Fun on a Friday: See Spider-Man for free.

On Wednesday, I spoke about the importance of the contrarian view.

Well, you can’t get much more contrarian that this.

Enter Justin Moran, who earlier this month issued a challenge to himself and to commercial theater in general when he announced that he would be producing his own version of a Spider-Man musical . . . with a budget of zero dollars.

In the YouTube video below, Justin announced that over a 30 day period, he (and whomever he could drum up for some support – including this talented lad) would write, cast, compose, rehearse and open his Spider-Man . . . before the official opening of the $65 million dollar monster on 42nd St.

He’s vowing to beat ’em on budget and beat ’em on time.

And get this, there won’t be any premium prices for his seats.

Everyone gets in for free.

Although with only one performance at The People’s Improv Theater (which seats about 17.4 very tiny people), the tickets could actually be harder to get than tickets to the actual Spider-Man!

Will he succeed?  Will he get a cease & desist?  Will it be any good?

Who knows.

But I do know this . . . it sounds like a lot of fun.

For more info, visit The Spidey Project.

Oh, and Justin, if you read this . . . and are looking for some rehearsal space, we’re happy to donate some time to your cause.  Anyone who challenges themselves and the system is a winner in our book.  Send me an email.

 

 

 

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– Enter The Sunday Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Billy Elliot The Musical on Broadway!  Click here and enter today!

– The next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar is Saturday, April 2nd.  Register today.

Favorite Quotes Vol. XXVIII: How to plan publicity.

Cameron Mackintosh is to Broadway what Henry Ford was to automobiles.

The Mac Man came on to the scene in the ’80s, and revolutionized how our shows were made, marketed, and merchandised.

So to quote a marketing phrase from the ’80s, when he speaks, I listen.

There was a nifty article about the 25th anniversary of Les Miz in the London Telegraph yesterday that had a great honest quip from Sir Mackintosh about how to get great press.

He was remarking on how Susan Boyle’s YouTube shattering performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” (almost 50 million views) put Les Miz back on the map, and gave it a “popular” hit, which reignited interested in the classic show.  When talking about the unplanned performance, he said:

It was the publicity shot anyone would dream of, although of course it would never happen if you tried to make it a publicity stunt.

We’ve talked about this idea before when it comes to creating viral videos, and the same theory applies to press.  What gets a show press is not a press agent, so stop blaming them if you can’t get your show in the NY Times.  What gets press is a great story.  And great stories are true, organic, and emotional.

A press agent is just the conduit between the story and the outlet.  A press agent is like the fleet-footed messenger bringing news from the General to those on the front lines.  Yes, some run faster.  Yes, some know shorter routes to the right people.

But if the news about your product isn’t worthy, no one will listen to them, no matter how fast they are.

Was Cameron telling us that we shouldn’t even try to get a Boyle-sized press hit for our show?  No.  He was just suggesting that the best press stunt isn’t a stunt at all.  It’s a story.

And stories require Producers, not press agents.

How to make money on YouTube . . . with Broadway?

An interesting article appeared in the technology section of The Times this week about YouTube, and how Google expects their 1.65 billion dollar baby to be profitable this year.

How?

Well, they made friends with the enemy.

The TV and film industries have been fighting with YouTube since the site came out.  As fast as videos of copyrighted material could go up, another lawsuit would be filed.  Google claimed innocence (!), but eventually agreed to police their backyard as much as possible.

Well, those bitter enemy industries are now the closest of friends.

Why?

Like just about everything else, it’s all about money.

The TV and movie producers realized that trying to stop the uploading of their content to a site like YouTube was pointless.  It was gonna keep happening anyway, so why pay those lawyers to keep fighting it.  They also realized that a lot of those clips were doing a lot more good than harm, by providing free media to promote their products.

And most importantly, Google started running ads on their copyrighted videos, and sharing the proceeds.

Suddenly, the lawsuits stopped.

Funny, how a little cash calms the nerves.

So, let’s recap:

Fans put up copyrighted videos.  They get pulled down.  Google pays owners of material, and all is ok.

Huh.  The first two-thirds of that three sentence story sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Think YouTube would ever pay off the owners of the material of Broadway shows by sharing in ad revenue that appears on each clip?

And would that make it ok?

Unlike film or TV, we’ve got quality issues to deal with.  A performance of Mad Men is always the same, no matter how many times it is played.  A performance of Patti Lupone doing Gypsy . . . well, one performance might be HUGELY different from the next.

I don’t expect YouTube to open its purse to Broadway any time soon, but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Because as our costs escalate, it is becoming more and more essential that Broadway shows find ancillary forms of revenue to defray those rising expenses.

Read the article here.

Fun on a Friday: my greatest wish for you.

There is nothing greater than watching an audience see something they find entertaining and then showing their love by giving it a rousing ovation at the end. Standing Os, “bravos!”, dancing in the aisles, whatever . . . it’s the audience’s way of showing their appreciation for what we do.

Well, I can only hope that one day you all get an ovation for one of your shows like the one the guy gave below to something he found unbelievably entertaining: Mother Nature.

Now, when you’re done watching, (and please, for the love of all that’s holy, watch the whole thing because it gets better), watch the 2nd video I’ve posted below, which is a parody of the first.

As “just-for-fun” as this post may be, there are a few things to glean from the parody and the original vid.

1.  This video was posted on YouTube in January.  It had only 10,000 views . . . until Jimmy Kimmel tweeted the bejesus out of it.  Now it’s got 4.5 million.  To spread your word, look for people with big mouths and a lot of people already listening.

2.  The authors of the parody found something they enjoyed (and something that audiences already enjoyed), adapted it using their unique voice, and created something they’ve monetized.  Isn’t that the same story behind Mamma Mia?  Wicked?  The Phantom of the Opera?

3.  The best viral videos aren’t made, they just sort of happen naturally . . . like, well, like a rainbow.

Enjoy both videos (trust me – watch ’em both) and have a great weekend.  (If you’re an email subscriber and the videos don’t appear in your email, click here to see them).

I mean, talk about “Rainbow High!” (Anyone know what show?)

Fun on a Friday: A Broadway ‘promise’ to Lebron James.

Give it up for the great gals at Promises, Promises (and the marketing team pulling their strings) who sang the little ditty below to try and convince LeBron James to wear Knick orange next year.

While their sweet harmonies didn’t do much in the campaign to woo Lebron, they did manage to get a bunch of attention, including a write-up on the NY Times website.

There are a couple things to learn from this fun video, besides the fact that New Yorkers are actually nice:

  1. Nothing is more valuable than an enthusiastic cast that will go above and beyond to help promote your show.
  2. Mixing two subjects that don’t usually belong together (Chorus Girls in a 1960s Broadway Musical and one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game) is inherently interesting and funny and spreads faster than a cold in kindergarten.
  3. If you look a little deeper on the Promises, Promises YouTube Channel, you’ll see that this wasn’t the Voices’ first vixeny video.  It was just the first one that got real attention.  But they didn’t give up when the first one didn’t go viral.  They kept going and going and going, until something hit.  Huh. Sounds like a good motto for marketing . . . and everything.

Thanks for the lesson, ladies.

Now, in the next video, keep the wigs, costumes and heels on, and head to the outdoor courts on West 4th Street and join a pick-up game.  I’d love to see that.  I bet a lot of folks would pay to see that!

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