Saturday, December 30, 2017

Success in 2018! Richard Skipper's Marketing Advice!

Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time.
-Jean Paul

Happy Saturday, December 30th, 2017!
December 30 is the 364th day of the year. There is one day remaining until the end of the year.
It is a snowy day here in New York.
For some, much of what happens throughout the day is mundane, inconsequential, and irrelevant. Not for me, everyday, I'm reminded that the world is full of wonderful things! THAT is why Hello, Dolly! resonates so strongly with me.
Wow! Here we are on the precipice of a brand new year. As I always do every year at this time, I'm reflecting on what was and what possibly lies ahead. Of course, none of us knows what is in the cards for us, we can work towards making a better world through our actions, our words, our thoughts, and especially through the work we do.
I have created my world and continue to do so. As I always say, I am a work in progress. 
Sean Harkness
My horoscope today tells me that the moon opens my mind and heart to trying all that is new. I'll take it!
The idea for my blog today comes from Sean Harkness
He came up with the idea of what has changed in the trends of promotion and marketing in our business and what has remained the same. It is a perfect topic for an end of year blog! It’s that time of the year where we as artists need to reflect back on the past year. What worked? What didn't? What do I need to change for the next year? For those of the Christian faith, This is the time of rebirth.
The star has shown within our own light. Why can't we all adopt that philosophy moving forth regardless of our faith?
Think about what you did and didn’t do?
In this blog, you will find the strategies that I suggest to do more as a successful artist in 2018. How can we stay connected to our own true selves and venture to where the true gold is. 
What resolutions are you making as an artist? 
Before I get to the meat and potatoes of this blog, let me take a moment to give a shout out to Sean 
For my Arizona friends, you can catch him on February 24th. Please click HERE for more info. 

Interestingly, as I begin typing these words, There's No Business Like Show Business was playing on my Amazon Echo! That was followed by My Husband Makes Movies from Nine. That should tell you something about my playlist!
Alexa seems to be reading my mind as I write today
Rose Marie and cast on the Dick Van Dyke Show
about the creative process. 

My blog yesterday was on Rose Marie, who passed away on Thursday. 
She has the distinction of having the longest career in show business. She started out as Baby Rose Marie
She was the youngest artist to have her own national radio program. She was a star of radio and vaudeville. 

She became a headliner in nightclubs and was right there when Vegas was first starting to attract headliners, thanks to Bugsy Siegel.

She starred in Broadway in Top Banana opposite Phil Silvers. She had a very long television career thanks to The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Doris Day Show, and Hollywood Squares

Then she went back on the road in the 70s with the highly successful 4 Girls 4 touring with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O'Connell, and Margaret Whiting breaking box office records wherever they appeared. 
And in recent months, a documentary celebrating her life, Wait For The Laugh, was released in which she also appeared. 

I'm reiterating from my blog yesterday that I was lucky enough to interview her on her 90th Birthday. She had an amazing total recall.
As the documentary premiered in New York, Sardi's unveiled a caricature of her which was long overdue.
Better late than ever. Thanks to her publicist and my friend, Harlan Boll, I was invited to the ceremony.
I Facebooked LIVE the event and she even called in. 
She was constantly reinventing herself and she remained current. 
She even had a website and through her daughter and Kathy Brown, she maintained a Twitter account and actually stayed connected to her fans.
Last night, I watched American Masters' tribute to Bob Hope. 

One of the things that struck me is that in the last five to ten years of his career, his style remained as it always was.

For his diehard fans, perhaps that was enough, but for newer generations, he seemed stodgy and old hat and did not seem to keep up with the times. The world AND the business was changing and he refused to change with it. As shows like Saturday Night Live started to hit the scene, he seemed, for some, to exceed his expiration date. 

Bob Hope’s best audiences were servicemen and women stationed far from home at military bases in the U.S. and abroad. Beginning in May 1941 and continuing for nearly fifty years, Hope brought his variety show to military camps and war zones to entertain troops with song, dance, comedy, attractive women, and people in the news. He discovered early on that audiences appreciated jokes about their locale and local elite.

Hope believed he gained more from the experience than he gave. “I hate war with all my guts,” Hope told a crowd in 1971, “but I admire the guys with guts enough to fight them when they have to be fought.”  (Source: The Library of Congress)
Carol Channing has also had a long career due to star power and endurance

However, as some soldiers and some Americans became disillusioned with the Vietnam War, he was called out for being a hawk. He was booed when he told the soldiers that the President was doing everything in his power to end the war and bring them back to America, Their trust in him and who he was started to wane. In his heart and mind, he was just being patriotic. 
We all want to be better at marketing and we all want to sell ourselves. The problem is,
Author and composer Michael Colby is Always Marketing Himself
it often feels like marketing strategies are changing all the time and how is an eager artist supposed to keep up with that? The reason for this blog is to not only share some insight into marketing in the new year, but give you tips for long-term success, not just will work in January. The marketing ideas I’m sharing in this blog, are geared to success the whole year through, and I hope you’ll use all (or as many of these) as you can!

First of all, KNOW YOU ARE A BUSINESS. I have many tales to tell about the world of marketing and promotion.
Today, I'm celebrating artists who epitomize this aspect of a career. They all are constantly striving to better themselves as they move towards their next gig. I
Here's a montage of some past honorees and upcoming guest stars at IT'S JUST A NUMBER.
t's True, Most Artists Don't Like Business, But It Is a Necessary fact. You HAVE to keep up with trends. This is not to say you will be good at it.

Michael Colby:
Monday January 29th, will be the latest edition of Bobbie Horowitz's IT'S JUST A NUMBER, to honor Renee Katz, John C. Introcaso, and Michael Colby.
Michael Colby's Charlotte Sweet
Limited seating so Please Reserve Soon at (212) 757-0788 (It's inexpensive with discounts for members of MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) and Senior Citizens). 

Surround yourself with a Team who are of the same mind set as you and who share the same goals you do in terms of moving your career forward. 
I have made a LOT of mistakes in my career in terms of aligning myself with people who had ulterior motives when it came to MY career! 
You would think I was a major star.
Tym Moss is at Don't Tell Mama tonight. Stop what you are doing and GO SEE THIS SHOW!

I have had managers, agents, and producers practically destroy my career and ultimately me by having an agenda that was more about them making money on my back and less about me and
Hello, Dolly! STILL going strong 54 years later!
what I desired and needed. 

One of the best things that has ever happened to me career wise is Russ Woolley. 
He believes in my talent and the goals I am pursuing. Not only is he a GREAT producer; he is a great friend. 
He is a great business man which helps tremendously.  

Celebrating Shana Farr
Please send a brief description of what is happening in your life now.
 In addition to being a mommy to a three-year-old, my life is full of many different things from designing jewelry to designing websites and social media platforms. I have also started teaching private lessons in voice technique and lyric interpretation. Other responsibilities include
I was lucky enough to have Shana Farr (far left) as one of my featured guests
sitting as Vice President of The Players, New York’s storied theatrical club founded by the great Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth where I am also Chair of the Programming Committee, and I enjoy being a Board Member of  the Dutch Treat Club, an historical weekly lunch club established in 1905 that consists of great conversation, musical entertainment, and an emanate speaker. 

But, what I am most looking forward to this year is to upcoming performances both theatrical, concert and cabaret. 
2017 ended with some nice performance opportunities with Steve Ross and 2018 will continue that way with solo shows at Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Pheasantry in London, then continuing on to Chicago, Florida, and more. I will also be participating in a reading of a new musical in development and will be performing A.R Gurney’s Love Letters on Valentine’s Day.
Why do you feel that celebrities are such an important part of our lives?
(Editor's Note: To me, the ultimate celebrity is Barbra Streisand)
I don’t necessarily think of celebrities as an important part of life, but if anything, they are physical, real representations of our own aspirations and at their worst, can be examples of what not to do. I always appreciate talent - that of a celebrity or not.  
If you could perform with one person, who would that be? 
If I could perform with one person... Hmmmm, I’m going to give you one male and one female answer.
Meryl Streep has been and always will be at the top of my list as someone I admire and someone from whom I could learn just by breathing the same air. She completely embodies the characters she brings to life whether it’s through words, through music and lyrics or through subtle movements and glances, and it’s because she opens herself up giving herself completely to what it is she’s doing. The male counterpart to that is Hugh Jackman. Yes, he has been cast in many roles that exploit his hunkiness, but he is also one of those actors who gives himself completely not only on film but also on stage which was evident when he performed on Broadway in The Boy From Oz. 

What person do you most admire, living or dead?
(Editor's Note: For me, personally, Peggy Eason has those traits)
This question is too hard to answer. Who do I most admire? I can’t narrow it down to just one person, but the traits I admire in people are strength, kindness, caring, and giving. I admire creativity, those who are moral and ethical, and who are passionate and principled.  
How did your tribute to Barbara Cook come about? What is it that you like most about performing this show?
Barbara Cook was honored at The Players in 2016 with the first Players Helen Hayes Award. I was so looking forward to meeting her and performing for her that night because she had always been a singer I listened to for inspiration. At the last minute, due to illness, she was unable to attend the event and it was only a few months later that she passed. 
I had always wanted to do a tribute show to Barbara Cook as our repertoire is almost exactly the same, so when she did pass away, I thought it was time for me to pay tribute to someone I’ve so admired not only for her talent in singing and interpretation but also for her willingness to share her life experience and for her strength in creating a brand new career in concert and cabaret in the second part of her life.
Barbara Cook was an actor, a singer, a teacher and a mother, and one of the gems she passed along to her students was to always be present in their performances. Sometimes what we think we ought to be doing up on stage is actually taking away from the performance, not enhancing it. 
She said it wasn’t until later in life when she really understood this herself, and that she began feeling as if she was living inside of a song and singing her way out. What I enjoy most about performing this show is sharing her little gems with the great songs from Bernstein to Sondheim, and putting into practice that idea of living inside a song and singing my way out. 
(L-R) Richard Skipper, Sondra Lee, Lee Roy Reems
Shana suggested I profile Sondra Lee. HERE is that profile.
Leonard Bernstein once suggested that a musician's response to violence should be to "make the music more intense." Why not adopt this philosophy in every aspect of our careers? When it gets tough, let's all get more intense!  
In 2018, Spend less time on social media UNLESS it has to do with your career: Yes, you read that right. I said less. I'm working on this and believe it or not, this is one of my intentions for the new year. The reason I say less is because I’m betting that not all of your marketing time on social media is productive and this means you probably aren’t doing all the right things, or maybe you’re just doing too much of something that isn’t leveraging any visibility.
I work Daily at Branding Myself
This is a great time to assess your various platforms and see where you really want and need to be. Once you’ve done that, be sure the effort you’re putting in is really making sense. If none of your posts are getting likes, shares, or comments, then maybe it’s time to reassess what you’re posting and where. Marketing is about communication and if your posts aren’t driving that, there’s something wrong.
Perhaps you are trying to make up for lost time, but your energy has shifted from wanting to be alone to saying yes to every invitation/post you receive. Otherwise, your career is going to have a limited run. 
Peggy Eason with Lesley Ann Warren
Don't take offense to this-limited can mean anything from a year to thirty years, but is nonetheless going to be limited. 
In most other careers, you can expect to have a professional life of forty-five years plus, but as an entertainer in the music biz, this almost never happens, with very few exceptions. 
Work to sustain a career that moves beyond your current or next gig. 
When I first started out, I had a great mentor. She instilled in me that every time I stepped on stage, I was carrying the mantle of every great person that has gone before me. 
I never forgot that and I think of that in every aspect of my career every day. I look to the history of great artists who have gone before me, literature, great books in order to figure out how to function positively and effectively within the present environment.  
The point also is that social media can be a black hole of ineffectiveness. If you aren’t careful you’ll lost a lot of valuable marketing time just trying to “make stuff work.” You’re maybe posting content that isn’t quite as engaging as it needs to be, or maybe you aren’t posting consistently enough. Yes, I said spend less time – but this also means dividing your time as wisely as you can.
With The Late Great Dana Lorge. I learned so much from her. 
So instead of pushing out content that isn’t getting noticed, and spreading this across five or so platforms, why not focus on one platform and really make that one work. Less is more. Sometimes I flip between Facebook and Twitter and thus negating the work that must be done.

In order to be successful in this business, you need to have more than one thing that distinguishes you above the rest. And your shows don’t all have to be full out successes but they do need to be consistent.
Why do you need to do more shows? Because more shows are actually, and surprisingly, easier to sell than just one.When in doubt, honor
One of my Highlights of 2017 was interviewing Joyce Bulifant
your heart and enthusiastically embrace the love the cosmos is offering you now.

When you market one show or aspect of your career (this is especially true for shows in a series), you drive attention to all the shows in your series, not just one – and this helps you sell more shows. It’s sort of like having multiple storefronts, same theory, only with shows.
And if you plan your investment right, you don’t have to spend a ton on each show. Creating yes, excellent content yes, but none of this has to cost you a fortune. Though remember, entertainment is a business and as such, you should plan to make an investment before you see a return on this investment.
Stay tuned for great content from Russ Woolley and I in 2018!
Having multiple showss will help you reach better attendance and marketing goals much quicker.

We have fewer than 48 hours left in 2017!
In 2018: Price your shows to sell.
I saw this a lot in 2017 where performers were pricing shows too LOW, this is especially true for benefits. Never, ever price your books in such a way that they are no longer competitive with their markets.
It's content that boosts sells
If you want to sell more shows, price them so the audience will want to buy. Believe it or not, discounts do not always translate into sales!

Make sure you appeal to the audience you are playing
This is a surprisingly big deal. But I saw it a lot in 2017 where performers weren’t quite what the audience wanted. When you are making a guest appearance in someone else's show, for example, play to THEIR established audience. Otherwise, you may alienate winning that audience over to you.
Be consistently promoting
Put together a promotional calendar that lists, month by month, what you can be doing to promote yourself.
You should never, ever be sitting around thinking: “What should I do now?” Always have a marketing strategy in the hopper. Sometimes people “take a break’ from marketing to sort of see what happens with the show or project when they do. This is always a bad idea. Here’s what happens when you stop marketing yourself: nothing.
Marketing is a conversation and once that conversation stops, so does your visibility. And when I say “always be promoting” I don’t mean that you have to do big, fancy blogs every day. Maybe it’s a Facebook promotion today, or audience outreach tomorrow or a fun contest on social media, whatever it is, be consistently out there.
A project that I am producing for January 30th!
In Latin, there is an expression known Festina lente: make haste slowly. You cannot expect other people to create meaning for you. Working towards the creation of something successful is the goal. Years ago, I was doing a show off-Broadway. Those that should have were not promoting AT ALL. I was daily posting about the show. A well meaning friend told me that she felt that I was promoting too
Who could have guessed the success of this show based on when it was produced?
much. I asked a dear friend who is a marketing expert when it was too much and he said after the show closes!
I still take that advice to heart! And you must be bold enough to speculate, postulate and imagine the PERFECT OUTCOME on the basis of partial knowledge.
The same is true for a one person show vs. an ensemble show.
Be aware that you need to “match” your style with the format of the show,
My designer Glen Charlow with Diane J. Findlay (she is one of my featured guests 1/31/17)
otherwise you will seem like an odd-ball. And audiences do judge you by first impressions, so having something that mirrors others in the genre is not only helpful, it’s a must if you want to sell yourself. Also, if you are guesting in

someone's show, please share the responsibility of letting others know about the show. It is the only fair thing to do. After all, you've been given a great platform without all of the expense that goes with that.
Remember, generations view the world according to the most dominant lens.
Connect with your audiences
Now, more than ever, you need to be connecting with your audiences. Connect with them, share insights with them, treat them like they are part of your exclusive tribe because they are and if they aren’t, they should be.
Start a newsletter list or a blog if you don’t have one and do consistent outreach to let your audiences know they are always in the forefront of your mind! Think about yourself as a small business. More performances.
I'm throwing back the curtain and showing my followers the little man behind the Wizard who is always trying to put forth a positive image of a man. 

Let's Be Friends! I promise you a great experience!

You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.

Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One January 31st: 8PMBeechman Theater
I was fortunate enough to be a part of Richard's wonderful series on December 3rd at the
Laurie Beechman. The spirit of the holidays was crystallized on the stage by many great performances, but being in the presence of Kathryn Crosby was a special treat, especially when she and Richard sang "White Christmas" together.
Richard knows how to bring back the warm feeling of tradition while still being firmly rooted in the present, where the joy of the experience rests.
Bobby Belfry, Nyack, New York

Richard Skipper Celebrated all over the Laurie Beechman stage December 3rd, 2017. Nothing could've been Christmas-ier. If you needed a little Christmas, this was the place to soak in it, being a tinseled treat of warmth and holiday cheer. It was wonderful to see Bobby Belfry, Ann Kittredge, Sidney Myer, and Deborah Stone all at the top of their respectively unique yuletide cabaret games under the musical direction of Tracy Stark and the band.
Richard Skipper Celebrates The 53rd Anniversary of Hello, Dolly! (1/16/17)
The show opened with a charmingly nostalgic credit crawl designed by Michael Masci and a video sequence featuring the great variety TV stars of the past, concluding with Mr. Christmas himself Bing Crosby. The highlight of the show, or any Holiday show happening in 2017, would have to be Ms. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow, singing first "Holly Jolly Christmas" and of course ending with "White Christmas."
with cast of Richard Skipper Celebrates December 3rd, 2017
That's Christmas right there. Richard tied it all together with great showmanship. His Richard Skipper Celebrates series produces some of the livelier and most just-plain-fun events in Cabaret.
-Jeff Macauley, NYC

I love Richard Skipper Celebrates Shows I have had the pleasure of attending several. They are always entertaining and totally awesome. His guests are entertaining and so is Richard. His live talk shows are a plus for me because not only are they entertaining, they give insight inside the cabaret and arts community and also the guests are given the opportunity to promote their upcoming events. I like that's it's fair and balanced. Keep up the great work bringing awareness to the Arts and entertainment world.
Dianne Rike, Trotwood Ohio

ONE MONTH FROM TOMORROW! January 31st 8PM Russ Woolley proudly
presents Richard Skipper Celebrates Carol Channing's 97th Birthday (on her actual Birthday!) at 8PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater featuring Diane J. Findlay, Karen Saunders, Wendy Scherl, Christine Pedi, and a SPECIAL guest to be announced January 5th!  We will be celebrating Carol Channing's life and career through the songs she sang. All under the musical direction of Michael Lavine with Rex Benincasa on percussion, Erik Lawrence on Sax, and Maryann McSweeney on bass. $30.00 cover/$25.00 Food Drink Minimum
Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!
With grateful XOXOXs ,


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Richard Skipper,