January 18, 2010

An Open Letter to DM Theatrics Regarding Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: Please Youtube This!

This is a letter to DM Theatrics, who are planning to put up a production of 2 Gentlemen of Lebowski sometime soon.

from: ViralFish
to: press@dm-theatrics.com
subject: An Open Letter to DM Theatrics Regarding Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: Please Youtube This!

Ok, this is clearly not a press request. However, its the only contact email I had for the fine gentlepeople who were magnanimous enough to stage a production of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski. Therefore, if you are one of these gentlepeople who are capable of making decisions about this, please consider my proposal. If you are not, and know one of these gentlepeople (whew, political correctness takes more effort to type), please forward this to them. Thank you.


As a follower of the Dude and as an unabashed supporter of the Bard and all Bardly performances, I would so have loved to attend this event. My chagrin at being unable to attend is aggravated by the fact that I was in New York until a few months ago, and have returned recently to my native India. It is in this spirit that I present to you a modest proposal:


You may think there are a thousand reasons why you shouldn't do this but I have presented a brief analysis of those that I can fathom:

1. It will kill demand for seats in the actual theatre

No it wont. Under no circumstances will it do so. Nuh uh. Not a chance.

The Big Lebowski is a movie that has attained cult status (No, I'm not kidding at all, look it up on wikipedia). This means that its fanbase may not encompass the bloated ranks of your average 'Twilight' movie. In fact, to all appearances, its fans may not appear even half as fanatical as your average neo-vampire pseudogoth who applies fake blood on her wrists 'for Edward' every day. However, that is because the followers of the Dude are not fans. They are disciples. They have internalised the Dude in body and spirit.

For every moron who looks at a q-tip and says 'What is this?' there is a Dude waiting to say 'obviously you are not a golfer'.
For every tool who screams out at us: 'The bums lost! The bums will always lose!", there is a Dude who is willing to put his hands up, say 'fuck it' and saunter out with his pick of any rug in the house.
For every bigot, chauvinist, fanatic and fundamentalist, there is a Dude who will stand up to them and say 'That's just, like, your opinion man.'

These people will come. They will prefer to come because, for a follower of the Dude, watching an enactment of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski is the same experience as Christmas mass is to a practicing Catholic: You can try to watch it on tv, but thats just not the same as mouthing the lines together, enjoying a feeling of communal brotherhood with your fellow follower or enjoying tasty snacks mid-performance (ok that last one was in bad taste).

They may not try to pay, because, come on man, the Dude didn't teach us to pay (except in the form of dubious checks for sixty nine cents). You may find a few more followers trying to sneak in through backstage than through the front of the theater. You may even find a few people disguised as security men who suddenly attempt to sidle into an extra seat. However, you will fill your seats. And with a few intelligent ushers, I'm sure almost all of them will be paid for. So thats not something you have to worry about.

3. It will be a pain in the ass to do.

Oh come on man, it will not. Now you're just being plain lazy. Which is cool, and very understandable. But if you guys dont have the time and energy to do it, just ask around man. I will bet you that someone will do it, probably for a pretty nominal fee, possibly for free. And it will be worth it, for reasons that I am outlining below.

3. It will kill demand for a video
You may already have plans to record this show and sell it. If you do, I'm sure you'll make some cash. But lets look at this realistically. There's 2 reasons why you may not get to make much cash out of this if youre only going to put out a paid performance.

a. Your audience comprises followers of the Dude. Their preferred means of access to anything is 'free', after which comes 'cheap'. And if there's one other thing a follower of the Dude likes, its sticking it to the man, low risk style. Put these two factors together and for every 1 dvd you sell, there will be 10 Dudes watching a pixellated low-res bootleg video of your show. As a guy who is interested in intellectual property, I can tell you that that's actually not such a bad thing. In this day and age, for every 1 copy of a blockbusterr dvd sold, there's 1 copy being pirated. But pirated copies tend to build demand for the original, and in the long run, can actually feed sales for the original work. (I should probably link to something here but I'm on a roll. Just take my word for it.)

b. However, this model applies well to blockbusters and big-studio productions because they have the cash to publicise this stuff endlessly, so even if 1 million guys pirate their movies, another 1 million have heard enough about them to go buy the original on dvd. However, you guys do not have that luxury. You do not have big budgets and you do not have enough clout to publicise something like this by conventional means.
What you do have is the power of the followers.
The Dude is very much an internet icon, being the sort of person who appeals to people who spend a lot of time giggling-high on something in front of a computer. Put out a youtube clip of 2 Gentlemen, and these people will transmit that information online faster than 2 girls and 1 keyboard cat. After that, you've got eyeballs, which is the biggest currency in the world today, more so, I imagine, for a group of people whose revenues are dependent on people seeing and hearing them perform. Let your imagination run wild.

c. And you can be sure some of these guys will be youtubing this stuff anyway. Sure, you can try as hard as you can to make sure no one takes grainy, horrible, low-res cellphone videos of the show, but in the end, someones going to put that shit on youtube. And I am going to watch it. And feel terrible about the fact that I missed this wonderful performance and all I get is a minute and a half of some nutjob who decided to record the show in the middle of an epileptic fit.

On the other hand, if you put that stuff on youtube yourself, you will have instantaneous coverage. The Dude is beloved all over the world, and if you combine the love of the Dude with the love of the Bard, you have a recipe for viral success! People will watch, and while watching, they may actually love it enough to want to get a DVD of your performance.

Also, a theatrical performance is, by its nature, ephemeral. A moment of beauty, then gone forever, save in the minds of those fortunate enough to witness it. A youtube video is not usually considered beautiful. But it is a record, one that hopefully may be perused by generations after ours, in an effort to understand the creature that was early 21st century man. Please man, leave them with something better to see than '2 Girls 1 Cup'.

You may have reasons other than this, but I just ran out of energy. Let me just end this appeal to your higher (and lower) conscience by imploring you,

in the name of the Dude and the Bard,

to consider and act upon the reasons I have offered.


P.S. I call this an open request because I may post in on my blog, ViralFish. If you are concerned about this, worry not, as the 6 people who follow my blog will agree with me wholeheartedly, while at the same time supporting your noble endeavour 100%.