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 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 03:43 am
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nic
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Mana: 
Hi. I'm currently working with a community theatre company that plans a festival of short plays in November. The idea is to  stage a workshop try to develop some work  and from there mentor a couple of writers and hopefully finish with four or five  plays worthy of production. We'll marry these with plays from established writers to make up a full program.

Now, I'm insisting that  the new writers should be paid a royalty fee for their work. Afterall if we  consider it suitable for production along side the work of established writers  that's their due.

Question is, how much? We're looking at a program of perhaps ten short plays  and total royalty payments is a consideration.

Let's put it another way. If I posted here and asked for new work, what would you expect to be paid in rotalties?

 

The best Nic

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 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 03:47 am
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Paddy
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Mana: 
Linda E. says the cost of one or two tickets per night for a play that length.

So....if the tickets are $15. - pay the playwright $15 - $30 per night.  Or $50. for the run. 

Sound right?

Paddy

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 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 04:44 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
nic,

What you are doing sounds like a terrific thing. Established stuff with nurtured new stuff. Why don't more theatres think of that? Great idea!

With not knowing the size of the theatre, I would agree with Paddy. Some variation of that method of payment taht fits the size/budget of your theatre.

best,

in media res

Last edited on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 04:44 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 10:53 pm
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nic
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Mana: 
Many thanks for the input and what a smart way of going about it Even the nay -sayers can't object to a ticket so  why not the price.

 

Will keep you informed. The locals fondly imagine they'll be swamped with  producable material and I'm trying to tell them that this writing caper isn't all that easy. Hope to be able to post inviting submissions in the not too distant future. After all it wouldn't be everybody who could say they'd been produced in Wagga Wagga.

 

The best Nic

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 Posted: Tue Jan 16th, 2007 12:54 am
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Anubian Nights Theatre Co
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I would go for a pool of 10% of the total box office gross split between the writers, that way everyone is further motivated to help promote the season and fill the theatre.

Regards TKL

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 Posted: Tue Jan 16th, 2007 10:33 am
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Jack
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Mana: 
Interestingly, this was one of the reasons that I landed my sale.

 

The company producing is an Amateur group and as such, they are counting every penny.  I had stated that I would not charge any upfront fees, preferring to take 10% of gross box office.

 

This way the company only pay me when they have the money in the bank – and they are paying in proportion to how successful the play is.

 

I drew up the contract by using the template available on The Writers’ Guild (UK) website and the company are delighted.

 

Hope this is of help.

 

Jack

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 Posted: Tue Jan 16th, 2007 10:23 pm
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nic
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Mana: 
Thanks Jack,

 I've used the ten percent rule myself on a couple of occassions and agree that in this way the writer shares both the rewards and the risks. My concern in this case is that from past experience the total box office will be small and ten percent would be pityfully low. I prefer to offer an either or... set fee or  ten percent which ever is the greater.

 

Many thanks for those who've replied or read the post. You've given me the confidence to push harder

 The best nic

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 Posted: Wed Jan 17th, 2007 08:58 am
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Jack
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You’re right, that is the risk. But as yet, this is not my full-time profession.

I like the idea that I am getting paid in proportion to how good the play is. Sure, I don’t get to direct so I don’t set the entire tone of the play… But I am getting a ‘paid performance’.

I’d sooner have a few low earners rather than price myself out of the market (as I’m not that well established) and let my MSS sit on the shelf.

Maybe I’ll change my payment requirements as I get better known and develop a broader reputation.

But the 10% thing is maybe one idea to consider when trying to develop that reputation.

Jack

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 Posted: Thu Jan 18th, 2007 04:15 am
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nic
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Now Jack, If I can convince them of your idea... I've done a quick calculation by the way and on expected audience numbers I'd still insist on a ten percent or $50 for the run which ever was the greater... If I can convince them to accept that can we have a short play from you for consideration?

 

The best nic

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 Posted: Thu Jan 18th, 2007 08:56 am
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Jack
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Nic,

I would be delighted to forward you something, but what are you after? You’ve stated ‘short’, but how short? 10 min, 20, 30…? What genre?

I’ve got a few things that might fit the bill, but I wouldn’t want to send you something that wouldn’t fit with the performance you have planned.

Jack

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 Posted: Thu Jan 18th, 2007 10:35 pm
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nic
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Mana: 
Thanks Jack,

 I'll keep yuou informed and I'm delighted that you'd consider submitting.

The production  is in November and the way it is shaping I think we'll try for a series of short, venue specific pieces... short being the operative word not restricted to ten minutes... if it's tweleve and it's good.... if it's eight and it's good sort of thing. Venue will be a big problem for us and the thought at present is a bus to transport an audience to various locations with of course  a couple of pieces on the bus. The locations would be faily standard... a river bank, a park, parking lot perhpas an art gallery. Still in the planning stage but don't worry I'll let you know  and many thanks for replying

 Nic

 

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 Posted: Thu Jan 18th, 2007 10:42 pm
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Jack
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Mana: 
Wow!

That is just too freaky! I was contacted by a TV company a while ago to write a play that could be performed on a bus (London Double Decker). I forwarded a scenario and they loved it...

I started writing the thing and then I got an email saying that they were dropping the project.

I lost the plot and put the play (or should I say short) on hold.

Three weeks ago I revisted it - and I still think it's good.

If it's okay with you, I'll finish it of and PM you asking for an email address to send it to!

Thanks

Jack

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 12:14 am
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Anubian Nights Theatre Co
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Mana: 
I am not sure of the USA theatre writer guilds and union agreements, but in the UK we do not have a tradition of very short plays and the lines on what should be payable are drawn by our Independent Theatre Council who say that a work over 71 minutes is a 'full length' play and commands full fees; under 70 minutes comes in at two thirds of the fee for a full play; under 30 minutes counts as one third of the full fee and these fees are pro-rata to £5,962.00 (US $11,770.00) pre-paid against a royalty of 10% on box office.

I know this information will only be of interest to UK playwrights but I thought I would post it.

Regards TKL

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 12:42 am
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Jack
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Cheers TKL!

I've not known what to do about one acts and shorts - but guessed that that same rules apply (and from your responce - I guess that I'm wrong).

Mind you, I've only had wins with my 'full-lenght' plays, so it's never matter to me before.

If you were talking to someone about performing rights for a short or a one act that you had written, what would you ask for?

Many thanks

Jack

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 03:32 am
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nic
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Mana: 
Jack thanks for the thought about the bus. Ain't it wonderful the way things work some times.

 I'd love to read the piece my email in acnicol@ozemail.com.au

Look forward to it

 

Nic

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