In this third part of our interview with Tony-award nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the young composers of “A Christmas Story”, “Edges”, “Dogfight” and NBC’s “Smash” talk about how social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube helped them breaking through.
Using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on the way to Broadway
Justin Paul: We started writing music and theatre music when we were at college, sort of in our freshman year of college and I think it was at this special moment: not the only thing but one big part for us has been social media and getting our music out there in ways more than just doing it in New York. I think that has been the standard old fashioned way: you move to New York, you put in some time, you kind of become a writer and eventually, maybe you will get a production. But that is really hard. It is getting more and more expensive to produce shows, so less and less shows are being produced. And it is hard to find producers to put that money on stuff unless it is a big property or a big title that can sell tickets no matter what. So as a result, writers have to find another way to get their songs out there. For us, it was Facebook and YouTube and now Twitter… We were using all these things to get our music out there so that when we moved to New York, we had already had productions of our show elsewhere around the country in America because people are hungry for new theatre just like here who know about shows that are in America – Jason Robert Brown? How do they know about him? Well, they are excited and they want to find out, so they go on the internet, and they look up videos of his shows or whatever it is. The same thing with us: we posted our music out there, so we were able to get it out there in a way that was not through the standard New York approach. Now we are in New York and we are pursuing that just like everybody else, but we were able to get it out there in a different way.
Benj Pasek: I think the time period when we started was really important for us. We were in college in 2005 when YouTube and Facebook were just sort of starting. And so with our friends, we were among some of the first people that were putting original content of musical theatre online so that people could see it online and I think that gave us a certain advantage. And now, it really does belong to this younger generation. Well, how are we going to take advantage of what YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and all these things give us access to and it can connect young people to other musical theatre enthusiasts. We can share, we can see other content around the globe without having to go to a central place and it can become a more gobal thing. And we can all share in which is thrilling and exciting and we are ecxited to be part of that and see where else it can go.