Muck raking – by guest blogger Jacob Zimmer

onwall_trev1Continuing the conversation started by Adam Thurman on artists getting deep into the “muck of marketing, networking, etc.”, Toronto director/dramaturge/writer/blogger Jacob Zimmer sounds off from the comments on his take on our responsibilities…

For me the “muck” is the struggle to articulate and make clear what we do and why we do it – how to connect that with all the publics that it might connect with.

It’s not about making/showing work you don’t like (since then you are lying when you say “come see the show, it’s great” and nobody likes a liar.)

But about working hard on finding ways to share why you like the work, and therefore what other people might like about it.

If I want people to understand why the art is important, Step One will always be: make sure the art is important.

Step Two and forward is the other muck (there is also muck in making important work) – trying to let people know about it. Trying to excite people to come despite all the other things to do, despite all the bad and unimportant art they’ve seen, despite the cost of ticket, despite all the difficulty, and disappointment is hard. It’s impossible if I don’t believe what I’m saying.

We are not that special or select, what excites us will excite others.

And maybe not the same others that have bought season tickets at the road house regional for the past 50 years.

So that is the work behind the rhetoric of new audiences. The work behind being passionate about why something matters (always making sure it does matter.)

And yes, there is something off with the balance when we work very hard to make something that matters and don’t have the time/energy/tactics to articulate what matters about it.

Just as there is something deeply out of balance when there is much work and much money put into convincing people that something matters, when actually it doesn’t. This is too common, and makes it harder to do the first thing, since all the language has been co-opted.

So yes, how do we find the language for the audiences for our work? I’ve been trying to start with talking about what is exciting to me, since excitement is contagious.

This end of day ramble is cross posted at the Dancemakers blog

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