Tactics : Shout for a Purpose
The primary mode of interacting with anything on the internet is to read it as quickly as possible while performing a second task, and then explain why the content consumed is wrong or could have been better.
It is the simplest way to interact with anything or anyone, and it reads as immature, because it is. It is the Level 1 way of dismissing anything. You can tell it’s level 1 because it’s easy. Because when you’re doing it yourself you can feel how little effort it is to sum up someone’s viewpoint that causes a reaction in you with an “I guess you should’ve paid more attention in 8th grade English class”.
I cut my output on the internet by 97% by deciding that I wouldn’t put any no-effort responses out just to be talking. I am not an influencer or a brand, so I don’t need to be pushing an agenda, I don’t need to follow talking points. What I need to do is treat each interaction as something serious, something that matters and happens at human speed. That slowed down approach maintains the parts of the internet that have always drawn me. If you are screaming at every target that emerges all day every day you feel under siege all day every day. Everything feels like an attack.
It’s a lousy way to feel.
This slowed down approach is what’s needed for 1:1 arts advocacy at this moment. If a crisis has been going on for 100 years it’s not a crisis so we can turn off the alarms and get serious about real solutions to things. Real solutions are not ad hoc patches.
I think there are a few foundational slow approaches to arts advocacy, and thus self advocacy, in 2021.
Stop shouting that what other people like is wrong.
It might be. It doesn’t matter. They’re not likely to stop liking what they like. You shouting at them that they’re stupid for liking it certainly isn’t going to be the easiest road to convincing them to like something else. Shouting that the form of theatre you like is valid and everyone has to like it just as much as the form they’ve dedicated 20-50 years of their life to is desperate and really alienating.
Advocate for what you love.
Stop telling everyone else they’re idiots.
Stop demanding the resources that someone else already has.
Unless you are already deeply aligned it’s not going to work and they’re going to resent you. They don’t owe you their resources because you’re in the same artform.
Go explain to companies aligned with your methods of story telling why it’s awesome. Make a new path. Where possible make a new path close to home.
Stop allowing the existing outline of the commercial wing of the field determine your ideas of what the field is and what it can be.
It’s a wide world and a wide field. The gatekeepers aren’t going to let you in. So walk away.
Walk away from the gates and find a hill to create the next outpost on. If you want to make Digital theatre, or audio theatre, or immersive, or ARGs, or VR… there are no gates for you to bang on – they don’t exist… so stop shouting at names you recognize that you’re just as important as they are.
So go make cool shit so we can enjoy your ideas.
It won’t feel like Professional Theatre, because if you’re like me, there is a very specific look, feel, and place for that. But it will be the theatre you make in the places you make it, affecting the people you need to be affecting.
It’s not a living.
That requires different sacrifices and has different tactics.