Belief in Action forms Base for Social Media
April 12, 2016 by MaryEllen
Once upon a time five young creatives – Jon Beavers, Kristoffer Diaz, Casey Lee Hurt, Ian Merrigan, and Ramiz Monself – began a quest to change the world’s perception of music. Every day they practiced dialogue and melodies, focusing on common threads stemming from a World War I classic blues tune, “St. James Infirmary.” Privately they yearned for a breakthrough, a performance such as “The Wizard of Oz,” to play out on the stage of every high school.
But the troupe was torn between a mass appeal production and their art which encompassed ballads, hip-hop and gospel. Then one day they got accepted into the Oregon Shakespeare festival. Because of that their souls soared, fed with the delight of performing, presenting, communicating and expanding their mash-up of musical narrative.
They worked harder, adding material, communicating more effectively, strengthening the production. They used visual signals such as angst expressed with a strike of the breast. They tightened verbiage and used repetition for reinforcement. They traced the hero’s journey, even mapped it for the public. And while they did NOT achieve national acclaim they managed a national review in The Huffington Post.
Five friends banded together with a belief they could create an original, contemporary music performance. Fueled with creativity, passion and energy “The Unfortunates” is about their goal of redefining Americana.
“The Unfortunates” debuted to rave reviews, a cult following and a successful run at the 2013 Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In early 2016, the rousing musical opened in San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. While strong crowds and amazing reviews may seem normal, the power of this show came from carefully crafted dialogue, actions and multiple hours of practice and performance.
Words, including song titles and phrases, created signals for the cast and audience:
- “Straight down the center” served as a mantra
- Truths such as “People perish when the vision dies,” offered commentary
- “Good to be the King” described the false sense of bravado
- “Tell me where it hurts” emphasized the problems of plague and our heroine
- “Old Time Glory” celebrates all that is good
Actions of note:
- Before the show three members of the cast complete their warm-ups in the lobby, luring both patrons and passersby into the theater
- Hero Big Joe’s symbolic fists were encased in boxing gloves, used as metaphors and emphasized in cartoonish ways throughout the drama
- Bold chest thumps signaled reactions to the audience during the play
- Following the show, the cast mingled with the audience, answering questions, posing for pictures and celebrating the event
Belief, verbiage and action are the three pillars to success. Nowhere are these three strategies more important than in social media. Regardless of quick fix promises, it’s a long, slow journey from idea to fruition. Sometime must carry you during the ‘tween times. Belief in the cause can do that. During the six years preceding their review in The Huffington Post, cast members continued to challenge themselves and do the basics necessary to success. Social media requires a similar long-term commitment. Your followers today are the work of your past several months of consistent postings.
In another parallel, the hero’s journey is supported by an oft-repeated, frequently rephrased theme. Language defines and supports your mission/purpose. Like Big Joe in The Unfortunates, you can repeat talking points in a variety of ways. This means you must think through your purpose. What do you choose to do with social media? How will your world be different in one year because you use social media effectively?
Finally, take action to make a difference. Without action nothing happens. I’m impressed with action in “The Unfortunates.” What I discovered from my brief exposure to the cast: they don’t torture themselves with commentary. In other words, they don’t read and re-read reviews, or spend a great deal of time worrying about future or past performances. It’s a grueling schedule of six days per week, two performances a day on Wednesday and Saturdays. The focus is on performance, present performance. With a present performance mindset, they do what’s necessary each day to move forward. Imagine how your output could be enhanced with a present performance focus.
What action will you do today to move your social media forward?