Next Link Project FAQ

Submissions for the 2019 Next Link Project are now OPEN - scroll down to apply!

Please read through these questions carefully before applying to the Next Link Project. Some changes have been made even since last year, so be sure you don’t skimp on anything important!

What is the Next Link Project?

The Next Link Project is NYMF's primary writer service program, through which approximately 10 shows receive subsidized production slots in the New York Musical Festival. These shows attend a weekend-long training session that includes networking, fundraising, and marketing guidance. Each show also has access to a professional New York dramaturg to help writers hone their shows.

What sort of musicals are you looking for?
NYMF isn’t looking for any particular aesthetic - we want to represent the breadth of musical theater in all of its forms.  The musical theater scene today is extremely eclectic, featuring songs influenced by many genres, styles, and cultures - from rap and hip-hop to rock to contemporary pop and even folk and opera, not to mention the classic Golden Age musical sound.

How are shows evaluated?
The Next Link Project uses a double “blind” evaluation process: writers’ names are not permitted on any of the materials readers review. This ensures that the readers are responding only to the quality of the work. Readers are not allowed to evaluate a show if they have any level of familiarity with it. The second blind refers to the fact that readers are not aware of how other readers have evaluated the same submission. Each show is read by at least two and up to five members of the reading committee. Finalists are then read and evaluated by a Grand Jury of industry professionals.  

If your show is not selected for the Next Link Project, you may ask to be considered for one of the other presentation opportunities in the Festival, which include being an Invited Production, a Event, or a Developmental Reading. If you are interested in becoming considered for any of these opportunities, please let us know in the Next Link application.

What does NYMF pay for?
NYMF provides a framework to allow the shows to be produced much less expensively, and we take care of the big-ticket items – the performance venue and venue staff, the major marketing, the lighting and sound packages, and major overall technical support.

NYMF spends about $30,000 per show to provide a package of resources and services (which would cost much more for an individual, independent production). These resources include:

  • An Off-Broadway theater in which to perform your show, equipped with an extensive lighting and sound plot
  • A band package including keyboard or piano, drums, guitar and bass amps, music stands, chairs, etc.
  • Wireless microphones and instrument microphones, and all the perishable equipment needed to use them
  • A sound engineer (A1) to mix your show  and deck sound assistant (A2) to help with wireless microphones
  • Tape, gel, and other incidental tech needs, as well as a steamer or iron for wardrobe
  • A technician, production manager, box office management, and house management staff in each venue
  • Marketing assistance through the NYMF website, Festival-wide materials and advertising, Festival press/media outreach, and promotional events
  • A comprehensive conference weekend in NYC for all accepted Next Link Projects discussing such topic as Fundraising, Marketing/Press, Creative Collaboration, and Next Steps. The weekend culminates in an invite-only industry networking event, allowing writers to meet with potential creative team members.
  • Access to NYMF-specific discounts on rehearsal space, costumes, build shops, and on outside marketing and printing for your NYMF production

What do I have to pay for?
In order to effectively subsidize all Festival shows with the above, we require a participation fee. Invited productions pay a participation fee of $11,000, while Next Link Projects pay $6,000 (reflecting the $5,000 subsidy). This fee is inclusive of Venue Rental, Basic Festival Marketing, Publicity and Admin support, Volunteer Insurance, Lighting and Sound Rental, Production Staffing and FOH Staffing. This fee is due in installments.

NYMF also charges each show a production fee to cover part of the package of resources it provides. The production fee varies from $600 to $900 per performance, depending on the size of the venue to which you are assigned (larger venues, which have more equipment and also more seats to sell, have slightly higher fees). There is an additional $30 per wireless microphone to be used per performance.

In addition to these fees, you will still have to cover the specific production costs of your show, including creative team and cast, production staff, general manager, as well as the construction and use of design elements.

All in, your production may cost you anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000, depending on the size of your cast, your production values, and your show’s specific needs. A sample budget will be sent to all Next Link finalists to review. Box office proceeds (collected via a third-party system and professional box office staff) are split between NYMF and the individual shows, so you will make back a portion of your expenses – especially if your show sells well.



Am I eligible for the Next Link Project?
Any work that has not received a commercial production in New York City may be submitted by writers, with or without industry representation.  As long as you feel your script is “production-ready” and prepared for a public developmental run in the Festival, you’re welcome to submit it!

What does “production-ready” mean?
When we say a show must be “production-ready,” we’re referring to the dramaturgical readiness of the show, rather than the production or financial resources you have on hand. If the storytelling is compelling and strong, even if you still have a little rewriting to do, consider it ready to submit. You’ll still have another 6 months of pre-production once notified of your acceptance.

Our participants do come to us at varying stages in the lives of their shows. Some shows are written two months before they are submitted, while others are in creative development for years and/or may have had other productions elsewhere in the country.

Do you accept shows from outside the United States?
Of course, as long as the submission is intended for an English-speaking audience. Please note, international companies performing in the Festival are subject to U.S. artist visa requirements. While NYMF can offer some assistance with the petition process, you will ultimately be responsible for the visas. If you are planning to include non-U.S. citizens in your cast, please email for more information. NOTE: If you are applying from outside the US, you will need to call the NYMF office at 212-664-0979 x 12 to complete your payment. The Formstack will not accept international credit cards.   

I’ve got a few different shows that I’d like to submit. Is that okay?
YES! You are welcome to submit as many shows each year as you like, however please note that each show will require a separate submission fee.

I sent you my show last year but have revised it since then. Can I resubmit it?
YES! We’re always happy to accept new drafts of previously submitted projects.

My show is already getting a production this year. Is that okay?
NYMF requires that shows refrain from mounting competing productions anywhere within a 100-mile radius of the New York City area within six months prior to the Festival start date (early July) and one month after the end of the Festival (early August).

My show is based off of or includes existing material. Do I need to include proof of rights for this?
Yes, you will need to include a letter that certifies you have the rights to use existing material, unless it is in the public domain. For more information on Dramatic (or “Grand”) Rights, review ASCAP’s Licensing Terms and Definitions here.



What materials do I need to submit for consideration?
The following application materials are required as electronic files:

  • A script sample consisting of 15 consecutive pages representing the heart of the show and including lyrics for at least one song from the demo (PDF). A complete script with no author identifiers (PDF)
  • A demo recording, containing at least 75% of the songs in the show (MP3 only)
  • Production History and Author Bios –  Even if the show has not yet had any public presentation, please note that here. This document is for administrative purposes only and will not be seen by any Next Link evaluators (PDF)
  • If applicable: Proof of rights to adapt any underlying material (e.g. the movie on which your show is based) or to include any material by other authors (e.g. songs by third-party artists), if any such material is not in the public domain (PDF)
  • If you are submitting a show by someone other than yourself, you must also submit documentation signed by the writers, giving you the rights to produce the show at NYMF (PDF)
  • Video recordings and printed scores will not be considered.

How do I submit my application materials?
After you create a NYMF application account online you will need to upload all of your materials (PDFs and MP3s) to the NYMF submission portal.  Once you have uploaded all of your information you will be required to pay the submission fee. You must have registered, uploaded all of your materials and paid the submission fee by the dates below. Incomplete or unpaid submissions will not be eligible.  
Please note that once you’ve submitted your materials and received an acknowledgment of receipt from NYMF, you may not revise or resubmit a new draft. 

What is the cost to submit?
The submission fee is $75. However, if you submit by the October 10th Early Bird deadline, the fee is $55. The submission fee for students is $25 with a valid Student I.D. - our office will be in touch to verify student status.

NOTE: If you are applying from outside the US, you will need to call the NYMF office at 212-664-0979 x 12 to complete your payment. The Formstack will not accept international credit cards.

Does my demo need to be professionally recorded?
No, your demo doesn't need to be professionally produced, but we do request that it accurately conveys the style of the score. All demos must include musical accompaniment (unless your show will be performed a cappella) as well as vocals (i.e. not just Finale sound files).  If it's just you singing and accompanying yourself on piano, that's fine -- but if you can't carry a tune, we suggest that you find someone else who can vocally represent your work for you.  If you're considering submitting an amateur recording of a past reading, please be sure the quality isn't muddy or distorted by ambient noise.  

If my show isn’t chosen, will you give me feedback from the Evaluation Committee?
Due to the volume of submissions, we are only able to provide feedback to the Next Link finalists.

When will I find out about my submission status?
Whether you are selected as a Next Link finalist or not, you will receive an email from us in December regarding the status of your submission. The Next Link Projects will be selected in January.

2019 Next Link Project Submissions are now closed.