Commentary: 4 ways YouTube has changed Broadway

Christina Warren, entertainment editor for, 11/7/11

Theatre might lag behind film, TV and music in terms of its digital prowess. One of the services that is changing this is YouTube. Let's look at 4 ways YouTube is changing Broadway:

To Audition. In film and TV, casting directors have been accepting audition tapes for nearly two decades. Over the last five years, this has evolved to include online video auditions, using YouTube, Skype or Facebook. For live theater, however, the rule for casting has largely been "in-person only." In the last few years, YouTube has started to change that. Two recent Broadway revivals, Annie and Funny Girl, held online casting calls. The best online submissions are called in for callbacks. The off-Broadway revival of Rent held online auditions via YouTube in addition to open calls. The national tour of Peter Pan held auditions for non-dance roles over YouTube.

To Discover Talent. For Broadway casting directors, YouTube is a goldmine for doing talent research. When Disney was casting potential Ariels for The Little Mermaid, it used YouTube to compile a list of potential candidates. Producers could then login to the site and see bookmarks or compiled playlists of potential finds.

To Promote. Having an official YouTube channel is a great way for Broadway productions to promote their shows and connect with fans. The Book of Mormon won 9 Tony Awards and has been sold out for months. Still, the hit show maintains its own YouTube channel, in addition to accounts on Twitter and Facebook.The videos for this show are more promotional in nature and contain very little music and stage clips, but it's a nice nod to fans. The DisneyOnBroadway YouTube channel has amassed nearly 10 million views for its videos. Smaller productions are using YouTube to promote their shows, [too.]

To Document. Of course, most widespread use of YouTube and Broadway isn't sanctioned by many producers, theaters and Broadway actors - but it happens anyway. The fact that nearly every person carries a video camera on them at all times has led to a huge rise in uploaded performances of Broadway shows. It might make some actors angry, but it's a fact of life in the 21st century. The best part of YouTube is that it is a virtual treasure trove of past performances that would not otherwise be viewable by anyone. Live theater is about the live experience, but being able to revisit a particularly poignant performance or show-stopper is only possible thanks to tools like YouTube.


From singing in the shower to YouTube stardom, record deal and concert tour

Christina Gutierrez, West Virginia University's Daily Athenaeum newspaper, 10/28/11

YouTube sensation Karmin, comprised of Amy Ellis and her boyfriend, Nick Noonan, has taken the music industry by storm. Covering songs by a range of pop artists from Nicki Minaj to Adele, the dynamic singing duo has decided to try some original tracks. As part of a national college tour, the couple will perform their first single, "Crash Your Party" at Morgantown's Metropolitan Theatre, Nov. 7. Kristie Gale, marketing and advertising manager for WVU Arts and Entertainment, had the chance to speak with the group about its incredible rise to fame. "Just for fun, Amy likes to rap in the shower. And after a while, Nick convinced her to showcase her talents on YouTube," Gale said. "They probably have more hits on YouTube than anything else out there." The group has been acclaimed by many of the acts they cover, including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Chris Brown. Recently signed by Epic Records, Karmin is crossing the barrier from musical hobbyist to entertainment moguls.


Re-opening of Bolshoi Theatre broadcast live on YouTube

Agence France-Presse, 10/27/11

YouTube broadcast live on its website the gala reopening of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, the hottest ticket of the Russian cultural season. Access to the theatre itself [was] invitation-only, but a wider public [was] able to witness the event on live cinema relays around the world and also through YouTube. "Fans around the world are looking forward to the reopening of the Bolshoi Theatre after its reconstruction," said Yury Khazanov of YouTube in a joint statement with the Bolshoi. Sergei Filin, the head of the Bolshoi's legendary ballet troupe, said the theatre was delighted that the historic event could now be watched by hundreds of millions of people globally: "We wanted our joy to be shared by as many people as possible from all corners of the world."

[FROM TC: The Bolshoi's official YouTube channel  has taken down the video, but others have re-posted the opening gala performance -- here and here, for instance.]


YouTube launches broad entertainment venture with $100 million in funding

Jake Coyle and Ryan Nakashima, Associated Press, 10/31/11

YouTube is making a bold step into original programming in an entertainment venture with some 100 content creators, from Madonna to The Wall Street Journal. The Google-owned video site said it's launching more than 100 new video channels. The partners include an array of Hollywood production companies, celebrities and new media groups that will produce mainly niche-oriented videos. YouTube is shelling out $100 million to producers. The money is an advance on advertising money the videos will bring in, and Google will recoup its portion first before splitting the proceeds. Advances are as high as $5 million per channel. Participants include Madonna, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, comedian Amy Poehler, actor Ashton Kutcher, "Office" star Rainn Wilson, spiritual doctor Deepak Chopra and "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara. Most are creating channels through their production companies. Madonna is a partner with the dance channel DanceOn, while O'Neal plans the Comedy Shaq Network. The channels will roll out beginning this month, though most will premiere next year. YouTube says the channels will add 25 hours of new original content daily, with dozens of Web series debuting at scheduled times. Ultimately, YouTube is aiming to create a new digital video platform that will rival television programming. The video site compared the expanded video offerings to the advent of cable television.


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11 YouTube Best Practices for Nonprofits

Katya Andresen, Nonprofit Marketing Blog, 9/30/11

Here are great tips from Heather Mansfield, author of the new book, Social Media for Social Good. She agreed to me printing her 11 YouTube Best Practices for Nonprofits.

Display Subscribers and Friends. You are much more likely to get new subscribers and friend requests if you display subscribers and friends on your channel.

Send Friend Requests Weekly. YouTube limits the number of friend requests your nonprofit can send, but it's worth setting aside one day each week to send 10 to 20 friend requests. Over time, you want to build a community of a couple of hundred, and eventually thousands.

Subscribe to Channels Created by Funders and Partners. Subscribing to a channel on YouTube is the highest expression of support on YouTube. Also, the more you subscribe to others, the more subscribers you get in return.

Sign Up for YouTube's Nonprofit Program. YouTube offers a program for legal nonprofits in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Integrate Your Videos into Your Website, Blog, Social Networking, Mobile. Using the embed code that is available with every video you upload to YouTube, you can easily copy, paste, and post your videos.

Create an Annual "Thank You" Video. Traditionally most nonprofits express their gratitude via text in e-mails, blog posts, and website pages. A more visual, fresh approach is to create a video each year of staff members, volunteers, board members, and the communities that you serve expressing their thanks.

>> FROM TC: You can read the rest of the list of Mansfield's YouTube tips here.

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