November 11, 2011
San Francisco Arts and Culture
Why San Francisco Is Better Known For Pinnipeds Than For Plays.
San Francisco, CA – San Francisco has the nation's third largest community of professional actors, and the Bay Area is home to over 400 theaters—so why is it best known for its thick fog, Dungeness crabs, rice “treats” and sea lions? Clearly, promoting the performing arts in a naturally entertaining, scenic city like San Francisco is fraught with challenges, but video marketing can make all the difference.
First, let's look at the problem: a quick, unscientific Facebook survey of our friends and colleagues bought forth a wildly diverging set of explanations for San Francisco's dilemma:
- The environment: The city is too beautiful and too close to sandy beaches, golden hills, snow-capped mountains, redwood forests and azure lakes. Audiences are loath to come indoors.
- Street Theater: San Francisco has too much real street theater that eclipses the performing arts. How can a new modern dance by an unknown choreographer compete with a burly, bearded nun on roller skates, pushing a stroller?
- Food: The Google-Facebook-Yahoo-Genentech “Digerati” entertain themselves by eating at trendy restaurants that come and go like the rain. The little energy they have left after digesting locally sourced, organic, fair trade, truffle-infused entrées is devoted to tweeting, blogging and trading iPhone apps.
- Critics: There are too few performing arts critics, especially as our printed newspapers shrink and die. The few performing arts critics that still retain an audience are narrowly focused on scoring memorable, provocative, or engaging works as simply “good” or “bad.” The San Francisco Chronicle, our leading paper, insists on scoring performance according to their facile “little man” scale, which grades on a pessimistic curve; of the 5 “little man” ratings, 3 are negative and only 2 are positive.
- Short Runs: Shows in the Bay Area are most often staged for short runs in small theaters; too ephemeral to be effectively promoted in, say, airline magazines. San Francisco asks the audience to take a chance on the unknown, the unadvertised, the poorly branded—to select a particular venue and risk showing up, knowing little about the show.
Each of these explanations has at least some grain of truth. How can we meet them all and turn San Francisco into a destination for live performance? Not surprisingly, we suggest using moving images!
- Communicate with young audiences who learn about cultural events online, through moving images.
- Promote an understanding that our local performance is different than Broadway, yet as equally valid; we have smaller, more intimate venues, and an abundance of new works that reflect the intellectual and emotional issues of our time.
- Differentiate our eclectic neighborhoods, each harboring a mix of commercial and non-profit arts venues that present the new, the classic, the underground, and the uniquely “Left Coast.”
A sampling of promotion videos at local theatres proves that most are not professionally produced. Compare, for example, almost any Hollywood film trailer to the poorly conceived and poorly executed videos of many local arts organizations. This is where our services at Flying Moose can have a large impact. We don't simply record performances with professional quality audio and video; we work closely with performing artists to tell compelling stories about their work. That is what we believe is required to capture the attention of both locals and visitors, so they stop and watch a live performance, before heading off to feast on molecular foam desserts or pet a sea lion.
Contact Flying Moose Pictures to find out how visual storytelling can work for your firm.