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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trade a Play Tuesday

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One Tuesday, in January 2014, I had just finished a ten-minute play that I wasn’t sure about. I usually don’t ask for feedback on ten-minutes, but this one was a little unusual, and I felt like I wanted some. So I posted on the Playwright Binge asking if anybody wanted to trade a ten-minute play for feedback. The response was incredible! I ended up reading 20 ten-minute plays that day, and got a ton of feedback on mine that helped shape it and make it funnier.

So today, I woke up, it’s Tuesday, I have a couple new ten-minutes, and I thought why not make this a regular thing? There are no development opportunities for ten-minute plays but, as with any play, a ten-minute can be improved with thoughtful feedback and attention.  (You may also send ten-page scenes that you’d like some feedaback on.) So let’s provide for each other what doesn’t exist.

If you don’t have a play today, don’ t worry:  I’ll remind you about TAPT each week on the Official Playwrights of Facebook page and Twitter (please follow me at @donnahoke to see the confirmation reminders–IF THERE IS NO REMINDER, THERE IS NO TAPT THAT WEEK, but this is very rare, so always feel free to inquire), so when you see that we’re on, send your play and somebody will be ready to read it. And if you’ve haven’t got one, here’s why I think you should.

Playwrights can send their ten-minute plays or ten-page scenes to me at donna@donnahoke.com with the subject #TAPT (Trade A Play Tuesday).  I will trade them two-by-two as they come in. Subject matter can be anything, but there are  two important rules:

1) It must be a ten-minute play or a ten-page scene. No sneaking in any longer one-acts.  If you are sending a ten-page scene, please give your reviewer some context. READERS: If you receive something longer than ten minutes, you do not have to read it. Please alert me, so I can remind the sender about the rule. Senders, PLEASE be courteous about this rule; it’s not fair to others who are following it.

2) You MUST read and provide feedback within a reasonable time frame: Ideally, this would be WITHIN THREE HOURS, but certainly NO LATER THAN THE END OF THE DAY (that means midnight EST). We all know that once something languishes in your email, it can get lost forever, which would not be fair to the playwright who is diligently reading your play and awaiting your stellar wisdom. If you can’t give a thoughtful critique within this time frame, don’t send it until you have the time to dedicate.

The earlier in the day you send your play, the better. This gives me the best ability to match people with people they haven’t been matched with before; you can also send it the night before, or even whenever you remember during the week; I’ll hang on to it until Tuesday. And on Tuesday, you must do your trade. I also ask that you not send things past five o’clock; it’s rare that I’d get someone to trade you with that late. It’s okay if you tell your reader you can’t respond until after five, but sending that late doesn’t tend to work well.

 Once you’ve sent your feedback and received yours, if you feel like you want more AND are willing to read another play–send it again. I’ll trade you with another playwright. AN IMPORTANT WORD ABOUT FEEDBACK: Please take the time to give thoughtful and honest feedback, the kind you would like to receive yourself.  Praise is wonderful, but praise-only critiques, as we all know, are rare birds that we spot infrequently.  They are not a substitute for a thorough read and feedback.

And that’s it. Spread the word. And if you’ve got a new ten-minute, send it. Let’s get this thing rolling. You’ll get feedback AND meet a cool new playwright. What have you got to lose?

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