BroadwayHD's Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane Bring Discussion of Digital Captures to BroadwayCon

Written by Danielle Allen, Social Media Manager at BroadwayHD

By: Jul. 25, 2023
BroadwayHD's Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane Bring Discussion of Digital Captures to BroadwayCon
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The verdict is in: Theater fans want more digital captures of their favorite shows.

On Saturday July 22, BroadwayCon visitors were treated to a panel titled “Livestreams and Captures and Proshots, Oh My!” moderated by Bonnie Comley, president of the Drama League’s Board of Directors and a co-founder of BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for live theater. In addition to Comley, the panel featured twelve-time Emmy Award-winning director Don Roy King, acclaimed producer Alia Jones-Harvey, and Stewart F. Lane, an owner of the Palace Theater and a co-founder of BroadwayHD.

The panel of experts initiated an educational, wide-reaching discussion about what it takes to film a Broadway show, busting common myths along the way and giving the audience an inside look at the decision-making processes that determine whether their favorite stage productions can be filmed and distributed.

The group discussed the differences between unauthorized bootlegs and professional captures, noting that when stage productions receive an authorized proshot, the cast and creators of the production are able to be properly credited and compensated for their work. Using the Disney+ film of Hamilton as an example, Comley explained that digital captures can generate more excitement for a currently-running show that leads to an increase of sales and brand awareness instead of cannibalizing ticket revenue.

Other examples of revolutionary stage captures were discussed, including Lane’s work on the 1991 capture of The Will Rogers Follies, the mid-2000s film of Legally Blonde: The Musical for MTV, and the current ways in which BroadwayHD aims to capture and distribute stage productions to subscribers around the world.

BroadwayHD's Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane Bring Discussion of Digital Captures to BroadwayCon
Don Roy King, Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane, Alia Jones-Harvey

King noted that the incentives for filming live performances can be compared to the reasons television networks broadcast sports games: While a digital capture can’t provide exactly the same energy as being a member of a live audience, filming the experience for viewing at home provides necessary access for fans who aren’t able to attend due to geographical, financial, or personal barriers.

Jones-Harvey suggested some ways to revolutionize the proshot process, including a proposal that Broadway and West End productions should build digital captures into their budgets and contracts before the curtain goes up on a new show, ensuring that the foundation is laid for filming as early as possible rather than scrambling to find the funds later on.

The audience asked enthusiastic questions about which shows can be captured and why, what it means when a production films B-roll for promotional purposes, how a digital capture can benefit the cast and creators of a show, if the pandemic has changed the industry’s attitude about proshots, and how a film director can work in tandem with a stage director to ensure that the production makes a smooth transition from stage to screen.
In addition to this panel, BroadwayCon provided a wide variety of experiences including a cosplay contest, photo and autograph opportunities with Broadway stars, conversations about Broadway influencer marketing, and much more. To learn more about BroadwayCon, visit www.broadwaycon.com.



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