At the end of every year, I like to tally up my writing numbers for the year (here's the post for 2022). This habit is shared by various other members of the Playwright Submission Binge, an online group dedicated to marketing for playwrights that I started back in 2003. A bunch of us share our numbers to the group, and it's fun (especially for a numbers guy like me) to see how we're all doing.
In the past, I've undertaken surveys of Binge members to see how active they were in particular "Binges" (a "Binge" is a bi-annual challenge that the group takes to see if they can each send out a play a day for 30 days). I ran previous surveys in 2017 and in 2011, which mostly told us us how active people were in the "Binges" and a bit more about their writing lives and demographics.
This year, as people were doing their year-end tallies, I thought it might be fun to capture stats for 2022 numbers for members of the group. The questions were a little different from previous surveys (so we can't compare them directly), and the numbers compiled are estimates that tell us a bit about how this subset of playwrights fared in 2022 and how much they were getting their work to theatres and audiences.
A caveat on the results: 110 playwrights who responded are members of the 1,300-member Binge group. This is not a random sample of the group, or of the playwriting community as a whole. These number reflect information only about the people who took the time to respond to the survey.
By its very nature, The Binge attracts writers who are serious about getting their work out there. Almost all members have been produced, most of them published, and many earn some income from their writing. I'm not sure that it's possible to draw large lessons about the field from this survey, but perhaps there are some to be found. Definitely worth a discussion.
This time around, I did not request demographic info and all responses were anonymous, recorded over a 10-day period. I intentionally kept the survey short, so that more people would be likely to complete it. I might do this again next January, and I've been getting plenty of suggestions for additional questions. If you have suggestions, please put them in the comments below.
Let's take a look at the numbers.
Number of respondents: 110
How many scripts did you submit in 2022? (3 scripts to the same venue count as 3 submissions)
Total: 8,309 scripts median 57.00 scripts average: 76.23 scripts
How many in-person productions did you have of full-length plays or musicals in 2022?
Total: 100 Median: 0.00 Average: 0.92
How many in-person productions of one-acts and short plays or musicals did you have in 2022?
Total: 529 Median: 1.00 Average: 4.81
How many in-person readings did you have in 2022?
Total: 167 Median: 1.00 Average: 1.53
About how much money did you earn from your playwriting in 2022? (includes royalties, prizes, commissions, but not teaching. This is gross income, so before expenses.)
How many years have you been a member of the Binge?
Median: 4.00 years
Average 5.54 years