On December 8, VaudVil hosted a meeting for the entertainment community of Tucson. Most who attended were involved with the comedy community or the film and visual entertainment community. The topics discussed ranged from failures and successes of venues to struggles nationally touring shows have when they come through Tucson. Tucson comes with its own challenges that many other cities don’t have. Finding the right formula to form a successful venture requires money and time, both of which are not in high abundance for most artists in Tucson. There were five things that highlighted this meeting and the many topics of discussion.
Keep the Conversation Going
These ideas take time to build and the only way to build it is to keep doing what we’re doing. Nothing happens overnight, and it takes a village. What’s the first step? Have more meetings with the entertainment community. Let’s try to include businesses and local law makers to bring the changes we want to see in our community. Many heads are better than one, so let’s all work together to make our city better.
Get Different Groups Together
Getting different kinds of entertainers together can be a lot of fun, and many ideas get tossed around, but few go farther than the initial conversation. Lack of funds is one of the biggest reasons ideas never get fulfilled. Many artists didn’t go to business school and only studied how to make their art. Business people didn’t focus on art of any form. These two groups fit well together, and it would be mutually beneficial to have these two worlds collide. We need to get the business folks talking with the artists and vice versa.
Marketing Without Money
This is the number one concern for people starting out in the entertainment industry in Tucson. Where do they get the money to fund their project? How do they build awareness when they can’t pay for advertising or marketing? How do they grow an audience from nothing? Is social media actually helping or not? How many likes or follows lead to sales? Marketing is difficult in general but more so in Tucson. Education in the realm of marketing is another step to strengthening the community. Marketing requires either the one’s time or one’s money, and if you have neither, you have no marketing.
Artists Should Think Like Entrepreneurs
The business is your art be it film, paintings, writing, or live performance. You sell yourself as much as you sell your art. Make sure you’re making enough money for the time you put in to a project. At some point you have to stop working free shows. When do you draw the line? What are your goals? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Who’s your competition? Treat your art like it was a restaurant or bar or any other business venture. You will look more professional and people will take you seriously.
Tucson is a Last-Minute Town
Few people purchase tickets to a show in advance. Almost 90% of tickets sales happen the day of the show. Why? People in Tucson are broke. No one is sure if they’ll have the money until the day the show is happening. They will only go if they know they have the money that day. People in Tucson are more likely to wonder the streets to see what they find than plan ahead and purchase tickets for a show. How do you get people to wonder to you? How do you get people to leave their house and stop watching Netflix? These are all questions only the big companies can answer with all their money.
Tucson is an unusual place, but there is a lot of potential. The climate plays a factor as most people leave the city during the summer and so much business in Tucson relies on university students and folks visiting from Canada for their Winter vacation. It’s difficult for the average person to make a living which makes it twice as hard for local artists to survive on their art alone. VaudVil will hold many more meetings and will put in the time to research how to answer some of these questions.
VaudVil is here to not only provide you with entertainment, but also to help entertainers survive doing what they love. Expect to see more on our website and more meetings and discussions as we crack the code behind Tucson’s excitement for but lack of support for local entertainment.