Saturday, 20 April 2013

Now what?

written by Toksvig

(If you'd rather listen to this post than read it, here it is as a short video on YouTube

The event on Thursday was brilliant, for so many reasons.

It is always amazing to be in the room with so many people who write and compose musicals. I will never stop loving that, and needing more of it in my life.

And you, the people who came? You were supportive, warm, collaborative, very present in the room, full of passion for this thing we do.

It felt to me like we have been waiting for something that truly represents us, and I think maybe we found that something on Thursday, and I suspect that something is a collaboration between the Writers Guild, the MU, and us ourselves.

So now what? I want three things:

First, I want that sense of community to happen more.

Second, I want to keep the sharing of information going.

Third, I want us to make more connections.

Community - WGGB and MU

After Thursday, discussions are already being held about future collaborative events between the Guild and the MU, aimed at supporting the development and production of new musicals.

I'll keep talking to them, and I encourage you to share your wishes for specific events.

Heads up: they might be members-only events. I'll keep you posted on what they say about who you should join if you feel like you fall between both unions equally, but if you feel more drawn to the Writers Guild or the MU, please do join, and do it now!

Join the Writers Guild here if you feel more drawn to words

Join the MU here if you feel more drawn to music

Know that they do and will continue to work together brilliantly, and with BASCA. (About whom I will put up a separate post, so we can find out more about them.)

Community - us

I encourage you to engage online.

If you don't use Twitter, please start using Twitter.

It's a fantastic resource for stuff like this. It's simple to use. You don't have to follow anyone except @AnotherNibble (unless you want to). You don't have to engage with anything else but this, it won't take over your life, it's easy to use, please do it!

You can also engage here on the blog, and subscribe to an RSS feed that will show you these blog posts via email.

You can engage by emailing me - although I strongly encourage you to use the other methods of engagement, rather than emailing me. If you email me, I can't guarantee when I'll be able to respond.

Online, I'm much faster, and online, we can all respond to each other.

Online, we are far more open and transparent.

Online, other people will see you asking a question, and it will make them feel more confident to ask their own question.


What we need to really make this online resource work is questions. The best contribution you can make is to engage with the stuff you want to know more about.

The more questions we're asking, the more everyone can know what kind of info we need. And the more we can start sharing the stuff we already know with other people.

Twitter keeps it bite-sized.

The blog will be for longer stuff, and not just from me. Anyone is welcome to write something up and I will post it here.

This is a dynamic resource: info goes out of date as soon as it's posted, so let's keep asking and answering the same questions as well as new ones. I think that's how we keep the genre dynamic.


The more open our communication, the more we invite dialogue from our collaborators who aren't writers, the better for all of us.

The more we share our work, especially work in progress, the more visible we are as creative artists, the better it is for ourselves and our work, the more connections we will make, the more the genre will diversify and grow.

When there is very little opportunity for making musicals, it can seem very contradictory, and maybe even self-defeating, to suggest that we should be transparent and open in our process, sharing our ideas for shows and talking about our projects.

In my experience, it is we as creative artists who make the connections we make, much more so than any specific project we're working on.

It's also been my experience that the sharing of ideas doesn't lead to the theft of them. It might inspire another artist to respond to something you're also responding to, but they'll do it in their own, unique way.

Inspiring each other will also make for great connections.

So join your union, come and ask your questions online, spread the word, throw stuff at me if you think it would make a good blog post, and let's get musical theatre moving and changing, growing and exploring...


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Being present...

written by Toksvig

This evening, a rather large group of musical theatre writers and composers are going to gather in a room with some representatives of the Writers Guild and the Musicians Union. Also in the room, we might find people from the Arts Council, some of the major new musical support groups, maybe some agents who represent writers, some academics, maybe a theatre critic or two... but predominantly writers and composers.

This event is about writers and composers. It's not for us, but about us.

It's certainly not for us to ask the people on the panel about the specific nuances of the business of writing musicals.

Mostly because none of them are musical theatre writers, but also because they already have all that information right there on the Writers Guild website, for anyone (even non-members) to download and read.

See the Musical Theatre section on the Rates and Agreements page for more info:

If you didn't know that, and if you don't have the chance to read through all the info today, then feel free to throw your specific questions @AnotherNibble on Twitter. Either myself or someone else will probably have some pretty quick recall skills when it comes to what's in those documents.

Tonight's event certainly is about how we can broaden the business of writing musicals, to provide more of us with more opportunity to need specific answers about the business.

It's also about how we can empower the unions and support groups to do more of the supporting that they exist to do, to ensure that we're being treated fairly and equally, and to help us make more work, better.

I hope you've had the chance to watch some of the videos I've been putting online in The Larder's YouTube channel.

Not to worry if you haven't: I'm going to bring the main questions into the room and summarise, as an introduction to the event.

Don't forget that you can bring any question or discussion to the Twitter feed, and you can comment on these blog posts, and on the videos.

The only way to find out what kind of information you need is if you ask for it - on social media, or by email: the sooner you get the questions out there, the sooner someone can give you an answer. Or several possible answers, which I think is better: the more informed you are, the easier for you to choose what is right for you and your work.

Here is today's video.

Thanks for engaging in this series of videos and blog posts. After the event this evening, there will be more, so keep an eye out.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Thank you for your kind support...

written by Toksvig

In the video, I talk about the Arts Council and their Grants for the Arts. At the event on Thursday (which is, I'm afraid, now sold out) the wonderfully supportive James Hadley from ACE will be in the room to chat informally with writers and composers about applying to the Arts Council for support.

I urge you to bring questions about your applications to him, and if you don't currently have an application in progress or in mind... why not? What could you apply for? Maybe that's your question for him, actually...

Recently whenever I approach a potential production partner, the very first thing they say, before I've even asked, is "We don't have any money". It makes me crazy, because actually, I don't need money.

I mean, I do, obviously. But I can and do apply to ACE, and other places that really do have money. The other thing I need, though, is in-kind support.

The ACE GFA application form has a whole section for you to fill in on the in-kind support you're getting, and they will take into account the financial value of that support. Not to mention that collaboration is a great thing, and the more I have good and wise people supporting my projects, the better the work, the more fun it is to make.

So my current quest is to discover in what ways companies can offer in-kind support which isn't a huge drain on their resources, but which is truly, actively helpful to me in making work.

Here's some stuff I think might fall under that umbrella:

- Box office support for ticket sales

- Use of an empty space like a bar or something, out of hours, for a rehearsal or reading

- Marketing support in the form of advice, or the use of mailing lists, or even the printing/photocopying of posters or leaflets

- Advertising in their programmes / venue

- Dramaturgical support

- Set, costume, props, lighting/sound equipment from the in-house stores

- Script photocopying

- Desk space / use of a phone line for a day

Here's my particular favourite, which I can't imagine anyone saying yes to, but I really, really want it to happen. Everywhere. What if we could have the stage for a few minutes before each performance, to do a live trailer of our work for the audience?

Live theatre trailers. It's the future.

Here's today's video.

Don't forget to come and chat with us on Twitter @AnotherNibble

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

How to Format Your Script

written by Toksvig

Someone asked me today if there's an industry standard way to format a musical theatre libretto, in the same way that I understand there are expectations for TV and film scripts.

To my knowledge, there isn't an industry standard. Having said that, there are certain things you can do to make sure your libretto is easily and clearly read.

Here's a PDF with an example.

Although your script doesn't have to look exactly like this, here are a few details of this layout that make it easy to follow:

The font used is Arial. It's a similar font to Helvetica, fairly common, and easy to read because it's very plain. Unlike such fonts as Times New Roman, there are no extra decorative parts to any of the letters. (Which font you like reading is, of course, a personal choice.)
There is a wide margin to the left and the right of the text. The wide left margin allows for holes to be punched in the pages without risk of punching through the text. The wide right margin allows actors/directors to make notes beside the text.

The character names are centred on the page. This allows for the eye to travel straight down the page, and for the actor to see who is speaking before they get to the actual line. This is a very common form of layout in the USA, but in the UK, formats often put character names to the left of the dialogue. Either is fine, depending on personal preference. 

Note that stage directions, lyrics and dialogue are easy to distinguish. This is achieved in two ways:

The left-alignment of each differs slightly. Stage directions are furthest from the left margin, lyrics are slightly closer to the left margin, and dialogue closer still. This allows the eye to distinguish the difference without having to focus on the content of the text.

Stage directions are in italics. LYRICS ARE IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Dialogue is in normal text. Again, the eye has to work less hard to distinguish between the three.

There is a line of space between each different 'section' of the text. 

It can also be useful to put a header or footer on every page of the libretto, containing the title of the show, the mark of copyright and the page number. The latter, in particular, is incredibly useful in readings and workshops.

Show me the money...

written by Toksvig

So, is it okay to ask people to work for nothing?

Here's what I think about that: I think if you're asking people to work for no money, that's not the same thing as asking them to work for nothing, and it's a really important distinction.

I hope that the people who come and do one-off readings or workshops with me are there because they're getting something out of it, just like I am.

For me, doing a workshop or a reading is a much better way to get to know a potential collaborator than auditioning. I hate auditioning. It makes me nervous, so gods only know how the performers feel.

Also, making some work together lets performers get to know me and the company, and seems a much more equal way to try out working together, and see if we both like it.

We are making work,and there is no money, but it seems to me that everyone is getting something out of it: mainly, to know whether or not we might have a fruitful creative relationship.

I can't understand auditions, really. It's like a date night in which one person mostly says nothing, and the other one talks and talks about themselves, and then the silent person says thanks, goodbye, and maybe calls a few weeks later.

Doesn't call the person who auditioned, though. Calls their representative. Like calling their mother.

I don't get it. How can they know if they like you?

I like everyone to get on. Those who know and love me do tend to tease me about the fact that I wish I was living in a travelling circus of the mythical 'gypsy caravan' kind, where we're all one big extended family of creative misfits who stitch their wealth to their clothing and cook on a campfire.

Shakespeare had it good, you know. He worked with the same actors, over and over. He got to know them, got to learn their foibles and feats, got to learn them so well that he could write for them, and also write beyond them. Look past the stuff about getting to know another person which distracts you from the work you're both making, and really start to focus on making the work.

The question of casting is also an interesting one for me: I'm not very good at 'perfect casting' in terms of having an idea of the character in my head, and looking for the performer who can get closest to that.

I'm very good at knowing the people who bring me joy as collaborators, and I'm very interested in whom they think they would like to have a go at playing, and I'm very happy to take their choices and shape the storytelling around that.

The question for me is not so much "Am I too old to play Juliet?" but rather "What happens to the story if Juliet is your age when she meets Romeo?"

When I say "I made a theatre company", actually what I mean is that I discovered some things. I realised that the way I'm interested in working can broadly be described as The Copenhagen Interpretation, and I discovered that I'm happier working with certain people and I want to work with them as much as possible.

So I put up a website with the name on it, and our pictures. Some of our pictures. There are some who come and work with me more often, because they can, and others who cannot do that so often, but are just as much part of my circus troupe in my head.

That's my sort of collective: informal, bound only by joy in making work as and when we can, and want to.

If and when there is money, we spend it on ourselves and make work with money attached to it.

How about you? How do you like to work? What do you do about the money?

Here is today's video.

Don't forget you can join us for a chat on Twitter @AnotherNibble

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Ideas List

written by Toksvig

I think the Having Of Ideas is a crucial aspect of being a musical theatre writer. It's also the one of the most fun parts, for me.

There are basically two ways to get your work on: you can either be commissioned by someone to write an idea they had, or you can pitch an idea of your own to someone.

In my twenty-odd years of writing musicals, I’ve had one commission, and every other show I’ve worked on was an idea that came from me.

Here's a starter list of ideas, in case it's useful. And because it was fun to write.

Source Material
Original story
Inspired by something free of linear narrative, like a painting

Show Size
Two acts
One act
24 hours long
Three days long
A year long (and why not?)

Venue / Audience Engagement
Traditional prosc arch
Non-theatre venue
Non-fourth-wall engagement
Transmedia presentation
Recorded media / online presentation

Target Audience
Traditional musical theatre audience
Non-musicals audience
Specific audience type
Specific audience size, from thousands to just one person


Massive cast to tiny cast, and everything in between, from thousands to just one person.
Young performers to elderly
Other specific performer type

Head over to @AnotherNibble on Twitter and add to the list.
Here is today's video.

And here is more about why it's great to have an Ideas List...

I think everyone should have multiple shows on the go, for three main reasons.

You're Always Ready
It allows you to be ready for any opportunity that comes your way, because you have multiple projects that are all at different stages of development.

A reading that would be good for a first draft? Got one that's ready for that. A full workshop? That's this one. Local school wants a new show? This one.

You're Always Active
It allows you to always do work that is deadline- or goal-driven. Instead of writing on spec, you can always be working on a thing that you know for sure will happen.

It's also a lot easier for you to keep organising those goals for yourself. If you're only working on one show, you will get to a stage where you need a production. If that opportunity is not there right now, it's great to be able to put that aside and pick up something else which is in first draft mode and needs a table reading. So you organise a table reading, and off you go again.

You're Always Learning
The more you write, the more you learn. Even when informed constructive critique is not readily available - and that can be the hardest thing to find sometimes - you will still be making discoveries about your own creative voice.

And the more you write, the easier it is to sit down and write. The easier it is to let go of things that aren't working, to move the work forwards because you remove yourself from getting in the way.

If you don't think you have a #IdeasList, check your creative brain. The chances are you already have a handful of things in there, hanging around. Bring them out, put them down in that list, look at it every day. Keep adding, keep making, keep working.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

How much work are we making?

written by Toksvig

More about the work I'm making can be found here.

You'll see multiple shows on the go, and even the ones that are listed down the side, which look like they might be done and dusted, are still sort of current.

For me, the work I make never really ends. Some of it has been published, and is now out there in the world, on its own. Occasionally, it sends back a postcard, which is nice.

But would I say no if someone asked me to rework one of those shows for something? I'd say yes, of course, if it was a good opportunity. No work is ever finished.

(Which means I sort of understand why my mother still mothers me, despite the fact that I know to put on a coat if it's cold out.)

Making multiple work raises a lot of questions, I know. I think most musical theatre writers have jobs other than writing musicals, not to mention families and friends. Finding enough time to write one show can be a challenge, so the idea of having many shows on the go might seem impossible.

I don't think it takes more time to write more shows. I think it just makes more efficient use of the time you do have available.

There are regular opportunities to develop new work: workshops, readings, dramaturgy, even the chance for you to just invite a bunch of people over for Sunday lunch and do a table reading of something.

Having a bunch of shows available means you can choose the most appropriate one each time. And by 'a bunch' I don't mean three or four.

By my reckoning, I have about nine or ten shows that are currently active in some way, three or four that are quite far developed but temporarily on hold for reasons beyond my control, and... wow. Thirty three shows in the bottom drawer.

Wait. Thirty four.

No, thirty five!

It's a lot. And why not? The more tiny ideas I have, the more chance there is that I can make an appropriate suggestion during a random conversation, that might then turn into the greatest project I've ever done.

Tomorrow's video is about ways in which we could generate multiple ideas that might simultaneously broaden the opportunity for making more of those shows.

So how many shows have you got on the go?

Here is today's video.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Business of Writing Musicals - survey results

posted by Toksvig

The Business of Writing Musicals

These are the results taken from the survey.

Which writing discipline/s are relevant to you?
Answered: 78
Bookwriter: 47
Composer: 47
Librettist: 37
Lyricist: 61
Playwright: 33
Songwriter: 47

Roughly how many shows or pieces have you written in total?
Answered: 78
One or two: 32
Four or five: 22
About a dozen in total: 13
At least one a year: 4
More than one a year: 4
Full-time multiple projects on the go: 3

How long have you been writing musicals?
Answered: 78
1-2 yrs: 22
2-5 yrs: 16
5-10 yrs: 15
10-20 yrs: 15
20+ yrs: 10

Roughly how much income have you generated from your musical writing in that time? 
Answered: 78
 It usually costs money to write musicals: 35
Pretty much break even: 9
Pocket change: 3
Expenses covered for the show in question: 7
Expenses covered for writing in general: 4
Supported living costs during specific show: 9
Supported living costs up to 1 year: 2
Supported living costs for more than a year: 3
Set me up for life: 0
Woohoo! : 1
Rather not say: 5

In which country do you predominantly live and work? 
Answered: 78
UK / England: 74
Australia: 1
Netherlands: 1
Spain: 1

In which other countries have you had work developed / produced? 
Answered: 45
Abu Dhabi: 1
Asia: 1
Australia: 1
Austria: 1
Canada: 1
Denmark: 1
Dubai: 1
Eire: 2
France: 1
Gibraltar: 1
Hungary: 1
Japan: 1
Qatar: 1
Sharjah: 1
South Africa: 1
South Korea: 1
Syria: 1
USA: 16
Venezuela: 1

Answered: 72
Skipped: 6

Book musical: 60
Cabaret: 23
Cantata: 2
Chamber Musical: 13
Concept album: 12
Music theatre: 43
Opera: 4
Operetta: 4
Song cycle: 14
Panto: 1
Rock opera: 1
Revue: 1
Mass: 1
Musical in a day: 1
Storyworld / open space: 1

Answered: 72
Skipped: 6

Micro musical (up to 15 mins): 14
Mini musical (15-45 mins): 18
One-act musical (45-90 mins): 32
Two-act musical (90+ mins): 56

Site-specific / non-prosc arch size 
Answered: 62
Skipped: 16

Small scale: 38
Mid-scale: 34
Large scale: 14

Answered: 61
Skipped: 17

End on: 28
Flash mob: 2
In the round: 9
Promenade: 9
Proscenium arch: 40
Site-specific: 13
Thrust: 13
Traverse: 5

Answered: 60
Skipped: 18

Aerial: 2
Clowning: 2
Devising: 13
Improvising: 9
Mine: 0
Puppetry: 8
Script & score: 58
Verbatim: 1

Answered: 65
Skipped: 13

Abstract: 6
Narrative-led: 60
Non-narrative: 13

Answered: 63
Skipped: 13

Dance-oriented: 6
Song & Dance: 50
Something in-between: 1
Non-dance: 28
Dance as stage fight: 1

Answered: 65
Skipped: 13

Soundscape: 11
Spoken lyric: 14
Recitative: 15
Scene to song: 56
Sung-through: 24
Underscore: 32
Rap: 1

Audience Engagement 
Answered: 64
Skipped: 14

Fourth wall: 58
Audience participation: 12
Interactive with no specific goal: 9
Interactive with specific goal: eg: a gaming element: 2
Immersive: 9

Audience age range
Answered: 64
Skipped: 14

0-4 yrs: 0
4-7 yrs: 8
7-12 yrs: 17
Pre-teen: 18
Teen: 24
Young adult: 36
Adult: 56
Third age / elderly: 15
Family: 37

Other specific target audience 
Answered: 2
Skipped: 76

Student audiences: 1
Black audiences: 1

Have you written for a specific age of performer?
Answered: 28
Skipped: 50

0-4 yrs: 0
4-7 yrs: 3
7-12 yrs: 7
Pre-teen: 3
Teen: 11
Young adult: 23
Third age / elderly: 10

How many live performance development stages have you experienced, either self-produced, or produced by others? 
Answered: 61
Skipped: 17

Informal reading with friends: 43 (self), 7 (others), total respondents: 44
Professional dramaturgy: 16 (self), 17 (others), total respondents: 27
Formal reading with performers: 31 (self), 27 (others), total respondents: 47
Day-long workshop: 16 (self), 12 (others), total respondents: 23
Multi-day workshop: 11 (self), 18 (others), total respondents: 27
Week-long+ workshop: 10 (self), 23 (others), total respondents: 29
Staged reading: 17 (self), 27 (others), total respondents: 37

How many staged productions have you experienced, either self-produced, or produced by others?
Answered: 59
Skipped: 19

Amateur / community production: 23 (self), 22 (others), total respondents: 38
Fringe production: 24 (self), 19 (others), total respondents: 36
Studio production: 12 (self), 14 (others), total respondents: 24
Studio touring production: 4 (self), 3 (others), total respondents: 6
Festival production: 12 (self), 18 (others), total respondents: 25
Regional theatre production: 6 (self), 17 (others), total respondents: 20
No 1 touring production: 3 (self), 4 (others), total respondents: 6
First class / West End production: 1 (self), 14 (others), total respondents: 8
Overseas production: 1 (self), 14 (others), total respondents: 14
Site-specific: 6 (self), 5 (others), total respondents: 9
University production: 2

Have you received a paid commission / option?
Answered: 66
Skipped: 12

£0-£500: 10
£500-£1,000: 3
£1,000-£5,000: 14
£5,000-£10,000: 5
£10,000+: 5
No: 34

Have you received an unpaid commission / option?
Answered: 36
Skipped: 42

One: 18
Several: 15
Many: 3

Have you participated in a royalty pool?
Answered: 17
Skipped: 61

One: 11
Several: 4
Many: 2

Have you participated in profit-share or other sharing system?
Answered: 19
Skipped: 59

One: 8
Several: 10
Many: 1

Do you receive income from published works?
Answered: 60
Skipped: 18

Yes: 22
No: 38

Have you ever received financial support for the development or production of new musical theatre from any of the following funding bodies?
Answered: 15
Skipped: 63

Arts Council England (eg: Grants For The Arts): 10
Local council funding: 2
Arts funding organisation: 6

Have you signed a stage publishing agreement with any of the following?
Answered: 9
Skipped: 69

Samuel French Ltd (UK): 3
Samuel French Inc (USA): 5
Music Theatre International (USA): 0
Josef Weinberger (UK): 3
Stagescripts Ltd: 1
A&C Black / Mondo: 1
Perfect Pitch: 1
Yes, but would rather not say who: 1

Have you signed a music publishing agreement?
Answered: 57
Skipped: 21

Yes: 13
No: 44

Have you had a show cast album professionally recorded?
Answered: 59
Skipped: 19

Yes: 13
No: 46

Have you ever signed any of the following?
Answered: 40
Skipped: 38

Adaptation agreement: 3
Agent / solicitor agreement: 10
Cast album recording contract: 2
Collaboration agreement: 13
Development process agreement: 11
Music publishing contract: 11
Production contract, commission (i.e.: producer brings writer existing project): 12
Production contract, option (i.e.: writer brings producer existing contract): 13
Stage publishing contract: 9

Do you feel equipped and able to conduct your own negotiations when dealing with contracts / agreements? 
Answered: 58
Skipped: 20

I do conduct my own negotiations, and I feel equipped and able to do so: 7
I do conduct my own negotiations, but I don’t feel that I have the right knowledge to do so: 14
I do conduct my own negotiations, but I don’t feel comfortable doing so: 11
I don’t conduct my own negotiations, but I have someone who is equipped and able to do it for me: 13
I don’t conduct my own negotiations because I haven't yet had the opportunity to do so: 13

What kind of recorded media musicals have you written / collaborated on? (produced or otherwise) 
Answered: 19
Skipped: 59

Audio, books: 3
Audio, podcast: 2
Audio, radio: 2
Blog: 2
Documentary film: 1
Feature film: 2
Multimedia: 3
Podcast: 5
Radio: 9
Short film: 2
Social media: 3
Transmedia: 1
TV documentary: 0
TV drama: 0
Vlog (online video blog): 0
WebTV: 0

Have you collaborated with any of the following academic courses: 
Answered: 28
Skipped: 50

ASCAP workshop (USA): 1
BMI workshop (USA): 0
BML workshop: 7
Goldsmiths College, Musical Theatre MA (writing strand): 8
Grad Musical Theatre Writing MFA, New York University: 2
MMD workshops / seminars: 21
Theatre Building Chicago: 2
Chris Grady dot org Month of Sundays: 2

Have you collaborated with any of the following new musical development organisations: 
Answered: 29
Skipped: 49

MMD (Mercury Musical Developments): 24
NAMT (National Alliance for Musical Theatre): 1
National Theatre Studio: 5
NYMT (National Youth Music Theatre): 1
NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival): 1
Perfect Pitch: 9
YMT (Youth Music Theatre UK): 6
Are you a member of any British organisation that represents / supports writers?
Answered: 49
Skipped: 29
Guild of Songwriters and Composers (UK): 1
Mercury Musical Developments (MMD): 41
Musicians Union: 10
Writers Guild: 10

If not, would you consider joining any of the following British organisations?
Answered: 42
Skipped: 36

Guild of Songwriters and Composers (UK): 28
Mercury Musical Developments (MMD): 12
Musicians Union: 11
Writers Guild: 24

The Larder

written by Toksvig
What is The Larder?

It’s an online social-media-based dynamic information resource for makers of musicals.

By which I mean, it’s a gathering of questions.

By which I mean that you, the makers of musicals, are the people who will be providing us with the stuff we need to make it work, ie: questions.

You are also the people who will throw answers at the questions to which you have an answer.

Which is why I say it’s a dynamic resource. It’s not a wiki, not an archive, not a definitive knowledge base.

Musical Theatre is a dynamic art form, and I wanted to make a resource that can respond to that. Something that gives us all the chance to share our knowledge if and when we choose to, and also allows us to change our minds as frequently as we like.

Here's how it works.


The Twitter feed is for you to throw questions at. Any questions. All the questions you have about writing musicals. Business questions, craft questions: anything that can be answered by someone – or begin to be answered by someone – in a tweet.

This might include answers like:

“Writers should expect to receive 70-80% of licensing fees in a stage publishing deal.”

“That single-tweet summary of your show’s story is a bit confusing: which of them is the main character?”

RT: “How do I get my musical produced?” <- too broad a question. Be more specific?

I suspect that might be one of its most useful functions: to help us find and refine our questions into the most useful ones possible.

Not everything can be said in 140 characters, so there’s also a blog:

I might post some questions here sometimes, if it looks like longer answers from everyone will be a useful thing.

And finally, there’s a YouTube channel.

For now, it’s playing host to seven short videos which will lead up to 'The Business of Writing Musicals' event on April 18th 2013.

After that, The Copenhagen Interpretation have a sort of plan to make tiny videos in response to questions about 101 aspects of the craft, as well as questions I find myself asking, like "What is a good warm-up exercise for actors?".

We’re also thinking about hosting some online expert panels, who can answer your questions in live streaming broadcasts.

How long is this going on for?

A month, at first. To see how useful it is, how time consuming for how many people, and so on.

There's a boring disclaimer, isn't there?
Yeah. Sorry. I'll put it in small text.

I just wanted to say that, since this is my party, I reserve the right to have the final say on the content of the blog, twitter feed, YouTube channel, and anything else connected with the project. Also, I won't necessarily agree with anything anyone else posts in comments or on Twitter, because there is no one definitive way to write musicals. No matter what anyone says.

I really strongly want to point out that none of the people offering information, including me, will be lawyers, or professional representatives of musical theatre writers or composers, in any way, shape or form, unless they specifically say so at the time. Please don't take anyone's word for anything: all of your business-related decisions should ultimately be made with the assistance of a consummate legal professional. (I recommend Clintons Solicitors.) All of your craft-related decisions are, ultimately, up to you and your personal, unique creative choices, which is what I favour above all else. So if what anyone says doesn't work for you, then remember that the opposite of what everyone says is also, always, true.*

*I nicked this from Phelim McDermott.