Joanie Jones or Sam Smith on the first page of a Google search. Content is character, and if your dream is to make a living in this industry, you must know that you will be judged by your content, or lack of it….


BETTER LEMONS – "MEET THE PUBLICISTS"

On Saturday, December 15, from 10 am to 12 noon, Better Lemons and Thymele Arts will be hosting “Meet the Publicists!” which will be featuring several of LA’s premier performance art publicists for a panel discussion of theatre publicity, marketing, and promotion.
This is a great opportunity to meet the publicists face to face and to get insight into effective strategies for engaging public relations professionals and for agreeing on what services you want and how to manage the relationship.
We will be addressing questions such as “What is a publicist’s role?” and “How do you decide which publicist is the best fit for your needs?” and “What are different types of publicists?” and “How can we work together?”, and the biggest…”Do I need a publicist or can I have my cousin do it, he has a smartphone?”
Plus, we’ll hear some tips from theatre producers on different strategies for engaging publicists, agreeing on expectations, and negotiating a fee!
Bring a mug, enjoy a cup of coffee, and come ready to forge some relationships!
The coffee is free, and there is a $5 cover for the event. (Pay at the door – cash, venmo, crypto. All proceeds go to support Thymele Arts.)
The “Meet the Publicists” panel includes:
Tim Choy (Davidson & Choy Publicity)
DAVIDSON & CHOY PUBLICITY (Press Representatives) resume includes the original Evita through The Book of Mormon and stints with American Ballet Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Clients include Actor’s Gang, Broad Stage, El Capitan Theatre, Ford Theatres, Hollywood Bowl, Lythgoe Pantos, Pasadena Playhouse, Segerstrom Center, Shakespeare Center LA, The Soraya, and Walt Disney Imagineering.
Lucy Pollak (Lucy Pollak Public Relations)
Lucy Pollak has been providing publicity services to the Los Angeles arts community for the past 27 years for companies including 24th STreet Theatre, Antaeus Theatre Company, The Echo Theater Company, Fountain Theatre, International City Theatre, L.A. Theatre Works, Latino Theater Company at the LATC, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Padua Playwrights, Theatre Planners, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum; numerous independent theater and dance productions; and large events and festivals such as the annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center.
From 1981 to 1990, she was production manager/staff producer at the Odyssey Theatre, where she co-produced over 100 productions with artistic director Ron Sossi.
She is the recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle Award (Master Class), an LA Weekly Award (Mary Barnes), four Drama-Logue Awards (Mary Barnes, Idioglossia, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, It’s A Girl!), and a Women in Theatre Recognition Award. She has served on the boards of directors of the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance (now L.A. Stage Alliance), Women in Theatre and P.A.T.H. (Performing Arts Theatre for the Handicapped).
Philip Sokoloff
PHILIP SOKOLOFF has been a publicist for 24 years. He represents over 100 live attractions and several dozen feature films annually. His long-term clients include Theatre 40, Edgemar Center for the Arts, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Robey Theatre Company, Arena Cinelounge, Dean Productions and more.He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. He has also produced for stage and television and has been an actor for 49 years.
Lynn Tejada (Green Galactic)
For 25 years, Green Galactic Founder Lynn Tejada has been the go-to publicist in Los Angeles for alternative art and culture producers, representing clients on a local, regional, national, and international scale. Since 1994, her promotions and client-base has included music of all sorts, theatre, art, film, dance, and more.
Tejada is also drawn to helping charities and nonprofit clients – she currently sits on the board of Linda Carmella Sibio’s Bezerk Productions, Dance Camera West and on the advisory board of Lauren Segal’s Give A Beat. She is also on the Honorary Board of Flea’s Silverlake Conservatory of Music and sat on the board of humanitarian nonprofit NextAid for many years.
The “Meet the Publicists” panel will take place on December 15th, from 10am to 12 noon @ Thymele Arts, 5481 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90029
Fill out the form below to RSVP and add questions you want us to ask the publicists.
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Thymele Arts is located just two blocks West of the 101.
5481 Santa Monica Blvd.
East Hollywood, CA 90029
They are on the second floor. There is elevator access.
PARKING
There is an underground garage located at 1110 N. Western. $5 after 5 pm. $1.50 for the first two hours or $8.00 for the day.
Once you park – you can walk around the corner to the Santa Monica entrance.
There is also parking available in the strip mall diagonally from us on Santa Monica and Western. $2 per hour.
There is also ample street parking in the area – but it can be tricky.

METRO
Located down the block from the Red Line Hollywood /Western and the Vermont/Santa Monica stops. The Bus stops at the front door 757, 147, 207, 704, 4.


FREE WORKSHOP – Theatre/Film Productions: Master Your Press Release & Social Media tricks & tips

This FREE Workshop is Sunday, April 20 from 3-5pm.
Provided will be information on how to make the best use of free resources that are out there to promote your show, including using public online calendars and making your social media work better for you!
This Meetup is specifically for anyone who is:
~ promoting a theatre production or venue in the Los Angeles area.
~ promoting a film, documentary or short in an LA-based festival.
~ promoting their writing, blog, or is looking to self-promote on social media.
We, from Better Lemons, will be on hand to answer any questions regarding registering with our online calendar and how to make the most out of our website!
Come mix and mingle and enjoy beer and wine tasting in a cool, speakeasy cellar wine bar at Oeno Vino Wine shop and bar in Atwater. Oeno Vino has a wide assortment of wines, craft beers, cheese and charcuterie plates made to custom order and a selection of shareable personal pizzas. (Oeno Vino is in an open mall shared with Starbucks, Link n’ Hops, and Crispy Crust, and is easily accessible from the 5 freeway: Northbound, exit 140 Glendale Blvd., Southbound exit Glendale 140B exit, turn Left on RIverside, then turn Left onto Glendale. Oeno Vino is on the Left in the mall next to Starbucks and Link n’ Hops.)
All beverages and refreshments are available for purchase on-site and are not hosted by this Meetup.
There is limited parking in the lot, shared by Starbucks and other businesses. However, ample street parking is available at most meters, which is free on Sunday in Atwater, which run perpendicular to Glendale Blvd. and on adjacent streets.
SPACE FOR THIS MEETUP IS LIMITED AND FILLS QUICKLY!
RSVP here at https://www.meetup.com/Social-Media-for-Theatre-Film-Fests-Start-up-Prods.


FREE Workshop: Working your Press Release & Social Media tricks & tips!

Better Lemons is an official sponsor for the Meet-Up “Working your Press Release & Social Media tricks & tips!”.
This Meet-Up will take place on Sunday, April 29 from 3-5pm at Oeno Vino, 3111 Glendale Blvd, in Atwater Village.
Better Lemons will be available to answer questions about our website and how our review aggregation provides some free benefits in promoting your shows/events and how to register.
This Meetup is specifically for anyone who:
~ Is promoting a theatre production in the Los Angeles area.
~ Is promoting a film, documentary or short in an LA-based festival.
~ Is promoting their writing, blog, or is looking to self-promote in general on social media.
Things you should to bring for this event (if you have):
* A business card and/or bar card/post card and/or 8 x 10 poster art of your show or project.
* A lap top or tablet (for notes, accessing apps and platforms) AND a smart phone or camera. (No video cameras or video taking.)
* Be ready to take notes and meet people. Networking encouraged before and after.
* Your focus. The presentation will not be long, but it will be packed with a of information.
Things to know:
Alcohol is served at this venue and food, wine, beer are available, however, they are NOT included with the Meetup, just be mindful of everyone’s electronics.
Plug-ins for laptops and devices are NOT available, so make sure they are charged before the event. Using Wi-Fi during the event is not required, however free Wi-Fi is in the area.
Audio recordings are fine but again please no video recordings or social media sharing during the presentation.
There will be networking after the Meet-up in the wine bar and, again, social media and information sharing will be encouraged.
This event is FREE
Seating is limited so please RSVP on Meet-Up or email Monique LeBleu.