We’ve almost finished cataloging “virtually every play in the world” and so we’re now able to welcome submissions to the database from individual playwrights
But we know from experience that if we made a conventional call for plays we’d be inundated with hundreds of them, taking hundreds of hours to read before we pass hundreds of negative judgements, only to publish a bare handful
Sadly, the economics of the printing-press means the process of selecting plays for publication is in practice almost entirely geared to producing rejection and disappointment
Even plays of recognised quality and originality are frequently passed over because conventional printing & distribution costs make their publication economically unviable
And many publishers won’t even consider your play unless it’s had a professional production or been sent in by an agent
In short, the chances of a play being published conventionally are small and getting smaller
Which is bad news for everyone who cares about theatre
So we’ve tried to come up with a better way to give more plays a chance
Stageplays is now willing and able to publish and distribute your play or theatre-related book as electronic text
As much as I am a big supporter of this site, I would say you must not be in a hurry to publish with anyone until you know other offers that are out there.
In general, any publishing of your work should be in favor of the playwright, not the publisher. It is YOUR work.
You should not rush to any offer. Economic information, not personal ego is what you need. Investigate all options. Be careful of giving away any subsidiary rights, such as movies or television or "other future media" or product spin-offs. Or giving away rights to heirs or family. Don't rush into anything.
In fact, Paul, I would highly suggest you should contact the Dramatists Guild yourself - and the British counterpart - and see what they recommend and what you can come up with that would be fair and equitable. This would only help your generous offer to the members.
And what if Stageplays ceases to function: who gets the rights then? There is more unseen possibilities to any offer than meets the eye that you must protect yourself from. What about exclusivity? Who will handle a "First Class Production" if such comes about? Etc., etc., etc. Always look for the worst case/best case scenario in any contract.
And if you are a member of the Dramatist Guild of America, run any agreement by the DGA. I always suggest you join the DGA and run any contractual agreement through them first.
Having proudly won the Consumer Economics Medal in sophomore year in high school, I will reiterate what I have said about these matters since I joined this wonderful site several years ago: Remember, the first rule of any transaction is: "Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware." I say this whether it is for buying a car, getting a roof on your house, buying an insurance policy or any transaction other than buying a candy bar!
In other words, be wary. Be hesitant. Take your time.
When I am asked to talk to college and university students the first rule I tell them is "PROTECT YOURSELF: Physically, creatively, and especially economically.""
I would advise that here as well.
I do see this below in the contract which is good.
Is this Agreement binding?
All Rights to your work remain with you and you can cancel the Agreement at any time.
But, Paul, I'd still get in touch with the DGA and run it all by them. With their approval, it might be more of an Imprimatur for you and the playwrights.
After three thousand views, I am wondering if anyone has gone this route; if so, has it produced any results? How does a group looking for a show end up at Stageplays? Specifically, how does that drama director in small town America discover the website? I ask, because I want this to work, but I haven't seen any info yet on its success or viability.
"How does a group looking for a show end up at Stageplays? Specifically, how does that drama director in small town America discover the website?"
There are lots of ways to "discover" Stageplays, this Forum being one of them
But aside from word of mouth, Facebook etc, the main way is via Google where Stageplays is usually ranked in the top 3 for such keywords as "plays", "buy plays", "theatre bookshop" "musical scripts" etc (try it and see)
Google alone sends us more than 2,000 visitors a day
We also have hundreds of links from Playwrights on the Web and The Theatre Banner Exchange
And our ezine offering discounts on hot-off-the-press new plays (including a new ePlay) goes out to 40,000 subscribers every week
In short, if you're online and interested in buying plays & musicals from the largest collection in the world, we shouldn't be too difficult to find
What about licensing? Do you have a standard fee for amateur productions? Or are they on a play to play basis. Do you allow the playwright to set the fee? I charge 75 USD for full-lengths. Would Stageplays maintain that standard? And do you negotiate professional productions. If you negotiate professional productions, do you bring the playwright in on the process? After you have licensed a production, what kind of bite do you have if theatre's are slow to pay or don't at all -- especially theatres on this side of the pond? GUYS is becoming impossible to handle myself, I'm tired of pirated productions or contracted productions slow to pay, and so I'm actually interested. I've sold scores of GUYS scripts through The Theatre Bookshop alone and, since I have no idea to whom they are being sold, I spend a great deal of time Googling for clues. What can you say to someone in my position?
Any enquries we receive relating to a potential performance are always forwarded to the playwright
They can either deal with it themselves, forward it to their agent if they have one, or else ask us to handle it
We work on the basis of $60.00 per performance, but if you wanted us to ask $75.00, we'd work with that
All and any offer would always be subject to the final approval of the author and we split the proceeds 70/30 in the author's favour
As to policing Rights, in the old days publishers would scour press-cuttings of theatre reviews, but - as you say - these days it's Google and authors rarely need to be encouraged to enter their names into G's search box <s>
In the case of unlawful performances, we'd do what what we can to resolve the issue - a threat is usually enough
But we have no fool-proof system - there never has been and probably there never will be
I decided to take a punt on this with my play The Beginner's Guide to Murdering Your Husband. I also have it on Production Scripts (where it is free to upload) and honours are about even as far as sales are concerned.
I had a concern about the publishing fee because it felt a bit like vanity publishing but, on the other hand, I guess it is down to whether you have the confidence that you will achieve the sales to get the money refunded. I'm now close to getting my money back so it seems like it was a good investment.
The advantage over Production Scripts is that Stageplays are so well known as a retailer of scripts that they the first choice for a lot of people looking for a script and my play will appear in searches along with those from better known playwrights.
It's another way of getting my work out there and I'm happy with the service so far.
Like this site and have submitted several of my plays. As a part-time writer and with plays that have all been produced, dealing with publishing houses was taking up too much time. Several of my plays were seriously considered for publication, but were eventually cut as they only could "afford" to publish a handfull. I have asked some theater people who select plays for production if they have heard of the site and most said they do use it. For me it is a way to put my plays out there to be considered. Once all my plays are on-line I plan on doing some eMarketing of my own, and I can point potential production companies and schools to the site.
For some time I have wrestled with the idea of going the Stageplays route. My apprehension was the obvious vanity press feel of paying to put up a play. But I've taken the plunge and my play about college life in the sixties, WE WERE STARDUST, is now available through Stageplays.
Having directed two successful productions of my show ten years apart, I know it works well on stage, and yet each publisher I sent it to took a pass. Who knows why? Call it vanity, ego, whatever, but despite my publishing successes, this remains my favorite play and I'm not willing to let it lie dormant in my word processor forever more.
If there's a chance it might be found and produced, it will be well-worth the investment. We'll see.