Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) presents Writer-Producer Speed Date (The Art of the Pitch) on Sunday March 29, 2015 at 5:30pm and 6:30pm at The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, 3rd floor.
Here’s a chance to practice your pitching with real producers who are open to and looking for new work. Okay, they probably won’t option you on the spot, but you’ll meet them and have the opportunity to start developing a relationship. And that’s what this business is all about. Relationships. We’ll have eleven producers lined up, from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds, all with an interest in new projects; we also may have eleven aspiring producers from our Producer Development program. So you’ll be pitching to as many as 22 producers in total!
ABOUT SPEED DATING. How does it work? 11 writers will arrive at 5:30, and we have two coaches coming who will coach the writers on their presentations. Then at 6:30, they go into the Pitch Room to meet the producers – one at each of the stations. We ring a bell, writers have two minutes to pitch. We ring a second bell, producers have two minutes to respond and ask questions, or give feedback. Writers bring a packet with a synopsis, bio, cast breakdown and production requirements to leave with each of the producers. If the project interests the producer, he may request that you send a full script.
Meanwhile, group two is in the Coaching Room getting coached for an hour starting at 6:30. Second group goes into the Pitch Room at 7:30. We estimate that pitches and turnaround should take about 50 minutes total for all eleven. We will have wine and cheese afterwards, so although the pitch sessions will end at around 8:20, we hope writers and producers will stay and chat informally until 9pm or so.
Yikes! Eleven writers pitching to eleven producers at one time? Think of it as the “cocktail party” pitch where you have to hold someone’s interest with dozens of conversations going on around you. A little chaotic perhaps, but true to life.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING: A one-page (maximum) synopsis, a one-page writer/theater resume or bio, production history (including reviews), set and cast breakdown. You will need 22 sets, one for each of the producers. Make them nice – it’s part of that all-important first impression.
ABOUT THE COACHES: We are bringing in two or three coaches to work with each writer on vocal technique, presentation skills and content. The coaches include Michael Ian Cedar, Gillien Goll, and Bailie Slevin.
PRODUCER LINEUP: Margot Astrachan – producer (The Realistic Joneses, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Nice Work If You Can Get It, On a Clear Day…revival); Patrick Blake – Off-Bway (Bedlam Theater Hamlet/St. Joan, Play Dead, The Exonerated, In the Continuum), artistic director Rhymes Over Beats; Doug Denoff / Sutton Square Entertainment – Broadway, Off-Bway producer (The 39 Steps revival, Peggy Sue Got Married the Musical, Clever Little Lies; past Nice Work If You Can Get It, Handle With Care, 39 Steps Broadway, Witnessed By The World, Beebo Brinker Chronicles); Alexa Kelly – producing artistic director Pulse Ensemble Theatre (Harlem Summer Shakespeare, The American, A Man for All Times: W.E.B. DuBois, Chaos Theory, Ladies in Retirement); Jim Kierstead – producer (Kinky Boots, Pippin, Side Show, You Can’t Take It With You, Rocky, Yank!, Thrill Me); Angie Kristic – indie producer/director (Deuce, Crossing Lines, Closer);
Michael Leland – indie producer/director (Langston Hughes: An American Celebration, Theatre Double’s Just Fall on Our Heads); Ken Waissman – producer (original Grease, Torch Song Trilogy, Agnes of God); Cheryl Wiesenfeld – producer (All The Way, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Porgy & Bess revival, Play Dead, A Steady Rain, Legally Blonde, Caroline or Change, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, The Exonerated, In the Continuum); Plus two more to be determined. Trailing producers to include Cate Cammarata, TBA.
NOT EVERYONE WILL BE ACCEPTED. We will judge your application based on the viability of the project, your experience as a writer, prior development of the project and the specific interests of the participating producers. If accepted into the program, the cost is $65 for TRU members and $75 for non-members (and yes, you can always join as a member to qualify for the discount – we’d like that). You may find the application at http://www.truonline.org/WriterSDInfo.htm. Email application to TRUnltd@aol.com. Evening is limited to 22 writers. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 18th.
MICHAEL IAN CEDAR Producing teams of: Arthur Live – The Tour, She Loves You Beatles Tribute, NYMF: The Cure (2009) and Pandora’s Box (2010) featuring Kerry Butler and Deidre Goodwin. He was on the company management team for the national bus and truck tours of Fiddler on the Roof, Throughly Modern Millie, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat. Michael is the Associate producer of StarQuest International, a 45 city dance competition tour that hosts over 24,000 young dancers per-season. He is the leader of the StarQuest concierge sales teams resulting in revenues exceeding 4 million dollar annually. Michael is founder of Ask Yourself Productions and hosts “Culture Soup” seminars in which he shares with people how to increase closing rates and brand awareness through remarkable relationships. Michael’s blog www.AskYourselfInEntertainment.com passionately covers the topics of productivity, corporate culture, and customer service in the entertainment field.
GILLIEN GOLL has been teaching Public Speaking and Presentation techniques for over ten years. From her background as an actor, writer, director, and acting teacher, she has derived a method for teaching others to present themselves powerfully and authentically. Her clients hold a range of professions from soup (Campbell’s Soup) to nuts (discretion prevents identifying these!). Clients have appeared on such television programs as Oprah, Court TV, MTV, and The CBS Early Show. As an acting teacher, she currently teaches both privately and at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). She has also taught at Fordham University among other institutions. Acting students have appeared on Broadway, tour, film, television, and commercials. She was recently brought up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, by ACTRA (the Canadian film, television, and radio union) to teach acting there. www.gilliengoll.com
BAILIE SLEVIN is currently a financial advisor with Forest Hills Financial Group on a mission to bring fiscal health and responsibility to the entertainment community. Member of AEA, League of Professional Theatre Women and The New York Coalition of Women in Arts and Media. Bailie has stage-managed, general managed and produced shows and events off-off Broadway, Off Broadway and Broadway that have won IT Awards, OBIE Awards, Drama Desk and Tony Awards.
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is a twenty-one year old 501c3 nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of theater. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.
TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents the TRU VOICES Annual New Play Reading Series and Annual New Musicals Reading Series, two new works series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings to nurture new shows as well as new producers for theater; TRU offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York Theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop the business skills they need. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include an Annual Combined Audition and quarterly Resource Nights and “Speed Dating” as well as free monthly actor workshops, in partnership with Weist-Barron Studios.
Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, 9th district Council Member Inez Dickens and Council Member Christine Quinn; The Montage Foundation.
For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org or call (212) 714-7628.