The Dramatists Guild of America denounces the practice by some theatres, festivals, contests and educational programs of charging excessive fees to dramatists who submit their work for consideration, as well as the unfair encumbrances they put on works they have not produced.
Members should understand that submission fees are not the norm and, when required, the festival should offer something significant in return for the writer’s investment, such as a cash prize, a residency, or a production. Reading fees are in no case acceptable, as most festivals receive that money from other grant sources, and, in any event, writers should not have to pay to have their work read nor should they be required to fund a prize or production, either in whole or in part. So, any request for submission fees should be accompanied by a complete explanation of how those fees are to be spent. Contests and festivals should also announce the names of all finalists and winners to all of the participants.
In addition to the issue of submission fees, The Guild feels that any organization’s future participation in the life of a play must be earned by their actual production of it. Therefore, the Guild disapproves of any encumbrances put on a play by a festival or contest when they are only acting as a presenting organization and are not actually the producer of the particular work. Such contests and festivals should provide full disclosure on what encumbrances, if any, will be placed on a participant’s work (including any share of the play’s subsidiary income or any future production options on it) and this information should be stated clearly in the organization’s printed and electronic materials related to the event.
However, in order to further the Guild’s goal of making our members as well informed as possible about legitimate submission opportunities, we post most of the listings we receive from sponsors, omitting only those listings that charge exorbitant fees (in our view) or about whom we have received multiple member complaints. So be advised that the inclusion or omission of a listing in the Guild’s various publications does not constitute either approval or disapproval of that organization’s practices by the Guild. Guild members are individually responsible for their submissions and should fully evaluate an opportunity before submitting their work.
Please contact Business Affairs with any questions or if you need assistance in evaluating a particular opportunity.
Please be advised that the inclusion or omission of a listing does not constitute approval or disapproval of that organization by the Guild, its Council, officers, employees, agents, or affiliates. Guild members are individually responsible for their submissions and should fully evaluate an opportunity before submitting their work. Please contact Business Affairs with any questions or if you need assistance in evaluating a particular opportunity.