The Joys of Self-Promotion

16 01 2013

Getting people to come out and see a one-woman show can be difficult.  Here are some guidelines.

1.  Have a really good show.

2.  Beg friends, family, colleagues, and anyone in your circle to pretty please come see it.

3.  Get listed on all of the websites involving things to do.

4.  Hand out lots of cards.

5.  Put up lots of posters.

I’d like to think that #1 has been achieved.  I’ve put a lot of work into this show, got a great director, and it’s a very sincere and genuine piece.  I feel really good about that.  The feedback from audiences at the first two previews has been super positive.

I’ve been doing Step 2 for a while and will keep doing doing it probably until the very last show of the run.  Speaking of the run, please click here to see a list of all of the performances with fabulous opening acts scheduled each night!  Hope you can make it out!

#3 is one of those steps where you just do what you can and hope for the best.  I sent out press releases to pretty much everyone.  However, I’m not listed everywhere yet.  One site coerces you to sign up with an account, go through a lengthy process of filling out a form online (where one can’t always choose an applicable option), then you have to click a box that reads (paraphrasing), “There is no guarantee we will post your event.”  In addition, once you’ve sent out the press release, you can only hope they get the details right when they post it.  Some publications will try to be cute and witty in describing your piece.  So, without having ever seen your show, and instead of simply copying and pasting your description, they’ll just write something themselves.  In my experience, this ends in them having a very inaccurate description of your artistic endeavors.  For example, when I was running my first one-woman show, The Good, the Bad, and the Monkey (a show about dating/relationships/singlehood wherein I did “scenes” with sock monkeys on stage, letting the audience imagine the other half of the dialogue), various publications would routinely describe my show as a puppet show, which of course it wasn’t.  I was using sock monkeys (homemade stuffed animals), not sock puppets.  Sigh.  Fast forward to my current show, 185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar…  This is a written show about my journey as an artist–an actor, an improviser–with all of the notable stories along the way, punctuated by Zen Buddhist philosophy.  Now the publications who haven’t seen my show are describing it as an improvised performance, despite the fact that my description includes the “Written by Amanda Rountree” in it.

Alright, steps 4 and 5 go hand and hand.  You’ve seen these in play at your local coffee shop:  Posters on the windows or on the “community board” in the back by the bathroom and flyers or postcards on the little shelf by the door.  Stacks and stacks for different shows….  Yesterday, I spent a good amount of time pounding the pavement, executing steps 4 and 5.  And it can sometimes be a disappointing part of promotion.  I passed by shops that one week earlier, told me I could put up my not-inexpensive poster in their window, only to see that they’d been apparently taken down.  I was told to leave my poster at other places so that “tomorrow or later, someone will put it up.”  Hopefully.  Sometimes, it can just be sort of funny.  One restaurant worker kept looking at my poster saying, “She’s a pretty lady!” genuinely not noticing that the same lady (sans make-up and wearing winter gear) was standing right in front of him.  I know that he genuinely didn’t know it was me, ’cause when I said, “oh, haha….thank you…” he looked at me really funny–almost offended.  (I’m not sure if he was offended for himself or for the pretty lady on the poster).  But I walked out of there with him at the least, unconvinced that we were the same lady, and at the most, thinking I was a little crazy.  There were also nice moments, when the shop owners or employees were happy to post my promotional materials and wanted to know about the show.  But after all of this, I sometimes ask myself, “Who goes to see a show because they saw a poster for it at the pizza place down the street?”  I don’t know the answer to this question.  Personally, I rarely see shows where I don’t know someone in the cast.  But perhaps that’s simply a product of me being a performer and having tons of friends in shows all of the time.

By and large, the two most important guidelines–the ones that you MUST do to even HAVE a show–are Steps 1 and 2.  Without these, you’ve got nothing.  So those are the ones that I’m focusing on.  Yes, I’m still doing steps 3, 4, and 5.  But I sure am hoping that if I focus on the first one and then on the second one, everything else will take care of itself.  That said, PLEASE come see this show!  It’s really good.  And if you like it, will you please suggest it to others?  Thanks!

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar
Written and performed by Amanda Rountree, directed by Jen Ellison
Studio Be
3110 N. Sheffield Ave.
$12 in advance, $15 at the door Buy Tickets!
A different opening act each night!  Thursdays in February and March at 8pm

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar
The art of improvisation creates stories from thin air, making the unseen seen. For Amanda Rountree, this is not just an art form, but a way of life — one that includes unexpected twists and turns — leading, if not to mastery, to enlightenment.  Written and performed by Amanda Rountree, and directed by Jen Ellison, this show follows the artist on her path with all of the funny and touching moments along the way.

Two More Chicago Monkey Appearances!

4 11 2011

Last night’s show was great!  The folks at Stage 773 are delightful, Kelsie Huff’s opening act was stellar, and the audience was terrific.  It’s always fun to hear people’s take on the show after seeing it.  It’s admittedly not your run-of-the-mill solo show.  Because there are three sock-monkeys whose dialogue the audience “fills in” in their minds, one audience member mentioned to me last night that “It didn’t even feel like a one-woman show!”  I love that the voices in my head have begun to inhabit other people’s heads.  Heh, heh…  Please check out one of the next two shows!

The Good, the Bad, and the Monkey
Written and performed by Amanda Rountree, directed by Jen Ellison 
Stage 773′s Cabaret Theatre
1225 W. Belmont
Thursdays, November 10 & 17 at 8:00 pm

And the opening acts continue to be fantastic!  Check out Jet Eveleth on the 10th or Evan Jacover on the 11th.

The two biggest misconceptions about this show (from folks who haven’t seen it) are that it’s a puppet show or that it’s a male-bashing show.  Nope on both accounts.  I don’t speak for the sock monkeys–I just react to ’em.  And if I’m making fun of anyone in this show, it’s myself.  So, come out and see it, why don’t you?  You’ll be glad you did.  (Ooo, I’m getting good at this marketing thing.  While I’m on roll, please “like” my fan page.)  Thanks!

Monkey Promo Video

30 09 2011

Here’s a little teaser for my show that’s coming up in November.  There are only three performances….and I’m hoping to pack the houses each night.  Please share this video and spread the word about the show!


In Search Of: Something Else Entirely

23 09 2011

One of the most entertaining places on my website (for me anyway) is the little area where only I can go.  It’s a whole page that lists how many “hits” my site has had, what pages folks were looking at, and notably, what search words they used to find it.  Typically, it’s stuff like my name or my show’s name, “chicago improv workshops,” or other fairly unsurprising searches.  But because of the following facts, I sometimes get some pretty entertaining searches:

I have a show with sock monkeys

I advertise that my monkeys perform naked (which they do).

I often use the analogy of “abusive relationships” to describe Chicago’s weather.

I have an increasing amount of poetry posts that have all kinds of random words in ’em.

So, taking into account the above, I suppose I shouldn’t be at all surprised that I get hits to my website because folks were searching for things like:

bad naked monkey

good and bad effects of cold medicine

cow abusing monkey

watercolor art of dessert cake

crazy train people

good sock monkey art

pie abuse

naked teachers

good and bad monkey in hindi

naked girls with monkeys

This brings me to the following conclusion.  It seems fairly easy to get “hits” on one’s site by merely composing a post that contains popular search words.  For example, in this very post, I could type “women who keep hippo-centric scrapbooks and the men who love them” and the possibilities of my site getting visited by a man who searches online secretly about his unique fetish just increased.  But, I suppose I could also take advantage of this power too, by typing things like, “best one-woman show in Chicago” or “must see solo performance of 2011” and the like.

However my intrigue of the concept of someone searching for something like “watercolor art of dessert cake” (which, by the way, needs to be the title of my next piece) pushes me closer to the hippo camp than the the best solo performer ever camp.  After all, if I wanted this to be a post about marketing my show or other projects, I could just direct you over here.  This, however, is merely a post about delightful combinations of words.

Therefore, dear reader, I offer you this poem.

Do you like me?

19 09 2011

At the risk of sounding either narcissistic or needy (or both), I have created a fan page on facebook.  I did not create a fan page for something I myself am a fan of–say, The Muppets, Jane Austen, or sliding around on hardwood floors in my socks.  No, I created a fan page for Amanda Rountree.  Um, yeah.  Myself.  Just the thought of it sounds kooky.

But, I’ve gotta promote my one-woman show (among other projects) and this is an easy (and free) way to do it.  Well, it’s relatively free.  All it costs is just a little bit of my dignity.  You see, when you create a fan page on facebook, the guide leads you through little steps–one being, “suggest to friends.”  So essentially, with one click, I send out a little post to many of my friends, family members, and colleagues that reads, “Amanda Rountree suggests that you like Amanda Rountree.”


And since you automatically become a fan of the fan page you create, I’m sure that somewhere on my “facebook newsfeed,” it reads, “Amanda Rountree likes Amanda Rountree.”


There’s a show in this, methinks.

Speaking of shows, wanna know when my next one is coming up?  Please click this link to “like me” on facebook and you can find out!

That wasn’t at all embarrassing.