Don't Do It!

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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by Michelle Lefevre

Here in TheLab™ we get a lot of email, a lot of press releases and, to be frank, a lot of stuff that makes us sit down and wonder "why the hell would somebody send this to us?"

In the spirit of cooperation and sharing and possibly having a laugh at someone else's expense we thought we would share some things you really shouldn't do when communicating with the press, or anybody else for that matter!

1.Dump it out with the trash

The origins of the above phrase are unknown but it is most often used by politicians and their ilk. It basically refers to sending out bad information to the press on a Friday or just before a holiday. The common wisdom is that people don't pay too much attention to the news on Saturday and Sunday so they use it to bury things.

Since you want people to actually pay attention to the stuff you send out then under no circumstances should you do it on a Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday or Monday morning.

Don't email things at the end of any day of the week either because the people on the receiving end of it will not "get to it in the morning".

2.Images are for images.

If you are sending press releases, audition notices or anything else don't send it out as an image. Why? Because we can't cut and paste it and it's just rude to make someone else type something out for you.

Send stuff for re-publishing as a PDF or an RTF document. RTF means Rich Text Format and enables you to send nicely formatted, small documents in an email. The basic text editors that come with any computer can create RTF documents for free.

Word documents can harbor malicious content (like viruses) so don't send them either and more than a few people have been caught out by the hidden metadata stored in those documents.

3.Signature Signing

The signature portion of your email should be brief and to the point. Don't attach a massive touring list, promotional image, company logo or anything else.

If we, or others, start replying to you then the whole email turns into a giant carbuncle. Put it this way, if people are getting touring info from your email signature then you're probably doing something wrong with the rest of your promotional strategy.

As far as signatures go, less is more.

4.Get a website!

Both Tumblr and Posterous provide a quick and simple way to have a very nice looking website for no money whatsoever. Don't use because it's naff and full of spammers.

Use it to tell people who you are and what you are doing and where. Most importantly of all, they can tell people how to get in touch with you on the phone.

We can't tell you the amount of hassle we have just getting somebody to pick up a phone. If Article19 wants to talk to you it's probably so we can talk about you and your work.

These sites are only temporary though until you can afford to have a proper website built for you by somebody who knows what they are doing.

Lastly, don't use a generic email address like [email protected] because most of the time emails to these kinds of addresses fall down a black hole. If you run the company then put your email address on the site.

[ Tumblr ]
[ Posterous ]

5.Jump cuts are evil.

Jump cutting is a video editing technique. It is comprised entirely of crashing together unrelated pieces of video material into a montage. It has its uses but not for showing a piece of thoughtful dance work. If you are going to show your work then show it full frame and with minimal editing.

We've got a longer piece coming on why "movie" style trailers are no good for dance but for now consider this. Fred Astaire argued that none of his dance work was to be either edited or shown in close up and that was in the 1930's. Who are you to argue with Fred Astaire?

Let people see your work, it's who you are and it's what you do!

6.Award Winning?

Why are you telling us or anybody else that? Live in the now, it's what being contemporary is all about.

7.We couldn't think of a seventh thing!


Communication is supposed to be life-affirming, fun, unpredictable, spontaneous and a lot of other things. Too many dance organisations make reading through even 142 characters a trial worthy of Hercules.

Please do knock it off with the faux "excited, pleased, super excited" blah blah because nobody believes you and we'd all rather you just spoke to us like normal human beings.

Finally, disconnect your Facebook auto update Twitter thing because it really does just piss people off.

  • Chantal

    A few additional points I'd suggest:
    1. Also avoid sending any newsletters etc after midnight. Not only does it look unprofessional, but your email's that much more likely to get ignored in the morning.

    2. If you do send an image, please be kind to your recipients and make sure it's less than 3MB in size. In fact, if you can get the image under 100K in size, your recipient will be less annoyed than he/she otherwise probably would be.

    3. If your signature includes a logo, please avoid including it as an attachment. Makes it hard for recipients to distiguish between ordinary emails from you and ones which do actually contain an attachment.

    4. Sooner get an [email protected] email address than a Hotmail, Yahoo or even Gmail account. Hotmail and Yahoo have draconic spam filters so not everyone will be able to reply to you!

    7. THANK YOU for mentioning the FB cross-posting! It really really does piss people off. But also, along with 1., avoid tweeting anything important after midnight. Especially not at 2am or 3am. People won't even see it, unless your target audience is specifically many time zones away.

  • cheers big ears! :o)

  • Chantal

    Couldn't resist! ;)

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