The EventBuzz Podcast: SDSCPA Connects the Arts Community Online with New Hub

Podcast speakers: Savannah McIntosh (Purplepass Marketing Director), Richard Trujillo (Artistic Director at SDSCPA) and Andrea Gutierrez (Production Manager at SDSCPA). Jump to links and video notes below. 

The EventBuzz podcast: San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

presented by Purplepass

 

 

 

Podcast Transcript: Purplepass + SDSCPA

 

Savannah (Purplepass):  

Hello, and welcome to another episode of our show for event planners and professionals interested in the event space. Every day, we as professionals are tapping into our creative side, discovering new ways to connect with our communities online while we wait for in person events to safely come back.

Today, we are talking to not one, but two guests, the Artistic Director and the Production Manager at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

After putting their creative and innovative hats on the school recently introduced a new platform for connecting artists online, plus a series that includes interviews from different artists and performers across the country sharing their stories and experiences in the industry.

So thanks for joining me today. Richard and Andrea, how are you both doing?

 

Andrea (Production Manager): 

Great, thank you.

 

Richard (Artistic Director):

We’re doing wonderful, I think.

 

Savannah: 

Good. Yeah, I think so. Um, so before we get started would you guys both mind introducing your roles at the school, and then kind of jumping in and telling the listeners more about the school and its unique arts training and academic programs?

 

Richard: 

Sure, Andrea, you want to start?

 

Andrea:

Sure. Um, I’m Andrea Gutierrez. I’m the Production Manager at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. So my job is to mostly take care of the Mainstage shows when we’re on campus to make sure that they get done and they’re on time. So right now in the time of the COVIDs I work on our Mainstage hub and helping to secure and schedule the events that we’re doing on that platform.

 

Savannah:

Awesome! 

 

Richard:

My name is Richard, I’m the Artistic Director at the school and I have the honor of serving as Artistic Director for the last 12 years. My job is to oversee the artistic vision of the school site. So that involves whatever we’re doing on the Mainstage calendar, which is all performance and production. But it also involves how all of that connects with our instructional practices in the classroom.

We’re an audition only school, you have to audition to get into our school. Our school is sixth through 12th grade. It is a public arts magnet school, we rank in the top 17 in the nation and public art schools. And there are five majors and 11 different programs of study for students who are who are accepted to the secondary program.

Our Middle School Program is more about passion and enthusiasm. The secondary program is about pre-conservatory. So that’s just kind of a little brief idea of who we are.

 

Savannah: 

Yeah. Thanks, guys. So let’s, um, let’s jump right into it. And start let’s talk about the new hub for artists you guys have created and the series. Can you tell me more about that? I believe it’s called Mainstage?

 

Richard: 

Yeah it’s called the SDSCPA Mainstage Hub. And the reason that we created the hub was we knew when COVID hit on March the 13th for us, that’s when the district shut down, that’s when our school sites shut down. And we had just begun previewing our brand new production of In the Heights, which was remarkable, just an absolutely remarkable production.

Once it hit us that we weren’t going to be coming back in the fall anytime soon, that it was going to take some time. We started looking at, well, how are we going to keep our community together because normally we keep the community together through our mainstage season performance and production.

And we started taking a look at ideas that were being kind of thrown at the wall. Everybody was doing, you know, virtual play readings, concerts, all kinds of stuff that was happening throughout the summer. And we just started talking over the summer ‘Hey, what what’s actually working, what is actually sticking? What are people tuning into? And then what can we also do that won’t supplant our our season, but ultimately could serve as something that becomes complimentary?’

And that’s when we came up with the ideas for the Salon Series, the College and Conservatory conversations, the admissions page, and then the other three pages that are much more closely associated with the students at SEPA, and the faculty.

 

Savannah: 

Yeah, I was just telling Andrea actually, before you jumped on that, I’ve been talking to a lot of different schools, and kind of, especially like theater program, seeing what they’re doing, because it’s going from in person events, which is what theater is. So we all have to get super creative. And I think everyone’s kind of making their way to series and like one guy was I was talking to they’re doing a student directed radio play, something people can listen to. And it’s just interesting hearing what everyone has to say and how they’re finding ways to get creative.

Could you guys tell the listeners more about the Salon Series? I know they’re free events and could you tell them more about what each series are or what the different episodes are mainly about or what people can expect to hear when they tune in?

 

Richard: 

Sure, Andrea, I would love to hear your perspective. You know why? Because I’m the one who’s actually like hosting them. But Andrea is the one who’s engineering them. So Andrea what’s your perspective?

 

Andrea: 

So the Salon Series, well when it started out, it was a way for us to kind of try and bring in some professionals from each of the different fields that have artistry that we have at school, so people who are creative writers, journalists, novelists, dancers, musicians, you know, theater people, from all the different areas of the arts to come in and talk about their their lives and their experiences in the arts to allow us to interview them and talk about them and bring them in to share with our community.

And it’s actually grown a little bit since we started it, we’ve actually had opportunities to have interviews with people to talk about, you know, professionals, we just did one called Building a Pipeline with Ahmed Dents, where we talked about building a pipeline to bring black youth into the theatre administration side of things and showing them that that’s an avenue that they can pursue that they may not realize is available to them.

And we have one coming up with NYU Tisch for Collaborative Arts, where we’re going to be talking about how the arts kind of meld together and how they have a program that allows people to experiment and work with that.

So it’s a it’s a series that’s free to the public and open for anybody to, to come and listen, that we usually do. It’s typically on Wednesday evenings at 6pm pacific time, but just a place for people to come and to hear the experiences and about the events and the things that are happening in the community, but also to learn about professionals out there, and to kind of take those opportunities and experiences and to apply them into their own lives and to help not only find their own betterment, but to be able to help them to grow and inspire them as well.

 

Savannah:

And Richard, you’re the host?

 

Richard: 

Yeah, for the first several, I did host and I continue to host.

One of the things that I’m trying to do is trying to get my my team a little bit more involved as well. In the five different majors, and 11 different programs, I’ve got, actually six members of my arts leadership team, who represent each of those their faculty members, they’re the chair, chairs of the departments. And I’m trying to get my chairs more actively involved in being a part of that. I noticed that when we interviewed Cue Violin, who’s an indigenous artist, a violin player who’s just absolutely remarkable. We, we got the chair of our music department to get involved and we got her to, actually do the hosting. And while she was really nervous prior to the recording, at the end, you could just see the inspiration in her eyes and in her heart, you could just see how it helped lift her by just being a part of that.

And I think that that’s part of it too, for me is I want to see our team be just as inspired by sharing these stories of all these different artists and how they’re overcoming the currency because a lot of our students right now are struggling so greatly with the distance and not being able to be around their friends, their peers, their their teachers, not being able to focus in person and the studio training. And so, having these opportunities to have the teachers and the students be uplifted and feel connected, and feel like ‘hey, there’s others out there that are going through exactly what I’m feeling.’

I think is tantamount at this at this time. So I’m, I’m trying to spread the love and spread the wealth. But But when the nerves get a little too high, yes, I will step in and do the interview. I’m used to talking anyways.

 

Andrea:

We always have him on reserve.

 

Savannah:

And these interviews, they are just audio correct? Or is it showing actual a split screen of like, an interview video?

 

Andrea:

It’s actual video. It’s on, okay, actually, and they’re actually up so people can go back in their archives. So they’re all up there for people to go back and see.

 

Savannah:

That’s cool. So it’s just on YouTube?

 

Andrea: 

Yep.

 

Savannah:

Have you guys ever considered maybe, also saving the audio file and then putting it on like a streaming service like Spotify for people to listen to when they’re like outside and stuff?

 

Andrea: 

I haven’t thought about that. But we could totally do that.

 

Savannah:

I don’t know. I’m always looking at a computer screen. And so I like to go outside and then put on some Spotify and stuff. I feel like that would also be like, a cool thing to offer.

 

Andrea: 

Yeah.

 

Richard: 

That’s actually a great idea that we should look into.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I mean, that’s why we started doing these. I mean, everyone, it’s similar to like your students, they’re lost, they don’t, they don’t know like, how to handle this. Our event promoters, I mean, you guys are tackling it tremendously, but other event promoters, like don’t know, this is uncharted territory. So that’s kind of why we started doing these podcasts too to give them an idea that, ‘hey, you’re not alone. Look what these people are doing.’ Yeah, so that’s just an idea how to do it.

 

Richard:

That’s an awesome idea. I mean, ultimately, that’s, that’s what the intent was behind creating the hub was to look at alternative ways of trying to keep our community together, keep them connected, keep them interested. And yeah, especially when it comes to the students, but also the parents, giving the parents an opportunity to listen to something that or watch something or listen to something right either either way, but keeping a parent moving forward as well.

And understanding their child’s journey and the possibilities that the arts are still presenting, regardless of the the currency of the moment.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I mean, too you could send out, this is just like my marketing brain going, you could send out like a mass survey or email and see people’s preference, like different platforms that they like.

 

Richard: 

Oh my god, I love it.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, that they like to listen to. Maybe I’ll be hearing your guys’s next one on Spotify? Who knows?

 

Andrea:

You never know.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. Um, so for now, what is the process for our listeners, if they were to go on and wanted to listen to your event, and receive tickets or sign up? I know you guys do RSVP, they just need to log on to the, the Mainstage Hub correct? And it’s there for free, just register?

 

Richard: 

Everything’s there at the hub. I mean, so yeah, they just need to go to SDSCPAmainstage.com and then they can click any one of the series that they’re interested in admissions Salon Series, College and Conservatory. And on each of the banners that’s on the pages there’s an RSVP link or direct link at the bottom.

So it just depends and Andrea you can share a little bit more of the specifics with that.

 

Andrea: 

Yeah, so for both Salon Series, and for College and Conservatory specifically, we do use Purplepass. So if you go on there, we usually have the on each of those pages the next three events are kind of highlighted. But we also have a calendar that shows you a little further beyond those three. So you can click on the you know, click to RSVP and it will actually take you straight to Purplepass where you can sign up to get an RSVP, which will send you the link directly to your email on the day of the event. And then you just click the link and you show up and there’s live chat.

So we do answer questions during the show. That sort of thing. So it is interactive in that way. Yeah. So that’s kind of how it works.

 

Savannah: 

Super simple. Okay, cool. And you mentioned the other series, the College and Conservatory. Could you just talk a little bit more about that? Because from what I’m understanding, it’s more so talking to like the different directors and Dean’s of schools and, and reps correct?

 

Richard:

That’s exactly right. You know, a big part of our school is having students interface with all of the admissions representatives and admissions directors that typically travel around the country and come physically to our campus. And the students are always looking forward to that and not just the seniors.

Oftentimes, we’re, we’re messaging on campus that, you know, you want to get to know these reps as soon as possible. So even our middle school students as well as our freshmen, and sophomores, and juniors, are all trying to, to get to know who these representatives are, because they come from some of the top institutions across the country and the globe.

And, and without having that physical presence on our campus these days, it was important for us to, to try to keep that connection going as well. So what we’ve discovered is that admissions reps, Dean’s of the schools, and so many different folks are interested in coming in joining us for about a half hour, 40 minutes, to talk about their school, to promote it, and to keep the kids and the parents informed, and interested and connected.

 

Savannah: 

Yeah, I thought that was genius idea, because the Salon Series is one thing and that makes sense for keeping the arts alive and getting involved. But I personally, I wouldn’t even think about you’re, you’re missing out on the interactions with the, like you said, the reps and all these other important people that you could network with, that’s it’s so crucial to keep that going to build those relationships as well. For that series is the same as the salon series where it’s the the video, and there’s a live chat and what not?

 

Andrea: 

Yeah, and one of the great things also about College and Conservatory is like, because we’re over here, kind of in the, you know, southwest corner of the United States there, there are certain schools that come and visit us, but there are other smaller schools and things out there that we don’t get to see as often. And having this online platform makes it so that their schools that we don’t get to see or know about, but now we can invite in to come and talk to our kids that are out there that may have awesome programs that will fit some of our students, or, people who are watching that they may not know about that, you know, us being able to talk to them about they’ll be like, ‘That’s where I need to go. That’s the program I’ve been looking for.’ And now they’ll have the opportunity to to learn about that program where they may not have had that chance before.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. My mind mics being weird. And that’s brilliant. Sorry about that. Sometimes it’s like a weird growl. Um, and so for these series, could you I love asking this question because every single promoter is using a completely different software, completely different equipment, because there’s so many options. So could you guys tell me a little bit about what kind of streaming equipment or like the software you guys are using to put on these events?

 

Richard: 

Yeah, we’re using Stream Yard.

 

Savannah:

Okay, that’s a new one. 

 

Richard:

Yeah. You know, one of the advantages that we have is that when you’ve got 23 certificated arts teachers teaching in five different majors, 11 different programs, you have a lot of resources available to you. So we went to our Cinematic Arts teacher, Tom Anatole, who is just absolutely brilliant, and said, ‘Hey, Tom, you know, can you help us figure out what the right approach platform was?’

And we did this right at the beginning of the ideation in creating the hub. Because we knew that different thing different, well, different things, we’re going to need different platforms. So was the salon going to need a certain platform, were the the admissions events going to need a platform? You know what I mean?

Where are we going to need multiple platforms, or where we’re going to need a singular one?

It was that kind of conversation. And so Tom started doing his homework and Andrea, who is kind of a little genius on her own, too, from the technical side, she just started experimenting as well with things that Tom was bringing in doing her own research. And, and I think we just sort of stumbled upon Stream Yard and, and, and that platform seems to work really, really well for our bigger events like the Salon Series, and the College and Conservatory conversations.

The thing that I love about it the most to is that we can put on there different messaging, we can pull up questions from, from whoever’s listening. We can send out information that we want via Ticker and we can put up logos because it’s not just SDSCPA that is part of this whole commitment.

It’s also our friends of SCPA, which is our foundation for school site. So recognizing them as important. And then being able to pull up logos for any of our guests that that want their own. You know, that they want to, to send out their current information and to promote their own. 

 

Savannah:

That’s cool. And the big question for both you guys, how has it been going so far? I’m sure you face so many different challenges, but what are the main challenges you’ve faced along the way that you’ve had to overcome and with those challenges, like any tips, for people that might be experiencing the same thing?

 

Richard: 

Andrea, I think you’re, you’re the right one to start with the challenges.

 

Andrea: 

Oh, challenges, I think, just from, for me, right now, the challenges just trying to make sure that we have enough content to keep going. I mean, you know, as true with everybody, the internet is always there, people are always looking for more and more and more and more. So it’s just trying to keep up with that, you know, keeping keeping up with what we need to do, but still trying to keep our daily balance and get all of our regular school stuff done. And being able to, like, make sure that we give our audience in our, in our community the things that they need.

So that’s one of the challenges we have. And not only that, but just making sure that what we’re giving them is equitable across all of our different all of our different programs, you know, we don’t want to, you know, be too heavy in the dance or too heavy in the theater or too heavy in the writing, you know, making sure that we find people across the whole spectrum.

Yeah, that’s a that’s a challenge, but one that we I think we do a really good job of trying to do that we’ve only been doing it for a month. So you know, it’s, we’ve had, we have pretty good numbers for a month, but we want to see those numbers grow. So, you know, it’s, it’s, we’re still learning, we’re still growing my my word for the year is evolve…we’re evolving.

So we’re working on it, but I think it’s been so far this last month has been really fun. And, you know, it’s been, it’s been fun to be creative in our in our own respect. So I’ve, I’ve been enjoying it.

 

Savannah:

Awesome. What about you, Richard?

 

Richard: 

Well, I think she pretty much hit the nail on the head with the challenges that we’ve got. I mean, for us, it’s, we are going to take a look, at the end of the first semester, we’re going to take a look at the analytics, see what we’re hitting and see what we’re missing, we’re going to make some adjustments to the second semester.

Because again, it’s all so brand new for us, I think the most important thing for us is not to not to get overly carried away with the idea that we’re that we’re doing this without keeping in mind of who our audiences, our audiences definitely needs to be our students, our faculty and our parents.

Outside of that, we hope to grow it also. So that it becomes much more of a recruitment tool. We’re inviting anyone and everyone who wants to participate, to come and listen to these events. You can get once you RSVP, you can get you know, the the link to the actual, I guess podcast for lack of a better term, but you can actually get the link to that to any one of the the events that we’re holding.

So again, the whole idea is eventually that this machine is operating in terms of its full function for promotion, and recruitment.

 

Savannah:

Awesome, I didn’t, I had no idea. It’s only been a month because you guys look like pros. And it looks so that you have had a lot of content so far. And it looks great. Like the website, the hub, everything up there looks amazing. And you’re offering so many different things and you’re doing a great job at that. So just so you guys know.

 

Richard: 

Well, thank you. I mean, you know, again, one of the advantages is you’ve got all these great artists, you know, at SDSCPA we pride ourselves in that our faculty are not only content area experts in the arts, but they’re also practicing artists.

So our connection to so many amazing people out there is what is really making this thrive. And so many of those people right now, are not as busy as they are normally used to, because of the currency and so the willingness, and the selflessness that is coming from these artists is just overwhelming and humbling.

So, you know, right now we’re we’re sitting in a moment where we’re very grateful.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s hard, we have to kind of change our perspective, especially for you guys, the virus is awful, it’s affected everyone. It’s just been an awful pandemic. But then we have situations like, like the school your school, you’re finding a different way to connect online, you’re getting more creative, and you’re bringing in all these different artists that your students probably wouldn’t have had the chance to talk with otherwise.

So kind of like we, you know, one side’s not the best, but then we’re learning and like you said, we’re evolving, and positive things are coming out of it. So that’s one way to look at it.

 

Richard:

That that’s our hope, man. And that’s our, that’s the passion that’s driving us right now is, is everything that you just described?

 

Savannah: 

Yeah, um, and I’m visualizing your website right now the Mainstage Hub, there is one thing on the right, one category, it’s called the Arts Happening. And I was curious, what that’s about is that just the upcoming events or activities?

 

Richard:

No, actually, Arts Happenings, we’ve kind of gone back and forth about this. There are obviously the hub is a place where we want anyone and everyone to go to for any information regarding arts at SCPA. So, you know, staying connected through our admissions process, this being the College and Conservatory conversations, the art Salons, but then we also want it to be a place for our students to do their own deep dive.

So Arts Happenings is actually a place where you can learn about all of the different things that are happening in the classroom. So if it’s a guest artist that’s coming into the classroom, if it’s a certain initiative that one of the teachers are taking, right now with their classes, if there’s a certain type of unit of study that’s happening, that that wants some visibility, that’s a place where we put all of the arts happenings for now.

Because we want our teachers to engage as well. And we want them to bring that kind of information to the hub, so that they can feel excited about the promotion of that. And students can can get excited about checking out what each of the different departments is doing and what might be coming up there. So that part is it just is in its baby phase, we haven’t really gotten it off the ground as much as we want. And my anticipation is that at some point, it might need to break off into different into each, each of its own sort of sub categories. But for now, that’s where all of the things that are happening in on our campus, virtually, that’s those things that are taking place.

 

Savannah:

Okay, so basically, you guys have thought of everything. You’ve covered everything. I think you’ve covered everything. And I’m like, what’s this? And I’m like, oh, okay, I didn’t even think about that. There it is.

 

Richard: 

Yeah, well, you know, we, we did we did we I don’t know if we’ve discovered everything, but thank you for saying that. Because I do know that, that Andrea and myself especially over the summer, and our other ideation partner in this Roxane Carrasco, who’s head of our Theater department, and head of Musical Theater, we really kind of racked our brains over what kind of content do we want on this hub? And how do we make sure that it is that it serves as a complement to when we eventually one day return to campus, and we can be back in person with each other, doing our incredible live productions and exhibitions?

This piece that we’ve built, we don’t want to go away it. The idea is that it will complement everything that we do.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, no, I, I totally get it. And I’m sure you’re going to discover even more things that you can do. But I do think this is an amazing thing to keep going even when you do go back to campus and are doing your productions again, because like I said, we live our lives on the go. And so to have access to something online, and we can listen to these artists and kind of understand their stories and learn from them. I think that’s an amazing thing to give your students and their parents.

Yeah. And I think that’s it if there’s anything else you guys want to add for our listeners, any other pieces of advice? If not, that’s totally fine. And I can let you guys go on with your day.

 

Richard:

Andrea, any any pieces of advice or upcoming things people should know?

 

Andrea: 

Yeah, you know, there are parents out there that are interested in the school, they’re welcome to come and check out the website where we are in our audition season. So we’re always happy to have students who are interested in the arts come in audition for us. So they’re welcome to come and check us out. So we would be we would love to love to see their kids.

 

Savannah:

They go on campus and audition in person?

 

Andrea: 

Normally, yes, this year, no, assure all of our auditions are virtual. But we are in the process of our audition season in the middle of our audition season for next fall. So they’re welcome to go to SDSCPAmainstage.com and go to the admissions tab and find a little more information about how to have their child come and join us because we are, we are a public arts school. So we cost no more than a regular public school.

 

 



Video notes and links

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts: 

SDSCPA – San Diego Unified School District

SDSCPA Maintstage 

Salon Series

Friends of SCPA

 

Software for series: 

Stream Yard 

YouTube – event archives 

Tickr

 

Live streaming (resources):

Live stream ticket and widget feature – learn more