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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Re: Optimistically High

Garrett Eisler asks a good question in this post. Playgoer, as always, writes like a true journalist.

"According to the study, the average playwright earns $25,000 to $39,000 annually, with about 62 percent of playwrights making less than $40,000 and nearly a third pulling in less than $25,000.
Hm. Don't those numbers seem optimistically high?"

Well, if I read the study correctly, that includes income that's not related to theatre. Furthermore, playwrights surveyed said that 50% of their income, on average, is not theatre-related. And what IS theatre-related includes things that are not specifically writing (21% said Teaching for example). They reported 15% of their income from royalties, for example. That means something like $6,000.00 on average.

I wasn't surveyed, but there are peers of mine who were so I feel like I can speak to this myself, un-anonymously. My non-theatre related job is being an Assistant Director at a non-profit and I earn, in that job alone, well over the average noted above annually. How much have I earned from writing over the last five years? Maybe $3000? If you include non-theatre gigs? If you included only playwriting... I dunno. Half of that? Less?

I'm far from a mid-career writer...I'm still fumbling my way out of obscurity. But if you included my non-theatre related income in this survey, I'm a top earner.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, what's the value of including other income? I'm a computer programmer so I'm out of this bracket, but I've earned $600 total off of my (21 produced) plays.

Maybe they were researching if they should have better alternative career counseling service for playwrights?

David D. said...

Matt Freeman is a rich playwright. I've seen his fine teeth.


Freeman said...

I wish the thing about the teeth was true.

joshcon80 said...

Yeah, I thought the same thing. I earn more than the high average from my day job too (just barely... I market cable porn for a living.)I've made maybe 1k from playwriting in the last year. Maybe.

Freeman said...

May I also market cable porn for a living?