Broadway gets a few steps closer to streaming.

Broadway struggles to take steps into the future.  But thankfully, there are a few orgs out there that are grabbing its hand and pulling it, kicking and “streaming” into the 21st century.

And in the past few days, we’ve made some headway on the subject of filmed theatrical productions, which is near and dear to my handheld device.

On Monday, Tony Award winners Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley announced that BroadwayHD, a company they started dedicated to capturing Broadway content, was now in the business of streaming theater to anyone with access to the web.  You can join and watch Orlando Bloom in Romeo and Juliet, the Tony Award-winning MemphisJekyll & Hyde and a ton more.  Of course, the majority of the titles in their online catalog are from UK productions (click here to read my take on that), but it’s a step . . . and more than a baby step . . . to educating our audiences and more importantly, us content creators, that there is another distribution method for our shows.  And this distribution method means additional revenue for the artists, and for the investors . . . and is a massive marketing tool for the specific productions (licensing anyone?) and for theater as a whole.

And last night, Lincoln Center and Playbill offered a live stream of Songwriters, a concert performance of songs by Robert L. Freedman (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Ryan Scott Oliver, Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, Nick Blaemire and more, featuring Broadway A-list talent like Alice Ripley and Jeff Blumenkrantz.

Not bad, right?  Anything to give theater fans something to watch besides another rerun of SVU.

Seriously, when we can start competing with television and Netflix, we will get a massive leg up on our competition.  And no, I’m not worried about losing our audience.  Movies from musicals (even the bad ones) have proven over and over that grosses always go up when there is a movie in the market.

I’d expect both BroadwayHD and Lincoln Center/Playbill to offer more and more titles in the future.  And I’d expect other orgs to follow the lead of these innovators and offer streaming of their own.

In fact, they say things happen in threes.  So maybe there’s another big announcement coming soon.

And maybe it will be from me.

 

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Three blogs that I read that you should too.

I want you to cheat on me.

Seriously.  I want you to register on the Ashley Madison of the bloggin’ community and have an affair.

As a blog writer, I also have to be a blog reader, and I read a bunch of them.  And I have to say that when I started my own personal bloggin’ adventure seven years and over 5,000 posts ago, there weren’t many theater blogs out there.  And now, well, we’ve got a whole gaggle of them (including the Shuberts themselves), plus tons of tweeters, and Instagrammers, and more.

But the three blogs I want you to look at have nothing to do with theater.

I’m a big believer in looking for inspiration outside of the world we live in every day.  A common question I hear from people in the Broadway world is, “Why do we keep doing the same thing over and over?”  Maybe that’s because we’re too inside our own little bubble.

It’s time to burst that bubble and see what the rest of the world is doing.  And that’s why I encourage you to read folks who write about other subjects besides the theater.

Here are three blogs I recommend you read and why:

1.  Seth Godin

Seth’s is the first blog I ever read.  His seminar was the first seminar that I ever took (and I modeled my own after his).  And his fingerprints are all over everything I do.  He preaches customer service, the power of the crowd, and most importantly, how being unique or remarkable in your marketing or your product development is the key to success.  Read his blog here.  And if you want a quick summation of his teachings, read this book.  It helped define my style.

2.  James Altucher

James is a newbie on my reading list.  He’s a straight shootin’ guy who made a lot of money, and lost even more.  He was broke, divorced, suicidal . . . and turned it all around.  Several times.  He has a simple plan of how to achieve success (hint – a lot of work, a little at a time), combined with practical advice on everything from starting your own business, investing in the stock market (hint – a lot of work, a little at a time), to just getting up every day, and taking on whatever challenges the world throws at you.  I find myself nodding a lot when I read his posts.  Read the blog here (and check out his podcast too).

3.  Copyblogger

Now this is where we get technical yo.  Copyblogger is one of the great and early granular marketing blogs on the web . . . mostly focused on, well, copy.  Although they’re going through a platform shift (soon to be Rainmaker) it is one of the greatest blogs I’ve read about online marketing.  You’ve heard me preach before how one of the things that I think Broadway shows are overlooking entirely is building an email list and marketing to that email list.  Instead we depend on buying other people’s lists.  Why should we buy other people’s if we have our own, right?  Copyblogger teaches you how to build a list and how to get people on that list to buy.  Read it here.

So it’s ok.  Click those links.  Cheat away.  I don’t believe in blog-onomy.  And our relationship will be even stronger for it.  Just be safe.

And always come home to me.

 

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A funny thing happened . . . We started a FORUM!

When I was a pre-law guy at Johns Hopkins University back in 19-mumble-mumble, I spent more time in the computer lab than I did in class.

I wasn’t working on inventing Google or Facebook (damnit) . . . I was talking on an electronic theater bulletin board on the brand new Internet.  Yep, I’m talking a pre-AOL chat room known as rec.arts.theatre.musicals.

And I loved it. I remember getting flamed for being a fan of Aspects of Love, and also chiming in on the controversy of Jonathan Pryce debuting in Miss Saigon.  And more importantly, I met people with similar interests.  I ended up getting together with several of them offline, and one even helped me decide which school to transfer to when I decided to drop the law and pursue theater full time.

Chat rooms and message boards have exploded since, and I’m still known to cruise Broadway World and All That Chat every once in a while (and I’ve even been known to post under my real name).

But recently I realized that there isn’t a forum dedicated to people specifically looking to get into the producing game, or looking to get their show produced . . . so we created one!

Introducing The Producer’s Perspective Forum, which is officially open today!

In the forum you’ll find a place to post about your upcoming reading, or a discount offer for your show.  If you’re looking for a job, we’ve got classifieds.  If you’re looking for a producer, here’s where to pitch your project.  You’ll even find a spot to post questions for me.

And yeah, there’s also a place for you to talk about how much you love Aspects of Love.

When I started this blog almost seven years ago, I had a theory . . . “There are a lot of people out there just as passionate about creating and producing theater as I am.  Imagine what we could do if we could get them all together.”

I hope the forum helps you do whatever it is you’ve been dreaming about doing.

Click here to enter The Producer’s Perspective Forum!  And have fun!

 

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Takeaways from my Live Tweetin’ of TEDxBroadway 2015

It has been over a week since TEDxBroadway 2015, but the inspiring words of the color-outside-the-lines speakers are still whispering in my ears as I tackle my day-to-day tasks in this color-within-the-lines industry (if it even lets you color at all!).

If you were there, or if you’ve been to any of the TEDxs, then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s such an awesome day – 500 people in a room with one common goal – to make Broadway the best it can be.  Sure, we all may have different ways to get there, but if we remember we’re all in it for that one mission statement, then it’s so much easier to work together to find solutions (Congress – are you listening?).

Every year since the very first TEDx (and my talk, which you can see here), I’ve followed up the conference with a blog with some of my favorite takeaways from the talks.

This year, I did something a little different.

I live-tweeted the mo’ fo’.

Yep, I sat in the back, under the glow of a MacBook Air screen, and typed like a Tasmanian devil, tweetin’ out 140 characters like a teenager at a Taylor Swift concert hyped up on Skittles and Red Bull.

And when the Skittle high wore off, I realized all my takeaways had become tweets.

So if you want to read what I took away from the talks by Pulitzer Prize Winner Ayad Akhtar, Learning and Tech Guru Elliott Masie, Pasek & Paul, and more, click here to see a stream of my tweets from that day (and some cool rebuttal from other tweeters).

I know, I know, you expected some takeaways in this blog, didn’t you?  Ok, ok, stop your nagging, I’ll give you what you want . . . with a little twist.

Since the takeaways from TEDx are all in those tweets, I thought I’d give you my THREE takeaways from Live Tweetin’ an event.  Eh?  Whatta ya say?  Wanna go with me on this?

TEDxBroadway was only the second event I have live-tweeted, the first being the Tony Awards last year (which was a blast, and I’m sure I’ll do again this year).  But this was different.  Live Tweetin’ a 7 hour conference?  And a TEDx?  Where the speakers change every ten minutes?  It’s like playing speed golf.

It wasn’t easy, but it was fun, and certainly educational.  Here are three things I learned . . .

1.  LIVE TWEETIN’ MAKES YOU LISTEN

When you know you’re responsible for sending out snippets of great comments, with your own little twist, you listen with your ears so wide open, a mountain lion could crawl in there.  I don’t think I’ve ever, ever listened to speakers with such focus.  I was hanging on their every word, because I was depending on their every word, because I knew my followers were depending on me.  And because of that, I learned more just by listening.  Huh.  Imagine that.

2.  PEOPLE LOVE TO LAUGH ONLINE

I’m sure you know this already because of all those cat videos you watch, but as much as people love inspirational and activist tweets, nothing beats a good ol’ laugh line.  Some of my most popular tweets from the day were jokes.  Or, well, my attempt at jokes anyway.

3.  YOU WON’T KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR

This is one of the major downsides of Live Tweetin’ an event. During one of the talks, I was supposed to have some good ol’ fashioned face-to-face discussion with the gal sitting next to me (a Columbia student, no less), and I was too buried in my Twitter to chat.  One of the reasons I love conferences is that they force offline interaction in a day and age when we can be soooooooo online.  And here I was, effin’ it up.  (I apologized to the coed during the break, btw.)

 There’s a heck of a lot more to learn from Live Tweetin’ an event, and I strongly recommend that all of you try it.

And who knows, maybe it won’t be long until we’re able to live tweet shows.

 

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Look who is bloggin’ now?

Last week I wrote a blog with my 5 Tips to Starting a Theater Blog.  And lo and behold, one appeared!

Ok, truth time – this new blog didn’t have anything to do with my post, but it’s still a blog that we all should must read.  Why?  Well, it’s written by someone who has access to more ticketing data than anyone in the biz . . . the Shuberts themselves!

Check out the new Shubert Ticketing Blog here (with articles by The Swami himself!).

The most recent entry?  “What’s the Problem with Wednesday Nights?”  Or as I like to call it?  Why does Wednesday night (the worst performance of the week when it comes to grosses) suck so bad?  Is it because it’s “hump day”?  Is it because there’s a matinee for most shows that day?  Is it because Survivor is on?  

Read the blog to find out.

And a big thank you to the Shuberts for opening up their data and sharing their info with us.

Now, let’s just hope they read my tips and have picked that publishing schedule . . . because I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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