Dramaquill's All Things Writing

September 20, 2011

You’ve written a play…now what?

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I love my job!  One of my responsibilities is to provide my studio’s drama department with original play scripts for each class. 

For some folks that sounds like a daunting task but I love it!

This semester I’m working on a circus mini musical for the 6-9 yr. olds, a modern day Ms. Scrooge play for the 10-16 yr. olds and a full-length pirate musical, complete with songs and choreography for the 9-18 yr. old class.

I’m lucky!  I know exactly what’s going to happen once I finish my plays.

Each class will begin to work on becoming their characters, blocking and physical movement, memorizing lines, learning songs and choreography and working together on the project. 

I said I was lucky.  Why?  Because I get to be there to watch it all unfold.  I can see how things work that I’ve written and tweak anything that doesn’t seem to be working. 

My writing will come to life right before my very eyes.

Now I realize that I’m very lucky to have access to these groups of kids and teens who are more than willing to act out whatever scripts I bring to class.

Many (or maybe even most) playwrights don’t have instant access to a production like I do, but there are ways to get productions of your scripts.

* Contact local amateur theatre groups/troupes and ask if they are willing to read your script

* Enter contests where the prize is a staged reading or a production (beware: some contests  
   have entry fees.  You have to decide if the fee is worth it for the potential prize)

* Find a local writing group and/or make other connections that may lead to a production

* Contact schools, drama clubs or other groups that may entertain the idea of putting on a
   show

* Organize your own production (more on that later).

For me, getting my plays published means I can reach a wider audience and perhaps won’t have to do ALL of the marketing myself to get my plays out there..but…productions, whether amateur or professional are what it’s all about in the end.

“The Play’s the Thing” 
       Shakespeare

April 29, 2011

Your play: published or produced?

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As the resident playwright for Slightly off Broadway triple threat studio, I create 6-8 new scripts every school year.  There was a time when I believed that I really hadn’t done justice to my plays unless I managed to get them published or in an anthology collection.

As the years went by, I realized that the greatest pleasure I get from writing my plays and musicals is watching them unfold during the rehearsal process and then seeing the final product up on the stage during the performances.  After all, plays are meant to be seen and heard, not just read.  This is what makes plays different from all other forms of fiction writing.

I know several playwrights who have developed their own publishing companies solely for the purpose of self-publishing their plays.  That way, they don’t have to share royalties when they sell copies to schools and drama clubs. 

Over the years I’ve ordered sample copies of plays from several different publishers.  Some produce a fine product but many others create an amateur looking cardstock cover folded over and stapled to the printed sheets.  I can make copies that look better by doing it myself.  Also, if I have them published with someone else, then I have to share revenue on each sale.  So I understand why so many playwrights choose to create their own company and their own product.

But for me, publication isn’t the forerunner for my plays.  It’s the productions that I crave.  Besides the Slightly off Broadway performances, I have sold copies of my plays to school drama clubs and organizers of summer drama camps.  Knowing that something I have created can be shared with performers and audiences all over the globe is far more satisfying to me than having my play listed in a catalogue.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to be listed with the likes of someone like Samuel French – who wouldn’t? 

So how do I get the word out that I have plays available?

I advertise on the Slightly off Broadway website.  I read ezines and forums that pertain to playwriting.  I talk to teachers who are looking for new material.  I do my own networking.

Am I getting rich selling copies of my plays for productions?

Nope.

Am I satisfied knowing that every single one I have written to date has had at least one production?

Absolutely.

Publication or Production…you decide.

http://www.slightlyoffbroadway.com

http://www.samuelfrench.com

http://www.stageplays.com

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