Monday, April 3, 2017

The Binge Tidal Wave: Submission Binge #30 Survey

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The Playwright Submission Binge, an online community dedicated to helping playwrights market their work that I started 15 years ago, just finished our 30th "Binge." For each Binge, we take up the challenge of trying to send out a submission a day, every day, for 30 days. After each submission, member are encourage to post to the group what they sent, where, and why (and often share the contact info for the opportunity in question).
 
It's an amazingly positive and supportive group, that now functions year-round as a source information and support. Many of us have become friends, outside the list. Our membership has continued to grow, and our list now has more than 950 playwrights from around the world. Not all of them are active, and not all of them post, but during the binge we had more than 50 different writers post to the group. It's hard to know how many people are actively reading the list and submitting on their own.

Back in 2011 (when the group has only 640 members), we conducted a survey, to see what sort of impact the group was having on its members and on the rest of the theater world. Despite its size, our group seems to operate a little under the radar--I run into playwrights all the time who haven't heard of the Binge. But I guarantee you that when a submission opportunity gets posted to our list, the company receives a solid wave of submissions. If a company posts a call for scripts that feels abusive to playwrights, they will also get strongly worded e-mails from our members with suggestions on how to improve.

I figured it was time to do another survey, and see what the impact is like these days. In some ways, with sites like NYCPlaywrights.org and Playwright Submission Helper, it may be that the notion of a binge of submissions isn't as necessary for some writers. For my own marketing, the Binge helps me get super focused and make marketing a priority at least two months of every year.  (Binges happen in March and September.)
 
For the survey of Binge #30, 90 writers responded. Those writers sent out 1,765 submissions (down from the totals of the Binge #19 respondents), or an average of almost 20 submissions per writer for the month of March. More than 97% of these playwrights have already been produced (93% have been paid for their work), and more than 60% have received productions as a result of past Binge submissions.  More than half of the respondents were women.

All of which continues to make me feel like our group is having an impact on both the writers involved and on the companies to whom they are submitting.  There's some potentially interesting data here, and I might start conducting these surveys after every binge.  (I'm guessing there's a difference between Spring and Fall binges.) 

I'm still considering possible trends. From 2011, the percentage of writers who have been produced and paid has risen. The number of writers actively posting to our group has declined. Two data points don't really give enough information to identify trends more strongly.

I'll post all the data below. Please comment and let me know your thoughts or questions.
 

2017 Binge #30 Survey Results:  (percentages based on people who answered question)
(I am including 2011 percentages in parentheses, for comparison.)

Number of  Writers Who Completed Survey: 90 
Total number of scripts and queries submitted during Binge #30 (by these 90 writers): 1,765
238 queries, 1,527 complete scripts
(In 2011, 74 people responded, with a total of 2,270 submission)

How many years have you Binged? 
First time.  12.5%   (15.1% in 2011 survey)
1-2 years   22.7%    (26.0%)
3-4 years   28.4%   (24.7%)
5-6 years    11.7%   (19.2%)
7-8 years   11.7%    (4.1% )
9-+ years   13.6%    (10.9% )


Has your work ever been produced? 
Yes  97.7%  (94.4% in 2011 survey)
No   2.3%   (5.6%)

Has your work ever been published? 
Yes  72.2%  (69.9%)
No   27.8%  (30.1%)

Has your work ever received a reading? 
Yes  100% (97.3%)
No   0%  (2.7%)

Have you ever been paid for any of the readings/productions/publications of your work? 
Yes  93.3%   (87.8%)
No   6.7%    (12.2%) 

Have you ever received a reading, production, or publication as a result of a Binge submission?
Reading    51.1%    (54.1%) 
Production  61.1%  (67.6%)
Publication  21.1% (21.6%) 
Not yet    27.8%     (27.0%) 

How often do you post to the Binge list?
Often    15.7%  (23.0%)
A couple times each Binge  15.7%   (27.0%)
A couple times a year  20.2%  (14.9%)
Rarely  31.5%   (23.0%)
Never  16.9%  (12.2%) 

Are you male or female? 
Male  43.3%  (39.2%)
Female   56.7%  (60.8%)
Non-Binary Gender  0%    (These two options were added very late, and were not present in 2011.)
Prefer not to answer 0%

5 comments:

Sheila Rinear said...

Thanks for creating the succinct survey and delivering the really interesting results, Patrick. My submission rate is so much higher because of the Binge. Thanks. I'm curious about what the differences would be between the September and March Binge responses.

Patrick Gabridge said...

Thanks, Sheila. So glad that the Binge has been helpful for you. I'm curious about spring/fall difference, too. I'm guessing fall is slightly busier.

Alex Broun said...

Thanks for all you do Patrick. Don't know how you find the time. AB

Patrick Gabridge said...

Thanks, Alex. Right this second, I could really use 25 hours in a day.

sandykayz said...

Interesting. I submitted over 80 last March and this year was way down because most of the theatres I submitted to in March 2016 did not respond, so I decided not to put my energy into them. So it would be great to do the survey again next year to see the difference. Thank you.