News and updates from the Arts People company

Support a child in finding their artistic voice

We know, as proven in various tragedies that have taken place involving young people, that our schools are not always providing a sense of family for our marginalized kids.  The arts often is the arena in which they find their voice, find their sense of purpose, find a family, and find their pride.

While sports can be a great avenue for some kids to establish their sense of self-worth.  It can help them find friends, learn teamwork and gain pride in themselves and their community.  However, many many kids don’t fit into the sports realm. They may not be inclined to challenging physical activity.  They may not excel, leaving them to feel outcast, ignored, unaccepted, or demeaned. Kids can be cruel.  The team may ridicule the kids who aren’t high achievers in the sport.  In these cases the result of their participation can have the exact inverse result of what involvement was meant to accomplish; that of inclusion, community, achievement.

Churches, synagogues and other religious organizations also are intended to build community, teach life lessons and support the members.  But in many cases, kids don’t identify with the beliefs of the group or haven’t made up their own mind as to what faith, if any, they wish to adopt.  The result can be feelings of disconnection and alienation as they are forced to pretend to feel part of the group while underneath they feel more and more alone.

In many communities, sports and church and school are the only places kids can identify to be part of a community.  When they don’t find that community there, they may feel lost, misunderstood, isolated.  The arts can fill this void.

Arts programs used to be plentiful in our public schools.  Classes and extra-curricular programs in art, music, drama, choir, along with shop classes and more provided places for kids to experiment and express themselves.  Art is individual.  No one creates the same way or the same thing. So there is no standardization. There’s no exact correct answer.  Self-expression of the individual is part of the endeavor and generally supported and praised.  So their sense of accomplishment relies on their own creative work and dedication.  While they all express themselves individually in these cases, they are doing it along with others in a collective way, providing the community they often desperately need.  They find their unique voice.

Additionally, many students are learning English as their second language.  Where the language barrier may make learning standard curriculum more challenging, and standardized testing more difficult, putting them at a disadvantage that can also lead to lower self-esteem, the arts are universal in their success in the form of self-expression.  It creates a level playing field for all involved and even praises their individuality.

So if you have kids yourself, or young extended family or friends who are considering participating in the arts, find ways to encourage them and support them.  For a birthday give them art supplies.  Let them try different things and experiment.  If they find their passion in something help them to develop it, and don’t chastise them if they change their mind a number of times.  Every child is different and only through trying will they know if they enjoy a certain art form.  Also, communicate with school officials your feelings toward the need for arts programs in our schools.

Patrick Spike as Sipos in 'Parfumerie'

Patrick Spike as Sipos in ‘Parfumerie’ – Bag&Baggage Productions, Dec 2016.

I was a very shy child.  All through school I was petrified of having to get up in front of the class to do anything.  I had a teacher who recognized this and took the time to ask me if I’d ever considered trying drama.  That one conversation was enough.  She showed an interest in me.  That was all it took.  I decided to sign up for her drama class, ended up trying out for the school play, and my mother was shocked and amazed on opening night to see her shy son up on stage in front of hundreds of people.  She forever after was my biggest fan.  I’d found something that suited me and that I could be passionate about, as well as a community to be a part of. It brought me out of my shell, developed my confidence and self-esteem and completely changed my life.

Every child has a creative streak somewhere inside of them.  It may be working with wood, or on cars, or with a paintbrush or an instrument. Help them find it.  Support it.  Nurture it. They will be better for it.

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Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts People

 

Patrick Spike is the Theatre Community Liaison, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. www.patrickspike.com

 

An Actors Dilemma: Vulnerability versus Confidence

Being an actor can be tough.  The audition process often makes you feel like an object, being judged on your appearance, your voice, your talent, your experience… There’s so much rejection.  It can all lead to a great deal of insecurity and fear.  All this on top of the fact that most actors are already fragile.  Their emotions are more near to the surface than most people, which is a benefit when they need to access them for an emotional role, but a detriment in how it can play into the fears generated above.

So an actor needs confidence to be able to overcome these negative feelings, and be able to do their job.  Often actors are called upon in a role to do things, wear things, behave in certain ways that are humorous for the show or film, but might capitalize on the actors own imperfections, such as accentuating and building humor on a large actor being “fat” and therefore ridiculous.  Also, in rehearsal, an actor must be available to try things that might fail, that might potentially embarrass them.  They need to be bold in trying out different unique approaches to playing their character or in building a scene.  Without confidence it makes it much harder for the director to bring them out of their shell, to get them to go far enough with a humorous bit, or in projecting a specifically strong emotion.  Directors love actors who make bold choices, who try things easily, who follow their direction without being timid or inhibited or withdrawn.  But many actors struggle with this based on their fragile nature and often the rejection and confidence crushing experiences they’ve been in before.

While confidence is so important, at the same time an actor must be vulnerable. They must tap into emotions easily.  They must be able to identify with the characters they are playing, relate it to their own lives and experiences, in order to give an emotionally rich performance, or a funny portrayal of a flawed character, or act in ridiculous ways for an over the top comedy.  Their vulnerability though can be directly at odds with their confidence.

This is an actors dilemma.

Where does the balance between confidence and vulnerability come from?  Is it something they must be born with, or can it be learned?  Should actors just budget for therapy, because they know they’re gonna need it?  There’s really no single answer or method to accomplish this.  For those who are less confident, it may be that they need to work with a coach who can help them to make bold choices and learn how beneficial they are.  It may take working in productions and pushing themselves to go out on the limb.  Fake it ’till you make it might apply here.  Fake the confidence until you really feel it.

What happens if they have too much confidence and not enough vulnerability?  Or is this just a cover for their insecurities?  It often equates to an actor who is difficult to direct, thinking he/she knows better than the director, who bosses the other actors around.  What happens if they have too much vulnerability?  Typically this can mean an actor who has tons of potential, but who is afraid to let go and tap into their abilities to a bold degree.

While the dilemma goes on without any simple solutions, the balance between the two is very important toward being a successful actor.  Experience and training and hard work are in order to bring out the positive qualities of both.


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts People

 

Patrick Spike is the Theatre Community Liaison, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. www.patrickspike.com

AACT Town Hall: Community Theatres come together

AACT American Association of Community TheatreLast Saturday I attended the AACT (American Association of Community Theatres) Town Hall held here in Portland.  Arts People has been a sponsor of a number of AACT events over the years and we consider ourselves a partner to them as well as a deep connection to community theatres all over the country and in Canada.  The Arts People system has always been a great fit for these organizations who have big goals and complex needs, but often small staffs with little time to accomplish tasks.

It was great to hear these groups sharing so openly their stories of successes and challenges so that other organizations might benefit from their experiences.  The performing arts are a small voice in our culture, it seems, struggling to be heard, to find support, to advocate for the importance of what they do, and to even survive.  I’ve unfortunately seen this struggle too often divide organizations and individuals from each other in what can often be seen as a competitive atmosphere, instead of supporting and uplifting each other. This discussion was clearly the opposite.  With AACT bringing together these organizations toward sharing (and it was a great turnout), they can glean valuable insight into how different organizations are benefitting from presenting different types of programs such as staged readings, educational offerings, new types of social marketing and more.

The meeting was held just down the street from our Arts People offices at Twilight Theatre, one of our clients.  I was able to introduce myself and see a number of our clients in attendance, which is always a pleasure.  Arts People was founded on a goal of working with and assisting performing arts organizations to succeed and thrive.  We’ve worked very hard over the years to maintain close relationships with our clients on a first name basis, so whenever we get the chance to get face to face we take it.  To see the generous sharing going on at this meeting was a complete pleasure.

I started my own career in theatre in high school, and then went immediately to community theatre. I learned SO much from performing, directing, and design, to what it means to serve on a board of directors, what level of professionalism in the work I came to expect in myself and others, and how I wanted to work in the creation of theatre, including my own personal style and voice.  It is a place for joy, creativity, learning, sharing, collaboration, teamwork, accomplishment and self worth.  I’ve carried all that experience and knowledge forward into my work in professional theatres and sometimes returned to guest direct in community theatres I have a connection with.

Thank  you AACT for all you do to bring these theatres together in meetings like this, to the theatres who generously share their knowledge and experiences to help others, and to the individuals who keep these organizations alive in your communities.


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts People

Patrick Spike is the Theatre Community Liaison, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. www.patrickspike.com

 

 

Are you penalizing your patrons for making your life easier?

As we work with various clients, coming to us from various other systems, we see numerous former cases of patrons being charged high fees when they buy their tickets online.

Many ticketing systems don’t give you, the customer, the ability to set what fees you want to charge to your patrons.  They often try to make this sound like you get to their system for “free,” since the patron is paying their high fees.  But also it usually means that your organization has no option of how you want to apply fees to patron ticket orders. Thankfully, the Arts People system allows you to set fees in a number of ways; per ticket, per order, box office vs online vs door sales, per subscription package, with a maximum per order, etc.

We also see cases where clients have set up to charge higher fees for online buyers vs box office buyers.  While the industry has taught us that this makes sense, due to the fact that so many systems started out as online only, so the fees your organization had been paying to use the system also linked to online orders.  But now this model is contrary to the goal of online ticket sales, which is to provide convenience to your patrons and to alleviate workload from your staff in your box office.  By shopping online, printing their tickets at home, the patron is making things easier for your organization, so why not give them an incentive to do so?  Orders processed on the phone or in person are where you’re spending the time and money to serve them personally, so it makes more sense that they should pay a small fee to help cover those staff and office expenses.

Box Office

All the above, of course, is provided for your consideration based on your circumstances and only if you wish to offset your costs by charging fees to your patrons.  Many organizations charge no fees on top of ticket purchases.  They embed costs in their ticket prices, or they simple absorb the costs knowing that it’s simply a budget item as part of a performing arts organization’s expenses.  Just as we have seen online shopping go more and more to free shipping, the performing arts industry has also been moving more and more to not adding fees on top of ticket purchases in order to attract more customers, to keep them happy, and to keep them coming back.  Just one of the benefits of the Arts People system is that it gives you the control and options you need, and we’re here to help you set things up as you wish.

Fees are a strategic element in the overall structure of your income budgeting and in the image you are projecting to the public.  These are important choices for you to consider, and therefore it’s important that you have a system that supports you in making them.  CONTACT US if you have any questions.

 

DID YOU KNOW? Automated emails should be branded and recognizable

When you send a brochure, letter, postcard, you’re certain to pay attention to the look of that item, ensuring that it is branded and recognizable at a glance as coming from your organization, representing your style and professionalism.

Email communications should be the same… even if sent from your automated systems.

The Arts People system sends out notices and reminders to patrons automatically, when they make a purchase or donation, schedule a reservation, when their membership is coming due for renewal, reminding them of their upcoming performance, and more.  These emails are important for good customer service and communication with your patrons. They instill confidence and build loyalty among your customers and ultimately can help you to build on relationships to step those patrons up the ladder from ticket buyer to subscriber to donor and more.

Of course, these emails only have these benefits if they look professional and solidify your brand in the recipient’s mind.

In Arts People, all of these emails are customizable, allowing you to tailor the language to your typical tone of voice, using terminology that your patrons are accustomed to, with your logo and styling to reflect your brand.  Easy to configure, or with assistance from our friendly Client Services staff, you can make great impressions with your patrons through all your communication, even automated confirmations and reminders.

To learn more about the Arts People system and how it can help your organization in many ways, CONTACT US, or visit our website for more details.

SETC 2018 Conference – Congratulations and Thanks

Arts People representatives Marc Ross and Jon Bailey recently attendedSETC Southeastern Theatre Conference the SETC (Southeastern Theatre Conference) in Mobile, AL.  They met theatre lovers and creators from high school to adults, shared in the camaraderie of support held by all as participants performed, competed, auditioned, shared and explored.

“We’ve always had a great affinity for the SETC and the great people of the organization and the groups that attend” said Marc Ross, Sales Manager.  “Meeting our clients, consulting with groups to see if we might be of help to them, and joining in the fun had by all, Arts People is proud to be a supporting part of the event each year.”

We want to congratulate all those that were honored at the event.

We also are proud to share the three winners of our daily drawing for $100 donations to their organization:

These very worthy organizations are doing great work in theatre and we’re very happy to support them.

Thank you to SETC and all those who stopped by our booth to say hello or chat about their needs.

DID YOU KNOW? Subscription sales and the needs of a ticketing system

For many performing arts organizations, subscription package sales are one of the key components of their overall earned income plan, their season ticket sales goals, and they’re audience development and loyalty targets and measures. By bundling together a season of events for a discounted price, your most loyal patrons can purchase the package before the season begins, secure they’re favorite seats for the entire season, and be sure to enjoy all your organization has to offer.

From an administration standpoint, subscriptions can be complex to manage, service and account for through the year, and can be even more tricky when it comes time to sell the next season to existing subscribers, ensuring they have the ability to retain their seats and tracking the income from packages correctly to the proper show income lines.

A subscription package consists of individual shows built into your ticketing system with their individual performances.  Pricing is set up for single tickets and then the discounted for subscription.  Performance series then are configured for the groupings of performances across the shows in each series option, such as opening Friday, first Saturday, first Sunday, etc.  Lastly are the packages themselves, such as a 6 show season package.  From that most standard configuration, the patron then chooses first the package, then the performance series and number of tickets by person type, then the seats they want which will be the same for each performance, then they pay for their package and they are done.  They have all their seats for all performances for the season.

Alternatively, some organizations don’t have matching performance runs, different pricing for each show, different venues for different shows and more.  These add to complexity and many systems ultimately do not handle these well.

Once sold, the system must also account properly for the income, and attribute it correctly to each show, even if the price of the individual shows may differ; what percentage or portion of the package goes to a specific show, for example.

Lastly, subscription sales from last year need to be rolled over into new unpaid orders for the next year to retain the existing subscriber seats, giving them an opportunity to renew their package and make any seating change requests prior to new orders being placed.  Once renewals are completed then new orders can be processed, and when ready, tickets can be printed and sent out, held at will call, or delivered in other ways.

As can be imagined, handling all these elements together, in an efficient and secure way, with outcome reporting you can rely on, can be difficult or impossible for many ticketing systems.

Thankfully the Arts People system is designed to help you configure all these intricacies smoothly, and our staff can help you to make it all happen easily and efficiently.  From seasonal setup to pricing options, order rollover to email notices and/or mail order forms, we make the challenges of season subscription campaigns easy to overcome.  We help you make your subscriptions a success for your organization, and a pleasure for your patrons.

For details about the Arts People system and how it handles subscription package sales in accurate industry-standard methods, contact us.  We’d be happy to consult on your needs to see if you’re a right fit for the system.

White Paper – Create a powerful and efficient Volunteer workforce

Non-profit organizations, certainly including performing arts groups, rely heavily on a well organized and satisfied volunteer workforce. In many cases, running that portion of your operation should be given as much importance and attention as management of the staff, since often they do just as much work overall. The success of your volunteer coordination starts at the top and works its way down.

In this white paper we’ll walk you through a recognized structure to your volunteer workforce that will help ensure that your volunteers are honored, happy, and managed in a way that benefits both them and your organization.

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

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White paper written by

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations. www.patrickspike.com

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.

 

Your performances – gifts for your business partner’s employees

It’s the giving season again, and there’s another way your business partners and sponsor organizations can support you!

Gift Certificates, and gift passes!

Talk to those businesses and organizations who already support you and share with them a great way to provide a holiday bonus gift to their employees… the gift of an experience with their spouse or entire family.

The organization can purchase gift certificates in any amount they wish to give to each employee.  The employee can then use that amount toward any ticket purchase of their choice of show or event that you offer.

Passes can work similarly, if you have a pass that’s valid for the remaining shows of your season.  The organization can purchase them in any quantity to provide tickets to their choice of upcoming shows.

The financial purchase helps support your organization, AND it may result in more people discovering your organization to come back in the future as a loyal patron.  Once you have a number of organizations are on board, then you can promote it to other businesses that you’ve been hoping to connect with, telling them of other businesses that are taking advantage already.

The Arts People system offers both gift certificate and pass functionality where any unredeemed portion remains in the system to be used later. It makes it tremendously easy for the person to use and enjoy their gift.

The holidays are not just about giving, but also about support, encouragement, joy.  These gift options help to foster all three.  Give it a try!

Press Release: Alex Blouin joins our Client Services Team

Alex shares her deep knowledge of arts administration from north California

Dateline: Portland, OR

Alex Blouin headshotThe Arts People software company welcomes Alex Blouin to their Client Services team. Alex will assist clients remotely from her north California location and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and abilities in theatre administration, having been a performer, box office agent, director, marketing coordinator and more.

Alex is a graduate of Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake CA, where she studied Clown, movement, dance, melodrama and Commedia Dell’Arte. She has since performed across the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Seattle, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Her favorite role to date is Emilie du Châtelet…

Download full release in PDF format