Playwrights Binge!

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Patrick Gabridge, a prolific, award-winning, and much produced Boston playwright, founded the online Playwrights’ Submission Binge, and is the co-founder and coordinator of the New England New Play Alliance, the Dramatists’ Guild New England Regional Representative, and the producing artistic director of Plays in Place. The Salon’s Artistic Director, Margaret O’Donnell, interviewed Patrick to learn more about the Binge.

Salon: What is the Binge?

Patrick Gabridge (PG): The Binge is an online community focused on marketing for playwrights. It started small, but it's grown to almost 1,100 members.

Salon: Why did you develop it? And when?

PG: I wanted a way to make my marketing chores more fun. So back in 2003, I set up a group with about a dozen fellow playwrights. The idea was to take the challenge of sending out a play a day, every day, for 30 days. Each person was to report back to the group what they sent, where, and why. It was a way to make a game out of it, and to build in a sense of accountability. It ended up working great, so we did it again. Now we do it twice a year, every March and September. It's a great way to share information and to build positive habits for yourself. It's also an incredibly supportive on-line community for playwrights.

Salon: Does it fill a gap in submission how-to for playwrights? If so, what?

PG: Because people are sharing a lot of information, it's a great way to stay informed about what opportunities are out there. And it's free. It's also a good place to turn if you have marketing related questions.

Salon: How do playwrights use it?

PG: They just join the Yahoo group. (The platform may change in the near future, to make it even easier to join.) Once they're on, they'll receive e-mails from the list. In the Binge months (March and September), they can take up the challenge and participate in the marketing frenzy. Or not. Lots of people are lurkers, and just kind of observe from a distance. It's low pressure. The site is at: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/playwrightbinge/info

Salon: What are your best tips for benefiting from the Binge?

PG: Try to meet the challenge. Send out a script a day every day for 30 days in March and September. If you do, you'll have made 60 submissions for the year. The odds are low for any submission to succeed, so numbers matter. If you don't submit your work, it's hard for it to get produced, especially if you're not already well-connected.

Salon: Have there been unexpected consequences of the Binge? Serendipitous coincidences and connections?

PG: I think sometimes theatres are surprised when they get a sudden wave of submissions after they've been mentioned by someone on the list. Many friendships have developed on the group, and we had a great in-person gathering at the Dramatists Guild National Conference in July. I've certainly gotten lots of opportunities from submissions I've sent, and relationships I've formed on the Binge. I've made two trips to South Korea for productions of my work directly due to Binge friends recommending me for an opportunity. It really does work.

Salon: How has the Binge evolved since you first developed it?

PG: There are a lot more people involved, that's for sure. It's a little more active year-round, and I think people are even more generous than when we began about sharing opportunities. There's so much information available online now, as compared to 15 years ago, and our members are great about gathering that info and sharing it with the group.

Salon: What are your plans for the Binge? Are others involved?

PG: I'm hoping we'll shift to a more user-friendly platform, in early 2019. I just need to find a window of time to do it. This is something that can run simply and cheaply, so it's really just me handling the operations of the group. But it's everyone working together that makes it an actual active and supportive community--that's all due to the generosity and passion and energy of our member playwrights. Their spirit has made the Binge a very special community.

Binge group at 2018 Dramatist’s Guild conference

Binge group at 2018 Dramatist’s Guild conference