Tag Archives: playwrights

Be the Butterfly and Spread Your Wings

14 Jun

So yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with Julie Gray. If you’re a writer, you should follow Julie’s Tweets. They are funny, insightful and I guarantee you’ll look forward to reading them. 

Julie Gray’s website Just Effing is chock full of great information for screenplay writers. And yesterday she announced that she was starting a podcast series called “The Doctor Is On Call“. It’s a bit like talk radio where a writer has the opportunity to phone in and discuss with Julie career advice, sticky problems in their script or just about anything involving screenwriting. 

My background is in theatre. I’ve worked a plethora of positions: actor, director, producer, costume designer, production assistant, marketing/pr, box office and playwright.

I’ve written for magazines and newspapers and am currently in the process of editing two novels.

I’m a writer. Writers write. Certainly there are forms we are very comfortable with and others that we’d like to learn more about, so that is why when Julie offered the opportunity to brain storm with her on matters of screenwriting, I jumped at the chance.

We talked about adapting one of my stage plays, that was produced in NYC two years ago to a short film, screenwriting software, the differences between scripts for the stage and scripts for the camera, and a few other things. Click here to hear the entire podcast.

A couple of things struck me after we had finished our chat:
1) Twitter is bridging the geographical gap between liked minded people.
2) Never ever miss an opportunity to learn something new.
3) Life is about making connections so extend your hand, smile and say hi.
4) Although the formatting may be different, writing is about conveying thoughts, emotions and making people think and look at the world they live in just a little bit different. If you’re a writer, you simply MUST engage in conversation with other writers. It’s good for your soul.
5) Our chat was just a little over 17 minutes, but it energized me to want to commit to the challenge of adapting my stage play to a screenplay. It opened a new avenue for me and I’m looking forward to the ride.

Happy Moment of the Day (saw it posted on Just Effing yesterday): Two seals kiss after being released back into the wild.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/13/seals-kiss-after-being-freed_n_876089.html

An Elevator Pitch Play

28 Mar

What can you say in one minute? Unless you have a grocery list of things in mind and you’re hyped up on some mega caffeine, most folks don’t actually say a lot in just 60 seconds.

That is why I am completely fascinated with Gi60 (Gone in 60 Seconds) from Screaming Media Productions—the world’s first international 60-second playwriting festival. It’s like Twitter for the stage.

What a fantastic challenge to write a beginning, middle and end that conveys a story to the audience and have it all done in one minute (without a second to spare). It is writing, re-writing and editing at its best. Be succinct or be eliminated from the submission pile.

If you read my post on Script Frenzy, you know how I love a good deadline. The final day to submit to Gi60 is midnight on April 30, 2011. That is over a month away and I find myself wanting to use that time to make sure there aren’t any holes in my play. After all, if an audience only has one minute to enjoy my writing, I best choose my words wisely.

More Avenues Means More Ways To Get There

24 Mar

If you are writer, you probably have heard about Amanda Hocking and her self-publishing success story. If not, here it is in a nutshell: after being rejected by several publishers she decide to self-publish. She’s gained quite the readership and the dollars to prove it. Today she signed a seven-figure deal with St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan, to publish her “Watersong” series. Good for you Amanda!

But I had to wonder what this would mean for her self-publishing efforts? Will those cease to be? If the “Watersong” series is successful, then will St. Martin want to buy up the rights to her other books? While I don’t know the exact details of her deal, I can only assume that St. Martin’s Press will own the exclusive rights to this series thereby prohibiting her from selling it on her own via her traditional method of Amazon.  Don’t get me wrong, it still works out very well for Amanda (she’ll get that money, and they’ll get to be the brand behind her). However, it is unfortunate that she’ll only have the publisher’s avenue of selling this series of books. They will get the “world premiere.”

A very similar thing happens in theatre. Playwrights work really hard to get a theatre to produce their play and that theatre gets to call it a world premiere. If the playwright is lucky to have it produced elsewhere, it moves to being called a regional premiere. With fewer and fewer media outlets covering the arts, some publications won’t review a show if it isn’t a world premiere. While I understand that column inches are precious, this ultimately hurts the playwright.

There is a movement amongst professional new play development theatre companies to have what is called a “rolling world premiere”. The idea being that a show can have multiple premieres as the playwright will be developing that play with different theatres, that serve different patrons and will ultimately produce the highest quality of play.

I wonder why the publishing industry doesn’t adopt a similar plan? Why not let the author make it available across a multitude of platforms thereby assuring the greatest return to them?

Artists are already doing this. They sell their creative endeavors via online venues like Etsy, brick and mortar stores, craft shows, galleries and directly to consumers on the street (such as Jackson Square in New Orleans).

So why then can’t authors do the same?

The more ways that folks can access a creative product can only lead to more sales. And more sales means more pr, more marketing endeavors, and ultimately more dollars in the pocket of the person that put their heart and soul into the piece in the first place.