Thursday, April 14

A Self-Evaluation of "The Shakespeare Product"

As part of my Shakespeare class at Brigham Young University, I'll be reviewing the quality of "The Shakespeare Product."  I will follow a format similar to what I used in a review of my classmate Jennifer Prusse's blog a few days ago.  Here it goes...

- Quantity: Throughout the semester I posted 30 times, and about half of those posts (14) were directly related to my theme of business in Shakespeare.  In a short period of 3 1/2 months, I think I've consistently managed to post valuable content to keep the blog interesting.

Tuesday, April 12

Shakepeare's Motives: Financial?

As I've explored the business side of Shakespeare's writing, I think I've unwittingly implied that because Shakespeare had financial incentives, his work or his motives are somehow devalued and his legacy is less significant.  I don't know that I've ever stated this outright, but I think we naturally associate money with greed and avarice and that may lower our estimation of a particular person.  I've wondered if my pursuit of Shakespeare as a product may draw criticism that I'm undermining the literary value.  As I considered this possibility, I arrived at two basic conclusions:

1) Producing plays was Shakespeare's profession, so there's no doubt that he was interested in the financial success of the plays.

When we think of Shakespeare's legendary stories, we like to think he wasn't just motivated by money.  But the fact that playwriting was his profession makes his interest in earning money inevitable.  He was creating a product, because that was his sustenance.

2) I don't believe that Shakespeare's desire for financial gain lessens the value of his work.

Many people love their jobs, but that doesn't mean that they would prefer not to get paid. With a great profession, it's possible to pursue both personal fulfillment and financial. Although Shakespeare certainly was trying to generate revenue, that doesn't mean that he wasn't fully invested in the quality or content of his writing.

Thursday, April 7

Review of Jennifer Prusse's Blog, "Screenwriting Shakespeare"

"The Shakespeare Product" originated as part of a Shakespeare course at Brigham Young University.  As part of this course, I will be reviewing a fellow classmate's Shakespeare blog, "Screenwriting Shakespeare."  The thesis of Jennifer's blog is that although we can imitate Shakespeare's writing qualities in film or on stage, the medium of film requires a different writing process to account for its unique strengths.  

The Posts
First, I'd like to say that Jennifer has a great topic and her educational emphasis in cinema makes her highly qualified to research and write on the topic.  She has offered a variety of perspectives connecting screenwriting to Shakespeare, usually with at least three posts per week.  Her posts offer great insights into movie-making and screenwriting with a Shakespeare bent, as can be seen in her post on the effect of an audience.  One of the most unique and engaging elements of Jennifer's blog is that she has offered some of her own creative film writing in addition to her research on Shakespeare.  The creative writing, in combination with the research, creates an enjoyable dynamic in that we can see how she is using her research to improve her own skill.  A great example is the learning curve she's encountered as she attempts to find the perfect title for her script.  

Tuesday, April 5

Burbage Family and the Shakespeare Business Strategy

This blog explores the business-side of Shakespeare, with a central focus on the Bard and his works as a product.  Learn more about this central theme from a previous post.  

In yesterday's post, I suggested that although I've made some interesting observations about Shakespeare's probable business motivations, I had yet to find conclusive research to demonstrate this.  However, today I tackled my research with an excellent source, The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (source info), and I found some useful information about the Theater Companies of Shakespeare time, including information about profit, business competition, and appealing to audiences.  In this post, I'll offer information about the following: 1) some of the key figures of the Theater Companies; 2) Shakespeare's participation in the business side of things; 3) insights regarding the performances that contributed to developing Shakespeare into a great product.

Monday, April 4

The Shakespeare Product: Revisiting its Purpose

Several weeks ago, I presented a hypothesis for my blog that suggests a connection between modern business principles and the proliferation of Shakespeare.  Today I wanted to take some time and reflect, re-evaluate, and make sure that I'm on the right course.  I'll review some of the areas that I've explored and how my research ideas have progressed.  

Early Stages
Although I attempted a variety of random, fun posts about Shakespeare, I realized early on that I wanted to pursue a connection between Shakespeare and business.  To begin, I went after the low-hanging fruit: simple, thematic plot lines or character interactions of Shakespeare that would relate to business scenarios.  At this point, my hypothesis was simple: 

Character and plot in Shakespeare can teach valuable lessons for real-life experiences in business.

Here were some of my efforts:
  • I began with an investigation of existing materials and resources that make use of Shakespeare as a business tool.  In particular, I found that Henry the V is a business favorite for exemplifying leadership.  I also located a corporate training company called "Movers and Shakespeares."  After some investigation of this company's training style and emphases, I anticipated that my blog could approach Shakespeare from a similar perspective.
  • I attempted a few different analyses that focused on the thematic elements of plays: how the characters treated each other, whether the results were positive or negative.  In particular, an analysis of The Taming of the Shrew demonstrates this experiment.  I also did a close reading of Othello as a leader that used a similar approach.

Sunday, April 3

Names in Shakespeare

Today I'll be taking a detour from my usual theme, Shakespeare as a product, to pursue Shakespeare in a more creative direction.  The purpose of this post will be to explore another side of Shakespeare and complete one of the requirements for my Learning Outcomes.

Alice Anne
Since my wife and I just had our first child, names have been on my mind a lot recently.  In fact, the name we chose, Alice Anne (first and middle names, respectively), happens to have a close connection to Shakespeare.  I don't think that Alice has too much to do with Shakespeare, aside from a character in Henry IV, but Anne certainly meant a lot to him.  Many people recall that Anne was also the first name of Shakespeare's wife.  I can't say that we intentionally chose the same name for our daughter, but I'm pleased with the coincidence and the opportunity to blog about it.  The name Anne appeared in one of Shakespeare's plays, Merry Wives of Windsor.  Although I have not read the play, I understand that Anne was a beautiful young mistress that is sought after by several suitors throughout the play.  It makes sense that based on his personal interests, Shakespeare would depict Anne as the desirable, sought-after woman.  I can't say yet whether my Alice Anne will have the same effect on men.

For fun, I found a list of all of the names that appeared in Shakespeare's plays.  I don't have any grand intentions of researching the names and understanding the significance or symbolism of them, but I thought it would be fun to scan through and see the variety that Shakespeare incorporated.  I created a Word Cloud from the names, which you can view by clicking on the miniature below:

Wordle: Shakespeare Names