Forget about streaming . . . what about this? Especially now.

Streaming is all the rage these days . . . whether that means an opportunity to watch a musical shot in New York City like this one, or whether that’s a blogger like me who turns his camera on weekly to talk to an industry hot shot.

And streaming has a very distinct place in our present and our future (although not exactly how you might think – keep your eye on this blog for more on that later this week).

But there’s another type of recording that I’m surprised hasn’t taken off in our world . . . and based on current trends AND the current COVID-19 crisis, I think it should.

And . . . gasp . . . this one is more suited for PLAYS than musicals.

Why aren’t more plays being podcasted?

Audio-recorded content has surged over the past several years.

So why aren’t more plays appearing on Podcasts or in audiobook format?

I know, I know, plays are meant to be seen . . . but ahhhh, not sure if you’ve read the news lately . . . people can’t actually see them. And since shooting a play on video is so very expensive and logistically difficult (and again, please check the news about why even that’s problematic these days), why not turn to the done-for-peanuts-and-in-one-day audio version?

The growth of consumers’ appetites for listening to recorded content on their phones, iPads, and in their cars has proven that they devour content that they love.

Audible is doing a bit of this downtown, but the rest of us just aren’t serving enough content to our audience.

And we should. (It’d also get some cash to our artists who could use it now, before we lose many of them.)

I’m not just talking about why The Hangmen, which canceled its Broadway run because of COVID-19, might think of putting out an audio version with that original cast. Or what about To Kill A Mockingbird?  

I’m also taking about EMERGING plays.

Podcasted or Audio book-ed plays could be the new “Demo” for emerging playwrights looking to get their plays produced.

It’s HARD to get people to read a script. It’s EASIER to get them to listen (evident by the growth in podcasting and audiobook devouring referenced above).

So doesn’t it make sense that if you were a new playwright and wanted a Producer to “read” your script, you might have a better shot of them listening to it?

Just imagine this query letter:

“Hi. I wrote a play. It’s 110 pages. Will you read it?”

Or

“Hi. I wrote a play. I recorded it with actors and you can listen to it on the treadmill.”

Isn’t the experience easier and the product better?

Selling anything, whether that’s a bar of soap or a brand new play, is about reducing the friction between the buyer and the seller, and having audio versions of what we produce does just that.

– – – – –

I do have more to say on streaming later this week.  Make sure you get that blog (and get my free book – which you can also get in audio version, of course) by clicking here.

 

 

Tags:
Comments
  • Alan says:

    Audio or video – I’m ready for more! And it is SO important to keep the creatives in the business.

  • Joe says:

    LA Theater Works has been doing this for years. They have a huge treasure trove of plays of all types that are really quite good. They are also available through your library on CD or on library based loan systems like Hoopla.

  • Dan Bianchi says:

    New York City’s own RADIOTHEATRE has been producing classic tales LIVE ON STAGE for 17 years…over 80 works complete with great casts, original orchestral scores and award winning sound design. Now located in a 200 yrs old church in historic Greenwich Village…it’s currently on Covid hiatus…but selling its recordings of past LIVE shows before audiences on Goldstar like they’re going out of style! With sound design and music that sounds like Hollywood scores…set to dramas! Its POE and HITCHCOCK FESTS are big hits, but there are plenty more tales to be told. For all these past years, we’ve been trying to convince traditional play makers that their dramas can be scored very easily with a movie software we use….imagine having your own new play, or Shakespeare, or Williams…anything…with its own soundtrack like an edited movie score beneath it! But as usual…the traditionalists are afraid of such a new path to take. Like when musicals once said…WHAT? Use microphones??? Not us! Of course we all know how long that protest lasted. Well, I suppose NOW is the best time, unfortunately,,,,when, as you say, producers can’t afford to create videos of their plays…except as readings around a table. Ychh! Who wants to pay to see that on a video? Or a single actor singing to a camera in a room? Zoom recordings of multiple actors in Hollywood Squares format? Even worse. You listen to Radiotheatre’s productions…and you’ll SEE more than any or these other desperate productions…because you’ll be forced to use your IMAGINATION to provide the visuals…as we’ve been doing for the past 16 yrs right here in NYC,…to sold out audiences of loyal fans…and plenty of tourists who love this stuff too. We’re still ready to go at a moment’s notice if our theater opens once again. But, until then, check it out on our website!

  • Justin says:

    I was literally thinking about this last night!

    • Justin says:

      By that, I mean bringing back the dramatized “radio” program in the form of a podcast. Was also thinking of how cool it would be to pitch a show using an audio recording instead. Looks like you may be on to something, Ken. 😉

  • Hi Ken and everyone!

    My name is Christopher Michaels. I am the founder and artistic director of IndieWorks Theatre Company based in NYC. We are currently finishing pre-production for our podcast, Bite-Sized Broadway: A Mini-Musical Podcast which features 10-20 minute musicals followed by discussions with the writers. Each musical is fully orchestrated by our brilliant music team and then cast, rehearsed, and recorded with top-notch talent from Broadway, Hollywood, and YouTube!

    Our first season is set to premiere in September with 10 musicals of all different varieties slated in. We can’t wait to introduce you to these new musicals and – more importantly – the extremely talented writers who created them. There’s a little something for everyone!

    If you’d like more information, you can go to our website (www.indieworkstheatre.com) or you can email me (christopher@indieworkstheatre.com) if you’d like to find out how you and your show can be a part of this fantastic new project!

  • This would be great, but we need clear guidance on ground rules from Actor’s Equity. I’ve been a member since 1966, so please consider this a bit of a lover’s quarrel, but I often feel like they need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th Century. Yes, theater is “people in a room,” or else it’s TV, so let’s acknowledge that we therefore will Not Have Theatre anytime soon! Zoom is better than nothing, but just barely. Even before Covid, the prohibition on any type of recording, even if all parties agree, might make sense for a Broadway production, but for an indie showcase in this day and age, it borders on restraint of trade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

Never miss a post or podcast again. Subscribe to the blog and stay in the know.

Free Production Team Database
The TheaterMakers Studio
Featured Product
Be A Broadway Star
Featured Book
Broadway Investing 101
All Upcoming Events

august, 2020

04aug8:00 pm8:30 pmThe Producer's Perspective LIVE!

11aug8:00 pm8:30 pmThe Producer's Perspective LIVE!

15augAll Day16The Inner Circle Weekend August

17aug8:00 pm9:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Eric C. Webb

18aug8:00 pm8:30 pmThe Producer's Perspective LIVE!

19aug4:00 pm6:00 pmAugust Producer Pitch Night (Virtual)

25aug8:00 pm8:30 pmThe Producer's Perspective LIVE!

Featured Webinar
Path to Production Webinar
Advertisement
X