Hollywood Producers come a marchin’ in.
While we’ve always had bicoastal folks up in our biz, it does seem like more and more of Tinsel Town’s major shakers are becoming more and more active and seizing more control.
As the articles discuss, folks like Scott Rudin, Harvey Weinstein, and Paula Wagner aren’t just putting money into shows anymore. Uh-uh. They are looking to do the same thing they did in Hollywood to great acclaim . . . originate shows and run them, and they’ve got the cash and the contacts to do it . . . and do it well.
I’m a fan of this influx. Hollywood, while not without its, ahem, idiosyncrasies is a bigger business than ours, with some of the same issues (they don’t sell their tickets or own their customer database, they have heavy union involvement, etc.). And frankly, because they’re dealing with bigger $$$, they do a lot of things better than we do (testing of material and marketing, consumer experience in the theater, etc.), and I’m hopeful that our new and old Hollywood friends can bring some of those nuances to our ad meetings.
But all these players making the pilgrimage from left coast to right made me think . . . why doesn’t it happen in reverse?
When was the last time you heard of a successful Broadway Producer going out West and making it big in Hollywood?
Why sure, H-town usually lets the Bway Producers have some credit and maybe a bit of a say in movie versions of the musicals that they’ve put up, but do they let us run the show?
It’s partly because of the studio system, which has more of a closed door policy than the ol’ Great White Way.
And it’s partly because Broadway is more like the independent film biz, not the studio biz. Anyone can do what we do, if they’ve got the passion and the backing to do so.
And that includes you, by the way.
Still the question is . . . why aren’t more of us entering the independent film arena? Producing projects between 5 and 25 million bucks? We can raise that, right? Certainly we can learn how to navigate those waters. Yet we don’t (or we don’t do it well, because I haven’t seen any big Bway players up there come Oscar time like I do the Hollywood players come Tony Time.)
I’m not sure of the answer here, other than the simple one . . . we don’t want to produce movies.
Because everyone knows Broadway, while maybe a bit more challenging, is a heck of a lot more rewarding . . . and is a heck of a lot more fun.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.