If it’s one thing I hate about being a playwright (and a writer in general) is submissions. It’s the least exciting part of this business and it’s the one where I have the least amount of control. Did I mention it’s my least favorite part?
Personally, I hate writing the letter: Dear So and So, I would like to submit my play…
Submit. Bleh. I hate that word. Submit. It sounds like I’m giving up. Like I’m giving them POWER. Which, in a way, I am.
Maybe I should use the world share. Dear So and So, I would like to share my play…
Well. I don’t know. I’m not in kindergarten. I ain’t sharing the play, I want them to pay me to do it. Exchange? Dear So and So, I would like to exchange my play for cash…
I don’t think anyone would go for it.
So, let’s put semantics aside, maybe someone smarter will find a better word.
The thing is: you have to play to pay, you have to submit your work, send it out, share it, whatever or no one is ever going to see it, read it, produce it. It’s like buying a lotto ticket, you can’t win if you don’t play.
Now. Personally, I don’t play the lotto, because I have the same chances as any Joe Schmoe has. And I don’t like those odds. I would like to have BETTER than average chances of winning. So, I don’t play the lotto. (Alas, I will never be tremendously wealthy and then lose it all because I made really dumb purchases.)
BUT, when I’m submitted my plays, I try to increase my chances…how? I edit and I research. First I edit out all of those things I’m not right for. For example, I’m not a Latino writer, so I probably shouldn’t submit to that theater or competition.
Once I have narrowed things down a wee bit, I do some research. I look up the companies who I might submit to. Who are they? What do they do? Do they do what they SAY they do? For example, a theater company says they like doing new work, all kinds of new work (thumbs up, right?) Well, then, why is it in their season history a list of abstract new work? Because really when they say they love new work, they only love a CERTAIN kind of new work. (Which is fine, great, but, please be specific.)
Now the list is narrowed even more. (And yes, I judge a theater company on their website. If it looks cheap, then, yeah, it reflects poorly.)
There are other things to consider. Money. Sometimes I have to pay to submit. I think that’s stupid and I rarely do it. Theater companies feel it’s the price of doing business. But no one would ask an actor to pay to audition. No one. So, why should I have to pay to audition my play? (And, for you theater companies out there: reading submissions is the price of doing new work, you shouldn’t demand a fee.)
So, once my list is made…print out the plays, fill out the forms, type the letters. It’s dreary and boring. And that’s that.
Though…I have to say…companies doing email submissions…I love it.
More another day.