OnStage in America was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal Christmas Edition! (http://on.wsj.com/1hIurmk) Here is the excerpt:
"More encouragingly, PBS recently ordered up a pilot episode for a series called "OnStage in America" (www.onstageinamerica.org) devoted to actual regional-theater productions taped in performance. It won't happen, alas, unless the producers can raise enough cash to shoot the pilot, to which end they've launched a Kickstarter campaign. I think that's a wonderful idea." - Terry Teachout (Wall Street Journal)
PBS and OnStage In America, a new nonprofit venture, are joining forces to put the best theater productions from across America on prime-time national television, in a fresh and exciting format. This will be the first series to focus on the more than one thousand stages nationwide that have originated 36 of the last 38 Pulitzer-Prize-winning plays.
PBS has ordered a pilot for the series and is providing a portion of the budget. OnStage is seeking $250,000.00 to complete the budget, hoping to raise more from Kickstarter than our $125,000.00 target.
After funding our budget we will shoot a pilot program in spring of 2014 that will air on PBS primetime.
We have reviewed more than 300 productions scheduled for next spring in theaters around the country. We've narrowed that list to fifty of the most interesting, including Pulitzer Prize winners, comedies, and powerful new dramas. Once they're in performance, we will select one that is truly exceptional.
We will go onstage with lightweight high-def cameras, moving with the actors to capture drama with freedom and intimacy. Unlike the usual theater on tv, performances will shift toward the cameras (and television audiences). Skilled directors and cinematographers will capture close-ups, traveling shots, inserts, high angles, low angles etc. to transform live theater into innovative and exciting television. It's unlike anything PBS has attempted before.
If the pilot succeeds, PBS will order a full series, bringing four of the best stage productions from across America to primetime television each year. Almost a thousand stage productions will be reviewed annually to find the most exciting, the most entertaining, the most unusual and surprising, and the most relevant to issues of contemporary life in this country.
Following their broadcast, the plays will become part of a digital library, accessible for on-demand, streaming, and other digital distribution.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
American theater is absent from the landscape of electronic media, yet in America's towns and cities theater audiences number in the tens of millions. Regional theater nurtures many of this country's best writers, actors, and directors. It has freedom to be more experimental, more daring, more focused on contemporary issues than most feature films and television shows.
The creative core of American theater is in the network of more than a thousand not-for-profit theaters in every one of the fifty states. Our series will turn a well-deserved spotlight on their freshest, most surprising, and most illuminating performances.
WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR?
We want to raise more than $125,000 from our Kickstarter campaign. This, together with the money promised by PBS and a little more than $100,000 from private donors, will fully fund our pilot and blaze the way for the series.
The producers have been preparing this series for five years, working long hours without pay. They have had extensive conversations with theater professionals, television executives, and union and guild representatives, successfully building support for the series and clearing away potential obstacles. PBS' recent commitment to help produce a pilot is THE crucial step toward making the series a reality.
When the pilot is completed we will use it to secure financial support for the full series from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
John Fox, Executive Producer. Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer, director, documentary filmmaker, and multimedia producer. Mr. Fox has directed for Saturday Night Live and has worked as director under contract for most of the major Hollywood studios. He produced “Heritage: Civilization and the Jews,” a nine part PBS series that won both the Christopher and Peabody Awards and three prime-time Emmys. His other awards include: top honors at the Los Angeles Digital Video Festival, several Telly Awards, and the Golden Davey Award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.
Mary Salter, Executive Producer. Independent producer of film and television; former program executive and producer at MTV, Paramount Television, Broadway Video, VP for Production at Comedy Central, Film Producer for Saturday Night Live for almost a decade. Honors and awards include: two Broadcast Design Awards, the Monitor Award, 12 Ace nominations, a Venice Film Festival Golden Lion CM, the Sundance Festival Sloan Prize.
Joe Grifasi, Producer.
Veteran actor, director, educator; has performed in over 60 plays on and off Broadway and at regional theaters nationwide. Involved in new play development in New York, Chicago, and at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Appeared in more than 50 feature films and made more than 100 television appearances. Conducted master classes and workshops at The Yale School of Drama, The Strasberg Institute, Oberlin College, Tulane University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brown University, Bowling Green University, SUNY at Buffalo, Williams College, UCSD La Jolla; faculty member, The New School for Drama.
Gordon Thorpe, Digital Content Manager. Gordon graduated from Trinity College with a BA in economics and a minor in film studies. He has been with OnStage in America for over a year and has played a key role in developing our online content.
Public Broadcasting Service - PBS’ mission is to create content that educates, informs and inspires. PBS offers programming that expands the minds of children, documentaries that open up new worlds, non-commercialized news programs that keep citizens informed on world events and cultures, and programs that expose America to the worlds of music, theater, dance and art. A private, nonprofit corporation, founded in 1969, PBS' members are America’s public TV stations -- noncommercial, educational licensees that operate more than 350 PBS member stations and serve all 50 states, reaching a broadcast audience of 120 million people.
Oregon Public Broadcasting - Our "Presenting Station", OPB will handle station relations, final packaging, and technical delivery of the program to PBS. OPB is one of the top four producers and presenters of national programming among all PBS stations nationwide. Recent OPB National Productions include History Detectives (now in its tenth season on PBS), Great Lodges of the National Parks, and programs for PBS prime time series including Frontline, Nova and American Experience.
Public Media, Inc. - Our Fiscal Agent – While OnStage In America Inc. applies to the IRS for official certification of its not-for-profit status we have partnered with PMI, a New York not-for-profit that assists independent video and filmmakers who qualify for grants that require offical IRS status as “not-for-profit” under 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Established in 1976 by the eminent documentary filmmaker Robert Richter, PMI has administered grants for dozens of independent media projects, many of them award-winning.
Risks and challenges
We hope to shoot our pilot this coming spring, but we could be forced for scheduling or other reasons to shoot in summer or fall of 2014. While PBS has expressed their intention of airing our pilot they are not contractually obligated to do so. The decision whether to move forward to produce a full series lies entirely with PBS and will depend in large part on how successful the pilot is.
If our Kickstarter campaign raises $125,000 we still need to raise an additional $125,000 to fully fund the budget for our pilot. We already have pledges for about $25,000 from private donors and hope to be able to close the funding gap once our Kickstarter campaign succeeds, but there are no guarantees.
What happens if Kickstarter succeeds but we fail to get the next $125,000? PBS will decide. They can release the money they have promised us so we can move into production while continuing to raise money, or they can stop us. If we are stopped we will return all the Kickstarter pledges less 10% (the 5% fee charged by Kickstarter plus the 5% charged by our fiscal agent).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)