Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some people just get it

Last night was good.

First, I got to see Clay and Drew, a couple of former Exit 16ers and two of the Scriptease guys, direct their first improv show up at William Jewell. The Cardinals Jesters are a bunch of really talented kids who've never improvised before, and together they put up a fun, fast-paced, solid show. The game that really blew me away was Audience Nightmare—playful, smart, risky and really theme-inspired. Awesome. Can't wait to see what else they do...they'll play with us at the Corbin in January, and are doing some shows at the Fishtank, I think.

Then it was out to Czar Bar to see Capybara, featuring three more former Exit 16ers. They're getting great press, strong reviews and good gigs, and seem to be having a lot of fun while they're doing it.

Every now and then, I get a chance to talk to band folks about marketing their groups. Alan Scherstuhl believes improvisers should present themselves more like rock stars and less like debate teams, and he's right.

Last night, I ended up chatting with Mark Harrison, who does most of the booking and promo for Capybara. He's got great instincts, and talked a lot about one of the most important parts of marketing—authenticity. Spend some time on Capybara's blog or Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, and you'll see that the vibe they've created is playful, witty and absolutely genuine. (This Pitch interview gives you an idea of what it's like to sit down and talk to them.)

In brand personality work—even for improv groups and bands, and whether you sit down and work though a strategy, make it up as you go along, or just go with your gut—you've got to start with who you really are. If you try to manufacture an image that doesn't ring true, it just doesn't work.

(All this got me thinking about another word we need to add for Spite. More on that later.)

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