Editor's note: We took a brief hiatus with bringing you Maribeth's journey to publishing her play, since the festival was running its course, but now she's back with more adventures! In the interim, Maribeth was fortunate enough to publish a children's book, "Colby and the First Day Ever," which can be purchased HERE if the reader is interested! And now, more Maribeth:
In today's edition of “Maribeth tries to adult and get her play produced”, we're going to look at one of my least favorite things in the entire world: formatting. I HATE formatting. Like, with a greater passion than I have in my dislike for sugar free cookies and bad hair days.
Every time I've ever written a play, I've always done what I know: used Word...and just started writing. It's been this way for about 12 years, and as no one ever had a problem with it, so I just figured it was fine. There were no special indents or rules or anything like that; it was just a character’s name followed by their lines or action. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
Well..apparently that's not really how it works. Dammit.
In my quest to get my script out there to the 'verse, I realized that there are still SO many things I do not know. For one: the correct format a play should be in. I know this might seem silly to most professional writers/playwrights/journalists, but as I have long subscribed to the belief of, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it!” It never occurred to me that play formats had to be very specific. So I did some research in the Playwrights Group (those people seriously are the best), and I learned that while you don't need certain computer programs to write with, there are indeed correct formats your plays MUST be in if you wish to have them even looked at by prospective theatres.
So I read through the formatting rules, hit my head on the table a few times, and began the work. Only problem? I COULDN'T make it work. I couldn't make the programs in my laptop listen to me and move words, paragraphs, and actions where I needed them to be without moving the entire document. I couldn't put the numbers at the head of the second page and without the first. I was about to throw my laptop out the window. (No, seriously.) And I didn't have a Tim Gunn there to save me and tell me it would be ok if I just made it work. Luckily for me though, I had something else: A Stephen.
Stephen Carl has been one of my closest friends since I first lifted him up and unplugged his mic pack during a live performance of “Boeing Boeing.” He's a performer, yes, and also a teacher and a father. I believe all of those things helped him achieve his beautiful ability to be PATIENT. He's also undeniably smart. I went to him with these problems and in between my freak outs and bursts of tears, he calmed me down and said he'd be happy to help.
Stephen has been a fan of “Sweet Tea” since the beginning, and has always said he would do whatever he could to help it see a larger audience. So this incredible man took days of his own time, while going through his own tech week, and reformatted the entire play for me. Not just that—he contacted me continuously to double check details and lines, and to fix what didn't make sense. As of this morning, the play is almost done. I (and my laptop which survived being thrown from my third floor window) can never thank him enough.
On that note, I want to say this: If there are people in your life that want to help you, LET THEM. For the longest time I felt like I was being a bother or annoying if I needed help. But thanks to people like Stephen, I know that it's absolutely ok to not just ask for assistance, but to accept it. After all, we're all in this together, right? Maybe if we took more time to support and help others on their journey, it would make ours all the more worthwhile.
So for everyone who's helped me thus far (and the list is long...the list is very, VERY long), I just want to say thank you. And if there's anything I can ever do to help you, please just reach out.
Especially if it involves throwing things. ;)