Okay. So this is re: my blog post from a few weeks ago “Let’s talk Trees” about hard copy submissions and why I think they are a huge problem in the submitting world — So, today I got my StageSource reminder telling me to submit to Fire House Center For The Arts and I thought to myself, ever year I see this posting, and for some reason every year I don’t submit… and I couldn’t remember why, but when I downloaded the application rules I remembered.
I’ll bold the stuff that really bugs me:
· Electronic submissions will NOT be accepted.
· You must submit (4) copies of each script. Please include the title somewhere on the first page of each copy, but no author name. Please only staple the top left of each short play copy. One acts and full lengths may include clips or binders.
· Please include a character breakdown: gender, ages, genre and description with each script.
· Do not include your name on the (4) copies. Make sure not to identify the author in headers, footers, etc.
· Please submit a single separate information page for each play you enter. Include the following information:
1. TITLE OF PLAY 3. ADDRESS AND EMAIL
2. AUTHOR’S NAME 4. PHONE NUMBER(S)
· Scripts will be recycled and not returned. Copyright licenses always remain with the author(s).
Submissions must be postmarked by Friday,….
Okay, Class, these are the problems: No electronic submissions, and you must not only mail (that includes shipping and postage money, people), but you have to send not 1, not 2, but 4 copies of your script!! If you get your scripts printed outside the home (and don’t work in an office where you can sneakily use their laser jet printer, that can be up to $50 in printing…and you still have to ship it! How is this NOT a submission fee?
How can we “boycott” submission fees and not boycott this?
You’re answer to me is probably, “Jewbana, then you don’t have to submit.” And I will say, “I won’t.” Followed by, “Suck it!” Look. I’m not gonna lie to you good people of the internet, I want to be liked, and I want to be successful as a playwright, but why should I go broke and kill trees in the process? The theatre, especially the bigger ones like Fire House have budgets and printers and copy machines, I know it takes 600 theatre folks to get a copy machine to work — but seriously. I don’t understand how we can say that it’s unfair to ask for a submission fee and not consider printing 4 copies and postage as a submission fee?
Gary Garrison of the Dramatist Guild said:
As of today, the Guild will no longer publicize calls for
submissions that have a fee attached unless that fee is transparent (where does the money go and to whom) in the description to the reader. The subtext: it is not okay to charge a dramatist a fee to supplement a theatre or producer’s production opportunity. YOUR ART IS FEE ENOUGH!
So, that being said, if I am being charged a $10-30 submission fee, but they let me know it covers the cost of printing that they are going to do on their end, so that I don’t have to print and mail my script, then maybe it is okay? Still that’s a lot of money to print my scripts and then recycle them and print someone’s script on the back. That’s a lot of money (period).
But Gary continues, and this is where I really feel he should be on my side about electronic submissions only:
If a theatre or producer tacks on an additional $10, $15
or $30 fee, one submission now costs anywhere from $20-50, with no guarantees that anything will come of it. And yes, I know: there are no guarantees for anyone in the theatre. But all too often this feels like, “we’re not going to guarantee you anything, AND we’re going to charge you for the privilege of that, AND you’ll probably never hear from us, AND don’t expect any kind of critical reaction to your material, AND don’t expect notification of who, in fact, was chosen.” And if it’s not a money issue then it’s a spirit issue: it’s demeaning enough to submit your work to theatres and producers that you never hear from. To pay someone for their silence is too much to ask anyone…… we will no longer list an opportunity that requires you pay a fee to be considered for inclusion.
Enough is enough.
Theatre’s will not guarantee acknowledgement that they have even received your script, let alone, as Gary says, there is no guarantee that your script will get chosen — so you are paying for someone else’s play to get produced. If I print 4 copies of a script and mail it to you, I want to know you received it, and I want to feel like the money it takes me to print and mail my scripts is being acknowledged.
To sum this all up, I would almost rather pay a $10 submission fee than spend $50 printing script, killing trees, and wasting ink — where in many cases the company will receive a script read the character breakdown, decide it’s not what they are looking for and toss the script into a recycling bin or feed it to their pet shredder.
I say, Enough is enough! No more hard copy scripts!
If I update this blog... that's probably a sign that I'm not writing... I should be writing. Right now.