I’d like to equate how the public perceives e-writing compared to traditional writing in the same matter in which the public thinks of the lavish Broadway theatrical productions when comparing them to Off Broadway productions. Most critics and followers of the stage would agree comparing Off Broadway Theater to Broadway Stage is like comparing apples with oranges or maybe with grapes. Certainly there has been some terrific off Broadway shows performed in the basement theaters of SoHo and Greenwich Village throughout the years, thoroughly enjoyed by audiences sitting on fold up chairs while bundling their winter coats tight around their necks to fend off the cold due to the fact that the heater was broken. The successful shows are usually extremely creative and entertaining but they cannot be put into the same category as a fully orchestrated play put on by the top; actors, dancers singers, musicians, conductors, choreographers and producers in the world. The grandeur the Broadway Theaters themselves add to the whole experience of going to see a Broadway production cannot be overlooked. There are things one can only achieve consistently when you are allowed access to an almost unlimited budget.
True, it can be said that true art does not need all the ambience of balconies, velvet curtains, velour seat cushions, ushers wearing suits and bow ties and top of the line stage lighting nor lavish scenery, the best props nor the best costume designers to still be able to come alive. Some may even say the glamour of the Broadway theaters are a distraction from the true art and all the extra hoopla detracts from the performances. Still, if the public perceives Off Broadway to be the place where artsy, low budgeted, experimental theater is being performed then it is probably a good idea not to attempt to change that perception by spending a ton of money and trying to compete with lavish Broadway productions. Better to conform, go with the flow and give the many fans of Off Broadway Theater what they’ve come to expect, fresh, innovative entertainment. And, Off Broadway feeds their fan base with ground breaking creativity performed by newly discovered talent. The audiences expect the performances to be edgy, the producers, writers, actors and managers to take risks, some of which, will pay off and some of which won’t. It’s all part of the Off Broadway experience. But, if you were hoping to see a rendition of ‘phantom of the opera’ for half the ticket price, that ship has sailed.
Off Broadway Theater is generally thought of as the training grounds for young, up and coming actors, choreographers, producers, writers, singers, musicians, stagehands and every other job position relating to theater. In the same way writing for the internet is thought of as a way for young inexperienced and new writers to begin to make a name for themselves in their preferred writing niche. But is e-writing merely a stepping stone for young authors to gain experience and prepare themselves for moving into the big leagues of land publishing; print magazines, newspapers, traditional book publishing and other static publishing venues? If the pay scale for e-writers and e-writing compared to the pay being collected by off line writers, writing the same types of text, is any indication then the answer is yes.
At present, E-writers, on average don’t even come close to earning the same pay as established offline writers. But similar to Off Broadway, e-writers are producing some of the most innovative, entertaining creative writing ever. Maybe that’s a clue as to why e-readers and e-audiences are so permissive and willing to overlook the overall poor quality of the writing found on the net. Maybe, it is the price we are willing to pay or have to pay, in order to be able to find the delightful gems of writing we stumble upon when we’re online and just clicking around. E-writers are bending genres, creating genres, fearlessly crossing boundaries and re-visiting and re-writing the rules of literature every day. It’s a truly exciting time on the internet, a time of permissiveness, where experimentation is looked upon with awe, even when it falls short of hitting its mark.
For the very first time in all of history, people anywhere in the world can write whatever they want with virtually zero fear of being censored. Global freedom of speech, a truly remarkable feat can be attributed to the development of the internet, progress and e-culture. This atmosphere will ultimately lead to more and more literacy throughout the world. The technology is already delivering a wealth of knowledge, news and culture to and from remote corners of the globe. By allowing the masses to have access to all kinds of information at a click that before was only privy to the affluent, the learned and the privileged few, we level the playing field. The quality of writing and literature in all its forms can only improve. My advice is to keep an eye on the internet e-writers. Yes, there is no denying there is a lot of drivel being published online. But, there are a lot of oysters in the ocean and we don’t condemn all oysters because most never produce a pearl. Instead we are thankful for and cherish the few special oysters who do.