Why do people come to Austin Improv Shows

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Why do people come to Austin Improv Shows

Postby dancrumb » April 27th, 2011, 10:20 pm

The post about show runs and ongoing troupes got me thinking.

Why do people come to Improv Shows in Austin?

The subtext here is not "I can't imagine why they would do such a thing". I'm asking this literally. If you polled every audience at every show... what would they say their motivation is?

I can think of a few:

1) A friend is in the show
2) A friend invited them to the show
3) A friend recommended the show
4) They're a student at the theatre and are getting exposure to theatre shows
5) They saw an advertisement and came based on that
6) They regained consciousness in this chair

I'm curious, because my experience is heavily skewed, since I'm in shows, my friends are in shows and I'm taking classes.

Has anyone out there done any research into this?
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Postby beardedlamb » April 27th, 2011, 11:25 pm

anecdotally, i can tell you that i was amazed at the last hideout show i did about a month ago. me and caitlin played with IFE and there were maybe 3 or 4 people i knew in the crowd. and i think IFE had maybe a few as well. the rest were strangers and were doing that awkward, shy half wave on the way out of the theatre that indicates to me that they are just avg citizens who come to see stuff occasionally. uh... if that helps.

that seems to be a turning point for a venue that has consistent similar programming (ie 99% improv). when people just show up to see something because the last thing they saw was good. they have little knowledge of who is performing when. they only really know that there is good stuff happening all weekend. (at least at first. they may over time develop a taste for certain shows or groups).

obviously a huge shift recently has been in social networking. when i started in the late 90s it was all about handing people flyers, getting people to sign up for your email list, and getting listed in the chronicle. all three of which were a constant uphill battle. but yeah i think facebook has done amazing things for event marketing and has a lot to do with the fact that improv is so huge in austin.
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Postby sara farr » April 28th, 2011, 11:45 pm

They Hideout was polling it's audiences at one point to find out how they heard of the show. If I'm taking tickets, I usually ask (unless there is a crowd waiting to get in). Lots say they know ppl in the show, but not all. The numbers the Hideout has may be a good indicator.

Jessica? Roy? Kareem?
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » April 29th, 2011, 8:46 am

beardedlamb wrote:obviously a huge shift recently has been in social networking. when i started in the late 90s it was all about handing people flyers, getting people to sign up for your email list, and getting listed in the chronicle. all three of which were a constant uphill battle. but yeah i think facebook has done amazing things for event marketing and has a lot to do with the fact that improv is so huge in austin.


if we had to break dance on the South Mall one more time...:p

sara farr wrote:They Hideout was polling it's audiences at one point to find out how they heard of the show. If I'm taking tickets, I usually ask (unless there is a crowd waiting to get in). Lots say they know ppl in the show, but not all. The numbers the Hideout has may be a good indicator.

Jessica? Roy? Kareem?


the online ticketing still asks how they heard about the show/theatre.
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Postby valetoile » April 29th, 2011, 9:04 am

i think another reason people come to shows is because they want to do improv. It might not even be a fully formed conscious desire, but especially in interactive shows like maestro, there are probably quite a few people in the audience with some degree of wanting to be up there too. I know quite a few students heard about classes by coming to a show.
Parallelogramophonographpargonohpomargolellarap: It's a palindrome!
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Postby kbadr » April 29th, 2011, 9:26 am

The vast majority of people who fill out the field cite "word of mouth" as how they heard about the show. Which doesn't tell us anything except to keep doing what we're doing and do it well.

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Postby Brad Hawkins » April 29th, 2011, 10:57 am

kbadr wrote:The vast majority of people who fill out the field cite "word of mouth" as how they heard about the show. Which doesn't tell us anything except to keep doing what we're doing and do it well.


You're obviously not a marketer. It means you need more mouths. Maybe you can rent mouths.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » April 29th, 2011, 11:14 am

Brad Hawkins wrote:
kbadr wrote:The vast majority of people who fill out the field cite "word of mouth" as how they heard about the show. Which doesn't tell us anything except to keep doing what we're doing and do it well.


You're obviously not a marketer. It means you need more mouths. Maybe you can rent mouths.


i don't know, man...used mouths are always kind of risky.
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Postby DollarBill » May 5th, 2011, 1:23 am

Tipping point! I don't know, maybe Malcolm Gladwell is just a speculative arm-chair sociologist. Maybe he's over simplifying what causes hordes and masses to flock to an event or happening.

But the fact is... it happens. I think the key is to really think about it. Test it. Track it. Figure out what brings people in. Obviously easier said than done, and quality of the show plays a huge part, but that'd definitely not the only factor. Fun to think about though.

I definitely advocate making people waiting in line OUTSIDE the theater every week for Micetro. An old trick but a good one!
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