Last week, I had my first conversation with the marketing gal in charge of Say Goodbye Toto. They would love to see the script so they can start working on the graphic design for the postcard. I would love for them to see the script as well, but it’s not ready to send out yet. We’ll see about an extended synopsis. (I have trouble figuring out how long “extended” is. Cue all sorts of naughty jokes.)
A lot of my writing experience is for film/TV, and that’s how I approach marketing plays as well. There’s several thousand postcards littering hipster coffeehouses, sushi places, and other theater lobbies promoting plays around town, but you can’t figure out what the play’s about. They go for artistic, or pretentious, or emphasizing the names of the cast, or whatever, but seemingly ignore the most basic thing of all – what’s the play about? Why do I want to see this play if I don’t know anyone connected to it?
We’ve got an obvious edge – everyone knows Wizard of Oz. And we’ve got an interesting quirk – told from Toto’s point of view. We’ve even got a killer title – Say Goodbye, Toto.
Now we need a tagline. Something catchy, something cute, something that pithily encapsulates what the show’s about, yet is relatable outside the show.
My last full length play was in 2005. It was called The Big Ever After, and it crossed fairy tales with pulp novels. The tagline was “It always feels good to be bad.” Which was exactly what the play was about – why does it feel good to go against your chosen grain, and what does that mean for your life in general?
That was actually a line in play. So the first choice would be to find a snappy line of dialogue from Say Goodbye Toto. And since it was so easy last time, it shouldn’t be a problem this time, right?
I think one of the major things is that nobody can hear Toto. So even though he talks, nobody responds (at least, not in obvious ways.)
I used to pitch the play with this line:
A LOVE STORY BETWEEN A DOG AND THE WOMAN HE LOVES WHO CAN’T UNDERSTAND HIM.
But that’s a little wordy.
You could go obvious, like
THERE’S MORE THAN WHAT LIES BEYOND THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD.
But that’s a little generic.
In the play, Toto loves Tummy Rubs. So you could do something like
TUMMY RUBS EQUAL LOVE
But that requires insider knowledge of the play.
There’s a point where Toto tells Dorothy, “I know more than you think I do.” So I was messing with this line:
THE DOG KNOWS MORE THAN YOU THINK HE DOES.
Which might could work. I could see it on a T-shirt. Or a coffee mug. Or a water bowl. We’re going to try and do merchandise with this one, depending on costs.
Hmmmm. It might be one of those eleventh hour Eureka moments. We’ll see.