With our valued Associate Dramaturg keeping my nose to the grindstone, we have, today, completed our submissions for several important development opportunities for The Mapmaker’s Opera in 2014.
So why do I want to talk about this?
In the USA (actually anywhere now that I think about it) one of the most sought after, and valued, opportunities is to get sponsored time to devote to the writing of a new Musical. We have been exceptionally fortunate this year, having garnered two terrific opportunities to spend uninterrupted time writing for this new show. As you may recall we were invited to both a residency at CAP21 in NYC, and then participated in the inaugural Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers’ Colony at Goodspeed Musicals. It means much to Victor and myself, because we’re not American, and yet we were welcomed to travel over the pond and join in with a bunch of really talented US writers. But now we need to move forward again.
After all these years of working in the music and theatre industries, it continues to amaze me how much I still have to learn about the ‘business’. Apropos, for the last eight months I have been investigating development opportunities for new works ready to be looked at ‘on the floor’ – or put another way – when you’re ready to present the work in a rehearsal room to see what works and what, unintentionally, falls flat.
At any rate, there are opportunities to which creative teams can apply – and all with a slightly different focus. The good news is that they exist – as opposed to Australia where the well is bone dry – the bad news, is that they are very competitive to gain a place into. And that’s OK too!
So, we may not be successful in gaining a place on a first attempt into a ground-breaking Festival of New Work, or a National Music Theatre Conference, or even a famous Theatre Lab commonly known for it’s Film Festival, but we believe strongly enough in what we’ve written to say, “Hey folks, what do you think of this?” As the apocryphal saying goes: you’ve got to be in it to win it!
Most writers keep their submissions to various development opportunities very ‘close to their chest’ for fear of rejection. I don’t quite see the wisdom in this. Just because the likelihood is (at least statistically) that submission success does oscillate somewhere between ‘unlikely’ and ‘not-a-chance’, does not equate to a new work not having intrinsic merit.
There are any number of reasons why your work may not be chosen: the work doesn’t resonate with the selection panel; there were better works submitted; not enough budget for the number of actors required – the list goes on. The important thing to remember is that if you truly, truly believe in the show that you’ve written, you have to put it out there. God knows, people are going to have an opinion! And not everyone is going to like what you’ve written irrespective of how hard you try.
More soon. Working on a song in Act II entitled, ‘Miracles Can Happen’. I think I’ve just been writing about this subject?