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The Playwrights Forum > General > Take the Stage > Great Plains Theatre Conference 2009

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Great Plains Theatre Conference 2009  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Wed Feb 11th, 2009 08:44 pm
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solarcirclegirl
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Mana: 
Hey all.

I got an email reminding me to either decide to attend the conference or not because i had been accepted to do a reading. I was confused, and discovered i had lost a message from them well over a week ago (!!!!) and I HAD been accepted to be in the PlayLab reading!

This is great and all, but here's the thing. Does anyone know this conference? It's going to be over $300 for the conference itself, not to mention travel and accomdations. I can have the money, but I really don't have it, if that makes sense. Has anyone gone to this conference and know its reputation? Therea Rebeck is supposed to be there and that's exciting. I just wondered if it was worth it to go.

Thanks all!

Toni

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 Posted: Wed Feb 11th, 2009 10:06 pm
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katoagogo
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Mana: 
It's worth it if you want to attend the conference.  It's not worth it as a workshop of your play.

If the participants in the conference, like Rebeck, are people you'd like to her speak and maybe get a chance to interact with, then go.  If not, then pass.

I believe this conference is run by the woman who used to run the Valdez conference in Alaska, and before that she ran the Inge conference.  She likes to organize bigwig events that have little wigs pay for the privilege -- ie -- playwrights with short works get a bunch of readings all lumped together.  The playwrights provide the base for the conference itself.  Without them, very few people would actually be in attendence.

They are fun, and you meet a lot of people, just know that it won't really feature your work that well -- but there can be lots of opportunities to network and meet working playwrights.

That's my take on it.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 11th, 2009 10:10 pm
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solarcirclegirl
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Mana: 
thank you for your input, kato. i will continue to think on it. :)

Is this normal for conferences? I don't know anything about them. I would imagine that there wouldn't be as many fees involved if you are accepted into the conference for a reading?

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 Posted: Wed Feb 11th, 2009 11:21 pm
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katoagogo
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Mana: 
It all depends on the conference.

I went to one in Valdez (when the woman who runs this one ran that one) and had a ver good time -- but -- I was extremely disappointed in the plays that were presented and the attention they received as 'part of the conference'.  The plays were done in a glut over three days before the conference really got going.  The four ddays of the conference proper were interesting.  I went because there were about 5 or 6 people that would be speaking that I wanted to hear.  Also, I met some great folks in attendence (some of whom I am still in contact with).

It was fun to do once, but I wouldn't do it twice.

The conference goers are the ones who make the conference possible -- and they are usully brought in with the lure of "We'll do a reading of part of your play" -- so it's a little bit of a racket, but it can be worth while if there are speakers that you wnt to hear. 

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 Posted: Wed Feb 11th, 2009 11:23 pm
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katoagogo
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Mana: 
Most conferences -- like the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference or the Seven Devil's Conference are not run like this.  If you are invited then they (usually) pay to get you there and house you.

But some are like this one.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 12th, 2009 02:23 am
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in media res
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Mana: 
My advice from everything katoagogo says,

If you are tight on money, save your money. Especially in this economy.

There are always P.T. Barnums/hucksters out there who are very good at arranging these things for you to pay for them. And, don't get me wrong, sometimes good can come out of them. It is a lotto ticket.

The fact katoagogo would not do it again is your signal.

If you can well afford it, go. If not, forget it, keep your hard earned money in your pocket, and keep writing. Seems as if you are proceeding well from what you have posted on the forum.

Keep submitting submitting submitting elsewhere.

If you go, have fun, and learn something and forget about the money.

And let us know how it went.



best,

in media res

Last edited on Thu Feb 12th, 2009 02:32 am by in media res

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 Posted: Thu Feb 12th, 2009 03:07 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
P.S.

OMAHA? Think about it.

How many plays were selected for readings? They said they had 400 submissions.

As kato said, go for the conference if it interests you, but not just because of the reading.



In media res

Last edited on Thu Feb 12th, 2009 03:27 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Thu Feb 12th, 2009 09:16 pm
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blue_eoin
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Mana: 
Hi - I went last year for first time and just accepted to go this year.
Have to agree with what others are saying - quality of the readings
is so hit or miss you can't go just for that. Also in the concurrent
sessions there's the risk of a small audience depending on what
you're up against (those synopses matter!). You do get feedback from
panelists though and last year they taped it and sent you a copy.
But for the ~$300 you do get lots of events and theatre and goings on.
A greater cost for out-of-towners seems to be getting there and
staying in Omaha for 7+ days. Eoin

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 Posted: Thu Feb 12th, 2009 09:37 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
Thank you for that honest summation.

How many scripts did they read?

And how many people attended? Mostly playwrights?

What was the quality of the scripts in your estimation? (We know yours was the best!!) Were they 10 minute plays? A variety of lengths? Did any really grab you?

And a very wise reminder for us all as you wrote "those synopses matter!"

Thanks.

best,

in media res

Last edited on Thu Feb 12th, 2009 09:38 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Fri Feb 13th, 2009 02:33 am
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blue_eoin
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Mana: 
I gathered some statistics below - too much time on my hands.
I personally take heart as in 2007 with more than half the
submissions being accepted I bombed whilst this year got accepted in an
ever tightening situation.  But who knows why things work out the
way they do. This year I submitted a full length for the first time.  They
had a very even handed mix of 10-minute, one act and full lengths last year.  
When I said before that the readings are hit or miss I probably did a
disservice - the majority of the readings were of decent to high quality,
some seemingly very high;  what I meant was you shouldn't pay to go so
far only for the reading given there is no guarantee as to how good it will be
or what audience you can expect.  Majority of people attending the conference
in earnest were playwrights - there are a lot of actors and directors
about though they are more local so probably aren't there all the time.
Regarding quality? I was less entertained/moved/impressed than I thought
I would be but it was my first conference/exposure to mass readings,
and I've been told to be careful in judging material you see in an incomplete
form when not used to doing that.  Now the stats:

Year 2007:
  Number of submissions:  less than 175 (see next year)     
  Number of readings:  88 (counting online synopses)
  My submission:  Not accepted ☹

Year 2008:
  Number of submissions:  175 (record number)     
  Number of readings:  68 (counting online synopses)
  My submission:  initially not accepted but offered slot of someone who could not attend.

Year 2009:
  Number of submission:  424 (record number)
  Number of readings: ??  (I assume won't triple or anything like that!)
  My submission: Accepted!

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 Posted: Fri Feb 13th, 2009 12:48 pm
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solarcirclegirl
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Mana: 
Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I believe I am going to sit this one out and continue submitting.

I did, however, get another email from them about how the second play i sent was chosen for a writer's workshop at the conference. I mean, really, what are the odds of that? I would like to say that I think I'm a great writer, but I don't believe I'm THAT good of a writer!


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 Posted: Tue Feb 17th, 2009 09:10 pm
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geniebeanie
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Mana: 
I too submitted to the Great Plains Theatre Festival last year and this year. I did not have a work chosen either year, but I have been invited to attend the Writer's Workshop which is the day before the conference starts. I went last year and found it to be a worthwhile expenditure, on the whole. The networking opportunities are pretty good and I was excited to hear Doug Wright, who was the honored playwright last year. I saw some pretty good productions while there. I got a lot out of the workshops I went to and met a lot of other playwrights and theatre people. As far as the readings went, unless your play was chosen as a "featured" play, as one of the other writers said, audiences were hit or miss. Quality of the readings were hit or miss as well depending on the actors and the way the reading was directed. Some of the work was wonderful and there were a couple of readings I went to where I wondered why on earth the play was selected. As far as the cost - last year I was working full-time, had vacation time and lived in the Kansas City area. This year I am back in school full-time, living on a grad school budget and am in Texas. While being able to be in a workshop with Mac Wellman is a major enticement for me, I am still wavering on whether or not I can afford to go if I am not having a play read. Each person has to decide for him or herself if the benefits outweigh the costs.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 17th, 2009 09:56 pm
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katoagogo
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Mana: 
The workshop experience with Mac Wellman might be worthwhile -- but be sure you're a fan of his aesthetic, which is dynamic and original, but not everyone's taste.

I think Wellman is awesome.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 7th, 2009 06:19 pm
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rmhplaywright
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Mana: 
I attended the conference the past two years and had hoped to be one of the featured full lengths this time.  No such luck.

The conference is pretty much as KATO described.  A lot of playwrights funding the big wigs.  And a lot of mediocre material dotted with some fine exceptions.

However, I did find that going was well worth it for the friends I made (and have kept up with) and the accessibility to successful playwrights.  I sat next to Edward Albee for an hour.  And spoke quite a bit to Marshall Mason about someone we knew in common.  And Doug Wright was incredibly nice and open to chatting.

But as a place to develop your play?  Probably not.  To network for your career?  Not bad at all.

Best,

Richard (http://www.richardmartinhirsch.com)

 

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