The Most Rejected Playwright

If you’re interested in becoming a professional playwright, print off this article by Donald Drake, nail it to the wall above your computer and review it daily.

Don is a playwright and has been one for 26 years. He has kept up quite a detailed tracking system for play submissions. What was sent out, to whom, and what response was sent back. This is the first thing to take note of, it’s important to have a process for what you’re sending out. This way you never send the same script to the same theatre twice. If you get in a submission groove, it’s more than possible you’ll forget what’s gone out and where.

Secondly, based on his tracking system Don has realized some very interesting statistics. For example: “The likelihood that your unsolicited script will be rejected or totally ignored by a theater is 99.57 percent. That means no production, no showcase, no staged readings. Zip.”

That’s a pretty damaging stat. And though I send out far, far, far less than Don, it’s one I agree with. If you want to be a playwright, the reality of being unknown is something you have take into consideration. Maybe you’ll be the exception. But maybe you won’t. That means you have to be able to accept this kind of information, and deal with it.

But wait, Don addresses that too. His precise tracking process has helped him deal with the massive amounts of rejection that happens to an artist. Knowing how to deal with a rejection letter, and knowing how to read a rejection letter can mean the difference between sinking under the weight of the no, no, no’s, and rising to find joy in what you do.

And that’s what it boils down to. If you want to do this for a living, what is the why? Why do it? What’s your purpose? What’s your aim? Where is your joy? Why do you want to become a playwright? Figure that out, read Don’s article, come up with your own tracking process and you’re on your way….

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Lindsay Price