Five Big Changes Coming to Production Ottawa Coverage

When Production Ottawa officially launched in January of this year, the intent was to be the most comprehensive media source for coverage on local production (both theatre and independent film production) around. With more than a hundred and fifty published articles, hundreds of photos from a couple score productions and events, eighty-two reviews, and almost a hundred produced videos, I think we’ve done a fairly good job of it – especially considering the small team of dedicated folk involved.

And the stats are decent. Not gangbusters, but good, and gaining traction. We’ve been well received, especially by the theatre community, and word is spreading.

Of course, we want more. So before I get to the meat of this article, here’s my brief plea for your help. Certainly, there’s love for anybody who wants to get actively involved with Production Ottawa (the Join the Team page has just been updated) but the kind of support I’m asking for is simpler.

Share posts. Tweet them, Facebook them, email them. Make sure your friends – even those outside the community – know what’s going on. Even, and especially, if it’s not a production you’re involved with. Call it vanity if you like, but we need those traffic stats to keep rising.

Like I said, brief. The plea isn’t the point of this writing, after all. What I want to tell you about is some of the exciting changes coming to Production Ottawa going into the 2012/2013 theatre season (changes apply to the movie side as well).

1) Previews are expanding. As per our coverage policies, we preview everything that will result in an open-to-the-public production. Starting this fall, not only will our previews have the usual synopses, cast and crew info, quotes, and possibly photos and video but in our effort to be the single best source for coverage, we’re going one step further — we will now be linking off to every other review or press that turns up online for that particular show. This means that now people only need to come to Production Ottawa to find anything published online about any show we cover. One stop shop.

2) Print only reviews. We phased out video reviews at Fringe this year in favour of print only reviews and that will continue to be the case. We will instead focus our resources on the video previews. The major benefit to this change (as outlined in our  coverage policies) is that all reviews will now go live within thirty-six hours of show attendance, allowing shorter run shows to better benefit from the press.

3) Achievements. We considered keeping the five-point rating system we set up for Fringe and carrying it over full time for reviews but decided not to for various reasons. Still, we feel that truly remarkable shows need to be highlighted for being mind-blowingly amazing and achievement badges will be our way to do that. Whenever a play comes along that is really not to be missed, or has any incredibly stand-out elements, we’ll be adding achievement badges to the review to highlight that.

(The five-point rating will be back for next year’s Fringe, where it’s especially important to know what’s worth seeing in relation to everything else going on.)

4) Ottawa Rated. Art is beautifully subjective. Our reviewers have one point of view, audiences may have another. Starting in the fall, all of our reviews will come complete with an audience-rating system so after you see the play, you can come and tell us what you thought with one single click. This will help Ottawa get a balanced idea of the quality of the show.

5) Comments. All right, this isn’t new. We’ve had comments enabled since the beginning. But it bears mentioning. Truth is, we really want to know what you’re thinking. Tell us if you agree with our reviewer’s opinion. Especially tell us if and why you disagree with our reviewer’s opinion. And not just reviews. If you worked on a production, comment in our preview article and tell Ottawa why it’s so special and why you’d love them there?

A couple of these are huge shifts in the way theatre in particular is covered in this city. As always, the idea is:

  • Promotion for everybody with something to promote.
  • All the info in one place, easily and quickly accessible to everybody.
  • Everybody has a voice, everybody should be heard.

Remember that Production Ottawa is a community effort – supporting Production Ottawa is supporting your production community – and the other half of my plea (the one that started above with: share) is engage. Come and rate all the shows you see and encourage others to do the same. Tell us what you think about everything. Don’t be shy.

That’s how you can help Production Ottawa grow and ensure that we continue to provide the highest level of quality coverage for Ottawa.

More In Store

Some other quick announcements of things happening some time this fall.

  • Notice board. We’re going to set up a notice board here on the site which can have postings for, well, just about anything. Jobs, volunteer requests, wardrobe or info requests. Maybe even theatre dates.
  • Talking Theatre. What happens when I get together with another local theatre afficionados, Andrew Snowdon of Apt 613? Well, we record what we talk about and put it online for Ottawa to hear, naturally. Talking Theatre is the new bi-weekly podcast where we’ll talk about what’s going on in the Ottawa theatre scene and with those who make it happen. This has already started, so you should go and check out the first episode.
  • Right Now!  We’ve added a new category heading to the menu called “Right Now!” It will always be an up to date listing of our coverage for everything running right now to make it super easy to find.
  • Paid Promotion Services. First and most importantly, this is in no way connected to our coverage policies and will not affect fair and balanced coverage which we do freely. What we will be doing is simply offering services that our team members are capable of delivering and that you already know they do well, backed by a brand you can trust. These will include the much requested production photography as well as video services, writing, graphic/poster design, web work, etc.

All right, that’s it from me. Your turn. What else could we be doing do provide the most thorough and awesome production coverage? Tell us in the comments below (or by email).

Allan Mackey

About Allan Mackey

Allan Mackey is editor-in-chief of Production Ottawa, which, really, is too fancy a title. He also acts as show producer for Should You See It, making sure you get your answer in just about two minutes every time. He writes stuff and occasionally turns that stuff into movies. Keep being awesome!

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