Q & A
Every good show has to have a Q & A, and we're no different. Here you will find the answers to questions about scripts, royalties, our ordering process, as well as a few other supportive tidbits and advice.
What is a PDF script?
PDF scripts are downloadable scripts, in Portable Document Format. Think like an e-book. It has several benefits— no shipping, instant access, and great versatility. After purchasing a script, you will receive a secure link to download your PDF available for 24 hours. (The time limit is part of the security, keep reading for more help on that.) Then that's it-- that's the whole thing. Minutes from "I want to read this script" to the script in your hands (metaphorically in your hands, that is, until you print it. But you get it.)
But how do I turn a PDF into scripts for the kids?
This is actually one of my favorite questions because we can get a little creative.
First, after procuring the printing rights, print the script. Make the copies needed with a school copier. Most school copiers have the option to three hole punch while they copy. If your school has such a copier, use it. Saves so much time. Then you have a few more options for binding:
You can print front and back covers on hard card stock and bind the scripts with long brass brads. This is a soft screenplay style binding and I find it works just fine. (Bonus: Fun colored card stock! Chartreuse, anyone?)
Another option is pocket folders. This is the best because it gives your students a place to put important handouts and notes. Make sure you adhere a cover to the front of your folder for easy identification.
If you don’t have the use of a copier, I suggest having them printed professionally at an office supply store like Office Max or Office Depot. They usually have binding services there as well, that range from simple staples to spiral binding. (Which is, according to my students, "very fancy!")
Can I photocopy my personal script?
You can only photocopy with a Printing Rights License. Any copying without the rights is strictly prohibited by law and will earn you a stern meeting with our legal department. Also, uncool.
What if I lose my PDF file after the 24 hours is up?
Contact Holly@HollyBeardsley.com and I will provide you with a new Single Script PDF free of charge. (I get it. Computers are great...until they’re not.) If you have lost the Cast Script PDF file, make sure your Multiple Copy Printing License is valid before you make a request for a new one. If your license has expired, you can purchase an extended Printing License. In this case, contact Holly@HollyBeardsley.com and a custom license will be made just for you. (It comes with the Cast Scipt PDF too.)
Can I make changes?
Yes, yes, and yes. I was a director before I was a playwright and so I understand the need to make changes. More than that I purposely keep all my scripts electronic because I believe they are living, evolving documents. With every new production, there is a possibility for something new and interesting. I do ask that you follow copyright law and request changes in writing. You can do that easily with the Change Request Form at the bottom of the website. The legal department asks me to tell you that all possible changes become a part of the script, and are therefore subject to copyright law, without compensation. (But we teachers are used to not getting paid for our extra work, right? Right.)
Do I have to pay royalties if..."
Yes. You have to pay royalties, what we call "performance rights," no exceptions. Just like you pay for the costume, the set, or any other part of a production, you must also pay for the writing.
You have to pay royalties even if you are a school. You have to pay royalties even if you are a non-profit. You have to pay royalties even if you are not charging admission. You have to pay royalties.
Royalties are very important because that is how you support good playwrights. When you support good playwrights, you get good plays. It’s that simple. If you perform a play without royalties, even if you are not charging admission, you are breaking the law, and stealing from playwrights. Don’t be that guy.
Can I pay with a credit card?
As of right now, Holly Beardsley Plays ONLY accepts credit cards or paypal. (I've considered opening it up to payments in chocolate but the legal department frowns on payments in chocolate. Too sticky, I guess.)
Are there any refunds?
All sales are final. No refunds. In case of an accidental purchase contact Holly@HollyBeardsley.com.
Whenever I explain my philosophy of inclusive casting or "everyone gets a part," I am often hit with a barrage of "What if?" panic. I have answers. But first, let's take a breath. Okay, here we go.
"What if I have more kids audition then parts available?"
While there are limited leads and secondary parts, there are always expandable group or chorus parts. I find that it is important to give these group parts a job or identity that informs their character. Instead of a generic "chorus" with 40 kids, you could have eight groups of five with semi-broad distinctions like, "Mothers," "Maids," or "Guards"
This also makes blocking easier. I usually work with each group to make a standard set of stage pictures or poses, like plays on a football team. For example, the "Maids" may be gossiping, so we have two slightly turned into each other talking, and the other three are standing in a triangle formation with the downstage girls slightly turned into the upstage girl. We call this the "gossip girls" formation, or some other fun title. Another of them might be a cleaning pose, with one on her knees scrubbing the floor, the other is dusting, etc. This gets the girls more into their part and individual identities while still allowing you to block them as a group.
And finally, there is the Dancing Corps. Adding dance to your production not only gives it more depth and fun, it opens up a whole other avenue of opportunity. While it will require either your own skill as a choreographer, or the skills of a student or teacher volunteer, it is well worth the effort.
"What if I can't handle that many students by myself?"
This is obviously a legitimate concern, and a big one. Many schools even have rules on the student to teacher ratio for after school activities. So, once again, let's first take a breath.
Remember this: You will never have a cast as big as your first cast list. Really, it's true. Honestly, can you think of a show where at least one student didn't drop? You can't, can you? The truth is, some students only want THE PART. And if they don't get THE PART, then they are OUT of THERE. What THAT kid will never know is we don't want them there either. Don't get me wrong. I want them to succeed. But if they can not accept the part they were given- I'd rather they succeed somewhere else.
Second, GET HELP. Any large cast production needs more than one director. If your school only allows for one teacher, find help within your students, your parents volunteers. While not everyone is suited to direct, there is usually someone who is willing to support you. To be the crowd control, while you be the talent.
And speaking of crowd control, don't forget the magic of scheduling. While you want the whole cast to be together as much as possible, there is no reason for them to be together everyday. Have a solid ALL CAST once or twice a week, then schedule the rest of rehearsals for smaller, more manageable, groups or scenes.
"What if I only want the best students in a small cast?"
This is also a legitimate concern. If large casts are too much for you and you would rather have a small cast to really delve into your production- well, then, I'd say you are not alone. Crowd control and classroom management are exhausting practices. Do you really want to wrangle three classes worth of kids after school? For fun?? Of course not! But I ask you this... what has more student impact? A small strong cast of ten, maybe fifteen students? Or a loud, raucous adventure with 40 to 70 students? The numbers speak for themselves.
My second answer to this is simple. Do more than one show. Have the large cast inclusive show. Work with all 70 of those students. And watch. See the potential that you might have not seen in one audition. Use that to inform your small production. Treat the whole thing as one big audition for your small passion project.
It's a lot of work. But it's worth it.
"Seriously though, What if I can't handle that many students?"
Once again, I return to the Dancing Corps. Adding dance to your play will not only add to the production it can give a spot to as many as 30 students. Maybe more, depending on your need. Dance rehearsals could be separate rehearsals as well, reducing your cast by three score. That's the difference in managing two classrooms, instead of three.
Also, once again, I'd advice you to bring in a separate choreographer or dance coach. Make sure that they share your vision of what the dance corps should look like, or what feelings they should evoke. At the very least, what style of dance you would like to see.
That, and it's pretty. Dance is pretty.
For some, the whole thing is unnerving. Whether it's fifteen students or fifty. It's all just one big question mark... followed by an "Eeek!" You are not alone. And you've come to the right place. The internet. A lot of times, the internet is the worst place you can go when you're scared. But today, we've got your back. Me, and my friends at Theatrefolk.
Theatrefolk is a one-stop shop for drama teachers looking for plays, resources, and advice. The Blog alone has more than 500 posts on teaching drama, and hundreds more on acting and production. With the addition of the Drama Teacher Academy, Theatrefolk can give you the confidence and knowledge to tackle any production, large or small. Oh, and don't forget to check out the Podcast!