Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Five Thoughts For Friday (19 Feb, 2021)

I was reading a blog of someone who, since lockdown, has written down 7 things every day, keeping a record of their thoughts and how it’s all been going. Now I totally don’t have enough thoughts to reach 7, but I thought I’d give it a go! Some are about arts marketing, some are about theatre and some are about life. Enjoy x

P.S. I really struggled to find an image for this blog – it turns out there are only two types of “friday” based picture – Black Friday and Good Friday – so it’s Jesus being crucified or deep discount electrical sales.

#1 – Are people in ‘the arts’ the wrong people to programme ‘the arts’?

This isn’t a particularly a particularly new thought. Essentially I worry that the more you have people who love theatre and the arts programming arts venues the more those venue represent the tastes of those people (obviously). I don’t just mean in terms of ethnic diversity (which definitely needs addressing), but also, quite firmly, the line of what entertainment means, what the intellectual demands of a show must be and what audiences get out of it.

I was sent a flyer from a promotor who does ‘Sing Along Sinatra’ (renamed for legal reasons), where you get tea and a biscuit with your ticket and instinctively I thought ‘fuck no’. I then checked myself – for some people that is absolutely perfect and maybe snobbery is preventing what’s perfect for them to even be programmed (in my defence it was a bad flyer).

That led on to a secondary thought about how it feels necessary to bring audiences into our programming discussions. I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation on Netflix – they do a huge amount of townhall meetings. Maybe we need more townhall meetings?

#2 – Cakewalk is quite good

I’ve been playing more piano of late and recording bits and pieces – I’ve always used Audacity which is, for a free programme, fairly good. Cakewalk (also free) pretty much blew my mind. It’s just liberating. And at the same time shows the terrible limitations of my ability.

#3 – Obsessive Camera Buying

I’ve been searching for a new camera for making video shorts with. Essentially I have a Canon EOS M with 50mm and 28mm manual FD lenses and it gives a lovely picture – but the screen doesn’t reticulate which is massively frustrating. I want to make some cool documentary type things again (ideally with Keddy and Graham) so need something a bit better. My current thoughts are on the following setup:

  • Panasonic Lumix GH3 – it’s a really great 1080p camera with separate headphone socket and isn’t too expensive – it’s a micro four thirds lens system which you can get nice manual stuff for and the screen moves!
  • Saramonic SR-AX100 Audio Mixer – sits on top of the camera to manually split stereo into two mono, which is better for interview recording
  • Saramonic SR-WM4C Wireless Lav Mics – people swear by them (who can’t afford Rode kit) and for £44 they look like a bit of a bargain.

#4 – Being Rejected Without Reason

Look, I’ve had loads of rejection.
It was a running theme of my early 20s.

But this week I got rejected for a festival. I sent them the youtube link to my show (which if you’re reading this and know nothing about you should click this link) as they did an open call looking for stuff. Two weeks pass and I get a short “thanks but no thanks”. Normally that’d be fine, apart from I have tracking on my videos so I know, factually, they’ve not watched it, at all. They’ve not even clicked the link. I shouldn’t take it personally, but honestly, felt like absolute crap for the following two days.

I’ve written an e-mail to a theatre I know asking them to help me put it in front of an audience and haven’t got the guts to send it yet. I’d forgotten how hard it is making something and progressing it when you have little to no faith in yourself.

#5 – An idea for a show

I’ve had an idea for a show – a new show, and one where I don’t read things, but instead I perform it sans-script. Mentally it’s a love story set in Ikea, about a couple who are walking round Ikea who I, for some reason, am following, talking about how they’re buying things for their house, until they nearly break up. The idea would be to frame the whole thing as a Western (told you it was weird) where I wear a Stetson and cowboy books and assemble a Kallax unit as I tell the story.

The title? Once Upon A Time In Ikea...

Now I’ve written it down it feels much more fun and much more unlikely.