"Dracula: The Panto" at Indy Fringe

This is a guest post by Robby Slaughter and a review from IndyFringe.

My first show at Indy Fringe this year was "Dracula: The Panto", a raucous retelling of Bram Stoker's classic. As the narrator explained in the opening, a "panto" (short for "pantomime" is a family-friendly version of a popular story, filled with songs, modern references and irreverent humor. The cast delivered handily on this promise.

"Dracula" is a can't miss mostly because of the side-splitting lyrics in the musical numbers. Watch for self-referential commentary in the love song and pop-culture asides from the henchmen. And like any good IndyFringe show, this production includes a few moments of clarity about their own budget, audience expectations, and especially a bit of local flare.

Performances were by and large earnest and enjoyable. A special mention goes to Kate Homan (whose dialogue admits the oddity of her playing the male role of Dr. Van Helsing), and whose skeptical looks and energetic singing voice are a major highlight. Jonah Winston, who plays the jive-talking American explorer, keeps audiences on their toes with his broad expressions and fourth-wall asides.

The star and the headliner, however, is Dracula himself. Masterfully played by Matthew Anderson, his hilariously exaggerated body language is enough to make the audience double over alone. Anderson excels at adhering to the form of the panto, with frequent conversations with the audiences. He demands us to boo his character more, "After all, I'm the villain of this piece!"

Although the performance brought laughs and engaged the crowd, the show was plagued by technical difficulties. These cannot be attributed to the Cook Theater at the recently-restored Indiana Landmarks Center. The Fringe's newest performance space is gorgeous and had incredible acoustics for later shows. But this reviewer missed quite a few lyrics and could not hear many of the singers due to problems with the audio balance. Hopefully, these can be address for later shows.

Despite these concerns, "Dracula: The Panto" is a hit. This is a great introduction to IndyFringe for first-timers and a perfect experience for long-time fans. Catch it yourself!

More at www.indyfringe.org. Enjoy other works by this company at http://www.eclecticpond.org/,

Optimize Your Social Presence

There are dozens of social networking sites; so many, in fact, that it can get difficult to keep track of all of them. The good news is that you don't have to! Stick with those best suited to your needs and work from there.

Here are a few simple ways to optimize your social presence.

Create a social presence landing page

"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to tweet about it, does it a make a sound?" No! Make it easy for people to find you. Create a digital portfolio to make it easy for Internet creepers everywhere! Bonus: linking to a single portfolio page will clear up email signature clutter. I suggest:
  • Vizify: this is a relatively new, free service that gives digital portfolios a visual pop. You can link to 'Big Three' networks, add in quotes, photos, work history, and statistics.
I love the layout of my Vizify bio page.
  • About.me: is the better known free digital portfolio site used by millions (and counting). Upload a short bio about yourself and link to all of your social sites. You can also quickly gauge your influence when logged into the dashboard; About.me shows your Klout, True Reach, Amplification, and Network scores.

Use the same username or handle on all networks

This might be common sense but you'd be amazed at how many people do not do this! Using the same username or handle (in my case, Lediamedia) is important for consistency. It helps your personal brand pack a punch and makes it much easier for people to find you on differing platforms.
  • If you haven't picked a handle or username yet, do it!
  • Even if you don't plan on using a particular platform, I highly recommend reserving your handle or username. You never know what platforms will become relevant to your needs in the future.
  • Here's a list of social networking sites from Wikipedia to get you started.

Know what makes each platform tick

Do not treat every social network the same. I repeat, do not post the exact same thing to every network. Hashtags belong on Twitter, not Facebook. Updates on what you just ate do not belong on LinkedIn. Ignoring this fact will make you look like an idiot and could affect your online credibility.

Know the purpose for each network and write original posts for each one. This does not mean you have to share four different articles on four different networks; this simply means that sharing on Twitter will look different than sharing on LinkedIn or Facebook.

  • Start with "The Big Four": Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Check out the above funny photo for quick reference.
  • Know where your target audience is hanging out and join the party. This will require research on your part. If no one interested in your product/service is using Pinterest, maybe it's not the right place for your updates.
  • Find great content, share it everywhere (with slight tweaks). Re-write the post for each platform.

How have you optimized your social presence? Please share in the comments below.