Thursday, May 9, 2013

Step away from the mailbox! May Blog Challenge

So for today in the May Blog Challenge we're supposed to be sharing morning reflections. It's funny that the kind of thoughts that enter my head when I wake up in the morning are theatre rants or mini academic essays. It all started with the last line from a book I read last night.

"When you've spent several years on a script, it's easy to imagine it might attract major funding from a Hollywood studio or major indie production house- "The Miramax syndrome" I'll call it. So you get sucked into submitting the script all around Hollywood, waiting for responses, eating the costs of mailing and copies, and losing valuable time and energy. My complaint is that too much artistic energy can be eaten up in this waiting-to-be-chosen game. And it may be the entirely wrong game to play."
 ~Rick Schmidt Extreme DV At Used Car Prices

 When I read this quote from a film book that was written in 2004 something immediately pinged in my head. I realized that this described the kind of life that most modern playwrights get into...and that we don't have to anymore. One of the more unappealing parts of the business, and in the past one of the brutal realities was that if you wanted to get one of your plays produced you had to make the rounds sending your play from theatre to theatre and reading to reading and still maybe getting nowhere.

Not many of the big regional theaters want to sink the money on new work anymore and the publishers don't want to publish you unless you've had productions so you get into this vicious cycle. I can't get a lot of productions because I can't get published in the play catalogs...but I can't get published unless I have enough productions...but I can't get productions because I'm not published...etc. You can get in this cycle until you start to succumb to this belief that you can't make money as a theatre artist anymore. That theatre is dead and that we should all just move on to film and forget about it.

But the greatest thing is that the theatre wold and the film world have a great equalizer now...Digital video and the internet... We don't have to live in this analog world of mailing scripts off and waiting for six months to maybe get accepted. You can literally have the idea and make the idea a reality and get it out to an audience that would love it. The same way that digital video and the internet made filmmaking a craft that anyone could get into and excel at the internet has made it easy for a playwright to talk about his work, put his work out there, and connect with people that would love to do do his work. Whether you do this by publishing your play online on a website or film a production and put it on youtube or all the things in between you don't have to be just waiting by the mailbox anymore to get your work seen by people. You don't have to feel like self-publishing or self-producing is the "wannabe's" way of getting work done. Step away from the mailbox and get out in the world! You are your own producer and agent. You are empowered! Now get out there and go crazy!!!

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