Theatre

10,000 Tweets And A Discussion on Arts Funding

I love Twitter, for a number of reasons, and today I hit a pretty big milestone; 10,000 tweets. Sure many of them relate to check ins, or random sporadic bursts of thought I’ve had, which are probably more self gratifying than full of any kind of worth, but it’s also been a great platform to discuss the wonderful world of theatre and the arts, amongst many of the other big issues that pop up from time to time.

As far as social networks go, I do the most ‘networking’ on Twitter. I follow theatre companies and practitioners from across the globe. It’s a great place to discover breaking news and events on whatever topic interests you, to quickly share information, and to join other like minds in discussion. Last year I got a chunk of my tweets published into a book called ‘Sean Tweets’ (it’s not for sale, it was just for personal benefit, like a Tweet Diary you could say.)  I’ve even scored one or two jobs out of the website, and not just in Australia, but across the globe!

I’m even rather desperate to create a ‘140 Characters or Less’ Festival that is entirely created through Twitter!

Today though, as I headed directly for the big 10,000 I generated a really great conversation about Arts Funding, artist wages, and the business aspects of the Arts, specifically in the theatre. I’d like to share some of that conversation below, and you’re more than welcome to join in the conversation and add your thoughts by commenting on this post, or even better, following me on twitter and directing some messages my way (funny or serious ones, it’s all part of a great discussion, with many different opinions.) You can tweet me via @seanjbryan

After doing some budget work, I discovered that in 2013 actors wages will rise to above $1000 in an industry that relies heavily on government grants and sponsorship to help create material, and pay wages. If arts funding isn’t on the increase what will be footing the bill for these wage raises?

Over to you twitter!

So what is the answer? Smarter budgeting? Smarter producing? Smaller shows?

@aaronjoyner:
Will probably end up a combination of all three – and possibly with shows re-imagined to have three actors do a cast of 20

@trickibee:
The problem is, lots of shows are trying to compete with films. They’re hugely expensive & packed with “stars”.
Independent theatre is suffering from the spectacle shows.

@fatone:
A total remake of society’s values?

Is it a lack of government funding completely to blame for this issue? Or do independent companies need to start acting more like small businesses, making better business decisions?

@aaronjoyner:
This industry relies heavily on capital. To raise the capital, we need incentives like other industries get

If wages for performers/crews took a cut to enable independent producers/companies to afford more payment, would this be a better scenario? Would it allow for more work? Retail minimums for example are closer to $500 full time wage for a 38 hour week.

@aaronjoyner:
Don’t know if that’s the answer. Artists deserve minimum wage equivalent to other industries.

@Buttercupples:
Have to agree MT @aaronjoyner: @seanjbryan Shouldn’t be compared to retail, especially for performers who have done a three year degree.

@aaronjoyner:
What we need is another award for independent producers to access. For work not deemed as ‘commercial’. So artists can get support from the union and independent producers can afford to stay within the rules.

Interesting discussion, right? And this is just part of it, there’s a lot more. You’ll find I retweeted a lot of the conversation, so you’ll be able to read it on my timeline. Don’t hesitate to join in, follow the people listed above, and add your thoughts to the matter, this is the arts after all!

Happy tweeting everyone!

(Note: Some of these tweets have been edited slightly to remove excess commentary that would not have made in the context I’ve placed them in here, and are not necessarily in the order they appeared in during the live conversation.)

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About Sean Bryan

Creator of Mortimer Sparks, one part of Duck and Mouse.

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