Over the last couple of years, I've fallen into a routine of theatre making and theatre production that has trapped me a little - putting on shows leaves less time for writing. And less time for writing means basically no time for sending my plays out into the world. Now spending time making theatre is probably the best excuse for not having enough time writing plays, but none of it makes up for the fact that - if I don't send my plays out into the world, they won't get made.
It's one thing to focus on a production I'm directly involved in, and quite another to entirely forget about marketing myself to a wider audience by sending my plays to theatre companies all over the world who are looking for new scripts. 2013, I resolve to do better.
|The World (Winkel tripel projection)
In fact, it's January 12 and I've already done better at this than in the last two years combined. All because of a little site called Play Submission Helper. In the past, Google has been my friend - search for theatre companies, search for short play festivals, search for submission guidelines, search, search, search. It's laborious. It's time consuming. And if you're not doing it regularly, you might miss deadlines.
The Play Submission website has a blog, that highlights submissions due that month or theatre companies that are offering cash prizes in some way, shape or form. And they have a handy, dandy spreadsheet listing over four hundred companies across the world that are looking for plays. Short, one act, full length, musicals.
I don't want this to come off reading like an ad (too late!) but I've found it very helpful, since that spreadsheet is very comprehensive, lists email addresses, URLs, company names, contacts, what they are looking for, what they aren't looking for, who is eligible, what you need to submit, deadlines - and space for you to log which companies you submit to, when and what you sent.
I've already sent out a bunch of my plays to 15 companies, spread across the US, Canada and the UK. About two-thirds of those companies have already responded with a "thanks for your submission" email - mostly written by actual people (ie. only a couple were auto-responses.)
It's one thing to send plays to Short & Sweet every year. They have festivals across Australia and Asia, so that's a nice bunch of places to consider my work each year. It's another thing to really send stuff out into the world like this. And to know people all over the world are reading my plays. And considering them for production.
And speaking of people all over the world reading my plays, I have uploaded a selection of my short plays plus extracts from two of my full-length plays, so that anyone visiting my website can read samples of my writing.
My Plays list all the plays of mine that are currently available for production - and it's where you can go to download extracts from The New Normal and The Twelfth of Never or the full versions of my short plays Eight Minutes, The Fidelity Act, It's Not the End of the World, Like a House on Fire and You Will Be Kissed By Princess Leia.
Plus... I'm working on something brand new for later in the year, which - if everything goes to plan - will debut outside Australia.
2013: the year I make a concerted effort to send my plays out into the big wide world.