We’re still early enough into 2020 that it can be considered the start of a new year, depending on specific circumstances. (I’m still starting emails with a “belated happy new year” greeting where appropriate, for instance.) As such, my scant moments of free time are filled up with all the routines and rituals one performs with each new trip around the sun. And sure, many of these are the common activities we all have to do – getting our tax information together, finally clearing out the refrigerator, that sort of thing. But some of them are so peculiar to the writer’s life that nobody else would ever even think to do them.
Like adjusting the copyright date on our title pages.
It’s not something you’d ever think about, until the next cycle of playwright submissions comes around, until some new opportunity presents itself that you realize a script you wrote five years ago ought to be perfect for – but you don’t want the brash new theater company to which you’re submitting that this script wasn’t dashed off in a white heat the night before. And so, on the bottom right corner of the title page, you claim (unofficially) a copyright. You put the year of composition. Or, more accurately, you update the year of composition to reflect the current year.
And you do this for every unpublished, unproduced script you have.
And you probably do a quick rewrite or two, but first things first.
There’s other drudgery, of course. Updating the biography that you keep saved in a handy digital file, so that you when you copy and paste it for some submission it reflects what you’ve done in the past year (proving, of course, that you’ve actually done things of some note in the past year). Updating your actor’s resume for the same reason, then attaching it to a new batch of headshots – which are 8 by 10 inches, rather than 8 and a half by 11 inches, so you also have to methodically trim the excess paper from the margins of your headshot.
And that’s how you start the year.
Let’s keep rocking it in – (checks notes) – 2020, everybody!