There’s a variety of aggregate sites here on the Interwebs where submission opportunities for playwrights can be found, and a number of different ways in which to use them. The website I most frequently use, Playwrights’ Center, allows you a variety of ways to organize their listings. You can filter out opportunities that charge an application fee; I used to do this since I generally disapprove of the practice, but things being what they are these days (remember, there’s this horrifying pandemic going on) I’m less likely to begrudge a company an extra ten dollars or so. You can also sort the listings chronologically, by a variety of different criteria. My usual preference is to see whichever deadline is nearest, to make sure that I don’t miss anything that might be coming up, and have a chance to make whatever formatting adjustments I need to (and I always seem to need to make some kind of adjustment) before the opportunity passes me by.
The downside of this approach is the risk that I’ll spot an upcoming submission deadline date too late to prepare anything; the piece might require extensive reformatting, or reworking, or the opportunity might require something brand new entirely, and since I’ve only been looking a few weeks ahead when it comes to those submissions I’ll have left myself with no time to make those preparations. This doesn’t come up too often, fortunately – most opportunities for full-length pieces give you a few months’ lead time at least, and usually a short play contest winds up being too narrow in focus for me to submit in the first place.
This past weekend, I saw an opportunity in Binghamton that’s soliciting short new one acts, in response to art work that’s posted on their website. This isn’t the sort of prompt that I usually respond to – and yet, this time, an enjoyably weird idea presented itself. Surely it would be fun to explore the idea, nurture it, and work on it over these last weeks of the summer.
Except it turns out that the deadline is next Sunday.
And so, Constant Reader, we once again face the conundrum I’ve talked about since the very beginning of this website; when you have limited time to write, time spent doing anything else – including writing other material, like this very post you’re reading now – is an active hinderance to your goal. Is this goal achievable? I think so; as of this writing I’m already about a quarter of the way through the rough draft, and it’s always the opening scenes that are the hardest to draft – you have to figure out a way to set up the rest of the piece in a way that’s expeditious without feeling forced. I just have to do it.
So – speaking of expeditious and forced – I’ll bid you adieu until next week, Constant Reader! I’ve got some more work to do.