Met with Bob (and Ed Greer) on Friday to nail down the details for louder than words. They love the concept and had some great input on the overall format, plus there's the possibility of Bob calling in some favors to book me some "big" names. Really, he's just hedging his bets there as they've been burned by lackluster shows in prime slots in the past and is concerned I'm targeting the usual audience which may garner a similar result.
With less than a week to pull together the lineups in order to have enough time to do some promo and prep work for the show itself, I didn't think twice about tapping the people I know. That got me quick confirmations, people I can vibe with in an untested format, and a base audience that allows me to have a general idea of a minimum turnout. Basically, I need 34 paid people in the house for each show for it not to be a loss on either end. Quite frankly, if I can't get 34 people to show up, I don't need to be doing the show at all!
To be honest, while one part of me loves the idea of sharing a stage with a Sekou Sundiata, for example, a bigger part of me would rather the show suceed or fail with the "usual" and then, if successful, come back as a monthly series in May or June with some big guns on the bill.
Either way, the next two weeks are going to be stressful as I'll have to get out a bit more than I usually do to promote. Thankfully, the Acentos crew is stepping up like real family and helping me get the word out. And, of course, Eric - who had some great ideas for the larger vision of the format - has the Monday night stage to promote from. All that, plus my own efforts should easily get at least 50 people in the house. I think as people start to understand the format - the biggest challenge in promoting this thing - the buzz about it will grow exponentially.
ie: Picture a couple of distinguished slam veterans debating their seemingly opposite rationales on and approaches to poetry slam against the backdrop of their own successes, failures and compromises in the format, and in their careers in general. Throw in a little game of Devil's Advocate to keep them honest and on their toes, and have the audience pick a "winner."
Or something like that. ;-)