Utah by Melissa Leilani Larson
Rachel Bublitz is a playwright with a mission—a Submission Mission.
So much of playwriting is in the control of the writer—and so much of it isn’t. We have control over the characters and their choices, and we decide what is said on the page. But sometimes bringing the play to life through production can be an ordeal. How do you get your work read, and consistently? Especially when you’re just starting out?
We all know that theatre companies support new work through a variety of contests and festivals, but sometimes submitting your work blindly can be daunting.
Rachel Bublitz, however, will not be daunted. She knows that repetition leads to recognition, and recognition to relationships—and that relationships are key to playwrights getting their work done.
A friend and fellow playwright Megan Cohen once said that she aimed to receive 100 rejections in a year. While some might latch onto the negative aspect of that goal, Rachel realized that 100 rejections were only possible after 100 submissions.
“It stuck out in my brain as a worthy goal,” she says. “In 2014 I gave myself my first submission mission: submit once per day for a total of 365 submissions for the year. I’ve found that having a huge number like that to tackle really helps me get scripts out.”
In the years since, Rachel hasn’t let up. She sets regular time aside to research submission opportunities, prepare supplemental materials and, most importantly, hit that submit button. In 2017, she sent out a whopping 417 submissions. Her goal for 2018 is to send out even more scripts, aiming for a total of 450 or more.
After earning her MFA from San Francisco State University, where she served as a DG Ambassador to the Bay Area, Rachel moved to the Cottonwood Heights neighborhood in Salt Lake City with her husband Alex and their two children. Salt Lake was home for Alex, and Rachel recognized a potential base for her submission mission. After the sky-high real estate prices of the Bay Area, Rachel and Alex were able to purchase a house with a yard in a neighborhood with easy access to hiking and other outdoor adventures—and the babysitting help is priceless.
“My in-laws live here and are amazing,” Rachel confides.
Because Salt Lake is more centrally located, travel has become much easier, allowing Rachel to participate in workshops in California, Wyoming, and Illinois. Most recently Rachel attended a staged reading of her play Ripped in Detroit, where it won the Detroit New Works Festival this April. She has also found opportunities in Salt Lake proper, with a commission to write Cheerleaders Vs. Aliens for the Egyptian Youth Theatre in Park City and claim a spot in Plan-B Theatre’s Playwrights Lab.
“Salt Lake has the most supportive theatre scene I’ve encountered,” she says. She found it much easier to reach out to other playwrights, directors, and literary managers than it has been in other cities.
“I’ve been really impressed with how much the theatres here produce local work. Plan-B in particular amazes me; it might be one of the only theatres outside of New York that only does local writers’ work.”
You can learn more about Rachel, her plays, and her Submission Mission at rachelbublitz.com.