Playwright’s Digital Business Card
By Casey Bell
If you are a playwright, it is time for you to work on your digital card. Broadway is supposed to be reopening in January 2021. Although the Surflight Theater in Beach Haven, NJ reopened this summer under a tent, Broadway will basically be the forefront of how theaters all over America, even the world, can reopen during this pandemic. Most theater companies have completely thrown out their seasons and will probably be starting all over. Some maybe even looking for something new, being that theater will technically be starting from scratch. This is where the playwright can share their digital business cards, not just with Broadway producers, but even local theater companies, because you have to start somewhere.
So, what exactly is a playwright’s digital business card?
Let us start from the beginning. In the beginning the playwright generally produced his/her own plays. Once the producer came in, playwrights began to rely mostly on producers and artistic directors to get their pages on the stages. Playwrights originally would mail or walk their plays to a producer in hopes the producer would agree to produce it.
Then play readings became the bandwagon. Playwrights would produce a play reading, invite producers, and hope, at least one producer would be interested in producing their works. The good thing about play readings is the producer had the chance to see the interactions and actions of the audience.
Then came the Broadway audition. That’s where a playwright would get a company to produce his/her works and then invite a Broadway producer to see it. It was usually produced outside of New York City. Although sending your play to artistic directors and producers is still a thing, there is more of a chance of you getting your pages to stages if you produce a play reading or a Broadway audition.
Now, with technology and this pandemic a new way of getting your plays produced has arrived, and if you are serious about getting your works produced by someone other than yourself, then it is time for you to create a digital business card.
What is a digital business card? A recording of a play reading.
Whether live or prerecorded and edited, playwrights, who have not been produced yet, should consider creating a play reading recording. It should be uploaded to a video sharing site such as Vimeo, Veoh, DailyMotion, or of course, the big one, YouTube.
That link of your video is your digital business card. Instead of sending an attachment of your play, send a link of the play reading.
Even if it doesn’t have an audience with reactions, it still gives the producer an idea of the way the script should be performed. You can even encourage them to watch it with family or friends. Better yet if it’s children’s theater, invite them to watch it with their children, or nephews, nieces, or neighborhood children. The audience they watch it with may be able to persuade them to produce it depending on their reactions.
You should also encourage family and friends to watch it. And try your best to get as many views, comments, and likes as possible, because that can be a factor as well. And this card depending on how you do it can be inexpensive. Many actors or even your friends are willing to do a reading with payment.
Furthermore, if you have the can-do spirit, you can figure out how to edit it yourself instead of hiring someone.
And you know what? It doesn’t stop at playwrights. Makeup artists, hair, costumes, lights, sound, actors, etc. Why not film yourself at work, and create a digital business card?
Everyone can put on paper they are a great set designer, but not everyone has proof of that. Sending a video of you designing (sped up video), could be the thing that gets you that job.
While the theater is still shut down and creating streaming videos, now is the time to work on your digital business cards. Once the theaters reopen, you can begin to inquire and send them out and be ahead of the crowd, because most people will continue to do things as normal, but it is the abnormal that gets the attention.