Theatre companies have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus quarantine. While the communal accessibility of theatre is a large part of the artform's pedigree and appeal, professional productions are often tight for money, even in the best of times. With limited runs, and plenty of hands-on-deck required on a nightly basis, many professional theatres in America rely heavily on donations — and right now, those are drying up, too.
My wife, Bevin O'Gara, is the Producing Artistic Director for a small professional theatre, and has spent these last few weeks trying to figure out ways to salvage the company. Plenty of supposedly-helpful people call her every day and say "Why don't you just share the videos from the plays?", not realizing how that actually gets into complications regarding intellectual property rights and union policies. (Consider: actors, directors, and designers have already signed contracts promising them a certain amount of money for a certain thing; playwrights often license out their work based on a pre-determined number of performances. So who gets how much of a cut from streaming rights? Who gets to decide which performance was the best, and thus worthy of the stream? Plays don't always read as well on video, either — actors do different work on stage than on screen, and some might be concerned about their performances being captured and shared forever.)
My wife recently directed a production of Cry It Out by Molly Smith-Meltzer, a new play about motherhood and class issues that's been well-reviewed all across the country. Read the rest
When it was announced last month that FilmStruck, a streaming service dedicated to dishing up the greatest films of all time, would be shut down at the end of November, movie geeks, like yours truly, kind of lost their shit. Home to an unholy number of classic and arthouse flicks, it was a brainy, beautiful refuge from the fare offered up by Netflix, Hulu and other mainstream streaming services. A cry went out. A petition to save FilmStruck was thrown together. Thousands signed. Celebrities lent their voices to the cause.
Holy crap: someone actually listened.
While FilmStruck is still toast, the folks that own the Criterion Collection--a company that focuses on historically important classic films--is launching the next best thing: The Criterion Channel
From The Criterion Collection:
The Criterion Collection and WarnerMedia announced today a new chapter for the beloved collection of Criterion films. In the Spring of 2019, through a special arrangement with WarnerMedia, the Criterion Channel will launch as a free-standing streaming service. Additionally, the popular library of films will be part of WarnerMedia’s recently announced direct-to-consumer platform that is planned to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. Today’s announcement ensures that fans will have access to these films from the Criterion Collection as well as films from WarnerMedia’s deep and extensive library in what will be a rich and curated experience, which will further expand the audience footprint for these classic and acclaimed movies.
If this is your bag, you'll be happy to know that if you sign up now, you'll be given a deal as one of the service's charter subscribers: access to everything that the Criterion Channel has to offer for $9.99 Read the rest