Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome back to the Aha! Blog

Welcome back to the A-ha! blog: 2010 edition! To start the new year, Hayley Finn from the Playwrights Center reflects on their now-completed project:

After launching our trailers on the website and sending DVDs of the trailers to artistic leaders across the country, we evaluated the initiative through surveys and conversations with theatre professionals. To recap, the goal of the project is to promote new plays by creating high-quality online video trailers. That means working from a treatment rather than recording a performance, and using a professional videographer, equipment, and editing to approximate a movie theater preview.

The response from our survey was for the most part very positive. Respondents called the project “an outstanding way to showcase the playwright’s work in such a short period of time,” “an excellent concept,” and “a succinct way to introduce me to a play.”

Some, however, felt that the trailers, shot on location in an apartment, a restaurant, and in New York City, were too far removed from the theater, and risked becoming their own short films. Similarly, some respondents felt that two to three minutes was too long for a teaser. And others wanted more of a sense of the narrative arc of the play.

We have been able to continue the project with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Our challenge for Round Two, then, was to maintain the visual excitement of the first three trailers while emphasizing that these plays are designed for the stage and fully capable of living and breathing there. We put some rules in place for the next five trailers: they would be filmed in our theater, be one minute long, and give the viewer an idea of the play’s plotline/themes, and style rather than focusing on a single scene.

We’ve got three of the five “Round Two” trailers on the website now, and the next two are coming very soon. Once we have all five up we will be launching another server on our website and talking with people about their reactions to this revised format.

I invite you to view the trailer at

We're so excited about the new round of Aha! Projects (you can get more information on them here) - keep an eye out for upcoming posts from this new group of recipients.

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