From the Desk Of: Eugene Marlow
A Guide to “Zoomiquette”

Zoom LogoMarlowsphere (Blog #152)

In the early days of the World Wide Web (introduced to the planet in 1989 by Sir Timothy Berners-Lee) its ability to allow people all over the planet to e-mail each other 24/7 quickly became a characteristic of the communications landscape. And as with all new technologies, “standards” for the use of the Internet, à la email, soon gave way to certain “rules” of use. It became known as “Netiquette.”

Today, the new technological “thing” to do is “to Zoom.” The advent of COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the use of the platform (it was officially released on January 25, 2013). Its stock is now resting somewhere in the range of $250/share. No wonder. It has 200 million users daily.

It also has competitors: Amazon Chime, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts Meet, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, and Signal. But like the “Kleenex” brand, “Zooming” has become the generic term for using the Internet for “electronic gatherings.”

Although not the first electronic technology to allow aural and visual communications among people, with this platform’s explosive growth has come the need for certain standards of use. Why? Zooming is really broadcast and cable television in an organizational and personal context. These above mentioned electronic media have evolved visual and aural “standards” over many decades. People have certain expectations as to how television should look and sound. It makes for more effective communication.

So, below I offer a few tips to the emerging “Zoomiquette” so one can maximize his/her appearance to have the best communication experience possible.

Avoid the guillotined look1. Avoid the “guillotined” look. How many times have you observed a participant on a Zoom call whose head is just above the bottom part of the screen looking like they just became another victim of the French Revolution? The guillotined look is not very becoming.

Solution: The video production standard is to divide the screen into three imaginary sections: a top third, a middle third, and a bottom third. A person’s eyes should be on the bottom line that defines the top third of the screen. This way the other participants will see that the head is actually connected to a body, at least the neck and shoulders. You can accomplish this by simply adjusting the angle of the screen of the laptop.


2. Prevent the “heavenly lighting” look. This is a classic error of even people who are in the media production business. The Prevent "Heavenly Lighting Look"problem occurs when someone on a Zoom call has a bright light behind them instead of in front of them or even to the side. This is seen often when someone sets up their laptop with day light streaming through a window behind them. The cameras installed in laptops respond to the brightest spot in the picture. With this setup the camera looks at the bright light and says “OK. I’ll adjust everything to that bright light!” The result is the person’s face goes dark. They might look like they have a halo around their head, but no one can see their face.

Solution: Avoid having a window or a bright light behind you. Position the laptop so that the window or bright light is in front of you.


I just love the paint on your ceiling3. “I just love the paint on your ceiling.” Here’s another pitfall. People place their laptop on a table that’s below their own line of sight (in a few instances it’s above their line of sight and everyone gets a shot of someone’s floor). As a result, the laptop camera is looking up at the participant and we also get a glimpse of the person’s ceiling.

Solution: Position the laptop screen so that it’s level with your eyes.


4. “If I knew you were coming, I would have straightened up a bit.” The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of people to hunker down at home. Now Zoom has come into the home. In effect, your home has become a television studio, or at least a “If I knew you were coming, I would have straightened up a bit.”video location. Find a location for your Zoom meetings that present you in a semi-professional setting. I’m sure you’ve noticed that many reporters, experts, and pundits have chosen a place in their home that looks like a library, i.e., there are books in the background.

Solution: avoid setting up your location against a blank wall. Chose a place where’s there’s something of interest in the background. Often it’s a bookcase or something that reflects who you are. Be aware not to have anything distracting, or too personal, like family photos, or anything offensive in the background.


Just Say No to Vertical Video5. “Just say no to vertical video.” A minority of “Zoomers” use their phone to access the Zoom platform, but in-so-doing they position their phone in the same way they use it for other purposes: they hold it vertically. The result is a column visual effect, rather than the horizontal picture characteristic of laptop users. By holding the smartphone vertically the user creates blank bookends on both sides of the vertical picture in the middle.

Solution: Turn the smartphone 90 degrees to ether the left or the right. Tada! Now you have a horizontal picture with no black on any sides.


6. “Are you experiencing an earthquake?”  Often when using the smartphone to Zoom the user holds it in his/her hands or Are you experiencing an earthquake?walks around with it causing the picture to be in constant motion. This is very disconcerting for other viewers on the meeting with concentration and focus.

Solution: Before the meeting find a place to sit comfortably. Then find something to prop the phone up against such as a couple of books or take a look at these 10 DIY smartphone stand ideas.  If none of these work for you invest in one of the many smartphone stands on the market.


7. “There’s an echo, echo, echo. . .”There’s an echo, echo, echo. . .” Why do some participants sound like they’re in an echo chamber? The location you choose for your Zoom meeting is not only about how you look, it’s also about how you sound. A room that has things on the wall or behind you will allow your voice to sound more round and warm. An empty room will have you sound like you’re in an echo chamber.

Solution: choose your Zoom location carefully for both how you look and sound.  Choose a room that has carpeting and/or substantial items in it to avoid the echo effect. If necessary, add items to the room that you use. Be sure to place them in “off-camera” areas of the room.


8. “Can you hear me now?” We’ve all experienced someone’s audio level getting louder and softer as they speak. Participating in a Zoom meeting doesn’t have the same 8 Can you hear me nowaural effect as sitting around a conference table with colleagues in the same room. If you keep leaning back and forth or from side to side, this changes the distance between your voice and the microphone in the top part of your laptop screen.

Solution: Keep yourself pretty much in one position near the microphone when you’re talking during a Zoom call.


9.“Do you have to touch your face all the time?” Participating in a Zoom call reverses the usual speaker audience environment. Not only are you looking at the audience looking at you, but you are also looking at yourself. Presuming everyone Do you have to touch your face all the time?keeps their “video” option on, you’re also looking at how people scratch their nose, fidget, close their eyes, yawn, and do dozens of other non-verbal things people do when not talking (or even when talking). It’s a sociology exercise in observing how people behave non-verbally.

Solution: Be actively aware of your non-verbal behavior and to how others are reacting to what you say.


The reality is this: a Zoom meeting is not merely “the next best thing to being there.” A Zoom meeting is not just a formal (or in some cases an informal meeting) via electronic means. Inherently, a Zoom meeting is a video event and as such should be approached with a sense of “standards” if it is to be a fruitful meeting. Remember, Zoom meetings can be recorded by the meeting host, even a family meeting.

Sure, Zoom has enabled millions of people to communicate with each other all over the world where there is Internet access. Keep in mind, however, perceptions to the contrary, that only about 54% of the people on the planet have Internet access. So, in a very meaningful way, Zoom allows a little more than half of the world’s populace to stay in touch in the age of COVID.

This aside, “Zooming” will continue as an effective communications medium for the foreseeable future. Moreover, the concept is not new. Teleconferencing and tele-commuting has been around for at least 40 years, but now that laptops with built-in cameras and microphones are as ubiquitous as cellphones and smartphones, this new environment creates a demand for proper use. Practice Zoomiquette whenever the opportunity arises and you’ll have a better communications experience.

Eugene Marlow, Ph.D., MBA © 2020

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How Old is Multimedia?

Sociologist William Fielding OgburnThe Marlowsphere (Blog #149)

It is a truism that laws more often than not lag behind cultural customs especially in times of change, to which we could add in times of rapid technological change. Sociologist William Fielding Ogburn (1896-1959) posited in 1922, for example, the difference between “material culture” and “adjustment culture.” The former refers to technology, the latter to the often lagging response to technological change on the part of members of a culture and its cultural institutions. In other words, technology is the primary engine of progress, i.e., change, and it takes time for people and institutions to catch up to the changes and characteristics new technology brings, especially when it comes to terms and definitions.

In academia adjustments to technological change with respect to programs, courses, and especially terms are more often than not “behind the curve,” never in front of it. Often, there is a tendency to grab on to a new technology well after it has been embraced by early adopters and to describe “new” courses with terms gleaned from the popular media without much aforethought.

I have observed this from direct experience.

In 1988 the Journalism Program at Baruch College (City University of New York) invited me to create and teach courses in video field production and radio news. I was the first professor in the program with a print and electronic media background based on my recently acquired Ph.D. and experience in video and radio production.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Inventor of the World Wide WebIn reality, I was hired because the Speech Department (now the Department of Communication Studies) had initiated a course in “Corporate Video” and the Director of the Journalism Program (then a part of the Department of English) didn’t want to be outdone! In other words, inter-departmental competition motivated my being hired. Mind you, this was 1988, a year before (now Sir) Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web which, in turn, began the slow but inexorable demise of print journalism. So, in some small measure, the then director of the journalism program (a full professor with a Ph.D. in English Literature, now retired) can be forgiven for not having a crystal ball to peek into the future.

It was not until 2007 (19 years after my hiring) that the department hired a second professor with expertise in electronic journalism. Her specialty was “multimedia journalism.” And it was only until 2016 and 2017 that a third and fourth professor with print and electronic journalism credentials were hired. The latest addition to the faculty has deep experience in podcasting. That’s four professors out of 11 full-time professors in 29 years, even though in this same period the world of journalism had moved inexorably to a greater reliance on visualization (video) and orality (podcasting) via the computer.

There was progress, however. The (now) Department of Journalism introduced a course in “Advanced Multimedia Journalism” following the establishment of a course in “Multimedia Journalism” which I also taught. There’s now two courses in podcasting.

A couple of years ago we were in the throes of a self-review in response to periodic accreditation requirements. One of the department’s “learning goals” (originally formulated in 2013) dealt with “multimedia.” My reaction to reading this learning goal was to immediately feel how out of date and mis-defined it seemed. It had been articulated in 2013 by a professor with no “electronic journalism” experience to speak of. This prompted me to look into the technical definition and history of the term “multimedia.” My search taught me again that all things have antecedents and confirmed that academia is usually behind the curve.

I discovered the “concept” and “term” multimedia is about 60 years old! Yes, it’s that old and it predates the advent of the personal computer. It’s also another example of what’s old is new again.

Bob Goldstein, SingerAccording to several sources, the term multimedia was coined by singer and artist Bob Goldstein (later ‘Bobb Goldsteinn’) to promote the July 1966 opening of his “LightWorks at L’Oursin” show at Southampton, Long Island. Goldstein was perhaps aware of an American artist named Dick Higgins, who had in 1964 discussed a new approach to art-making he called “intermedia.”

A month later, on August 10, 1966, Richard Albarino of Variety borrowed the terminology, reporting: “Brainchild of songscribe-comic Bob (‘Washington Square’) Goldstein, the ‘Lightworks’ is the latest multi-media music-cum-visuals to debut as discothèque fare.”

But wait! There’s more. Two more years later, in 1968, the term “multimedia” was re-appropriated to describe the work of a political consultant, David Sawyer, the husband of Iris Sawyer—one of Goldstein’s producers at L’Oursin.

The original meaning of “multimedia” kept evolving. In my 1995 book Winners! Producing Effective Electronic Media (Wadsworth Publishing Company) co-authored with "Winners! Producing Effective Electronic Media" by Eugene Marlow & Janice SileoResearch Associate Janice Sileo, in a chapter entitled “Multimedia” we wrote, “The Microsoft Corporation, in a February 1993 Backgrounder, defined computer-based ‘multimedia’ as ‘the integration of text, graphics, audio, video and other types of information. . . .’.” Further, “Clearly, multimedia has evolved from an integration of various digital, electronic, aural, and visual technologies into an interactive medium for use in the home and the office.” Sound familiar? 1993 is 29 years “after” the term was originally coined. Yet some journalism educators use the term and define “multimedia journalism” as if it were invented just a few years ago!

Clearly, the term “multimedia” has been bandied about and used by journalists and professors of journalism who have no concept of its origin or layered meanings. Further, the term “multimedia journalism” is likewise mis-construed. It should be “computer-based journalism” or “digital journalism. “ If used even more correctly, “multimedia” would also refer to film, broadcast and cable television. After all, these communication media combine sound with pictures and graphics and text of all kinds. This is an example of a more recent generation of professionals ignoring the fact that there are always antecedents.

But to ask these folks to appreciate the abovementioned distinctions might be too much. They perceive they’re in the technological vanguard and don’t want to be disturbed in their academic bubble. They haven’t done their homework. They’re in the caboose of a technological train—with a longer history than realized—whose engine is ahead of them.

©Eugene Marlow, Ph.D. 2020

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Is There a Relationship Between Personal Finance Literacy and the Financial Administration of Arts Organizations?

 Marlowsphere (Blog #148)

Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE)


The following blog was delivered by Dr. Eugene Marlow on May 1, 2020 to members of the Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) via Zoom for their annual conference.

Alberta Hunter, Blues SingerAccording to a lyric sung by the late blues singer Alberta Hunter “You cain’t have romance without finance.” The same is true in terms of longevity and survival of profit and non-for-profit organizations. More specifically, arts organizations do not exist for very long without effective financial management and financial support from various external sources.

In the United States government organizations at the national and local level are increasingly withdrawing from the role of funding arts institutions. And applicants for funding are finding it increasingly competitive for whatever funding remains available. Yes, the National Endowment for the Arts budget was increased this year and more foundations are getting into the funding role, but no longer can arts organizations take it for granted that monies will be there.

Turtle Bay Music School CLOSEDA case in point: In November 2019 The ​Turtle Bay Music School, held its final artist series concert, the last hurrah of a nearly century old New York City arts institution. A nonprofit on the East Side that partnered with public schools, the school announced in November 2019 it would be forced to close due to a lack of funding.

But there is a deeper issue that is pertinent to the training of arts administrators at the graduate level and it is this: if finances and financial administration is the bedrock foundation of an arts organization, how pertinent is the personal financial literacy of those in charge of the organization? My answer is: very pertinent.

Do You Know Your Net Worth?

At the risk of embarrassing myself, I’m willing to bet 80% of the folks in this audience don’t know what their net worth is. You have little idea what your debt-to-income ratio is or how much you’ll need for retirement if you can afford to retire.

My contention is: if you don’t have a handle on your own personal finances, your long-term debt, or how you’re going to finance your retirement, how can you deal effectively and efficiently with the finances of the arts organization you work for or are connected with, or teach students about arts organization financial matters?

It’s Personal

Why am I so keen on this? The answer is simple and personal. My father, Michael Marlow (nee Spivakowsky) , was an excellent Michael (Spivakowsky) Marlow, Violinist/Violistmusician: a child prodigy on the violin; Taught himself the viola and the mandolin.; Composed music.; Wrote the world’s first concerto for harmonica and symphony orchestra. It’s still being performed today worldwide.; He had his own radio program on the BBC.; Was a Broadway show conductor.; Performed as a member of the orchestra with many notables, including  and Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. But he was lousy when it came to business and finances. He attempted to build his own music publishing company. It failed. He once dreamed of owning a restaurant. It never happened. When he died at the age of 63 of a second heart attack my sister and I learned he didn’t have any life insurance because he didn’t “believe” in life insurance.

I earned an MBA in part because I didn’t want to put myself in the same financial position my father ended up in. I wanted the vocabulary of business as a means of leveling the playing field professionally.

I’ve been involved in the fine and performing arts in various artistic and management capacities since I was born. At Baruch College (City University of New York) I teach and have taught a panoply of courses in media and culture, and business. At every turn I have experienced and observed that where there is a lack of focus on finances, regardless of the quality of the creativity, the enterprise falters. Further, this failure often, if not always, has roots in a key individual’s lack of understanding or appreciation of personal finances.

Personal Finance vs. Organizational Finance

Aye, there’s the rub. There’s no escaping the connection between personal finances and organizational finances.

What is the difference between personal finance and organizational finances? There are, of course, differences in terms of scale and function, but there is at least one major commonality: assets and liabilities.

In the personal finance context an asset could be liquid assets, et al. In the corporate context an asset could be liquid assets, etc. In the personal finance context a liability could be a long-term debt. In the corporate context a liability could also be long-term debt.

In other words, the difference between the personal finance context and the corporate context is scale and function.

Financial Literacy

This all relates to a much larger context and that is global financial literacy. According to a 2014 Financial Literacy Around the World: Insights From The Standard & Poor’s Financial Literacy NotebookRatings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey:

Worldwide, just 1-in-3 adults show an understanding of basic financial concepts. Although financial literacy is higher among the wealthy, well educated, and those who use financial services, it is clear that billions of people are unprepared to deal with rapid changes in the financial landscape. Credit products, many of which carry high interest rates and complex terms, are becoming more readily available. Governments are pushing to increase financial inclusion by boosting access to bank accounts and other financial services but, unless people have the necessary financial skills, these opportunities can easily lead to high debt, mortgage defaults, or insolvency. This is especially true for women, the poor, and the less educated—all of whom suffer from low financial literacy and are frequently the target of government programs to expand financial inclusion.

Further, in the United States, according to this same survey, the financial literacy rate is only 57%. Denmark and Sweden have the highest financial literacy rates at 71%.

In 2019, Investment News reports on an updated Standard & Poor’s survey, as follows:

World Map % of Adults Who Are Not Financially LiterateAlthough the U.S. is the world’s largest economy, the Standard & Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey ranks it No. 14 (tied with Switzerland) when measuring the proportion of adults in the country who are financially literate. To put that into perspective: the U.S. adult financial literacy level, at 57%, is only slightly higher than that of Botswana, whose economy is 1,127% smaller.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Treasury entitled Best Practices of Financial Literacy and Education at Institutions of Higher Learning:

With the cost of college rising faster than incomes and a staggering 44 million Americans owing more than $1.5 trillion in student loans, there has been growing concern that students and their families are taking on debt without truly understanding the long-term impact.

Indeed, there is a lot of research exploring this national problem: Nine out of 10 parents and students failed a 2018 quiz about student loan debt. Meanwhile, MarketWatch reported that half of college students taking an AIG survey on personal finance basics got two or fewer questions correct. And in a recent survey from the Brookings Institution, less than 30% of student respondents could correctly answer three questions on inflation, interest and risk diversification.

We must conclude then that to insure student success in arts administration programs as educators we must be certain that these same students are financially literate on a personal level, particularly so because as arts administrators the finances of an arts institution is a vital aspect of the institution’s credibility, viability, and longevity.

The Financial Literacy of the Arts Administrator

To put this another way, if an arts administrator isn’t paying attention to his/her personal finances and doesn’t have a firm grip on his/her net worth assets and liabilities, it Financial Literacywould follow that this same arts administrator is not paying enough attention to the institution’s assets and liabilities?

Now, perhaps this parallelism is not valid. Perhaps the arts administrator is fluent in the institution’s finances and knows the institution’s balance sheet, cash flow, assets and liabilities in great detail. But let’s say this same arts administrator accrues excessive credit card debt, or purchases real estate at the height of a market with a net income to long-term debt ratio that is out of balance and disproportionate. What does this say about this arts administrator’s expertise and skill to manage the institution’s finances? It does not speak well.

The importance of financial issues to arts administrators is nowhere more articulately stated than in the Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) Standards for Arts Administration Graduate Program Curricula of November 2014. The opening paragraphs of the “Financial Management” section of the document states:

Financial management is a core function within the management of cultural organizations, and is the framework through which resources–human, physical and financial—are maintained and monitored. In the not-for-profit sector, the balance between mission and money is a key factor in maintaining a sustainable, vibrant and successful organization, and needs to be clearly understood by arts administration students. We recognize that some programs include the teaching of commercial enterprise in the arts; this version of the standards has not yet incorporated standards for those areas of practice.

The document goes on to describe what arts administration students should be able to do with regard to financial matters at the foundational and best practices levels.

The Financial Literacy of Arts Administration Students

The question is: even though students at the undergraduate and graduate level might be adept at dealing with financial matters in the corporate context in the classroom, might not their understanding and appreciation of fiduciary functions have deeper meaning if their own personal finances are in order?

How many students come into an arts administration program with a foundation in either personal or corporate finance? Textbook learning is not as valuable and purposeful as real life learning. It’s one thing to require students to take a course in corporate finance, but it is quite another if students have no real-life background in finance, personal or otherwise. Students might take a corporate finance course and achieve a high grade, but what is this grade based on? An ability to read and abstract financial content from a textbook and feedback on a test, or is the good grade based on a student’s deeper understanding of finances based on “personal” financial experience?

Possible Prescriptions

A possible prescription for this “in the closet issue” is to provide students with a one credit course in personal finance. It does not have to be complex. But its main objective would be to sensitize students to personal financial matters as part of the process and preparation for dealing with institutional financial matters.

Finance Class for Arts AdministratorsAnother solution is to infuse non-financial courses with references to financial matters wherever possible. By doing so, students can begin to relate “personal financial” issues to non-financial course content. Over time, perhaps, students will begin to integrate the “personal” with the “organizational” to everyone’s mutual benefit.

In other words, to borrow and skew a well-worn phrase, charity begins at home. I’m willing to bet that if an arts administrator has a firm handle on his or her own personal finances, the chances are high this same arts administrator is well informed and in control of the institution’s finances. One context informs the other.

It makes sense to me that the more informed an arts administrator is about their own personal finances, the more sensitized this same arts administrator will be to the institution’s finances. You can attempt to bifurcate the two contexts, but if one bar is lower than the other, ultimately one will suffer. Attempting to parse these contexts can lead to problems. Is it not a better idea to prepare an arts administrator student with a solid foundation how to deal with personal finances so that this same student can approach the institution’s finances with the same kind of rigor?

© Eugene Marlow, PhD, MBA 2020

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52 Things Musicians Can Do Now In the Time of Coronavirus

Corona VirusMarlowsphere (Blog #147)

There are no immediate or forecasted statistics, but just from the anecdotal evidence, it’s apparent a goodly portion of freelance musicians of various stripes are going to have a rough time financially for the next few months: paying monthly bills, buying food, and taking care of their health. Why? Because the coronavirus has caused gig cancellations, postponements, closures, shut downs, and travel restrictions—all in the name of slowing down the spread of the virus, a so-called “flattening of the curve.”

The truism “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything” was never more real than now.

Of course, it’s not just musicians. Artists of all kinds, freelancers, and hourly workers are caught in this pandemic whirlpool. Part of the problem, and perhaps the major part of the problem, is that many are not financially prepared for a three, six, or nine month income gap, even with unemployment insurance, which is meagre at best.

Is the current pandemic the end of the world? No, it isn’t. It’s not the first global health crisis (remember the influenza epidemic of 1918, only 102 years ago) and it’s not the last. To put this another way, with many people on temporary work hiatus, quarantined, or sheltered at home, this is also an opportunity: an opportunity to use this “down time” to “up-scale” your personal and professional life.

Following are 52 recommendations you can apply today:


1. Per the CDC, Stay home if you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.

3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

4. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Ward off isolation. Contact friends and relatives, whether locally, in the state, out of state, or internationally. They will want to hear from you. And you will want to hear from them. Contact, even at a distance, is still a human need.

7. Keep a regular, daily routine to ward off depression: get up the same time, take a shower, get dressed, and keep up with activities you can do at home.

8. Maintain good nutrition: eat healthy, eat light so you don’t get weighted down or gain weight. Resist the urge to binge out of depression.

9. Look online for healthy but satisfying recipes.

10. Buy food and sundries in bulk as much as you can. If you have a large enough freezer, stock up on frozen foods. Buy as much can goods as possible.

11. Shop around. Walmart, Amazon, Fresh Direct, Pea Pod, among others, have on-line grocery and sundry stores that deliver to your door. Check them out to see which have the best prices for what you need. Perhaps you’ll need to order from more than one place to get the best prices.

12. Cut back on take-out. If you eat take-out, the food is going to be more expensive than if you make it at home. Moreover, food from a restaurant probably contains more salt than you should ingest. Less salt is better for your health.

13. Physical activity is good for one’s mental and emotional health. Exercise at home. When working outside the home you’re moving, using your whole body. The Cleveland Clinic recommends 10,000 steps a day. If you’re working from home, you risk become more sedentary. Find a place in your living room to do some stretches, push-ups, and sit-ups. Have free-weights? Work with those as well. Live in an apartment building? Go into the hallway and walk for about 10-15 minutes. Climb a few flights of stairs.

14. Equally important, take a few minutes every day to meditate, to be calm, and quiet your mind.

15. Do you smoke? Apply to an online “Stop Smoking” program. Just think of all the money you’re going to save when you don’t smoke anymore.

16. If in psychotherapy, use phone, Skype or FaceTime to continue the sessions. The consistency will help with anxiety and provide a bit of normally in these unusual times.

17. Take an aromatherapy, Epson salts, or bubble bath to relax.

18. Limit media intake to maintain your sanity.


Financial-Business1. Pay your bills on time, especially your credit card bill. Don’t wait until the last minute. Paying your credit card bill sooner rather than later should reduce the amount of interest you pay.

2. Pay more than the minimum amount on your credit card. Paying the minimum keeps you in debt.

3. Make sure you do your taxes and submit them on time. The IRS has extended the deadline to July 14, but you need to file an extension by April 15.

4. Develop a quarterly net worth statement. You may discover you’re in better shape than you think—your instrument is part of your net worth. Or perhaps you’ll discover you have some systemic financial issues, like too much long-term debt.

5. Having a net worth statement gives you more control over your finances. If you don’t know what a net worth statement is, search the Internet for examples.

6. If you foresee you’ll have a problem paying next month’s rent, contact your landlord now. Better to talk with your landlord before there’s a problem than after. You’ll be in a stronger position before there’s a problem than after.

7. If you foresee you’ll have a problem paying your next month’s mortgage, contact your mortgager now, for the same reasons as above. This will also help protect your credit score from being affected.

8. Create and analyze your monthly expense budget.

9. Identify some way to spend less on something. Everybody has a bad spending habit someplace. Discover yours and start saving.

10. Search your home for loose change. Even if you find $10-$20 of loose change, that’s money to buy food with today.

Professional Development:

Professional Development1. Networking is important. Maintain your network via phone, email, or text to keep up-to-date and top-of mind.

2. Stay in touch with those decision makers who shut down, postponed, canceled, closed, put on hold, or travel restricted you from a gig. Use the phone, Face Time, Skype, email, or text to stay in touch with these people.

3. Make a list of potential contacts for a gig in an area you hadn’t explored. Decision- makers are also planning what to do when the pandemic lifts. This performance hiatus is also an opportunity to open some doors.

4. Read those articles in the trade publications you’ve been wanting to get to now that you have the time.

5. Practice that piece you’ve always wanted to work on.

6. Practice exercises to keep up or improve your technique.

7. Work on sight-reading.

8. Expand your repertoire. Work on a piece that’s outside your comfort zone.

9. Compose that piece that’s been rattling around in your head for the last few months.

10. Listen to albums that you haven’t been able to get to because you’ve been too busy before this health crisis.

11. Organize your music library. What do you need? What don’t you need anymore?

12. Seek out a professional organization you’ve wanting to investigate and perhaps join.

13. Review the professional organizations you do belong to and decide which one you don’t need to belong to anymore.

14. Write an article about a subject close to your artistic heart and send it to a professional journal or trade publication. Perhaps there’ll run it!

15. so far. What is your unique selling proposition? In other words, use this time to define yourself or even re-define yourself. Perhaps you’ll uncover things about yourself that can be useful in expanding your career.

16. Reach out to artists in other diAnalyze your career sciplines (e.g., if you’re a musician, reach out to someone in the fine arts) and explore the possibility of a collaboration.

17. Update your web site (if you have one). Make sure it’s devoid of spelling errors and has all your most recent accomplishments.

18. Update your email contacts.

19. Update your social media accounts.

Personal Organization:

Personal Organization1. Go through that closet or the papers on your desk at home you’ve been wanting to get to but hadn’t had the time.

2. It’s spring. Spring clean and de-clutter your home. If you’ve already started, accelerate the pace.

3. Go through all those emails you’ve been meaning to get to and delete those that don’t matter and respond to those that do. Perhaps one of those emails will lead to a future gig.

4. Go through your physical things and find items to donate or get rid of: clothes, furniture items, books, even CDs (yes CDs). Donations to the right 501c3 organization are a tax deduction. This way you can save some on your Federal, state, and city taxes, and perhaps get a larger refund.

5. Add actionable ideas to the above list.

Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week. This time is an opportunity. Take action now!

© Eugene Marlow, PhD, MBA 2020

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International Exhibitors at APAP: “You Have to Show Up to Be Credible!”

APAP 2020 LogoMarlowsphere (Blog #146)

The saying “Eighty per cent of success in life is showing up” has long been attributed to actor, comedian, writer, director, and filmmaker Woody Allen. Whether the number is 75% or 90% or some number in between, the fact remains that if you want to have success in your life—personal or professional, whatever the endeavor—you have to show up and be present in the milieu and community you’re interested in.

This has never been more true than at the recent Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference at the Hilton Hotel (53rd Street/Avenue of the Americas, New York City) held January 10-14, 2020. The EXPO Hall at the APAP|NYC conference is the largest global performing arts marketplace of its kind with more than 370 booths, serving more than 3,600 attendees and 1,600 performing arts organizations.

According to Mario Garcia Durham, APAP president: “It pulsates with energy, making it an essential stop for building your business. Our dynamic ability to convene a global performing arts marketplace to APAP President Mario Garcia Durham talking with a Shanghai Opera House representative APAP 2020 Photo Adam Kissickdrive critical business decisions for every segment of our field makes APAP|NYC an extraordinary way to start the year.”

In other words, it’s a place to be seen, to network, to make and do business.

Durham’s emphasis on “a global performing arts marketplace to drive critical business decisions” is no exaggeration. Clearly, the vast majority of exhibitors are from all over the United States. However, a modest cadre of exhibitors hail from beyond America’s borders, from such countries as: New Zealand, Mainland China, Taiwan, Poland, Ireland, Canada, and France. Moreover, several American-based exhibitors are also in the “international” presenters camp, so to speak, because they mainly represent artists from other countries.

Exhibiting at APAP is no inexpensive investment, especially for the international exhibitors. But without exception, when asked “Why do you exhibit at APAP?” the consistent refrain expressed in one way or another was “You have to show up to be credible. And you have to show up year after year.”

One international exhibitor, Heidi Fleming, CEO of the Montréal (Quebec, Canada) based FAM Group pointed out she had been exhibiting at APAP for over 25 years. When asked “Is there a return on the investment?” she mentioned that sometimes she is able to book one of her clients while walking from her hotel to the Hilton location by bumping into a presenter she had met several times at previous APAP conferences. “If I hadn’t known that person for some time because of the APAP connection and hadn’t met that person while walking to APAP my client wouldn’t have gotten that gig!”

She added: “Every year you meet someone new who can add something extra to one of our artists, bring them to another level. It’s kind of slow and steady. You just have to keep showing up.”

APAP 2020 Photo Adam KissickShona McCullagh is the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the New Zealand Dance Company, a full time contemporary dance company founded in 2012 located in Auckland. They had their North American debut in October 2019 in Toronto, but they have never been to the United States. Ms. McCullagh mentioned this was her second APAP. She has two main goals: “To learn. The Professional Development Sessions are enriching, inspiring, and provocative. The whole conference is very well planned and thought through. All of us in the arts work incredibly hard. The opportunity to be here nourishes our hearts and minds. And being in this space we can share experiences with others. And, of course, we’re here to market our work.”

Other exhibitors from the so-called Pacific Rim included several from Mainland China, including C-Musicals, the China Arts and Entertainment Group, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Shanghai Opera House. Carol Cai is part of the Foreign Affairs General Office of the Shanghai Opera House. 2020 was the third year in a row that the Shanghai Opera House has exhibited at APAP. She observed: “Being here is a chance to get to know people. It’s also important for us to get to know what’s going on in America and the global market. We would like to present to the world our excellent performances. It’s also helpful for us to know what is trending now in this global market. This information will be very useful to us when we plan our next tour.”

Ms. Haley Yang works as part of the “C-Musicals” (Shanghai, China) Marketing and Public Relations function. She pointed out: “The C-Musicals organization presents original musicals in Mandarin, a departure from classical Chinese music presentations, such as those from the China National Peking Opera Company.” They exhibited at APAP for the first time in 2020. They decided to exhibit in order to show the United States what they’re capable of.

The Junta de Andalucia from Sevilla, Spain, also a first time exhibitor at APAP in 2020, perceived there is a market for the various flamenco dance companies in their roster, including the Anabel Veloso Flamenco Company, the Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernandez Duo, the Flamencos Por El Mundo, the Fundacion Cristina Heeren de Arte Flamenco, and the Marcat Dance Company. Their message is “Discover the Dance and Music from Spain.” They also exhibited at APAP to present their wares, so to speak, to prospective presenters and to get to know the market.

The Japan Foundation takes a broad approach. In addition to a headquarters office in Tokyo, and affiliated offices in Urawa, Kansai, and Kyoto, it has offices in two dozen countries in The Americas (New APAP 2020 Photo Christy KissickYork, Los Angeles, Toronto, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo), Asia and Oceania, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 1972, its mission is “. . . to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries.” With respect to APAP, Koji Nozaki, Program Director of the Arts and Cultural Exchange in its New York office: “We’re here at APAP to talk about various aspects. But we’re also here to network.”

Barbara Nowak, International Relations Manager for the Polish “Slask” Song and Dance Ensemble, echoed the double sentiment of most if not all the international exhibitors: “We’re here to present our performances, and, you have to show up to be credible.” The company was established 66 years ago to promote Polish Culture worldwide. The company has not only performed in Poland, but also in the whole world to show Polish culture.

Nowak added: “In our minds APAP is one of the most important places where people in the performing arts industry meet. It’s a serious conference where you can meet serious people and have serious discussions. And this is why we appreciate coming here all the way from Poland spending a lot of money. This is our 10th year coming to APAP. Over the years the benefit to us is establishing contacts. It is not possible to do business or become one of the real members accepted by the community by exhibiting here for one year. This conference gives us an opportunity to show the group our company’s abilities. We’re also looking for reliable partners. We have to be here to verify our credibility.”

While the international exhibitors consistently voiced the need “to be at APAP to be credible” theme, Olga Romanova of Peganov Entertainment, a German theatrical company, expressed the need to expand: “The producer and founder of our company, Alexey Peganov, decided to go outside of Germany and go international and tour in the United States also. He decided to start with APAP and the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) which is also a conference for theatre professionals to move things forward. ISPA [it meets right after APAP in New York City], however, has no exhibit possibilities, just a lot of meetings, so APAP was the only choice. Here we’re trying to find agents. We want to expand more. Our shows are mainly for children.” The company was founded 12 APAP 2020 Photo Christy Kissickyears ago. They have seven productions including “Alice in Wonderland” and “Treasure Island.” 2020 is the second year Peganov Entertainment has exhibited at APAP.

Oisin Mac Diarmada of Ceol Productions out of Coolaney, County Sligo, Ireland, has been coming to APAP for 10 years. He offered a slightly difference perspective: “We’ve been coming here for some time and the central reason is you have to be here to do business. You can’t do it long distance. But I can also tell you that things have improved over time. Just looking at the graphics at each exhibit, they have improved. Visually the booths are more interesting and professional. Also, because of technology you don’t have to bring so many materials anymore. It’s all electronic, digital. But the overall purpose is still simply meeting people, nurturing relationships, doing business. And you have to be here to do that.”

© Eugene Marlow 2020

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