What do you want from the AIC?

Anything about the AIC itself.

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Postby ratliff » March 9th, 2007, 8:20 pm

Bob, I think that's exactly right. And I think an added source of frustration for forward-thinking persons is that even if you correctly ID the problem, the group may go with a different solution than the one you've been diligently working on. Sort of like an improv scene, actually . . .
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Postby York99 » March 10th, 2007, 9:54 am

arclight wrote:The trick, I think, is to start looking for solutions for problems that haven't happened yet but are almost guaranteed to,


Post part 1:

Allow me to make a prediction about how the AIC, nay, the improv scene in Austin, will change in the future. Right now, the troupes hold a lot of power. There is a relatively small number of troupes and a relatively large number of performance slots.

As the number of troupes increases, so will competition for show slots. The schedulers will then enjoy the power shift. Troupes will be forced to step it up. There will be added pressure to REALLY market yourself because if there isn't an audience or shows are not up to par, the schedulers will have the power (and desire) to not schedule said troupe as much.

This, my friends, is the way of the world... and it's not a bad thing. Competition is good. It raises the bar. The best thing to happen to Coca Cola was Pepsi.
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Postby shando » March 10th, 2007, 10:05 am

York99 wrote:
arclight wrote:The trick, I think, is to start looking for solutions for problems that haven't happened yet but are almost guaranteed to,


Post part 1:

Allow me to make a prediction about how the AIC, nay, the improv scene in Austin, will change in the future. Right now, the troupes hold a lot of power. There is a relatively small number of troupes and a relatively large number of performance slots.

As the number of troupes increases, so will competition for show slots. The schedulers will then enjoy the power shift. Troupes will be forced to step it up. There will be added pressure to REALLY market yourself because if there isn't an audience or shows are not up to par, the schedulers will have the power (and desire) to not schedule said troupe as much.

This, my friends, is the way of the world... and it's not a bad thing. Competition is good. It raises the bar. The best thing to happen to Coca Cola was Pepsi.


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Postby York99 » March 10th, 2007, 10:13 am

Post Part 2:

Allow me to speak from the other side of this coin... the scheduler's side. I have seen this at the Hideout, as well as at ColdTowne Theater: There is no audience or a very small audience for a show. Performers complain and either openly blame the theater for not packing it in or imply it not so subtly.

I always think the same thing: This is your damned show. Where are the hordes of people you brought in? Why didn't you lift a finger to get an audience? It has become a bit more personal since ColdTowne Theater opened up, but I'm still baffled by this mentality.

I remember my post from this very thread talking about how in Los Angeles, to get a show a troupe had to rent the stage and hope to make enough money from the door cut to get near even. Upon further consideration, this situation wasn't that bad. Sure, it's really nice to get stage time in return for having responsibilities one Friday a month plus getting a little cash on top of that. But in the LA-type situation, the troupes must bust their asses to get butts in seats. They bust their asses to make sure the show is good so their friends might WANT to come to the next round of shows, rather than do a pity favor. End result: troupes are better; houses are better; shows are better. Market forces are at work.

note: I just read this and it sounds like I'm saying that LA is better. I'm not. I'm discussing their system, not specific people, theaters, or troupes.

To bring this back to topic: The AIC works well for a small community, especially when people are working hard. When troupes get too comfortable in letting the AIC do the bulk of the work for them, they will lose out to harder working troupes when competition increases.

There is a great analogy with the welfare state, but I've gone on too long as it is.
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Postby shando » March 10th, 2007, 10:43 am

York99 wrote:Post Part 2:

I always think the same thing: This is your damned show. Where are the hordes of people you brought in? Why didn't you lift a finger to get an audience? It has become a bit more personal since ColdTowne Theater opened up, but I'm still baffled by this mentality.


As some one who doesn't spend a lot of time on marketing but who doesn't complain about audience size (at least I'm pretty sure I don't), let me confess a pet peeve. If the kind of behavior that Justin is describing bugs you, you owe to to the community to say something right then and there when it happens. Say it, don't just think it. Otherwise you complain about unnamed people on the boards and everyone can say "Well, that's not me he's talking about." Same goes for quality. If you think a show sucks and you think show suckage is a problem for the scene, say something to the offending troupe. Don't be a dick, but make your case. You're not helping the scene by going to the boards and saying "We've got to get serious about quality control," when you refuse to do something about it yourself when it matters.

I know it's hard to say critical things about fellow improvisers, but if you want to complain about a problem in the abstract, I think you should have the courage to say something specific when an example presents itself.
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Postby Asaf » March 10th, 2007, 11:49 am

There is no way that I am giving unsolicited notes. And if I do that to you, you have the right to punch me in the head.
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Postby shando » March 10th, 2007, 11:56 am

Asaf wrote:There is no way that I am giving unsolicited notes. And if I do that to you, you have the right to punch me in the head.


I don't and won't do that either. But people who feel this way should not also complain about lack of quality in the abstract or lack of marketing effort in the abstract. Those sentiments always arise form specific instances, and one is just being coy if one doesn't at least offer specifics in the complaint. That's all I'm saying. Either people should stay mum and know that these things sort themselves out naturally, or have the courage to say what's really irking them.

Late edit: I have drunkenly given notes at parties, but they were always intended as compliments whether they were taken that way or not. Just saying that lest any of you on the reciveing end think I'm lying when I say I don't give unsolicited notes.
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Postby Wesley » March 10th, 2007, 12:14 pm

Personally, I welcome all unsolicited notes. I need notes to improve. Worst comes to worse, I ignore your note.

But, save for troupemates, I try not to give them myself. Odd that.
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Postby York99 » March 10th, 2007, 12:14 pm

I think there are times when it's appropriate to just suck it up and stay silent. I'm quite genteel, you know.

I didn't mean my post as an abstract way of attacking any particular improvisers or troupes. It's something that happens, and I can accept that. My purpose (though much like many other things on the forums, I fear that the true purpose might get lost and I come across as a dick when that's not the tone at all) was to shed light on a common tendancy as well as to bring up the point that times change.

You can ask a lot of the AIC now because it relies on improvisers. Soon, however, the improvisers may come to rely too heavily on the AIC, as opposed to handling business themselves.
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Postby arclight » March 10th, 2007, 12:18 pm

Where the AIC can help put butts in seats is to mentor troupes on promotion. Obviously the AIC and the venue can't and shouldn't do all the promotion for a show but new troupes are more concerned with putting on a good show (this touches Justin's point #1) than with marketing. One of my goals for the Threefer was to ensure that troupes had promoted their show and to connect them with someone to help them develop their promotions if they need it.
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Postby arclight » March 10th, 2007, 12:25 pm

One other thing: I don't see it as a problem if troupes rely heavily on the AIC for promotions, especially if we can attract volunteers (or eventually a paid staff) to work specifically on that problem. What's wrong with the troupes performing and the AIC handling promotions as long as everyone's happy with the outcome and the whole thing at least breaks even? We can write up a marketing internship proposal and fire it off to the local colleges, then work with the interns to make good things happen.

I don't think the AIC has the attention span to do this right now, but it's worth writing up and hiding in plain sight for a sunnier day.
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Postby Asaf » March 10th, 2007, 12:26 pm

I don't see people relying too heavily on the AIC. In fact, in talking with people one on one it seems that improvisers are not relying on the AIC because they do not feel it is something to rely on. The AIC is relying very heavily on the improvisers because it feels that it is its key resource. I, in managing, am trying to shift that where we can rely on things that are inherent to the AIC, like the ACOT membership, for instance that would take the need out of having to rely on the improvisers.
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Postby shando » March 10th, 2007, 12:31 pm

York99 wrote:I think there are times when it's appropriate to just suck it up and stay silent. I'm quite genteel, you know.

I didn't mean my post as an abstract way of attacking any particular improvisers or troupes. It's something that happens, and I can accept that. My purpose (though much like many other things on the forums, I fear that the true purpose might get lost and I come across as a dick when that's not the tone at all) was to shed light on a common tendancy as well as to bring up the point that times change.

You can ask a lot of the AIC now because it relies on improvisers. Soon, however, the improvisers may come to rely too heavily on the AIC, as opposed to handling business themselves.


Justin, I didn't think you were being a dick. But your post specifically made me think about something that rubs we the wrong way in the abstract. Just like I was talking about.

This also leads to another discussion, perhaps better in a different thread. But basically I don't think there is a real tight corollary to effort expended in marketing to show attendance. I think the show attendance puzzle is made up of marketing effort, troupe quality and reputation (different things in my opinion), and show slot. Sometimes watching a troupe bust their ass on marketing for limited results (and yes, Jastroch, these examples exist) can send a disincentive to guys like me who have a lot of other stuff going on, in that is says, "hey, tons of fliers and a press release didn't do jack anyway." Again, I'm being a bit flip--with the exception of the Cupholders I think my mailing list is bigger than any one else's in town and I can and do reach a lot of people quickly, so it's not like I do nothing on the marketing front. But you catch the drift of my example.
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madeline wrote:i average 40, and like, a billion grains?


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Postby shando » March 10th, 2007, 12:34 pm

And oh, Justin, I agree with all you're saying about how the increase in troupe numbers is going to lead to more discretion being able to be exercised by programmers.
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Postby York99 » March 10th, 2007, 12:36 pm

People don't rely on it too heavily right now. I mean in the future people might rely on it too heavily to do all of their work for them, rather than acquiring and contacting an email list, talking to friends/family/coworkers, flyering, etc. Some of these things benefits of the AIC and we should, by all means, enjoy them. But if we get fat and lazy then a dynamic group of go-getters will pass everyone by... one by one.
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