Performer Etiquette: Working with Writers
I’ve wanted to write this post for some time, because I’ve long felt that writers deserve more recognition in our community.
As a performer who relies heavily on scripts, I have the utmost love and respect for writers. While the art of performing may be daunting, performers often receive far more karma and acclaim than our writing colleagues. Look around and you’ll see that script-fills receive significantly more attention than script-offers. It’s the nature of the gig, but I wish we could give writers a bigger spotlight. So this is a thank-you post and reminder for us all to recognize the value of a healthy writing community. Part of that requires us to reflect and remember that writers and their work should be treated with the same gentleness and regard that performers and audios are given.
Disclaimer: These opinions are personal and come from my own experience. Please understand I do not speak for all voices or writers.
Being nice and making friends is the secret to success, and having good rapport with a writer can be a mutually beneficial relationship. Scratch each other’s back, and it can be a win-win for everyone. Script collaborations and getting first dibs on a script are just a few perks of having a creative friend. At the very least, it’s nice to have someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. Just remember to give and take equally in a relationship, and that it’s okay to say “no”. Performers should not feel pressured to fill scripts, and writers should not have their creativity taken for granted.
Performers are sometimes offered private scripts, and other times writers may be approached to write something personal. In either case, time and effort of both parties should be respected. Being realistic about your recording schedule is professional and good for avoiding burnouts. If you promise to fill a script, it should be done in a timely manner, especially if the publication of a script has been held off just for you. If you can no longer fill a script, please be upfront and give the writer a chance to share their work with others.
A similar sentiment applies to public script offers. If anything, it may be recommended that performers should not give public affirmations to fill a script on offer posts. The rationale is that an unfilled promise is disheartening for writers, and may dissuade other voices from attempting the same script.
Every writer has their own set of expectations. While some writers love the creativity voices are able to breathe into a script, not all authors appreciate stylistic revisions to their stories. Instructions and disclaimers are often included in posts where specificity is desired. If you have any questions about a script, or would like to make significant changes to a story, please reach out to the writer. You may also want to acknowledge any changes made in your fill post.
🔸 For-Profit Audios
Out of respect, please never assume scripts can be used on platforms such as YouTube or Patreon without permission. Just as upsetting when audios are shared without permission off-site, writers may not want their work shared outside of the community.
If you are interested in taking a script off-site, please reach out to the writer with a private message. Commenting on a script-offer may be convenient, but it puts a writer on the spot to say “yes”. If permission is granted, credit must be clearly noted and a disclaimer such as, “Permission has been granted by the writer for use” would give transparency to your work.
For YouTube content, it would be considerate to feature a writer’s name prominently in the video. Please also try to give credit in the early lines of your description as viewers rarely read full descriptions, and may not realize the audio is a collaborative effort. It would be disrespectful to inadvertently take credit for a story by not clearly crediting.
Lastly, if your audio is behind a paywall or in a video, consider gifting a copy of your audio to the writer.
🔸 Crediting on Reddit
Crediting and notifying writers when their work is referenced is important. Conventionally, writers should be tagged in both the post body and comment section. A tag in the comment section is a nice way to publicly thank a writer, but you can always opt for a private message instead. Both methods are appreciated and saves a writer time from searching the subreddits for fills.
Please be aware that users are not notified when they are tagged in the post body, nor when tagged in a comment with more than three tags.
When linking scripts, please link to the offer post instead of the pastebin. This protects writers in case they remove their post or account. It also gives others an opportunity to upvote and comment on the original offer.
Bonus? Tag a writer in your script-fill title if you’re feeling extra nice.
I hope this post was informative and will help voices and writers in this community. Regardless of who you are, we’re in this together, so let’s do what we can to bring each other up.
PS. Shoutout to editors and beta-listeners for making everyone’s lives easier.
PPS. Thank you u/FredRiting, u/LateStageInfernalism, u/livejoker, u/ravishagirl, and Misha for sharing your words of wisdom and helping me with my writing.