We've found out that featured showcases, unless it's a rare thing that features well known artists or folks who have some specific level of interest beyond just being members (i.e. male artist of the year or songwriter of the year or something of that nature) or are already well known (i.e. someone who packs rooms already) members who aren't performing won't show up. It's possible they will once or twice if the talent is very good and the show very enjoyable, but even in those cases, attendance will immediately drop and eventually it will simply be the featured artists playing to nobody. I've always learned that even with famous/successful artists in a featured slot (i.e. say everyone plays a song and a featured artist does 3-5 songs) that seems to alienate people. We've had a couple of exceptions (Steve Seskin did a featured set of 4 songs I think at a San Diego showcase we did that was also filled with award winners and nominees) and that was cool. But LA tried to do featured shows and it flopped and pretty much killed the entire showcase process which, up to that time, had been reasonably successful. The only way to get the masses out is for the masses to be directly involved in the performances, even if it's only 1 song. I've learned that first hand from the last 8 years.

The other problem with featured shows is that it's brutal to have a terrible performer participate and ruin it for everyone. But, we like to give everyone a shot to participate. So how do you feature someone without saying no to those who aren't ready to be featured without pissing people off? One solution we've tried is to only feature award nominees/winners. But sometimes even in those cases they aren't great performers. I can't tell you how many great albums we get from people that are truly awful live. (I got burned a couple times early on when I told industry folks about an artist who was coming to a show after hearing their album and then when they performed live they were terrible.. ). So that's a risk too. No one really wants to sit through 15 minutes (let alone 2 hours) of non filtered talent. Even the most supportive folks in the world won't stand for that very long.

There's no question that chapters usually quickly turn into 1 of 3 things.

1. Very performance oriented on a pro level with little interest in meetings or workshops.

2. Very songwriter oriented with no interest in showcases or live situations.

3. Very entry level folks (writers or artists) only who scare off the veterans who think there's nothing in it for them or are turned off by the amateur vibe of the chapter.

So that's a definite issue to contemplate with chapters. That's why I thought a smaller slate of events, one that will appeal to each of the common segements of the group, is the way to go. Showcases for the live folks, networking meetings/dinner etc.. for the socialable folks who want to meet others but don't want to perform (or aren't really ready to yet) and a workshop that, depending on the topic, could appeal to entry level, mid level or advance writers or artists.

We've had chapters who have never wanted to have a showcase and others who have never had a meeting. We have one that rarely does anything but have networking events and that's it, no showcases, no workshops at all.

Keep the feedback coming.


Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..." -Brian Austin Whitney

"Sometimes all you have to do to inspire humans to greatness is to give them a reason and opportunity to do something great." -Brian Austin Whitney