“Dude, where’s my Audience?” Pandemic savvy entertainers go online (and save the world.)

By April 18, 2020 August 20th, 2020 Food for thought, Music, News

The virtual live stream for the Global Meetings Industry was last week, and event planners around the globe huddled in front of their computers and basically said the same thing:

“We’re screwed…”

I’m paraphrasing of course, but in the light of a global pandemic where everyone is forced by law to quarantine, if your income depends on people crowding together at a business meeting or theme park or god forbid, a cruise ship-you are now out of luck.

There was however an addendum to the message.

“We’re screwed…unless we figure out a way to also turn live events into interactive virtual experiences.”

So here we are, at what some people in the events industry are calling the “new normal.”  Anything you can do live in the room must have an online or virtual component and it has to be interactive.  So what do we do?

We pivot

We go from delivering the “Wow” onstage to delivering the “Wow” online.

We live stream

Michael Cavanaugh

Handpicked by Billy Joel to do piano and lead vocals in the Broadway musical, “Movin’ Out”, Mike has received Grammy and Tony Award nominations.  Instead of traveling on his multi-city tour, singing the hits of Elton John and Billy Joel with Symphony Orchestras, Mike, like every other live performer in the country, found himself stuck at home.  So, Mike used his home studio to set up a Facebook live stream where he took requests from his fans, family and friends.  He calls it “Sessions from Home.”  One of these sessions featured a donation button where Michael encouraged people to give to help pay medical expenses for his bandmate’s child who was sick in the hospital.

Q – What was your inspiration to start live streaming?
A – “I live to perform. I’ve thought about streaming for a while, but once the stage was taken away from me, it was more like I had to do it. Plus, it feels so amazing to spread joy during these extremely tough times. Music heals.”

Q – What are your biggest challenges?
A – “It can be challenging technically. It’s kind of like being on TV without the crew or proper equipment. Also, the perfectionist in me was completely terrified the first time I streamed live. It gets a little easier each time. This is good for me.”

Q – What is your biggest reward or most surprising reactions you get?
A – “The biggest reward for me is the feeling of helping to people to feel less alone during this crisis. Reading the comments and hearing how the music is helping people to “Forget about life for a while” is pretty awesome.”

We see a need, and fill it.  (with yummy treats)

These self proclaimed “actors by day, bakers by mandatory social distancing” used to be onstage singing, dancing, and acting.  (Michelle is a featured singer in Martini Pop)  Now they’ve added a 4th threat to their triple threat status…baking.  Featuring “Quarantine Cupcakes” and “UnemployMINT” cookies, the girls deliver their amazing baked goodies door-to-door are spreading joy in a time where their fellow out-of-work performers need it.

Michelle:  “We both decided to spread a little happiness in the community and baking new items each week really gives us the chance to create.  We try to keep the menu fluid, so we can adjust if something isn’t available in the stores.  Our biggest reward is seeing all the smiles on our facebook page.  People are messaging us saying that this is the highlight of their week, and taking pictures of their treats to share with the world.  It’s just such a joy that people like what we are baking up!”

We make silly videos

The Atlantic City Boys

When the Atlantic City boys found themselves with over 20 dates cancelled we took to the internet to promote our virtual concert Live from Las Vegas on patreon.  The proceeds will be used to fund the singers and band members who have no other source of income during this crisis.  Plus hey, it’s fun to create silly videos.  Subscribe to our youtube channel!

We connect

Danny Alan   (aka Dannyboy73)

Danny has been a working musician in Orlando for many years.  A consummate professional, he works in bands, as a solo guitarist and was recently featured in Harry Connick Jr.’s “Hunker Down with Harry” .

Danny:

“I went from singing basically every day to no gigs in about a week.  Having no idea how long this would go on for, I decided to start posting a daily song and tagging 3 friends just to try to get others on board.  I started seeing some others, including some big names in entertainment like Chris Martin from Coldplay doing the same thing.  It made me realize I’m not the only one who needed that performance fix!  I dedicated myself to doing a post a day, and as this has drug on, I’ve missed a few here or there, but I’ve done a few long live streams as well as posted a few with my group The Edge Effect, so I figure those make up the difference 😉  The biggest reward has been the reaction from my friends and family online.  I’ve had people reach out personally to say thank you for brightening their day, which has been awesome.  Also, people have been extremely generous with tipping through Venmo and Cash app, so much so that I’ve started paying it forward to others who have been live streaming and posting.  Everyone out there is just trying to get by, so it felt like the right thing to do since I can.

We spread joy

DJ Allen A

DJ Allen A is a beam of light.  He infuses every event with joy.  He started a Facebook page entitled “Corona NO!  Let’s Spread Positivity Around the World!”  

The page is filled with funny memes, youtube videos, anything that takes your mind off the pandemic.

Allen: “I started “coronano” because when this all started, all I would see online is negative, negative, negative. Negativity and fear can sometimes be more toxic than the actual pandemic itself. Laughter on the other hand is and always will be an incredible form of therapy. Anytime we are able to find humor in a difficult situation, we win.”

Here’s a silly video on #coronano featuring James Beeks on furlough from starring as Judas in the smash tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar”:

So what do we do during this scary divisive pandemic?

We do what entertainers have always done.  We find our audience.  We go above and beyond to be kind.  We create new opportunities.  We bring smiles and revenue to people who need it.

Because with kindness, a sense of humor and creativity, entertainment might just save the world.

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