2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles

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Screenwriter's & Playwright's Market

In preparation for an independent film. Winner of the Mill Mountain Playwriting Competition. Petersburg, FL, Studio Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, ShenanArts, Staunton, VA, Theatre Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland, l TheatreWorks, Hartford, CN, l Published by Dramatic Publishing Company, also translated into Flemish.

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Nomad Theatre, London, England, l Source Theatre, Washington, DC, l Capital Rep, Albany, NY, l Independent film, , available on video. Profiles Theatre, Chicago, IL, The reason is that almost all of them engage in self-publishing and marketing, so their plays end up confined within their localities. This problem of publishing is not peculiar to a particular gender but to playwriting as a specific literary form.

Generally, plays are created for performance and not necessarily for reading, so publishers give more attention to novelist than to playwrights. For instance, I sent my plays to Spectrum books and, because there was no title Mr.

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Some fraudulent ones would print one thousand copies for the writer as well as extra copies which they market for their companies. Writers resort to self-publishing. Julie Okoh captures the reality of playwriting publishing and puts it succinctly:. I have never come across any publisher in Nigeria who is willing to publish my work free of charge, and later pay me royalty as it is done elsewhere.

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I write to communicate to the public. So how do I achieve this purpose if I lock my manuscripts in the drawers in my library? Nigerian publishers are not willing to invest their money in promoting writers, neither is government offering grants for that purpose. Marketing books constitutes the biggest discouragement to me as a writer.

You spend resources to write a play, you pay to have it staged, you pay to have it published.

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After publishing, the problem of marketing arises. Some colleagues promise aid to the writer in selling, but some of them sell and never pay shares to the writer. Some university libraries also take consignments from playwrights, sell some or all of the copies, but the process of recovering the money from them becomes an uphill task embroiled in bureaucratic issues. She also goes to secondary schools in Anambra State to sell her plays.


The few publishers who do consider the publication of plays without fees prefer renowned playwrights. The problem of publishing became worse with the deteriorating economic situation in Nigeria and, if the present depression is not stalled, even self-publishing will become extremely difficult and manuscripts will end up in drawers collecting dust.

Playwrights write in order to convey messages to uplift their societies, but remuneration also acts as inspiration and morale booster. At present, few of them hardly get proper remuneration from the sale of their plays. The publishers, on their part, insist that their business is being wrecked by the activities of the pirates. Paying royalties to authors despite not making profit has remained an impossibility to run an independent publishing house in Nigeria. It is clear that men still dominate the Nigerian dramatic scene, but women artists are gradually increasing in number.

In more recent studies, Irene Salami, Tracie Utoh, Julie Okoh, Osita Nwanebe and Akachi Ezeigbo are also mentioned, but there are many other female playwrights who, unfortunately, have remained obscure. These less visible women are striving hard to be heard by writing and projecting their works in many ways. The list here may not be exhaustive, but I have tried to include all the playwrights that I could find. Interestingly, the majority of the playwrights are lecturers or may have lectured at one point in their careers. Although the focus of this study is on playwrights who have published their plays, this does not mean that those who have performed their unpublished plays are not playwrights, or that those who were not fortunate to acquire western education but composed and performed dramatic pieces are not playwrights.


For instance, Zulu Sofola recalled that some women founded their own theatre troupes in the Old Bendel State of Nigeria but did not mention specific names. According to her:. These troupes were even recognized by government and that these women were respected and that when a man dares to show he has anything masculine. Just a flash of the eye and he knows where he belongs. He would either be sent out or fined [sic] instantly These women were at once playwrights, directors and producers.

They were like the women who owned theatre troupes in the Yoruba Travelling Theatre but were never celebrated like their male counterparts.

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Two of them are included in this study to enhance their visibility. However, script writers for radio, television, video or film are excluded, not because they are not playwrights, but for lack of space, as they are too numerous to count. Any discussion on the development of modern drama and theatre without a mention of The Yoruba Popular Travelling Theatre is incomplete.

Unfortunately, studies on this theatre extol and celebrate the contributions of male artists like Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo and others, while little or nothing is heard about the women who participated as theatre leaders. These women were not highly educated in terms of western education, but they were creative and resourceful in scripting and theatre production Osanya Two of the women are included in this study to set the theatre history straight, though there is no evidence that their plays were published. They may have published if that was their focus, but they were more interested in reaching out to both the literate and the illiterate; they may have succeeded more than modern playwrights whose plays end up in the universities catering to the few and the literate.

Adunni Oluwole could be seen as the pioneer female dramatist in Nigeria. She founded her own theatre troupe, The First Actress Party, though her theatre practice was short-lived.

She was, therefore, a visionary dramatist as the reality of her position is still staring the country in the face after sixty years. In , she disbanded her theatre troupe and went into full-time politics.


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She was hailed for this decision because, at that time, women in theatre were regarded as irresponsible prostitutes McIntosh She was also the first woman to form a political party, Nigerian Commoners Liberal Party. Unfortunately, she died before the elections. According to G. Although she was more prominent in politics, she remains the first Nigerian professional actress, the first female theatre troupe leader in Nigeria and the first Nigerian female presidential aspirant Udengwu Her conviction that power is not the exclusive preserve of men propelled her into theatre practice which started in the form of dramatic activities in school, through the Yoruba Popular Travelling Theatre, before the playwright started her own theatre Company, Ranco Baby, which later, in , changed to the Irawo Obokun International Theatre.

She toured with her troupe within and outside Nigeria. Her plays include: Se bee ni oo? Is that so? The study by Ngozi Udengwu, contains synopsis of some of these plays and the posters advertising the performances. With the evidence of her scripts, Funmilayo Ranco could be said to be the first Nigerian female playwright who unfortunately was neglected by early theatre scholars. Zulu Sofola is the first Nigerian published female playwright who, until her death in , was a professor and the Head of the Department of Performing Arts at the University of Ilorin.

Her first play, Disturbed Peace of Christmas , was published in , but it was her second play, Wedlock of the Gods , that brought her in the limelight. She also taught at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. She also taught at the University of Calabar. She published Cycle of the Moon and Other Plays Ogochukwu Promise , who also wrote as Promise Okekwe , is a publisher and Founder of Lumina Foundation, the initiator of the Biennial Award for the best literary work produced in Africa.

Adegbusola Elegbede is a freelance script writer and owns an Entertainment Company. Zainabu Daillo is a freelance journalist, script writer and a playwright with two published plays: Saraya Dangana and Onions Make Us Cry Her published play is Igbauyora How about making something happen. Read Script Gods Must Die. It will help. You might be the genius in the crowd. You might not. Writers are story surgeons.

Twitter: MichaelTabb. Most screenwriting books, blogs, and podcasts try and help screenwriters write a better screenplay. While writing a good script is important, most screenwriters grossly underestimate the importance of aggressively marketing their screenplays.

2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles 2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles
2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles 2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles
2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles 2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles
2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles 2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles
2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles 2009 Screenwriters and Playwrights Market - Articles

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