Heartland Plays, Inc. works with outstanding playwrights whose works have won major competitions and have been seen in theaters across the U.S. and around the world. But it still isn’t easy to get a new play noticed, especially if you are a playwright that hasn’t seen a major production that gained either you or your play “name recognition”. So just what can you do to help move the process along from paper to stage? Listen to what playwright A.D. Hasselbring has to say on the subject:
“One of the most challenging aspects of writing is getting your work in front of the eyes of people who can do something with it. Obviously, qualified agents, managers, and publishers are a great resource in aiding you in your endeavors. Ultimately, however, the burden of promoting your work falls to you, the author. A step that is often missed in promoting one’s work is the use of our own words to draw people’s interest. While blind submissions, contest entries, and postcards are a necessity, there are a number of other tools that writers can put in their toolbox in order to have the best chance for success.
If you’ve done your job and written a great work, you’ve fought half the battle. Obviously, you know your targeted market and have a list of places that are most likely to be interested in producing your work. Perhaps you’ve developed contacts or have friends of friends that you can submit it to. But even if you’re only working off of a blind submission or contest entry, you have to develop rich content that will make your work stand out.
Graphic designers and photographers are the first step. Spend a few dollars to develop logos or capture production stills that make your show look like the enthralling piece of theatre you know that it can be. Next, learn to write a press release. A concise, well-worded introductory press release can be sent out to radio shows focusing on the arts, local television programs interested in promoting regional artists, and newspapers who might be looking to fill hard copy or online columns. As an author, your power of words can be most effective in tailoring the one or two sentences that will grab someone’s attention and draw them to your website or blog. Once you have them there, be sure you’ve provided images and production stills for them to look at, and that you yourself are the best representative of your work.
Have in mind a short synopsis or logline of your script so that when you communicate with anyone interested in you or your work, you can succinctly tell them what each story is about while simultaneously engaging their interest. The right combination of well-crafted hook lines, compelling images, and a clear grasp of your own material will make you appealing to programs and organizations promoting the arts. The more that your work and your name is out there, the more likely someone is to produce your plays.”