THE UPDATED NUMBERS GAME
By Frank Moore
Most people think to be the most effective, you have to reach as many people as possible. and to do that, they think you have to do it through the mass media. and to do that, they think you have to fit (water down) the content, style, and form to the mass media, to play by the rules of the game. This is based on the faulty formula of Effectiveness = Number Directly Reached (or how big the audience is). It always seemed to me this formula is extremely simplistic and inaccurate. A more accurate formula is Effectiveness = Purity-of-the-Art x (Number Directly Reached x 10). Purity-of-the Art is a measurement of how close the delivered art is to the original intent, content, message, power, etc. Obviously the higher the P.A. Count, the more effective the art is. It is simple science! And you can just imagine what happens if the P.A. Count happens to be in the negative! By the way, the 10 presents Number Indirectly Reached, which in reality is always an unknown number.
I have never focused on how many people have come in contact with the work. I focus on doing the work. so I have never been sucked into the numbers addiction, have never been tempted to shape the work to get "an audience".
But it is fun to look back at the almost 30 years of work and try to figure out how many people have came in contact with the work. In reality, I can figure out only the rough minimum.
To start with, I average one public performance (including lectures, concerts, performances) per month. So in 30 years, I have done at least 360 public performances. My biggest audience was about 500...but I have had a lot of 5-people audiences. My average audience is probably 30. So at least 10,800 people have come to the live public performances that I have done.
In addition, over 500 people (cast, students, other artists, clients) have done over 1,080 private performances (private rituals, workshops, rehearsals). So at least 11,300 people have directly experienced, and have been directly effected by the live work. By the way, since some of the performances lasted 48 hours, the average time of a performance is probably 5 hours. So I have probably done about 7,200 hours in performance.
As well as we can keep track, every month at least one article (written either by me or by someone else) about the work or about the philosophy behind the work is published somewhere in the world. This is mostly small zines, but with some large magazines and newspapers. So maybe 1,800,000 people have read about the work in this way, if the average readership is 5,000.
On average, once a year, I pop up on radio, on t.v., in a movie, or in a book. If we take 5,000 for the average audience of these venues, we have reached another 150,000 people.
So through media, the work reaches 1,950,000 people. So the work reaches, more or less directly, 1,961,300 people at least...without even trying!
Add to this the 17,575 people who have visited our website at www.eroplay.com during our first year on the web, and the number jumps to 1,978,875
But in reality, each of these people effect/influence, on average, at the very least 10 other people. So the "real" magical circle of influence is 19,788,750! Talk about mass communications!
(I am sneaking back in here in 2002. The website has grown over the years. Now...when we last checked over a year ago...over 3,000,000 visit the site a year. My work is also on other people’s sites. So let us say I have reached 18,000,000 people in the 6 years on the web. In addition, my local cable public access show airs 3 times a week. If 3,000 people watch it a week, 156,000 people have watched the show in the first year. So we can add 18,156,00 to the number that the work has directly reached, bringing it to 20,117,300...and 201,173,000 indirectly reached! This doesn’t include even the people who see our fliers on telephone poles, our art car on the street, our house from the sidewalk, etc., etc....all parts of the art!)
Of course, if we placed any significance on this numbers game, the magic would dry up in the work. But it's fun to just trip out once in awhile!