John W. Bateman
1. What brought you to work for Starkville Community Theatre?
I'd been a volunteer and performer for more than a decade, so I had the passion for it built into who I am. At a time, I was looking to make a change professionally and SCT decided to hire its first employee. The clouds parted, and the timing was a miracle.
2. What does a day in the life of the CAO entail?
Flexible and ever-changing, which is part of the fun of it. It could be a long day in front of a computer screen, cleaning our auditorium, reading plays, representing us at a community event, or teetering on a ladder to reach some high light bulbs.
3. I'm sure everything is perfect in your job. But if it wasn't, what would be your biggest challenge?
It's easy to get so swept up in the daily trees, that you sometimes miss the year-round forest. Because we're always producing new shows, with different volunteers each time, the ticking-clock nature of the next opening can steer my brain away from long-term things I know need doing.
4. What's been your biggest adventure in theatre (whether or not SCT)?
It's this job. Every show is its own pocket universe, its own short adventure. But then it's over. You drop it and move on to the next, whenever that is. For me, it doesn't drop. My job allows me to keep the story going year-round.
5. You're currently directing The Laramie Project. What have you enjoyed most about this particular play?
My cast and crew - all talented, lovely people, all open to challenge, all ready to work. Though we all recognize the importance of the play, I've enjoyed the warmth of the rehearsal process and the emphasis we've placed on lightness and humanity instead of the heaviness of the issues.
6. Who is your favorite stage character?
I've always been drawn to the larger-than-life losers and pipe dreamers of Eugene O'Neill. I have a great, strange affinity for Jamie in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and Hickey in "The Iceman Cometh." Failure and bottomless tragedy under mountains of rusting bravado.
7. What is your "lottery" role, and where would you play that character?
Hickey in "Iceman" or his musical-comedy equivalent Max Bialystock in "The Producers": I love the too-loud lions with permanent thorns in their paws. I'd play both in an expanded SCT dream space, with top-of-the-line tech and doubled seating capacity.
8. What actor/actress/director/writer do you admire?
Lately, two of my favorite playwrights to read are Craig Wright and Annie Baker, both telling small-scale human stories in different ways. Baker strips things down to absolute basics of conversation and behavior, while Wright experiments with structure, time, and myth. Both connect to me at the bone marrow level.
9. What role does theatre have in a world that has become more and more virtual?
The thrill of theatre done well lingers with you - the smell of the paint, the glare of the lights. There will always be immediacy and authenticity to a performer, feet away from you, vulnerable, sweating, singing, doing everything possible to connect with you, that screens and recorded media can't replicate.
10. Finally, tell us about the ghost at The Playhouse on Main.
If we have one, which I will neither confirm nor deny, he or she has been having a field day lately with small leaks, blown bulbs, and creaky doors. And with moving around my phone charger so I can never seem to find it.
Want to learn more about SCT's programs or get involved? Check out their website and their Facebook page for more information!
Do you have a love/hate relationship with social media? You aren’t alone, but it might be a necessary pain to endure. According to Pew Research Center, 7 out of 10 Americans use social media to connect with others, access news, share information, and entertain themselves. As a result, businesses rely on social media to reach and grow their target audience.
When art means business, many artists choose to do the same.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are among the most popular social media outlets. Although accounts are free and simple to use, there are a few key ways that help artists make the most out of social media, and treat their passion like a business.
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few tips to help ease the pain of social media.
Use hashtags. This will attract other user by grouping your posts with those that use the same tag. Don’t throw just any hashtag into your post: use hashtags that are relevant and specific to your brand. This will help expose you and your work to a targeted audience. For example, if your art is mainly abstract consider using at least one hashtag like: #abstractartist, #abstractartwork, or #abstractogram. Don’t forget to test your hashtag, by searching for it in google. If the search doesn’t look relevant to your work, and if your work doesn't appear in the results, then try a different one.
Avoid the curse of too many hashtags! Most social media sites limit the number of hashtags that can be used on a post. Smart Insights suggests keeping your hashtag count to less than 10 per post.
2. Show Some Personality
The first thing that people often see on your social media account is your bio. This isn’t just about you: it’s also about your style and what you create. Be authentic and get creative! Of course, the essentials are required: your name, medium, subject matter, a link to your website, and your contact information. Here’s a few good parameters from Artsy. But this doesn’t mean boring, stale, and academic: let your audience get to know you. Need help? Pay attention when you find yourself actually reading a bio - what’s different about it than others?
3. Stay Consistent
Remember the cliche: consistency is the key to success. It’s true for social media. Consistent, regular posts allows you to build credibility and reputation online. Active accounts are more likely to be identified by search engines.
Don’t have time to post multiple times every day? Sites like Hootsuite and HubSpot allow you to plan your posts ahead of time so you can spend more time creating than worrying about what to post at the least minute.
4. It’s Social, Silly!
Here’s some relief for you: ultimately, it’s not about how many people like or retweet you. It’s about connecting with those who are truly interested in your work. A few engaged posts from raving fans are MUCH more valuable than how many “followers” you might have. You don’t need sheep. You want patrons who will buy from you, year after year.
People WANT to know the artist behind the art. Remember, it’s called “social media” for a reason! Take time to build relationships with others: network with those who share your interests. Don’t be afraid to follow other artists, ask for feedback, get inspiration, and build a meaningful community around you that will last.
There is no one size fits all method for social media. So make sure that you as an artist are making it your own and find out what works best for you!
Even if it means accepting a friend request on Facebook from Grandma.
Have an idea for a topic? Want to pitch a post? Send us an email!