Bootleg/Filming Shows Discussion

magictodo123
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Bootleg/Filming Shows Discussion #1
Posted: 10/3/19 at 8:00am

I want to see if it's possible to have a civil discussion about the bootleg/filming epidemic that has become so common, every day actors are calling out people for doing so. This past week Joshua Henry had to take a phone from an audience members hands while in the middle of his performance. Renee Rapp called out someone in the mezzanine of the August Wilson who appeared to be either recording or taking photos of the production, and on the road, Mariah Rose Faith also called out someone for filming. Across the pond, Joe Sugg asked people to turn off their phones, which Lucie Jones echoed. Javier Munoz also tweeted about people turning off their phones. 

 

I understand that ticket prices, travel prices, food budget, hotel prices--there are so many factors to think about, to budget for if you want to see a show either on the West End or Broadway, or even one off-Broadway that has been very well received (first show that comes to mind is Yiddish Fiddler). But is it just me, or have people become almost spoiled in thinking that they deserve to see a show whenever they want, thus making bootlegs/filming shows okay, even if actors get mad and call people out for doing so? When will people learn that you can't always get what you want, and in that vein you won't see every single show you want via bootleg? Should something special that's meant to be experienced live be free to those who can't get to the US, who can't get to the UK, or wherever a show is playing? And please do not assume I'm wealthy and can afford to see a show whenever I want, because that could not be further from the truth. Also, bootlegs are NOT the only way to experience theater. Tours. BroadwayHD. Cast recordings. Talk show appearances. Holiday performances (i.e.; the Thanksgiving parade), international tours/productions..also, older shows that HAVE been preserved and are available to watch LEGALLY. So why do people insist theater is so inaccessible? I think there are so many people with a "I must see this show NOW" mentality. What do people think happened before bootlegs? Maybe-just maybe-people went without seeing a show. And they survived. They dealt with it. So what makes everyone now so special that they don't need to pay for a ticket, and instead can just demand people illegally record shows? 

I want to have a civil discussion about this. I will not lash out at people, I just wanted to get this off my chest first. I will go into this with an open mind. 

OH also--there are so many ways to experience art, not just theater. 

Okay. Go for it. 

 

Updated On: 10/3/19 at 08:00 AM
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BalconyClub
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Experiment#2
Posted: 10/3/19 at 8:14am

I am against bootlegs.

Updated On: 10/3/19 at 08:14 AM
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(Insert Clever Name)
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Experiment#3
Posted: 10/3/19 at 8:22am
ooh! i have an experiment! what if we named our threads properly? wouldn’t that be insane?
magictodo123
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Experiment#4
Posted: 10/3/19 at 8:32am

(Insert Clever Name) said: "ooh! i have an experiment! what if we named our threads properly? wouldn’t that be insane?"

I'm trying to have a civil discussion and you come with this attitude? 100% unnecessary. Chill. 

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haterobics
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Experiment#5
Posted: 10/3/19 at 9:40am

This seems like two separate issues. Cell phone usage is probably not about filming a show 98.4% of the time.

yankeefan7
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Experiment#6
Posted: 10/3/19 at 9:42am

Very simply, making a bootleg is stealing. A show gets created and to view that show you should pay for it. There are ways of getting cheaper tickets to Broadway shows (rush tickets and TKTS) for people on a budget and if you can't travel to NYC, there are regional tours across the country. Just because you may not have the financial means to see a show does not mean it is ok to steal money from the creators of the show. Like you said, there are plenty of other ways to experience art. NYC has plenty of museums and the admission ticket price is much less than the average Broadway ticket. 

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LizzieCurry
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Experiment#7
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:10am
No one's going to include this tweet from Jeremy O. Harris?
https://twitter.com/jeremyoharris/status/1179200882996588544
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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Wick3
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Experiment#8
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:23am

In response to Jeremy's tweet, some Broadway shows have been filmed professionally so the masses can access and see them. Also, the musical RENT started addressing the issue of affordability by having an affordable in-person rush lottery back in the mid-90s.

I moved to NYC in 2000 and don't remember bootlegs on Broadway. Actually the first time I ever saw a bootleg was Hamilton back in 2016. 

I do agree bootlegs are wrong and stealing. If Broadway is going to have that rule, then the theaters need to actually enforce it or have a way to enforce it effectively.

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LizzieCurry
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Experiment#9
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:29am
There were DEFINITELY pre-2000 bootleg videos of shows filmed on Broadway.
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magictodo123
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Experiment#10
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:34am

Wick3 said: "In response to Jeremy's tweet, some Broadway shows have been filmed professionally so the masses can access and see them. Also, the musical RENT started addressingthe issue of affordability by having an affordable in-person rush lottery back in the mid-90s.

I moved to NYC in 2000 and don't remember bootlegs on Broadway. Actually the first time I ever saw a bootleg was Hamilton back in 2016.

I do agree bootlegs are wrong and stealing. If Broadway is going to have thatrule, then the theatersneed to actually enforce it or have a way to enforce it effectively.
"

 

Do you think those Yondr pouches are a good start? 

 

Alex Kulak2
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Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:35am

The way I think about it, think about a show like Hamilton. Even if a person lived in New York, and even if they could afford a ticket to see Hamilton, the show sells out every night. They're making as much money as they possibly can, and people who have the means to see the show probably couldn't if they wanted to.

 

Also, most of the bootlegs I've watched have been from shows that are long closed. One of my favorite stagings of a musical is the 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd, which I've only seen through bootleg. If that bootleg didn't exist, that show would have disappeared forever.

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LizzieCurry
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Experiment#12
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:36am
We all know of various YouTube channels that include B-rolls and bootlegs from the '80s. And if we don't enjoy them, we know someone who does.

These show up later on documentaries as "audience captures."
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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haterobics
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Experiment#13
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:39am

Alex Kulak2 said: "The way I think about it, think about a show like Hamilton. Even if a person lived in New York, and even if they could afford a ticket to see Hamilton, the show sells out every night. They're making as much money as they possibly can, and people who have the means to see the show probably couldn't if they wanted to."

So, "think about it" = "justify it" essentially?

Personally, it is so rare to see a bootleg you can stomach to watch through to the end.

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Wick3
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Experiment#14
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:40am

I'm sure there were bootlegs before 2000 but my point is they were not as widespread back then. YouTube became popular after around 2004? Back in the 90s I just remember listening to the cast recording CD of Phantom, Rent, Les Mis, Miss Saigon, etc. again and again and just dreamt of watching the show live someday on Broadway. Nowadays it seems like teens listen to the music on youtube or watch a bootleg.

I do wonder if bootlegs hurt a show's profits or not. Look at the longest running musicals on Broadway. There have been movies and bootlegs of Phantom, Lion King, Chicago, etc. yet they're still running on Broadway making profits.

Like I said before, if recording a Broadway show is against the rules, then the theaters need a more effective way of enforcing that rule.

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dramamama611
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Experiment#15
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:42am

Kulak2 said, "  If that bootleg didn't exist, that show would have disappeared forever."

Actually, no it doesn't.  It lives on in the memories of those that saw it.  LIVE theater exists TO BE LIVE.    

 

Kulak2 said, " people who have the means to see the show probably couldn't if they wanted to."   

WHAT A CROCK of CRAP.  You buy a ticket.....and you wait, if necessary - just like every other ticket holder.   I've seen the show 4 times.   All within it's first year - without crazy expensive tickets - because I refuse to pay for them - not because it doesn't exist.  Just because something MIGHT be difficult, doesn't give anyone the RIGHT to a bootleg.

 

But to the op - this has been discussed here often: the brunt of it is - most know it is wrong, but many try to excuse it.   That conversation is never going to change.

 

 

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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LizzieCurry
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Experiment#16
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:46am
There will never be one opinion on this and in each opinion there are shades of more opinions. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right and vice versa. Plenty of Broadway actors use bootlegs (audio and video) for research or just fun. Plenty of them hate it. Plenty of them watch them on the sly. Plenty of them also include them in their insta stories when they're bored in a hotel room on tour. Some show up on podcasts and play clips from their voice memos...
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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Experiment#17
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:47am

LizzieCurry said: "There were DEFINITELY pre-2000 bootleg videos of shows filmed on Broadway."

Now I am curious --- how did you guys watch those pre-2000 bootleg videos back in the day? Did the bootleggers sell VHS tapes or betamax tapes of them someplace in Times Sq or Canal Street? I moved to NYC for college in 2000 and don't remember anyone selling Bway bootlegs but am sure they must have existed.

I recall before 9/11 what was more common for students and folks who can't afford Broadway was to 'second act' a show by sneaking in to the show after intermission. Before 9/11, security on Broadway was  lax.

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Experiment#18
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:49am
Usually they were traded, along with audios. All on cassette.
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Broadway61004
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Experiment#19
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:51am

LizzieCurry said: "No one's going to include this tweet from Jeremy O. Harris?
https://twitter.com/jeremyoharris/status/1179200882996588544
"

I certainly hope that he has OK'ed this with the actors, set designer, lighting designer, costume designer, hair and makeup designer, director, and all of their associates, all of whose work this is, not just his.

Bottom line, every single part of a Broadway show is someone's property.  Unless you have permission to film from every single person, you have no right to.  I don't care if theatre isn't affordable or it's sold out or it's the only way you can experience it--those are completely separate issues.  This is about what is legally someone's property and what is not.  And Broadway shows are the property of the people involved, so unless every single one of them says "Go ahead and film and use my likeness and post it on the internet", you have zero right to.

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Experiment#20
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:53am

dramamama611 said: "But to the op - this has been discussed here often: the brunt of it is - most know it is wrong, but many try to excuse it. That conversation is never going to change."

Agreed. I think the rule will stay but perhaps the way theaters enforce the rule need to change as this gets to be more widespread. Yondr pouches? More ushers? I don't have the answer.

 

magictodo123
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Experiment#21
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:53am
I can’t help but wonder what will happen with the upcoming production of The Music Man, and I could also include Company in that...since there are such high profile actors, I know bootleggers will be out in full force because no one cares about respecting actors, but I have to wonder if they’ll release a professionally recorded version to try to avoid that....
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Experiment#22
Posted: 10/3/19 at 10:56am

magictodo123 said: "I can’t help but wonder what will happen with the upcoming production of The Music Man, and I could also include Company in that...since there are such high profile actors, I know bootleggers will be out in full force because no one cares about respecting actors, but I have to wonder if they’ll release a professionally recorded version to try to avoid that...."

It's unrelated. Any pro shot would be released after or well into the run, whereas the bootleg exists ASAP. No show hasn't been bootlegged because a pro-shot was coming next year.

Rainah
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Posted: 10/3/19 at 11:09am
There have been bootlegs as long as there has been the ability to record. Before that, shows were bootlegged by someone writing down all the lines as they were said. Bootlegs have existed in some form or another since theatre began. Bootlegs exist regardless of whether a show has been professionally filmed, though it does make those bootlegs harder to find.

Basically, it's going to happen regardless. And the people with their phones out during a show getting called out by the actors, those aren't the ones making the bootlegs you see. Almost all the videos are made by the same 5ish people and they're very good at it.

Most the evidence I've seen shows bootlegs having a mildly positive effect on sales via word of mouth. The big issue with most shows is that no one has heard of them. The average tourist wants to see a show but has never heard most of the titles, they shrug and pick chicago because hey that was a good movie. In terms of sales, I find it similar to a pro sports game. Watching it live in the stadium is a vastly different experience than at home on your tv, and the people who shell out to see it live probably watch a lot of sports on tv.

Ultimately I think we're moving towards a future where filming rights are included in equity contracts and shows are regularly filmed. It won't stop bootlegging, but it will provide a better alternative for most fans. Everyone has consented to the filming and it should help keep broadway alive.
JSquared2
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Experiment#24
Posted: 10/3/19 at 11:12am

Rainah said: "Ultimately I think we're moving towards a future where filming rights are included in equity contracts and shows are regularly filmed. It won't stop bootlegging, but it will provide a better alternative for most fans. Everyone has consented to the filming and it should help keep broadway alive."

This right to film already exists in the Production Contract.  However the usage of the film is limited to press, publicity, b-roll, etc.  If the producer wishes to use it for commercial release, he must negotiate a payment with the actors (and every other person who works on the show).

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Experiment#25
Posted: 10/3/19 at 11:14am
Other forms of entertainment can adapt, as Harris tweeted. Wasn't it the MLB that would try to take down twitter users' clips of games until they realized that if THEY put up a tiny clip of an amazing double-play or walk-off home run or something, then clips taken from a screen recorder wouldn't be a problem?

Granted, twitter/baseball aren't quite the same thing, but if you can get in front of an issue, then it's less work than causing industry angst and trying to issue cease-and-desists.
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