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11/26/2012

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Wesley K. Andrews

That's great man. Can't wait to pick up a copy at the show.

In the Presenting field, this is called "merchandise," and it's not approached with any soul-searching whatsoever and is not controversial. It's just like a Tour-only CD sold by a band or DJ.

This is also the reason that I made a concert recording of my storytelling show last Saturday to sell at upcoming gigs: http://wesleykandrews.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/whats-next-for-riverboat/

-Wes

Paul Mullin

Thanks, Wes. I like the way you think. We tend to be a little too shy and precious about this kind of stuff in the "serious theatre".

Dclapper

Personally, I really like sim-pubbing the script. As an audience member, if the play dazzled me, I want the script right then. Annex did this with "Bessemer's Spectacles" (and probably others), and I was delighted to buy a copy of the script afterwards, and to read and re-read it many times.

Paul Mullin

BESSEMER'S SPECTACLES is my favorite Annex Show EVER!

Wesley K. Andrews

If this play gets picked up by a big publishing house, or goes to Off-Broadway or something, how awesome will I be when I have an autographed first-run copy? And I'll be like I KNOW HIM SERIOUSLY U GUYZ. (later changes and corrections will only make my copy more exclusive!)

I've long thought that we don't pay nearly enough attention to the music industry or copy nearly enough of their practices. Good for you doing this.

German Munoz

It's quite common practice here in London to have the play script for sale during the original run of a show. As a writer, if a show dazzled me (or at least a part of it did), I really want to know "How does that look on the page itself?". It also helps to understand how much of what you saw is in the text and how much the other collaborators added.

Bret Fetzer

The experience of Rain City Projects -- which published plays in conjunction with productions for over ten years, including "Bessemer's Spectactles" -- was that when the theater promoted selling the script, it succeeded, and when they didn't, it didn't. The single most significant factor, by an order of magnitude, was having someone hold up the script in a preshow speech and say "This is for sale in the lobby; if you enjoyed the show, we encourage you to buy the script." Other approaches -- such as plugging the script for sale in a program ad -- had a fraction of the impact of a live preshow plug.

Over time, theaters became less invested in promoting scripts. There was a trend away from preshow speeches, and even the theaters that still did them just wanted the speaker to say the essentials and get off the stage. Most of the theaters producing new plays were small, volunteer-run organizations, so there was no one to consistently make a plug for the script, and trying to educate a rotating crew of house managers about this was too much to accomplish on top of all the other stuff that had to get done. Everyone supported the idea of selling the scripts in the abstract, but in practice it fell by the wayside.

But the main reason Rain City Projects stopped publishing individual scripts was that, as these were brand new plays getting their first production, a majority of playwrights learned a lot of new things and did significant rewrites after the production. Immediately the scripts were obsolete and the playwrights didn't want them sold or distributed.

If you have the theater's active support, then this publication should do well. Not a lot of people are interested in reading plays, but with active promotion you'll reach those people who are.

Paul Mullin

Thank you, Bret! Very very informative and useful.

Louise Penberthy

I agree with German. (Hi, German! "Here in London" envy envy.)

I love reading the script and figuring out how the playwright did it.

Louise Penberthy

Bret, did the playwrights make changes during rehearsal? I bought the script of "Jerusalem" that was published during the rehearsal process, and it was pretty close to the version I saw.

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