I've had a school approach me to see if I might be interested in talking to a class of drama students via Skype. This would be an hour-long presentation including me talking about my playwriting and the students asking questions. My question: What would be a fair amount to charge for such a session? Anyone have experience with this type of thing?
Charge? I'd be so friggin' honored I couldn't imagine charging. My God, man, think of all those students - future theatergoers, actors, directors . . . those impressionable minds who will remember you when it becomes their turn to work in Theatre. Why would you want to charge when you've everything to gain? When you can give to Theatre by bringing young people to it? But I guess a guy's got to make a living; I'm more concerned with making a legacy, so don't pay attention to me.
I've never done a Skype session except with family. Sounds like a lot of fun.
But I've talked to students, and worked with/coached students in classes at colleges, both paid and unpaid. Both have been extremely enjoyable and emotionally profitable for me and the students. Paid sessions involved travel, thus a fee. I never charge for my alma mater or if they are local.
Fro Skype, why not just do it gratis this first time? (If you can tape a Skype session you could use it as an query/intro for further work on Skype and maybe charge a fee for some future sessions, as you would not want it to become a habit for doing something regularly without a fee of some kind.
Then it would be up to you to charge what an hour's worth of time is to you to have some fun. You don't even have to leave your house! You will be amazed how fast an hour can go, and the delight it will bring you. The fun part is when you see all their heads go down and take notes while you are talking! I find myself saying to myelf "Gee, I just said something important."
Regarding what edd said, I just ran into a student at a show a few weeks ago whose class I spoke to several years ago. He graduated about two years ago. I spoke to their class as freshmen. He was working on the show I was attending. He came up to me and introduced himself and thanked me profusely for speaking to his class and how much it has helped him and then began quoting important points I made. SiX YEARS AGO! This is not the only time this has happened. How can you help not feeling good about that?
Make sure you tell the instructor he/she has the students write a brief essay saying what they learned and make sure you get copies. This is what one teacher does and it is always wonderful to read your reviews! And it could also help market you for any future sessions if you ever do want to charge.
This sounds interesting, and I agree w/the advice given. Besides, the school might just pay you a stipend anyway. They probably have money for stuff like this.
Good luck w/it.
Not the same thing, but my academic team conference is considering doing our competitions via television (to save traveling expense). Pretty hard to intimidate someone over a camera feed, so we'll see how it goes.
I thank everyone for the interesting commentary and advice. Timmy's comment has me thinking, though, that technology like Skype could more and more replace face-to-face visits from artists, for which we usually do get paid, particularly if the visit involves substantial travel. So, while I'll be doing this first Skype session gratis, I am intending to take a leave of absence from teaching year after next, and, during that year, I'm hoping to earn some money by visiting schools where my plays have been performed. If many would rather "Skype" me than have me come physically, I'll have to decide how to handle those sessions financially. It's interesting that one of the most prevalent opinions on this board has been,"Don't give away your work for free! It does us all a disservice." Isn't our time and advice as practicing playwrights part of our "work"? Should we also be careful about giving that away for free? Again, I'm not planning on change my mind this time around, but I'm thinking about future ventures. I'd love to be making so much on my royalties that I didn't have to worry about any of this, but.... We all know what a realistic wish that is.
As you know, "Don't give away your work for free! It does us all a disservice." has been my battle cry for decades. But, I really need to clear something up because we're each coming from two very different places - each valid and each to be respected. I was invited to a college in San Diego and was paid well; I actually did a few days of classroom work. I would never have done that for free (except, perhaps, in the early days of my "career," as it were. And, like you, I would not make a habit of sharing what little knowledge I might have on Skype gratis. But, like going on tour from bookstore to bookstore with a new book, I can also see it as a marketing tool.
So, while I scream and will continue to scream, "don't give away your work for free! It does us all a disservice." I, in my humble attempt for some kind of heavenly redemption, try to give back whenever I can to help others who may be walking along a path with which I am familiar. May I example that by two words: This forum.
Well said, Edd, and I'm becoming more and more aware of that "give back" voice in my soul, too. As with every worthy thing, I suppose, we're talking about striking a balance. And I do appreciate your roll in creating this forum; it's been a big help to me over the years (I guess it's been years that I've been visiting and occasionally contributing here. Hard to believe!).
Thank you, Alan. The man who actually created this forum is Paul Thain who had both the vision and means to develop it. Without him I truly believe we playwrights would not have a home in the best forum on the internet - truly, I do believe that.