Getting Rejected • PLC BLOG • March 29, 2024

Getting Rejected • PLC BLOG • March 29, 2024

It happens to every creative person at one time or another. Sometimes it can happen many times.

It is all right to feel disappointed or discouraged — that is natural for any human, writer or not.

You can always vent to your friends. They will most likely understand.

OR you could think about why your play was rejected.

It is not usually because the play is poorly written, conceived, or packaged. (Though that may unfortunately be true)

It may be simply that the theme, the title, or the message is not what the producer is looking for. Nothing to do about the quality of the play.

It will have nothing to do with you personally — ever — and little to do with your prowess as a playwright, composer, or lyricist, most of the time.

Producers/Directors have to fill “Seasons.” They must be on the lookout for plays that will reach their audience base; add to the presence of their theatre company in the market in which they fight for audiences.

So — is there one way to cut down on rejection letters/emails? Do your research. Look at their website carefully at the titles they choose. Peruse their mission statements and other information on their “About US” pages. And by all means look at their “Seasons” present and past. See the shows they did not reject. Does your play match those parameters: play types, genres? Cast sizes? If not, do not send to that producer/director.

Another way to cushion your chances is to find local community groups, or Colleges and Universities, and get a workshop production, or staged reading, or even a table reading there. Go into your submission process with some “workshop” productions — some good ammunition. It may still be rejected, but not because it is actually unproducible.

It is all about the perception of “is this right and good for our audiences?” “Will I be able to put butts in the seats?” “IF it is flawed, can I work with the playwright to improve it?”

These are questions they will ask themselves; and they will have to answer to the best of their perceptions, because you are not in the room with them. Besides, if they are a successful theatrical entity (and why approach any theatre that is not successful) they WILL know their audience base. And you must be willing to rewrite, if asked to do so. If you think your play is perfect just the way it is, well… that is not true — ever — nor is it what a producer/director wants to hear or sense from any playwright.

So after a rejection letter, don’t try to place blame for someone not ‘liking’ your play. That does you no good at all, mentally or creatively. Opinion is opinion, and not all opinions are relevant or relatable to you or your work. Make your actions positive, without bitterness.

Take a look at your play — objectively. Get some friends together, whom you trust, and read the play aloud around a table or in your living room.  Take feedback from your readers.

If they make suggestions — take them seriously. Their friendship with you should preclude ‘haters” and encourage a valid, trusted criticism.

Can it be better?

If your answer is “yes,” then you just might have a future in this biz.

– C. Michael Perry, Editor

CLICK BLOG Getting Rejected for a PDF of this BLOG TITLE