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The Playwrights Forum > Markets & Marketing > Opportunities for Playwrights > Short & Sweet entries close July 31st

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Should competitions that charge entry fees be allowed to advertise on the Playwright's Forum website ?
1 5 (22.73%)
2 11 (50.00%)
3 1 (4.55%)
4 8 (36.36%)
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Short & Sweet entries close July 31st  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Wed Jul 5th, 2006 04:30 am
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Readytobeslammed
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HURRY! Entries for Short & Sweet, Melbourne close 31 July



 

Playwrights of the globe - you only have one month left in order to get your plays in for the 2006 Melbourne Short & Sweet ten minute play festival - the largest and most rewarded ten minute playwriting competition in the world.

Short & Sweet, a ten minute play festival and competition returns to the Arts Centre in late 2006. There’s $20,000 in prizes on offer, so if you have a good idea for a ten minute play - get writing - or have a good one already written - send it along ! Submissions can be entered via http://www.theartscentre.net.au/shortandsweet and the only rule is that the play needs to be ten minutes or less and must never have been staged in Melbourne, Australia! But HURRY entries close 31 July 2006.

All plays entered for Melbourne Short & Sweet 2006 are also automatically entered for Sydney Short & Sweet 2007 - so you can enter both competitions for the price of one.

The winning selection of plays will be presented in a season of 60 short-listed plays, which will be performed at the Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio from 27 November to 17 December 2006. Throughout the season the audience and a panel of judges will select finalists. The chosen plays will be performed at a gala awards night at the Arts Centre on Sunday 17 December 2006. 

Along with the playwrights, several hundred actors and 60 Victorian directors will be involved with Short and Sweet, making it a key component of the Arts Centre‘s commitment to developing Victorian artists and performers. Short & Sweet builds on other supportive Arts Centre programs such as TILT, Mix It Up  and the Wal Cherry Play of the Year award. 

If you think you have what it takes, we want you!

·         Plays can be submitted NOW at http://www.theartscentre.net.au/short&sweet

·         Entries close on 31 July 2006

·         Anyone can submit a script even if you have never written one before!

·         Expressions of interest for actors and directors to be involved can be submitted at the website

·         Administration fee is $15 per script entry 

Short & Sweet was conceived by Mark Cleary and first produced at Newtown Theatre.

 
NOTE ON ENTRY FEES:

I realise many playwrights on the Playwright's Forum are strongly opposed to entry fees so to answer a few questions - and to head off the more libellous accusations - I will try to answer the question why we charge entry fees.

Firstly Short & Sweet is an established and reputable competition that has been runnning in Sydney for five years and Mekbourne for two. Shorter & Sweeter - the best of Short & Sweet - has also toured to Sydney, Melbourne and most recently Singapore. 

We are not "a bunch of hustlers looking to rip struggling playwrights off." The Arts Centre is the most significant performance venue in Melbourne, which is Australia's second largest city - similar to the Sydney Opera House. 

There is one main reason we charge entry fees - and it's not to raise revenue. It's to limit entries to a manageable number.

We receive about 1000 entries a year. If there was no entry fee we would get 10,000 which we could simply just not deal with.

We get about 100 US entries a year - many no doubt from the playwright's forum - so I'm grateful for that as it brings in some good plays for us. We might get even better plays if we didn't charge the fee but we would also get 10,000 plays entered - as stated above - which we simply couldn't deal with.

We also prefer to limit that way rather than 1 play per writer as I don't think that's fair to writers as often they are not the best judges of their work. I will also not compromise Short & Sweet's assessment process which is very thorough.

I will acknowledge the entry fee does bring in some operating funds for Short & Sweet - it doesn't go to me, I'm just an Arts Centre employee - but it is very minimal part of the overall budget and is not used for prize money. That is provided seperately. It is merely a small part of an overall operating budget for Short & Sweet at the Arts Centre and in Sydney, some of which covers assessors fees which are minimal.


I realise the above will not be satisfactory to many who visit this site. And you won't be entering. Fair enough. There are some - like myself (I'm also a playwright) who don't mind reasonable entry fees being charged by established and reputable companies who offer a chance of a good production of my play - will enter. And I look forward to receiving their plays.

To those objectors you will no doubt point out the following:

- actors don't have to pay to audition

- directors don't pay to be considered as directors (Independent Theatre Companies do pay a fee however to enter submissions though, some which do include scripts)

- without playwrights there wouldn't be any plays for the festival (although some works are group devised or not text based)

- competitions such as Short & Sweet should be subsidising writers not charging them entry fees

- professional playwrights (which really there are very few of - i.e. a person who earns a major proportion of their income through writing plays) won't pay to have their work considered

- many playwrights are poor and don't have enough money to enter

These are all good and valid points. But if we were to do away with entry fees we would also have to probably limit the competition to entries from Australian writers only as if even if it was only one entry from US playwrights we'd still get a couple of thousand which is beyond what we can deal with.

Watering down the assessment process - which is another suggestion some forum members may make - is simply not negotiable. We are very proud of our thorough assessment process.

It would be sad to lose the US component in our festival but that is probably what would have to happen if we did away with entry fees. Incidentally no one seems to complain about the entry fee down here - in truth we hardly get a mutter.

Maybe you can organise a groundswell of disquiet about entry fees among Australian playwrights and I can assure you the Arts Centre would listen and respond to that. But the only complaint I receive about the issue is when I post on this website about the competition. No doubt that will make many members of this forum quite proud.

Anyway no doubt the blood is boiling by now for some of you so vent away - no doubt you'll upset me enough to get a response and the same old argument that gets argued every week on this site will be argued all over again and the Mana meters no doubt will drop.

I guess the real argument is should competitions that charge entry fees be able to advertise AT ALL on the Playwright's Forum. I don't mean on the Noticeboard - which of course is not allowed - but inthe Forum in entirety. In other words should the above post be allowed to appear in any form on the site. Hence the poll I have attached.

If you object strongly enough then you really should complain to Edd, Paddy and Paul who do graciously allow posts like this to appear for the interest of some playwrights on the site. They could take the step of banning all fee charging competitions from the site.

Alternatively like Paul has introduced the Manna meter maybe they could have a competition grading system where playwrights could get an idea of the worth of a competition and whether or not it's worth sendingt heir work too - fee or no fee.

Good luck with your writing. Please - in preparing your abuse - and as the moniker suggests - I'm ready for it - remember I am a playwright too. I'm just one who doesn't mind paying reasonable entry fees to enter reputable competitions.

Bw, Alex Broun

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 Posted: Wed Jul 5th, 2006 05:06 am
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bkahn
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Following are some suggestions for limiting the number of submissions that would not require those submitting to pay a fee. I have used them and/or worked with them in the past, as festival coordinator or reader.


1)      Set very specific guidelines and ENFORCE them. Discard/do not read entries that do not obviously conform. Examples: length, cast requirements, deadlines.


2)      Have a two-tiered system for full length plays: request synopsis and 10 pages (or 15 or 20 pages). Eliminate those that don’t conform and/or ones that your readers don’t select and then request full script from “finalists.”


3)      For writers that submit multiple entries, ask them to note which should get preference. Only read second (or third) entry, if you have not found enough plays that you like to fill your schedule.


4)      Have a rating system for your readers. Only those that get a yes or maybe are passed along to a second or third reader. I know this is subjective, but if you trust your readers, why not?


5)      Per the above, have guidelines for readers on exactly what to look for. Perhaps a sheet with specific questions to answer. Example: Are the characters and relationships clear? Is there a strong conflict in the play? Is the dialogue believable? Can the play easily produced by us? (that would depend on your facilities/budget/accessibility to actors, designers)


6)      Finally, decide how many entries you can handle. Number them in the order you receive them, and only consider those that you can handle. Save the others for the following year or season. If this is noted in your guidelines, writers are alerted to be prompt and are aware their entry may be deferred for consideration to a later time.


The above are suggestions based on my own experience over the years. They worked well in several situations—for annual festival, for grant applications, for a company looking for plays for their upcoming seasons and for another company looking to tackle a huge backlog of unsolicited mss.

Respectfully,

Barbara

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 Posted: Wed Jul 5th, 2006 05:26 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Thanks Barbara for your feedback. Very thoughtful of you. Just to give you a little more background on how we assess plays at Short & Sweet I'll respond to each pount in turn. (My response in CAPS)

1)      Set very specific guidelines and ENFORCE them. Discard/do not read entries that do not obviously conform. Examples: length, cast requirements, deadlines.
THE ONLY REQUIREMENT WE HAVE AT SHORT & SWEET IS THAT PLAYS MUST BE TEN MINUTES OR LESS. THERE ARE NO OTHER RESTRICTIONS. PLAYS CAN BE OF ANY CAST SIZE ON ANY THEME, SET ANYWHERE. PLAYS CLEARLY OVER TEN MINUTES ARE RETURNED UNREAD. THE DEADLINE IS JULY 31ST AND NO LATE ENTRIES ARE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. SO ONLY ONES CLEARLY TOO LONG CAN BE DISCARDED.

2)      Have a two-tiered system for full length plays: request synopsis and 10 pages (or 15 or 20 pages). Eliminate those that don’t conform and/or ones that your readers don’t select and then request full script from “finalists.”


SHORT & SWEET IS A TEN MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL ONLY SO WE DON'T ACCEPT FULL LENGTH PLAYS. IT'S NOT REALLY FEASIBLE TO ACCEPT ONLY ONE OR TWO PAGES FROM A TEN MINUTE PLAY.


3)      For writers that submit multiple entries, ask them to note which should get preference. Only read second (or third) entry, if you have not found enough plays that you like to fill your schedule.

THIS IS POSSIBLE BUT COMPLICATES THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS A BIT. REMEMBER WE WOULD BE DEALING WITH A COUPLE OF THOUSAND ENTRIES. STILL NOT SURE A PROLIFIC WRITER - WHICH I AM ONE - SHOULD BE DISCOURAGED FROM MULTIPLE ENTRIES.


4)      Have a rating system for your readers. Only those that get a yes or maybe are passed along to a second or third reader. I know this is subjective, but if you trust your readers, why not?

WE DO HAVE A RATING SYSTEM WHERE PLAYS ARE ONLY READ BY EXTRA READERS IF THEY GET THROUGH VARIOUS STAGES.(SEE BELOW FOR FULL EXPLANATION OF ASSESSMENT PROCESS) ALL PLAYS SUBMITTED TO SHORT & SWEET ARE READ BY TWO READERS. AGAIN THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE WON'T WATER DOWN.


5)      Per the above, have guidelines for readers on exactly what to look for. Perhaps a sheet with specific questions to answer. Example: Are the characters and relationships clear? Is there a strong conflict in the play? Is the dialogue believable? Can the play easily produced by us? (that would depend on your facilities/budget/accessibility to actors, designers)

SHORT & SWEET HAS A STANDARD SCRIPT ASSESSMENT FORM FOR ASSESSORS TO FIL OUT SO ALL PLAYS ARE ASSESSED ON THE SAME CRITERIA WHICH FOCUSES WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR IN A TEN MINUTE PLAY.


6)      Finally, decide how many entries you can handle. Number them in the order you receive them, and only consider those that you can handle. Save the others for the following year or season. If this is noted in your guidelines, writers are alerted to be prompt and are aware their entry may be deferred for consideration to a later time.

THIS IS POSSIBLE BUT AGAIN DIFFICULT TO POLICE. TO BE HONEST WE CAN DEAL WITH AROUND 1000. WE WOULD GET 2000 PLUS SO THE EXTRA 1000 + WOULD ALREADY TAKE UP NEXT YEAR'S ALLOCATION.

HAVE ANY OF YOUIR FESTIVAL'S DEALT WITH SUCH A HIGH AMOUNT OF SCRIPTS ? DID YOU DEAL WITH THEM IN THE WAY SET OUT ABOVE ?

HERE'S SHORT & SWEET'S SCRIPT ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE: (Available to be downloaded at http://www.theartscentre.net.au

Short & Sweet Melbourne 2006 

Assessment Process

Assessment Panel

The Short & Sweet Assessment panel consists of experienced industry professionals based in Victoria drawn from the fields of dramaturgy, writing, directing or acting.

In all the panel consists of ten to twenty assessors who may read up to 200 plays each and are paid a small fee by the Arts Centre for their assessment of scripts.

The Assessment Process

Short & Sweet boasts one of the most thorough script assessment processes for any theatre company or playwriting competition in Australia.

Each play that is entered to Short & Sweet is read by at least two assessors. 

There are three stages to our assessment process:

Stage 1 – Initial Assessment

Once a script is received it will first go to a First Assessor who will read the script and then fill out a simple Script Assessment Form. 

On this form they will be asked to assess the play on the following FIVE (5) criteria:

Story, Character, Dialogue, Theatricality, Conflict

Based on these five criteria they are then asked to score the play out of a possible TEN (10) points with 10 being excellent, 5 average and 0 very poor.

The forms are then returned to Short & Sweet where the scores of each play are recorded on a central tally form.

Once a first score for the play is received the play is sent out to a Second Assessor who follows the same process and returns the Script Assessment Form to Short & Sweet and similarly gives the play a score out of 10.

Once both scores are received the combined scores are averaged and plays that average ABOVE 5 go through to the second assessing round.

Plays that average 5 OR BELOW are eliminated at this stage and not assessed further.

There are two exceptions to this rule:

- Score Discrepancy: Where it is clear two assessors have greatly varied on the quality of a play and the play receives a difference in score of 5 OR MORE from its two assessments (i.e.: One Assessor scores it a 2, another Assessor scores it a 7 or One Assessor scores it an 8, the other Assessor a 1) that play will pass through to Stage 2 for further assessment.

- Arts Centre Discretion: The Arts Centre reserves the right to select certain writers (whose work is familiar to the Arts Centre or who have been identified as writers with potential) and there work may be selected to pass through to Stage 2 assessing even if the play’s average scores are 5 or LESS.

PLEASE NOTE: All plays entered for Melbourne Short & Sweet are also automatically eligible for Sydney Short & Sweet. Once the assessment process is completed in Melbourne all scripts for Melbourne Short & Sweet are forwarded to Sydney Short & Sweet who then carry out their own assessment process to determine scripts for their festival.

Stage 2: Secondary Assessment

Plays that have passed through Stage 1 are then passed to a Third Assessor who once again assesses each script based on the above procedure.

They then forward back forms and scores to Short & Sweet.

These scores are then entered in to the Central Tally form and plays that average 7 OR MORE pass through to Stage 3 and are termed to be SHORTLISTED. Plays that average LESS THAN 7 are eliminated at this stage.

Again there are two exceptions to this rule:

- Score Discrepancy: Where it is clear two assessors have greatly varied on the quality of a play and the play receives a difference in score of 5 OR MORE from its two assessments (i.e.: One Assessor scores it a 2, another Assessor scores it a 7 or One Assessor scores it an 8, the other Assessor a 1) that play will pass through to Stage 3 for further assessment.

- Arts Centre Discretion: The Arts Centre reserves the right to select certain writers (whose work is familiar to the Arts Centre or who have been identified as writers with potential) and there work may be selected to pass through to Stage 3 assessing even if the play’s average scores are LESS THAN 7.

Once Stage 2 is completed writers are informed that there play has been shortlisted for Short & Sweet Melbourne 2006. Unsuccessful writers are also informed. The Arts Centre may also wish to publish a list of shortlisted plays at this stage.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the large number of entries received for Short & Sweet Melbourne it is impossible to give writers individual feedback on their script. However a GENERAL WRITERS FEEDBACK report will be emailed to all who entered as well as made available on the Short & Sweet website once shortlisting has been completed.

Stage 3 – Final Assessment

Scripts that have passed through to Stage 3 are deemed to have been SHORTLISTED for Short & Sweet.

These plays are then read by the Artistic co-ordinator who once again assesses the plays on the procedure outlined above. He scores all plays again out of ten and these scores are then added to the Central Tally Sheet.

A final average of the four scores is determined and the plays are ranked in order from the plays with the highest score to the lowest.

The top EIGHTY (80) plays on the list  – LESS ANY ITCs selected for the Top 30 or Wildcards - are then forwarded to the Short & Sweet Directors.

PLAY SELECTION

The final play selection for Short & Sweet is determined by our Short & Sweet Directors.

Once the Top 30 and Wildcard Directors are selected the final selection of plays  are then forwarded to them to read. 

Each Director then reads the plays and they inform Short & Sweet of their top FIVE preferences – in order – of the plays they would like to direct. 

Top 30 director’s preferences are allocated first followed by Wildcard directors. Where possible Short & Sweet will hope to give directors their first preference. 

Once all directors have been assigned plays the season will be finalised and Short & Sweet will programme plays in to certain weeks depending on director availability and overall composition of the festival (i.e. determining there is a good balance of theatrical styles in each individual program of plays).

Shortlisted writers are then informed of whether their play has been included in the final season for Short & Sweet.
 

Last edited on Sun Jul 9th, 2006 02:26 pm by Edd

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 Posted: Sun Jul 9th, 2006 05:38 am
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Last edited on Sun Jul 9th, 2006 11:12 pm by

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 Posted: Sun Jul 9th, 2006 11:19 am
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jigsaw
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Alex,

A couple years ago you allowed one free entry from playwrights. Is that something you can do again, even if it's for a limited time?

Jig

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 Posted: Sun Jul 9th, 2006 02:38 pm
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Edd
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Mana: 
I'd like to hijack Alex's thread for a moment.  Alex fully understands that the fact that his theatre charges a fee is not a popular practice, certainly in this forum.  I don't pay fees and I am known to encourage others not to pay fees.

HOWEVER, Alex has the right to post his call for submissions in this area of the forum whether you agree or not.  When you don't agree and have something to say, please be civil and respectful when you say it.  Paddy and I are duty-bound to remove offensive posts and offending members.  This will be strictly enforced.

Thank you 

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 Posted: Sun Jul 9th, 2006 11:17 pm
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Readytobeslammed
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Hi Jig,

I wish I could but we just don't have the resources to deal respectfully and properly with the deluge which would follow from US playwrights.

Apologies.

 

Bw,

Alex Broun

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 Posted: Fri Jul 14th, 2006 07:12 pm
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stephen p.
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I think I remember only one or two US plays were represented last year, is that correct? I decide thren and there, that there appeared to be some what of a bias either in formatting or some other criteria.

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 Posted: Sat Jul 15th, 2006 07:57 pm
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A few thoughts...

The Actors Theatre of Louisville competition, which launched the 10-minute form into its current state of popularity, gets well over 2000 entries a year (perhaps even close to 3000 now), and they have never charged a fee--so obviously it can be done.  I honestly doubt that--were there no fees--Short & Sweet would get anywhere near 10,000 entries.  And I also take issue with the idea that if playwrights were limited to one entry that the playwright isn't necessarily the best judge of what to send:  playwrights are constantly choosing what to submit.  That 's simply how it works, unless a particular script is solicited by a theatre company.

Personally, I tend to avoid fee charging contests (and at the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, we encourage our members to do the same) and will do so with this one.  Further, I disagree with the idea that $15 AU (around $11 US) is a reasonable fee for such a short piece:  extrapolating that figure, a one-act would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $40-50 US.  Alex is right in that the fee limits entries, but unfortunately that's more likely to exclude plays from better playwrights (who won't pay fees at all) in favor of those who are more desperate (and hence more willing to shell out money) to get a production.

Finally, while any contest can certainly have any assessment process it likes--it's their contest--I'm also not sure what I think of having to break down a play into components as if each of them (story, character, etc) is somehow unrelated to the others and give them numerical ratings.  But then again, what do I know.  And as noted earlier, I won't even be entering, despite the fact that Melbourne does, in fact, have quite a lovely performing arts centre.  I saw Doubt there in May.

Cheers,
Jon


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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 08:36 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Hi Jon,

Thanks for your thoughtful and restrained comments. I agree pretty well with most of them but still prefer the idea of entry fee versus one entry per playwright. I'm in the search for the best plays - from writers willing to pay the entry fee ! - and I believe allowing writers to enter multiple plays gives me the best plays.

We may indeed miss some good plays by more experienced writers but we get some pretty good plays as is.

I'd be fascinated to know how Louisville assesses that many entries - qany idea ? - and of course it's only open to US residents so I can't enter. Funny that!

We are an international competion. Anyone in the world may enter. You know if we limited ourselves to just Australian plays we could probably do away with the entry fee - but then nobody in the USA would be able to enter.

I know you don't care about that but we do get entries from the USA. Should they be stopped from entering so we can give Australian writers free entry - none of who complain about the entry fee anyway.

And you answer - so don't charge entry fees ! And around we go again. "There's a whole in my bucket dear Liza, dear Liza"

Interesting your comments about assessment. How else should we assess plays then ? It's similar to what Project Greenlight does. We didn't copy them but it's interesting they use similar - without the category theatricality of course.

(And yes - I know it's a film competition.)

Interested in your come back on Louisville being just a USA entrant only competition. If there is one ? 

 

 

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 08:40 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your enquiry.

Actually we did about 10 US plays in total in Sydney and Melbourne. Binding Love, a Chicago play was actually done in Sydney and Melbourne - and is now the writer is working with a Melbourne company on a longer version of the work.

See Short & Sweet does open up new markets for writers !

One US play this year - Key to the Mystic Halls of Time - was even included in our professional wing Shorter & Sweeter (best of series) and toured to the Sydney Opera House and Singapore with the writer receiving a royalty.

So it can happen.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 12:31 pm
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Edd
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Alex, you're having too much fun.  Were you on your college debate team? :>)

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 05:00 pm
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Very well put Jon. And I too take issue with the notion that a Playwright isn't the best judge of his or her work. It's all up to the individual but I will never pay to have my work read.

Last edited on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 01:09 am by Leontes

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 11:49 pm
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HI Readytobeslammed,

$ 15 -  thats about the price of a 6 pack of XXXX. I think i can spring for that, so will check out the comp details. Had many entries/winners from the UK?

 

regards

 

playfull

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 11:56 pm
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Papadooloo
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Mana: 
I'm glad to see someone actually stand in here and defend there policies. I give you credit for that.

But I will not be submitting, and haven't since you eliminated your free entry. Competitions that charge fees get lower quality submissions,

and then dub these low quality submissions "the best plays we could find"

and this has the unfortunate effect of convincing more and more people that theater stinks.

It's a downward cycle that you have chosen to help perpetuate.

 

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2006 11:58 pm
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Hi Playfull,

We haven't had that many from the UK and it would be great to get some good ten minute plays from that part of the world. We don't get many.

You guys must have too long attention spans.

And hi Edd - wouldn't call it fun. Just use to the barrage so have most of the answers now. No response yet from Jon about Louisville not accepting entries from Australian playwrights.

Bw, Alex Broun from Short & Sweet the fee charging international playwriting competition

PS: Don't you guys have script assessing services there that you have to pay for ? Doesn't anybody ever use those ? Isn't that paying to have your script read ? (And no - we don't offer individual assessments but we do give general feedback to writers. Answered that one too.)

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 12:04 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Hi Papadoloo, (Did I spell that right? Sorry.)

Thanks for your email. And we never complain about the standard of our entries. In fact I'm always pleasantly surprised about how good the plays we get are. I wish we could do more. There's always good plays left undone.

It's possible our motive is to give writers a chance to have their work performed not to grab a few shekels through entry fees. Again no one down here has an issue with it. To enter the ANPC - our national playwright's conference funded by the Government you have to pay $45.

Maybe because John Howard is our PM.

And oh Jon - one more thing - what are the prizes for that American playwrights only competition again ?

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 12:20 am
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Mana: 
I watch this thread carefully and I must say that it is profoundly satisfying to see how you all have dealt with this issue in a respectful manner.  We've come a long way--nobody gets hurt and we have a forum we're proud to invite our fellow playwrights to join.  Bravo!

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 01:02 am
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I understand that you think the plays you receive are good, but I am still strongly of the opinion that they would be far BETTER if you didn't charge a fee. In fact, your own admission is that charging a fee limits the number of submissions you receive. My experience tells me that you are forgoing the higher quality plays while taking in a glut of lower quality plays.

All that said, I believe the problems of the world of theater run far deeper than your contest charging fees. Most notably, the few times I have seen recent "judging forms" for competitions, they were set up in such a way that only trite realism could even potentially win based on how the scoring system worked. They asked for "fully rounded characters" etc. No more Waiting for Godots to be found that way. I trust your criteria of "Story, Character, Dialogue, Theatricality, Conflict" are worded in such as way as to accomodate creative and powerful writing.

PS its PapadOOloo. Old joke from when I was a newspaper reporter.


 

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 01:15 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Hi Papadooloo,

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure we'd get any less of a glut of plays if we opened up free entries.

Indeed if we did open up free entries I'd have 500 emailed to me in the next 24 hours - just for a start - and there is no way we could deal with that number with our thorough assessment process.

An assessment process Which WILL NOT be watered down so we can take more entries. Assessment process stays! No matter what. That's non-negotiable or else we become like many other crap contests out there.

I know you didn't put this point but the next person will - so in advance - what is the point of giving free entries if plays are then not assessed properly? You could get 10,000 plays but if they're not assessed thoroughly you might as well have ten entries.  I know some competitions where they read the first page and then discard them if they don't like it !

I as a writer hate to be treated like that. Yes we do charge entry fees but we treat every entry with respect and each play is assessed by two seperate assessors. Some are read up to four times.

That's how I'd like my work treated. $15 is a small price to pay for that - I think. And I know you disagree ! But that's what I think.

Re what we look for - yes we are always interested in theatricality at Short & Sweet. Not TV on stage as many entries are. That's why "Theatricality" is one of our five key criteria.

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 01:19 am
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playfull
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Readytobeslammed,

 

I have just reread a short piece i have which timed out at 10 min, perfect! (length at least). But i realised that it contains a couple of UK based references - such as the use of £ and terms like 'full English breakfast'. Should i submit it as is, or do you think it would stand a better chance of success if i 'Australianised' it?

regards

playfull

 

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 02:09 am
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Hi Playfull,

No need to Australianise. We understand all English references. Get a lot of UK shows here. If it's chosen the director may work with you to localise. Don't worry about it now - just send in as is.

All the details how to enter are at http://www.theartscentre.net.au/shortandsweet

 

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 05:01 am
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emjaydee
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That's why "Theatricality" is one of our five key criteria.

Tell me a little more about your concept of "theatricality.' I know what TV/Movies look like on stage. How do you see the term with respect to the ten minute play?

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 Posted: Thu Jul 20th, 2006 06:35 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Hi emjaydee,


Good question. Defining theatricality is like defining what is theatre, which is of course difficult.


By theatricality I mean does it make use (cleverly or otherwise) of the theatrical medium - i.e, is it written for the stage and does it encourage the audience to use their imagination to complete the world of the play and thus particpate actively in the theatre making process by watching the play.


That is they are using their minds to join in the process of making theatre with the actors, writers and directors.


Shakespeare is the master of this I guess - now we're on a battlfield, now we're in Rome, now we're in a bedroom. All done through story telling and language.




Another example, a play like Trough which we had last year in Short & Sweet where the three actors played Urinal cakes discussing self esteem (won Best Comedy in Melbourne)  is more theatrical than say a play set in a living room or kitchen with a couple arguing about their relationship.


But then this can be theatrical if they are both using baseball bats and are in roving spotlights and there have been some great plays set in living rooms and kitchens: Death of a Salesman, Streetcar Named Desire, Long Day's Journey into Night - to name three.



Perhaps the best way to put it is why should what you have written be performed on stage ? And why is it better suited to be performed on stage rather than TV, film or radio. Does it make good use of the theatrical medium - skills of the actors to use their emotions, voice and transform their bodies, lights and sound - to tell its story ?



It's a tricky one - defining what is theatre is tricky - but hopefully this helps. It's really a discussion we could have a three day symposium on - many of course do - but to summarise to me theatricality is a play where the writer uses theatrical techniques to invite the audience to engage their imaginations and participate actively in the theatre making process while watching the play.


Everyone will have their own definition - this is mine.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 21st, 2006 02:27 pm
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playfull
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I have posted a link to the comp and this discussion on

http://community.channel4.com/eve/forums/a/frm/f/835603872

to see what my fellow posters there think.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 12:35 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Thanks for that Playfull.

My life is infinitely richer for reading Jays Plays witty and erudite comments such as Australia is mainly "Amdram". Well known writer are they ? With great success no doubt. Now I have to defend Short & Sweet on two fronts. Bless !

Last edited on Mon Jul 24th, 2006 12:35 am by

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:18 am
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playfull
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Sorry ready'

I believe Jay visits here so i won't need to copy over your post. That forum was based around a TV playwriting Comp, so it is running out of steam now the comp is over.

 

'And England retain the Ashes'

 

Has a nice ring to it don't you think?

 

 

 

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:26 am
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Very happy to see England retain the Ashes - Aussie cricket team are dickheads - but seeing our whole theatre culture wiped out as "amdram" is a little bit much. Yes, our theatre is not as vibrant and strong as the UK but it's hardly all "amdram."

He might like to check out the following PROFESSIONAL theatre companies, we have over 100:

Sydney Theatre Company

Melbourne Theatre Company

State Theatre Company of South Australia

Griffin Theatre Company

Belvoir Street Theatre Company (toured Cloud Street to the National a few years ago - fancy Amdram at the National)

Ensemble Theatre

La Boite

Queensland Theatre Company

The Malthouse

Perth Theatre Company

Bell Shakespeare

You might also like to tell him if he was able to get a play on at the Sydney Theatre Company or Melbourne Theatre Company (where plays often gross over AUS$1 million) he would get over AUS $100,000 (GBP 30,000 in royalties.)

Hardly "amdram"!

Yes it's a small market but we're not all "amdram". Please !!!

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:33 am
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playfull
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Him not me! Him not me!

 

Can i copy your post over as it does make a strong point?

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:37 am
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Paddy
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Okay...I give.

amdram?

American Drama?  Amateur?  What?

Paddy

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:42 am
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Amdram meaning Amatuer Drama.

You might call it community theatre. Not all theatre in Australia is Amatuer.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:44 am
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Paddy
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I didn't think for a moment it was...just had never heard that term before.

Paddy

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:51 am
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Readytobeslammed
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Of course Paddy, not saying that you did.

And yes Playfull you can copy it over. Is Jays Plays really seriously suggesting all theatre in Australia is Amdram ?

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:57 am
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playfull
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Ready,

 

a) I think Jay has 'lost the plot' a little just recently.

 

b) Jay is a big defender of UK Amdram.

 

c) I have no idea what his knowledge of Australian Theatre is, and on what he based his comment!

 

 

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 01:59 am
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oh and

d) He has not been professionally produced.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 12:17 pm
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Ready'.

 

Submitted  my entry to S&S.

 

 

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 01:48 pm
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Edd
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Screenplaywriter, welcome to our forum.  Please take advantage of all our forum has to offer--Paddy's playwrighting exercises, my contests, the Green Room Salon series with celebrity guests, etc.  I have moved your post to this thread since you posted it in an area used by management.  Enjoy our forum.  Again, welcome.



I found this site by chance.  Sometimes I can get lucky!  I read all the hype regarding the SHORT AND SWEET $15 entry fee.

This is the third successive year I have submitted plays to the short and sweet festival.  I've been fortunate the last two years to at least have made it in the 'best of the rest and wilcards series'.  I usually send multiple plays.  By no means am I rolling in money but I feel the $15 entry fee is very acceptable.  What this competition has done is to inspire me, give me the confidence to continue writing knowing that there are professional assessors and not just buddies of mine who read my work and say.. yeah.. it's great! or no. it's crap!  These people KNOW what they are talking about!  I applaude Alex Broun and Mark Cleary.

I wouldn't enter any 'free' competition.. the cliche is right.. "you only get what you pay for' and usually when something is free.. there is always a bigger price to pay in the end.

The playwrights who object to such a fee.. I have a little 'free' advice.. don't enter!

It makes more sense to me that having to pay a fee (no matter the amount) only encourages the 'serious' playwrights. by that I mean those who will try their best to meet the criteria set out and to write well. This is not determined by experience, it's about passion and a need to write!  If it was free then as Alex pointed out, they're be so many scripts.. half would probably be incomplete and not meet the criteria (as it is..some playwrights still do!) and the sheer volume would be too great.  Knowing you need to pay for each script will encourage you to do the best you can with each entry.

I'll get off my soap box now and complete rewriting the plays to enter this year.

Those entering.. Best of Luck!

Regards... Sweetplaywriter.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 04:07 pm
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Ah ha ha ha ha!

I Just came across this accidentally and I am pretty amused.  I have never, ever, responded to a forum topic on any site but I had to have a say here. 

I have had some success with Short and Sweet.  It was one of my first real successes as a playwright and it has given me confidence that wasn't previously there in my writing. 

According to a few people in this forum  my success in Short and Sweet is an inferior success. 

Because I paid for my play to be entered my work is somehow inferior?

I am a young father with a mortgage and all of my income is derived from working in the arts - I don't have a lot of money.  However, I will be submitting multiple scripts into S&S because I've been given the drive to create them.  I love the fact that S&S allows more than one entry because, not only do I have a lot to say, I like to write in a number of styles.  Whether it be a political/drama or an absurdist comedy, I don't want to have to choose which 10 minute piece best represents me.  I want all of my work judged on individual merit.

How can anyone suggest that being able to submit more than one play lowers the  quality when a truly gifted playwright can be represented multiple times?

The play I submitted last year, my first ever 10 minute play, has now been produced five times and has travelled further in the world than I have - due to Short and Sweet.  $15 - your laughing.

Keep giving them hell Alex.
    

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 04:30 pm
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Marvel,

As a moderator I try to stay out of the more provocative threads, but I wanted to jump in on this one. 

I am very pleased to hear of your success and I am fairly certain that there are many who share the success you have found at Short & Sweet.  That said, I don't believe anyone remotely suggested that those paying fees and finding success were inferior in any way.  The suggestion, I believe, was that it limited the number of quality plays, but certainly did not eliminate quality plays by quality playwrights--as your example shows us.  As a full time working playwright, I believe that fees keep professional playwrights from entering.  But then I don't believe Alex's festival is for professional playwrights, but more designed to nurture and encourage emerging playwrights. Some, as myself, feel that most playwrights really can't afford to send more than a couple scripts out to those charging fees. 

I applaud Alex for standing behind what he believes.  I applaud all who stand behind what they believe.  Furthermore, because your success is directly attributed to Short & Sweet I am not laughing, as you suggested we might.  I sincerely doubt that any of us are laughing.  We're applauding you and wishing you more and more success.  Bravo!  And all the best in your future writing.

Welcome to our forum.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 05:26 pm
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Thanks Edd, happy to be here.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 05:29 pm
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Great site by the way.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 11:54 pm
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Thanks Marvel and Screenplaywriter. The Aussies strike back !

Still waiting for a response from Jon on Louisville not allowing international entries. It's all gone quiet over there !

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 Posted: Wed Jul 26th, 2006 06:54 am
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Maybe a little too quiet...

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 Posted: Wed Jul 26th, 2006 12:30 pm
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Funny....I'd always thought I'd enter the Louisville thing...this year, I thought.

Drat...I'm a Canadian.  No...wait...Great, I'm a Canadian....just can't enter.

Alex?  Ever done a Canadian play in your festival?

Paddy

 

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 Posted: Tue Aug 1st, 2006 05:55 pm
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shandrick
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Re: Vote on entry fees. Yes, as a separate category.

Re: Short and Sweet

I've entered Short and Sweet two years running, and I haven't made it into any seriously contending level. 

 However, I was impressed by the organization, enthusiasm, professionalism of the people involved. They were very generous in providing all entrants ($15 per entry) a detailed and lengthy piece on what they were looking for in a winning play. I found this to be most instructive in my writing. 

 A friend of mine who lived down under said the Aussies might be contemptuous of North American values, however. The chief aim of Aussies is to cut big egos off at the knee caps, North Americans in particular. They are as tough on themselves as they are outsiders.  This is their way of evening the playing field. They just want authentic work. No fluff. I'm not entering this year because I don't believe I have anything that could win place or show. I would love to see their festival of all the winning plays!

 

 

 

 

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 Posted: Wed Aug 2nd, 2006 04:26 am
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Been following this with great interest, as the question of fees erupts from time to time.  In general, I personally oppose them, for all the reasons Alex listed in his preemptive first post.  But to answer his repeated question:  The Humana Festival in Louisville is The Humana Festival of New American Plays.  See http://www.actorstheatre.org/humana.htm

Perhaps that's why they don't accept Australian plays?  Or Canadian ones either (and Paddy, your plays that I've had the privilege of reading are superior to the general level of work at Humana).  One might fault Actors Theatre for having a New American Plays Festival rather than a New Plays Festival, but there it is.  It's their festival and they get the right to define it.

I still find it difficult to charge fees for writers, and not do so for directors, actors, designers, and dramaturgs.  Having run a couple of fee-less play competitions, it is indeed a challenge to develop a process that is both fair to the writers and manageable to adminster.  But it can be done.  The last Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors competition had 459 entries, which meant I had to find over a hundred theatre professionals to evaluate the entries.  The reason for creating such competitions justifies the effort. 

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 Posted: Mon Aug 7th, 2006 03:52 am
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Hi all,

Thanks for great posts and feedback.

I just want to make it very clear I was in no way criticising Humana for only accepting American plays - and I was in no way criticising Humana at all ! In fact I'm really keen to go over there and see it next year to learn how they do things.

I was merely replying to someone else attacking our FEES policy who said that we should be like Humana an accept free entries from everywhere, no restrictions - for free.

But the fact is Humana do have a restriction. It's only open to American playwrights.

I completely understand that and accept it. Not criticising it at all. We are open to writers from all over the globe - no restriction there - but we do charge fees - which as many have pointed out is a restriction.

So just to say again - Humana is a okay by me.

 

 

 

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 Posted: Mon Aug 7th, 2006 04:04 am
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Edd
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Hey guy!  I want to tell you that you've been a perfect gentleman and I hope you stick around.  As you are well aware, we both have seen these fee-threads explode like the Middle East.  But it didn't. Nor should it.  Thank you.

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 Posted: Mon Aug 7th, 2006 04:29 pm
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Paddy
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Archivist.

You are always so sane...although, I do sense the intense wacky part of you just under the surface.

Thank you for your kind words.

x0x0x

Paddy

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 Posted: Wed Sep 13th, 2006 12:40 pm
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MacR
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Hi all - did anyone else enter this competition here. I got shortlisted (Whoop!) - although my email said they're not providing individual feedback. Which is a bit bizarre as I kinda thought that would be one of the benefits of paying for entrY!

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