Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Problem of Getting Press

I was away for the weekend and just now catching up on some blogging.

Earlier today I got an email from the representative of an Off-Off-Broadway company. I don't want to mention which one it was, but the person said that they had googled their company's name -- just to see who might mention whom -- and found a reference to it on this blog, namely in connection to a press release that I published a long time ago, like last year or some such. It was kind of a sad email to receive -- the person, for very understandable and sympathy-inducing reasons -- was lamenting the fact that despite having taken so much time with their press packet, the amount of press that they received was very low. And could I shed some light on why that is and what the company did wrong.

I felt so bad after reading that email. This town is so bloody unfair. And I just wanted to paste in, below, what I wrote in my email back to that person, for what it may be worth to everyone else:

Thanks for your note. I think the only thing that I can say is that you're in a very, very, very congested market. At any time, there are 300, 400, 500 shows of varying lengths and qualities running, all vying for everybody's attention. It's not a question of the brilliance or cleverness of a press packet (although it's an excellent idea to send a note, as you're doing, and reintroducing yourself), but a matter of logistics. I've done a lot of speaking on panels and such on the subject of how to get press, and one good way, although it can be costly, is through a press agent. In years past, I worked extensively as a director and playwright in the OOB world, and I had exactly the problem that you're experiencing. The best advice I can give you is to keep reaching out, keep calling and emailing and knocking on doors. It sucks, but that's really the way to get on the radar in NYC. Persistence, I think, pays off in the long run.

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