We started by elucidating the concept a little: what’s being proposed is a database that could connect writers with unperformed scripts they want put on with buildings / companies / directors / producers and vice versa.

As a writer, you could upload info about a script you wanted putting on that could be searchable that might help your work reach companies or individuals who you might not have otherwise thought of or known about; as someone thinking about putting on a play, you could search thematically or with tags to find plays already around in the ether about the topics or themes you’re interested in, or find a ‘great unperformed play’ by someone you’re really interested in.

Similar to the Hollywood ‘Blacklist’ but totally open (Not really Spotify for Playwrights at all.)

Origins in thinking about this:

- Improving access & mobility - lots of companies / directors work with writers from their close network of friends and collaborators. Pairings are great but finding new people is great too!
- Oversaturated nature of the central buildings with literary departments (503, Bush, etc etc) - fantastic scripts that don’t see the light of day
- Reducing commissioning costs for companies - why commission a new script if there’s already an amazing one out there you don’t know about?
- Advantage of allowing getting users to get a sense of the picture of what else is being written about the issues they're interested, and where might the gaps be

The central issue of the session was: If there were a system like this, how would it work? Would you want to be a part of it? What might be the potential pitfalls or issues to troubleshoot?

- Would this have a login of some kind with a basic gatekeeper system in place (similar to the Young Vic Directors Program)? Or be completely open for anyone to view?

- Discussed the risk of demand outweighing supply or vice versa - lots of companies scrambling over each other to work with the same few writers, or lots of young writers. Would either of these risks constitute a deterrent to being part of the project?

- As a writer, how much of your work would you be willing to upload as a preview? 1 page? 3 pages? 10 pages?

- Would you want a way of commenting / favouriting writers that you liked or knew? Would this turn it into a popularity contest / just another social media platform? 

- Discussed possibility of linking or integrating the system with existing apps or platforms like Stagedoor.

- Would you be able to badge your profile with ‘I’m interested / not interested about being contacted regarding low-pay or profit-share opportunities’ ?

How might one start it?

Well, you’d have to grab someone who could code, essentially.

We discussed ways of getting a system like this going / gaining momentum and critical mass: possibly by means of an initial prize or similar?

Also talking to the buildings with literary departments and encouraging them to in turn encourage writers submitting unsuccessfully to them to turn their scripts out to the Database.

With thanks to Chris, Jasper, Ola, and all others who drifted in and out of the conversation.

- Justin
[email protected]