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Offline 31842

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DELETE
« on: August 29, 2017, 01:46:28 am »
DELETE - I do not agree to the Terms of Service
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 04:13:50 pm by KateDanley »

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    Offline alawston

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #1 on: August 29, 2017, 02:40:33 am »
    Hurrah! Great idea for a thread!

    I'm not yet at the point where I've decided to self-publish them, but I wrote a very short play back in April, and I'm now working on a very slightly longer one with a 30 September deadline. Kind of a satirical SF thing with an all-female cast.

    At the moment I'm writing plays for very specific performance opportunities, and taking baby steps. Though I've done a lot of theatre acting over the years, I'm essentially having to relearn writing when it comes to the stage. Is there much of a market for self-publishing play scripts?


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    Offline David Greene

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #2 on: August 29, 2017, 04:49:31 am »
    I studied playwriting at Chicago Dramatists for a couple of years. During that time I wrote a comedy--a gay reimagining of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. Apart from a performance at Chicago Dramatists, I haven't done anything with it.

    It never occurred to me to just publish it. But like alawston--I'm curious about the market. Is there a market for readers buying and reading plays? Or is the point of publishing a play less about finding readers and more about making it available for performance?

    Another question: I assume that formatting a play in book form would be different from script format. Is there a template for formatting plays in book form?

    Thanks for starting this thread!
    « Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 05:29:55 am by David Greene »

    Offline David Greene

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #3 on: August 30, 2017, 05:54:39 am »
    I am SO JEALOUS!!!  The reputation of the Chicago Dramatists is amazing!!  How was the experience for you?  I did their script notes service and their feedback was invaluable.

    Apart from readings and book signings, writing novels is a lonely affair. Theater, on the other hand, is wonderfully collaborative--and I've really enjoyed the social interactions of that world. The classes at Chicago Dramatists were lots of fun. Every week each student would bring in a scene and professional local actors would give a reading of it for the class. Then we'd all get feedback. The feedback from Will Dunne, the teacher, was always detailed and insightful. (He's published several books about his process.) It was a great way to work on a play--especially a comedy, since it's hard to be sure what will make people laugh until you're in a room where the actors deliver the lines.

    I like the idea of putting the work out there on the chance that a fan of the novels might pick it up to read. How wonderful that one of your readers produced your play in Canada! And you're right, it's better than having it languish on the hard drive.  Thanks also for the guidance on formatting.  It looks like stage directions, scene descriptions, etc. are handled with parenthesis.

    I'm seriously thinking about giving this a try.

    Offline alawston

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 06:32:55 am »
    I had some exciting news at the end of November, but it was embargoed until just before Christmas. My first play is a finalist in Richmond's New Plays Festival 2018. I now have two and a half months to put together a production of the 20 minute piece. I've cast it, and just about to organise the first readthrough. The idea is that we'll then rehearse intensely for a few weeks from late Feb (at least one of my actors is in another a show in the New Year).

    This really has opened up a whole new world for my writing, and I'm incredibly excited to see where it leads!


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    Offline Jim Johnson

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #5 on: December 29, 2017, 10:34:21 pm »
    Has anyone published through Dramatists, Samuel French, or other sites? I haven't written a stage play in a while, but it's on one of my many back burners. Would love to hear experiences. IIRC one has to get a play produced first before really seriously trying to get it published.

    Offline alawston

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #6 on: January 01, 2018, 01:02:52 pm »
    I have a friend who's having at least one play published in 2018, and yes, I gather it's not worth looking at unless the piece has been produced in some form.


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    Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 06:48:14 am »
    I started my writing career with Stage Plays. I'll put this in the context of being based in London, the UK, where there has always been a very strong Fringe / Independent Theatre scene, which has only increased in recent years with a number of new smaller independent, off-west end (The same as Off-Broadway kind of) venues which support emerging playwrights as well as more traditional work.

    Between 1997 and about 2005 I did 8 Theatre productions, all of which I wrote but also directed and was involved in the production side as well. I ran my own Theatre Company during that time. Where basically the money from one production would fund the next and so on. I was lucky in the sense that when I moved back to the city in 1997 there was a Theatre just up the road from where I lived which was looking for new work, so I did my first production there before the end of 1997 which as luck would have it sold out, which got my foot in the door so to speak. I used theatre as a way of developing my writing skills, but also as a way of reaching out to actors I wanted to work with. There was also a very good Acting Improvisation Class which had been started by the actor Dexter Fletcher and later his brother Graham (American readers would know him from Band of Brothers, British from shows like Press Gang, more recently he is a director, his last film was Eddie The Eagle) His class was rich with talent and they were in the same building, so that was very handy. 

    In UK terms we don't have the same issues as you with the Unions, so anything that is performed can get published. It just depends on the success of the play itself and if you can manage to get you play transferred from the off West End venue, to the West End, or get a big producer to come and see it. That was always the most important thing back then, either to get a transfer or to get more work out of it. Back then the internet was only just beginning and you didn't have forums or social media when I started out in Theatre so you had to literally give out flyers on the streets and work really hard to get people to come to your shows (To some degree you still have to do that now, but can do much more online)

    Putting on a play in the UK will mean the British Libary will automatically contact you and ask for a hard copy of your production so it is stored in their archives and there will always be a copy of it for time and memorium. I have to confess I did not always get copies of my plays to them, I know that will sound incredible and people must be screaming at me, saying why the hell not? The problem is when you're producing and directing something, and basically working for free essentially, you barely have time to do anything else and you never have enough time (or money) to do all the things you need to do as it is, so running down to Kings Cross and getting the copy sorted out for them was never at the forefront of my mind in the middle of a production and I would normally go straight from one to the other. 

    I came back to stage productions again when I was asked to co-write a play by a friend of mine in 2008 about her life and the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her Father when she was younger. We were halfway through completing it when she died of a brain aneurysm in 2009. I completed the play on my own and put it on in 2010 and it was a disaster which was a learning curve and I considered myself a veteran. It also showed me at the time how things had changed with social media and what would sell and what wouldn't, depending on how you were able to treat a subject and promote it within the means you had available. (Unknown cast won't sell a play about a heavy subject unless you have very clever marketing, but name stars can)

    I also wrote another stage play last year, my first in some time, The Seven Young Guns of Hollywood, based on the making of the original Magnificent Seven film with Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner, about all the goings on behind the making of the film, which we did a read through of in July of 2017. I've given this overview of my theatre experience in this thread, so that if I can ever offer anyone any advice in this world, then please do feel free to give me a shout, its something I certainly have had my fair share of experiences in, both good and bad and if I cannot help you, I certainly will know someone who can.

    PUBLISHING - Yeah, this is a hard one. If you were someone with a good cult following already, or say 50,000 loyal readers, even if they're from all over the world and you wanted to publish a play. I would say do it, because if you have that momentum or fanbase behind you anyway, I am sure a good percentage of them would love to read it and your basically publishing a script/play for profit and this can also be a good way to get it read by lots of people, some of whom might even want to pay you royalties/fees to stage it - but if you don't have that behind you, then its going to be as tough a sell as a novel. I think there is a market out there for this stuff, but people are only going to read it if they're already familiar with your work. You also have to remember unlike film and television and an actual novel, which is around for ever, Theatre is a visceral but temporary experience, normally brought to life just the once (Unless your a die hard fan who repeatedly watches the same show) for the audience member and then is often forgotten, so it doesn't have the same fan base as say cult books or shows, which can easily be obtained or watched or read, or passed down. From time to time I still meet people who saw a play we put back on in 1998 or 2001, but believe that happens once every few years if I am lucky. So consider those terms as well. If you haven't written a play before though, I urge you to do it, or work with a local Theatre / Drama group and devise one because there is nothing quite like seeing your own work brought to life on stage right before your very eyes. When done well, that is an unbeatable memory which as a writer will stay with you for a very long time. 

    Offline David Greene

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 01:26:38 pm »
    So, out of the blue, I get an email from one of the gals who was in the reading, but graduated and moved away before she could audition for the show.  She's now a director at a high school and she licensed my play to be her very first production.  I am SO proud.  It goes up this February in Woodstock, IL.  Super cool!

    P.S.  If anyone is looking for places to submit their plays, I'm a huge fan of Play Submission Helper.  They update the spreadsheet monthly and I've gotten pretty much every one of my productions through them.  http://playsubmissionshelper.com

    A high school in Woodstock, Illinois sounds like an ideal proving ground for comedy. Seriously. And the story behind how it happened is great. Congratulations!

    Also, thank you for the links to New Play Exchange and Play Submission Helper. I'll be checking those out.

    Offline alawston

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 08:31:15 am »
    SO exciting!!!  Please keep us updated on how it goes!!  I want pictures!!  Isn't it SO empowering being able to bring your work to life?!?  I just love it!

    And I have some good news on the self-publishing play front.  I wrote a 1930s screwball comedy called Building Madness, which I publish and license myself.  Well, I sent it out to a competition almost two years ago, which it won.  During the summer of 2016, there was a developmental reading of the play (it had its full production in February 2017.)  So, out of the blue, I get an email from one of the gals who was in the reading, but graduated and moved away before she could audition for the show.  She's now a director at a high school and she licensed my play to be her very first production.  I am SO proud.  It goes up this February in Woodstock, IL.  Super cool!

    P.S.  If anyone is looking for places to submit their plays, I'm a huge fan of Play Submission Helper.  They update the spreadsheet monthly and I've gotten pretty much every one of my productions through them.  http://playsubmissionshelper.com

    Thanks! It's still very exciting - we got everyone together for a readthrough a couple of weeks back, and I have a backstage crew (er, me and one friend) sorted out. We're visiting the theatre on Friday for a tour and a chat, so we know where we are with technical resources. I have a couple of post-production options for the play, both of which involve making it quite a bit longer, so I'm already trying to see which elements I need to develop, etc.


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    Offline alawston

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #10 on: March 18, 2018, 02:07:25 am »
    Well, today's show time! My play, Matrexit, is going to be performed in the Orange Tree Theatre this afternoon. Unfortunately my parents aren't going to see my play writing debut, as heavy snow is keeping them at home. But we're all very excited, and I guess I'll be a full-on playwright by the end of today.


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    Offline alawston

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #11 on: March 23, 2018, 03:05:23 am »
    BOOO SNOW!!!  But YAAAAY full-on playwright!!! HOORAY!  Did you get pictures?

    Thanks! I didn't get too many pictures myself, but there was an official photographer on hand, so I'm hoping to see some soon.

    There's a few from the whole afternoon at https://markaspen.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/arnpf/ - Matrexit is the penultimate photo just above the group shot!

    We're now taking a deep breath and deciding how to develop the play for future productions, it's all very exciting for something that I assumed would just become a script-formatted curiosity in my next short story collection!


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    Offline Bob Stewart

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #12 on: April 01, 2018, 12:50:56 pm »
    Just wanted to mention I published my first full length play and am discovering the wonderful world of formatting plays for the ereader.  So, Kindle is great.  I tried it both with the character names centered (lines below the name) and character names on the right hand side (lines following a colon).  Both look awesome and spacing is preserved.  But man... epubs are a pain in the bucket.  If you're uploading a Word doc to D2D, all spacing between lines is stripped and first paragraph indents are added to every line in the conversion process.  I found the only readable format for the epub is character names on the left hand side.  Anyone an ePub expert and have any ideas on how to work around the formatting mess?

    Kate,

    You could try downloading the mobi file from amazon and then uploading that to D2D.

    Alternatively, you can create your own ePub from the docx using Calibre. Out-of-the-box, it can do a fine ePub from a docx, but the defaults might do just what the D2D converter is doing. But in this case, you can tinker with the settings. Thought that may be more of a pain in the butt than you want to take on.

    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #13 on: April 01, 2018, 09:15:24 pm »
    I studied playwriting at Chicago Dramatists for a couple of years. During that time I wrote a comedy--a gay reimagining of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. Apart from a performance at Chicago Dramatists, I haven't done anything with it.

    It never occurred to me to just publish it. But like alawston--I'm curious about the market. Is there a market for readers buying and reading plays? Or is the point of publishing a play less about finding readers and more about making it available for performance?

    Another question: I assume that formatting a play in book form would be different from script format. Is there a template for formatting plays in book form?

    Thanks for starting this thread!

    If you want to get it out in hopes of performance, you might want to join the National New Play Exchange.

    As for formatting for a book, I would think keep the play format. It would seem too odd to readers if it were not, I think.

    Thanks for supporting my art.
    Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog

    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #14 on: April 01, 2018, 09:21:13 pm »
    So, Friday I held a reading of my new play at a local coffee house.  Got some great feedback from the crowd.  It's amazing what a difference it makes hearing words aloud vs. the words in my head.  But I did feel like I could have used the talk back more effectively.  Do you all do public readings of new works?  What questions do you ask the crowd afterwards?

    Oh, I have a theater and we are doing playreadings on Monday nights. We need 2-3 (2 female or 1 female 1 male) character scripts (if 3, they should be female roles) by women. storycraferstudio dot org is the website to check out what our theater has done.

    Thanks for supporting my art.
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    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #15 on: April 01, 2018, 09:54:47 pm »
    I mentioned them upthread, but here's the link to the New Play Exchange (https://newplayexchange.org/).  It's like... $10 a year registration fee.  Then you upload your plays and theaters who are looking for plays can use it as a gigantic online catalog (and many post submission opportunities on the NPX.)  If they want to do a season of plays about clowns, they type in "Clowns" into the search engine and any play that has been tagged will come up, and they can read it online and contact you if they want to license it.  I've only gotten into a small festival with a ten-minute play using NPX, but I've heard of some other people who are having great luck.

    Part of the struggle there is to get others to read it and post a review. Let's review each others plays.

    For those thinking of breaking into playwrighting, the usual advice is, get to know your local theater companies. Go to their plays and volunteer in their theaters. Once they know you, and you have not come begging but have come to support them and help, they might look at your script. The second way is to produce your script yourself. I do this, but I am trained in the theater and grew up in it. You really have to know what you are doing to do this. The third way is pay for PlaySubmissionHelper and send your scripts to as many contests and calls as your play fits for. The fourth way is to join the National New Play Exchange and hope for the best. The fifth is do all of these. (That's me.)

    Most theaters are small with tight budgets. They need 4 or less characters (preferably less) and a single set, or a play that needs no specific set but is created by actor movement and dialog (think word pictures like Shakespeare does.) A full length play runs (lasts) 60 minutes to an hour and a half at most theaters. Some theaters still do the old standard of 2 hours with intermission. A play just over 70-80  minutes is good so that there can be an intermission to sell snacks and beverages (so the theater can pay the rent). If you have gay characters, many theaters want that. No homophobic plays! City Theatre in Miami does ten minute plays and really wants to add plays about lesbians to their offerings (and they pay).  I do suggest having more female characters than male because it is easier to cast women than men and the women have been trained in singing or dance or both since childhood and the men have not.

    For playreadings, allowing the theater do it for free is good, but of course you have to have credit as playwright in the program and in any advertising. No theater can change a single line of dialog or stage directions in your play without your express permission. You also have the right to go to the auditions and the rehearsals. If you do, give your notes to the director, not the actors! Whether you go or not is up to you. In a full production, a director may ask you not to attend some of the rehearsals. There is a legit reason for this. Actors need time to mess up. They do not give a polished performance until performance. Rehearsal time is for mistakes, correcting mistakes, and trying things a variety of ways until the best way is found. If you are there, they freak out and the process slows. However, good directors like playwrights having some involvement because questions come up from questions about interpretation to finding blocking you want just does not work and may they change it.

    Most theaters do plays by men (83%). However, part of that is that there are fewer plays written by women, especially following the guidelines I give above for little, black box theaters. There is a push for theaters to do more women's plays, so women get writing. Send you plays to me! (I'm a little theater.)


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    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #16 on: April 01, 2018, 10:05:52 pm »
    Thanks! I didn't get too many pictures myself, but there was an official photographer on hand, so I'm hoping to see some soon.

    There's a few from the whole afternoon at https://markaspen.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/arnpf/ - Matrexit is the penultimate photo just above the group shot!

    We're now taking a deep breath and deciding how to develop the play for future productions, it's all very exciting for something that I assumed would just become a script-formatted curiosity in my next short story collection!

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for supporting my art.
    Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog

    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #17 on: April 01, 2018, 10:09:21 pm »
    I started my writing career with Stage Plays. I'll put this in the context of being based in London, the UK, where there has always been a very strong Fringe / Independent Theatre scene, which has only increased in recent years with a number of new smaller independent, off-west end (The same as Off-Broadway kind of) venues which support emerging playwrights as well as more traditional work.

    Totally cool! Yes, England is much more supportive of the theater than the US is. Here you want to get your local theaters to do your play, get good reviews, and then other theaters may pick up your work. Contests and specific calls (Play Submission Helper and National New PLay Exchange) can also help.


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    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #18 on: April 01, 2018, 10:13:34 pm »
      Donna Hoke did a great article


    Yes, Donna Hoke is a great resource about how-to's of a playwrighting career. She explains how to have your play ready to send out, and tons of other on-point advice. Find her website and get reading!

    Thanks for supporting my art.
    Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog

    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #19 on: April 08, 2018, 09:51:56 pm »
    Send you plays to me! (I'm a little theater.)

    Is this an offer someone could still take you up on? I've got an 80 - 90 minute play (2 women, 1 man) called #writingretreat (yes, the hash is in the title.)

    Thanks for your contribution to the thread!

    Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #20 on: April 09, 2018, 08:05:15 am »
    It is my DREAM to break into the UK theatre scene!  Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  I try to travel to London at least once a year for the sole purpose of seeing shows because they are just. so. good.  May I pick your brain for a moment?  You touched just a little on shows transferring to the West End (and I've been so impressed with how many new works make it to the West End houses.)  What is that transfer/development process like in the UK?   

    Hi Kate - I am so sorry it took me so long to reply to your post. I was somewhat distracted getting my first novel to print these last few months and I completely forgot about this topic. (I still have yet to work out how to post the picture of my book under my posts, like the rest of you, despite following the guidelines on the sticky)

    To answer your question. There is not a regimented process that one goes through in order to get a transfer. In the first instance of course, if that is indeed the aim, the work itself must, of course, be really strong. Secondly, you need a Producer on board who will take on the role of getting the right people to come and see the show. If you're the writer and you have no other involvement, sometimes this is something you can take on yourself. I never had time to do this (More's the pity) but it's absolutely vital because the only way to get a transfer is either by the right person coming to see it or by someone connected to the right person coming to see it. One must spend time researching which people are likely to want to take the show forwards and then do everything you can to get them to come down and see it. The other way your show may well get a transfer is by box office. If your show sells every seat before it even opens that will normally create a buzz around the production. 'The Play That Goes Wrong' was originally a Fringe production formed by a company of drama student graduates, which did extremely well and then transferred to the West End. They now have several successful similar productions under their belt. ART was another play which started out very small and became a massive international success. If your mind is thinking this far ahead, then the most important thing is to write something PEOPLE WILL WANT TO COME AND SEE - something that will strike a chord with the public consciousness. Of course working out what that is exactly, well, when you do that, let me know.  8)
    « Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 09:00:11 am by DIAMONDSINTHESKY »

    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #21 on: April 09, 2018, 03:53:42 pm »
    Is this an offer someone could still take you up on? I've got an 80 - 90 minute play (2 women, 1 man) called #writingretreat (yes, the hash is in the title.)

    Thanks for your contribution to the thread!
    Yes, [email protected]

    Thanks for supporting my art.
    Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog

    Offline CynthiaClay

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    Re: Playwright Support Thread
    « Reply #22 on: July 29, 2018, 08:20:50 am »
      I went to the DG Conference in La Jolla a few years back and it changed the course of my life.  It is a remarkable conference.

    I was at the La J olla conference. What a great time. I did a talk on Vector Theory and the Plot Structures of Literature and Drama. Math and engineer playwrights loved it. They are used to using vector theory and so readily understood how it applies. Non math people tend to be so freaked out they won't give it credence, but vector theory has proved its usefulness to everything it has been applied to. Even as I gave the talk it proved itself. Ms. Jordan (I forget her first name) was the appointed questioner and many people who came to my talk had seen her plays. Some of her plays they really liked even though they weren't "supposed to" because somebody or other said those particular plays did not have conflict. Not having conflict does not mean a play does not have structure. They found they had good reason to like her plays.

    The conference was mostly about musicals which I tend not to like. I was inspired enough that I wrote the book for a Winter Holiday musical, choosing the old carols for the music. A composer friend of mine is finishing up the arrangements for the music. We've had one production, we are looking for theaters interested for a Winter Holiday show.

    How did the conference change your life Kate? Oh, and I just finished reading The Woodcutter. I just loved it!

    Truthfully at the moment I am feeling dispirited. Actors in my town are very clique-y and tend not to audition for things their clique is not into. Also  I should be writing a psycho drama for a theater that likes my writing but not the magical realism or sf that I write. I hate psycho drama. And I'm on the last stretch of the last book of my fantasy saga which is a great set of books but aren't selling. The reader reviews are all 5 stars so I don't get it.


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    Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog

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