OFFICIAL Statement re: Frankenstein DVD/Bootleg Recordings
"We appreciate the huge amount of interest in Frankenstein, which has continued since the original broadcasts. In response to popular demand, we sought the necessary rights to be able to show the broadcasts again and are delighted we have been able to offer audiences further opportunities to see it at encore screenings.
National Theatre Live is made possible by the support of the artists involved and we are keen to be able to preserve this goodwill so we can continue to make future productions available. We appreciate there is a huge amount of interest in making the broadcast available on DVD but currently this is not the wish of the artists involved.
We do not in any way condone the piracy of recording, both because it is an illegal activity and because it is against the wishes of the artists whose work we represent. I would let you know that if you choose to record, distribute or download the screening of Frankenstein, you are breaking the law and risk legal action.
National Theatre Live is all about creating greater access to the productions on our stage. We try to emulate the theatrical experience as much as possible and believe the big screen, collective cinema experience comes as close as we can get to the original theatrical event."
If you are a fan of anyone involved in the creation of Frankenstein or the National Theatre, we would ask that you respect their wishes and decision, and hope that you will continue to support National Theatre Live in your local cinema.
Head of Digital Media
Producer, NT Live
It’s like they never read my letter.
“Please do not be callous with your demands of us, to ask us to not do all that we can to fulfill this now desperate desire. Do not ask us to give up our lives. Do not ask us to give up a chance for exploration and expression.
Do not punish those who love you, and reward those who hate you with inaction.”
I don’t get it. I just don’t. I don’t even…I don’t know anymore. I’m just so frustrated now.
The problem is that it’s unnecessary, and we don’t deserve this. We don’t. We give them love and respect, and they give us this shallow treatment back. We were going to thank them for their encore performances, because we though that they did that for us. Apparently they had this up their sleeves. Do we take away their profits, their hype, their anything? No. They’re punishing us for no good. They gain nothing from hurting us, but they do it anyway, out of some silly principle that hinders technology. They’re just like the writers who won’t allow fanfiction to be written for their books.
I go and beg them, beg them, to not do this and they go and do exactly that.
Theater, like all other entertainment media forms, are all for the purpose of storytelling, and its most intrinsic purpose is to share the story with everyone. Fandom does that, and apparently NT does not. Instead, it clings to its plays like a bratty five-year old with its toys.
No one gets it, no one. You may be able to make back all the money you put into a movie or play or TV show with hype, but it is fandom that writes it into the history books and immortalizes it, or writes it off. If you haven’t moved your audience, you’ve failed, and fandom is the test for that.
NT is not the creator, by the way. It is simply the middleman, the merchant, to which artists may bring their craft to us. Like the Great Wall and the Mongols, we should just go AROUND them.
So go ahead, NT, enjoy your mediocrity. Your shows will happen, collect their obligatory trophies, and no one will remember them after a year. You may not know what you never had, but go ahead and look at the other fandoms - Sherlock, Doctor Who, Supernatural. Frankenstein, and NT, had a chance, a little play, had a chance at all that, and you gave it up. Shot off your own foot.
Because here’s the icing on the cake: fandom doesn’t need you. Watching the play without being able to make it fandom is more or less just like reading Mary Shelley’s book. We’ll write our own plays, make musicals, perform and tell stories ourselves. And better yet, we’ll share it, with everyone, not just the elite upper-class that can afford it.
And once the world realizes that they can get everything from us, for free, because storytelling and humanity should not have a price, ever, no one will ever need you anymore. There are a million different theaters out there who do the same as you, and aren’t petty about it.
So no, NT, you don’t get it. And you certainly don’t appreciate it. And we, the fandom, are the sorriest for it now, but you will be the sorriest in the end.
July 25, 2012 Edit: Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I love that we're talking about this.
Firstly, let me apologize to those who I have unfairly included in the "we." As I don't know who is we but I know that there is a we, feel free to make it clear you're not part of the we, obviously.
Secondly, It's not that I'm not happy about the DVD, that's fine. It's that they're going through tumblr, finding the fangirls that do have bootlegs, and so on and so forth.
It's actually not Frankenstein, it's just copright issues overall. There are rumors that here in America, the companies are going to start using ISP addresses to monitor our computers, which isn't fair.
The basic idea is that technology's main purpose is making things more accessible. The printing press did it with books, the cassette tapes did it with music, the VCRs did it with TV, and now, Internet could do the same for all mediums of art, including theater. I love theater and I'm a part of theater, but I'm also a pragmatist: I can't go all the time. And yes, I don't die from that, but it would be nice to get a second chance. And everyone knows that no recording can EVER be the same as theater, but anything is better than absolutely nothing. And I get that artists and theaters and companies need money, but people will pay for quality. Patronage, not forcing. It may be naive of me to believe this, but I believe that art shouldn't be about money. Money is a part of life, but it shouldn't hinder storytelling. If Josh Whedon can make a wonderful movie like Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along blog without making people pay and STILL get money from people who loved it enough to buy the DVD, I think that it is quite possible.
Stephen Fry talked about copyright at the iTunes Festival. The unique ability of technology to reach all types of people, all around the world, better than any form of communication we have yet, is incredible, and for me, matches the main purpose of storytelling, which is to reach, unite, touch and inspire, people from all around the world and all walks of life.
I love that technology can do that. I wish people let technology do that more, that's all.
Listen to Stephen Fry here: http://www.stephenfry.com/2009/07/27/ser
July 26 Edit: Hey everyone, I've loved reading everyone's opinions about this, but interestingly, my other post on this matter as garnered a different stance on NT's decisions regarding Frankenstein. Please go check it out!
Here is the original blog post: http://gleelockandrock.tumblr.com/post/2