Advice from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain – Writing Competition or Cut Price Commission?

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) recently released a valuable new resource on Writing Competitions. Writing Competition or Cut Price Commission? provides guidelines for entering writing competitions so that writers can ensure they are applying for a genuinely beneficial opportunity rather than a cut-price commission.

Of course, a resource such as this is incredibly useful for our work at London Playwrights. Rounding up the latest playwriting opportunities has been at the very core of our work from the very beginning when we started off as a blog – and we realise that this means we have a huge responsibility to make sure we’re posting legitimate opportunities which have your interests as emerging playwrights at heart. It’s obviously a really tricky balance for us to be able to make sure we share as many playwriting opportunities with you as possible, whilst ensuring we don’t post anything which isn’t giving you a fair deal. Ultimately, the decision as to whether to enter a competition has to be yours but we know there are steps we can take to make sure you get as much reliable information as possible.

With this in mind, we wanted to firstly, make you aware of this guide from the WGGB, and secondly, to let you what we’re doing to put these guidelines into practice, as well as providing a few ideas for what you can also do to help us to get it right.

What we’re doing:

  • The opportunities team will be studying the guide and making ourselves familiar with the advice – and bearing all of this in mind when posting new opportunities.
  • We’ll be asking for more information where necessary when posting opportunities to make sure things are as transparent as possible.
  • We’ll be indicating in each post whether an opportunity is paid, unpaid, or profit share.
  • If something doesn’t seem right, we won’t post it!
  • Going forward, we’ll organise the Weekly Round-up so you can clearly see unpaid/ paid/ profit share posts. This may take a few weeks to fully implement due to old posts being in the round-up – but we’re striving to get there so please bear with us whilst we work it all out.

What we can’t do: 

As a small team of humble humans who sometimes get it wrong, there are some things we can’t do, so here goes!

  • Make the decision for you – please familiarise yourself with the guidelines from the WGGB so you can make an informed decision on whether you will benefit from entering a competition or not. What’s valuable for some writers might not be for others, for example, winning a mentorship rather than being paid might not be of value to a more experienced writer but might be great for some; this doesn’t mean we won’t post the the opportunity but we will try and provide as much information for you as possible.
  • Take responsibility for your experience with a company. As mentioned above, we’ll be doing our very best to make sure everything we post adheres to the guidelines from the WGGB but it’s not possible for us to personally vouch for theatre companies.
  • Amend old posts. We’ve posted so many opportunities over the years that it would be a mammoth task to go through them all adding new details; however, we will be implementing these new steps for all posts  going forward, please bear with us if it takes a little time, we’re doing our best to get it right!

What you can do: 

  • Familiarise yourself with the guide and follow the advice, you can download it here. The guide includes a great check list that you can go through before entering a competition!
  • Make sure you read the competition guidelines carefully before entering to decide whether it really is worth your time and effort (and whether it’s actually right for you).
  • If you’re unsure of something, ask the organisers! (And if we’re missing something which you find out, please share it with us!).
  • Tell us if you have a bad experience with a competition or you think something is off  with a post on our website. As mentioned above, we’re a small team and we’re trying our absolute best, but if something slips through the net, we’d be grateful for your feedback. One of the best things about London Playwrights is the sense of community, so lets work together to protect the work of emerging playwrights!

Read the full article from the WGGB here. 

Download the guide here. 

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