Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Absolute Favorite Play Submission Advice

So there are two extremes in the idea of play submission you have people like me on the left who think that you shouldn't send a million plays away in the mailbox/inbox waiting for just one theatre to notice you. Instead you should just focus on maintaining good relationships with people and making sure that they know who you are. And then there are the people who will mail/email their submissions off to as many people as possible and keep working on your scripts to change them to meet their entry requirements. 
All Playwrights are different with so many different varieties. 

I personally keep getting perplexed by this issue. Sometimes as a playwright I get that guilt that maybe if I just shotgunned all my plays out there and kept submitting I'd at least hit something!!! And then there are the times where I get that email from a friend who saw a recent reading of one of my plays and tells me that I have to send him a recent version so that he can try and produce it and I think to myself, "Well my way of doing it works!" So I guess there's a really good reason why people stick to both sides and there's nothing inherently wrong with one or the other. But could there be a happy medium somewhere?

Enter my venerable and ever wise program director Todd Ristau. He gave me and several other playwrights a short list of three criteria to go by when choosing places to submit your plays to. Here's the Ristau Trinity of Submission...

  • How much do you admire the theatre/organization? : How much do you like the theatre that this group is doing and love the people there?
  • How useful would a production be at the Venue?: Would getting a production of these people help your career or portfolio at all. 
  • What are you getting in return?: Are you getting a royalty? Are they flying you out to the venue? Or are you just getting paid with the "experience" of a production and getting a dvd mailed to you?
The biggest thing I guess we have to remember is that we have to know what we want out of the theatre and what is best for our plays. Figure out what you want from your career, research it, and keep submitting to the opportunities that help you out. What I found is that the two worlds of submissions aren't always about hedging your bets but making goals and going after them.

Lastly another thing Todd says is to keep writing...just keep writing what you like and don't take rejection as a commentary on you as an artist. Stick to your plans, your goals, and get out there and start woking on them. Get out there and start doing it!

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