What I learned from eating chips and salsa.

If you’ve ever hung around me outside of NYC, then you know I’ve been known to drool at the sight of a Chili’s.  Maybe it’s the bottomless chips & salsa, maybe it’s the bottomless cokes, but whatever it is, it gets me to stop, whether I’m hungry or not.

I was at a Chili’s recently and when I got the bill I noticed what so many of you have probably noticed at restaurants (and a lot of retail stores from Rite Aid to Starbucks, etc.) around the country . . . every bill now comes with an opportunity for you to win a grand or two if you fill out their online survey.  (check it out here.)

Here’s a company that’s not just surveying random people every once in awhile. They are making a concerted effort to try and get a quality control report on EVERY SINGLE patron (and, of course, they are also trying to collect consumer information at the same time).

Which, of course, leads me to the leading statement of . . . we should be doing the same thing.

Every person that purchases a ticket should get a survey (and maybe with a “win a pair of tickets to Book of Mormon” incentive on their theatergoing habits, their purchase experience, etc.

And actually, doing so would make the League’s yearly surveying unnecessary . . . and probably more accurate, because the electronic ask could probably reach more people over all seasons, all shows, etc.

These folks are right there . . . just a few clicks away . . . and they have the information at their fingertips that could help us tweak every aspect of what we do in order to make it more profitable for us and more pleasurable for them.

And now look what I’ve done.  My stomach is growling.

But it’s not chips and salsa I want.  It’s information.

Because chips and salsa keeps me satisfied for about two and half hours.

Information can sustain me for a lifetime.


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Need some inspiration to complete your script?

A few years ago, my pal Gil over at BroadwayAbridged, told me that November was National Novel Writing Month.  He pointed me to this website that sponsors a challenge/contest to writers to begin and finish a complete novel in 30 days.

Obviously I went crazy for the concept.  It combines my two favorite things:  creativity and deadlines.  (Which, by the way, may just define what a Producer is all about.)

So, of course, I thought, “Let’s make one for scripts!”

And wouldn’t you know it, someone already had!  (Which made my staff very happy, because if I start one more website, they just may change the name on the door to Davenport Website Enterprises).

The folks over at ScriptFrenzy have deemed April (which, believe it or don’t, is right around the corner), Script Writing Month . . . and they’ve started the same sort-of challenge as National Novel Writing Month:  One new script.  30 Days.  100 Pages.

They’ll let you submit any kind of script, including screenplays and TV shows, but we know what we’re focusing on, right?

It’s very Title of Show, isn’t it?

What do you win if you complete this challenge?  The most priceless prize you could imagine.

Pride.  And a brand-spanking new script.

So do it.  Challenge yourself.  Make a deadline.

And make a script.

What’s the worst that could happen?  You miss a couple episodes of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover?  You stay up just a little later?

Or maybe the worst that happens is that the script sucks?

Big deal.

Something sucking is better than nothing doing nothing.

And now, ask yourself what’s the best thing that could happen?

Maybe your script turns into Title of Show . . . or even this.

Sign up for ScriptFrenzy today.


(Got a comment? I love ’em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– Win a spot in our How to Market Your Show with No Money seminar!  Click here.

– Take the Musical Boot Camp!  Click here for info and an application.

– Broadway Road Trip from DC on 4/28.  Click here.

5 ways to use Pinterest to help market your show.

Yesterday we talked about Pinterest.  But talking and taking action are two very different things.  In fact, those two things are what separate an entrepreneur from a wannabe.

So how do you take action with Pinterest?  How can you turn it into a marketing machine for your show?  Or should you?

Here are five ways you can use Pinterest to market your show:

1.  Don’t use it.

I know, that seems counter-intuitive to this post, doesn’t it?  Well, just because there’s a new toy on the market, doesn’t mean you should play with it.  Pinterest may be free but your time isn’t.  And remember, Pinterest is still in the early-adopter phase and your audience may not be there yet.  According to this infographic, about 50% of users are under 35, and about 75% are under 44.  Only 28% make $100k or more.  So if you’re a traditional Broadway play, it might be a little early for you to be pinning.  If you’re a show focused on getting a younger, female, audience, however . . . pin away, my friend, pin away.

2.  Get a page.

Just like your show has a Facebook page, go grab a Pinterest page and start putting up your favorite images.  Just remember, like the F-Book, Pinterest is a social site.  Don’t sell too hard.  You want people engaging with your brand.  Billboard-like images screaming at the viewer to buy tickets are going to get people going the opposite direction.  Social networks are social by nature.  You wouldn’t hard sell your “friend”, right?  So don’t do it here either.  TIP:  Pinterest is still in its “you must be approved” for a page stage, so apply right away so you can be ahead of your competition.

3.  Make stuff on your site pinable.

If you want people to “spread the word”, you need to make it easy for them to do so, no matter what your promotion.  Translating that to Pinterest means, you gotta make things pinable.  And, duh, you gotta tell them to do it.  Attach a PIN THIS note next to the image that you think best (soft) sells your show, and put it in an easy-to-find place.

4.  See what people are pinning about you.

People may already be pinning you and you don’t even know it.  Search the site, and see what images people are using of yours, or what people are saying.  TIP:  A quick way to do this is to go to:  www.pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITE.  If you find people are pinning you, guess what, you’ve just found some of your most passionate customers.  Interact with them.  They’re already spreading the word naturally, imagine what they could do with a little suggestion.

5.  Find the tastemakers and follow their pins.

It’s a similar strategy to Twitter, but if you follow the biggest Pinterest pages, and they start checking out what you are pinning, your stuff may spread to a wider audience faster.  It’s like high school – hanging out with the cool kids could get you “pinned” by the Captain of the Football Team that much faster.

We’re just seeing the beginning of the Pinterest revolution.  They’ll be making big changes to their community now that they have so many more users (and so much more data as a result).

Will they stick?  Will pinning become the new Twitter?  Or will it be the old MySpace?

Too soon to tell.  But I don’t know about you, I’m not waiting around to see what happens before jumping on board.

When my shows have the right demo, I’m going to start pinning right away.



(Got a comment? I love ’em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– Win two tickets to see If It Only Even Runs A Minute!  Click here.

– Take the How To Market Your Show With No Money seminar on 3/20!  ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT!  Click here.

– Take the Musical Boot Camp!  Click here for info and an application.

– Broadway Road Trip from DC on 4/28.  Click here.


Pin this! Pinterest takes off – can you benefit?


You don’t know what Pinterest is?  Hmmmm, what’s the best way to describe it.

How about this:

Pinterest is . . . the 16th highest trafficked website in the US.

Got your attention yet?

And, just like I bet that Twitter would take off back in 2008 (for fun, read that post – I liked to say the word “twit” instead of “tweet” – hey it was 2008!), I’m predicting that Pinterest will move up that list a few more notches before this year is up.

Just check out this hockey stick of a growth curve over the last six months.  Talk about a tipping point!

So seriously, what is Pinterest and how can you use it for your show?

Pinterest is . . . an electronic bulletin board.  It’s e-scrapbooking. Or the inside of an e-locker.

It’s a place where you e.jpgn pictures of things you love.

You grab photos from anywhere on the web of anything on the web, and you just put them up on your page. And then other people cruise your pages, comment on them, repin your pix, and . . . that’s it.

And, here’s why it’s something that theatrical marketers need to pay attention to . . . the primary user of Pinterest is (and I’d almost say “only” user of Pinterest) . . . is female.

It’s loved by women, lots and lots of women.  Users are younger than the traditional theatergoer, of course, but give it some time.

Lots of wedding pages, lots of fashion pages, food pages, and more.

So Pinterest is gonna be huge(r).

But the concept of why it’s going to be even bigger is even more interesting.  Follow this path of our consumption of content.

We started with articles . . . then we went to blogs, which were a bit shorter . . . then we went to even shorter tweets . . . and now, it seems, that we’re going to simply . . . images.  We don’t even want to read a thing to understand who/what we’re looking at it. We just want to get it. Instantly.

Shocking, isn’t it?  A little scary, maybe.  I mean what comes next?

Check out Pinterest here.  In typical early adopter fashion, you need to “apply” for a page.  But soon enough everyone will be able to get one.  And then Pinterest’s traffic will really take off (and I’d imagine Facebook is already figuring out to how to incorporate the concept of image-only into their network).

How do you use Pinterst for your show?

Check out tomorrow’s post.

But before that . . . let’s take a little poll?  Comment below if you already knew about Pinterest before this post?  And let us all know if you have a page!


(Got a comment? I love ’em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– Win two tickets to see If It Only Even Runs A Minute!  Click here.

– Take the How To Market Your Show With No Money seminar on 3/20!  ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT!  Click here.

– Take the Musical Boot Camp!  Click here for info and an application.

– Broadway Road Trip from DC on 4/28.  Click here.

A Postmortem on a Project.

At the end of the life cycle of any project, whether it’s a success, or a, well, not-so-success (we don’t use the “F” word here), it’s vital that you sit down, and take stock of what went right and what went not-so-right.

We’ve made it a priority here at DTE to make sure we do this on every thing we do, big or small, show or marketing initiative, because we learn from what works, and we learn even more from what doesn’t.

I thought I’d give you an example of a PM in today’s blog:

4 years ago, at the start of the social network craze, I launched a brand new social networking website called BroadwaySpace, built on an “off-the-shelf” Ning platform.  The site took off, powered by great content like “Broadway’s 50 Most Powerful People” and “30 Under 30” as well as contests like “Broadway’s Next Big Star”.  The site was even featured in Social Media Marketing for Dummies!  (which is another great primer for those looking to learn more about this subject, by the way)

But a year or so ago, we started seeing traffic fall.  We tried a bunch of things to keep the traffic up in the air, but nothing seemed to take root.  So, recently we had to make the difficult decision to transition the site to something else.  It’s always hard to see something you’ve worked on sputter, but as Seth Godin wrote about in this fantastic read, as a business person (which includes all of us Producers), you’ve got to know when to move on to something else.

So what happened?  Well, that’s what Postmortems are all about, and here are four of the reasons my team and I came up with this AM when we discussed why BroadwaySpace didn’t become what we wanted it to become.

1.  What’s in a name?

MySpace was the rage in 2007.  And now it’s the butt of business jokes.  We made the mistake of trying to attach ourselves to someone else’s brand instead of creating our own when we named our site BroadwaySpace.  Going forward I know that I’d rather fail by being myself, then fail trying to be someone else.  We never anticipated that MySpace wouldn’t even be relevant X years later. Ironically, a lot of people don’t even understand why we called it BroadwaySpace.  So what we thought would help is now irrelevant, or even hurting our brand.

2.  Facebook blew the F up.

Niche social networks like ours were supposed to be the next big thing, or so I thought anyway.  Why go to a department store for your social networking, when you can go to a boutique, right?  Well, that’s what a whole bunch of us in this space believed . . . but one company crushed those dreams.  Facebook got so good at what it did, and kept expanding and adding features, that people didn’t leave like they left MySpace and Friendster and the other social networking predecessors.  Obviously this was beyond our control, but it had a major impact.  People just didn’t want to interact with friends and “walls” in more than one place.

3.  You’re only as good as your foundation.

As I said, our site was built on the Ning platform, which was placing a multi-million dollar bet on the niche networking future.  I was friendly with the CEO (who loved Broadway musicals and is no longer with the company), we were in a group of preferred developers who helped advise them on what we wanted from the platform, we even did a testimonial.  Well, they couldn’t advance as fast as Facebook, so our features were quickly outdated.  Pricing changed.  Response time changed.  And, well, the “feel” of the company changed.  The site was penetrated by spammers from all over the world, and Ning couldn’t keep them out.  And because of the spam problem, Google never really gave it too much credit in their search engines.  And organic search is a huge part of what makes a website work.  Something tells me Ning may be having their own PM in a not-so-short period of time.

4.  Consistency is the name of the game.

We had some great content, for sure, but it was a bit sporadic. We could never find a routine of proving great content every day, week, month, whatever it was.  It wasn’t scheduled.  I should have learned from my blog (which as you know is published at the same time, every day, seven days a week), that people want to set their watch by what you do.  Be consistent, and they will come.

So we learn, we adapt, and we move on to the next project, but the postmortem is a necessary element in that process.

Because if you can’t admit you made a mistake, you can never be truly ready for success.

What’s happening to BroadwaySpace?  Well, despite the way I’ve made it sound, the site still gets a great deal of traffic.  And last year, we started a partnership with one of Broadway’s most popular tweeters, BroadwaySpotted, who we’ve been learning a great deal from.  So, since BroadwaySpotted needed to expand, and we needed to morph, BroadwaySpace.com is becoming BroadwaySpotted.com, or as we like to call it, Broadway’s Star Magazine.

Even though we’re excusing ourselves from what we were doing before, we’re making sure that BroadwaySpotted.com picks up a lot of the content that we know people love, including ‘Broadway’s 50 Most Powerful People’, one of our most popular articles.  (The new Power List went live with the debut of the new site yesterday! Check it out!)


(Got a comment? I love ’em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– Win 2 tickets to see Russian Transport at The New Group!  Click here!

– Join me at the NY Cares Soiree!  Get tix here.

– Take the Musical Boot Camp!  Click here for info and an application.

– Broadway Road Trip from DC on 4/28.  Click here.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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