Author Topic: SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts  (Read 1999 times)

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SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts
« on: Jul 28, 2012, 01:50 pm »
So, New York is all a twitter about the twitter of INTO THE WOODS by a Broadway actress - she apparently, at the first preview, sent out some discouraging words.

(Here's a link to one article )

It brings to light a couple of issues:

1) Once a show is open to the public, it is reviewed.  It's a sad state of affairs, but one that we need to start rethinking the "fix it during previews" mentality - especially the never ending preview process in New York.  Once the audience sees the show, it's reviewed.

I would like producers and theaters to admit to this and allow enough rehearsal time and tech process to get a product together - it doesn't mean you aren't going to get polished during previews . . . it just means you need to be ready to run.

2) Remember, everything you put out in the social media, on the web - is public.  Choose now - use the web and be anonymous . . . or use your name and be the professional, public persona 24/7.

3) There is a lot to be said about a cheerleader for the industry, but there is also a lot to think about "do we have to like everything".

Food for thought . . .

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.


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Re: SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts
« Reply #1 on: Jul 28, 2012, 03:22 pm »
With regards specifically to what Morgan James tweeted... Of course she is entitled to her own opinion & free speech & blah blah blah. However, I do think she could have shown a little tact-
"HOW can you f*** up Into the Woods?? I fear musicianship is dead in musical theatre. And acting, for that matter. #horrified"
Really? Hashtag horrified? Really? There's a difference between disliking a production and just being rude, and I think that's where she crossed the line & why people got so upset about it.  Especially being someone at that level of the industry, obviously people listen to what she has to say (whether what she's saying is of any value or not).
The fact that this was the first preview, and being someone in the industry, I feel like she could have been a bit more forgiving of any difficulties in the production and that should have colored her opinion a bit, moreso than your average Joe who goes to a first preview and expects a finished product.

You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.


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Re: SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts
« Reply #2 on: Jul 29, 2012, 07:53 pm »
I posed the same question on twitter after the fact, but again: What's the difference between her voicing her opinion on ITW, and the gleeful dogpiling on Spiderman: TOTD?

(I talk about show I see on my twitter, but I hold to "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.")
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco


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Re: SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts
« Reply #3 on: Jul 30, 2012, 11:44 am »
Maybe it's just me, but I have a very fundamental issue with someone jumping on a fellow theatrical talent telling her to basically stuff your opinion because we have to all stand together in harmony. Not only because it's hilariously contradictary but have these people worked with the people I've worked with in this absolute cut throat business? This is not the most harmonious business in the world. 

The composer in question said the same thing during the Tony Awards when people were complaining about the show. Simply put "don't trash the Tony's because we're all in it and we need to support one another." Let's be honest here, Some theater (even Broadway theater) sucks. And if I think it sucks, I shouldn't need to fear reprisals for stating my opinion because of some unwritten brotherly rule.

When any popular reviewer (Times, Post...pick your preference),  who I'm sure has much more influence over the paying public and a much broader reach than a tweet by an actress who has just over 2500 followers, says something similar people sit in the dressing room with the rest of their colleagues and read it with glee as they rip the show apart.


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Re: SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts
« Reply #4 on: Jul 30, 2012, 01:08 pm »
Mixed feelings. I don't think we need to hide disasters, but I do think - it being first preview - a little more consideration is in order. Who knows, maybe this was the first time they actually ran top to bottom.

Previews are supposed to be a safe time to solve the the things we discover once we have an audience. After opening, go ahead, share your opinion (tho I still say being civil and discrete is always the best option - repercussions to things like this are ugly and we never know who we will - or won't - be working with after a global shout-out of something like this).


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Re: SOCIAL MEDIA - Dos and Donts
« Reply #5 on: Jul 30, 2012, 04:22 pm »
I must admit, I do worry about what I've taken to calling the Cult Of Performance, in which the performing arts are a sort of zeppelin held aloft by the intentions and hopes of actors.

Think happy thoughts! Keep that zeppelin flying! Never say anything critical or impolitic! Never admit that you're taking a gig to make a little money! Never acknowledge that the audience even exists! Performance is about Performance, and nothing else! Theatre is magic! Money is irrelevant! We don't need to sell any tickets, the money just appears from a fountain in the producer's office! Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! Every gig is an honour! Every role is your favourite! (I've always dreamed of playing Man With Spear #4 in a summerstock production of The Winter's Tale at the Bumf*ck, Nebraska Community Theatre! As a teenager, I would sit up late at night and pray that someday I'd get to stand just out of the light and look solemn! It's such a wonderful experience!) Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! Performance is everything! Always an honour! Happy thoughts!

Instead of, you know... acknowledging that there's an industry here, with customers and employers and some pretty major downsides. Not every production deserves to run for decades, not every performance should be remembered, and not every part is a transcendent experience opening up windows into the human soul. And when we treat the entire thing as if we're in this land of constant milk and honey... eh.

Aside from the fact that it's quite transparent to begin with (We all know the code, right? "Interesting choices" means I HATED IT; "bold direction" means WHY DID YOU MAKE THEM DO THAT?!; "innovative staging" means IT WAS TERRIBLE; etc. etc. etc.), it makes it so much more difficult for us to talk about shows which deserve these laurels, and... welp.

Our honest opinions matter. We shouldn't just be relying upon outside reviewers (and, least of all, the general public) to provide feedback and suggestions and--when necessary--criticism. We know theatre better than anyone else. And if you're really concerned with performance (PERFORMANCE! PERFORMANCE! PERFORMANCE IS KING! PERFORMANCE IS EVERYTHING!), surely you want the opinions of fellow performers and those of us who devote our lives to studying, assisting and perfecting the work of these performers, rather than someone's aunt from Peoria who has an AOL account and isn't shy about dishing on the forums.

Consider the following conversation:
"Oh, darling, it was spectacular!"
"Could you hear me? The director made me face upstage during my big speech..."
"Oh, yes, but you look so stupendous from behind!"
"And we blew about four different dance numbers."
"Did you really?! It was so transcendentally wonderful that it didn't even occur to me!"
"And the lead got food poisoning partway through the third act, so his understudy finished the show."
"Oh, I didn't even notice!"
"And the set collapsed in act II, killing two chorus members."
"Nobody saw it, darling! It was wonderful!"
"And then the entire theatre burnt down."
"Oh, it was such an invigorating evacuation!"

If that's the only conversation we're allowed to have (and some people seem to think it should be), we're muffling ourselves and silencing criticisms which ought to be made, we're isolating ourselves from the realities of the industry (Okay, okay, so three audience members expired from boredom. But it was a fantastic show, darling!), and we're doing ourselves no particular service.

Don't be a jerk, obviously. But performance isn't that precious, especially not when it bumps up against everything else.

Edited for language. -missliz
« Last Edit: Jul 31, 2012, 05:11 pm by missliz »