Exclusive Interview with Improvisation News Founder Israel Savage!

A Little Bit Funny was able to pick the brain of Israel Savage, the founder of Improvisation News.  You can check out Improvisation News at http://www.improvisationnews.comImage
 
How did you get the idea for Improvisation News?
 
I wanted to promote a Video Production business of mine, Life Art,  that centered around creating, shooting & editing film shorts & original material for actor reels, showcasing clients in starring roles. Improvisation is key to the development process for the footage I shot. I wanted  to put together some sort of email people would actually read and that would promote this company. I knew I had to give people something of value and, I asked myself the 3 questions anyone should ask themselves before marketing anything: Who is your audience? What do they want? What do you want? My audience was actors and improvisers. They want free resources and interesting articles about the craft that will help them progress in some way. I wanted people to become familiar with the company and what we do.
 
So, I decided to put together a newsletter about improvisation. It’s something I’d enjoy reading and writing about and something I knew. 24 hours later, I knew what I’d call it, had a domain, a layout and 15 different categories. It really unfolded so fast I could barely keep up with the ideas. I’d call it Improvisation News and was shocked no one had the domain. And, I’d include sections like IN Depth, This Just IN, IN Side, IN View, IN Review, all of which we still use today.
 
What was the progression like from the beginning until now?
 
The ideas are still flowing as fast as it did that first night and I can still barely keep up with them.
 
After spending a couple weeks writing the articles and interviewing our first Improviser, Ali Farahnakian, Founder of The People’s Improv Theater, I pressed “send” and waited. The response was gratifying. Even though my distribution list back then was just under a thousand, the number of hits we received soared. And, the feedback was extremely encouraging. I still have some of the comments saved in an old email account: “Oh my God IS!!, the newsletter is fantastic!! I’m speechless and………speechless. I love your interviews and all the useful information you’ve compiled for the improv community.” There was something very gratifying for me about communicating & relaying ideas and information and having them appreciated. 
 
And, so I did another one, and another one and they grew in length and our readership grew and, so did the work. It was taking a really long time to put together an issue and I knew that wasn’t sustainable. So, I decided to design a website where content would be user generated. A website that would offer more than news, but would provide tools for Improvisers to “Get Seen & Be Heard”.  I knew from experience that handing out postcards and sending email blasts to the same folks over and over, was not going to get you but so far. I wanted to provide a user friendly platform where improvisers could swim in a bigger pond, connect, create & promote everything they did with just a few button clicks.
 
Our users can issue press releases, upload videos, blog and oh so much more, right from their personalized profile pages. And, it’s FREE!
 
What were some of the biggest challenges?
 
Clearing out space to make room for something new. We are evolving as a company at lightning speed and as someone once said, “change is the only constant.” Change is always the challenge. Embracing it and everything that comes with it. Accepting a situation, letting go and moving forward. 
 
Also, communicating your vision to others, when it only lives inside your head is challenging. But, so far has worked out as, project by project, I visualize what I want, long before I actualize it.
 
Why did you begin improv?
 
The surface answer is that  someone introduced me to a very pretty girl who taught improv. Her name was Shari Simpson (now Cabelin) and she was working a booth for Gotham City Improv at ActorFest, sponsored by Backstage in NYC. The deeper answer is that improv was a nice counter balance to my tendency to over think and analyze. It helped me trust, quiet my mind & to listen. And just as important it reminds me to say “Yes”, to find agreement and resist the human impulse to find the problem.
 
Where do you see Improvisation News headed in the future?
 
Well, we’re doing something really cool right now as we continue to help people “Get Seen & Be Heard.”  We’re partnering more directly with individuals, improv teams & businesses to develop customized marketing plans for them. We are also offering Twitter Management Services, helping clients go from 80 to 800 followers in less than a month. All Twitter followers we find are consistent with our clients’ individual career goals and business objectives. And, we guarantee 300-600 new followers EVERY month.  You don’t have to have big money to launch a big, professional marketing campaign. We want to be your partner in the business of YOU. Our product is YOU. 
 
by Meg Scanlon
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