Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fuck Yeah, Finnish Musical Theatre!

It's someone's 5th birthday today!

Namely, my other musical theatre related blog's – Fuck Yeah, Finnish Musical Theatre!'s.

I don't think I've ever much discussed this side project of mine, so in honour of the five-year anniversary today, I thought to share the blog's story with you.

Back in 2012, I followed plenty of Tumblr blogs dedicated to one single thing, from Fuck Yeah Springfield for The Simpsons to Hell Yeah! Les Misérables for Les Mis. I really liked the idea. Since Finnish musical theatre was already back then my great passion, I thought it would be nice sharing photos from Finnish musicals with theatre fans all over the world. Maybe I could have my own Fuck/Hell/Heck Yeah blog?

Thus, Fuck Yeah, Finnish Musical Theatre! was born.

Because I'm an extremely meticulous person, in less than a week, the thought of posting some photos for the amusement of other musical fans ballooned into a plan for a full-blown online archive. I would post something new daily and have an extensive tagging system to help people find material about their favourite musicals, actors and theatres.

Fuck Yeah, Finnish Musical Theatre! turns five years old today, and during these five years, there has not been a single day without a new post that's never been posted on the blog before. That's 1 826 days, and oftentimes, I post more than once per day. So far, it's 3 000 posts and counting.

I've posted all sorts of things: promotional photos, videos, music, fanworks, behind-the-scenes snapshots, news... I've scoured the internet and hunted for old souvenir programmes to keep the blog updated with interesting stuff. I take pride in always citing the source and crediting the photographer, and I sincerely hope keeping the blog updated might encourage people to find out more about the shows, the theatres and the artists.

I try to showcase all sorts of things, old and new, shows I love and shows I loathe – but obviously, since it's a personal project, it's easy to see which shows are my favourites by looking at the amount of photos posted. Case in point: over ten pages of Jekyll & Hyde related posts (two Finnish productions and a third one premiering next autumn) compared to Fiddler on the Roof's three (60+ professional productions so far).

Is it working, then, you might ask. Are people finding out about Finnish musical theatre via this blog?

To be honest, I don't really know.

Fuck Yeah, Finnish Musical Theatre! has its slowly but steadily growing audience of Tumblr users. Every now and then, some photo I post catches the attention of international musical theatre fandom and circulates Tumblr for a bit. But, as a whole, I have no idea if people are looking at the blog or not. I have tried tracking stats, but free apps are never quite reliable and it feels a bit intrusive to do that, anyway. So I just leave my musical archive out there, wishing it's of some use or interest to somebody.

I indeed don't know if the blog is of much use to anyone else, but to me – as a blogger, a fan artist, a professional working in theatre PR and marketing – it's oftentimes invaluable. Even if I say it myself. It's like a handy portable version of the folder with gazillion musical photos I have saved on my hard drive.

I guess you've guessed this much already, but I'm proud of what I have achieved here.

To finish off this blog post, here's a little Q&A with the admin, i.e. myself:

Do you regret the title of the blog?

Daily. It's a product of its time – 2012 – but somehow I feel it would be even more embarrassing to change it now anymore. I try to own up to it.

What is the most difficult part of keeping the blog updated?

Queuing the daily posts: resizing and uploading photos and writing captions, again and again and again. I often queue months' worth of posts during a single day, so it's a lot of repetitive, boring work. I really want to share the photos with other musical fans and I want to take utmost care to caption and credit each one properly, but even so, it's just so very dull.

What's the best thing to come out of the blog so far?

The Advent Calendars of 2012–2016, where musical fans and later theatres came together to post holiday related photos, drawings and graphics.

The calendars were always a lot of work – there were never quite enough of submissions, so I always ended up drawing/baking/photoshopping a fair amount of them myself – but it was always fun too, since many of the submissions were wonderfully funny and creative. My personal favourite is this photo with the cast of Helsingin kaupunginteatteri's 2014–15 production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. (Sidenote: I didn't have the time to organize an advent calendar in December 2016, but maybe I'll bring it back or come up with another project like this one day.)

How long are you going to continue this thing?

Until I completely run out of material.

If you wish to celebrate Fuck Yeah, Finnish Musical Theatre!'s fifth birthday, go check out the tags, find your favourite musical and have fun browsing.