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My 2016 Year in Review

December 31st, 2016 donnahoke


In my continual quest to prove that submitting does work, I again offer up total transparency in my year’s submission and results. As with 2014’s Recap: You Can’t Argue With Numbers and 2015’s Review in Numbers, the goal is always to show that submitting yields results. More than that, consistency yields momentum, which is reflected in some of the non-production achievements I saw this year, which include working with an agent.


497 Submissions total, which is 59 fewer than 2015, the direct result of my decision to not send ten-minute plays to any opportunity asking for brand new work but not paying for it; instead of a submission, those opps get a letter asking why they need unproduced work (if you want a sample of that letter, email me). In fact, of this 497, only


161 were ten-minute play submissions, though very often with multiple entries. In 2015, I submitted to 221 short play opps, so this drop almost perfectly makes up for the submission disparity between years. I’d posted on Official Playwrights of Facebook earlier in the year that I thought there were fewer opps overall; this proves that’s not true, which is good news. With my reduced ten-minute play submissions, I still managed


26 productions of ten-minute plays for 2016—only three of which were first-time productions. This is down from 51 in 2015, but given my vastly reduced ten-minute submissions (and the fact that I only generated three new ones this year, two for very specific opss), and the fact that I got paid for many of them, I’m pleased with this number, which also helped me get to


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40 states that my work has now been seen in, and, for the year, yielded


$725. This is down from last year’s $1066 for ten-minute plays, but that amount includes $300 for a one-night performance of my ten-minute plays; take that away and there is almost no difference. That’s a significant comment on my ten-minute submission decision.

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In addition, “The Pee Test” was published in the 2016 Smith and Kraus Best Ten-Minute Plays, and “Doughnut Hole” will appear in Applause’s Best American Short Plays 2016-17, which comes with another stipend that will count toward 2017. Speaking of which, in 2017, I so far have


6 ten-minute play productions scheduled, one of which is a three-city performance gig, only one of which is a world premiere, and four of which will be paid (including $100 for the world premiere—it’s worth holding out!). This brings me to full-length plays. In 2016, I worked on


5 full-length plays. I completed strong, submittable drafts of ELEVATOR GIRL and HEARTS OF STONE, wrote a strong first draft of TEACH (which I had to abandon over the holidays, but am eager to get back to), completed the musical version of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR, and wrote a commissioned stage adaptation of a movie. This gave me more full-length product to submit, and the math says that in 2016, I submitted to


336 full-length opportunities, some with more than one entry.  This is two more than 2015, but, given that last year I was on a push with CHRISTMAS 2.0, this is probably slightly better overall, as it means more submission to specific calls and fewer crapshoot subs. From these and 2015 subs, I had


5 full-length play productions. Two (cold submissions both!) were THE WAY IT IS, including one in London that my daughter was able to attend while studying there, which was just incredible.  And two were SAFE, winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR continues to run in Romania, and has just entered its fourth year. While this is three fewer full-length productions than last year, it was a great building year (can you tell Buffalo sports-team talk has rubbed off on me?) in that I got

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9 readings of six different full-lengths, five of which are new and unproduced: OPEN AND SHUT, BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (this one was supposed to happen three years ago in Santa Barbara, but instead happened this year in Queens lol), ON THE ROOF, ELEVATOR GIRL, and HEARTS OF STONE. Two readings of ELEVATOR GIRL are scheduled early next year. Because most of these are new pieces, these are the bites that I hope will continue the lives of these plays. Beyond the readings, these plays got


10 commendations: an Individual Artist Grant (HEARTS OF STONE); current O’Neill semifinalist and residences at Road Less Traveled Productions and Western Michigan University (ELEVATOR GIRL); semifinalist Great Gay and Musical Contest (OPEN AND SHUT); finalist IATI, and semifinalist Trustus and The Road (THE WAY IT IS); and the 2016 Kilroys List (BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART). And my one and only TYA play, MEET ME AT THE GATES MARCUS JAMES is a finalist for the Purple Crayon workshop at Northwestern. In ancillary activity, I made


748 TRADE A PLAY TUESDAY trades!! Thank you to all who continue to participate and, more importantly, tirelessly spread the word (I’m looking at you Matthew Weaver). It really does help, and is the only way that TAPT will continue to thrive. Keep it up! Also, Buffalo State students made a video about SAFE, and I was also on my first talk show! And I saw


89 shows, which, considering I didn’t make a New York trip this year, isn’t too bad. I have no idea how many readings I saw, but six were in Austin at the National New Play Network Showcase, which was one of


7 theater trips this year, including Citywrights, where I was a second-time guest artist, and Kenyon, where I will return this year as a fellow. I had fairly decent luck with flights, and learned to always check the one-way fares, which can offer some great savings. My craziest trip was the ON THE ROOF reading “tour,” which was Buffalo to Charleston for a reading at 5th Wall Productions, Charleston to LA for a reading at the historic Celebration Theatre, and back to Buffalo—all without staying in a hotel! My blog took a hit this year as I only posted

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16 entries (including this one), four of which were on Howlround rather than my own site. This is part busy-ness, part not having a series to latch onto, and part that many of the advocacy things I’ve written about don’t bear repeating. But I encourage you to revisit the Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project (RIPP), which remains my most ambitious series, and is full of great information about how to get your plays produced. Please also, if you don’t live in NYC, check out the #PLONY (Playwrights Living Outside New York series, which I completed early this year). In an effort to serve even more #PLONY, I hosted or co-hosted


8 Dramatists Guild events, including events with Terrence McNally, Amy Herzog, and Jeffrey Sweet.

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I’m also happy to announce that I’ll be running for Dramatists Guild Council in the early new year. If you live in my region—New York state and above up to Maine, plus international—please vote in this year’s election. And have a wonderful, submitty, productive 2017!


Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.

Playwrights, remember to explore the Real Inspiration For Playwrights Project, a 52-post series of wonderful advice from Literary Managers and Artistic Directors on getting your plays produced. Click RIPP at the upper right.

To read #PLONY interviews, click here or #PLONY in the category listing at upper right.

To read the #365gratefulplaywright series, click here or the category listing at upper right.

3 Comments on “My 2016 Year in Review”

  1. 1 Emma Goldman-Sherman said at 7:34 pm on December 31st, 2016:

    Fantastic Year! Great job, Donna, and thank you for posting in all this transparency! I absolutely believe in the power of the Ten-Minute Play (and teach a class in it), and it was responsible for an Equity Showcase I did years ago (a theatre that did the short play asked me to write a full-length) and a full-length I am currently sending out was created based on a 10-minute play I couldn’t stop thinking about. . . so long live the 10-minute play! Thank you for all you do for playwrights! May you have a very Happy and Productive New Year!

  2. 2 donnahoke said at 9:03 pm on December 31st, 2016:

    Thank you! And you as well!

  3. 3 Patrick Gabridge said at 7:19 am on January 1st, 2017:

    Thanks for sharing! What a truly impressive year. I sure wish that I could get my submission totals up to what you’re doing. (Good to have something to shoot for.) Thanks for your passionate advocacy on behalf of all playwrights. I hope that your successes continue to increase for 2017. Happy New Year!

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