If you're a playwright (or probably any writer for that matter), you may have at some point submitted your work to a contest, a festival, an agent, a theater, or some guy on the street holding a sign that read "Will act for food." It's how I got my start and began building a body of work. But how do you know when and where to submit? I wondered that myself. There are tons of submission opportunities out there from various theaters. It was hard to keep track. So I created submissioncalendar.com.
New play development is a tricky beast. Right now, the paradigm is submissions. Query letters and pages of scripts being flung across the country in the hopes that amid the stacks of new plays out there, mine will garner the attention of a literary manager or two. Underneath the veil of full-on submissions, there are ample opportunities for new work to be showcased in festivals, contests, and similar development generators that theaters do throughout the year. Some theaters use submission windows and contests as the way to find new work. That's where submissioncalendar.com comes in.
To help me keep track of all the opportunities, I created a calendar. That calendar was shared with fellow playwrights. Soon after, it grew; and then, while working with one my mentors, Erik Ramsey, the idea for submissioncalendar.com was born. While I had been building this calendar for a while, the idea of making a public site for all playwrights took shape one afternoon in my MFA playwriting seminar at Ohio University. As we articulated the need for a one-stop shop listing submission opportunities in order of their deadlines, I decided to take the calendar public. For the record, listing submission opportunities is not a new thing. A few wonderful resources do similar things. NYCplaywrights blogs about opportunities for NYC-based writers. The Dramatists Guild offers their members access to listings. There are many others that do the same -- generally geared for their readers and members. What I didn't see out there, however, was the calendar. Listings yes. Blog posts sorted by date or subject, sure. For me, however, it was easier to open up the Google Calendar and look to see what was coming up in an easy-to-read, monthly layout.
So --- if you're a playwright and into submitting your work to these festivals, contests, workshops, and the like, then visit submissioncalendar.com and look around. It's free and my goal is to list as many opportunities as possible. I'm also tweeting from @submissioncal if you're twitter-inclined, sending out friendly reminders and sharing news on new play development as I see it happening.
The paradigm of submissions is the current one -- but there are those who are looking for ways to bring technology into the mix and figure out how to create a new one-stop that brings theaters and playwrights together with databases, profiles, etc. A sort of playwrights facebook, although that's simplifying (or maybe polluting) the intent. Take a read on this howlround.com post by Gwydion Suilebhan that asks us to consider a new way of connecting playwrights and producers.
Until then, submissioncalendar.com is going strong and I hope you'll check it out and spread the word to your fellow playwrights.
Thoughts. From my brain. Anything to do with how we tell stories and the stories we tell each other. Literally and figuratively.
Writer. Husband. Father. Effulgent dreamer. A Fightin' Irishman (@NDdotEDU '01). A playwriting Bobcat (MFA in Playwriting, @OhioU '13). I write plays. I'm a geek. I wanted to be an astronaut. I go places in my head.