Monday, May 14, 2007

More Tech Etiquette

Now I don't want to go off on a rant here..--

Wait, you know what? Yes I do.

Please indulge me to rant about e-mail for just a moment. Specifically, email habits in the business and group hobby world (in this case, community theatre).

As we continue deep into the 2nd week of rehearsals for "Suessical", it has become somewhat critical that we fill several major holes in our cast. Three main characters have yet to find actors, which is not a good thing.

[Side note - if you are or you know a young performer (ages 12-25) that would be interested in performing, PLEASE let me know]

Starting last week, when we knew we'd have to start searching for replacements I began calling in contacts of various local theatre and musical people I know. I asked their assistance in giving me names of folks they've worked with in the past that might be interesting in joining our show. These are high schoolers, mostly, with some middle schoolers thrown in.

In total over the past two weeks I received about 15 different email addresses of possible cast members. In most cases, the emails were for their parents. In addition, I gathered email addresses for some cast members of last year's "The King and I" and sent the invitation to participate out to them as well. All in all, in the past week and a half, I've sent out approximately 20 emails to different area performers and parents, either to see if they or their kids had any interest in being in the show, or to request they check some of their contacts.

Since then, I received one reply. One. That was from a dad of a kid who was interested in being in the show.

I heard nothing else from anyone I sent emails to. Not a "thanks, not interested." Not a "thanks, I'll see if I'll check my schedule." Not a "thanks, let me see if I can find anybody for you." Not a "thanks, I don't think I can really help you."


Here's the scoop. If someone sends you a personal email with some kind of call to action, reply to it. It can be as simple as, "thanks." That's it - just acknowledge receipt. If someone walked up to you on the street and asked you a question or if you would do them a favor would you just ignore them and keep walking? Of course not, you'd stop, say hi and respond in some way.

If you have an email address and you give out that email address to the world as a contact point, you have just as much obligation to check it and respond as if you gave someone your phone number.

But then there are people who screen calls with caller ID or answering machines and only answer or respond to those people they want to talk to. In other words, it's all about themselves - not others.

Email contact is huge and only going to get bigger. You may miss out on an important opportunity, or contact with an old friend. I doubt I'll be contacting any of these people again soon to be in a show.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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