In the last blog, I presented the idea of Active Value. I thought of calling it active value because an entertainer can actively control the outcome of these variables through their own hard work to improve them. It is the cause to the effect (I call the effect Passive Value).
Cause (Active value, hard work put in) ====> Effect (Passive Value, monetary result of hard work)
I admit, it’s not rocket science, or even a startlingly new revelation, anyone who’s in the scene would know this, but I’m defining it for the sake of the Entertainment Value theory.
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To start defining Active Value for an entertainer, it would be best to consider the type of entertainment first (music, comedy, dance, TV, movies etc), and then determine which areas are most valuable to the customer to be entertained (the best way to do this is ask the customers). This will begin the process to quantitatively define development for the entertainer looking to improve their craft.
Also to be fair, if you really want to see improvement, I’m going to be as blunt as I can be about this, you’re going to have to prepare to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone, and you’ll have to be prepared to go far above and beyond typical expectations, because the end goal is exceptionalism in creating an emotional connection with the entertainment consumer. To be exceptional, you have to be prepared to put in more work than anyone else, as often as you can.
Take professional sports as an example. They are entertainers, and they are exceptional at what they do at the pro level. NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and so on, are the best of the best, without question. They are putting in 12 hour days over and over to maintain their exceltionalism, and do it without question. What is the likeliness of getting accepted into this level of exceptionalism? According to a study done by the NCAA, in most cases, it’s around 1-2% of all college athletes, with the exceptions being mens ice hockey and baseball. Is being any other kind of entertainer any different? As best I can tell no, it is not. So I started looking at what the best do to hone their craft, and professional athletic organizations try to add metrics to as many factors of their craft as they can, and there are full blown companies built around collecting this data. They’re tracking items such as the following:
- Measures total distance
- Measures speed
- Measures acceleration & deceleration
- Measures metabolic load distance
- Monitors heart rate
- Reports collisions
- Reports fatigue index
- Measures step balance (left & right)
- Measures dynamic stress load
Why are they doing this? Because once they have these, much like going to the gym and recording how many sets, reps and at what weight, it provides data on where they can push an athlete to improve.
Now, figuring out how to adapt this methodology to Active Value, I believe this same approach can be used improve the artistic performance of an entertainer. In the entertainment sector, professional sports is probably the easiest to provide metrics for improvement, because of it’s competitive, data generating nature, when compared to artistic entertainment. Of course, the metrics in the artistic realm would be different, as an artist would have no need for a total speed measurement (or would they? I don’t know yet), or metabolic load distance… but when considering what each entertainer has to provide, what would be valuable metrics? Emotion is the currency of an entertainer, so any metrics to help create an emotional response, would populate that list. Previously I introduced the idea of three entertainment groups, Entertainment Individuals, Entertainment Groups, and Entertainment Curators. These metrics would most easily apply to Entertainment Individuals, followed by Entertainment Groups as the next easiest, and then Entertainment Curators as the most difficult to apply this to, but not impossible.
With an artistic entertainer though, many of these metrics will be qualitative, and not quantitative, as it’s not anything you can put numbers or points to. Value is quality, and quality is nebulous, so for each case, the metrics will have to be uniquely defined, and the method of evaluating those metrics, also uniquely defined.
Something that entertainment consumers say they look for in a performer is confidence, but how do you measure that? In some cases, it might be as simple as eye contact with the crowd.
In the case of providing a metric for this, I would propose this method.
- Record performer doing show with a video camera, a practice show for starters to get a feel
- Have the entertainer perform their trade in front of either a single person, the camera itself, or a small crowd.
- Review the video after the performance is done, and record the number of times the eye contact is made with whoever is in front of the performer. (Again the goal is to portray confidence and make a connection as defined by the performer or their management or whoever, so this is now their metric.)
- If you wanted even more detail, grab a stopwatch and record the amount of time eye contact is made, vs not.
- The entertainer will need to set a goal, that is appropriate for their craft, of how much eye contact should be made during a set, to effectively portray confidence to the consumer.
Now here’s the tricky part, WHAT is that number? What are you looking for? This is where it becomes completely up to the entertainer, and for each metric, this will need to be determined. There are two ways I know of to get this information, the first is for the entertainer to set the standard themselves, the second, and far more effective method, is to ask anyone that has seen the performance how they felt about it and poll it. You should know what’s most valuable to improve, and the best way to know, is to ask.
This is one of the hardest parts for a performer, because they’ll have to find people who won’t bullshit them, and give them hard feedback. Feedback that isn’t hard, isn’t helpful. Think again of professional sports, those guys get their butts handed to them on a regular basis, but they also represent the top tier of their profession. You, as an entertainer, have to think of yourself the same way if you want to be the top. Make no excuses, and listen to hard feedback. If you have friends giving you feedback that just enables your poor showmanship, and doesn’t help you increase your value, then find someone who will. In most cases you’ll likely need someone you have to pay, such as a performance coach, to help you out with this unless you have some kick ass friends who aren’t afraid to bruise your ego for the sake of the greater good
All in all it ends up being a lot of work to improve the Active Value, and I’ve given an example only for a single metric, when a performer may be trying to improve many at one time.
- Record video your performance, and review, every time
- Get hard feedback on what could be improved from people you trust, no sissy enabling crap
- Remember, emotion is the currency of an entertainer, find a way to make someone feel something
- One of the best ways to transmit an emotion is through moments, as discussed by Tom Jackson in his Live Music Method book (this applies to more than just music)
- Find a way to quantify that feedback, and create a measurable metric
- Repeat until the feedback is improvement is clear
- clear improvement can be done by reviewing the first video you’ve ever created, and then comparing it to wherever you’re at today. Because this stuff is mostly subjective, in a lot of cases this should be as simple as watching and saying “Yes, this has clearly improved”
- I really hate to be nebulous on that, but sometimes putting numbers to something like “captivate the crowd” is extremely difficult, but with enough breakdown, it can be done
The best part is, if you’re doing it right, you will see your passive value increase. That is a clear indicator that you have been improving your Active Value. People will be more willing to give their hard earned cash for something that they genuinely enjoy.
Any and all feedback is welcome, especially constructive criticisms, lets hear it!