Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) in association with Diana Amsterdam, presents Practical PLAYWRITING: How to Write for Commercial Production, a one-day intensive on Saturday, August 22, 2015 from 11:00am to 5:30pm at the Desotelle NuBox Theatre, 300 W. 43rd Street, 3rd floor. This is a unique writer’s workshop with a happy ending: a chance to pitch your work to a panel of producers, and is part of The TRU Beginnings series of opportunities for works in early development.
The premise: What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer. With all the work, hope and sweat they invest in considering character, theme and plot, playwrights rarely take into account produceability. This one-day intensive addresses some of the major areas of concern for producers:
• WHAT IS PRODUCEABILITY? The fact that producers always ask this question, and playwrights hardly ever do, causes a serious disconnect between the commercial producer and most playwrights.
• WRITING TO A MARKET – We will ask each playwright questions he or she has probably never considered before: Who is your market? Who is going to buy tickets? Who is this play written for?
• WRITING VIABLY – Creating writing that holds the attention of the audience with a strong storyline and defined events. This module will cover such primary writing elements as: arc, desire, motivation, conflict, and the clear delineation of theme.
• WRITING ECONOMICALLY – Number of characters, number of sets, extravagance of sets: all these are serious considerations for most commercial producers. Does the play require a casting director, or can it be done successfully by seasoned unknowns? Is there a chorus of thirty that can be pared down to two? Are you kidding yourself when you think one actor can play eight parts?
The workshop will be taught by dramaturg and published and produced playwright Diana Amsterdam (The Dodgers, Fast Girls, Sex and Death, Carnival Round the Central Figure), TRU’s Program Director for Playwrights. Crucial segments of the workshop will be taught by commercial producer Patrick Blake (39 Steps revival, Bedlam Theatre’s Hamlet/St. Joan, The Exonerated, In the Continuum, Play Dead), marketing consultants Bob Ost and Gary Hughes who will help writers capture the essence of their piece in an effective synopsis, and presentation coach Gillien Goll who will teach you how to present yourself successfully. The day ends with a panel of commercial producers who will offer feedback on writers’ pitches as well as suggest appropriate markets for the works. Past panelists have incuded Margot Astrachan (Busker Alley, On a Clear Day, Nice Work If You Can Get It), Jeremy Handelman (White’s Lies, F#@king Up Everything ), Pam Koslow (Jelly’s Last Jam, Jane Eyre, Yank!) and Cheryl Wiesenfeld (The Heidi Chronicles, Rocky, All the Way, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Steady Rain, The Exonerated, Legally Blonde, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty).
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is a twenty-three 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 the Annual Combined Audition and quarterly
Resource Nights and “Speed Dating” as well as free monthly actor workshops.
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 with support from the Montage Foundation.
For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org or call (212) 714-7628.