Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Coalition of the Eager

The Coalition of the Eager may live nearby or far away. They may live a life much like yours or very different. The one common element of the Coalition of the Eager is they like your work, and they want there to be more of it. They want to experience more of it.

Maybe your online video gives them a much needed escape from a stressful or disappointing day. Or makes their commute less boring. Maybe they have their first date with the love of their life at your movie. Or your work makes them not hate the movie they were dragged to see. Perhaps they are brought joy, understanding, diversion, poignance, passion and pathos from your work. Maybe they feel more connected and less lonely. Maybe it just made them laugh.

Maybe they have suffered great loss, the world seems to be falling apart around them, everything they have known is changing and your work on TV gives stability, constancy that gives them hope, a light at the end of a dark the tunnel. Maybe they just look forward to your show during a boring workday. Maybe your work makes the information they wanted easier to get, easier to understand.

Maybe the logic of the stories of our work is counterpoint to a random world where in real life bad things can happen to good people without reason. Our work is a worthy, noble undertaking. Anyone who says otherwise is not in your Coalition of the Eager.

There are 3 groups of people who are in your audience, in fact in the world:

  1. People who dislike what you do professionally, and possibly what you are, and do, in all of your life. The Coalition of the Haters.
  2. People who enjoy your work when they see it, but don't seek it out. The Coalition of the Willing.
  3. People who adore your work, and quite possibly you; your fans. The Coalition of the Eager.

The sales world refers to making strangers into friends, and friends into customers. This is makes it tempting to think of everyone as being able to move toward being a promoter of you and your work, toward being in the Coalition of the Eager. Keep in mind 2 things:

  1. Not every person will ever be a big fan of your work or you. Some people cannot be won over no matter what you do. That's ok.
  2. Worrying about haters is not useful. Don't feed the trolls, meaning don't engage and give fuel to haters, online or off.

People can, and will, move from one group to another, preferably toward the Coalition of the Eager.

The use of social networks follows the 90–9–1 principle:

Your Coalition of the Eager are a corollary to that 1%. Many of your Coalition of the Eager will watch but you will never know beyond the ratings, research, box office, sales or crowd past the footlights. Not all fans send fan mail.

Your fans, your Coalition of the Eager, are very nice to have. Not just practically because they buy tickets to projects you are in, and support you and your work. The Coalition of the Eager are the people for whom you do your work. Be nice to them. They are your core audience, and the most likely to be moved, entertained, amused, touched and engaged with your performances. They are present, they are eager.

It can be a growing core audience that can help build, sustain and transition a career in great ways. Your team (agents, managers, publicists, and such) should be in the Coalition of the Eager. If they aren't, look into it. Your family ideally is. If they are not, it is worth building yourself a blind-spot to insulate yourself from them in this regard. Your significant other likely is in your Coalition of the Eager. And if they aren't, look into it.

The Coalition of the Eager has connected and wants to connect with our work again. Let them. They are the people we do this for. And if we work on recorded mediums and are lucky, we may be able to do this for people after we are gone. We may do this for people who are not yet born.

It is worth understanding who your Coalition of the Eager is, what resonates with them and how they communicate. If your core fans, your Coalition of the Eager, don't have accounts on a certain social network, then announcing your appearances on that network may not work. If they all speak one language, and you announce your work in another, they may not understand or show up.

Even if all of your promotion and communication with the audience is done by other people, like your publicist or a show's producer, your audience is still your audience, and if you neglect them, they may return the favor. This is not suggesting that you make every business or artistic decision based on thinking what does the Coalition of the Eager want. But the logistics of entertainment, having the audience encounter the work, happens better if you notice where they are and how they discover your work. If your audience learned about you from your work on a specific TV network in a specific geographic area, mentioning that to the producers or publicists may be good. Especially if you notice the network hasn't been told about your current project.

No one cares about you or your career as much as you do. Make it easy for everyone else who does care to support you. They are already eager to, and performing without an audience isn't performing, it's rehearsal.

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this posted by David August at 10:01 AM 

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