FAQs About Our 3rd Annual Short Play Festival

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Here are the answers to some common questions we've received about this year's Short Play Fest.

For our complete submission guidelines, click here!

1) What is this year’s theme?

This year’s theme is “Legal Briefs: Lawmakers and Activists,” for which we invite a wide range of short scripts.

2) What should my play be about?

Plays can explore a wide range of stories about how the American legal system, the law, and our daily lives are shaped by Native American identity and culture and the lawmakers and activists it has given us. How do Native Americans uphold and honor, question and investigate, or create and change law within our society? Plays do not need to be biographical or autobiographical. Use your imagination!

3) Does my play need to be about an actual person or event?

No. You can create a fictional character and event to tell your story. Remember, an activist is not necessarily just a famous face or politician. When we say “activists,” we think of all kinds of people who are working to do big things in Native American communities. An activist can be a teacher, a respected elder or community member, or even a young person. An activist is anyone who is striving to make a positive change.

4) How long should my play be?

We ask that short plays be 5 to 16 pages long.

5) Do I have to be an experienced writer to submit my short play to Native Voices at the Autry?

No. In fact, short plays can be a great opportunity for someone who has never written a play before to give it a try. Anyone can write and submit a play, no matter what age or how skilled they are. Mostly, we are looking for good stories rather than perfect playwriting technique!

6) If I have submitted plays to Native Voices in the past, am I still eligible to submit a short play this year?

Of course. We encourage writers who have worked with us before to continue submitting scripts to us. Also, this is a great opportunity for experienced writers to work on an idea without committing to a full-length, 60+ page script. We sometimes even receive excellent revisions of scripts that began as short plays.

7) How many characters can I use?

We ask that you use four characters or less in your script.

8) How many locations can I have in my play?

Technically, you can have as many locations as you like. But keep in mind that we have to stage the play in a theater– that means we don’t have the luxury of multiple locations. It is recommended that you use one or two settings to keep your short play clear, simple, and stageable which will also allow for multiple plays to be staged in a festival performance.

9) Are there any guidelines for writing a short play online?

Actor’s Theatre of Louisville offers a quick and simple guide for their New Voices Ten-Minute Play Festival that you may find helpful. It’s geared for young writers - but these tips apply to all writers. You should check out the submission guidelines for their Ten-Minute Play Festival, too! Their submission deadline is October 31, 2013, and there’s a $1,000 cash award for the winner of the festival. Write and submit to both Native Voices and ATL!

Actor’s Theatre of Louisville’s “The Art of the Ten-Minute Play”

Actor's Theatre of Louisville Submission Guidelines

10) Feeling Stumped?

Try this: Make a list of 5 different conflicts, 5 “clocks,” and 5 settings or places. Pick one from each category at random, and see where your imagination takes you. Here are some examples below. Feel free to use these, or create your own lists!

Example: 5 Conflicts

1. A teacher/coach confronts the system for the good of her/his students.
2. An unlikely leader seeks better healthcare for their community.
3. A child is taken from its family/tribal community.
4. A young man discovers a poisoned watering hole.
5. A young woman is forced to choose between tribal law and US military law.

5 Clocks (*Remember: these are things that add a sense of urgency, excitement, or pressing need to your play)
1. The day of a public hearing
2. The end of a loved one’s battle with disease
3. The morning of a ribbon cutting ceremony
4. The day of the big championship
5. The last day of the year

5 Settings or Places
1. A Taos pueblo
2. A city/community hall
3. A kitchen
4. In a moving car
5. A tribal council

Our short play deadline is August 1st, 2013. We're excited to see your work! 

For complete submission guidelines, click here


Anonymous said...

Leave question too?

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