In the world of films, the new film is a commercially viable prospect (See it on opening weekend! The hottest young stars and directors!) and the older films are pretty much immediately viewed as classics, Netflix fodder, stuff for Criterion, or trucked out by film societies. You'll undoubtedly find more non-profit foundations dedicated to the preservation of old French black and white films by obscure directors than non-profits dedicated to new filmmakers. New filmmakers are out there hustling to connect to studios and producers and market their work. They are the lifeblood of an industry that wants to always make new stars, new movies, churns out what's next all the time.
But in theater, old workhorses are largely seen as the only truly commercially viable prospect, and new plays are largely (not entirely, but largely) a non-profit proposition. New Play Development is somehow viewed as a grant-worthy public works project, and a re-imagined Our Town is more likely to be $65 a ticket.
New Movie = Run Out And See It Before Your Friends Do
New Play = A Solemn Public Good, Please Donate
Old Movie = Something That Needs To Be Preserved And Discussed In Graduate Programs
Old Play = Perhaps A Broadway Revival?
To say nothing of old TV shows, which disappear from the public mind with haste.
Certainly, one can find examples of why this is true. (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson was put forth as hot and young and got swallowed, largely, but a commercial run. Chicago will never disappear.) Still, hard not to wonder how theater evolved to embrace the non-profit model so completely, that it's best prospects for exciting young audiences are largely supported by taxes and charitable giving.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.