Have you had someone impose on your work? Suggest changes? Make changes on their own behest?
We own the copyright on our writing. The instant we put pen to page. You can do the fancy register process, but legally it’s not necessary. You can’t copyright an idea or a title but you can copyright the execution of that idea. Copyright laws very much favour the creator.
That doesn’t seem to stop people from thinking it’s okay to change a play. Make it better. Make it cleaner. And no one seems to be immune.
I had a director tell me (the day before rehearsals started) that my play wasn’t good enough and that she was taking on the rewrites herself. [Insert heart attack and lawyers here.]
It’s a hard thing to deal with because a production is often on the line. If you want this, you need to let us do that. It’s easy to say, well I do want this so maybe it’s okay if I let them do that.
And of course we’re not talking about constructive criticism that helps your work grow. We’re talking about individuals who think they know better than you.
It’s your play. And that means you can do whatever you want with it. You can accept that changes will be made and not feel guilty. With my high school work, sometimes I do just that. I know that the process of that play is more important than the product.
You can also stand up and say no changes, which may mean – no production, and not feel guilty. I do this all the time. There is no discussion. Do the play as is or don’t do it at all.
But always take charge of the situation. You’re the one who knows better. It’s your work. It’s your baby. You decide. You decide how your baby is going to be presented to the world.