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Tuesday, November 24, 2009 

I swear when I get some bandwidth I'll post pictures.  (Really!)  Of course I've been threatening for weeks and months now...
 
Much as I like in lovely Freeville, NY... which we now call home... unemployment is starting bore me to tears.  Working seven or more months without a break or a day, you start to daydream about what it will be like when the season ends. And the first few weeks when you can sleep almost until dawn, that's nice enough.  But then you need projects.  In California there were always projects, but here in New York, not so much.  Even filling out QuickyMart applications only kills so many hours.

Not that life is entirely without excitement.  The Tractor Supply Company "Black Friday" ad came in the mail, and if I needed a new drill press or nifty looking welding mask...I WOULD BE SO THERE at dawn on the day after Thanksgiving.

Driving into Ithaca today I found myself thinking about the diminished role of print media and how that applies to selling circus.    Much as it pains me to say that daily papers are irrelevant in terms of publicity or ad buys, it's sadly true.  While a show with a real publicist playing towns large enough to support a serious daily paper may still succeed in placing one or more stories in advance of a show, too often smaller dailies no longer have the staff to rewrite spoon fed stories supplied by a press agent.  You might get a picture of the advance clown.  They might get the date and show times right.  Of course its much easier to get teh same paper to cover putting up the tent, but by then it doesn't help much with a one day stand.

For better or worse "serious" coverage is now more often found in weekly papers, but weeklies are a gamble.  Small town weeklies will generally run a press release.  Weeklies in larger communities often seem to lean a bit to the left, so we have to be ready to compete with aniti-circus material in courting a story.  But when it comes to promoting an act that shines, a long feature in a weekly with photos is a real coup, and getting a reporter from a weekly to visit a show several weeks ahead of playing a town (to make deadline) isn't something to dismiss.

We keep hearing that the internet is the new face of news.  But I have yet to see a website really deliver worthwhile publicity viewed by a large audience, enough to drive ticket sales.  Wondering if it will ever happen.

Lots more thoughts on teh subject, but that TSC flier needs rereading.

For what it's worth, I feel most circus's websites are completely lame and useless. I know, I know, shows like Culpepper (and others) don't like to post their routes, and they don't have staff to work on the website and add videos and pictures that are more contemporary to the times, but if circus wants to survive, it will have to change with the times.

Most of the time I don't know a circus is nearby until two or three days ahead of time, and it's not enough time to schedule off work and be sure we have enough cash to attend. I know advertising WELL ahead of a show (like two to four weeks) is just contrary to usual practices, but if you want to fill those seats, you've got to reach the people, and that's not going to happen when the advance clown gets into town on Monday and the circus is Thursday.

Circus Flora sits here for a month every year, and two months before the show there is already publicity. They fill seats two shows a day, six days a week, for four weeks. I know Big Apple has no trouble either, and of course, we hear about Ringling at least two months ahead. The smaller circuses could learn a bit from that, IF they want to make a little better money, and IF they want to survive long-term. I'm not saying they have to announce several months in advance, but more than a few days would probably have them filling more tents over the long run.

Just my thoughts. As usual, I love reading your words and perspective. Please keep it up!

Yeah, as former print journalist, I'm saddened by the (largely self-inflicted) demise of newspapers as an important information source.

Information (entertainment, too) has become so fragmented that there is very little sense of community or common bond out there. Ironically, humans thrive on it (and claim they need it, as studies have shown.) Yet....

Something to ponder as you look out the window while the snowflakes appear (as they are WI
this evening.)

Take care. Paul H.

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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