NY Shakespeare Exchange seeks up to 154 film directors to participate in a groundbreaking exploration of film, theater, and mobile technology. The Sonnet Project is a massive multi-artist, internet-based interpretation of Shakespeare’s sonnets that will put these astounding poems quite literally into the pockets of people across the globe. We will bring together an adventurous group of filmmakers and actors to create film versions of all 154 sonnets that will live on the Internet and be delivered to the public by way of a specially designed Sonnet Project mobile app.

Each sonnet video will be filmed in a unique location throughout the five boroughs of New York City, the birthplace of American cinema. From the iconic to the forgotten, we’ve chosen locations with deep cultural significance. In this way, we juxtapose the poetry of the city with the poetry of the Bard, and find a deep contemporary relevance for Shakespeare’s sometimes elusive language.

The project launched in 2013 on Shakespeare’s 449th birthday and culminates in 2014 on his 450th. Throughout the year we release a new sonnet video every 2-3 days. The videos and all supporting materials will be available free of charge to anyone in any sector of the population and foster an unprecedented level of access to Shakespearean performance.

Creative Parameters for The Sonnet Project

• The “starring roles” in each video are Shakespeare’s language, the specific NYC location, and the director’s interpretation (teams of film makers are welcome to submit – please choose one person to serve as the primary contact on the submission form.
• Director is responsible for equipment needs.
• New York Shakespeare Exchange will assign the sonnet location.
• Highly skilled classical actors from the files of NYSX will be cast based on each particular sonnet. Director requests for basic actor types (e.g., gender, age-range, etc.) will be taken into consideration when possible. Requests to work with specific actors will be taken on a case-by-case basis.
• An NYSX text coach will work with each actor on interpreting the language, and will be present “on set” to assist with rhetorical technique and clarity of Shakespearean thought. The text coach will also be available to the director for any textual analysis questions.
• Video length must be 120 seconds or less.
• Submitted footage must be fully edited and in an “audience ready” form. NY Shakespeare Exchange will provide logos and specifications for titles and credits.
• The delivery format is 1080 HD 23.98P with sync sound.
• Video must be delivered no later than March 31.
*Once a director has submitted one video, he/she may submit to take on a second, third, even fourth. For all secondary videos the deadline is July 31.
Within these constraints, we challenge each filmmaker to express a personal cinematic style.

Take a look at the video we’ve been using for our pitches:


Because NYSX is a nonprofit organization and this program will be free to all audiences, we are looking for contributions of time and talent. There is no pay for involvement. Directors will be fully credited for their work.

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