By: Lane Shuler, I.N.K.
It’s been said that the iPhone didn’t take over the world by being 90% better than its competitors, it took over the world by being 10% better than its competitors.
The little things in life are what matters, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the world of entertainment. In our years of performing slam poetry on the college market, from APCA and NACA conferences, to teeny tiny private schools, to huge universities, one thing is universally true, it’s the little things that can take an event to the next level, both for the artist, and for the people in attendance.
When planning a campus event, there are several places where being mindful of the minutiae can add the spark you need to leave the artists swinging for the fences and the audience loving every minute of the show. Artists need to be acutely aware that the show begins as soon as they step on to campus, and the event planners need to know that the show begins before the ink dries on the contract.
A question we get asked all the time is, “where should we have you guys perform?”. As professional spoken word poets performing on the college market, we’ve seen it all. Pristine fine arts centers with perfect sound, to cafeterias with the occasional clunk from a coke machine directly behind us. Be mindful of the types of acts and what each act prefers. Musicians may find a cafeteria with 30 potential fans enjoying their lunch an amazing venue, whereas a comedian may have a more difficult time connecting with that audience. For our show, our best shows tend to happen in rooms dedicated to the poetry show, with students that are there specifically to see poets(sometimes with some added extra credit encouragement from a professor).
Another one of the little things to consider is sound. It may seem like a little thing, but it may be the biggest part of the show in total. It may seem simple to roll out a Peavey, plug it in and have your artist go to town, but it will be very worth your time to get to know and understand that equipment. If your school has it, see if someone from the audio or TV department can assist in getting you familiar with the equipment. Musicians will likely have no problem getting your rig to sound great, but comedians and poets tend to not be so savvy. Additionally, certain places on campus may have better acoustics than others, so keep that in mind when you are planning to bring your act.
I mentioned earlier, something about extra credit. Fostering relationships with professors at your school can help to increase attendance at performing arts events, as some professors will offer extra credit to music majors, theatre majors, performing arts majors, and English majors to attend music shows, comedians, jugglers, poets etc. Having systems in place to inform the right departments can be the difference between a packed house and empty seats.
There are a million other little things to focus on as you get ready for your next campus event. If you are looking for ways to make shows more comfortable for poets, or other artist don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us at Neon Entertainment.
I.N.K is a poetry duo, whose live show involves fast-paced, high energy, spoken word with a comedic twist. Topics they discuss include diversity, acceptance, body positivity, social justice, depression/suicide prevention, and more. For booking information, call or text your Neon Agent at 716-836-6366.