Monday, June 17, 2013

Creating a Play Submission Lead List

So last week I talked about networking for playwrights. You don't want to be sending out any cold submissions (sending to people that you don't know). The best way to do this is to cultivate a sound network with good business contacts. Like the old adage for employment goes 90% of percent of jobs are made through personal contacts. In the new play industry a majority of your productions at first will come from personal contacts.

So how do you keep track of all of your contacts? Well when I worked at Vector Marketing one of the greatest tools I learned was the lead book. A lead book is the names and numbers of every business contact that you've ever made.  Want to know how to make one? Well get out a spiral notebook and start making a list of these people...

  • Every director that you know.
  • Every professor that you know.
  • The literary department of every theatre you've ever been to.
  • Every actor that you know.
  • Non-Profit organizations that you volunteer at.
  • Causes that you donate too.
  • Churches that you know.
  • Every person that you ever met at a networking event or a convention.
  • Your playwright colleagues
  • Festivals and submissions that your colleagues submit to.
  • Festivals and contests that your colleagues and mentors sit on the board for.
  • Festivals, submissions, theaters, and fellowships that a mentor or professor has worked with before or told you about in class. 
  • Any place where a colleague has been published.
You should have a list that spans a couple of pages right about now. When you have wracked your brain until it starts smoking take a minute or two and start marking them into these kinda categories....

  • Gimmees: If you ask them they would do it no matter what. Or an opportunity that has little competition.
  • Career-makers: I might be a long shot that you ever get a production with this company or win this contest but if you ever did get selected it could be a great high mark on your resume. 
  • Maybes: You submit to them because you've heard a lot of great things about them and it would be great to work with them in the future.
  • Lines in the water: Most of the people in this list would be the actors and directors that you know. You keep your connections with them and you work with them. They won't be the ones to give you a production but they're always the ones that will give you a good recommendation where they work or will tell you about any opportunities that they know about. 
Start breaking up your list into pages that work for you. For an hour a day or anytime that you have downtime handy spend some time on the computer researching these people and updating their contact info. Keep some notes off to the side about what kind of plays they do or any wonky requirements they have. Always update and always keep your ears to the ground. If you keep stressing personal contacts and a network of real people and real business relationships your work is bound to go far!

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