When you submit to an opp, the following items are in your best interest.
1. Read the criteria carefully.
2. Ensure that your submission meets ALL criteria – for the play itself AND for the submission minutiae.
3. Do NOT ask for special dispensation.
This isn’t unlike auditioning, see Rule #1. For example, if the opp is for more female than male characters, don’t email even a “respectful” query stating that your play meets the other criteria so may you please submit it anyway.
And 4. If you know someone at the theater or festival or wherever it is that the opportunity exists, do not trade on that acquaintanceship or relationship or even friendship by asking a lot of questions or not fulfilling all of the criteria. Even if you don’t know someone, if they’re kind enough to email back saying that criteria haven’t been met and would you please resubmit, then reread the criteria and resubmit. Don’t send the missing piece separately, if the criteria state that everything is to go into one email. You know?
Don’t make more work for a person you’re hoping, ultimately, to work with. Even if you’re utterly brilliant, the next Shakespeare, the next Fornes or Stoppard or Pinter or Churchill, if you begin the relationship by making MORE work for someone, they’ll think at least twice before producing your plays.
The people receiving your works of art are underpaid – if they’re paid at all – massively overworked, and have likely spent a lot of time and sweat crafting their opp. Yes, they make mistakes. Yes, they occasionally omit something. But by and large, they’re giving you something you didn’t have before – an opportunity for your work to breathe in the world.
Why not help them out? Why not give them precisely what they’ve requested?