The other day, I got involved in an argument on a LinkedIn group about fees for playwrights to submit their plays.
I think that playwrights should not have to pay fees to submit their plays. Yes, I know that festivals cost money to put on. Yes, I know the money has to come from somewhere. But no, playwrights should not have to finance festivals.
Some festivals defend it by saying that requiring a fee means that only people who are serious will submit. That’s not true. All it means is that people who are willing to pay the fee will submit.
Some festivals defend it by saying that they have to pay their readers, so they have to require fees. They may have to pay their readers, but it’s not true that playwrights have to supply the money.
Some festivals defend it by saying that the playwrights benefit, so they should pay the fees. That’s not true. The playwrights whose plays are chosen may benefit, but the rest don’t.
The only festivals I submit to that require submission fees are those that offer significant work-shopping, or that are really prestigious. I don’t care if the fee is just $3, if the festival doesn’t offer work-shopping, or isn’t prestigious, I don’t submit.
Playwrights – don’t submit to festivals that require fees. There are plenty of opportunities that don’t charge fees. Make your exceptions if you want to, but let them be few.
And theaters that charge submission fees – yes, I’ve found a few – don’t submit to them.
Don’t think you have to pay to play. It takes away your power.