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10 things that are just as free and take just as much time as posting to pdxbackstage that are more likely to produce actual paying audience members instead of comp requests

by Trisha Pancio

1. Have each cast/crew member request at work if they can send out an email to the staff list or through the staff newsletter letting them know a fellow staffer is in the play and making a special offer.

2. Craigslist. They have event postings. Use them. They have a Free page. Give away 10 tickets to the first 10 respondents.

3. Tribe. If you don't have a page, get one. Join some groups that like art or theater. Post your release (once) there.

4. Facebook. Figure out where your cast members went to school. Join alumni lists. Post invitations for Portland folks to see a fellow alum in the show.

5. Myspace. If you don't have a page, build one. Hand2Mouth has a good one. Copy theirs. Spend 5 minutes a day adding 10 friends of your ten friends. Thank each person who adds you as a friend and tell them to come see your show this weekend. Make a special offer.

6. Call your friendly local reviewer. Invite them to coffee. Then invite them to the show. Offer them beer. Do this before closing weekend.

7. Call your friendly Neighborhood Business Association. Invite them to the show. Offer them beer. Ask them to email a special offer to their Neighborhood Business Association cronies.

8. Find another theater with similar style to yours or overlapping cast lists and request an email list trade. Third Rail and PCS have done this to great effect in the past. Make a special offer to patrons of that other theater to try out your show.

9. Don't have an email list of your own yet? Run a contest in your lobby for tickets to your next show and use it to capture the emails of the people who already come. Email your press release to them, with a special email offer.

10. Make a written plan for the next show, with members of your company assigned in advance to do all of this before you hit tech week.

And when you do post to pdxbackstage, make it more fun for all of us by:

1. Coming up with a subject line that is relevant and of interest to this group. Make it funny. Make it interesting. Make it an in-joke, if you like. We're theater people, we'll get it. Just don't make it "Come see my thrilling play." We all have thrilling plays in production. Half of us are in tech week right now. Explain to us why seeing your show will be less painful than sitting through another rehearsal of our own.

2. Not writing a novel.

3. Making sure the "when" and "where" and "how much" are frontloaded so we don't have to read the novel if we don't want to.

4. If you want to have a review of your show posted on the site, at least be clever enough to get someone not directly associated with the production to write and post it. Parents of cast members are good for this. Ex-roommates. Ex-girlfriends (if they are friendly). Anyone who doesn't share the same last name with the director.

You are all doing amazing work. Now you just got to get more people who don't have BFAs to see it. You can do it. And with all the time you'll save from not deleting random pdxbackstage releases, you'll have time to do it. Get started right now. Go on. It'll be funner than paper tech. Really. I promise.