How do I make a musical based on a movie?

So, it has occured to me that I wouldn’t mind putting together a stage musical based on “Shock Treatment”, the followup to Rocky Horror Picture Show.

How do people go about making stage versions of movies? How hard is it usually to get permission from the movie rights owners to do this? And of course, once I get their permission, how does one generally put together a stage musical?

Shortly before I arrived in Salt Lake City, a student theater group there put on a musical based on Plan Nine from Outer Space. I was bummed that I missexd it – I heard it was pretty good. Years later, I heard of it being produced in the Midwest, then elsewhere.

Clearly, it’s possibkle even for a student group to do this and get permission. You might want to look into their case.
Cetrtainly there have been a lot of musicals based on movies, both at this level and on Broadway. It’s clearly not a forbidden thing, and the folks who hold copyright won’t make any money if they refuse all comers, so you’ve got a shot.

As for your question about how to do a stage musical, that’s like asking how you do molecular biology. Get thee to a library.

Um, you write some songs?

To start with. And you rewrite the dialog to fit in a stage setting. Conceptualize the sets and costumes, keeping in mind that you can’t change them on mere whim. Then you raise a budget, at least a couple thou. Then select a prod staff, hopefully people who know what they are doing. You’ll need a producer, stage director, music director, vocal director, master carpenter, master electrician, lighting designer, costume designer, publicity person, stage manager, ticket manager, set designer, program designer, a buttload of people who can sew, prop master, and… A whole bunch more people that I can’t even think of right now. And you’d better hope that they all know what they’re doing.

Then you’ll need a space in which to perform. These don’t come cheap. And you’ll need a license for the performances. Various officials have to give you the green light. I’m not sure, but I think the fire marshall is one. You’ll also need rehearsal space, at least one large room that you can call your own for at least 10 weeks. You’ll need lots of chairs and music stands.

If you have not ODed on pain relievers at this point, you can then start the process of cast and orchestra auditions. This is a good time to get started on a life of alcohol abuse.

This is all after you have secured permission, of course.

Plan B is better: Find an established theatre group and shop the idea to them. Be prepared for around 10 years of rejection. And you’re merely delaying the alcohol abuse.

Damn…I have no time right now to look up the “Shock Treatment” arc from Something Positive. I recommend it if anyone can provide you a link…

Hehe, that comic is actually where I got the inspiration.

“I see that your idea of hugging is different from mine.”

Heh. I should have realized from the particular attention you gave to actually getting the rights… :smiley:

I worked for a large movie studio.

First of all, find out who owns the rights to the film. Just because it came from a particular studio, that doesn’t automatically mean they still own the rights - but that would be where I would begin; contact the studio to see if they still have the rights.

Write a letter to the studio legal department and let them know what you have in mind. Is this for a school project, how long will the show run, will there be an admission charge, who will get the money, will any original diaglogue or scenes from the film be used, etc.

Studios are generally hesitant about giving away even an iota of any rights - copyright and trademark laws are very specific about this. Even if a studio wanted to be generous with you, there are lots of factors for them to consider that have nothing to do with your project, or you personally.

However, sometimes a studio will grant “limited” rights to a school or non-profit to use all or part of their film for a specific purpose. The key word here is sometimes, but not very often.

But by all means, get written permission! Otherwise, if they get wind of it, you might be shut down before the show hits the stage (wasting all that time and money on pre-production on your part), or worse - be slapped with a hefty lawsuit.

And don’t think they won’t find out. They have a legal staff that occasionally does searches for infringement of their copyrights and trademarks. Believe it or not, most of the time, it is a whistle-blower somewhere who lets the studio know someone is using their material without permission. We used to get anonymous letters all the time letting us know someone had named their business using one of our trademarks, or used an image from one of our films in their advertising. We would generally just send a cease and desist letter, but depending how serious the matter, sometimes a swarm of studio lawyers would zero in on the matter.