Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Future of Theatre is Digital

Contributed by Guy Olivieri

You know that sad feeling you get AFTER you pour your heart and soul into a theatrical production? You workshopped the script. You threw the fundraisers, and licked the envelopes filled with donation pleas. You gathered the team of artists.  You rehearsed for weeks.  You performed for weeks. And then… it’s over.  It’s gone.  It’s done.

Then the ennui sets in.

For most of us, we take that energy, push it way down into our souls, (perhaps eat a Cinnabon or three,) and start again with a new one.

I think of this ennui every year at the IT Awards when I hear amazing things about productions, but it’s too late to catch them. They could be remounted, but lightening never strikes the same place twice.

You know when you DON’T get that post-production ennui?  When you film the damn thing.

This year, I created, wrote and produced a sitcom pilot. I used a ton of the artists I know from doing Off-Off-Broadway theatre, and tried something completely new to me. It was terrifying, but the truth is: I already had the tools I needed, and if I didn’t have them, I knew someone who did. It was a huge leap of faith, but the Off-Off community lent me so much support. Our pilot kicks ass.

AND it’s available to share. 
Check out the trailer.

I can show FreakMe to people to further my career as a writer, a producer, and an actor.  It’s not gone, like the equally awesome production of Bell, Book and Candle I did a year ago with Ground UP, which, like, no one saw.

Me and Kate Middelton
Why don’t we film these things?

How much fun would it be to do try to film with a live studio audience?  The Off Off equivalent of shooting a 3-camera show? Or you could rework the script into a film after we’ve worked out the kinks onstage?

I think that THIS is the one piece we’re missing as a community.

Working with a theatre company, live, provides a lot of the jollies that I need as an artist: a community of friends and collaborators, the thrill of performing, bearing witness to the amazing art that a group of like-minded individuals can only create in an environment of trust.

But with a film, you also get the legacy.  It’s digitally available forever.  And that appeals to me as an actor, a producer, a writer, and someone interested in using these incredibly fulfilling, yet non-paying gigs to lead to incredibly fulfilling, and lucrative gigs.

This is the future.  Who’s in?

(On the set of FreakMe. Me, Erin Fallon, Duane Ferguson, Neil Fennell, Rob Maitner, Kathy Searle, Ben Bentsmen, Patti Goettlicher, and Kevin LLaibson.)


Guy Olivieri [www.GuyOlivieri.com] has been a producer, casting director, literary manager and actor with Ground UP Productions for 9 years.  He also is a founding member of Off Off Hollywood Productions, for which he created, co-produced, and starred in a TV pilot called FreakMe.  Guy also coaches actors on personal marketing, and co-authored the book SO YOU WANNA BE A NEW YORK ACTOR?

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