“The best thing you can do for your own career is help others.” – Pat Gabridge
At our January 25th meeting, Playwrights’ Platform members were treated to a terrific talk and discussion with Boston Playwright, Pat Gabridge, on strategies to more effectively market and promote our work. As highlights, I offer the Playwright’s Three P’s:
Be present (and patient)
Effective networking and relationship building means being present and accounted for (both in person and virtually) as much as possible. Patrick highlighted several of the many opportunities to do this in Boston, like at StageSource’s Boston Theatre Conference, Boston Theatre Marathon, New Play Alliance, HowlRound’s #newplay Twitter chats, and attending lots of local theatre. And when you go, be accounted for. Tweet about it. Go during previews and opening nights, when you can meet and engage with directors and production teams after the show. Tell them what you liked about their work. Patrick also reminded us to be patient. Developing relationships that open doors for a playwright’s work takes time. It’s like dating, he said. You can’t go too fast. Don’t start by pitching your script. Start with coffee, conversation, building connection.
Be positive, a force for new plays
When you’re out there, engaging, and being present, be positive about other’s work. One example Patrick gave was social media, where he recommended maintaining at least 7:1 balance, where, for every one piece of news you share about yourself and your own work, you should be sharing seven or more that are you engaging, commenting, praising, and promoting other’s new work. “The best thing you can do for your career,” Patrick encouraged us all, “is to help others” and be a positive force for new plays.
Be perspicacious about those submission piles
Theatre is a relationship business. So, there’s no beating being present, personal, positive, and active in your local theatre community. Yet, even when submitting to far flung contests, festivals, and theatres, there are ways a playwright can increase their odds. Patrick talked us through the critical four (which he also blogged about at: “What are the Playwriting Odds (and the 4 ways writers can improve their chances)):
- Write better plays.
- Enter the right piles.
- Enter smaller piles.
- Enter more piles.
Our thanks to Patrick for a terrific discussion, and reminder of what an exciting time it is to be a playwright in Boston.