Yesterday I had a conversation with a playwright we've worked with which involved me sharing the general gist of our script reading process. In reaction he told me the way we sort and maintain our feedback is far better than most theatres! This was startling to me (in a positive way of course). I mean, I'm pretty proud of our process – it took me a few years to figure out what seemed to work best and even still I'm always trying to figure out how we can improve.Like many theatre folk I've met I have some seemingly-innate confidence issues. Plus, we're small! There are fifteen of us all told, and not all of us are "readers". Because we're small we also tend to be slow. BUT, admittedly I do think I well-suited to the position of Literary Manager and nothing spurs you on to find a better way than seeing a critic refer to the company you've helped to foster through it's toddler years as a good company that does bad scripts. Ouch. Whether I chose those scripts or not, I knew as the Literary Manager that fell on me and I never wanted to feel like such a disappointment again and thus after much soul-searching the basis of our process was born.So what is this process? It's pretty simple really. We maintain a spreadsheet. On one tab we list all the scripts which have been submitted but have not yet been read. Once a script is read it is moved to one of the following: No, Maybe, or Yes. Maybe basically means we want a second opinion. From the maybe and yes lists we select scripts to read aloud and gather feedback. Then, we go through the yeses and jointly decide on our next season. This is the toughest part, because we insist that we all agree. Afterwards, those scripts which were yeses which were not selected are moved to a new tab called "save for later". Does it work? Heck yes. When you look at the scripts showcased in our 2011 season, it is clearly our strongest yet. We're currently pulling together our 2012 season, here's hoping we can maintain the trend!
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