Open Forum

Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

  • 1.  Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

    Posted 8 days ago
    Edited by Jonathan Dorf 4 days ago

    I was scrolling through my Instagram feed this morning, and a poster about a school's upcoming production of a well-known musical caught my eye. "Who wrote that show again?" I wondered. The poster should have told me, but alas, there was no mention of the authors at all. I wish I could say that's the only poster I've seen on my Instagram feed that was guilty of this, but sadly it's not...

    Similarly, I've recently been doing a guest artist visit to teach playwriting at a local school. The walls are lined with beautiful posters, but in most (all?) of them, while the titles of the shows are prominently displayed, the names of the people who created them are nowhere to be found.

    As you're designing those posters, folks, a gentle reminder that in most cases, there is a contractual obligation to credit the authors (usually in a font size that is at least 50% of the size of the title and immediately following it) in any publicity you release (i.e. posters/flyers, programs, advertising). Credit is part of a playwright's compensation, and it's important that the next generation of artists learn this by example. Hopefully you're already doing this. Thank you.

    Cheers,
    Jonathan



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    Jonathan Dorf
    Playwright/ Co-founder of YouthPLAYS/ Co-chair of The Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 2.  RE: Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

    Posted 8 days ago
    I am glad to hear this from a playwright, especially one of my favorites, but this is a problem I as a director see too often in posters published on the internet and often around town. The contract is clear, and I believe many are guilty of "selective reading" and not following through with this important step, especially when the contracts can be up to ten pages or more in length. I know I did this at least once when I first started out thirty years ago. It took a colleague of mine to point this out as you did. Well put and very graciously, I might add.

    Bruce Taws
    Mosley Drama 

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  • 3.  RE: Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

    Posted 7 days ago
    I, too, am glad to hear this friendly reminder.  I work very closely with the students at my school who have an interest in Theatre Marketing - and we send show posters through the IU mail to the other public schools in our county on a regular basis.  It amazes me how blatant some of the design choices are to break the rules!

    Neighboring schools have put their own students' names above the title in large letters ("West Side Story ... starring... these kids")  and buried Stephen Sondheim's name in the fine print at the bottom...  They also call their theatre program the "Thespian Society" even though they have never had an officially chartered troupe.

    I have had several students do Theatre Marketing IE's over the years - and we've had lots of conversations about what can and cannot be done.  They get frustrated when they have to re-think their design for spacing issues... but when they are reviewed positively by the adjudicators for following the rules, they are grateful.   We have to uphold the standard now - and legally, uphold the licensing contract for each production.  Glad to know there are others who agree!

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    Melissa Mintzer
    Willow Street PA
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  • 4.  RE: Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

    Posted 5 days ago
    Edited by D.W. Gregory 5 days ago
    Thanks for this, Jon.

    A friend of mine recently attended a production of a play of mine at a high school near her home. She sent me the program -- very nice program. My name wasn't anywhere on it. No way to know who wrote the play.

    Not a good feeling.

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    D.W. Gregory
    Silver Spring MD
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  • 5.  RE: Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

    Posted 5 days ago

    D.W., I know it's definitely something that the Dramatists Guild Education Committee (of which I'm a member) is trying to address when it comes to educating people, as for the most part they don't do it on purpose, but rather out of ignorance (and sometimes laziness). But any way you slice it, not getting credit for your own work stinks.

    I'm headed to the American College Theatre Festival regional in Eugene in a week on behalf of the Guild to help get the word out. But I hope, speaking to everyone, that if you see something, you'll say something--whether that's to the producer, the publisher or the Dramatists Guild. The Guild's been discussing some options that might make this sort of reporting easier, so stay tuned...

    Cheers,
    Jonathan



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    Jonathan Dorf
    Playwright/ Co-founder of YouthPLAYS/ Co-chair of The Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 6.  RE: Crediting the author(s) in your publicity

    Posted 3 days ago
    By contract, the authors names must be included on all posters. Most performance licenses contain a line similar to the following: "You must give the author/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Terms Rider, on the first page of credits in all programs, your organization's website and on posters, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind."


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    Jim Hoare
    New York, NY
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