Well, not everything. Just a few things I’ve learnt about playwriting so far. I thought it would be useful to detail some of the information and resources that I’ve found, without working on a blog post for each. These are things I wasn’t aware of before I started my playwriting experience, so I hope they are useful for anyone else just starting out.
Your local theatre: Some local theatres have a remit to support new writers. They run writing workshops, accept play submissions, offer rehearsal spaces, run annual open competitions where the ‘prize’ is the performance of the winners play, or offer grants to support producing a new play. These are all types of support that I’ve seen promoted by local theatres, other theatres may offer other support.
Funding opportunities: There are local, national and international means of raising funds. If you’re based in England then http://www.artscouncil.org.uk is a good place to start, check out your Arts Council area and find out about funding programmes. There are plenty of other bursaries and funding opportunities available locally. Your local theatre is another good source to try. And then there’s the kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, which I haven’t tried yet, but why not give it a go when you’re ready?
Websites and Blogs: There are jillions (a big number) of sites dedicated to playwriting. Some are ill-informed and amateurish blogs (like this one), whilst others are websites belonging to successful organisations written by professionals who have worked in the industry for years. Ideas Tap is worth a look for starters.
Twitter: Search #playwriting on Twitter and immediately find yourself immersed in play writing chat from around the world, from lonely, inexperienced playwrights, to theatres, to arts groups, to writers who actually write for a living. It’s also a great way to find out first about writing opportunities and make new, virtual, writing buddies.
How long should a play be: When I first started writing a play, I naively wanted a guide as to how long it should be. Many of you will already know that a play can be any length. There is demand for 10 minutes plays, one act plays and then there are full length plays. A general rule of thumb that seems to be commonly accepted is that each page of a script is estimated to be one-and-a-half minutes long.
Difference between success and failure: But what I’ve really learnt is that the difference between those who fail and those who succeed, is the confidence and belief in what they are doing and their own ability to do it. Listen or read about any successful person, in business, in writing, in sport or any other walk of life and what separates them from the rest, is their 100% belief that they can achieve their goals, their determination to succeed and the resolution to not give up.
“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
– Muhammad Ali