Saturday, August 25, 2012

Publicity 3. Community Calendars

Utah Event Advertising--for Free!

Early on, it occurred to me that community events calendars would be a great way to advertise for Wilford's Conversion. It's free, and people actually use them to find shows to go to. Here, I've created a list of Utah community and entertainment events calendars--with some tips and commentary. The title of each organization I list is linked to the online form for submitting an event on that org's calendar (when applicable).


KRCL. This is a radio station (90.9 FM). They allow you to upload a logo image, which needs to be 150 pixels wide by 170 pixels tall. Shauna Hatton, one of our Wilford's Conversion actresses, created the logo image--and I used it for all the other calendars that let us upload an image.

KUER. This is the local public radio station based at University of Utah (90.1). They allow you to upload a logo image.

KSL. This is local news radio. (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) They have an events calendar, but it's just for their KSL events, you can't add events.

KBYU. This is the classical station based at Brigham Young University, "Classical 89." (89.1 FM) They have an events calendar, but it's just for their KBYU events, you can't add events.


Now Salt Lake. This is a little entertainment newspaper in Salt Lake associated with the Salt Lake Tribune. Before the Trib even read the press release we sent them, I had gone online to try to add our event to the Now Salt Lake events calendar.  However, the website didn't allow me to enter our information, because it requires that your event venue be one of the places they list in a drop down menu. I didn't understand why they couldn't just have "Other: _____________" as one of the options. A few days after my failed attempt, I found our event on their website--so, I guess they input events that the Trib reporters forward to them.

Salt Lake Tribune. I heard that the press edition of the Salt Lake Tribune does a Friday section called, "The Mix." It's an entertainment/arts calendar. I assume this online brief with our event info appeared in print in that section.

Deseret News. You can't create a community calendar event online for these guys. When I called the community calendar lady, Linda Arave (801. 237. 2100), she said you have to mail it in to

P.O. Box 1257
SLC, UT 84110

But, I didn't need to do that, because when I called the DN to follow up about my press release, I requested that it be put in the community cal, which they did for me.

City Weekly. This is another great SLC local news source, with a beefy entertainment events calendar. However, I've noticed that from time to time, articles in CW have an anti-LDS bias. I would certainly use it to publicize a secular play, but not Wilford's Conversion.

The Daily Herald. This newspaper allows you to add events to their calendar, but you have to register an account, first. I think our info ended up on their cal, because they put it on after receiving our press release.


Fox 13 News. This lets you add your event online. For some reason, I couldn't get their website to let me upload an image, but everything else worked out.

KSL. As far as I could figure out, these guys don't have a community calendar.

Other This is a Utah tourism website. It was easy to use. However, it didn't allow me to upload an image. This is a very cool entertainment events website. The Utah Arts Council website referred me to it.  In addition to allowing you to add events with an image (1MB max, and has to be JPG), they have a section where you can search for or post artist profiles. This website was difficult to use, because it requires you to create an account first. It also doesn't let you put in multiple dates at once, you have to create a new event for each date of the performance.

I don't really know how many audience members these community events calendar listings brought in for us. But it's a great way to get the attention of people who are actually out there looking for events to go to--and it's free advertising!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Transparent Budget for Wilford's Conversion

Now that I've had a month to recuperate from Wilford's Conversion, I'll be posting now and then about the work that went into it, the information I gathered, and the lessons I learned. Here's a summary of our budget:

We made $1089.50 selling tickets at the door. $5 each for adults. That means we had 217.9 paying audience members. (My dad told me that he let someone in for $4.50.) This worked out great for us, because I spent money based on the expectation that we would have at least 180 paying audience members. And then, of course, there were expenses I didn't originally anticipate . . . In summary, we got very close to breaking even.

Total Spending        $1282.29

Actors' Pay                $480.00
Costumes                   $398.95
Tithing                       $108.95
Sound                         $100.00
Publicity                       $87.79
Props                            $49.97
Scripts/Binders            $24.03
Auditions                     $19.85
Playbill/Tickets            $12.80

Although we didn't make a profit, I decided to pay tithing (Yes, I'm a Mormon) on what we made in ticket sales. The "Auditions" cost was the cost of printing audition posters, and other audition forms. Actor's pay depended on the size of the role. Each actor earned $10-$80.

I was very grateful to find a sound guy willing to provide the equipment, and man the sound board for three performances. However, working with a cheap system proved to be a liability in the end. For future performances, I will make sound a bigger budget priority. Planning to perform outdoors didn't work out for us, either. I'll be posting soon about affordable performances spaces that I want to consider. Many of these will come with their own mic system, or be small enough that actors can easily project their voices.

I certainly spent more money on costumes than I would have liked. My original plan was to spend only $200. The most expensive items were men's early 19th century jackets rented from Hale Center Theater (both the West Valley City, and Orem locations). I tried to justify keeping the actors in shirts and vests, but in the end, I decided it didn't make sense for the actors to go without jackets in the play's winter scenes. I'll post more on costumes soon.

Next year, I plan to spend more money on advertising, and host a greater number of performances (5 or 6 instead of 3).