ACCIDENTALLY GROWS REALLY ATTACHED TO A STORY I’LL NEVER WRITE
Really good on his knees and respecting consent! (Context for this scene is both adorable and searingly hot because repressed semi-Victorians (1830s I think) can make even cleaning powdered sugar off a skirt something intensely sexual. Or maybe that’s the effect of Hiddleston on his knees. Either way. I LIKE THIS SCENE)
Molly…would you like to solve crimes?
new character on ouat like
But you’re completely disregarding ALL the logistics of your idea. In order to professionally film a Broadway show, do you have ANY idea the amount of people who are involved and need to be paid? It’s incredibly expensive. You have to negotiate separate contracts with the actors, the creative team, every crew and band member who participates…and all of these people belong to many separate unions. The reason that it doesn’t happen is because people TRY and it is too expensive or too difficult to make happen. Why do you think things like the Live at Lincoln Center broadcasts can only air once? They can’t afford to pay the union employees what it would cost to negotiate a contract to release the show.
Also, the argument isn’t $25 for a professional recording vs. $0 for a bootleg. The argument is how many people would be dissuaded from paying top dollar for musicals if they knew they could see it professionally filmed for much, much less? Do you really think you’re the first person who has thought of this as an idea? You’re not. The reason it doesn’t happen is because it is not a financially viable idea for a show still running on Broadway. And before you say it makes sense to do it when they close, it doesn’t. The reason more shows don’t do it is because they often do nt make back the money they spend on filming, releasing, and marketing a DVD version. That’s just the reality. They don’t sell well. I’m sorry that you live far away and can’t see the shows you want to, but wanting something doesn’t make you entitled to it. Shows cost millions upon millions of dollars to mount and require the time and talent of a large group of artists from writers to producers to directors to choreographers to costume designers and all the way down to the crew, stage managers, prop masters, dressers, assistants, etc. Broadway costs what it does because there are a lot of people who labor to make these shows come to life and paying them for their time and talent and being able to keep the show running so that people can see it at all is of primary importance, and yes, of MORE importance than the things you’re suggesting. If we destabilize the ability of a producer to make a return on their investment in a show, people will stop producing shows. They don’t do it for charity and it’s a risky investment as is, theatre can’t afford to make it even less appealing to invest money in commercial theatre. You sound very young and like you don’t have much experience working in theatre but there are serious realities that need to be confronted. Unfortunately, in the real world, if you can’t afford something, you simply can’t have it. That’s how life works. Digital Theatre in the UK, Live from Lincoln Center, and a few other outlets do make professional quality recordings available, typically well after a show has closed, and there are the shows like RENT, Memphis, Shrek, and many many more that have been released on DVD for people to enjoy. But to make demands about an industry that you don’t understand purely for your own enjoyment just sounds entitled, spoiled, and ignorant. I don’t think you mean to come off that way, or at least I hope not, but you’re really opening up a can of worms here that you really didn’t think through.
Yes, it sucks to not be able to do things you want to do and to be far from theatre if it’s something you enjoy. But a lot of things suck and it’s not fair to ask people to jeopardize their art and their industry because of it. Everyone who works in theatre works VERY hard and if we create an environment where our producers and artists cannot make a living off their craft, I’d very much hate to see what happens to Broadway.
while i don’t agree with the tenor of this post (and in fact find it inordinately mean-spirited and elitist in response to an earnest request), there are a lot of good points made about logistical issues that we need to keep in mind when arguing for the creation and proliferation of filmed shows. however, i’d just like to address this statement: “Broadway costs what it does because there are a lot of people who labor to make these shows come to life and paying them for their time and talent and being able to keep the show running so that people can see it at all is of primary importance, and yes, of MORE importance than the things you’re suggesting.” no, broadway costs what it does because producers are trying to maximize profits. besides roundabout, lincoln center, and manhattan theatre club, broadway is a strictly commercial venue, which means that there is one single objective: to make as much money as possible. the majority of the revenue from broadway shows is NOT going to the actors or the creators, but rather to the investors (who, surprise surprise, are about 75% straight middle-aged white men). as a tony award-winning producer once told me, “when my management firm tells me we’re running at a point where we can discount tickets, i say no! i want every seat in the house to be sold at max value.” producers are way more concerned with getting their show to recoup (so investors will get a return on their investment) than making sure the creatives get properly compensated. the minimum AEA salary has barely increased over the past fifteen years, but ticket prices have skyrocketed - now isn’t that interesting? yes, the majority of shows don’t recoup, but investing in ONE hit can make up for any flop investments a thousandfold, which is what makes broadway producing/investing such a high-risk/high-reward venture. i don’t believe filmed shows or bootlegs, especially the latter, would ever make a significant dent in the profitability of the theatre industry; even if people have the tape at home they can rewatch endlessly, they are still going to buy that ticket, get dressed up, go out to eat, get drinks afterwards, etc. because broadway is packaged as an experience rather than a single commodity. it is deeply intertwined with the nyc tourist industry and will never, ever stop making a profit. i really don’t think we have to worry about a DVD or two that probably won’t even sell more than a few thousand copies deterring literally millions of people from buying tickets and inducing the annihilation of the industry.
in 2011, roundabout filmed the importance of being earnest and screened it in quite a few theatres across the country, and ended up making a profit by an exceedingly slim margin. as we know, roundabout is not the greatest at advertising its own stuff, and i imagine an oscar wilde play probably doesn’t have the biggest market in middle america, so if THAT show can at least break even, i think it’s safe to say a filmed version of a show that’s hot right now might even be a potential source of revenue for producers and help open new markets. despite the fact that many producers will balk at the (admittedly very high) cost of securing rights and renegotiating contracts, it’s not like every filmed show is automatically going to crash and burn and take the currently running live production down with it.
you’re right, no one is “entitled” to a free product (i.e. a filmed version of a production), but claiming such a thing is antithetical to the spirit of theatre and will destroy the industry is just absurd. if producers were willing to sacrifice part of their profit, and really, truly cared about making theatre more accessible and affordable to audiences, i guarantee you we would be seeing an abundance of filmed shows, or at least a drop in ticket prices or more one-time-only screenings like live from lincoln center. why do you think the UK is able to film & screen so many? it’s because their theatre industry relies on subsidies and is far less concerned with making a killing.
and if you want to sympathize with broadway producers, who will straight-up tell you that they are charging exorbitant prices solely because they know they can get away with it, rather than theatre fans who can’t afford to participate in this industry (many of whom live ten minutes away from midtown and are STILL excluded by virtue of ridiculous prices), that’s your prerogative. but i strongly question a mentality that defends middle- and upper-class people, both the producers/investors and the customers who are more than willing to shell out $150 for a ticket, rather than young people arguing in favor of democratizing the industry.
and, finally: “Unfortunately, in the real world, if you can’t afford something, you simply can’t have it.” i don’t even know where to start with this one. commodities are not priced arbitrarily. they’re priced by people in power to maintain desirability by keeping it exclusive and unattainable. if that’s what you want the theatre industry to be, exclusive and unattainable, by all means, be my guest. and if you don’t agree with the model proposed by the OP, that’s one thing, but to immediately jump to the conclusion that people who support bootlegs and filmed shows as their only avenue to access theatre are naive and whiny is pretty gross.
Going back for a second…
i’m not advocating for bootlegs i’m advocating for more accessible theatre through professionally filmed shows bootlegs are totally illegal and they are kind of disrespectful to the actors
but a lot of the time the people watching these bootelegs are people like me who live in rural areas where they literally have no other access to the theatre and what i’m saying is you have to make this wonderful art more acceptable to kids like me because the ticket isn’t the problem. the problem is i have to pay approx. $500 to see the thing i have the ticket for
so by making more accessible forms of media such as filming shows live on broadway we eliminate the need for these bootlegs. for example i would rather pay $25-35 (approx) to watch something filmed live on broadway than $0 dollars on a bootleg because by buying the filmed live on broadway because i literally have no other way of seeing this show i totally wood because i truly want to support the theatre
i see the best in people and people who truly want to support the theatre will but you have to give them a platform to
the argument isn’t $25 for a professional recording vs. $0 for a bootleg. The argument is how many people would be dissuaded from paying top dollar for musicals if they knew they could see it professionally filmed for much, much less?
Let’s shift the venue to music. People buy the music, will watch the Pay-Per-View or DVD, but still pay to see the band live.
High school kids in Middle-Of-Nowhere, USA, lifelong theater lovers in Europe, collage kids in the pan-pacific, they will all pay to watch a show that they have no chance of ever seeing live.
This is the reason gifsets were invented
friendly reminder that this wasn’t in the script - they were just messing around on set one day and this happened.