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Punching Holes in Walls

11.22.10 | 2 Comments


CATEGORIES development, ideas, playwrights, rabble rousing, social media, the process

A lot of the cross talk that happens on the #2amt tag on Twitter is, at its core, about gatekeepers. Who they are, why they exist, why we want them not to exist and what can or should we do about them. Outrageous Fortune is a story of gates and gate keepers. Getting a play from your desk to a stage anywhere is a system of locks and gates convoluted enough to make a canal planner cry.

The quick answer in general to gate keepers is to punch through the wall a little further down and enter that way. In this case the wall is between potential small producers and playwrights. The process of getting published is no easier than getting produced, and without a central clearinghouse for people to find your play how can they ever discover it? Off Book Market want to be that clearinghouse. OffBook Market wants to punch a hole in that wall.

The genesis of OffBook Market was in a running discussion on over a year ago on Twitter that was asking very simply: what can be done to lower the bar to knowledge of a play and why wasn’t there an iTunes-style market for scripts with a low enough cost that you could take a risk and a robust enough search and hierarchy system that you could find plays that interest you without having to read them all.

Brian Seitel took those ideas and built a really robust market structure to support them. The key to OffBook is accessibility. The .Pdf standard works on the major e-readers and tablets as well as smartphones. Performances rights can be licensed through OffBook or maintained with the author for private contracting. If people want to get to your script they can.

That’s the first step. The second step is that playwrights need to come forward and populate that marketplace. OffBook Market is a literary analog to the Android market for smartphones.There is no gatekeeper. There is no one reading and vetting scripts. You the author post the scripts you want with the capsule you want. And OffBook is taking the bare minimum out of the posted price to support the back end. It is up to the community of writers to make the market a worthwhile place to visit for buyers.

Are you having a ten minute play festival? Lay out those scripts with images from the productions and have them on sale by the time people leave the theatre. Maybe a QR code on your posters in the lobby with a direct link to your production script?

Writers? You have another weapon in your war on obscurity. What can you do with it?

Travis Bedard

Travis Bedard

A long time theatre blogger, Travis is the Artistic Director of Cambiare Productions and a contributing writer to 2amTheatre.com. Travis holds a degree in Theatre (Secondary Education) from the University of New Hampshire and is currently posted in scenic St. Paul Minnesota..
Travis Bedard

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  • Erikparsons

    very cool and yet another hat tip to mr Seitel.

    As a member of an upstart theatre looking to work with playwrights to produce plays that fit an exciting if narrow mission, I am very excited to see this as a resource in discovering material and individuals that feed into our mission.

    Now the next question I have is…

    Is there any interest in developing additional matchmaking/commissioning tools to further assist in connecting Theatre with Mission X with Playwright Y?

  • Can you elaborate on what you mean? An example or something?


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