|View single post by Paddy|
|Posted: Mon Jun 16th, 2008 01:06 pm||
CHAT WITH ROBIN RICE LICHTIG
June 15th 2008, 4pm EST
Those in attendance.
Paddy, Robin Rice Lichtig, Msdirector, Baron, Deepak Morris, DWolfman, SK, Spiny, Norman, bjm, Jake Jay, Katoagogo, mbtinsley, shirleyk, basso, Willoughby, johnpatrick76
Robin Rice Lichtig: The ICWP list takes up a lot of time and a lot of space in the inbox. But I'll have to check this out too. Feels like a party, knowing who's in the room.
deepakmorris: Robin, 1:28 a.m. is about mid-day for me so I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I keep odd hours
Paddy: Robin....many of us have actually gotten productions from this site. Lilies ran for five weeks in Denver because of meeting someone here.
Robin Rice Lichtig: D - you keep the same hours as my son who's a drummer it sounds like.
Paddy: And the writing exercises have gotten many productions.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Productions. That's what it's all about.
Paddy: On that note....
Robin Rice Lichtig: Thought I'd hand you a segue.
Paddy: I've asked Robin here today, because she is the most organized 'submitter' I know.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Fire away.
Paddy: So, here is a bit about Robin, and then we'll begin. Robin will give us some insight, and then we can ask questions.
Paddy: Robin Rice Lichtig is the writer of over 40 plays (including 10 full lengths), seen from Florida to Alaska, Amsterdam to South Africa to Mongolia. Her plays create new worlds, soar with imagination, burrow for forgotten feelings, bounce with laughter, surprise with twisty juxtapositions. They are magic carpets whizzing back and forth in time, touching down on the real, unreal, and super-real.
Paddy: Honors include winner of: SteppingStone's 2007 New Millennium Competition, Alleyway's Maxim Mazumdar, Riva Shiner, Karamu House, Perishable, Drury, Kernodle. Finalist: Reverie, Jane Chambers, National New Play Network (Smith Prize), O'Neill.
2008-06-15 16:06:55 [Message] Paddy: Publishers: Bakers, Dramatic, Smith & Kraus, Brooklyn, JAC. Residencies: The Lark, Cleveland Public Theatre. Lecturer: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Producers include: NYC - New Georges, The Drilling Company, 3Graces, Six Figures, Emerging Artists, SteppingStone, Miranda, Chashama, HERE, Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, TADA!, OneHeart, This Woman’s Work, ManhattanTheatreSource, Pulse, Groove Mama Ink, Kenneth & Co. Others
Paddy: State Theatre of Mongolia, Finborough Theatre (England), NJ Rep., Teatro del Pueblo (Minneapolis), MadLab (Columbus), Bailiwick (Chicago), Bloomington Playwrights (IN), BareBones (NC), Alleyway (Buffalo), Stockyards (Chicago), Two Trees (Vancouver), Mae West Fest (Seattle), Texas A&M (at Kennedy Center), Toronto and Columbus Fringe Festivals.
Paddy: Ms. Lichtig is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts and Media, The Dramatists Guild, Manhattan Oracles, and the International Centre for Women Playwrights. Information about upcoming gigs and available scripts at: http://www.dramamama.net
Paddy: Welcome, Robin, and thank you so much for being here today.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Do you want a little intro?
Robin Rice Lichtig: The primary thing that I've discovered when trying to organize the whole submissions business is that it's an individual matter. What works for you. I've tried and discarded many methods. I'm pretty close to what works best for me now after about 12 years of messing around with different methods.
Robin Rice Lichtig: I'm very visual so a huge bulletin board with DEADLINES is helpful. Each month has a sheet of paper with important deadlines listed. I write in new submissions as they're made.
Robin Rice Lichtig: I have two files in my computer that are most important: submit calendar and producers. In the producers file I enter every submission I make and anything important such as: Forget these guys they charge an astronomical fee! Or:very savvy. Or: deadline date keeps changing, be sure to check.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Okay. Enough from me for now.
Paddy: Okay, Deepak, go ahead with your question.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Kato!!! One of my favorite people!
katoagogo: Do we line up for questions? Or just jump in?
Deepakmorris: Robin, my question is a bit complex. Is it against procedure if I layer it? I mean, I'll ask the preliminary part and then go on to the layers. It IS unfair because you don't know what comes next. If you desire, I'll post the whole question
Robin Rice Lichtig: Probably the whole question is best.
deepakmorris: Done. I find that building a rapport with the audience, whether in staging a play or publishing it, works best. I consider my text books as plays and the way I got them (12 and counting) published is by building a rapport with the publisher. I sent him nothing on spec. I met him in person, convinced him, got him to try me out and have never looked back. In this internet age, do you think a similar approach works? In other words, why look for a print publisher when there are thousands of producer/directors turning to the net for plays?
Robin Rice Lichtig: If I understand your question correctly, you're asking about the relative importance of online contacts as compared to F2F contacts. In my experience and in absolutely everything I read and people I talk to about this (in New York where I am, and places I travel to for theater), there is no substitute for face to face networking. Nothing even comes close. Oops. I just realized that I had to scroll down for your whole question. How do you know that there are thousands of producer/directors turning to the net for plays? That's a new one on me. Could you say more about that.
katoagogo: Robin -- While we're waiting -- I've got a question -- you've been to a lot of festivals, conferences, and involved with a lot of theaters that run them. -- which ones do you recommend? Are there some to avoid? What gave the biggest bang for the buck as far as you're concerned?
Paddy: Okay...I don't like the feel of so much control. You have a question, ask. You have a comment, comment. Be respectful, remember this is Robin's forum, and if it gets too confusing, we'll go back to the control method...sound good?
Paddy: Robin, you can indicate when you are ready for a new question.
Robin Rice Lichtig: I avoid anything that charges the playwrights anything. That includes the New York Fringe big time. I haven't actually been to a lot of conferences. I adore the week offered by Sarah Lawrence College (I'm going there for the third year in a row next week). It's a week of total focus on playwriting. The faculty is unparalleled. This year they're beginning an "advanced" section, at my suggestion. Any place that is so responsive to me gets a big vote!
Robin Rice Lichtig: I can handle two questions at once. I suspect that won't be confusing.
deepakmorris: Okay Robin, let's look at my specific audience - school and college amateurs looking for an easy-to-stage play. In my small town of Pune itself there are about 100 of those looking for one. It's not unimaginable that there are thousands across the world
Robin Rice Lichtig: Kato - I went to the Mid-America Theatre Conference this year. It was very interesting but totally academic. Academic presentation kept separate from the plays. So there are all kinds of conferences. Need to check them all out. People seems to love the Great Plains one, but I'm not going unless they take a full-length. Now back to Deepak's question.
Paddy: Just a note...as a producer, Deepak, I don't go online looking for plays, but rather I go online looking for places to announce calls for submissions.
deepakmorris: Paddy, I'll address that in private later
baron: Robin I have a question: when you self-submit (say, to The O'Neill), how do you avoid your non-agented submission just winding up on the slush pile?
Paddy: Hi, Mary.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Deepak - Okay. I've got you. Yes, requests I get for plays that are right for students and schools do come from what I have online. (Not a lot - I don't have many of that genre.) I have a few plays published that are for that audience, but I have NEVER received a royalty for a production of any of them. I think my advice would be to submit to publishers and to keep up a web presence. Do it all. I think we have to.
baron: I ask, Robin, because the biggest hurdle I continue to face as an unrepresented writer is theaters not looking at my submissions/relegating them to the slush pile because they dont' come from Morgan Jenness or Val Day, or etc.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Big question, Baron. One way is if you know someone at the theater (that old networking thing). If I do, I put that person's name right up in the first paragraph of my letter. It helps to re-submit over and over so they come to recognize your name. The O'Neill is funny. I was never a finalist until this year when I sent a very incomplete play. So I don't know what happened there. With Humana, they wrote that I can submit whole plays because they really liked one (after years of sending). You just have to have fortitude and keep at it. A friend of mine who has an agent is having no better luck with full-lengths than I am.
Robin Rice Lichtig: I have gone to countless panels where the agent thing is discussed. The only time I felt I was hearing the truth from the agents was at a panel at New Dramatists last year. They said, in essence, that you must create (HI MOLLY!) a "buzz" around yourself and your play first, then the agents will be interested. This is different from decades ago, and it really rings true, doesn't it? It's a horrible Catch 22. Gary Garrison summed it up recently in The Loop (I think) when he said, basically, to forget trying to get an agent.
deepakmorris: Robin, to clarify, my initial offers were without royalty but the last few, two student productions, two amateur theatre groups and one professional group, did yield royalties. On the other hand, I have had my play "stolen" by perfectly legitimate colleges. I'll agree to agree that dealing with the end-consumer is risky but a path that is possibly lucrative
Paddy: What about things, Robin, that you would never do...things like call the theatre to see if they've decided yet...?
mbtinsley: hey, robin and paddy!
Robin Rice Lichtig: Deepak - do you have the automatic Google operation where when your name comes up on the web they let you know? I just caught a college group that way, notified the publisher, and should get the royalty.
deepakmorris: Yes, I have Google alerts for my name as well as the names of my plays, Robin
mbtinsley: If I go into Google, will it be obvious how to set up an alert?
Robin Rice Lichtig: Paddy - don't ever phone a theater about your script. I wouldn't dream of it! Just send 'em out and forget about 'em. Get on to the next pile of submissions.
Paddy: Exactly, but what else?
deepakmorris: may I answer mbtinsley, Paddy?
Paddy: Don't ask me, Deepak, just go ahead.
deepakmorris: mbtinsley, just head over to http://www.google.com/alerts
Robin Rice Lichtig: One of the organization methods that I started recently is a file on theaters that (1) I want to be sure to send to regularly and (2) that have written encouraging letters back to me. I find I need a special place for these theaters - most of which don't have specific deadline dates. The "anytime" producers tend to get lost in my slush pile.
deepakmorris: Robin, do forgive me if I seem abrasive but I have a question that's fundamental to "getting our plays out there for money," which is what publishing is about anyway
Robin Rice Lichtig: Deepak - Thanks for the idea. I don't have the individual play titles on the alert. Excellent.
Paddy: I was thinking that too, Robin.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Deepak - I know you want to ask something specific, and I'm not understanding what it is. I have a number of plays published, but have realized almost no money from this. Maybe that's what's got me befuddled.
deepakmorris: Okay Robin, let's forget all about publishing and get down to the basics. We have a play. We want people to pay to read it and to pay to stage it, right?
Robin Rice Lichtig: They aren't going to pay to read it. We definitely would like them to pay to stage it.
deepakmorris: Never mind what they want. We want them to pay to read it, right?
Robin Rice Lichtig: That would be nice, but it's unrealistic.
deepakmorris: Bear with me. What is easier to control, reading a play or staging it, from the point of view of the playwright?
deepakmorris: So, why not turn the model on its head? People can stage it once they read it anyway. Charge to read it in the first place. Samuel French does that
mbtinsley: i'm afraid i'm still at the stage where getting a play produced is the end in itself. i think i probably know a lot of the do's, robin. do you have any don'ts? things you've learned don't work? angles/avenues that just aren't productive?
Robin Rice Lichtig: A wonderful concept. But how to do it when theaters are receiving so many plays for free - hundreds and hundreds a year? At this point the playwrights even seem to be losing the battle against creeping submission fees! (Which I find abhorent.)
Paddy: Deepak, may this is a discussion you should start in the forum?
deepakmorris: Go to the audience, Robin. Paddy, I can do that, if so desired
Paddy: Just, seems as if this is more an idea of yours, than a question for Robin.
deepakmorris: If Robin thinks so I have no objection
Robin Rice Lichtig: Molly - This year I put a box under my desk for theaters that (1) charge ridiculous submission fees or (2) haven't been responsive to my work even though I've sent them something for the past five or six or whatever years. It's a waste of energy to keep sending them scripts. We've all heard it repeatedly, but it's so important to check on what a theater has been producing and send them your work only if it seems to be what they like. Mission statements tend to be generalized ick. Must look at what's produced.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Deepak - It is a discussion that a lot of people could contribute to. I very much appreciate turning things on their heads, shaking them to see what falls out.
mbtinsley: do you still enter every competition?
deepakmorris: Robin, I'm not being subversive but your experience seems even more to suggest that we bypass the publisher.
Paddy: The published thing...however, looks good on a resume.....the ones who've gotten the most from publishing, in my experience, publish for children and teens.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Deepak - I love subversive. I'm a subversive from way back. I get published because (1) I get a kick out of seeing my work published, (2) I'm tired of sending a script out -- if it's published it frees me up. I never submit to publishers hoping to make money. That said, I've only ever sent one-acts to publishers. I'm holding back on the full-lengths. I want control there.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Molly - In no way do I enter every competition. There are thousands! I resent every day I have to spend sending scripts out instead of writing. I resent the money I'm paying the damn post office.
Paddy: Anyone have another question?
deepakmorris: Robin, you're talking my language. There are people who want to stage your plays, right?
Robin Rice Lichtig: Actually, I've had more productions in 2008 than ever. It's been a wild winter and spring!
katoagogo: Robin -- who do you think should take home the tony for Best Play?
Robin Rice Lichtig: I didn't see August: Osage County yet so my opinion wouldn't be fair. What do you think?
katoagogo: August: Osage County...
deepakmorris: Robin, PM me if you want to take this further. I think we have something here but rules prevent me from saying more. 'bye all
Robin Rice Lichtig: p.s. - unless I score a free ticket I dont' get to Broadway shows. I generally prefer off and off-off anyway.
Paddy: Perhaps you want to mention your play in NYC, now, Robin.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Thanks, Paddy! Anyone in the NYC area is invited to come see selections from the new solo show I'm developing. Next Thursday. Details on my website: dramamama.net.
Paddy: It's nearly ten past...anyone have a last question or two?
Robin Rice Lichtig: I also have a one-act going up produced by Native Aliens the last week in June. Haven't seen a rehearsal. Don't know if the production and acting will be any good. It's in a scruffy part of town. Check my website.
Paddy: This has been an amazing year for you, Robin!
mbtinsley: robin, congratulations on both these and everything so far this year. hope to see you in seattle one of these springs.
Marys: congratulations Robin -- what a wonderful time for you
Paddy: And thank you so much for chatting with us...please everyone, stay and chat and get to know everyone better. Thanks to all of you for coming.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Miss you, Molly! Too bad Mae West Fest folded. But I'm in close touch with Karen Kinch and Drama Queen out there.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Thanks, Mary. Is that Mary Steelsmith?
Marys: and thank you, Paddy for hosting -- great work!
Marys: yeppers, Robin
katoagogo: Thanks Robin. You rock!
Robin Rice Lichtig: Feel like I know you.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Peace out, Kato.
katoagogo: You know -- I met Robin in an airport in Aaska...
Jake Jay: Robin, I have a question, if it's not too late
Paddy: Never too late.
Robin Rice Lichtig: Shoot, Jake.
Jake Jay: At what point do you set aside a play and stop sending it out? I have a play that has engendered
Jake Jay: some great feedback, and is going into a developmental festival this Summer. After developing the play should I resubmit to those theatres who liked the draft they read, or take that as encouragement to send another piece?
Rice Lichtig: If a play isn't published, I never don't send it out. There are many that haven't been good matches for producers for a long, long time... So I haven't sent them out for a long, long time.... But if it looks like what a producer is looking for, I'll dust it off. ---- I think I've figured out that if a theater loves an earlier draft (which usually means some specific person at the theater is pulling for it), then they tend to become "married" to that draft and that's a problem. I would resubmit with a very carefully worded letter that gives them credit for seeing the worth of the play in its old form and explaining that you have fleshed out, with the new draft, exactly what it was that their acute perceptions saw as wonderful in the old draft. That way you're giving them credit and hopefully making them want to read and accept the new draft6. Congrats on the workshop!
Jake Jay: Thanks, Robin and Congrats for your 2008!
Robin Rice Lichtig: Thanks all. Hope to see you here again. Going to go submit a few things now.
Jake Jay: Thanks Paddy for an excellent and informative forum.
You're welcome, Jake.
Paddy: As playwrights, we all have to market our work.
Paddy: Most of us are better writers than marketers.
Paddy: Robin is amazing....she gets her stuff out there, and to the right places.
Marys: i tihnk they are both full time jobs
Paddy: Yes. I find I go months and months without submitting anywhere.
Paddy: And then I submit a lot, and forget to write.
Marys: That on top of your producing work -- you must have one huge hat rack!
Paddy: Ha....aside from Producing, writing, directing, I have seven other jobs.
Paddy: One, almost full time at Stratford.
Marys: a BIG HUGE hatrack
Paddy: Yeah...but I like hats ;)
Jake Jay: The marketing part seems difficult, but I have had good results using opps posted by The Playwright's Center. It seems that their info is up to date, and the result of producers' sincere request for submissions.
Paddy: It is....I really do mind never hearing back though...esp. when they contact you, and then.....................................nothing.
Jake Jay: I'm on Vashon Island, near Seattle. I finally have the time to do the marketing, and my next goal isto obtain a Jerome Fellowship. We shall see what net year brings. Yes, I sent this year's play out to15 opps, got accepted by one (PHOENIX THEATRE IN PHOENIX AZ), 5 great feedback letters and nothing, not even an email from the 9 remaining.
Paddy: That's great, Jake!
Paddy: The nine, is very usual.
Jake Jay: The 9 seem typical, as I said I've had better results using opps that have been vetted by The Playwright's Center.
Paddy: That's great to know.
spiny norman: what is the playwright's center?
Paddy: Hiya, Basso.
Paddy: You missed it.
Jake Jay: The Minneapolis Playwright's Center. It offers a national membership for the fee of 50.00/year, and updates the opps weekly. It also sponsors a question/answer service with Literary Managers at 3 top theatres. The website is http://www.pwcenter.org.
basso: Oh, it's over
Paddy: Wonderful, Jake.
basso: I guess I will read the transcript then. LOL
Paddy: I have to go.....thanks again all of you for coming...carry on.
Last edited on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 01:11 pm by Paddy