So right now I'm home in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Some of you may have heard of it. Rhode Island is the smallest state. EVER. In fact, very few people had heard of RI before these guys started making movies. Now, we have one other claim to fame, but for the most part we're still pretty obscure. This is why when I go home, I spend a lot of time observing because a small town can teach you a lot. So what can it teach a producer?
Long lasting business is built on community- I just came from one of my favorite restaurants. It's called "The Kountry Kitchen" that's right, spelled with a "K", and it's been running a really solid business for as long as I can remember. In fact, there is always a wait and today there was barely anything left when I went to eat there, but I ate there anyway. Why?
When you come in, the woman at the front desk, recognizes you (even if like me, you haven't been there in a year) and finds a way to get you a seat. You sit down and almost instantly you realize your next to a neighborhood friend, or someone you went to highschool with. The servers have personality and ask you how your day is and actually listen when you respond. All of these things make you want to come back. I also witnessed an old woman sitting having a coffee and then being told that the check was taken care of by the owner who was on site the whole time. You can bet she'll be back and she'll bring her family.
In our business, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to keep people coming in, but how much work are we doing to build a sense of community? All of our shows could be like the Kountry Kitchen if we take more time to look at who's buying a ticket. The bigger the show, the less personal we can be, but we should always find ways of making people feel at home when they come to our shows or to our events. From now on whenever I put a show or an event together, I'm going to think about the Kountry Kitchen and how I can make the people who come feel like that old woman.
I encourage all of you to think today about what it is that will keep people coming back to your shows. How are you building community in your business? What are you doing that would make people want to come back a second or a third time?
It's pretty interesting. The things these people do may be very small, but the crowd you see every weekend is really big.
You do the math. ;)
The ER: ZERO has a few more performances left before they head back to Dallas. Here's some more info and a special offer:
Buy one, get one FREE!!! That makes it only $14.50 per person!!
One guy plays 6 different losers you will recognize as they try to figure out how to, or if they even WANT to, move past their HS and college baggage and lifestyle where drinking too much, talking trash and getting laid reign supreme. Bouncing from character to character, sometimes three at a time, Danny O'Connor in a barrage of "guy-speak", inhabits each persona with impeccable timing. You will laugh your ass off, shake your head at their foul mouthed humor and guffaw at their crude sexual references. You might also come away from the show thinking about their and your life a little!
Show Business Weekly calls it a "hilarious, vulgar and entertaining show"
OffOffOnline says "Where most potty mouthed man-child comedies thrive because of their sizeable hearts, O’Connor’s piece astonishingly blossoms in its heartbreak."
Backstage says, " Danny O'Connor can do wasted like nobody's business!" and "The O'Connor brothers know this milieu well, and Danny acts it with brilliant detail; his characterizations are fully formed and impressively precise."
or go to www.theatermania.com and use code GRPTFO