Q: One of my plays – a completed first draft that has been passed around and has had positive feedback – was given to a well known actor/director who has an interest in the subject matter through a mutual friend. This friend said he’d be happy to read it. That was before Covid. Now that things are starting up and I’m ready to get my possibilities fired up, I’d like to reach out to see if 1) He has read it 2) Has any interest in it, and 3) Might at least give me feedback if nothing else.
Should I hold off reaching out and wait a little longer? I’m nervous about asking because I feel as long as he has the script, there’s a chance he might/could be interested, and I don’t want to blow it. I feel like everything got put on the back burner, so my script could be at the bottom of a big pile of unread material. I’d really appreciate any thoughts you guys can share with me!
First off, congratulations on finishing ANOTHER first draft! We love to hear it! Is there anything like typing “The End?”
I imagine most of our tribe of theatermakers have found themselves in this “artistic purgatory” after sending someone a new draft. Under normal circumstances, I would advise you to follow up sooner than later. As Ken says:
“We know that the key to success is following up, right? So few people will say yes to any request the first time you ask, that it’s super essential that you follow up . . . once, twice, five times. This is where I get the inevitable question: “When am I following up too much? When do I get annoying?” First, there probably is no amount of follow up that’s too much. I’ve been THANKED for following up much more often than I’ve been told to stop following up.”
So I totally get your hesitation in following up after so much time has passed. That being said, my question is “Is there a new draft?” Ken’s 2nd tip on following up is on the importance of including NEW INFORMATION:
“Whenever you follow up, always include new information. It can be any kind of new info . . . a launch of a new website, the submission of your show to festivals, etc. It doesn’t matter. But the new info not only distracts the reader from the follow-up, it also demonstrates that you’re moving . . . that you are getting @#$% done. Always include new information when you follow up and you won’t feel as stalker-like, I promise.”
So if you have made any changes since the pandemic, then use that new draft as the perfect way to follow up. Plus, if they didn’t read the version sent pre-COVID, then their first impression will be based on the new and improved draft.
Even if the draft has been “frozen” while you waited for feedback, I still say “Follow up!” Many theatermakers are looking for new projects as the business opens back up. Don’t be afraid to try and push your script to the top of the pile. Oh, and go ahead and drop your friend’s name as a reminder of how you connected in the first place. And make sure that friend knows you are reaching back out so they can follow up with them too!
I can already hear you say “Melvin, isn’t that too much?” Let me say, don’t worry about being too annoying! Whether asking for feedback or thousands of dollars, take it from Ken:
“I’ve had to make a lot of asks in my career (A LOT). “I’ve probably asked for investment dollars over 10,000 times at least. I’ve probably asked for actors to be in my shows over 1,000 times and more. And I’ve gotten a lot of nos. You know what I haven’t gotten? A lot of people telling me I follow up too much.”
Now that we’re all invested, you have to follow up with us and let us know how things develop! And remember, if that actor-director doesn’t want to give you feedback, Eric Webb is always a Zoom away for Script Consultation!