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From the Founder: What the TikTok Musicals mean for the future of Musical Theater Writers.

 

Once can be a fluke.

Twice?  Well, some might not call it a trend just yet.

But I would. 

See, I have this super complicated algorithm I use to determine when something has crossed over.

It’s when three people OUTSIDE our industry email me to talk about it.

Ok, not so complicated.  But it definitely works.

It happened with Spider-man, Hamilton, and most recently, Ratatouille.

And at the beginning of 2021, the emails came pouring in, from people I haven’t spoken to in years, about Bridgerton The Musical.

 Let me catch you up.

  1. Bridgerton debuts on Netflix on Christmas.
  2. Fans of the series, Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, write a musical version of it and upload it to TikTok.
  3. It blows up.  Attracts millions of views, and inspires choreography, costumes, and more.  (Oh and Netflix even gives it a thumbs up (when ten years ago they would have served it a cease and desist).
  4. People start emailing me.

So what does this mean?  And so quickly after Ratatouille got an Actors Fund concert that raised $2mm, got this guy signed to CAA, and even got me to join TikTok.

It means that TikTok is the new place for musical theater writers to be discovered.  Period.

Pasek and Paul had YouTube, and it was crucial to their success, as they talked about here.

Jason Robert Brown had piano bars like eighty-eights, where I first saw Songs for a New World.

And now, everyone who dreams about writing for the theater . . . you have TikTok.

And, apparently, you have free rein to write whatever the @#$% you want.  Rights be damned (for now, anyway).

So many writers come to me saying, “I want to do a musical version of (INSERT TITLE OF SUPER VALUABLE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY HERE) if only the creators could hear what I wrote!”

Now, they just may get a chance.  And it just may cause them to give YOU a chance.

See, what’s happening now for musical theater has been happening for YEARS in other types of writing.

It’s called Fan Fiction.  Fans have been writing alternate versions of famous stories from Harry Potter to Twilight and yeah, even Phantom of the Opera, Dear Evan Hansen, and more.

And this is where writers have been improving their chops, and even getting discovered (Remember 50 Shades of Grey?  Born out of FanFic).

And the Bridgerton writers have now arrived on the scene, thanks to the musical version of FanFic. 

And it just may be how you arrive as well.

So if you’re a writer . . . this week, write a 60-second clip of a musical inspired by ANYTHING and upload it to TikTok.

You just never know what’s going to happen.  And if it doesn’t get discovered, well, the exercise of writing that song would be the same type of exercise you would get if you were in a Masters program for writing musical . . . without costing you $40,000 a year.

(I’m struggling for a name for the musical version of FanFic. You got one?)

——-

PS. Want to learn more? Join the free Theatermakers Facebook Group here and get started!

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