a conversation

I had an online chat with a friend yesterday about my project and I thought it was worth adding to this blog’s conversation. I’ve taken out all details of personality but I hope my friend doesn’t mind me posting this.

Friend: How is your quest going?

me: pretty good. i’m 15 people away from 100 responses (NOTE: at the time of this posting it’s at 9 away)
2:36 PM Friend: Are you finding what you seek?
2:37 PM me: i think so. the responses have been really interesting. it’s going to be a long process to figure out though. and really everyone is interested in different things. there is no one solution.
2:38 PM Friend: There never is.
2:39 PM me: i just feel like theater needs to change and hasn’t in a while. and i’d like to be a part of making that happen. and i want to do it (in part) by empowering artists to think outside the traditional theater box
Friend: I think the artists do think outside the box.
2:40 PM I think its the people with money who don’t.
So if we want to actually make a living, we have to reign it in.
2:41 PM me: i think it’s a mix of both. there is definitely and audience/donor education system that needs to happen. but i don’t think that artists aren’t at fault as well. i think changes have been made in the past by those who have created with abandon and forced the audience and donors to follow them.
2:42 PM Friend: I don’t disagree.
2:43 PM But after compiling enough rejection letters, at a certain point you just want to work. Maybe I just don’t have that drive to push forward with “abandon.”
2:44 PM me: well that’s what i want to help with 😉
it’s not easy obviously
2:45 PM and i haven’t found the solution yet. but i do think one exists
Friend: Let me know when you find it!
me: and i don’t think any artist should be alone in it. It shouldn’t be just you pushing but a movement
2:46 PM
Friend: Yes. But how does one start a movement.
me: Well, that’s what i’m going to try to do.

i think
Friend: How did the bands in DC start their movement?
me: DIY
Friend: Was it a time and place thing, and then they realized they had a movement… or was it actively a choice.
2:47 PM The question is: how did they get the audience to keep coming out.
me: it
it is a great question
Friend: You should ask Ian MacKaye.
me: i totally should!
Friend: But he eventually moved on too.
2:48 PM me: i am thinking this will be my thesis project so there’s lots of interviewing to be done.
everyone moves on.
but what he created was successful and led to a change in the music industry.
Friend: Sure.
Everyone keeps hopelessly waiting for the Fugazi come back.
2:49 PM me: i want a change in the theatrical industry. or more specifically the non profit theater industry
2:50 PM Friend: You mean, somehow remind them that they are non-profit, so they should take risks on unique pieces instead of worrying about their box offices like a for-profit theater company?
2:51 PM me: i think it’s more about making unique pieces not so risky
Friend: I think I’ve become too cynical to be of help.
me: change the spectrum
2:52 PM Friend: Sounds like a challenge.
2:53 PM me: it is. it’s one i’ve given myself. i may be completely unsuccessful. but i realized i don’t want to just work in a theater company and watch audiences drop and money dry up my whole life.
Friend: You know, I wrote my senior seminar piece about something like that.
2:54 PM After spending 4 years watching our budgets get slasher and hearing the department complain about the audiences, I argued that it was possible to be successful in theatre.
Anyway, good luck.
I gotta bounce.
Talk to you soon.
Hope New York is awesome.
me: I’d be curious to know what your conclusion was in your paper. it’s too bad that cynicism is so easy to catch. i think it’s totally the hardest barrier (for me too).
talk to you later.
I’m really excited about these conversations and want to have more of them. Everytime I talk about the project it forces me to refine my ideas, it challenges me.  It’s all pretty exciting stuff, even if the final project is no where near what I’m imagining it to be right now.
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