when are we actually entitled, and when are we just acting that way?

There’s a conversation going on in a playwright group (FB) about fees and royalties for a contest.

There’s lots and lots of what I would call toddler behavior (or so I’m told, I don’t have kids).  The toddler is so proud of excreting into a toilet that Mommy and Daddy have to look and exclaim their pride and maybe give the toddler a gift or a treat, and maybe they’re not allowed even to flush it for a while.

This is how some playwrights behave about submission opportunities.

Why on earth are we owed anything for having egested and managed to email a copy somewhere, what might not even be a viable play?

Do NOT get me wrong, I draw the line at pay-to-play, the practice of charging submission fees – if a theater or festival or contest wants to produce new works, how dare they do so using monies gathered from the losers?  To elucidate, the majority of dollars come from the majority of people and only the minority “win.”  If you have 300 submissions (a low number, now that everybody and her brother have discovered e-submissions) at $10 apiece, you’ve got a bigger production budget than some of my local professional theaters by order of magnitude.  Even if the festival or contest pays an award or royalty to the winner(s), it’s still a moneymaker.

Kind of like creative writing MFA programs, but I’ve already written that digression here.

I guess I could wax histrionic about how entitlement pervades our society, maybe even the whole first world, at this stage in human evolution.  I could weep at our massive self-indulgence and clinging to adolescence or, in the case of the really vociferous folks, toddlerhood.  I could probably find lots of beloved words to use about it, lists of them to add flame to my indignance.  Or I could whine and bitch and waste all of my good morning energy feeling self-righteous, feeling right.

Or I could write a poem, I could write a song, I could write a play.

Which do you think I’ll do?

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