Do you accept musicals?
Yes. With the sad news of the closing of New York Musical Festival—an honored institution in this city’s festival industry—BBTF has decided to open its submissions to musical playwrights. For the first time since our inception, we welcome musicals and performance arts pieces. This a reversal of our longstanding policy of accepting 90 minute straight plays only. But we feel we would not be living up to our mission if we didn’t try to provide a venue for this valuable form of theatre and the amazing artists who create it. Make no mistake. We are not replacing NYMF. We are simply extending our very successful BBTF model to include musicals.
Do you accept shows that have had runs in other theatres or festivals?
No. Only unproduced works are eligible to participate. Shows that have had readings or been workshopped ARE eligible. Shows that have sold tickets to past performances, both plays and musicals, ARE NOT eligible.
Can I use copyrighted music in my play?
Copyrighted music is not permitted to be used in the festival. BBTF cannot be held responsible should a production not abide by this rule.
When is your deadline and when will I know whether I have been accepted?
March 15, 2020
Final application deadline at 11:59 PM EST. All submissions must be made through our website. Late applications, applications mailed via the postal service, e-mailed or faxed will not be accepted – no exceptions will be made.
End of March, 2020
The 40 Finalists will be interviewed by the Festival General Manager via telephone.
April 1, 2020
Acceptance offers for the 20 available participation slots will be made.
April 5, 2020
If invited to participate, your contract and non-refundable participation fee is due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST. If you miss this deadline, your spot will be offered to another finalist.
Unlike many other festivals, all submissions are read in full by the Festival Director and undergo careful scrutiny by our panel of industry professionals, before being accepted to the only curated theatre festival dedicated to transforming playwrights into producers.
Unlike any other festival, upon completion of the decision-making process, you will receive a critique of your script, which should help you understand the reason your play was or was not selected to participate. Our critiques provide dramaturgical advice and professional feedback of your work. They are written by at least two award winning writers.
What makes BBTF so different?
We created BBTF as a festival in the truest spirit of that word. Veering away from the standard competition format, which pits playwright-against-playwright, BBTF fosters an environment of support and friendship, from the festival staff to the panelists, as well as cultivating the spirit of cooperation between participants by encouraging them to work for and with each other.
Collaboration is one of our cornerstones. Once accepted into BBTF, playwrights become part of something much bigger than just themselves and their plays and musicals. They are provided with multiple workshops, regular educational packets, an interactive online playwrights forum, as well as roundtable talkbacks discussing their shows.
All of this creates a constructive, encouraging environment between fellow playwrights and a creative community accepting of all, exclusive of none.
We are most proud of the support we at BBTF give our playwrights.
We are the only festival that does not put its stamp on productions as they continue on after the festival. BBTF neither requires any acknowledgement of its festival in future productions, nor does it take a percentage of any future revenues or require the distribution of producer points, or instigate negotiations for credit should any participating production be approached with financial interest during or after the festival.
How much money does it cost to produce a standard festival show?
At the end of the day, your bottom line is up to you. We strongly encourage you to keep your budget as tight as possible, without skimping on the very important basics: solid actors, a minimal but effective set, a proven lighting designer and additional team members that will professionally advise you.
That said, there are a few costs that tend to be unavoidable in production, such as renting a rehearsal space and posting casting calls, so you will need to create a budget and be prepared to crowdfund from the get-go.
The important thing to remember is that presenting your show in a festival setting is a wonderful opportunity that has already saved you a few thousand dollars. You can put these savings toward making your show an exceptional theatrical experience - whether that means investing in a stellar dramatic actor, a lighting designer who can create convincing time/space shifts, or developing a fantastic PR campaign.
Create a clear vision now so you know where your productions priorities lie.
What makes a 'good' play?
Rather than discuss what we consider a "good play," we'd like to share with you the critiquing rubric we use to decide which plays will accepted. It consists of two categories: Plot Development and Character Development and how well you did with both. The third category is where we share our non-prescriptive advice on how to make your play stronger. Based on all these assessments, we divide the plays into finalists and those that need much more work. Please note: If your play receives a conditional acceptance, you might be asked to take a second look at your play through the lens of our critique. If you receive an unconditional acceptance, we do not require this.
What is the page count for scripts?
Scripts of straight plays may not run under 45 pages or over 80 pages in length. This is to ensure all performances of plays run no less than 60 minutes and no more than 90 minutes. Scripts that do not meet or exceed the page count will be automatically returned.
Musicals may run up to 120 minutes not including a 10 minute intermission. A digital musical file must accompany the submission. (For instance, BandCamp, SoundCloud, YouTube, MP3 or WAV.) No CD's will be accepted.
How am I supposed to cover my costs?
One of our first resource packets is dedicated to creating a successful crowdfunding campaign. Here’s an extract from the introduction written by Festival Director Lenore Skomal.
“You should not spend one thin dime of your own on your production. We will repeat this ad nauseum... By launching your crowdfunding campaign you're going to accomplish so much more than simply raising money to cover all your costs. Stop looking at it as asking for money. Look at it as building your play's fan base and the momentum for your performances. I found through my own experience that the most unlikely people jumped out of their shoes to donate. And they were generous and so supportive. Almost everyone who gave money then bought tickets and came from great distances to see the show. Now I have a base of over 600 people who want to not only see me succeed, they've backed that up by putting their money where their mouths are. DO NOT underestimate the power of crowdfunding. If you're (interested) in this festival, it's because you were willing to become a producer and champion of your own show. Embrace this and you will indeed be rewarded.”
How much will tickets cost?
Tickets are priced from $27 online.
Is each show responsible for their own marketing?
BBTF is responsible for marketing the festival as a whole and will prominently feature all participating shows in its marketing material. That said, each individual production must take responsibility for attracting their own audience and make efforts to market their show in the form of press releases and advertising.
Do you accept applications from out-of-state or international playwrights?
BBTF presents rich and intriguing works from playwrights from across the continent. Out-of-state and international playwrights are welcome to submit to BBTF using the same blind submission process as any other applicant. We strongly suggest international applicants enlist a NYC-based co-producer to help with the marketing, housing, and financing that go hand in hand with producing in NYC. All participants are responsible for all aspects of production and publicity for their production, as well as travel expenses and accommodation.
What's the long-term goal for my show?
BBTF expects participants to be constantly considering how to make the most of their Off-Broadway premiere. Participants must decide what they want to get out of the festival experience and proactively pursue these wants. For example, should a participant wish to use this opportunity to solicit interest from producers, we expect them to research and reach out to parties who may be interested in developing a show like theirs. Be specific about what you want to get out of BBTF. If you know what you want you can shape your festival experience to be its most beneficial.
Can I act in or direct my own show?
Being a full-time producer is a job in itself. We understand that many playwrights develop their plays with roles for themselves in mind, but since BBTF is dedicated to the development of the playwright as an artist we focus solely on that. We believe it is impossible to objectively evaluate your own work if you're acting in or directing it. Please consider this before submitting as there will be no exceptions.
Can I bring my own production team from out of state?
Participants accepting BBTF must agree to hire locally from the New York Tri-State area.